FAQ on Drain Maintenance and Repair
Can I unclog the drain myself?
Before reaching for the phone and calling a plumber, there are a few techniques you can try to tackle the problem. You could use a plunger to drain accumulated waste-water if the blockage is relatively small. But while a plunger can help initially, it can’t eliminate significant blockages. A hot water flush may be the solution. Try flushing hot water continually for 10 – 15 minutes. The heat causes a build-up of pressure that forces its way through the pipe and can break the clog apart.
We urge you not to concoct any DIY chemical mixtures as it can pose a risk to your health and cause irreparable damage to your pipes. If you can get your hands on a tool called a plumber’s snake, you could try to unclog the drain manually. In case you can’t find this equipment, a straightened coat hanger can help you dislodge a blockage. Get in touch with a professional if you’re still struggling. A plumber is experienced and fully-equipped with the tools to unblock any drain.
What is a sewer line camera?
These specially designed waterproof sewer pipe inspection cameras are approximately the same size as a smartphone camera. The fiberoptic device is attached to a flexible, long metal snake that is inserted in the pipe. This enables the plumber to view a high-definition image of the clog, leak, or pipes causing trouble. This method of diagnosis is highly favorable because it allows plumbers to diagnose problems without tearing apart pipework or causing structural damage.
A sewer line camera eliminates guesswork, giving an accurate depiction of what is causing the issue. They can be used to inspect sewer lines and underground pipes, including those immersed in cement in the foundations underneath your home. Radio transmitters that record depth and physical location are built into the camera, allowing us to pinpoint the problem with digital accuracy.
How do sewer line cameras help plumbers carry out essential work?
As a diagnostic tool, the sewer line camera is pretty hard to beat. Without one, trying to figure out where a blockage or leak is located can be time-consuming and potentially cause damage to your home. In some cases, a camera can help a plumber to work out where water is flowing to and from. Also, If you need to ascertain whether a PVC or cast-iron pipe is being used in your sewer system connections, you’ll need the help of a plumber with a camera.
Radio transmitters embedded in the device help to locate lines and pinpoint the exact location of a problem. All in all, they’re useful devices to have on hand when you need to figure out the cause or source of a problem with your pipes. Often, the offending items causing the blockage are broken pipes, mud, roots, grease build-up, and plenty more.
Where is my sewer line cleanout located?
You can’t mistake the cleanout for anything else – it’s a four-inch diameter pipe that has a screw cap, with a square knob at the top. The majority of residential sewer line cleanouts can be found between the road and the foundation of your home. Sometimes, they can be located to the side of the house, usually near the ground-floor bathroom.
If you’re a homeowner, you’re going to need to know all the vital information about the structure and maintenance of your building. This includes understanding where the sewer line cleanout is located, in case you need to carry out repairs, maintenance or a full replacement.
When is it time to call a plumber to clear a blocked drain?
Normal daily use can result in minor blockages, and most of us have had to reach for the plunger in these situations. It’s not normal to have to deal with persistent clogging that can cause water leaks and internal damage, however. If your DIY efforts have been in vain, don’t sit around and hope it’ll get better – this problem only gets worse. If you’re experiencing persistently slow drainage, foul odors, flooding, multiple clogs, or recurring clogs, it’s time to get the help of a professional plumber.
Flooding can be a particular concern. If you’re at a point where contaminated water is covering your drain or floor, a leak is likely to be accompanying the clog. Water damage can be pervasive and expensive to fix. Calling a professional as soon as you realize that the problem is out of your hands is the most cost-effective and practical solution. Don’t feel like you’re throwing in the towel if you need to get help from a plumber – it’s what they’re trained to do!
Water Heater Maintenance and Repair FAQ
What should I take into consideration when purchasing a new water heater?
Buying a water heater is a hefty investment and requires thorough thought and research to make sure you’re getting the model that’s right for your home. Factors to take into consideration include fuel type, cost, availability, sizing and energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is arguably the most important feature. Not only does a water heater with a high energy rating save you money for years to come, but it’s also friendlier to the environment and more efficient.
Something else important to take into consideration is getting the size right. If your water heater is too big or small, you’re spending too much money trying to heat your appliances and showers. If you’re in doubt about what’s best for you, get in touch with one of our plumbers. We can help you to distinguish exactly what your home needs.
Is there any point in choosing a tankless water heater?
If you’re thinking about getting a tankless water heater, it’s important that you do plenty of research to determine which one is right for you. There are many benefits from going tankless, including being better for the environment, having a longer lifespan than their counterparts and even increasing the value of your property. The operating costs of a tankless water heater are lower than older, traditional models.
Long term, the money you save on bills due to the efficiency of a tankless water heater offsets the higher upfront cost. Electric models can’t heat water during an extended power outage and, depending on the size of the water heater, electric models may have a limited amount of hot water available in one go. If the benefits outweigh the downsides for you, a tankless system is definitely worth investing in.
Do I need to buy a new water heater or can I get mine repaired?
If your bills have gone up in recent months, it may be a sign that your water heater is failing and needs replacing. The older your current water heater is, the more likely it is that a replacement will be required. A gas unit usually lasts around ten years while a tankless unit lasts for over twenty years. If yours is nearing its later years, it’s probably time to invest in a new one. If you got the system installed more recently, it’s worth trying to get it repaired.
Can I fix my water heater if it has broken down?
We rely on hot water for a multitude of everyday necessities such as cooking, cleaning and bathing, so when the water heater system fails, it can be extremely frustrating. When it comes to something as essential as hot water pipes, you can’t afford to get it wrong and take the situation from bad to worse. A professional service is the solution in cases where the system has shut down.
When you get a plumber to do the job, you’ll extend the lifespan of your water heater as well as lots of other benefits. It’ll be quicker than if you try and work it out yourself and a professional is insured and bonded in case anything goes wrong. Peace of mind that repairs or replacements are being carried out by experienced, qualified professionals is worth the upfront cost.
Should I go for a conventional or tankless water heater?
If you’ve started looking around at options for a new water heater, you may have been surprised by the amount of choice on the market. Conventional units include a storage tank that holds between 30 – 50 gallons of water. The water is preheated and used when someone does the washing, has a shower or does the dishes. There is a waiting period while the tank refills and the water heats up again. A tankless unit uses gas or electricity to instantly heat water whenever it’s required.
A conventional system is usually inexpensive upfront and costs less to repair and replace, but a tankless model is more energy-efficient and takes up less space. Increased efficiency saves you money on your monthly bills, is kinder to the environment and lasts for longer – saving money in the long term. The higher upfront cost may be offputting to some people, however.
Do I need to buy a reconnect drain pipe with my recently purchased water heater?
Getting a new water heater isn’t a small investment, it’s a big deal and costs a lot of money. Buying a new reconnect drain pipe can seem like an unnecessary cost. Well, there’s good news – it’s not required that you keep your current pipe installed or install a new one. A reconnect is typically attached to the water heater and keeps the pipe hot and reduces water waste. Some of these types of pipes are also used as a pressure relief line.
If it’s a pressure relief line, it usually leads to a drain in the floor. While a reconnect drain pipe is not a necessary piece of equipment, it is useful and can save you money in the long run.
Is it possible to save money with a new water heater?
If you’re happy making sure your home is well-insulated and being careful with how much energy you use, sticking with your conventional boiler is absolutely fine. Even if you get a brand new, energy-efficient boiler, you can still save even more money with a few handy tricks. Some great ways of saving energy include timing your showers, turning off the tap when you’re not using it and lowering the hot water temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Reducing the temperature of the water by 10 degrees saves you between three and five percent on your monthly energy bills. Turning off the tap when you brush your teeth or when you’re washing up may not seem like a lot but it all adds up. Finally, If you get a leak, fix it promptly – leaks and general poor maintenance are the leading causes of high monthly energy costs.
Does a gas water heater have to be raised from the ground?
Health and safety legislation dictates that a gas water heater must be a certain amount of height off the ground to prevent fires and explosions. Modern water heaters are subject to strict guidelines and safety requirements, with the nationwide standard for gas units’ distance from the ground at 18 inches. Electric units are not subject to the same guidelines because the dangerous element in a gas water heater is the pilot light.
Safety codes and requirements vary from city to city, so be sure to liaise with a professional plumber to ensure all regulations are adhered to.
Is there maintenance I can perform on my water heater at home?
By performing regular check-ups yourself, you can prolong the lifespan of your water heater and avoid unnecessary costs. If you inspect and perform maintenance regularly, you’ll achieve optimum results. There are several things you can check regularly to look after your system:
- Pressure Valve – If you turn off the power to your water heater and trip your pressure valve, water, vapor or air should be emitted through the valve. If this doesn’t happen, you need a replacement.
- Flush the Tank – Once a year, empty the tank to remove any built-up sediment that may be accumulating around the element at the bottom. It’s best to take the opportunity of an empty tank to check the pressure valve.
- Anode Rod – This prevents corrosion from occurring within the tank and is an essential tool if you want to prolong the lifespan of your system. When the tank is drained, unscrew the hex head and remove the rod to inspect it.
Can I reduce my energy bills during the winter?
It’s disappointing when autumn turns to winter and the inevitable increase in energy bills hits us. It takes longer to heat water up in the cold months and costs go up as a result. There are ways to save on your bills though. Buying a low-flow showerhead can slash water consumption by 25% to 60%. You can also try turning down the thermostat on your tank. Most water heaters sit at 140 degrees, which can scald. If you turn it down by 10%, you save between 3% to 5% on your monthly bills.
I’ve replaced the heating element, why am I still losing hot water?
If you’ve replaced the element following a problem with your conventional water heater and you’re still losing hot water, the issue is probably the dip tube. You may not have heard of a dip tube but it’s an essential piece of equipment that’s attached to the cold water inlet pipe. It’s the tube that transports cold water through hot water towards the bottom of the tank. It allows the burner to heat the cold water and store it for later use.
Sometimes, the dip tube falls off and the cold water isn’t dragged down to the bottom. If you’re getting cold water from the hot water tap and the element is fine, the tube has most likely become dislodged. You can check the dip tube by pulling the cold water inlet pipe and giving it a thorough once over. If you’re not sure how to, get in touch with one of our plumbing specialists.
What are the best options when choosing a new water heater?
When you’re making such an important decision as choosing which water heater you’re going to rely on for the next 10 to 20 years, it’s important to get the facts. There are many important points to take into consideration, such as the size of your family, energy efficiency, how big the unit needs to be, the best fuel source for your home and which brand is the best-performing.
Conventional water heaters rely on gas and are relatively inexpensive and easy to repair – they don’t, however, give you a consistent source of hot water. Tankless water heaters costa littlemore initially but are more efficient and save you money on your monthly bills. There are also heat pumps, which move heat from one place to another. Some of the main brands to look out for are Kenmore, Rheem and Whirlpool.
Is there an ideal temperature for a new water heater?
The standard temperature for a new water heater in most places is 140 degrees Fahrenheit. While this is the recommended temperature for people suffering from chronic respiratory disease or a suppressed immune system, it can scald and is not necessary otherwise. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends turning the hot water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Turning down your thermostat also saves you money on your monthly energy bills.
If you’re not comfortable altering the temperature by yourself, you could install mixers or temperature-regulating devices. Alternatively, you can get in touch with a professional who would be happy to help you.
What’s different about modern water heater systems?
Modern water heating units are designed to be as gentle to the environment as possible while saving the homeowner money every month. They’re also made to avoid the hassle of waiting for hot water, with it freely flowing from the tap whenever it’s needed. Important elements to pay attention to are:
- Size – Capacity is extremely important; if you have more people in your family, you’ll need a bigger unit to heat all the water you need.
- Energy efficiency – Tankless water heaters and heat pumps may be more expensive initially, but they save money in the long run because they operate so efficiently.
- Fuel – Gas used to be the only option, but now we can use oil, electricity or gas to run water heating systems.
Is there any DIY water heater maintenance I can do?
Most modern hot water heaters have a lifespan of around twenty years, and some last even longer. If you don’t perform check-ups on your system, it’s likely this lifespan will be cut short. Setting the thermostat to 120 degrees is an essential piece of maintenance to carry out which can also save you up to 5% a month on your bills. Likewise, regularly clearing a space of at least two feet helps keep your unit at optimum temperature.
Our water heater is usually in a space that doubles up as storage, but be careful to keep mattresses, toys, boxes and clutter away from the tank. Draining the tank is another essential maintenance task you should carry out at least once per year.
Why is the tap running cold?
WThere are a number of reasons why you would run out of hot water. With an electric heater, the thermostat or heating element may have become faulty or a tripped circuit breaker could be the cause. With a gas heater, the energy supply may have run out or the pilot light might have been extinguished. A faulty thermostat is another cause, and in the case of a gas water heater, it’s the most likely. Your heating element could also have accumulated a build-up of sediment.
If you’re concerned about any of these issues, get in touch with a plumber to see if they can help you to unravel the problem.
Can new water heater rules help me save money?
New water heaters are subject to strict guidelines that mean they have to be as energy-efficient as possible. Not only does this contribute towards saving the environment, but it also helps to save you money on your monthly heating bills. Gas, propane and oil – as well as electric – water heaters that were made after 2015, must adhere to the energy standards dictated by the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act.