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FAQ on Drain Cleaning:

What are the easiest ways to fix a drainage clog?

Drainage clogs are all too common in modern plumbing. Any number of foreign objects may become lodged in the plumbing system, including feminine hygiene products, paper towels, children’s toys, hair, grease, and more. Over time, this clog will accumulate more gunk and slow the system exponentially. Before calling a professional plumber, consider a few do-it-yourself techniques. For example, if a plunger is not helping the situation, try simple hot water first.  A hot water flush helps build pressure and force, bursting through the clog and freeing the pipe. Simply run hot water through the drain for 10-15 minutes, then reassess the clog. We recommend avoiding homemade chemical mixtures, though. These can often eat away at your pipes. Instead, try the hot water method or DIY drain snaking. If all else fails, call a professional. They are equipped with the right tools and techniques to unclog any type of drain, bathroom or otherwise.

How do sewer line camera inspections work?

A sewer line camera is a waterproof device designed to internally inspect sewer lines and underground pipes. The camera can even be used to inspect those found in cement underneath the foundation of your home. Such cameras help eliminate the guesswork. A professional plumber can literally view the clog up close or find a leak without tearing up the ground or pipework.

The high-definition camera itself is attached to a flexible rod, much like an extended drain snake. The rod allows a technician to travel through the pipe in its entirety. Your plumber may then better determine the condition of the pipe and fully understand what has gone wrong. During this process, radio transmitters located on the camera itself record depth and physical location, allowing us to accurately diagnose and resolve sewer line issues. The problem is resolved faster, with more clarity and less messy guesswork involved. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

What issues can a sewer line camera discover?

A sewer line camera is often considered a catch-all tool. Sure, the device is efficient and helps eliminate guesswork, however, even a sewer line camera has limitations. Alone, a camera cannot locate a leak, unless paired with other tools. These cameras can be used to locate lines using radio transmitters. A special receiver above ground helps plumbers pinpoint where the camera is located at any given time. Next, a camera can discover drainage issues. Sewer pipes use gravity, as pipes flow downhill. When a blockage occurs, it is often difficult to pinpoint the exact location. A sewer line camera helps find the exact cause of the blockage. We can find roots, mud, broken pipes, grease buildup, and plenty more. Lastly, a sewer camera inspection may be used to uncover the type of pipe and sewer system connections. Whether you’re using PVC or cast-iron pipes is nearly impossible to discern without a camera. Sewer system connections allow us to see where water flows to or from.

Where is the sewer line cleanout location?

Sewer lines are vital pieces of your home’s plumbing system. These pipes move water and waste away from your home to the city’s municipal sewer system. Still, it is your responsibility, as the homeowner, to maintain the sewer pipes. That means you’re on the hook for repairs, maintenance, and even replacements if the situation calls for it. First and foremost, you’ll want to understand where the sewer line cleanout is located. The cleanout itself is easily distinguishable. It is a 4-inch diameter pipe with a screw cap and a square knob near the top. First, consider the likely places. Most residential sewer line cleanouts are found sprouting from the ground between the foundation and road. Another common location is on the side of the house, near the first-floor bathroom. If all else fails, examine the engineered plot plans for your home. This map will display all sewer service lines, including the cleanout. You’ll want to keep the plans handy to help professionals avoid unnecessary digging or damage.

Why should I call a plumber for a clogged drain?

Every one of us has picked up a plunger to deal with a clogged toilet at one point or another. It’s just a part of life. However, few of us have dealt with persistent clogs that cause internal damage and water leaks. These drainage clogs, if left unattended, could cause absolute devastation. If your do-it-yourself techniques have failed, you should definitely hire a professional. The top reasons to call for professional drain cleaning include slow drainage, recurring clogs, a foul odor, multiple drainage clogs, or flooding. Flooding is especially dangerous. If a clog has persisted to the point where contaminated water is covering your floor or drain, you likely have a leak accompanying the clog. Calling for professional drain cleaning the moment you notice signs of water damage can help alleviate some concern. The sooner you call, the sooner repairs and cleaning can commence. Do not be afraid of throwing in the towel and calling for help. There’s nothing wrong with relying on a professional to do their job!

FAQ on Water Heater Repair & Installation:

What do I need consider before purchasing a new water heater?

Many homeowners grow tired of their failing water heater. Either their current model cannot provide enough hot water to the entire home or the system cannot heat water adequately. Whatever the reason, new models on the market today are more efficient and cost-effective than ever before. Deciding which type of water heater you want, however, requires thorough research. Some factors to consider include fuel type, availability, cost, sizing, and energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is, arguably, the most important. Every homeowner wants to save money, right? Maximize your energy and monthly savings by selecting a new water heater with a high energy rating. Furthermore, sizing your new heater properly could save even more money. If you opt for a too small or too large water heater, you’ll likely spend more money trying to achieve the necessary amount of hot water for appliances, showers, and otherwise. If you’re unsure of how to properly size a water heater, call a professional. A pro can properly distinguish what your home needs and currently has.

Are there any pros or cons of tankless water heater systems?

Anyone considering making the switch to a tankless water heater system should perform thorough research beforehand. One of the biggest selection criteria to consider will be pros and cons of these new systems. Are they worth the money? Let’s begin with the pros. A tankless water heater offers a lower operating cost than traditional water heaters, as they are more energy efficiency. These systems are environmentally friendly, have a longer lifespan, and even increase property values. There is a lot to love about going tankless. On the other hand, there are a few cons to consider, too. For instance, the initial cost of installation can be quite high. Also, electric models cannot provide hot water during extended power outages, you may experience slight delays, and, depending on size, you may be somewhat limited in the amount of hot water readily available. Determining whether the pros outweigh the cons is up to you!

Should I repair my water heater or replace it?

Determining whether to repair a water heater or outright replace the old model is a conundrum many homeowners face each month. Thankfully, it is easier than ever to determine whether replacing or repair is the next step. First and foremost, you’ll want to consider a few factors, with the most significant being the age of your current unit. Gas-based water heaters typically last for 10 years, give or take, and tankless units are potentially around 20+ years. Keeping this in mind, if your current water heater is older, it might be smart to simply replace the old unit. Next, consider your monthly spending. Are you spending too much on your water heating bills? An increase in water heating bills likely means your old unit isn’t working as efficiently as it once had. Lastly, let’s consider the cost and frequency of repairs. If you’re paying for monthly repairs, that adds up. Bite the bullet and invest in a new water heater outright. Of course, if any of these are the opposite, then you’ll likely be fine simply repairing your water heater.

Why should professionals handle water heater repair and installation?

Hot water has become a necessity that few, if any, of us can stand to live without. You likely rely on hot water for cooking, cleaning, and bathing every day. So, when your hot water heater breaks down or is inconsistent, you want results. Do-it-yourself methods sound wonderful on paper. Even some blogs stand behind them. However, nothing gets the job done like a professional. Professional service ensures extended lifespan, high efficiency and – most importantly – results. You’re paying for the results, pure and simple. If you choose to repair or install a new water heater on your own, anything that goes wrong is on you. You must foot the bill for further repairs, which can be quite costly. Should something go wrong with professional service, on the other hand, they are insured and bonded. The service is guaranteed. You’re paying for peace of mind, for efficient service, and for hot water!

What is better – conventional or tankless water heaters?

When it comes time to select a new water heater, you’ll be surprised to learn of the options available today. First, we have conventional water heaters. You’re likely accustomed to these models, which include a storage tank for 30-50 gallons of water. The tank unit preheats water and stores it in the tank for use when someone showers, does laundry, or washes dishes. The tank then refills after a waiting period. A tankless system, on the other hand, uses electricity or gas to warm water on demand (whenever someone turns on the hot water nozzle in the house). So, how do you decide? Well, by comparing and contrasting. Conventional heaters have a lower initial cost and are inexpensive to replace, but come with a higher utility bill, shorter lifespan, and inconsistent hot water availability. Tankless water heaters save money in the long run, last far longer (20+ years), and do not require much space. However, the higher initial cost and retrofitting turn some homeowners off.

Is a reconnect drain pipe on a new water heater required?

Spending money on a new water heater is already costing an arm and a leg, right? What about a reconnect drain pipe? That sounds like an additional cost that most could do without. Well, the reconnect drain pipe – typically attached to the water heater – keeps water in the pipe hot and reduces water waste before you receive your supply anywhere in the house. The pipe may also be used for a pressure relief line. You can tell which it is depending on where the pipe itself leads. If it leads to a floor drain, it is a pressure relief drain. Neither are required purchases for a new water heater. They are useful, though. Most homeowners tend to have a reconnect drain pipe because of their old unit. Older water heaters tend to have one installed already, as it extends from the drainage pipe. Again, the choice is yours to make. You are not required to keep the pipe installed or to install a new one.

How can I save money with my new water heater?

Not every home is in a position to purchase a brand new water heater. Some are just happy saving money using their conventional model in the basement. That’s just fine, too. Whether you have just purchased a new water heater or simply want to save money, the following tips are for everyone. To start, consider taking shorter showers, as a long, hot shower uses far more water, of course. It really depends on your home’s habits. Next, consider lowering the temperature of your hot water to 120 degrees Fahrenheit; for every 10-degree reduction in temperature, you save 3%-5% on your monthly bills. Third, consider turning off the water more often. People typically leave the water running when brushing their teeth or doing the dishes. Don’t. Instead, wet your brush or fill the sink and be done with it. Lastly, fix leaks promptly. The number of leaks that lead to increased monthly costs are all too common.

How high off the ground does a gas water heater need to be?

When someone mentions distance from the ground for a gas water heater, it is due to safety. There are absolutely safety requirements and codes in place for modern water heater models. The minimum distance is determined to help prevent fires and explosions, just in case a flammable substance leaks near the water heater. Of course, this space requirement only adheres to gas-based water heaters, not electric models. Gas requires a flame and a lighting mechanism, after all. Typically, the nationwide standard for distance from the ground is at least 18 inches. An accurate measurement when professionally installing a new water heater is not based on distance from the bottom of the heater to the ground, however. Instead, the technician will measure from the pilot light or lighting mechanism to the ground, which is the dangerous portion. Codes do vary by city and county. Hire a professional early in the process to ensure all codes and regulations are adhered to.

How do I inspect my water heater to prolong its lifespan?

Performing regular maintenance and a thorough inspection, when combined, will help prolong the lifespan of any water heater. The key is to do both early and often for the best results. When it comes to an inspection, there are a few key components to look after regularly.

  •         Pressure Valve – Your pressure valve can be inspected by turning off the power to the water heater, then tripping the valve. Air, water, or vapor should exit through the valve. If not, you need a replacement.
  •         Flush the Tank – It’s smart to empty the water heater tank once per year to remove any built-up sediment that has accumulated near the bottom. Now is an appropriate time to check the pressure valve, too.
  •         Anode Rod – The anode rod prevents corrosion within the hot water tank and has become an essential tool to prolong the lifespan of your system. You can check the rod when the tank is drained by unscrewing the hex head near the top and removing the rod.

How do I reduce my water heater bill this winter?

Chilly winter months always come with the possibility of an increased water bill, as requesting more hot water to warm up means running the water heater more often, leading to increased monthly costs. There are steps you may take to lower your water heater bill this winter, though. First, turn down the thermostat on your tank. For every 10 degrees you lower the thermostat, you can save 3% to 5% on your monthly bills. Most water heaters sit at 140 degrees, which often leads to scalding. The U.S. Energy Department recommends lowering the temperature to 120 degrees. That is typically high enough for most family homes and enough to reduce mineral buildup. Next, and this one seems obvious, consider using less hot water. A family of four uses about 700 gallons of water every week just from showering for five minutes per day. Consider low-flow showerheads to cut your hot water consumption by 25% to 60%.

Why am I still losing hot water after replacing the heating element?

After replacing the heating element, some still experience hot water loss. If that’s the case, the issue is usually in the dip tube. The dip tube, which most homeowners have never heard of, is attached to the cold-water inlet pipe, just beside the hot water heater. This pipe transports cold water through the hot water near the bottom of the tank. The burner can then heat the cold water, storing it for later use. You see, a hot water heater draws its supply of hot water from the top. Occasionally, the dip tube will fall off completely inside the tank and cold water will remain at the top instead of automatically being forced to the bottom. So, if you receive cold water when turning on the hot water nozzle, this is typically the reason. To prevent this issue, you’ll need to pull the cold-water inlet pipe and examine the dip tube thoroughly. If you’re unsure how, contact a professional plumber for service.

What are the top water heater options?

Choosing a new water heater for your home isn’t as simple as opening a catalog and pointing a finger. There are factors to consider, and name brands to watch. You want a water heating system that provides enough hot water for the entire family. But you also want to find one that is energy efficient, saving you money in the long run. So, first and foremost, your job is to determine the right size and fuel source for your home. You want to understand the distinct types of water heaters, firstly. For example, conventional water heaters are far more common, and relatively inexpensive to replace and repair. However, they have key drawbacks, such as inconsistent hot water supply. Then we have tankless water heaters, which are more expensive initially, but also more energy efficient long term. Lastly, we have heat pumps, which move heat from one spot to another instead of simply generating heat for hot water. Furthermore, some top brands to consider include Whirlpool, Rheem, and Kenmore, to name but a few!

What is the ideal temperature for a new water heater?

Typically, a hot water heater is set to 140 degrees after installation. This is hot enough to satisfy your needs, of course, but also high enough to scald. If you fear sticking your hand underneath the water spout due to the high temperature, then your hot water heater is likely set too high. In fact, most are. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends turning down your hot water heater from 140 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which is more than adequate for an entire household. You see, 120 degrees it considered safe for most people. The only reason to continue at 140 degrees is if you have a suppressed immune system or chronic respiratory disease. If you are uncomfortable lowering the temperature, consider installing mixing valves or temperature-regulating devices on taps used for washing and bathing. If you have money on the mind, turning the temperature down to 120 should save you 3%-5% per month on average.

What do I need to know about today’s water heater systems?

Today’s top water heater systems are designed to save homeowners more money and provide hot water on-demand throughout the entire house. No one wants to sit through a freezing-cold shower. It’s uncomfortable, to say the least. Your home needs a hot water heater. Some factors to consider regarding today’s water heater systems include:

  • Size – You need a water heater with the proper capacity. Your chosen unit should be able to provide hot water throughout the home easily.
  • Efficiency – Today’s water heater systems are more efficient than ever before. Old models cannot hold a candle to the efficiency levels we have achieved today.
  • Cost – It’s true; costs have risen since the old conventional water heater units. Today’s tankless water heaters and heat pumps cost more to install but they also save more money in the long run.
  • Fuel – It used to be that gas was the only option. Today, energy sources such as gas, electricity, and oil operate modern heating systems with relative ease.

What type of water heater maintenance should be performed?

Every professional worth their salt will preach about water heater maintenance. To operate an efficient water heater with an extended lifespan, regular maintenance is a requirement, not a choice. Most hot water heaters have a lifespan of 15-20 years, and sometimes even longer. Without maintenance, that lifespan is cut short. Proper maintenance includes lowering the thermostat to 120 degrees, which saves you up to 5% in energy costs for every 10 degrees. Next, maintain 2 feet of clearance. Most hot water heaters are installed in unused space, which double as storage areas for most families. Try to keep cardboard boxes, old toys, and mattresses away from the tank. Lastly, a few times per year, consider draining the tank to remove built-up sediment and debris. You can do so by turning off the cold water supply, attaching a garden hose to the drain valve, and running it all into a bucket until the water is clear. It’s that simple.

Why do I not have hot water?

We often take hot water for granted. Most of us simply expect hot water to flow freely once the tap is active. When nothing happens – or, worse, when freezing water flows forth – the confusion is all-encompassing. If you have ever had the displeasure of having no hot water in the house, then you’ve likely called for assistance. There are plenty of reasons why there is no hot water. If you have an electric water heater, a faulty heating element, thermostat, or tripped circuit breaker may be the cause. For a gas water heater, no gas supply, an extinguished pilot light, or faulty thermostat are likely. The thermostat is often the culprit. We see broken thermostats often enough to know they must be replaced regularly. A failed thermostat means a lack of hot water. Heating elements also may have built-up sediment, preventing them from working correctly. Call in a professional.

Why am I running out of hot water so often?

One of life’s subtle inconveniences, especially with a large family, is running out of hot water early after everyone showers, bathes, and cleans up. Anyone going last is left in the cold – quite literally. If that’s the case, your home’s hot water heater was likely not sized properly. Or, you may need to upgrade if your family has grown in recent years. A professional plumber can help adequately size your home’s hot water heater. If this issue was more sudden, however, then something else maybe wrong entirely. For example, a bad heating element or broken dip tube could be the leading causes. Both should be inspected by a professional plumber. If the lack of hot water was gradual, then you likely have sediment buildup in the water heater tank. This is an issue plaguing many households over time. Dissolved minerals form a thick layer at the bottom of the tank. Over time, the sediment displaces the hot water, decreasing the readily-available supply to your home.

Why are temperatures rising on my electric water heater?

Scalding water is a severe problem for homeowners. If the water coming from your hot water heater is high enough to cause burns, then something has gone seriously wrong. Thankfully, an electric water heater is not overly complicated. This makes troubleshooting a breeze. First and foremost, consider the thermostat settings. Typically, 120 degrees is more than enough for a residential household. Most water heater systems are automatically set to 140 degrees by the manufacturer. You’ll want to change this promptly. Next, consider the sediment. Water supplies typically dissolve most minerals, but not all. The leftovers settle to the bottom of the water heater tank, leaving a thick crust that may coat the heating element. If the lower element is entirely buried, the unit works harder to heat the water supply. Overworking the element may lead to overheating, then failing and burning out entirely.

What is the rumbling noise from my water heater?

An old home will occasionally have a few rumblings and the odd noise here or there. It’s normal. If the rumbling sound is coming from the water heater, however, then something is either broken or causing a problem internally. There are two primary concerns: a broken dip tube and sediment buildup. Both are serious. Over time, minerals in your home’s water supply (calcium) form sediment near the bottom of the tank. This traps an entire layer of water underneath, covering the heat exchanger in the process. The layer of trapped water begins to boil, percolating through the sediment and creating the rumbling noise you are hearing. Alternatively, a broken dip tube, which carries cold water through the center of the tank, may need to be replaced. If the tube itself is broken, the system may begin to rumble. You’ll need to replace the tube, or you won’t receive any amount of hot water.

Can new hot water heater rules lower my energy bills?

The regulations surrounding the standard storage tank water heater were completely redone in 2015. Per the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act, water heaters manufactured after April 16, 2015, were required to meet all-new energy standards. This act goes for gas, propane, oil, and electric water heaters. For homeowners keen on saving money and energy, this is a profound step forward. On a more personal level, if you’ve recently purchased a new hot water heater, then know that it is incredibly efficient when compared to old models previously installed. Still, you want to consider size, as the standard 50-gallon model increased in diameter with these new rules. Furthermore, the cost of manufacturing also rose, which means the price to you, the consumer, rose along with it. Your initial investment will be higher, but the savings should be increased greatly long term.

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Blue Frog

5417 BANDERA RD., STE 607
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78238

(210) 876-1629

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