How to Prevent and Protect Your Home from Leaks

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There are a lot of reasons to want to act quickly when it comes to household leaks, especially in an area like Miami where rain and wild weather can be common. For one, government statistics show you’re your average family can waste 180 gallons per week just from household leaks.

WOW!

This adds up to 9,400 gallons of water a year, which means a much bigger water bill than you were probably expecting. Combine this with the fact that a leak can lead to water damage, and even the smallest drip can lead to a big expense.

The silver lining here is that there are a lot of things you can to do to be proactive and catch leaks before you get to that point.

In general, the basic principle when it comes to catching leaks early is going to be being attentive to both your plumbing as well as your water-using appliances. Here are a few examples of some symptoms that may lead to a leak if you don’t act:

  • Check for running water in the bathroom. This doesn’t just mean leaving the faucet on, but toilets that “phantom flush” or tanks that refill. A leaky toilet is one of the most common household leaks, and can still cause a major cost on your water bill.
  • Every year, look under your sinks, dishwashers, and refrigerators. With some of the bathroom leaks we mentioned above, you can generally hear them even if you don’t see them. A small drip in the cabinet under the sink may not be so noticeable, but can still cause water damage, especially to wood.
  • Check your water heater annually as well. Things that could potentially lead to water leaks include condensation and corrosion around the pipes. Every three years, you want to bring on a professional as well to help with leak detection you may not see at first.
  • Clear your gutters at least once a year along with your indoor leak detection. This will give you the chance to clear out blockages that could damage your gutters, roof, and even your foundation.

The Other Areas To Consider?

One example may be your irrigation system if you use one to help water your lawn. A lot of things can cause leaks here, from hard water deposits to rodents.

This is a bit harder to be proactive about, but some signs that you may have a small leak can include a dying lawn even with your system, or soggy patches on the law. If you have a large landscape you need to maintain, it may be worth it to install an irrigation meter.

In the same vein, take a look at the trees on your property in relation to where your piping is. If you see roots starting to grow towards where you have pipes, you may want to call a Miami plumber in advance to see if one is intruding on the other.

Pay Attention!

Leaks are more than a minor inconvenience. If left unchecked, they can not only lead to potential damage of some of your personal possessions, but affect the safety of your home, due to structural issues and the potential for mold and disease spreading.

Top Tier Plumbing Experts

Reach out to plumbing professionals in Miami the moment you think that there’s a possible leak. At Hernandez Plumbing in Miami, we know how to act fast and effectively to target and fix leaks. When it comes to plumbers in Miami, we’re also the gold standard—a 3rd generation family-owned business that’s been around since 1972.

Top Practices for Residential Leak Detection

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Leaks can damage your property in all kinds of way, especially if they go undetected for days, weeks or even months at a time.

What might start out as an occasional drip could escalate into full-on water damage, leading to the spread of mildew, mold, and other harmful forms of bacteria. If not sealed properly, these leaks could also do structural damage to your property, eating away at the support your home needs to stay intact.

Keep reading to learn more about some of the most commonly used non-invasive residential leak detection methods that you can use to keep your home safe and dry.

 Checking the Meter Is a Must!

If your home is leaking water, the first place to look is the water meter. Maybe you’ve noticed a recent spike in your utility bills as if someone left the water on. Regardless if the bill total has changed, take a look at your water meter when you’re not using any water to see if water is flowing through the system.

Every meter is different, but you should see some kind of visual indicator that your home is using water such as a spinning wheel or a lit-up water droplet.

It’s Important to Know If the Leak Is Inside or Outside Your Home

When you’re not using water, but your meter says otherwise, that means you have a leak. The following pointers will help you:

  • Turn off the main water valve for your property.
  • After that see if the leak is inside your house or between the meter and your house.
  • When the main valve is off, and your system is still delivering water, the leak is outside your home.
  • If the system goes quiet with the main water valve, the leak is inside your home

Detecting Leaks in Toilets

 Toilets can easily cause leaks since you’re using them frequently throughout the day. If you’re flushing constantly, even a small leak can add up to some major headaches and exorbitant water bills down the line. If you suspect your toilet is guilty of a leak, try this:

  • Try putting a few drops of food coloring into the tank.
  • Wait about an hour without flushing the toilet to see if any of the food coloring shows up in the toilet bowl.

If food coloring shows up, then you have a leak. If not you’re lucky because toilets leaks aren’t too costly. It usually involves replacing a small valve or the flushing mechanism.

 Visual Signs of a Leak

Another noninvasive leak detection method is to look around your property for visual signs of a leak.

If a pipe is leaking behind the wall or in the ceiling, you may notice some slight discoloration or a yellowish spot near the affected area.

Using Your Eyes Can Really Make a Difference

Look around your home for these visual signs, including places that might not get a lot of foot traffic such as the attic, basement, crawl space and other hard-to-reach areas. You may also notice water droplets or ripples and bubbles in the wallpaper or drywall around your home. Use these guidelines to check for signs of an underground leak as well.

Water Sensors and Thermal Imaging

You can place smart water sensors around your home, especially in tight corners and between walls where you’ve had leaks in the past.

Technology that Helps

A sensor can be connected to an app that you can use on your smartphone. If water comes near the sensor, it will alert you in real-time that you have a leak on your hands. You can stay on top of any leaks in your home even if you’re hundreds of miles away. This is also a great way to manage ongoing leaks if they continue to be an issue.

Some professionals may also use thermal imaging tools to look behind walls for leaks without physically altering your property. These tools can sense water movement and changes in temperature, which makes them effective when it comes to noninvasive leak detection.

Leaks can pose a major threat to your home and your personal possessions. If you suspect a leak, contact the professionals at Hernandez Plumbing in Miami for immediate assistance. We’ll be there to stop the leak and clean up the mess as fast as possible.

 

7 Steps to Fix a Garbage Disposal

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That moment when you are cleaning up from a big family dinner and you are at the sink, scraping food waste into your garbage disposal; you turn it on and hear an ear-piercing noise or no noise at all.

What are you going to do now? Maybe you should call the plumber, but first, let’s see if you can fix it yourself. Below are 7 simple things to look at in case you can save yourself a little cash!

  1. OUTLET POWER

Do you have power? Whenever there is an issue with an appliance, always check the power source first. Is it plugged in? If no, that could be your issue. Very simple to fix! It would be great if every fix were as simple as plugging in the unit. In the situations where the fix to your “broken” garbage disposal is not that easy here are a few ideas on how you, yes YOU may be able to fix it.

  1. MAIN BREAKER POWER

You checked that the unit was plugged in and all was well with the plug.  You flip the switch and still nothing.  The next place to check is at the main power source. Check to make sure that no breaker or fuse has tripped. If it has tripped, replace the fuse or switch the breaker back on and you are all set. Flip the switch and you should have power.

  1. THERMAL OVERLOAD BUTTON

At this point, you have checked the plug, and the main source of electric and still nothing seems to be working. The next step is to make sure the unit is unplugged, or the breaker is off—this is for your own safety.

Open the cabinet under the sink and you should see the bottom of your garbage disposal. If you reach under it, on the very bottom of the disposal there should be a small button. This is called the thermal overload button.

This is sort of a reset button for the unit. Press this button down for a few seconds to reset the unit. Now you will want to try running water and turning the wall switch on. If unit is running smoothly you are good to go. If not…then keep reading.

  1. CLOGGED DISPOSAL

Now you will need to check to see if there is a clog. First thing is first; you will need to make sure that the main source of electric is off. Again you will not want to risk injury to yourself. Going under the sink to try and fix the garbage disposal this time will be little more involved. The one tool you will want to take with you is the Allen wrench that came with the unit. If you don’t have the one that came with your unit you will be able to use a standard Allen wrench.

On the bottom side of the unit there is a hex shaped hole. You will want to use the Allen wrench and put it in the hole and manually turn the motor shaft counter clockwise a few times then clockwise a few times until the shaft spins freely. Once you remove the clog and the wrench, turn the faucet on to run water.  Then turn the switch on for your garbage disposal. If your unit is running smoothly you are good to go and you have fixed your problem. If not, there is still something else that you will be able to try.

  1. THE REALLY BAD CLOG

If going in to try to fix the clog from the bottom did not work you can try from the top of the unit. Again you still need to make sure that all electricity is off to the unit for your safety. You will need to have a garbage disposal wrench.  This is a special tool that you will use to help you loosen the clog.

You can borrow this from a neighbor or pick one up at your local hardware store. Once you have the wrench you are going to put it down into the disposal from the sink. You will need to rotate the tool until the jaw like part of the tool locks into the cutter wheel of the disposal.

Now you will need to forcefully turn the tool counter clockwise a few times and then clockwise a few times. You may have to do this numerous times in order to clear the jam. Once the clog is cleared and the cutter wheel spins freely, remove the disposal wrench, restore the electricity, run water to confirm that the garbage disposal is operating smoothly.

  1. COMMON CAUSES OF CLOGS

Some of the most common foods that cause the garbage disposal to clog are grease. Even though it is slippery to the touch while warm, as it cools it solidifies and will get stuck in the disposal.

Other foods that will commonly cause your garbage disposal to clog are pasta and rice due to the fact that when added to liquid they will consume the liquid and swell therefore causing a clog. Fibrous foods such as onion skins, celery or cornhusks will also cause a jam in your disposal. In addition, eggshells are better off being put into the trash instead of the garbage disposal.

Another cause of clogs could be that the blades are broken or worn down, making it a difficult to chop up the food. Usually, running water through the system clears up the problem.   If it doesn’t, you’re probably due for replacement blades.

  1. THE LEAKY GARBAGE DISPOSAL

Your garbage disposal is working fine but seems to be leaking. Chances are the actual unit is not leaking but either the hose/pipes or the fittings are what is actually leaking.

These are all easy fixes. Make sure the power is off.  To find the leak start by checking the fittings and tightening them as needed. If this doesn’t solve the leak, you may need to replace the hose or pipe that runs from the sink to the garbage disposal.  If that doesn’t it work it could mean it may require a full appliance replacement, this is something you would need to hire a professional plumbing service to do.

Conclusion

If you take one thing from the article, please let it be that whenever trying to work with water or an appliance whose sole purpose is to emulsify your food waste that no electric is going to the unit. Not only is electricity a danger, but so are the blades that turn food into liquid. Don’t let your hand be the item that the disposal tries to break down! If none of these tips works, or if you know you are out of your depth, go ahead and call your plumber. A professional can be sure to fix it in no time and get your garbage disposal back in working order! 

Get in Touch With Hernandez’s Plumbing Today

Hernandez’s Plumbing serves Miami, Coral Gables, and the rest of the South Florida area. We are a Spanish and English-speaking company so call us now at 305-428-3782 to schedule your appointment or to inquire about our services.

 

 

What to Do If Your Shower Pan Leaks?

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What to Do If Your Shower Pan Leaks?

First of all, the shower pan is one of the most important parts of your home’s bathroom. The large ceramic, porcelain or plastic basin at the base of your shower is supposed to collect all the water from your shower head and move it down the drain, but things don’t always go as planned.

As durable as your home’s shower pan can be, it’s also extremely sensitive to movement. This movement can lead to cracks in the foundation and water damage. Everyday wear and tear can also ruin your shower pan over time. If you notice pools of water around the base of your shower or water leaking into your home’s foundation, it’s time to call in a professional and have your shower pan replaced.

You can also check out our article on: How to find leaks in your home

Potential Shower Pan Problems

Shower pans are built to last, but all sorts of things can go wrong if the pan was installed incorrectly or if you’ve been using the same pan for decades. These are some of the most common situations that can cause your shower pan to fail. 

  • Excessive Movement

Under no circumstances should your shower pan be moving. If any movement does occur, the shower pan can crack and leak. These cracks can make room for water to slip out the sides or in between the shower pan and the drain.

Typically, a shower pan is bolted to the beams in the wall when it’s first installed, so the chances of your shower pan moving around are slim to none, but things can go awry if the pan wasn’t installed properly or if the pan is several decades old.

Concrete shower pans are extremely durable and heavy, so these won’t likely budge too much. But plastic shower pans are much lighter and more susceptible to movement. If your home has moved or shifted naturally over the years or if you live in an area with earthquakes or excessive flooding like Miami, there’s a good chance that your shower pan will move around as the years go on. 

  • Wearing Away Overtime

Shower pans can also deteriorate naturally over time. With all that water coming and going, the caulking on the sides of the pan can start to splinter and leak. This can cause water to go down into your home’s foundation. The caulking used to install the pan isn’t fool-proof, so you’ll want to keep an eye on this part of the bathroom as your home ages. 

  • Deflection

Deflection is another major warning sign that your shower pan is leaking. If you notice a slope or a curve in your shower pan or in the tile around your bathroom, there’s a good chance that you have a major leak on your hands. 

Testing Your Shower Pan

If you see some water on the floor but you’re not sure if your shower pan is leaking, you can test the integrity of your shower pan on one of your days off. The test takes around eight hours, so make sure that you have some free time on your hands.

All you’ll need is some duct tape, a bucket, and a tape measure. To start, make sure that your shower pan is completely dry. Then cover the drain with several thick pieces of duct tape so that the drain is sealed tight.

Next, fill up a bucket with water and pour some into the shower pan until the water is about 1 inch high. Put a mark on the tub or shower pan to note the water level. Over the next 8 hours if you notice the water level decreasing, your shower pan will probably need to be replaced. 

Checking for Water Damage

During the test or after you’ve taken a shower, don’t forget to inspect the floor underneath your bathroom. If your shower is on the second floor or higher, carefully inspect the ceilings in the room directly underneath the shower pan. If you notice any dripping or staining, you’ll need to have your shower pan replaced immediately. A plumbing professional can help as there may be extensive water damage between floors.

If your shower is on the first floor, you’ll need to crawl under the foundation of your home to inspect the area underneath the bathroom. Use a flashlight to keep an eye out for soggy wood, stains, and leaks. If you notice water damage, you should call a professional plumber immediately. 

Contacting a Professional

Replacing your shower pan is not exactly a DIY home improvement project. It usually involves ripping out your existing shower pan. Also you may need to remove the tile walls around the shower, and even the floor boards underneath your bathroom.

Don’t risk doing further damage to your home. Call the professionals at Hernandez Plumbing in Miami to have your shower pan replaced the right way.

How to Fix and Prevent a Clogged Toilet

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How to Fix and Prevent a Clogged Toilet

Clogged Toilet

Clogged Toilet

 

It happens to everyone. Now and again, you reach for the handle to flush the toilet and it feels like your entire bathroom is going to overflow with water. But have no fear; dealing with a clogged toilet is a relatively straightforward household chore.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money and most people can fix the issue themselves in just a few minutes.

All you’ll need is a toilet plunger with a rubber extension and possibly a toilet snake. Learn how to unclog any toilet in your home or office in just a few minutes. Your loved ones or colleagues will be eternally grateful. 

Using the Plunger

Not all plungers are created equal. Try to find one with a rubber overhang that extends past the bell of the plunger. This shape will help you get more power out of every thrust. Before you start huffing and puffing, wait for the water to go down as much as possible. If you just tried to flush the toilet to no avail, the water should start to recede after a couple of minutes.

To plunge out whatever’s clogging your toilet, push the plunger into the drain using a back and forth motion. As you start pushing and pulling, keep these plunging tips in mind:

 

  1. Start with a gentle push as the first wave of air can splatter toilet water all over your bathroom.
  2. Keep the plunger submerged in water as much as possible throughout the exercise.
  3. Use a combination of fast and firm strokes until the object has been dislodged.
  4. Always maintain the seal by keeping the edges of the plunger wrapped around the drain.

To find a good plunger that does the work try this resource: Best Toilet Plungers

 

When in Doubt, Use a Toilet Snake 

While using a regular plunger will get rid of most toilet clogs, some extreme situations might require a toilet snake, a long metal tool that reaches down into the drain.

Toilet snakes are usually less than $10, so you might as well keep one around the house. Right away, you’ll notice that one end of the toilet snake has a corkscrew-like feature. This is the end that travels down the drain. Feed this end of the snake into the toilet. After a few seconds, you should feel it rubbing up against the clogged object. 

 

snake to unclog a toilet

 

Now, twist the other end of the snake that you still have in your hand. The corkscrew end will either break up the clogged item or attach itself to it, giving you the chance to pull it up and out of the drain. Just be careful when you’re removing the clogged item as you’re bound to see a splash of toilet water. 

The Nuclear Option 

If all else fails, you might need to completely remove the toilet and turn off the water supply, so you can physically remove the clog, but this is rarely necessary unless someone flushed a household object down the drain.

You might be a bit squeamish about unbolting your toilet from the floor, so it’s usually best to contact a plumber in your area. 

How to Prevent Toilet Clogs 

Once the problem has been solved, you’re probably curious as to how you can prevent this in the future. While toilets are notoriously fickle creatures, you can limit the chances of something like this happening again if you take these precautions:

 

  1. The only item going into your toilet should be toilet paper. Refrain from using paper towel, tissues and other paper products.
  2. Keep the toilet lid closed, so you don’t accidentally drop something in the bowl. This is especially important if you have a small child that likes to toss their toys in the toilet.
  3. Do not dump thick compounds down the drain. Substances like spray foam, caulk, grease and wax will bring your drain to a standstill.

 

If you can’t unclog your toilet using the methods listed above, it’s time to call your local plumber. A professional will be able to get your home’s system up and running again in no time.

Of course, you can’t always wait for the plumber to come to you. That’s why Hernandez Plumbing offers emergency plumbing services to homeowners and business owners across South Florida. Whether it’s the middle of a busy workday or you’re having your relatives over for a long weekend, the team at Hernandez Plumbing will be there to fix the problem. Contact us today!

 

Is Your Water Heater Leaking?

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Water Heater Installation Miami

Is Your Water Heater Leaking? 

Do you think you have a leaking water heater? If you have a leak, there are some pretty quick ways to find the leak.

Are you wondering why you need to find the leak and not the plumber? Well, if you find the leak and can point it out to the plumber then you will be saving your plumber time on the job. And that saves you some money. 

Testing to see if you have a water heater leak 

If you think you have a leaking water heater, the easiest way to test for a leak is by simply placing paper towels under where you think the leak is. Wipe up any puddle or drips that you see under or near the water heater. Then place some paper towels where the water was and leave them there for a day or two.

Be sure to check on the paper towels every few hours or so. If the paper towels are still dry after a day or so, chances are you don’t have a leaking water heater and you are in the clear for now. If you start to see moisture than you will want to start looking for the leak.  

Looking for the leak in your water heater 

Looking for a leak in your water heater does not have to be very difficult. Remember that water follows the laws of gravity. One of your first steps to locate the leak is to give your water heater a good “once over”. Start at the top and work your way down to the bottom. Just by looking, you may be able to spot where the water is coming from.

If this yields you no answer, try other possible leak sites like the cold-water inlet and the hot water outlet. You will also want to check all of the plumbing connections and fittings as well as the temperature/pressure and relief valve. 

What do you need to know? 

Not all leaks mean you need a new water heater. It could be something as simple as tightening a loose fitting. Anything beyond a quick turn of the wrench means you should call a plumber. If you want to try doing it yourself, turn off the power to your water heater. If your water heater is electric, turn off the circuit breaker to the water heater.

If you have a gas water heaters, there should be a dial located on the water heater–make sure this dial is in the off position. Next, you will want to make sure that the water supply to the water heater is off. There is a valve, which is normally located above the water heater, which should also be in the off position.

Did you know that many water heaters could heat water upwards of 190 degrees? At these temperatures you can be seriously injured just by indirect contact with steam or water. 

How can you fix the leak? 

Not all leaks in your water heater are a DIY fix. Most will require calling a plumber to fix the problem. One easy fix is a loose fitting. If you have an adjustable wrench, you can make sure that all of the fittings are tight and not leaking.

If your leak is coming from a valve, either the temperature/pressure relief valve, you could replace it yourself if you have experience with plumbing. However, if you do not have much experience in the workings of home plumbing, give the local plumber a call. 

When do you need to replace your water heater? 

Is it time to replace your water heater? Look at the age of your water heater. The average life span of a water heater is roughly 10-13 years. As is the case with most appliances, they could need replacing long before they reach the ten-year mark. Or they could continue working just fine long after the thirteen-year mark.

The bottom line is you really don’t know when your water heater is going to stop working. Some signs to look for are leaks under the tank itself, the water turns cold before the end of your shower, or you have rusty water.

For the DIY people, here is an article on how to install an electric water heater.

What should the budget be? 

In order to create a budget for replacing your hot water heater you will need to do a little bit of research. Take into consideration your needs first and foremost. You do not want to purchase a hot water heater that is too small because that is what you can afford and likewise you do not want to purchase a hot water heater that is far too large for what you need just because you can afford it.

There are numerous brands of hot water heaters to choose from but there are only two main types of hot water heaters. You will either have a traditional water heater with a tank or a new style water heater, which is called a tank less or on-demand water heater. If you are going from a traditional water heater to an on-demand water heater you could expect to pay a bit more. If you want to know the best size and type for your home, contact your local plumber for professional advice for your specific project.

 

7 Things That Can Go Wrong If You Don’t Call The Plumber

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Call The Plumber

Call The Plumber

7 Things That Can Go Wrong If You Don’t Call the Plumber 

If you were thinking about a “do it yourself” plumbing project, you may want to think again. There are so many things that could go wrong! It may just be better to call a professional and let them tackle the problem.

Of course, you want to save as much money as possible, so you are thinking “sure I can do this myself”. However, you may want to think about a few things before you get started.

  • Do you have the knowledge?
  • You may be very handy, but does your skill set include training in plumbing?
  • Do you have the proper tools to complete the task at hand?
  • Once you have the required tools, do you actually know how to safely use them?

You could run out to the local hardware store to buy the tools you need, but that gets pricey. These are just a few of the factors you should think through before undertaking any plumbing project. Now, onto the more complicated situations that could arise when trying to complete a plumbing project on your own. 

Drain clearing liquid can cause more damage 

Clogged drains or water sitting in your sink or tub may be one of the most common plumbing issues that arise. Of course you think, “ Let me run to the store to grab a jug or two of clog clearing liquid and that will fix the problem”.

Of course it may temporally unclog the drain but does it actually correct the problem?

Think about this for a second. The liquid is made up of harsh and dangerous chemicals, which could actually be harmful to you and, believe it or not, harmful to your pipes. This type of liquid could be quite corrosive to any of your pipes. It doesn’t matter if you have PVC pipes or copper pipes.

Now, imagine what using this harsh clog clearing liquid a few times a year is doing to your pipes. Not to mention that but more than likely, it is not actually fixing the problem. At some point you will need to call a plumber to correct the underlying problem–doing so at the first sign of a problem will save you both time and money in the long run. 

You did not shut the water off at the correct location 

Maybe you know how to turn your sink or tub or washer off.

  • But can you turn off the water to your toilet?
  • How about your entire house?
  • Is there a main valve that you have to locate to turn off all of the water to your house?

The answer is, yes. You will need to locate this valve in order to shut off the whole house.

If you are asking yourself these questions, then perhaps you need to call a plumber. We have all seen the sitcom episode that shows the lead actor trying to fix the plumbing or install a new shower head. Things never go exactly as planned. Before you know it, there is water spewing everywhere and the kitchen or bathroom is flooded.

Don’t turn your life into a sitcom! 

The valve is stuck and you can’t turn it back on 

If you are smart enough to know where your main line valve is, there is no guarantee that you will be able to turn it back on once you have completed the project. Stuck valves have been known to happen. This valve is not used often, so it can get rusty or corroded. And stuck in the off position.

Again, calling the plumber in the first place may have been the easier and wiser choice. 

You have made the problem worse 

This is the real nightmare–you not only can’t fix the problem, but you have managed to create a much larger mess. You need to shut off the main source of water to the house. But you are not really sure where that valve is. In the time it takes you to find the valve to shut off the water, you have successfully managed to flood your kitchen or bathroom.

Standing in ankle deep water is not exactly the time to think about calling the plumber.

Calling the plumber now for an emergency visit is not going to save you any money. Calling the plumber to do the project in the first place would have saved you a lot of time and a lot of aggravation. 

The mess that you now have to clean up 

You do not really want to call a plumber under emergency circumstances. Sometimes doing so cannot be avoided. The easiest way to avoid calling the plumber in an emergency is to make calling the plumber your first choice. Attempting to fix it yourself may only lead to costly water damage to your floors, basement, home goods, and entire house.

If the problem occurred on the second floor, water could leak down into your walls. Now not only do you have to call the plumber, but you will also have to worry about mold in your walls.

Save the money. Call the professionals. 

Your entire weekend is now shot 

We all lead hectic, busy and stressful lives. Do you seriously want to spend your evening or worse yet your Saturday and Sunday off working on your plumbing?

A project that will likely take you hours or even days to finish, your local plumber could probably have done in minutes or a couple hours. Your time to relax or be with your family is worth more than the cost of a plumber. 

You have wasted precious time and money 

When you add up all of the incidentals such as tools, mistakes, time, and parts it may have just been a much better decision to call the professional plumber in the first place. Leave things such as clogged drains, broken hot water heaters, busted pipes, and installing new faucets to the professional plumbers.

These plumbers have the correct tools, knowledge and skill set to handle any situation that may arise when it comes to your plumbing needs.

 

Plumbing Inspection Buying Home

7 Tips For A Plumbing Inspection When Buying A Home

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In the excitement of buying a home, it can be tempting to overlook some aspects of a property’s history, but you should always at least invest in a plumbing inspection before buying to make sure you know what to expect in that arena.

Though it is one of the most important things to consider, many homebuyers go ahead and take the plunge before attending to this crucial step only to realize the consequences of hasty decision making, and that the hazards of a faulty plumbing system can be quite an expensive problem to deal with after the fact.

Water damage and leakage due to aging or deteriorating plumbing can occur unseen for quite some time before the symptoms become apparent, and by that time you could have a really costly mess on your hands. Here are some issues to be aware of regarding your initial plumbing inspection. 

Poorly Installed Pipes

Poorly Installed Pipes

1. Poorly Installed Pipes

The biggest problem with poorly installed pipes is water leakage, and consequently, mold growth. Mold can start to propagate in less than 48 hours, causing all sorts of respiratory health problems. You must keep the humidity level in your home lower than 50% to keep mold issues at bay, and leaky pipes will only exacerbate a mold problem. If you find mold growth you or the current owner needs to do a mold remediation, as this is a danger to all people living on the property.

Another issue that comes with poorly installed pipes are venting issues. If you notice strong sewer odors in the home, toilets that are sputtering or gurgling, or water draining very slowly in the sinks, you could have venting problems. This is due to pipe corrosion or clogged pipes preventing proper airflow. 

2. Leaky Toilets

 If there is water around the base of the toilet(s) then it means obviously there is a problem with leakage. In some cases this is an easy fix, as it could just be due to an aging commode needing some repair. It is recommended that the seals and gaskets be periodically replaced.

But if you notice discoloration and rotting wood around the toilet, then it means that this problem was left to fester and could be that there is a more serious problem waiting to be discovered.  

Blocked Sewer Pipes

3. Outdated Sewage System

 A plumbing system can be sewer or septic. A sewer system runs out to the city’s main line and that is how water waste is managed. A septic system runs into a tank or a field. Each can develop specific problems over time no matter what type of system it is.

Warning signs to watch out for in a septic tank are odors, and water seepage. On the other hand, a water main that is managed by the city can deteriorate in another way, such as tree roots growing into the line, or backups occurring due to the deterioration of the main line. A plumber will often times run a video inspection into the line to check for any potential issues. 

4. Water Heater Issues

A water heater will last about 10-15 years on average, and you can find out how old a water heater is by looking at its model and serial number.

If it is approaching the end of its life, you can factor in another $1,000 to $2,000 to replace it. A water heater can give out at the base and cause major flooding if it is left too long, so it is important to find out its status so you are prepared when the time comes to get a new one. 

 5. Clogged Drains

 In addition to faulty pipes causing clogged drains, a blockage to the main sewer line clog can also cause big problems if not attended to. This is because sewage can backup into the house and cause plumbing appliances not to work properly. Besides causing major damage to your property, clogged drains can also pose some very serious health risks.

You can determine problems in a sewer line by having a professional plumber check the main line for clogs in the main line cleanout. You can also do it yourself, and rent a machine that helps clear the clog, or use a drain snake to do it. 

Lead Pipes

Lead Pipes

 6. Lead Pipes

The problems caused by lead pipes have been all over the news in the last few years. Older homes that have not had the pipes replaced in over 50 years can have issues with lead pipes. Lead can leach into the water supply and cause major health problems for residents exposed to it.

There is no level of safe exposure to lead, and it can be especially detrimental to young children and expectant mothers. You must always have a plumber inspect the pipes to see if they contain lead, because you would most likely incur a major expense in order to replace them. 

 7. Weigh the Costs 

When purchasing a home, there are always pros and cons to consider. For example, the property might be in the perfect location, but need some general repair to become the home of your dreams.

The fact that you may be in for some plumbing rehabilitation is no reason to pass on purchasing a property, because simply being aware of the particular issues you might face will give you peace of mind as you continue your home buying process. 

Final Word

Make sure you inspect all the previous plumbing features and you hire someone with the necessary knowledge to find any hidden problems. A plumbing issue in a new home can turn the new home into a nightmare. 

 

Sewer Camera Inspection

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Sewer Camera

Sewer Camera

A sewer camera inspection is often used to clear a sewer line blockage, or to determine if a building’s plumbing is functioning as it should be. In this type of inspection, a mini video camera attached to a cable and is inserted into a building’s sewer line to get a reliable view of what is happening in the pipes. If there is an obstruction in the sewer line, then the camera inspection can help locate the point of blockage and give insight on where the best place to dig to fix the pipe would be. 

Sewer Camera Inspection Video

The video camera inspection can extend all the way down plumbing branch lines, which are the labyrinth of pipes that lead from various water lines throughout the building, for example from bathtubs, toilets, and sinks as well as extending into the house’s main sewer line that leads from the house to the municipal sewer line. 

The camera will show video of the inside of the pipes close up and in real time, giving an accurate, high resolution image of their physical condition. Near the municipal line, the camera inspection can also show any damage to the insides of the pipes, perhaps caused by tree roots or general deterioration due to age. Depending on where the problem is occurring, the camera can go from the trap down through the line, before it reaches any obstruction, and sometimes even push through the obstruction to the main line. 

Why Do I Need A Sewer Camera Inspection?

A sewer camera inspection is often necessary when planning a bathroom remodeling project. This is because it is important to make sure the lines can handle the increase in waste water flow through the pipes. In real estate, a sewer camera inspection is a typical order of business when purchasing or selling a home, to make sure the plumbing lines are in good shape. Still, one of the main reasons a sewer camera inspection is prescribed is to fix a sewer blockage.

It is often the thing that is recommended by professional plumbers when all else fails, including plunging, augers, and drain cleaners. In the old days, plumbers would have to make an educated guess on where to dig in order to access the pipe that was blocked, but modern technology now allows for a focused inspection that will inform a professional plumber exactly where to dig to remedy the blockage. 

How Does It Work?

A sewer camera unit is fitted with a transmitter that sends a signal letting the plumber know where exactly in the line the blockage has occurred below ground. At ground level, a locating device is used to detect the transmitted signal. The plumber will then mark the spot with paint or a flag, and then they will dig the sewer trench at this location.

If you are trying to clear out a blockage, and only need one inspection, it’s much more cost effective to hire a professional plumber than to try and do it yourself. Renting the tools to do it is an option if you have a big job, but the issue is that you also have to learn the correct techniques for using this type of specialized equipment, which can take a lot of unnecessary time. 

Can I Do It Myself?

Purchasing the tools needed to do a sewer camera inspection can be upwards of $15,000, so that rarely a feasible option for most people. If you hire an experienced plumber then you only have to pay for the labor and any parts needed.

Plus, you won’t have to deal with the learning curve of executing a sewer line inspection which could just cause you more of a headache in the long run. 

How Much Does The Inspection Cost?

Depending where you are located, a sewer camera inspection usually costs between $125-300 per visit. It is a non-invasive and efficient way to get to the bottom of your plumbing problems. It can also help detect any future plumbing problems that might be on the horizon and give you a chance to attend to them before they potentially cause bigger issues down the line. Getting a sewer camera inspection can do more than just clear out a one time blockage.

It can give you insight into how you can keep your pipes in top shape for years to come.

Get A Sewer Camera Inspection

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Electric Water Heater Installation

How To Install An Electric Water Heater

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Before installing a new water heater, consider whether you may simply need repair on your existing one. A licensed plumber can give you a definitive answer on whether or not you can get more life out of the one you have.

DISCLAIMER: Let A Professional Install Your Electric Water Heater

We recommend that you let a professional do your electric water heater installation. Installing a water heater can be a complex process and only experts should do it. You can get injured in the process.

Fast & Easy Electric Water Heater Installation

Licensed Plumbers Ready To Help

DIY Electric Water Heater Installation

So if you are ready to do it yourself, then let’s set up. A water heater will usually last anywhere from 8-12 years, so if it’s been longer than that you most likely should go ahead and replace it.

Another thing to consider is the number of people in your household using hot water.

If there are less people now, you may be able to install a smaller one or larger one depending on your circumstances. Before beginning, make sure you gather all of the necessary tools and read all warnings associated with installation for your particular model.

Let’s Get Started

Disconnect the Old Water Heater Shut off the electricity at the circuit breaker.

Make sure it’s off by using a voltage tester. This is a very important step because you could save your life by double checking if the 240 volt circuit is indeed off. For convenience when installing the new water heater, use tape to notate the wire connections, and then disconnect the wires. Let the Water Run Out Turn on a hot water faucet and let it run until the water is cool. Next, shut off the cold water supply.

This will ensure the tank is emptied of water properly. Attach a garden hose to the to the drain valve located near the bottom of the water heater. Open the valve and let the water run out either down a drain or into buckets. Remove the Old Water Heater Once the tank is completely empty, it’s ready to be removed. Simply remove the discharge pipe from the T&P (Temperature and Pressure) relief valve, and disconnect the water supply lines. Use a hand truck to remove the tank. You may need assistance from another person for this step of heavy lifting. Steps to Installing the New Water Heater

1 Place The Water Heater Higher

Place the new water heater either in a drain pan, or on top of some concrete cinder blocks. This is recommended because if there is a leak or if water pools on your floor where the water heater is located, it won’t damage or ruin it. Make sure it’s level once it’s up off of the floor, and use shims if necessary.

In case of a water heater leak, routing a pipe from the drain pan to a drain could also prevent flooding as well.

2 Get A New T&P Relief Valve

Most water heaters will come with a new T&P relief valve pre-installed, but if yours didn’t, simply screw in the new one at the appropriate location now. It’s very important that you don’t use the old T&P valve. Purchase a new one if your water heater didn’t come with one.

3 Leak Proof

Wrap plumber’s tape around the threads of the nipples on the pipes that protrude from the water heater. There should be 2, a cold water and a hot water pipe. The tapes helps to provide a leak proof seal.

4 Connect To Pipes

Connect the water heater to the pipes that carry cold water into and hot water out of the water heater. You will need to refer to your manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you are connecting them properly. Some models have color coded blue and red tubes for cold and hot water. Find out ahead of time if you will need to use dielectric fittings between the hose fittings to prevent corrosion.

5 Close The Drain Valve

Before filling the new tank up with water, make sure the drain valve on the bottom of the water heater is closed. You can now open the valve on the line that feeds cold water into the hot water heater. Next, open the nearest hot water tap, and slowly turn on the water supply. Check all connections going to the water heater for leaks. If there are any leaks, shut off the water supply again and gently tighten the connections.

6 Make Sure The Tank Is Full

When water runs out of the faucet, the water tank is full. Make sure you let the water run for 2-3 minutes to bleed any air that is trapped inside the lines. Turn off the taps. Remember, the tank must be completely full before proceeding to electrical wiring or the heating element will be destroyed and render the unit nonfunctional.

7 Find The Wires

Locate the metal plate on top of the water heater underneath which you’ll find the wires you need to connect to. Using wire strippers, remove ½ inch of insulation from each of the wires.

8 Connect Wires

Refer back to the tape you used to notate the electrical wire if needed. Connect the wires according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Connect the bare copper or green wire to the ground screw on the water heater and then wire the 2 additional electrical wires to the corresponding ones you marked with the tape. Use wire connectors to twist them together. Replace the metal plate to cover the wiring.

9 Set Thermostat

Set the thermostat on the front of the water heater according to your instructions. 120-125 degrees Fahrenheit is a standard setting used by most households.

It may take a few hours for the water heater to reach that temperature.

10 Turn Electric Water Heater On

Turn on the power to the newly installed water heater at the main electrical panel. THINGS YOU’LL NEED -hand truck -voltage tester -level -drain pan or concrete blocks -plumber’s tape -garden hose -buckets -wire strippers -wire connectors -screwdriver -pliers -wrench WARNINGS -In areas at risk of earthquake damage, the use of seismic straps to secure the water heater may be required.

-Do not reuse the T&P (Temperature and Pressure) relief valve.

You may need to purchase a new one.

Note the stem length that is required for your particular model.

-Always fill the water tank up before turning restoring power, or you will destroy the heating elements in the tank. –

Check your homes water pressure using a pressure gauge and make sure it’s between 50-60 PSI. If you home’s water pressure reading is higher, it puts undo strain and stress on your homes appliances.

-Find out if you live in an area where the use of dielectric fittings need to be incorporated into your water heater installation setup. Your area’s local ordinances will dictate the specifics of how to go about doing this correctly.

So now you know the steps needed for an electric water heater installation. Our expert plumbers can help you install any electric water heater in Miami or South Florida. We have expertise with any type of water heater installation.

Fast & Easy Electric Water Heater Installation

Licensed Plumbers Ready To Help