Before You Buy That New Home: Three Big Plumbing Questions

Getting into a new home can be an exhilarating experience. The only problem is that in the excitement of getting there, a person can forget to ask about the basics of home infrastructure namely plumbing and sewage. Before you commit to a home and move in, you want to ask three important questions.


1. What condition is the sewer line in?

In any home, if the waste flows smoothly from your house to the septic tank, the sewer line should be in good condition. If you fail to ask, the repairs or replacements, even minor ones, can cost thousands of dollars. Before you buy in, make sure all sewer lines flow uninterrupted. If you know of any problem, make sure the current owners either repair it or bear the necessary costs of repair.

2. Are there any leakage problems?

In the stress of moving into a new home, even a minor leak a dripping faucet or running toilet can spike your irritation levels. And no new homeowner needs more of that. Just as no new homeowner wants the water bill that comes with the leaks, avoidable expenses easily nipped by hiring a licensed professional plumber.  For any leakage undetected and identified later on, any licensed and trusted plumber can locate the root problem and help you solve it.

3. How’s the water heater?

Before you sign for your new home, ask about the condition of the water heater:

  • What’s its present state? Good?
  • How old is it?
  • When was its last maintenance?

A reliable seller can give you maintenance records to support any claims made by the owner. A well-maintained water heater is not just an asset, it’s a necessity. A damaged or falling unit is also a money drain. If the water heater is damaged or needs to be replaced, ask your realtor or seller to put the expense in the final sales proceeds. Remember: A reliable owner will give you maintenance records to back up any claims.

Thinking about a tankless water heater?

Are you interested in the benefits and endless possibilities of a tankless water heater? It may be time to upgrade your typical water heater. Since 1903, in Dallas and surrounding areas, Dallas Plumbing Company has been a trusted and reliable name for all your heating and air conditioning needs. We offer a complete range of residential and commercial water heating services to at competitive prices and with no compromise on quality. Check out our range of plumbing and heating and other services.

PLUMBING ALERT: PIPE FREEZE PREVENTION

Burst Pipes Can Be an Expensive Mess to Clean Up and Easy to Avoid

When outside temperatures hit 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below, you want to check and protect all the water pipes in your house. Take nothing for granted. Twenty degrees Fahrenheit is known as the red-alert level when water in pipes can freeze, create pressure and burst its metal or plastic.

If your area is expecting a freeze, use this checklist to help warm your pipes and protect your pocketbook.

  1. Drip your indoor faucets.

“Drip” means you turn faucets on just enough to stay on, given that pipes can freeze overnight. Even at a trickle, the moving water helps prevent pipe problems.

Note that pipes don’t always burst when they are freezing or frozen. Damage can come in the pressure caused as thawed water begins again to rush through the pipe.

  • Open the cabinet doors under your sink.

While you stand at the kitchen or bathroom sink to set a controlled drip, reach down and open the doors below. For pipes near an outside wall, this is especially important. As much as possible, invite room-temperature air to flow in and around your pipes.

  • Safeguard the hose bibs exposed to the outside.

A hose bib is the outdoor water tap on the outside of your home. Locate your hose bib, disconnect any hoses from it, and shut off or drain the water from the faucet. Drain the water from the hose. Inside your home or crawl space, turn off any valve that supplies water just to the outdoor faucets. As with the kitchen and bathroom faucets, turn the handles of the hose bib to drip, and place insulating covers over them.

Long term, consider a frost-resistant outdoor spigot.

  • Open all your heat registers.

As you learned early in your science class, hot air rises and cold air falls. When you open the lower registers and close the top ones, you invite the hot air to stay and the cold air to go. Cold air is heavier and flows down to the lower register.

  • Cover your exposed pipes.

Every exposed pipe in winter is trouble waiting to happen. Insulate your outside pipes with pipe wrap or foam pipe sleeves available at most hardware stores. Insulate the gaps where pipes enter the walls.

  • Caulk outside pipes.

Use calk or canned spray foam to cover outdoor pipes and seal the spaces where they go through walls. While you’re at it, check for exposed piping in un-insulated spaces such as a crawlspace, attic, outside walls, etc. For larger holes, use a rubber gasket.

  • Turn on the heat in unoccupied units.  

The enemy is cold. Even in currently unused units, rooms or bathrooms, make sure the heat is high enough to resist freezing.

Top 4 Common Heating Mistakes To Avoid

As temperatures continue to dip, an energy efficient home that is comfortable indoors is just what you want for frosty winters. An energy efficient home is safe as well as comfortable round the clock, from hot summers to chilling winters. Here we’ll discuss how you can cut in your energy consumption and heating costs without sacrificing comfort by paying attention to some common home heating mistakes.

  1. Heating a Vacant Home: When’s there is nobody at home or you’re at work there’s no need to heat the home. It is recommended to use a programmable thermostat to set the temperature throughout the day. Dropping it 4 or more degrees while you’re gone more than an hour or so will help you to cut costs on your monthly energy bills. You can also program it to warm the home several minutes before you return if you’re away for several hours.
  2. Windows Left Unlocked: Closing your windows is not enough. Windows should be kept locked as well to avoid loss of energy. Proper locking of windows is important to insure the window is completely closed to prevent entry of cold air from outside and preventing warm air from furnace escaping.
  3. Exhaust Has Been Left On: Make sure to turn off the exhaust fan in the bathroom or kitchen. Exhaust fans are helpful in removing odors and moisture from your home. However, when not required, you wouldn’t want exhaust fans to draw the warm air out of your home. Turn off the exhaust fan when it’s not required.
  4. Cranking Up The Thermostat: There’s no shortcut to faster heating. Cranking the thermostat up higher will have no impact on the heating time. It will take take the usual time for the home to warm up. However, cranking up the thermostat past the desired temperature and forgotten can definitely make your furnace work harder and increase your energy bill.
  5. Check with Your Local Gas or Electric Service Provider: They may have government funds to offer for insulating your home at little or no charge to you. These programs are not available everywhere, and when the available funds are depleted for the season, the program is ended for that year.
  6. Don’t Keep An Old System Alive: if your heating and air conditioning system is eight to 10 years old, you should get a professional HVAC inspection to determine if you would be better off replacing it that repairing it. Often, a new high-efficiency unit can pay for itself in energy savings over a period of three to five years, depending on several factors. We offer free onsite estimates for new equipment.

Keep your home warm this winter by expert heating solution experts from Dallas Plumbing Company, a trusted name for plumbing, heating and air conditioning in Dallas since 1903. We work diligently with homeowners to provide them with exceptional heating solutions. Call us at 214-340-6300 or contact us to book an appointment.

How To Prevent Clogging of Sinks & Drains

A clogged drain is inevitable, yet preventable, in most cases. Clogs are not only inconvenient, but they can cause damage to floors, walls, cabinets, carpet and even the electrical system. The causes are many, including inserting objects too large into the drain, grease build-up, roots in your main drain outside the walls of the home or business, improperly constructed plumbing and neglect, to name a few. Here are tips that will help you keep your plumbing system clog free and trouble-free.

Kitchen Sinks:

  • How do you dispose of any greasy substance? Don’t pour it down the kitchen sink. Wait for cooking grease to cool and allow it to solidify. Then put it in a plastic bag and dispose of it in the garbage bin.
  • Garbage disposals are not all the same. They usually include basic, medium duty and heavy duty. A basic disposer will not dispose of waste such as small bones,  shrimp peelings or even lemon peels. And don’t overfill your garbage disposer. Instead feed small amounts of waste into the disposal along with a continuous supply of cool or lukewarm water. Hot water is not recommended. Fruit and vegetable peels and other fibrous substances can be the primarily responsible for clogs because many garbage disposals cannot finely grind these materials efficiently. Test small amounts first and listen for the smooth operation of the internal blades after the waste has drained. If you hear anything that sounds loud, turn off the disposer to avoid damage. Sometimes eating utensils, plastics or bottle caps can be caught up in the otherwise acceptable waste. NEVER place your hand inside a running garbage disposer! Use a flashlight first to try to detect any foreign objects or clogs and us pincers or other utilities for removal before restarting.
  • Unclogging a kitchen sink can be tricky. If the sink has only one drain, you can try the standard toilet plunger. Just be warned that without a tight fit on the drain opening, you can be in for a mess. Double drain sinks require one of the drains to be fully covered before using a plunger on the other side. Visit sites like youtube.com for ways to make this work for you. Or, try a liquid drain cleaner. Just follow the directions carefully. Or if you’re handy, you can try disconnecting the trap under the sink to clean it out. Be sure you place a pan or bucket under it first to catch the residual drain water.
  • Practice a weekly prevention procedure by filling your kitchen sink with hot water, and letting it drain. This additional step will aid in pushing debris to the larger diameter piping inside the wall and outside to the main drain.

Bathroom Sinks (and Bathtubs, too)

  • Stoppers and drain covers should be kept intact in order to prevent any foreign objects from accidentally going down the drain.
  • Hair & soap scum can also cause clogging of bathroom drains. It is advisable to keep excess hair aside out of the drain. A slow drain is an indication of a clog about to build. Your local hardware, Lowes, or Home Depot carry inexpensive tools to extract hair from bathroom sinks without having to perform any disassembly. Search their websites for “drain cleaning tool” to find what you need.

Toilets

  • Avoid flushing anything except toilet paper, including so-called “flushable” wipes, and feminine hygiene products. Some municipal waste management systems cannot adequately capture these items before they build up and cause major issues. In the home or restrooms, because these items are more bulky, and do not disintegrate quickly enough to avoid build up in drains, they can cause a clogged toilet.
  • If you intend to buy a new toilet, it is advisable to do some research or ask a professional for recommendations. The US EPA has placed restrictions on the amount of water allowed for one flush of a toilet. In cheaper toilets, the trapway, that “S” shaped area at the base and rear of the toilet, is often not fully glazed internally. The glaze makes a smoother path for the waste to flow through. A fully glazed trapway implies a stronger flushing toilet, which can help to prevent clogging. An incompletely glazed trapway can cause slower flushing and inhibit compete evacuation of waste. You may also contact us for selection as well as installation of new toilet.
  • In case multiple toilets at your location are facing the same issue, at the same time, the stoppage problem may be located in the main sewage line. In this case, it is advisable to contact a licensed, professional plumber to fix things properly and avoid future problems.
  • The first thing to try for a single clogged toilet is the standard toilet plunger. This would be done after removing any large items visible above the water surface using rubber gloves and a handy plastic bag to place it in. Again, take care to make short, carefully positioned plunging pressure to avoid a mess. Plungers with a sealing lip make a better seal in the drain hole and give better results.

Prevention is better than cure. However, if you need services of an expert, contact Dallas Plumbing Company for your clogged sinks and drains. We offer 24/7 emergency services for your convenience. We would love to help you.

Tankless Water Heater: A Brief Cost Analysis Insight

Your new tankless water heater system will cost more than a traditional water heater system. How much more? That depends on the brand you purchase, whether it’s gas or electric, its capacity, and so on. On average it’s safe to say a tankless water heater costs twice to three times more than a traditional water heater system. But to merely analyse upfront costs is an incomplete insight. In most cases, your upgrade from a traditional water heater system to a tankless water heater puts you in an entirely new league.

Here’s what that means.

Higher Costs Now, Lower Costs for Years to Come

Energy efficiency: Tankless water heater systems—depending on a household’s hot-water usage—on average is 30 percent more efficient than a standard water heater system. More usage equals more efficiency. And given that the expected lifespan of a tankless water heater system is 20-25 years, higher upfront costs quickly disappear into energy saved during these years.

Endurance: Tanked water heaters are built to serve 8-12 years. A prolonged life span of more than 12 years also stands to exact a huge toll on the system’s efficiency. A tankless water heater system, meanwhile, is built to last 20-25 years—meaning you may purchase two traditional tanked water heater systems in the time you’d own one tankless water heater system. Suddenly cheaper fails to look smarter.

Evading disaster: As the age of a standard tanked-water heater goes up so does the risk of tank burst. A rod inside the heater corrodes over time and the combined forces of water, heat and pressure on the metal can lead to hairline fissures. Left unattended, a fissure can develop into a fracture, requiring immediate plumbing repair. This also requires home insurance to cover any damage to your home. (The damage also affects your home’s market value.) There’s no price on peace of mind, but there is an actual cost-benefit to choosing a demand-type system.

In contrast, a system with no tanks to burst carries no possibility of disaster.

Comfort above all: So don’t be deceived by upfront costs. While making a comparative cost analysis between a tankless water system and traditional tanked water heater, consider your costs both short and long term. Choose comfort over cost, buy a tankless water heater system, and say goodbye to hot water worries. Call or text us @ 214-340-6300 today for a detailed breakdown of tankless water costs and all your plumbing requirements. Since 1903, Dallas Plumbing Company has offered expert plumbing and heating services to homeowners in Dallas and beyond.

Bid Adieu to Hot Water Storage Worries With Tankless Water Heaters

We are into fall now and winter is approaching. Requirement of hot water is a common regime during winters. Traditional water heater, the typical type that stores water in a tank and keeps it hot even when you are not using it for certain hours is a part of every home. Tankless water heater is a new concept and uses a different terminology. In tankless heaters water is heated on demand.
Whenever we turn on any hot water faucet, the cold water enters the unit and passes over the electrical heating element or gas burner that instantly heats it up to the required temperature. In simple words, it implies instant availability of hot water on demand.

What More Do Tankless Water Heaters Can Offer?

You might be wondering that easy access to hot water without any storage in any tank or vessel is alright but are there any other benefits of having a tankless water heater at home. Let us introduce you with same:

  • Small Yet Convenient: Unlike typical water heaters, tankless water heaters are small in size and can be easily mounted over the wall without any hassle.
  • Bye to Potential Water Damages: Storage of water is the prime cause of potential water damages to your property. Thanks to tankless water heaters, you are safe.
  • Minimized Costs: With zero thermal heat loss (as no storage of hot water is required), tankless water heaters can bring down your water heating costs upto 50% as water is heated only when it’s required.
  • Greater Lifespan: Life span of tankless water heater is nearly 1.5-2 times of a typical water heater with storage tank. opt and go for greater long-term savings with tankless water heaters.
  • Efficiency: Tankless water heater systems are designed in such a way to save energy and be eco-friendly. Tankless water heaters have very high efficiency ratings at nearly 99%.

Planning to Schedule Tankless Water Heater Installation

Are you feeling appealed by the benefits and endless possbilities offered by tankless water heater? Then it is time to upgrade your typical water heater. Dallas Plumbing Company, is a trusted and reliable name for all your heating and air conditioning needs in Dallas, Texas and nearby areas since 1903. We offer a complete range of residential and commercial water heating services to the residents at competitive prices without making any compromise with the quality. Don’t forget to check out our range of residential heating products and services.

How to Fix a Running Toilet Problem?

Uh oh, hear that? Toilet’s running. Or maybe it won’t flush. Or look, it’s right there: a leak. Whatever’s ultimately is with your toilet, you want to fix it now. Water loss can waste hundreds of gallons a day, damage property, and run up a stinger of a utility bill. And just the noise of a running toilet is annoying. But it’s Sunday, or it’s late at night, or you don’t want to have to call the plumber. What can you do? Answer: A lot more than you’d think.

With a few fundamentals and this basic checklist, even a newbie homeowner can diagnose a troublesome toilet.

IS IT THE FLAPPER?

  • To avoid a messy overflow and sewage backup, step one is to lift the lid to the toilet tank and push down on the flapper—the piece in the tank that stops the water from going into the toilet bowl. 
  • Push down the flapper and wait for the water to stop. If the water doesn’t stop, the flapper isn’t sealing properly, and you need to replace it. To do that, first stop the water flow and empty the bowl:
  1. At least half an inch above the water line, cut the fill-tube length.
  2. Quickly turn off the water supply under the valve. If the valve also is leaking, turn off water for the entire house at the main supply.
  3. Drain out the water by flushing the toilet.
  4. Follow installation instructions on the flapper package.

Note: Hook the flapper chain onto the flush lever arm to allow a little slack when the flapper is closed.

IS THE PROBLEM FILL-VALVE LEAKAGE?

To check for a fill-valve leak, first drain the water by flushing the toilet. As the tank refills, raise the toilet float arm to see if the water stops. Adjust the toilet-float arm so that water stops at a one-half to one inch below the top of the overflow pipe.If the fill valve still leaks, replace asap. To do that:

  • Remove the old fill valve: Quickly turn off the water supply, and then flush the toilet to drain out the water. After that unscrew the fill valve locknut and remove the old fill valve.
  • Install the new fill valve: Carefully install the new fill valve following instructions on the package. Tighten the locknut a half turn past hand tight. Ensure that the overflow pipe is one inch lower than the critical mark on the fill valve.
  • Connect the fill tube: Attach one end of the new fill tube to the fill-valve nipple and the other end to the enclosed angle adapter—then clip the angle adapter onto the overflow pipe. At the end, attach the flapper chain to the flush lever.

Are you sitting down? (Pun intended.) Chances are your toilet is back in working order, and you did it.

Do I Need to Replace My HVAC Unit?

Your HVAC unit could technically last for 15 to 20 years, but earlier failures can occur, depending on several factors, including usage, weather, maintenance, quality and type of installation and original quality. The acronym, HVAC, is the abbreviation for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. “Air conditioning” most often refers to both heating and cooling. You’ll want to ensure you have a model that works to its fullest capacity for as long as possible. Energy efficiency can  keep you from spending more on heating or cooling costs.

You should think about when it’s time to replace your HVAC unit. The following considerations will help you get a better idea of what you should be looking for and when you should consider a replacement in order to keep your system running efficiently and keep you comfortable. Here are a few important points to consider when it comes to replacing your HVAC unit.

Humidity Concerns

The humidity in your home might be a sign that you need to replace your HVAC unit. The humidity can increase as a result of the HVAC unit not operating as well as it should. Air conditioning is designed to pull heat and moisture from the air. Older units or systems with dirty cooling coils or filter can cause humidity to rise. This can be a time when you need to have a professional inspect your system and possibly time to replace your HVAC unit because it is causing a rise in humidity making it feel muggy and uncomfortable.

Excess Noises

A noisy HVAC unit can mean there is a current or imminent problem. Central air conditioning systems are designed to be as quiet as possible. Some are quieter that others, but if you notice an unusual noise or sound you should have it checked. This can happen as age and wear effect the performance of the HVAC unit or parts are about to break down. It is best to catch the problem before you find yourself without cooling or heating. Then you will need to weigh the repair cost against future problems and the cost of a replacement HVAC system.

Inaccuracies in Temperature in Your Home

Your HVAC unit might contribute to cases where you have inaccuracies with temperatures in different areas of your home. For instance, it might be warmer in one room and rather chilled in another room. This could be a sign that your HVAC base is not getting enough air to the many rooms in your home. The problem could be adjustable, or could indicate something else, such as disproportionate distribution of the air through your ductwork, or the unit itself. Again, get it checked. It may not be the unit at all, but rather other adjustments to more evenly distribute the warm or cool air.

The Age Is a Factor

The age of your HVAC system can be especially important. Any system that is at least ten years of age could be costing you more than you realize.  Recent advances in air conditioning technology offer much higher efficiency providing much lower annual and seasonal energy cost, plus greater comfort year around. The likelihood of a breakdown increases with age. A new unit could pay for itself in 5-7 years in operating cost.

Dust

The last important point involves the dust in your home. Every home has dust, but some more than others. Some dust particles can be harmful to your health, especially to those with other health issues such as allergies or breathing disorders.  Pets and people are the mains sources.  Your HVAC filtration system offers your best control over the dust in your environment. Adding an in-duct air purifier further cleans your air at a very low cost. Dirty filters and low efficiency heating or cooling reduce dust control and can cause problems.

Make sure you check at least twice per year how well your HVAC system is working. Consider all the costs and other benefits of a replacement before spending money on high cost repairs. You can visit Energy Star at https://www.energystar.gov/products/most_efficient/central_air_conditioners_and_air_source_heat_pumps for a list of recommended high efficiency HVAC systems, listed in alphabetical order.

For a complete checkup of your system, call the licensed professionals in the Air Conditioning division of Dallas Plumbing Company.

4 Steps to Unclog a Toilet with a Plunger

Have a clogged toilet ruining your day? No problem. A beginner in home repair can unclog that toilet and have it flushing properly in just mere minutes without making a huge mess. Here’s the proper way to unclog a toilet with a plunger:

Step 1. Stop The Water Flow ASAP
If you don’t want a messy overflow and sewage backing up, then do this step as soon as possible. Take the tank’s lid off and find the toilet flapper. The flapper is the part in the tank that stops the water from the tank going into the toilet bowl. Take the top off before you hit the flusher. Keep one hand in the flapper just in case the water rises dangerously to the top.

Step 2. Add Dishwashing Detergent and Hot Water
Heat up water and put in a few cups mixed with dishwashing detergent into the toilet bowl before you start the plunging process. Let it sit for around 2 to 3 minutes and hopefully, the blog will have softened or cleared up. This will make the plunging so much easier than it is working with a hard clog.

Step 3. Get The Plunger
Not all plungers are made equal. If you want to get the best and the most efficient plunger, pick the funnel-cup plunger as it has a flange that provides a good seal. You can wear rubber gloves to get a better grip and use it as a protective shield in case things get worse.

Make your rubber pliable by running it under hot water for a few minutes to loosen it up.

Step 4. Do The Plunge
The very first plunge must be a gentle one. The bell will be full of air, and doing a hard plunge will force that air back, escape the seal and blow up the water in the toilet!

When the pocket of air is out, then it’s time to get down and dirty. Focus on pushing the plunger down with force while maintaining the seal between the flange and the toilet’s exit hole. The upward pull is just as important as the downward push.

Work up a good upward and downward motion for a few minutes, then flush the toilet. Keep your hand on the flapper to prevent overflows. Be patient, as it could take several plunging sessions to break up the blockage. The key to an effective plunge is to always have enough water to cover the seal.

Repeat the sequence until the clog has disappeared and your toilet is working again.

Great AC Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Unit Working Well This Summer

Your AC unit works its hardest during hot summer days. What are the things you can do on your end to keep your air conditioning unit working its best? Here are some tips to consider:

1. Replace Your Filter

Checking and seeing if your Air Conditioner’s filter is up to par is one the best ways you can save on electricity bills and maximize the efficiency of your unit. Do a regular check-up and see if the filters need replacing at least once a month. Clogged filters will make your air conditioner work double time as it struggles to maintain the cool air.

2. Use Your Ceiling Fans

A simple mechanism change in your ceiling fan can do wonders for cooling your home. Try to run it counter-clockwise in the summer to push the cooler air down. You can save up on air conditioning costs and make your AC run better in lower temperature.

3. Install Window Tints

Consider having films installed on the inside of your windows to save on energy. The main idea here is to keep your home cooler in the summer and keep the warmth from escaping during winter time.

4. Save Your Thermostat

Avoid placing any kind of heat source near your thermostat. This means that TVs, lamps and other appliances that produce heat should be kept in distance from it. When your thermostat senses the nearby heat, it thinks that it hasn’t done its job well and works on for a longer period of time. If you’re installing a new unit, don’t place the thermostat under direct sunlight.

5. Schedule A Professional Tune-Up

Think ahead and schedule a maintenance service from a professional technician before the summer even begins. Include all of your AC units and make sure that they are in good condition to work during the hot summer months.

6. Opt For A Smart Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can go a long way in keeping your AC unit working efficiently throughout the summer. You stand to waste less energy and electricity costs because you know the exact temperature of your home. Also, consider the degrees of temperature your AC unit is running- a bump in the dial means you can potentially save money in the long run.

7. Consider An AC Upgrade

Sometimes it’s best to retire your old AC unit in favor a newer, more efficient model. The initial cost might be more expensive, but the cost of operation will be certainly lower than if you were running your old HVAC system. Make sure to choose the right type of air conditioner- too little power and it will struggle to cool a room while having a too-large one will reduce the unit’s overall cooling efficiency.