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Which Type of Water Heater is Best?

3d rendering of white electric boiler with smart control on the  wall. Energy saving concept

About Water Heaters

The water heater isn’t something we give too much thought to, but we certainly use it every day. So, when your water heater isn’t working at top-notch, is water heater repair the best option? Or is time for a new water heater installation? The first question should be, “Is it worth repairing a water heater?” and depending on a few things, a professional plumber can give you advice. 

The “rule of thumb” as they say, is 50/50. Meaning if the water heater repair cost 50% of what a replacement water heater will cost replacement is the better choice financially. Or, if you have had several repairs over the past year, or the plumber advises you of possible future water heater repairs within the next year, consider replacement instead. The age of your current water will have some impact on whether you should repair or replace it.

How do I know if my water heater thermostat is bad?

Other than the 50/50 “rule of thumb”, what are some other indications when to replace a water heater? There are obvious indications that water heater repair isn’t an option, but like all appliances in your home, the water heater will come to an end of life too.  The following are strong indications: 

  • Rusty Water: A water heater is made of steel, considered the strongest material possible. But it has two weaknesses: Corrosion and Rust. When a steek surface gets corroded, it slowly spreads, eating the steel, and then rust forms.  

If you’re getting rust from the hot water faucets, you probably have a water heater with a rusted interior.  This usually starts to happen between 8 and 10 years. 

  • Noise: Another indicator that your water heater is about to quit is a noisy tank. As a water heater ages, they begin growling and rumbling. These noises will get louder and louder, especially if your home has a high level of hot water requirements. 

This is often caused by sediment build-up in the tank, caused by mineral deposits from the water. You can flush the tank and see if that quietens the noise. If not, you need to schedule a new water heater. 

  • Leaking: If your water heater is leaking from the top at the connections, easy water heater repair is simply tightening the connections. If the water heater is leaking from the bottom or sides, it needs to be replaced. 
  • Not Heating: A water heater not heating can bring your morning to a stop. Three possible causes of this are:
  • Thermostat misadjusted
  • Heating element broke
  • Too small water heater

Easy water heater repair for the thermostat issue is to raise the thermostat setting. The heating element can often be replaced, by you or hire a plumber. If the water heater is too small for your home’s needs, then it is time to upgrade. 

Which water heater is most efficient?

Most homeowners are looking for energy-efficient appliances to save money. Another upside that energy-efficient appliances provide is carbon footprint is reduced, helping the overall environment. In the past, High Efficiency was the rating manufacturers used to describe appliances’ energy efficiency, including water heaters. Today, the new industry-wide standard is UEF (Uniform Energy Factor).

Today, the industry states that the UEF rating for conventional electric and gas water heaters should be between 0.65 to 0.95 and certified by Energy Star. The heat pump water heaters have a 2.75 UEF rating and used 60% less energy than the conventional electric and gas water heater units. With that information, it is easy to see which water heater is the most energy-efficient type.

Tankless water heater in the bathroom

Is a tankless water heater worth it?

Full disclosure: Cost more upfront to have a tankless water heater installed vs a traditional storage-tank water heater. There is often the need for plumbing retrofitting and upgrading to the electrical or gas. The upside: Once you have the installation done, you can see saving immediately on your monthly water bill and energy bills.

Can I use an instant water heater for showers?

Yes, with limitations. While these give you on-demand hot water, if there is to much demand at the same time, the water need that is farthest away will be the last to get hot water and have it in the shortest amount of time. The best solution is to schedule dishes, laundry, and showers at alternating times.

Which water heater lasts the longest?

This is an upside to the tankless water heater system.  They have an average lifespan of 20 years versus the eight to 10 years for electric or gas water heaters. And, they have very little need for water heater repair service calls, another plus. 

Watering It All Down

Can a water heater leak gas? If it is installed correctly by a professional plumber, there shouldn’t be an issue with a gas leak. If you notice any gas leak, check the connection and if it is tight, evacuate the house and call 911, then call a plumber.

Drainmen Plumbing Inc provides professional water heater repair in Pottstown, PA. Call 484-366-9362 for assistance.

When to Call an Emergency Plumber

woman dealing with a leak under her sink

When is a problem an emergency?

We all have a different level of what is an emergency, whether its electrical, mechanical, physical, or plumbing. So, when you ask anyone, “What is considered emergency plumbing?”, their response may be different than yours. You may think you need an emergency plumber for an overflowing toilet. Another person may see it as inconvenient but not an emergency. Yet, somebody may consider it reason to move!  

Seriously though, what is considered emergency plumbing?

With winter here, that can cause emergency plumber needs that you may not have in the middle of summer here in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Anything that can cause damage to your home, like the floors and walls, even ceilings if it is an upstairs plumbing issue, that is considered a plumbing emergency. 

No, a clogged toilet or slow shower drain isn’t necessarily qualifying as a plumber emergency, unless it is spilling wastewater over on to the floor. Other causes that calling for an emergency plumber service are any of the following: 

  • A busted frozen water supply line
  • A major faucet, plumbing fixture, or sink leak
  • Water pipes Leaking ceiling, floors, or walls
  • A broken or clogged sewer line
  • Slab leaks
  • A drain clog that is backing up
  • A clogged toilet that is backing up
  • Water heater leaking
  • Gas powered water heater producing carbon monoxide
  • A failing or non-working sump pump

Is a leaking pipe considered an emergency?

If you can see the plumbing leak, it is probably an emergency!  Rare occasions that it is not are the small dripping leaks under the sink.  That leak needs to be addressed sooner than later, however, it would not warrant paying for emergency plumber rates. 

Is a clogged drain an emergency?

A slow drain isn’t uncommon and often, a minor issue. It can usually be cleared with drain cleaner or a plunger. However, when the drain cleaner and plunger don’t clear the drain, or you have repeated problems with a drain clogging, it may need professional plumber service. 

If there is flooding from a clogged drain or toilet, that simple overflow could indicate you have a sewer line problem and that will need an emergency plumber service call. When wastewater, especially from a toilet, is overflowing into the floor, it can be come a health hazard and should be addressed quickly. 

What are the most common plumbing problems?

We rely on our plumbing more than we realize. It takes a plumbing issue or emergency to realize how important. Maybe a dripping faucet or a slow drain is a DIY repair, but other plumbing issues must be handled by an emergency plumber because of possible dangers and other problems it can cause. 

Some of the more common emergency plumber calls are for the following: 

  • CLOGGED DRAINS AND CLOGGED TOILETS
  • LEAKY FAUCETS, FIXUTRES, AND PIPES
  • WATER HEATER LEAKING OR NOT WORKING
  • LOW WATER PRESSURE
  • RUNNING TOILET

Once you have called an emergency plumber, they can advise you ways of preventing plumbing emergencies. Among those recommendations are: 

  1.  Do not pour fats, grease, or oils in a sink
  2. Never flush anything more than human waste and toilet paper. Flushable diapers, feminine hygiene, or wipes are not flushable!
  3. Don’t use exposed pipe for hanging rags or cleaning products, etc.
  4. Don’t use drop-in toilet bowl cake cleaners
  5. Use stainless steel reinforced clothes washer hoses
  6. Use the garbage disposal wisely.
  7. Know where the water shut off valve is located
  8. Don’t use harsh chemical drain cleaners
  9. Flush water heater tank annually 

What happens if you have a burst pipe?

A burst water pipe will cause water to flow into and through your home until it is stopped. This flooding will damage the floors, walls, even the ceiling if the burst pipe is from an upstairs bathroom. Water is an evil force to the structure and electrical wiring of your home. What the water doesn’t damage, the mildew and mold will. As soon as you notice a burst water pipe, contact an emergency plumber and while waiting on their arrival, turn the water off the main water valve. 

How do you deal with plumbing emergencies?

There are very people that will never experience a plumbing emergency. What can minimize the emergency is knowing ahead of time the steps to take when it happens.  Yes, panic can reign, but keeping your cool is the best thing you can do!  As you’re calling for an emergency plumber service, take the following steps: 

  1. Know how to find an emergency plumber
  2. Shut the water off at the main.
  3. Check the water heater for leaks.
  4. Address any small leaks.
  5. Open all the drains, faucets, and spigots.
upset woman sitting next to a leaking sink

Conclusion 

How much should an emergency plumber cost? The basic all during business hours will typically cost $45.00 per hour up to $200 per hour plus parts.  An emergency plumber can cost as much as triple those hourly rates, plus parts. 

Can a homeowner repair a gas line?

close-up of a gas valve

Is gas line repair needed?

Natural gas is touted as being one of the most economical and eco-friendly ways to cook and heat. It also has its dangers, but thanks to the chemical mercaptan that is added to it, this odorless substance smells like rotten eggs, that can minimize the dangers by making us realize there is a gas line repair needed. 

How do you repair a broken gas line?

So, as a homeowner, can you patch a gas line yourself? If you have basic tools and skills, yes, but it isn’t recommended. A gas line leak is dangerous, and a gas line repair can be catastrophic. However, if you choose to do your own gas line repair, here are 10 steps to doing this safely: 

  • Step One – Turn the gas off at the meter! Wear eye protection and gloves while working with gas lines.
  • Step Two – Remove gas line covers, usually plastic.
  • Step Three – Slowly detach the low-pressure gas line. 
  • Step Four – Remove residue gas pressure by cracking the line fittings to the high-pressure line using a wrench.
  • Step Five – Clean the high-pressure gas line of any impurities with acetone.
  • Step Six – Scuff the gas line surface with sandpaper to even it out and use acetone to clean again. 
  • Step Seven – Attach the repaired gas line loosely so that you don’t create another gas line leak. Take gas line repair procedure and seal any leaks with rubber tape, making certain the angle is correct and the high-pressure gas line doesn’t interfere with the low-pressure gas line.
  • Step Eight – Apply the epoxy, hold it firmly and allow it to cure. Then tighten the high-pressure line fittings and reinstall the low-pressure gas line.
  • Step Nine – Test the gas lines to ensure your gas line repair was successful by turning the gas on and checking for any leaks. If you discover any leaks, repeat the gas line repair process, and seal the leaks until there aren’t any remaining. 
  • Step Ten – Reinstall the plastic covers after you have taken all gas line repair steps and have confidence there aren’t any more leaks. 

How do I find the gas line to my property?

Anywhere in the United States, call 811 for natural gas line locations. Call 811 no less than two working days prior to your digging of natural gas, buried electrical or other buried utility lines. This number was established by Congress to prevent damaging underground utility lines that could endanger those in the vicinity.

Can I install a gas line myself?

If you’re an experienced DIY person, you can probably do your own gas line installation safely and successfully. If you haven’t done many DIY projects around the house, it is recommended to hire the job out to a professional, or at the minimum, have an experienced DIY friend do it for you while you observe and learn. This is true for electrical, gas, or plumbing work. With natural gas line installation or gas line repairs, the margin for error is extremely narrow. Caution is an absolute must.

What size gas line do I need for my house?

The standard size of gas lines for most homes is 3/4 inch diameter, which supports most major appliances. There are homes that may have a mixture of one-inch, half-inch, and three-forth-inch gas lines. The following steps can be used to find out which appliances use the 3/4″ gas line: 

  1. Check the BTU ratings. British Thermal Units, BTUs are how thermal energy is measured. Every appliance should have a label showing the BTU output. Write the BTU rating for every appliance that you want on the same gas line and add them together. 
  2.  Determine the gas line length. The longer gas pipe will support fewer BTUs. 
  3. Determine the number of gas line “branches”. The more gas line branches, the lower the BTU capacity of the gas line. 
  4. Refer to a pipe sizing chart. With all of these numbers collected, refer to a gas pipe sizing chart.  
  5. Get professional service. For safety, have your gas appliances professionally installed. 

How deep is a gas line supposed to be buried?

This is regulated by local governing bodies. In Pennsylvania, 12 inches is the required depth to get approval. 

What type of line is used for propane gas?

The propane gas line is generally copper or plastic polyethylene piping. The local laws should be followed when installing or doing any gas line repairs

What happens if your gas line freezes?

Gas is too dry to freeze as it is conveyed to your home. A natural gas main freezing, flexibly or remotely, would indicate there was water in the gas line. It would also need to accumulate in a low spot before it could freeze. 

gas meter and pipes against a brick wall

When It Comes To Gas Line Repair Costs ….. 

Like anything else around your home, you’re hoping that your homeowner’s insurance would cover the cost of a gas line repair. So, does homeowner’s insurance cover gas line repair?

Homeowner insurance policies typically do not provide coverage for repairs or service on electric, gas, or water lines. The purpose of this insurance policy is to cover any damages to your home, not the landscaping or any underground lines.

What to Do in a Plumbing Emergency

distressed woman sitting next to a leaking pipe

Dealing With Your Plumbing 911

One thing that we all take for granted to be there and work for us is the plumbing. We take our shower, wash clothes and dishes, cook, flush the toilet, and water the yard, never giving it any thought. That is, until something goes wrong, and at that point, we make a quick decision on whether we need an emergency plumber or not. 

Knowing what counts as emergency plumbing and when to call an emergency plumber is important because the cost of an emergency plumber service is double, even triple that of a normal plumber service call. So just when is a plumbing leak considered an emergency?

Well, it could be determined by a matter of opinion. If you’re the one standing ankle deep in water, you need an emergency plumber. A professional plumber, on the other hand, will determine the issue and can declare whether it is an emergency or inconvenience. 

Applying logic to this debate simplifies the question. If a leak is visible, then it is an emergency; plumber services are needed pronto! Why the urgency? Consider that what is a small drip to you right now could have been leaking all along, causing more damage. Let that leak go unaddressed and you’ll have more expense and inconvenience sooner than later. So, what do you do in a plumbing emergency?

Follow these steps: 

1.    Turn the Water Off Immediately: Now, before you have the need for an emergency plumber, find the main shut off to your water. Then when you do have an emergency, you can go right to it and immediately shut the water off. This will stop the flooding and any further damage. What if you can’t turn the water off? Then you need to call an emergency plumber service. 

2.    Document, Document: This is for insurance purposes and needs to be done as soon as you notice you have a plumbing leak, BEFORE the clean-up and repairs are started. Documentation should include your notes, pictures, and if possible videos. 

3.    Contact Your Insurance Company: With the water off and the documentation started, call your insurance company and request to file a claim. They will ask questions, get your contact information, and will have instructions for you to follow. Some insurance companies have a list of emergency plumbers for your area. 

4.    Find the Source:  Try to find the source, and if possible do your own repairs. If not, call an emergency plumber to come as quickly as possible. While the leak may be an easy and quick fix, in the meantime, you’re without water. 

What are the most common plumbing emergencies?

A plumbing emergency can make even the calmest person panic. In addition to the leak getting fixed, there is the concern of what other damage is going to be found, because we all know that water is a house’s worst enemy. 

One of the best ways not to find yourself out of that panic is knowing how to avoid plumbing emergencies, and if you do have these happen, to know how to respond to them. This is because not every plumbing emergency requires an emergency plumber service.  

TOILET OVERFLOWING

This may be the biggest panic of all – an overflowing toilet. Of all the rooms in a house, the bathroom is the one used the most, so when a toilet overflows, it can temporarily shut down the entire house. As soon as you notice your toilet isn’t flushing correctly, take steps to unclog it. Often, a few rounds with a toilet plunger will do the trick, or if you have a plumber’s snake, you can try that if the plunger fails.  If there is no improvement, call a plumber now – before you need an emergency plumber service. 

SINK DRAIN CLOGGED

You may think a clogged drain isn’t an emergency, but when it is severely clogged and can’t drain, it can quickly become an emergency plumber situation. Once a drain begins slowing down, use a plumber snake or plunger and work the clog loose. If that doesn’t work, call an emergency plumber service; never use a chemical drain opener. 

PIPES BUSTED

A busted pipe happens because of a water pressure build-up in a weak pipe or at a joint. You can sometimes catch that before it happens if you notice a popping sound. Otherwise, you’ll know when the pipe has burst, and in this case you need an emergency plumber service. 

LEAKS

A leaking faucet or toilet are more than a plumbing issue – they are increasing your water bill too. The longer they leak, the higher the water bill. Then there is the structural damage they cause that leads to mold growing and becoming a health hazard. 

BACKED UP SEWER

When the water that comes into your home can’t drain or flush, then you have a backed up sewer. This is usually caused by toilet paper or other items that have been flushed and clogging the pipes. A bathroom sink gets clogged from hair and soap; the kitchen sink gets clogged by fats, foods, and grease. The main sewer line can also become clogged because of tree roots.  

MALFUNCTIONING WATER HEATER

When your water has become discolored or has an odd odor as it comes through the faucet,  it could be that the tank on the water heater is corroded. Or perhaps you’ve walked into the garage and found yourself walking in water – the water heater has leaked, usually an indication that you need an emergency plumber to replace the unit. 

Is emergency plumbing more expensive?

There are more emergency plumber calls than normal hour calls, and yes, they are more expensive. Emergency hours are usually after the normal business hours of 8am to 5pm, any holiday or weekend. And just like the rest of us, plumbers like their downtime with family and friends too. 

An emergency plumber will have a trip fee that can cost up to $300 or more in addition to their hourly rate. The hourly rate can run as much as $400 per hour, double on holidays and weekends. Then there is the cost of parts to be added to that bill. To compare, a basic plumber call can range between $70 and  $120 per hour plus the trip fee and materials. 

woman calling an emergency plumber and cleaning up after a leak

In Closing 

If you find yourself in need of an emergency plumber, you don’t want to be searching “how to get emergency plumbing services” then. Take the time now to find out who to call in a plumbing emergency by scheduling a plumbing checkup. This will serve two purposes: getting you and a plumber familiar with each other and giving you an emergency plumber number on hand.

What is a Plumbing Inspection?

worker with tools inspecting pipes under sink

When is a plumbing inspection required?

It is a standard routine to have your HVAC system, roof, and gutters inspected, but what about a plumbing inspection? Why would you want to have a plumbing inspection? Well, plumbing issues like the drains being slow or backing up are the most common reasons for this service. 

If you are a potential buyer, you should want this kind of inspection, and mortgage companies will typically require a plumbing inspection of the home you’re considering. For the mortgage company, every inspection they require, including a plumbing inspection, is essential. Why? 

During a plumbing inspection, an inspector will find any possible issues, allowing you to request the seller fix it or negotiate a lower price. Finding problems before you close the deal could save you a lot of hassle and money later. 

So, should you have a plumbing inspection If you already own your home? Absolutely! By getting a plumbing inspection annually, it serves the same purpose of finding potential issues before they become big problems. Plumbing can cause a lot of expensive damage in a short time. Getting a plumbing inspection on a routine basis will provide you with the following: 

  • Identify issues before they become problems and cause excessive damage
  • Improve the efficiency of your water usage
  • Locate clogs if you’re having problems
  • Locate leaks you may not know you have
  • Identify pipe that are on the border of failing

What happens during a plumbing inspection?

There are a lot of components to a house, and for a homeowner, overlooking things that need repair or replacing can be easy until they finally quit. Like appliances, the HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems matter. A plumbing inspection, like an HVAC inspection, lets you stay on top of things, keeping them running smoothly. Find a problem now before it becomes a major expense! 

A professional plumbing inspection will include checking any place that has water connected to it and running. This includes:

  • Bathroom, kitchen, laundry room sinks
  • Toilets – including inside the tank
  • Tubs
  • Water heater – including the PRV and if the unit needs flushing
  • Washing machine plumbing
  • Dishwasher plumbing
  • All water lines
  • All water pipes
  • All plumbing connections

A thorough plumbing inspection will be inside, outside, and under your home. All outside water hydrants will be checked, and if your plumbing inspection is done prior to winter weather, they will make sure the plumbing is anti-freeze protected.

How much is a plumbing inspection?

This will depend on the size of your house and the number of plumbing connections. For an average size home, a plumbing inspection will generally cost around $200 to $250. For a larger home with or plumbing, the price could be as much as $500. Other factors that can affect the cost will be if the water heater needs to be flushed. 

What is a sewer line inspection?

 A basic plumbing inspection as we have described can, and should, include a sewer line inspection. This is done with a waterproof video plumbing camera. Inspection is done by pushing this camera attached to a fiberoptic wire through the sewer lines. The images are then relayed back to a small computer/television screen.

This allows the plumber to see inside all the sewer lines and other hard to reach plumbing pipes to find breaks, clogs, and cracks. This includes sewer and plumbing inspections of underground pipes, plumbing that is encased in concrete, that’s inside the foundation, and plumbing behind walls. The potential problem makers that can be found are: 

  • Tree root intrusion
  • Cracked pipes
  • Punctured pipes 
  • Corroded pipes
  • Misaligned pipes 
  • Obstructions and grease buildups

How long does a sewer inspection take?

A plumbing inspection will typically take longer because there are more components to be inspected. An average sewer inspection could be between 30 minutes to an hour, the time it takes being affected by the accessibility of the main sewer line. 

What is a rough plumbing inspection?

A rough plumbing inspection is done when a house is being built from the ground up or when a house has been gutted for remodeling. The plumbing is placed “roughly” where it will go, and the final connection will be finalized when the inspector approves the rough-in. 

worker's hand opening a sewer cover

In Closing 

If you aren’t sure how to get a plumbing inspection, simply search the internet for plumbers in your area and ask if they do plumbing inspections. If they do, ask about the cost and inquire if a plumbing inspection report is included. Once you have a good rapport with a local plumber, you can use them for emergencies and standard repairs or installations. Having a good, honest, and affordable plumber in your directory is always a good thing. As they do your annual inspections, they will learn your house and the plumbing circuit and your home. If you find yourself in need of a plumbing inspection in Pottstown, PA, you can reach out to Drainmen Plumbing Inc by calling 484-366-9362.

Is dishwasher repair worth it?

Close-up of dirty dishes in a dishwasher.

Do I need to repair or replace my dishwasher?

In your kitchen, you can find many important appliances you use daily. Some aren’t used as frequently, and others are used rarely, if ever. Then there is the dishwasher. You probably don’t give it much thought as you load and unload the dishes – not until you’re faced with the need for dishwasher repair or replacement.

If you live alone or if there are just two of you, when the dishwasher quits you probably just use it for storage. However, if you have a spouse, kids, and friends all eating and drinking at your house, you probably go into a panic. However, there’s no need to stress. If you need a dishwasher repair in Pottstown, PA  right away, call Drainmen Plumbing Inc at 484-366-9362. Meanwhile, read on to learn more about how to know when it’s time to repair your dishwasher.

Repairing Your Dishwasher – Can it Be Done?

Dishwasher repair or replacement is key at that point, but do you know who to call to repair the dishwasher? Or do you need to simply replace the unit?Of course, your first question before all that may be, “Can dishwashers be repaired?”

The following are three of the most common issues that require dishwasher repair. When you know which dishwasher repair you need, you’ll see these are simple maintenance tasks that will get your dishwasher running again, all without the need for an expensive professional dishwasher repair service. So which dishwasher repair do you need right now? 

Dishwasher Repair One: The Dishes Aren’t Clean 

A. Review these dishwasher basics

  • Is your dishwasher overloaded? Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. 
  • Are there items such as silverware or utensils hanging below the basket? This can keep the spray arm from spinning. 
  • What dishwasher detergent are you using? Check your manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Is food getting scraped rather than rinsed from the dishes before they are loaded into the dishwasher?
  • Do you have hard water? If so, are you using a rinse agent as recommended by most manufacturers? 
  • Is the water temperature hot enough? This could be the water heater, but we’ll address that another time. It should be under 120 degrees F, and most dishwashers will boost that up to 140 degrees. 

B. The dishwasher spray arm 

Make sure the spray arm can spin easily and freely with the dishwasher empty. Remove the arm and check for any debris blocking the holes. Clean it if you find anything. Check the pump for any broken glass or other debris lodged in the way of it working. 

C. Clean the float switch

Open the float switch and clean it, even if you don’t see anything obvious. The smallest debris can cause the float switch to stick, keeping water from filling the tub. 

D. Clean the valve screen

A clogged intake valve screen is a common problem. If there is a low water level during the wash cycle, it can’t take on the water it needs for a clean job. 

Dishwasher Repair Two: The dishwasher door is leaking.

A. Locate the leak source

A door that doesn’t seal is a common problem with leaking dishwashers. Check the seal around the door and if you find any tears or areas where the seal is missing, you’ll need to replace it. If there isn’t a torn or missing seal, then check the hoses and other areas where water can leak. 

B. Simple door leak fixes

With an all-purpose cleaner and sponge, clean the gasket and float switch, using only the dish detergent the manufacturer specifies. 

C. Tweak the door

Close and fasten the door; if it can be jiggled it is loose. Next, turn the dishwasher on, let it run, and push on the door. If the sound from the dishwasher lessens, the door is loose. There is an adjustable latch on most dishwashers located in the center of the door frame. Adjust this plate by tightening the door so the gasket can seal better. 

Dishwasher Repair Three: Humming sound, no water, won’t start

A. Check the power shutoff

All dishwashers should have a shutoff either at the sink or under the sink. Unplug the power and plug it back in. If it is still not starting, check the circuit breaker and if it has tripped, turn it back on.

B. Spin the motor

Sometimes a dishwasher motor will stick; this is especially common with a unit that hasn’t been used in a while. Remove the lower panel and reach in to give the motor a spin by turning the fan blades after you made sure the electrical power is off. If the blades aren’t turning with ease, you’ll need to call a professional plumber. 

A Few More Tips on Dishwasher Repairs

The corrugated hose on a dishwasher is a common problem, causing issues ranging from clogs to leaks. But have no fear – this is probably the easiest dishwasher repair you may need, and you could even do it yourself with these tips and a few basic tools. By knowing how to repair a dishwasher drain hose you could potentially save a lot on dishwasher repair costs: 

Step 1: Open the dishwasher and check the drain. Remove any food and debris, which is an indication there is debris clogging the drain hose. 

Step 2: Take the service panel off so you can see the drain hose and after that, unplug the dishwasher from the power. Close the door and remove all the screws holding the service panel. 

Step 3: Inspect the drain hose for leaks, which are usually located at the bends. If there are cracks, then you’ll need to replace the hose.

Step 4: Take the hose off the dishwasher so you can make sure it is thoroughly clean of clogs. Disconnect the hose from the sink line with pliers. After this, check for any debris that could be clogging the hose. You can do this by pouring water in one end to see if it flows easily out of the other end without any leaks in the U-section. 

On a side note, if your problem is the dishwasher repair for the pump, this will need to be done by a professional. Choose one that is authorized by the brand of dishwasher you have. They will have the proper methods of dishwasher repair and parts recommended by the manufacturer. 

Man repairing a dishwasher.

In Closing 

Knowing when to repair a dishwasher or buy new can save both time and money. So, when it comes to dishwasher repair vs replacement, how do you know which is the way to go? A basic rule is if your dishwasher is a few years old and the cost for a professional dishwasher repair is less than half, have it repaired. If your dishwasher is 10 years old or older, then replace the unit. When you need dishwasher repair in Pottstown, PA, you can contact Drainmen Plumbing Inc at 484-366-9362 to get help from professionals.

How does carbon filtration work?

carbon filtration

Do carbon filters remove viruses?

Everyone is concerned with having the healthiest food and water possible, which is why there is an increase in carbon filtration systems in homes. To explain how a carbon filtration system works, let’s get a clear carbon filter definition. Carbon filter is a method of filtration using an activated carbon to filter impurities from water. Pollutants in the water adhere to the carbon inside a carbon filtration system.

No, an activated carbon filter will not remove viruses. There isn’t any one filtration system that does it all. Because each filter has its own specifics it removes. To have a  carbon filtration for water that removes it all, it would need to be combined with other treatment processes for effective results of removing various contaminants. 

An activated carbon filtration system doesn’t remove microbial contaminants found in hard water like bacteria, calcium, fluoride, magnesium, nitrate, and viruses. So, what do carbon filters remove from water? An activated carbon filtration system does remove are the organics that affect the color, odor, and taste of water. 

With carbon filtration in water treatment, it also reduces the following: 

  • Chlorine
  • Industrial solvents
  • PCBs
  • PAHs
  • Pesticides
  • Polychlorinated
  • Radon gases
  • THM

Are carbon filters safe for drinking water?

The materials inside the most carbon filtration systems are inspected and rated by a third party for safety. With this third party involvement, yes, carbon filters are safe for drinking water. 

The safety rating is based on the amount of chlorine, taste, and odor that are removed, otherwise known as CTO. Another factor of the rating system is what the sub-micron carbon blocks remove are cysts and lead. The combination of activated carbon block filter with sub-micron, the ratings go beyond what is expected to remove any additional particles with mechanical filtration, the screen door to the system. 

Mechanical filters work like a screen door– they keep unwanted elements out and let clean water through. Pores of a carbon block filter that measure less than one micron are too small for cysts to pass through.

Which is better reverse osmosis or carbon filter?

A common asked questions when it comes to regarding water filtration is which is better: carbon filtration vs reverse osmosis? It depends on your goal. A carbon filtration system is a process to reduce and remove contaminants from water. The carbon filter blocks the contaminant physically as they come through the filter. This absorption process also reduces any chemicals in the water. Those contaminants include: 

  • Arsenic
  • Chlorine
  • Dirt
  • Heavy metals
  • Parasites
  • Rust
  • Sediment
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Unpleasant taste and odor

On the other hand, water is filtered through a carbon cartridge with a reverse osmosis water purification system, removing chlorine and sediment. The next stage of purification with reverse osmosis is pushing water through a superb membrane that is designed with the purpose of removing most contaminants, which includes lead, and TSC (total dissolved solids) like fluoride, and recycled sewage water. 

Last, 97% of tap water contaminants are reduced as the water flows through the last carbon cartridge. Calcium and minerals are stripped away at this point, which unfortunately is removing nutrients the body needs. Some brands and models of a RO system offer a remineralizer cartridge that can be added to the system. 

water pouring into glass

How long does a carbon water filter last?

Like most things today, the filter in carbon filtration system doesn’t have an endless life. The activated filter in a carbon filtration system has an expected lifespan between two months and six months. An additional filter is included in some activated carbon filters for protection that extends the lifespan to 12 months. These additional protective filters are typical of  RO system or  whole house system. One factor that can shorten the lifespan of the filter in a carbon filtration system is poor quality water.

Most companies that manufacturer carbon filtration system utilize an activated carbon form or an activated charcoal in their filters. The primary job of that activated carbon filter is to remove harmful contaminants and bad odors while improving the water’s taste. 

Not staying on task with changing the filter in your carbon filtration system is doing yourself a disfavor. The cheaper the filter, the shorter the lifespan and the more water processed through your carbon filtration system , the shorter the lifespan. This means that if you have a high water usage, you should use a quality filter for your carbon filtration system. 

Most homeowners will change their filter on a routine schedule like changing the battery in their smoke alarm. However, life gets busy, and forgetting the batteries or the filter change. If you notice the water is slower to dispense or starts to have an odd taste or odor, it is time to change the filter. Manufacturers recommend the routine schedule of changing the filter as opposed to waiting for the foul odor and bad taste, or low water pressure. Call 484-366-9362 today for your carbon filtration system in Pottstown, PA.

What are the symptoms of a slab leak?

leak through slab

Is a slab leak dangerous?

A water leak of any kind is not a good thing to discover for a homeowner, but a slab leak may be the worst. A slab leak for houses means more than just a plumbing issue, it usually includes the issues with the foundation too. 

Annoying, dangerous, and serious!  A slab leak occurs under the foundation of your home and is caused by a water pipe started leaking or even busted. It usually goes unnoticed for some time and is usually noticed by electric bill and water bill increasing. Unfortunately, by then, the damage is done, but left alone, it will keep getting worse. The problems you can expect are: 

  • Carpeting, flooring, rugs ruined:  Water that has seeped into the structure from underneath can only go up. The floors get saturated, carpet gets soaked, tiles crack, wood warps, etc. 
  • Foul smell: A slab leak will create a musty smell in the house, sometimes a raw sewage odor if the slab leak is the sewer line.
  • Mildew and mold: With the carpeting and flooring soaked in water, the drywall will be soaking up the water. That gets mildewed and then mold begins growing. Mold is a health hazard for everyone, especially anyone with allergies or sinus issues. 
  • Foundation is damaged: A slab leak will weaken the integrity of your home, including the concrete and steel that supports the foundation. Your foundation will begin to crack and shift, even collapse. 
  •  Lawn damage: If the pipe causing the slab leak goes out under the yard, It will flood your lawn, ruin the grass and landscaping. Other features in your yard like brick or concrete walkways, a swimming pool, etc., can be damaged by this same leaking water pipe. 

How long can a slab leak go undetected?

They can go a long, long time undetected! It is an attentive, on-the-job homeowner that will detect a slab leak before it gets to the point it is noticed in most cases. If you’re diligent about looking at your utility bills with eagle eye, you may notice it within a month. Or if the leak is really bad, you may notice a wet floor with no rhyme or reason why its wet.  If you  notice a mildew, musty odor, then that slab leak has been going on for a bit. 

How do you fix a slab leak?

If you have a slab leak, whether to repair it or not isn’t an option. Where you may have an option is how it is repaired, but that will be the decision of the plumbing contractor you choose.  What will be important factors in this decision is the age of the plumbing and the house, the type of materials of the pipes, and where the slab leak is located. Here we explain four different repair methods that can be used for slab leak repairs: 

1. Breaking Into the Slab

Getting straight to the problem is another option. This is the shortest way, but it can be expensive and disruptive. When the plumber is done, you’ll need a foundation specialist to get things back right. 

2. Rerouting or Re-piping

In some cases, a plumber may determine that staying above the ground it the better option, so they will reroute the pipes above ground and avoid digging under the house. For example, the plumbing pipes are encased in concrete slab and the slab will have to be destroyed to reach the pipes. The plumber will reroute the pipes through closets, walls, or the attic, using creativity to hide the pipes, like crown molding. This method and the next two are way to fix slab leak without jackhammering. 

3. Dig a Tunnel Under the Slab

This is one slab leak repair method that will offer you, the homeowner, three benefits:  

  • you don’t have to leave home while work is being done;
  • the mess will kept outside, and
  • this is the least expensive method

Once a plumber has explained the options available for the slab leak repair, tunneling is the preferred method because of those reasons. There is some chance that flooring may need repairing or replacing, but if that slab leak has been happening or awhile, you’re going to need to do that anyway. 

The plumber will dig a tunnel 3’ x 3’ under your house, up to 100 feet long or longer, and remove the busted pipe, and replace it with new plumbing. It is important that the plumber replace the dirt correctly and test the new plumbing before the job is complete. 

4. Trenchless 

Trenchless is the process of pipe lining, or CIPP (cured in place pipe), both are extremely popular choices today because there is no jackhammering or trench digging involved.  The broken plumbing lines are repaired by the plumber digging a small hole on each end of the busted line then sending a new pipe lining through the broken pipe that is coated with epoxy. That coating hardens inside the old pipe and forms a new pipe. 

How do you stop slab leaks?

Slab leaks can be prevented by doing the following things: 

  1. Keep the soil moist all year around  your home.  We may have a really wet year and the next 2 or 3 will be really dry with little to no rain. When the ground is dry, a gap appears around the foundation. This is why you need to invest in a soaker hose or an irrigation system and run it twice a week to get ¼ “ deep in the ground wet when there isn’t any rain. 
  2. Be careful what goes in the drains. Chemical drain cleaners are the worst thing you can do to your plumbing. Don’t poor fats, grease, or oil, or put fruit pits and bones in the drain. 
  3. Test the water’s pH level: If your water has too much acid, it can do the same damage as OTC chemicals and it stays in the plumbing lines, eating away and before you realize it, you have a slab leak. 
  4. Check the water pressure: Your home’s plumbing system should have a water pressure of 40-60 PSI. Any higher stresses the plumbing pipes & joints, creates leaks and that can lead to a slab leak. 
  5. Annual plumbing inspection:  This is one thing that every homeowner should do, but most don’t. An inspection of your plumbing has the same importance as the inspection and tune up your HVAC system.  

How long does it take to repair a slab leak

Every house and every slab leak is different, but the average time is 2 days. If jackhammering has to be done, this won’t include the foundation repair.        

Which is the worst scenario, slab leak vs wall leak? 

They can be equal in resulting disaster and damage, but slab leak is the worse.  The wall leak maybe contained to only the wall, which could be the plumbing or the air conditioning.  The slab leak will damage the foundation, weaken the structure, and over time, creeps up the wall, and beyond. 

slab foundation

How does slab leak and insurance work? 

Unfortunately, you shouldn’t expect your homeowner’s insurance to pay for much on a slab leak fiasco. In most cases, the insurance company will determine this is homeowner maintenance and not a sudden catastrophe by events beyond your control.  It won’t hurt to review your policy or call your agent, but don’t be surprised if they tell you nothing of a slab leak is covered. Need help with a slab leak in Pottstown, PA? Call 484-366-9362 today.

Is a leaking pipe an emergency?

leaking pipes

How can you tell where a water leak is coming from?

One of the worse things that can happen in a home is a plumbing leak, especially one you don’t realize you have right away. The damage that can be sustained can be expensive and extensive, especially a plumbing leak and mold. Once mold starts, there are health issues that need to be addressed as well as the leak and damage. 

If you have a plumbing leak in your home, the first step in fixing this issue is finding where the plumbing leak is, inside or outside. How do you perform a plumbing leak check?  We offer the following tips: 

1. Monitor the Water Meter

If you are noticing your water is getting higher but you haven’t increased your water use, check the water meter for huge fluctuations. This is done by making sure all water sources inside and outside the house are turned off then watch the meter.  If the needle is moving, you definitely have a leak somewhere on your side of the meter. 

2. Check the Faucets

Faucets are often the problem for plumbing leaks, and it actually is more from the rubber washer located under the handles is worn out.  Replacing this is simply and can save you several dollars on your water bill. 

3. Toilet Plumbing Leak

The toilet can be a source of plumbing leaks too that goes unnoticed until it begins costing you a lot of money on wasted water.  To determine if your toile is the plumbing leak problem, add some food coloring inside the tank and wait 30 minutes. If you see colored water in the toilet bowl, then your plumbing leak is at the toilet tank. This is an easy repair by replacing the rubber flapper inside the tank. 

Another toilet plumbing leak indication is the handle has to be jiggled after each flushing to stop the water from running inside the toilet bowl.  This is fixed by tightening the nut on the mechanism inside the toilet tank or by replacing the handle. You may need to do both. 

4. Do a Visual Inspection

Plumbing leaks inside the ceiling or walls are usually unnoticed …. until the damage is done. These types of plumbing leaks can be stopped if you’re diligent in doing visual inspections periodically. Any hint of discoloring or staining on the ceilings or walls, mildew or mold growing, or sagging ceiling spots, are all often linked to a plumbing leak or roof leak. 

5. Underground Plumbing Leaks

Outdoor plumbing leaks can be expensive to repair and harder to detect. Low lying, soft areas in the lawn, or dark, lush green spots can indicate either a plumbing leak or sewer leak. These are they plumbing leaks that you’ll need to call a professional plumber. 

Can plumbers detect leaks?

Plumbing and leak detection go hand in hand for a professional plumber. They are able to find leaks today accurately and quickly thanks to modern technology, even inside walls and inside the cement foundation of your home. 

How do plumbers find water leaks in walls?

The first thing a plumber will do is a walk through and walk around your home. They are checking for any plumbing leak in wall or outside indications, and they often can find one that you didn’t see. They will look under sinks, around toilets, and in the yard, then follow up with a meter check as we described earlier. 

When they have ruled out any leaks in these areas, they start check the walls and underground for plumbing leaks with their sound detection equipment. This equipment includes headphones and a microphone so they can hear any sound like running water. Sometimes they “charge the pipes”, a process of using  pipe locator clamps on the visible sections of a pipes. These clamps transmit radar signals over the water pipes and can identify plumbing leaks.         

How do you fix a plumbing leak?

As a homeowner, you may want to do your own plumbing leak repairs, and if you’re handy with basic tools, depending on where the leak is located, it can be fairly easy.  Here are suggested steps for fixing a plumbing leak: 

Step One: Measure the length of pipe that needs to be replaced. Purchase the pipe and any of the following basic supplies that you do not have already: 

  • Emery cloth
  • Silver solder
  • Solder flux
  • Fitting brush
  • Torch

Step Two: Turn all faucets off that are connected to the plumbing leak and remove any water left in the pipe with an air compressor.

Step Three: With a hacksaw or a pipe cutter, cut out the damaged pipe section and with the emery cloth and fitting brush, polish the inside and outside of the pipe left in and the new pipe you’re installing.

Step Four: Apply the soldering flux lightly to each side of pipes to be soldered.

Step Five: Wearing protective eyewear and gloves, solder the new pipe in place the let it cool. 

Step Six: Turn the water on and check for leaks. 

burst pin hole leaks

Can a water leak fix itself?

Yeah, unexpected plumbing leaks can lead to unbudgeted plumbing repairs, so you may be sitting there looking at that small drip thinking “will it just stop on its own?”.  Maybe, but it will be only a temporary fix that happens either because the temperature fluctuated from cold to warm or warm to cold. Or, if your water has a high content of minerals, a piece of dirt may plug up a small plumbing leak.  Remember though, just as easily as it fixes itself, it can start leaking again. Call 484-366-9362 today for your leaking pipe repair needs in Pottstown, PA.

How fix a toilet that keeps running?

toilet being repaired

Toilet and toilet tank repairs

The toilet is one component of a home that we don’t want to live without. We could, they did before the mid-1800s, but now that we have toilets, why would we do anything different?  Anyway, a toilet can last for years and years, but during that time, there are toilet repairs needed. We’re going to answer questions on toilet repair basics today, and suggest every homeowner have some level of knowledge with toilet repair

Let’s start with “What are the parts called inside a toilet?”. With that answered, going forward with the other questions about toilet repair will make more sense, using this as a point of reference.  The toilet itself as a unit consists of only two parts: The toilet tank and the toilet bowl. Inside the tank is where the main parts that make the toilet are located. Those parts are:

Remove the tank lid and using the following list, examine each part inside the toilet tank.

  • The Handle and The Flush Rod: The handle is what you push that commences the flush. Attached to that on in the inside of the tank is a horizontal rod called the flush rod that has a chain connected to it. This will sometimes come apart; a toilet repair, handle tighten or replacement. 
  • The Lift Chain: Expanding from the handle horizontally, the flush rod will lift the attached lift chain. This will open up an outlet on the tank’s bottom, allowing the toilet to flush. The chain will sometimes work its way off the handle needing a minor toilet repair by reconnecting it.
  • The Flapper: When you push the handle, the flush rod lifts the lift chain, which raises a rubber flapper, and that is where the toilet is allowed to flush. The rubber flapper acts as a stopper does in a sink. 
  • The Flush Valve: Inside the tank bottom is a plastic part where that raised rubber flapper is allowing the toilet to flush, it is where the water leaves the tank and feels the toilet bowl. 
  • The Overflow Tube: This part and the flush valve assembly are attached to this, the overflow tube, as a safety measure that prevents water from overflowing from the tank if the water supply valve doesn’t shut off. This is where the “running” toilet is usually repaired. 
  • The Shutoff Valve: On the exterior of the toilet is a pipe for the water supply to the tank. Just above floor level is a shutoff valve. This is your go-to when water is running out of the toilet and you can’t stop it. 
  • The Supply Tube: This is where the water runs through between the shutoff valve and the tailpiece of the water supply from the tank’s bottom. 
  • The Water Supply Valve: Inside the tank is where the water supply valve is located, a vertical assembly that is mounted on tank’s left side and is the center of the toilet’s operation. Fresh water supply comes from this to refill the tank after each flush.  
  • Float Cup: There is a float device inside any supply valve that senses the water level, and with a toilet, it is inside the tank. When the fresh water has filled the tank to the proper level, the float cup shuts the water off. When a toilet is constantly running, a simple toilet repair is to replace this part. 
  • The Refill Tube: In the center of the tank, there is a small tube that clips to the overflow tube. This flexible tube is the refill tube and it allows a trickle of water to the toilet bowl as the tank refills.
  • The Toilet Bowl: It is here where all the human action takes place, the throne! This is bolted to the floor and the curved trap on the back side works the same as the P trap under the sink, preventing sewer gas to fill your house. structure that works just like a sink drain trap. 
  • The Wax Ring: Under the toilet bowl, before it is bolted down, the wax ring is placed to seal u where the toilet bottom and the floor meet. It is watertight, keeps the toilet water from escaping onto the floor. When you have water leaking from here, it is a major toilet repair that needs professional attention that offers toilet repair and installation. 

Can you replace the inside of a toilet?

Anytime a toilet is constantly running, the rubber flapper is usually worn out. There are two gallons of water in a toilet tank 24/7/365, so it isn’t surprising these metal, plastic, and rubber parts wear out.  When they do, they can wreak havoc on a toilet and the water bill. 

This doesn’t mean you need a new toilet though. You can use the above descriptions and follow online videos for “How do you fix a toilet tank?”  and determine which part of parts need replacing, or you can get a kit that will include all the internal tank parts and replace all of the parts. You can do a toilet repair just replacing those specific parts, and it is possible that you need a toilet repair without a flapper.  There are instructions online how to do this as well.  

toilet bowl

Can you replace just the tank of a toilet?

Yes, most toilets are sold with both parts or individually. Visit to your local big box home improvement store and ask an associate for assistance. You’ll need to the brand of the toilet you currently have and if you can’t find the brand name, then take pictures of the entire toilet to show the associate. 

Just how much water should be in your toilet bowl? As you do your own toilet repair, you’ll need to know the answer, so not a strange question.  Inside the toilet tank there should be a mark what is the proper level. If it is faded out and illegible, typically it is one to two inches under the fill valve and  overflow tube. Call 484-366-9362 today for toilet repair in Pottstown, PA.