Is It Time to Replace Your Water Heater

Home Residential Hot Water Tank ChicagoMost people don’t pay attention to their water heater until there’s no hot water in their shower or their basement floor is flooded. At that point, you only have two decisions. Should you repair or replace?

If the water heater is old, near the end of a 10 or 13 year life span then you obviously need to replace it. New models can save energy. They’re 20 percent more efficient than the older storage tank water heaters. Over the life of a unit, newer models can save as much as $700 in energy costs.

If your water heater is fairly new, then you may want to repair. However, there may also be reasons to replace. There are some things you should consider before making the decision.

Diagnosing Water Heater Troubles

The process of heating water with a conventional water heater is simple. The cold water comes into the tank and heated a gas burner or electric element. The thermostat on the tank regulates the water temperate which ranges from 120 to 140 degrees. The heated water builds pressure in the tank which send hot water to the faucet when you turn the tap.

Because this process only uses a few moving part, there are only a few things that can go wrong with your water heater.

– A gas heater’s pilot light can go out.
– An electric water heater can trip the circuit breaker.
– The gas burner or electric element can fail.
– The thermostat can break.
– A valve can stick.

These repairs can be relatively inexpensive. If you determine these are the problems causing your water heater not to work, a plumber can easily fix these problems for around $150 to $300.

However, if the tank if over 10 years old or if it’s leaking, you should look into buying a new water heater.

Replacement May Be Your Only Choice

Water heaters corrode over time. The minerals in water react to the steel tank and weaken the metal. When there is a leak coming from your tank, there is no way to repair it.

Luckily modern tanks are more efficient. The newer models have foam insulation between the outer shells and inner lining which means the tanks retain more heat. Glass liners put an end to the corrosion associated with steel tank liners.

A new water heater may cost you $500 to $1,500, including installation. However, this new high-efficiency model may save you as much as 20 percent on your annual energy costs.

You can find bigger savings by investing in a tankless heater, heat pump or solar water heating system. These types of systems also qualify for federal tax credits. Some of these tax credits expired at the end of 2011, however others do not run out until 2016. While these products may cost up to 5 times more than a conventional unit, over time they may save you money. Think carefully before choosing these types of systems.

The Hidden Cost of Water Heaters

Even when replacing a water heater, installation of the new system may not be as simple as just hauling out the old tank and hooking up the new one. Some building codes may require certain upgrades before the new tank can be installed. These may include the following:

– A water heater mount
– Changing the size or type of ventilation system
– Putting a drain pan under the water heater
– Changing the supply pipes

Before getting a new tank installed, you should ask the installer if there will be extra costs.

If you plan on installing the tank yourself, the manufacturers supply detailed installation instructions with the tank. But, you’ll need to check with your local building department about local codes. Make sure the water and gas or electric are all turned off before beginning installation. Also make sure you vent the gas units before removing them.

Water Heater Maintenance

Whether you keep the old unit or get a new one, you need to maintain your water heater in order to make it perform better. Flush the water tank once a year, this will remove any sediment int he tank which will allow the unit to operate more efficiently and save you money.

You’ll want to check the anode rod, or sacrificial rod, every three years. THis is the probe that is inside that tank. Over time, it can collect corrosive elements and may need to be replaced. This is a quick repair which costs about $30.

By keeping on top of your tank maintenance, you can keep your water heater in top condition. Hopefully, that will extend its life so you don’t have to worry about replacing it anytime soon.

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Tips to Unclog a Sump Pump

Main Water Pump
If your sump pump is in good working order it can be an invaluable asset to keep your home safe and dry. It will work efficiently to clear the water from the basement, crawlspace or other low lying areas of your property which could be vulnerable during the wet weather. If your sump pump isn’t working properly it could mean that either the inlet has become plugged or that the outlet pipe is plugged – neither is good.

Here’s what to do if your sump pump needs to be unclogged.

1 – Check over the discharge pipe outlet. Some of these outlets are positioned pretty low to the ground and can become clogged up with dirt, debris, balls, toys, twigs and other stuff.

2 – If your discharge pipe outlet is blocked up then remove the offending article – job done. If not you’ll have to investigate the matter a little further.

3 – The next course of action is to unplug the pump and the float so that it is not connected to the electrical outlet.

4 – Now you can safely remove the basin lid from the sump.

5 – Take a good look at the small area where the water goes into the pump. You may need to use a flashlight or some sort of head lamp to get a good, clear view. If you still can’t get a clear view then you may have to lift the pump from the pit and place it within a bucket or similar in order to keep the floor dry.

6 – Discard any debris which may be blocking up the inlet.

7 – Don’t be afraid to really get stuck in and scoop out all of the dirt, silt and debris from the sump. You may find that dirt is sticking to the sump basin lining too – wipe that out with an old cloth.

8 – Now you can replace the sump pump into the basic being careful that it’s level, in the center and that the sump is firmly resting on the ground.

9 – Plug it back in and keep your fingers crossed.

10 – Now it’s time for the water test. Pour 4 or 5 gallons of water in and see if the float triggers the on/off switch to check whether it is now working efficiently. Then pour in another bucket load of water and see if that’s cleared – if it does then bingo – you’ve done a great job.

11 – Now you can put the lid back on.

Now that you know how to clear unclog a sump pump you’ll never have to worry about a wet basement again.

If you need a plumber in the Chicago Area? Call Us 312-967-4701.

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7638 S. Peoria 2nd Floor

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Home Plumbing Tips

Home Plumbing Tips

The plumbing system in your home is made up of two basic systems, bringing water into the home for drinking, washing, and bathing, and taking water out of the home, such as waste water, drainage, and sewage.

So if you look at the plumbing system of your home as the circulatory system, you would be on track in describing what it is and how it works. Most of the time you won’t even think about your home’s plumbing system, until you have a malfunction, and then you will probably have some decisions to make.

If you have absolutely no knowledge about the plumbing system of your home, you will probably be calling the nearest plumber out of your phone listings, when you have a problem. Most of the time people have stopped up or clogged drains, and they are at a loss as to what to do.

In some cases, drains can be unclogged by using drain cleaner that you can purchase at the hardware or home improvement store. If it is just a simple hair and soap clog in the bathroom sink, that might work and it is worth a try. A bathroom sink will accumulate soap, toothpaste and hair in the trap, the part of the pipe below the sink, and most drain cleaner contain caustic materials that will dissolve those items and clear things out.

A sink clog will usually be a gradual evolving of the problem, where the water goes down the drain more slowly each time you run the water. A simple sink snake will also bust through a clog like that and move things on.

Problems with clogs that you cannot fix as readily, can occur farther on down the line, as toilet paper, kids toys, and any number of things can get bottled up in the plumbing lines. With those kinds of clogs, a plumber will have to be summoned.

It is wise for any homeowner to learn how to unclog basic clogs, how to fix the inward parts of toilets, how to install a toilet, and how to attempt to unclog a kitchen sink with a snake. They should also learn how to take apart a trap under a sink and clean it out, which is the problem in many cases.

If, however you have leaky pipes in the basement, or you get serious clogs that defy all manner of attempts to rectify the situation, you may have to call a plumber or a rooter company to use their commercial length power snakes to get the job done. The leaky pipe situation deserves a plumber’s look simply because you are going to be dealing with more of the plumbing system than you really know about. A professional is needed in order to diagnose and correct the problem properly.

Plumbers also replace showers, bathtubs, shower fittings, sink replacements, and overall pipe and drain problems that occur anywhere in your house. If you have any questions or problems that you don’t feel competent in handling yourself, don’t hesitate to call a plumber to get a professional opinion.

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Chicago | Naperveille |

Neighborhoods In Chicago:

Chatham 60619

Unclogging A Tub

Clearing an unclogged tub is generally a task that can be completed by a home owner. Certain jobs around the home do not require the assistance of a professional unless the problem goes out of hand. There are a range of options available to those who are taking on such a job on their own. These methods include both the use of external materials or specific methods with how the tap is run.

A clogged toilet can happen to the best of us. When faced with this situation, there are several tricks you can try to unclog the toilet.

Before you get started, it is helpful to understand how the toilet works. In it’s simplest form, when you flush, the water in the tank is drained into the bowl. As water rushes into the bowl, the water level in the bowl begins to rise. The wastewater is then siphoned down the siphon tube and the toilet flushes. After the waste has been sucked from the bowl, the tank begins to refill for the next use.

If you flush the toilet and this simple process doesn’t work, odds are good you have a clog. When you notice your toilet is stopped up, before you try anything, the most important step to remember is to never flush the toilet more than once. Doing so will typically result in an overflow and make the unclogging process more difficult than it needs to be. If you have managed to keep your toilet from overflowing, the following steps can help unclog the bowl.

Pour Water Into the Bowl
Sometimes, to loosen a clog or flush when the water level is low, pouring a gallon of hot water down the toilet can alleviate the problem. Holding the water at about waist height, carefully but forcefully, pour the contents directly into the toilet bowl. When you do this, you are imitating the same events as when you normally flush. The rush of water causes the water level to rise and initiates the siphon so the clog can be sucked down the sewer drain.

Use a Plunger
While there are several types of plungers available at your local hardware store, the type with a funnel cup at the bottom is best. This type is specifically designed for the toilet because it helps to create a better seal. Sometimes they can be rather stiff which makes a tight seal more difficult. To fix this, run the plunger under hot water for a few minutes; that is usually enough to soften the rubber.

When plunging the toilet, be careful to make your first plunge slowly. Plunging too fast can cause water from the toilet bowl to shoot out and around your bathroom. It is also important that as you plunge, the focus be on the pulling, not pushing. The goal is to loosen the obstruction so the toilet can drain.

Use an Auger
For extra stubborn clogs, augers can do what a plunger can’t. Sometimes called a snake, augers help clear blockages by targeting the hard to reach areas of your toilet. They work by either hooking the clog so it can be pulled out, or help by pushing it through the pipe and down the drain. Sometimes people will suggest a coat hanger as a replacement for an auger. This is never a good idea because you risk causing more damage than good with this technique. Additionally, augers come in electric models, but should only be operated by a professional plumber.

Avoid Using Harsh Chemical Products
Over-the-counter remedies such as Drano® and Liquid Plumr® are harsh chemical products that can sometimes clear a clog quickly, however they can cause damage to fixtures and pipes that may not be immediately apparent, yet could have sustaining negative impacts such as leaks and pipe corrosion and result in future pipe and property damage. Read More

Really Helpful Plumbing Advice For The Novice DIY Plumber

Plumbing Advice For The Novice DIY Plumber

Find a SouthSide of Chicago PlumberYou may think plumbing is really complex, but you would be wrong. With the right skills and the right tools, simple plumbing jobs are easy to do. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of finding good tools and deciding which jobs you can tackle on your own. Read on to learn more.

Find Great Ways To Learn About Plumbing

The best thing you can do is get a basic book on simple plumbing repairs. Study it and keep it close at hand for reference. You can also find great articles, advice and videos online to help you out. Do be sure to avoid tackling a problem without a clue or just giving up and letting it be. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and you will surely be able to figure out how to manage your plumbing problem if you try.

Don’t Take On More Than You Can Really Handle

Some plumbing problems are too difficult to tackle alone. If you don’t know how to fix something, don’t try! You may make matters worse! Instead, apply yourself to finding an excellent plumber to help you out. Do a thorough search to find an honest plumber who offers fair prices. You are best off to find your good plumber before emergency strikes so that you aren’t rushing around trying to find a plumber at odd hours or in the middle of an extreme situation.

It’s smartest to ask around and do some online research to find a reliable plumber when your plumbing is in good shape. You’ll want to find someone you feel comfortable working with and having in your home. The plumber you choose should have good recommendations and maybe even offer you a free inspection to get started!

Invest A Little Time And A Little Money In Good Tools

If you want to take care of some of your own plumbing and maintenance, you will need decent tools. Your local home supply store may have great sales seasonally and especially after the holidays. Determine what you need by reading your how-to book, looking it up online or just talking it over with the staff at the home improvement store.

Use Your Head When A Plumbing Emergency Strikes

Remember to keep a cool head when dealing with plumbing matters. For example, if you notice a leak remember that the first thing you should do is shut off the water. This will save you a lot of complications and excessive water damage. If you do end up with water damage, be sure to hire a professional water cleanup service to take care of it for you. This will ensure that the water is thoroughly removed and you won’t face hidden damages later.

Good Preparation And Smart Decision Making Are Important Aspects Of DIY Plumbing

Clearly, doing simple plumbing jobs yourself is entirely possible. Remember that finding a good plumber and knowing when to call upon him or her is an important part of taking care of your plumbing repair problems. Follow the tips presented here to stay on top of plumbing problems and save money.

Related: Water problems Solved by Midwest Pros.

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