Posts

Plumbing Tip: Be Careful of What You Put Down Your Sewer Line

Be Careful of What You Put Down Your Sewer Line

What You Should Never Put Down Your Drains? What are the Signs Your Sewer Line May Be Damaged? on this article?
In this article we will answer to those and other questions.

A particularly wasteful week at the house results in heavier trash bags piled on our curb. It’s unappealing, and perhaps makes us more conscious of what we do and don’t throw out.
Sewer Line
Our plumbing, on the other hand, tends to be a different story. Whether washing the dishes or flushing baby wipes down the toilet, it is not uncommon to neglect our sewer lines. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

The fallacy that our drains and pipes act as another trash can causes a great deal of damage to plumbing systems. In fact, sewer lines can be the most expensive portion of plumbing expenses for maintenance, repairs and replacement. Because of this, it is important to be conscious of what you put down your sewer line. The environmental implications and damage caused to pipes are too critical to ignore.

What You Should Never Put Down Your Drains

Generally, the rule of thumb is to only flush toilet paper and wash down environmentally safe soaps and shampoos. Even with a garbage disposal, food waste can cause buildup resulting in failure to your sewer lines. If you are ever in doubt of what can go down your sink or toilet, opt for the trash can.

Some commonly flushed and drained items that can cause serious damage to your sewer lines include:

  • FOG (fats, oils and grease)
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Medications
  • Egg shells
  • Paper towels
  • Coffee grounds
  • Cat litter (even if it says “flushable”)
  • Car fluids
  • Paint
  • Cleaning liquids
  • Cotton balls
  • Condoms
  • Fibrous foods
  • Stickers found on produce

Additionally, you should always read and follow instructions for discarding chemicals of any kind.

Signs Your Sewer Line May Be Damaged

Although there may be many contributing factors to sewer line damage beyond improper waste flushing, such as an old system or tree growth interference, there are some symptoms to watch for that indicate your sewer line may be damaged, including:

  • Smelling sewer gas odors
  • Slow draining
  • Mold growth
  • Septic waste pooling in your yard
  • Sewage backup and blocks
  • Insects and rodents appearing in your home and around your house
  • Cracks in your home’s foundation
  • Sinkholes
  • Lush patches of grass near your leach field

If you notice any of these symptoms or signs, it is imperative you seek professional plumbing help immediately. Catching these issues earlier rather than later can save you a great deal of money and time, as replacing sewer lines can be expensive and time-consuming.

Do You Think You May Have an Issue with Your Sewer Line?

Whether your system was mistreated or your pipes are old and susceptible to cracks and leaks, contact a professional plumber for guidance and assistance. Stalling will only result further damage.

At Moon Valley Plumbing, we have over two decades of experience. Owner Travis Mingle and his team are not only experts in the field, they are also known throughout the valley for honesty, professionalism and dedication.

If you’re concerned about your sewer line, contact Moon Valley Plumbing today at (480) 588-1926.

We’re honest. We’re affordable. We’re good.

Plumbing Tip: Don’t Forget to Flush Your Water Heater

Plumbing Tip: Don’t Forget to Flush Your Water Heater

Don’t Forget to Flush Your Water Heater

Water heaters enable the luxury of warm water and hot showers with only the turn of a handle. These typically cylinder-shaped systems are often tucked in the basement corner, made of steel and insulated to retain heat. While water heaters are generally low-maintenance, it is crucial to flush your them regularly.

Flush Your Water

Flushing Your Water Heater: Why It’s Important

Water heaters hold a large volume of water inside its tank. Overtime, iron sediment settles to the bottom and can stir up whenever the bathtub or washing machine is used, causing an unappealing discoloration of the water. In order to control the buildup of mineral deposits and to optimize the operating efficiency and life of the heater, it is important to to flush this system regularly (source).

When You Should Flush Your Water Heater

Generally, it is recommended that you flush your water heater annually (source); however, the recurrence of your maintenance will depend on your water heater model and your home’s water source. If your water heater is getting older or if you just moved into your home, it’s a good idea to flush your water heater right away to assess its quality. Additionally, if you have a water softener that uses salt, it is necessary to flush your water heater at least once a year or once every six months.

How to Flush Your Water Heater

If you wish to flush your water heater yourself, there are quite a few steps to follow:

  1. Locate the and disable the main power source of your water heater

An electrical heater will be powered by a breaker or fuse box, whereas a gas heater will use a thermostat.

For a breaker box: disable the circuit that powers your electrical water heater. If you are unsure which branch circuit breaker this is, you may turn off the main circuit breaker. Remember, if you do this, the power in your home will be off throughout this procedure.

For a fuse box: remove the fuse box powering the water heater. This fuse box will have a handle that may be hot, so be careful when pulling it closed.

For a thermostat: turn the setting to “pilot” on the gas heater.

  1. Turn off the cold water inlet into the water heater

The shut off valve will be located at the top of the tank. If you have a ball valve, this will simply close with a quarter-turn, whereas a gate valve will take more rotations to shut completely.

  1. Turn on the hot water spigot in your sink
  1. Attach a garden hose to the tank’s valve

This valve will be located at the bottom of your heater.

  1. Place the draining end of the hose in a safe location

Because the water dispensed from the hose will be extremely hot, make sure to place the end of your garden hose in a safe location, such as a sink, outdoor drain or driveway.

  1. With the pressure relief valve open, open the water heater’s drain valve
  1. Let the water run

After a several minutes, if the water appears clear and has cooled, use a drinking glass to collect the running water. Once the water settles in the glass, look for any remaining sediment.

If the water is still clouded, continue flushing until it is clear. If for some reason the tank empties before the water appears clear, turn your cold water supply on and partially fill the tank to continue flushing.

  1. Close the drain valve

Disconnect the garden hose, turn off the hot water spigot and turn on the cold water inlet to the tank.

  1. Power-up

Finally, turn on your water supply to let the tank refill. Reopen the pressure relief valve slowly, closing it once any compressed air has vacated. Close the water heater drain, only turning on the water supply once the hot water starts running; at this point it is safe to turn on the power source again.

Need Some Guidance?

Many opt for professional service when it comes time to flush a water heater. If your schedule is too busy, the process seems overwhelming or if you stumbled upon problems, Moon Valley Plumbing is here to help. Contact us today for assistance!

Energy Efficient Requirements For Your Water Heater

The price of a new water heater will go up on April 16th

As a plumbing company, the cost of water heaters is something we think about every day. After all, it’s our business, and one of the things we specialize in here at Moon Valley Plumbing. So, while we’re kind of wondering who chose April 16th – income tax day – as a good time to impose the new energy requirements on water heaters that will raise their prices – we’re not going to ask that question – we’ll just tell you to get ready for it – because it’s coming!

If your water heater will need replacing soon – why not buy a new one now & save some money?

Right now it’s impossible to tell exactly how much the prices for water heaters will go up; but it’s going to impact all electric, gas, and oil water heaters, as well as their installation costs. We’re very much into saving our customers some money, so here’s a tip: if your water heater is already about 8 to 10 years old, it’s going to need replacing soon anyway, so why not buy one of the current models now, before the prices go up. You’ll save money on the price, and you won’t have to deal with higher cost of replacing or installing it again for another 10 years.

How are the water heater standards changing – & what does it mean to homeowners & renters?

Here are some things that will be affected and why, and what they will mean to manufactures, builders, and you as a consumer:

More insulation required means changes in size of water heaters, and output

In order to comply with the new federal standards, water heater manufacturers will have to alter their equipment designs to improve the insulation for all water heaters, both gas and electric. This means that water heaters manufactured after April 16th, 2015, will either be significantly bigger, or – if their circumference remains the same – the hot water capacity will decrease by as much as 10%. This will result in higher manufacturing costs, which will be passed on to consumers.

Installation space requirements will increase – water heaters may need to be moved

Current homes have been designed and constructed with smaller spaces for water heaters that fit the current standards. For the new, larger water heaters, those spaces may have to be enlarged, or the water heater may have to be moved to another area if it doesn’t fit. This raises the cost of installation, which will mean that installation costs for water heaters will rise.

Changes will affect buildings with multiple units the most

Apartment complexes & condos will likely be hit the hardest, which will affect renters and the cost of rent. The older floor plans in these buildings don’t have any kind of extra space built in the way stand-alone homes do, so the larger tanks that will be required may not fit, and there’s nowhere else they can be moved. This means that apartment/condo owners may have to switch out their tank water heaters for a tankless water heater system, and that’s a bigger cost up front.

The new water heater standards will save both money & the planet in the long run

Change is never easy, even when it’s positive. And while we want to save our customers money wherever we can, we’re also very much into energy conservation here at Moon Valley Plumbing. So, while we want you to know that even though it’s going to cost a little more money up front, the good news is that the new energy standards for water heaters will mean savings of approximately $63 billion on long-term hot water costs from 2015 through 2044. And the even better news is that – for our planet and our children – these new standards will prevent 172.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from being released into the atmosphere. That’s the equivalent of the emissions that 33.8 billion automobiles would put out!

That alone is reason enough to make a change for the better!

Though the new regulations for water heaters will impact the manufactures and builders this year, it’s likely you won’t notice it the way we will at Moon Valley Plumbing, but we wanted you to know anyway. As a matter of fact, if you’re a homeowner, you might not even become aware of it until you find yourself in a cold shower some morning – when that old water heater finally gives out. But no matter what you’re dealing with – a hot water heater that needs fixing, replacing, or upgrading – Moon Valley Plumbing has your back!

TRAVIS SAYS – even if it’s an EMERGENCY – don’t go out and buy the first WATER HEATER you see! Take the time to choose….

If your dishwasher, or maybe your microwave breaks and needs to be replaced, well – you can get by for a day or two without those. You wash your dishes by hand, you cook on your stove, ok, it’s do-able. It may be a little inconvenient, but it’s no big deal (in spite of what your kids may say). You can take a little time (though not too much!) to do some research and figure out which type, kind, and model you need – and then decide where you want to buy it so you can get the best deal.

But when a family’s hot water heater goes down – that’s a different matter all together. No hot water and it’s all hands on deck and man the lifeboats because – Houston – we’ve got a problem!There are some appliances in a home that may not need to be purchased or replaced immediately, but your hot water heater isn’t one of them. Life gets pretty tough when three kids (and the dog!) all need a bath, there are 8 baskets of laundry backed up, and your family is eating pop tarts for dinner because there aren’t any clean plates.

It’s amazing how a little thing like no hot water can bring life to a screeching halt, isn’t it?

Water heaters chug along pretty reliably, until – they don’t. Warning signs that they’re ailing or reaching the end of their life span are easy to miss. So when we get a call that a water heater needs to be replaced, it’s often “as soon as possible,” but preferably – yesterday. When this is the case, it can be difficult to do the research or take the time to choose your new water heater wisely. Particularly if you had a cold shower that morning.

But we’d like to urge you to – please – don’t go out and buy the first water heater you see. Here are our recommendations for what do you want to consider in purchasing a new water heater:

Size
The size of your home and the size of your family is, of course, the most important thing in determining what kind of water heater to get. Even though there are guidelines for how many gallons per hour, etc. – there are other considerations, of course. For instance, if you have a family of four, but one of them is a teenager, you may need the same size water heater that a family of 8 would use. This is just an observation, based on experience. And having a teenager.

Where you live
The first considerations are going to be where you live. Thanks to our mild winters, and oven-like summers, a home in Arizona will use less energy to heat – well, actually – just about anything in the course of a year. This will certainly affect the type of water heater and insulation you need.

Location
Older homes built smaller areas where water heaters were installed; safety and wall distance issues may dictate what kind of the water heater you can get. Also – sometimes there has been an addition to a home, and that needs to be factored in as well.

Current system – gas or electric?
Of course, how your house is already set up – whether it runs on gas or electricity, may be one of the main determining factors. However, we have noticed a trend in all-electric homes toward installing gas lines so it’s possible to switch to a gas water heater. Long-term lower cost and energy efficiency often make this an attractive option. If you’re going to be in the home for awhile, it might be time to look at installing a gas water heating system.

Cost
While cost is always an issue, of course, this is one place where skimping doesn’t pay off in the long run. We’d like to encourage you to get the best water heater your budget can afford.

Energy efficient?
Given the energy crisis and Arizona’s drought issues – it’s not just important – it’s crucial to look into high energy efficient water heating systems. Not only is it the right thing to do, you also get a water heater with an Energy Star rating. There are rebates and tax credits possible to help defray the cost through 2016.

Storage or tankless?
Storage water heaters are the most common, and the ones most people are familiar with. They have a tank that holds anywhere from 30 to 80 gallons of water, and the tank is heated by either gas or electricity. Storage tanks stay hot continuously, even when not being used. Tankless, on the other hand, will heat water only as needed, without storing it or heating all the time, and they also run on either gas or electric. The difference is that a storage water heating system is less expensive up front, but will cost more to run, while a tankless water heater is more expensive up front, but will ultimately cost less and be more energy efficient in the long run.

These are the considerations to start with, but if you’re already feeling overwhelmed about which water heater to choose – don’t be. Here at Moon Valley Plumbing – water heaters are one of the things we specialize in! We’ll take the time to sit down with you and help you understand the pro’s and con’s of all the different makes and models on the market today, so you can make not only an informed decision – but the best decision for your family’s needs.

We have years of experience in working on and installing only the best, top-quality water heaters on the market today, and our recommendations are always based on the brands and models we know work the best. That means we’re not going to tell you which kind to get, but we will help you make the choice you’re happy with. We aren’t in the business of selling a particular water heater, but we are in the business of helping our customers figure out which is the best water heating system for their needs. And then – we can get it installed for you – fast – so you can get your life back on track!

Harnessing the Heat

Sometimes in July or August, we who called the Valley of the Sun our home, might think, “Of all the places we could live why do we live in an oven?” Well because it is a dry heat or because the winters are so beautiful or because the sunsets are very spectacular. Whether it is work, family or a hatred of snow that keeps you residing in the great state of Arizona, your reasons are unique to you; but the sun and the heat and the sunburns are things that we all share.

Harvesting the sun’s vibrant energy has been a constant movement in many of today’s industries and also in the plumbing community; of all the states in the USA, solar water heaters in Arizona, almost seems like common sense. The government has offered many incentives to homeowners to make the installation of a solar water heater attractive. Here is a look at 3 of them:

One federally funded program, on the state level is, the Residential Energy Conservation Subsidy Exclusion, this program allows you to exclude from your gross income the cost of purchasing and installing an energy conservative unit in your residence. The Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit also provides incentives for solar water heaters by providing, on your income taxes, a credit of 30% of the total system cost until the year 2016. The Federal Energy-Efficient Mortgages offers homeowners the option to take advantage of financing options for energy efficient improvements to their existing homes.

If you are a homeowner, something to think about also is that adding energy efficient appliances to your home is an attractive feature in this housing market (especially when you get a little incentive from the government) and can help boost up the buying-power of your home when it comes time to sell.

Moon Valley Plumbing has been working, living and thriving in the desert heat for the past two decades and we know how the sun can work in our favor when it comes to solar water heaters. There are some encouraging factors for homeowners to think about and look into as well when it comes to choosing between a gas, electric or solar water heater. Moon Valley Plumbing offers a wide selection of high-quality water heaters and is ready and able to provide excellent services to all your hot water needs. Many things come and go, but the heat and the enjoyment of a hot shower, even in Glendale, Phoenix or any part of the desert are here to stay.

Picking the Right Water Heater

Picking the Right Water Heater

In all our years of servicing Arizona residents’ plumbing needs, we’ve noticed a trend.  People often spend more time picking the right dishwasher or even coffee maker than they do their water heater.

But choosing the right water heater from the myriad of choices on the market today is actually important when it comes to the longevity and efficiency of your system.
Water Heater
So what are the big factors to consider in such a purchase?

Warranties

Top water heater manufacturers are not afraid to offer a five-year warranty on their products, and a good warranty is solid assurance that you won’t be left hanging in an emergency.  Most of the major brands offer warranties, but be sure to look over your documents carefully to make sure you are getting five years’ coverage on parts and the tank – and that you’ll be covered with repair or replacement for every foreseeable issue.

Know Your Specs

Next, you should understand what to buy based on the specifications of your home. You’ll need to know what size and configuration you’ll need, and this is based on the size of your home and the number of people living there. You don’t want to under-supply or over-supply for your particular needs.  The professionals at Moon Valley Plumbing can consult with you about all the factors related to your family’s needs. Many people think that because the 30-gallon tank wasn’t working so well, they obviously need a 40-gallon tank for the new install.  This isn’t necessarily true.  A bigger goal, in some cases, is to have the unit heat the water more rapidly than the old unit. We use a term called “first hour recovery,” which takes into consideration the amount of water a tank can hold with what it can heat in one hour.  This provides a meaningful comparison between brands.

Solid Options

Two good options we’ve found in our industry are American Proline and Bradford White. These brands offer electric, gas, high efficiency, tankless, and eternal units, all depending on what your needs are. They provide greater longevity and efficiency than several others we’ve worked with over the years.

In essence, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes to educate yourself on this important purchase. And the team at Moon Valley Plumbing would love to sit down with you and lay out your best options.