How Drain Blockages Can Damage Your Home

Written by SLC Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

Most of us know how vital all the elements of in-house plumbing are, but for some reason drain cleaning can often fall through the cracks when discussing standard household maintenance. It’s just water, we think – what’s the worst that could happen? If there’s a bit of hair in there slowing things down, just flush some Drain-O down and everything will be fine, right?

Wrong. Drains can become a serious problem if they’re not properly kept up. Many of our emergency plumbing calls at All Hours Plumbing are for drain-related issues, which can cause everything from major water damage to contamination and major health issues.

What do you need to watch out for with drains, and how can drain maintenance benefit your home?

What Causes Drain Blockages?

You may think you’re being diligent about what gets in your drains, but it’s often tough to keep out many of the elements that can cause clogs over time if left unattended. Various items which can cause blockages include:

  • Food
  • Grease
  • Hair
  • Solid objects
  • Soap scum

If left for too long, the blockages that can be caused by these items can have severe effects. Water damage and flooding are common, and many people have to completely revamp their plumbing system if the blockages take place in pipes deep under the house. Water problems can cause mold and bacteria to form, plus the water itself can be dirty and contaminated in many cases. Many water damage issues even cause problems with the structural foundation of houses.

Problems You Can’t See

Many times, these won’t be problems you’ll see any visible evidence of until it’s too late. Sometimes noticeable drops in water pressure or obvious clogs in a drain won’t show up until the blockage is already virtually complete, and you’ll be lucky if you catch it before it causes significant, expensive damage.

Regular Maintenance

For exactly this reason, regular drain maintenance is vital. Basic preventative checks from an expert plumber like All Hours Plumbing can catch nearly all of these potential problems before they manifest into something much worse. Instead of digging up drain lines amid tree roots in your yard, you’d probably rather pay a much smaller fee for some standard maintenance and avoid the hassle altogether.

All Hours Plumbing is an industry leader in drain maintenance and other plumbing services. Our representative are standing by to assist you.

How Do You Know if Your Furnace is Efficient?

Written by SLC Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

A furnace is one of the most important pieces of technology in your home, especially given cold temperatures in the winter. At this time of year, it’s vital that your furnace is functioning at full capacity and isn’t leaking, cracking or requiring any major repairs to stay useful through the cold season.

At All Hours Plumbing, our professional furnace installation will make sure you’re up to date and set to go for the winter. We also offer professional furnace repair and replacement, and we’ve seen everything there is to see as far as issues with your home’s heating system.

When we’re not around, though, there are a few simple ways you can keep track of certain parts of your furnace’s efficiency and operational status. How, you ask? Let’s take a look.

Heating Efficiency

One of the primary ways to determine how much heating will cost through your furnace is using your furnace’s efficiency. A high furnace efficiency means a larger amount of heat is being provided for a given amount of energy used, where a low efficiency rating means it takes more energy to generate less overall heat.

Efficiency is generally viewed alongside energy costs – for instance, most electric furnaces are very high in efficiency, but because electricity itself costs so much money, the overall cost is still typically pretty high.

How to Measure Efficiency

Furnace efficiency is measured using a score called Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency rating, or AFUE. If a furnace is rated with a 75 percent AFUE score, that means 25 percent of the energy used in the furnace is lost, and the other 75 actually turns into heat for your home. The higher the number, the better the rating.

Identifying Older or Out-of-Date Units

Many older furnaces won’t have AFUE ratings, either because the information was removed or because it was never required when the furnace was made.

For these furnaces, the pilot light will be a key indicator. Furnaces with continuous pilot lights are likely older, as are furnaces which are gravity-based. These are usually only between 55 and 70 percent efficient.

Replace the Furnace?

If your AFUE score falls in a certain range, it might be time to consider replacing your furnace. Here are the recommended ranges for a few common types of furnaces:

  • Weatherized gas furnaces: 81 percent
  • Weatherizes oil furnaces: 78 percent
  • Mobile home oil furnaces: 75 percent
  • Electric furnaces: 78 percent
  • Gas-fired hot water boilers: 82 percent
  • Oil-fired hot water boilers: 84 percent
  • Oil-fired steam boilers: 82 percent

Want to lean more? All Hours Plumbing is a premier plumber in Utah, and we’re experts in furnace installation, repair and replacement.

Things You Can Do to Prolong the Life of Your Furnace

Written by SLC Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

Do you look forward to the day when you will have to pay to replace your furnace, or a time when you can spend a few days shivering in your house while you wait for furnace repair? For more people the answer to these questions is probably no. The bad news is that no furnace can last forever, but the good news is that there are some things every homeowner can do to prolong the life of a furnace, putting off the time that you will need to buy a new one.

Regular Checkups

Just like those annual checkups you schedule with your physician, a furnace needs some regular maintenance to stay in good working condition. The best time to get a tune-up is before the coldest months of winter, since your local HVAC technician will get busier with emergency calls as winter weather sets in. Make sure you work with a repairman from a certified heating and cooling company in Salt Lake City who can provide quality service for your furnace.

Use Only As Needed

The more you use your furnace, the sooner it will wear out. That doesn’t mean you should turn off your heater and spend the winter completely frozen, but it does mean you should be conscious of using it only when needed. The best way is to install a programmable thermostat that will allow you to turn the temperature down when you’re at school or work, and while you’re asleep at night, and turn the heat back up when you are home.

Keep Filters Clean

The furnace filter is perhaps the easiest thing to forget, but one of the easiest (and least expensive) ways to prolong the life of your appliance. A furnace filter traps dirt and debris coming from the outside and prevents it from getting into furnace ducts. Over time that dirt builds up and impedes the flow of air, cause inefficiency that makes your furnace work extra hard to produce a comfortable temperature. Replace furnace filters often for maximum airflow.

Prevent Air Leaks

If your furnace is working well, but all the hot air pumped into your home’s ducts leaks out somewhere between the furnace and the destination rooms, you’ll spend a lot of extra money to get enough heat to the living areas of your home, which wears out your furnace a lot sooner. Have an HVAC technician help you seal your ductwork to prevent leaks and improve efficiency, prolonging the life of your furnace.

Whether you notice a spike in your heating bills or simply notice that your furnace isn’t performing the way it should, call a furnace repair company right away to help you get it tuned up and ready for another winter. The more preventive maintenance you can do, the longer your furnace will last before needing to be replaced.

Signs That Indicate a Problem with Your Water Heater

Written by SLC Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

Taking a cold shower is never much fun, but taking several cold showers in the middle of the freezing cold winter because your water heater goes out is certainly a lot less fun for you and your family. Rather than trying to deal with a water heater emergency, check for these common signs there might be a problem and get a water heater repairman out to your house as soon as possible.

Limited Hot Water Volume

Obviously if you have no hot water there is a problem with your water heater, but a more subtle indicator that there might be a problem coming is not having enough hot water to make it through your family’s regular usage. If you find that after a couple of showers, running the dishwasher or doing a load of laundry that you’re already running out of hot water, call for water heater inspection and repair. It could be that your appliance has excess mineral deposits or other buildup in the bottom of the tank, reducing efficiency and leaving less room for warm water, and needs to be flushed.

Wild Swings in Water Temperature

Water heaters can be adjusted to find the ideal temperature, but if your water temps are changing from not that warm to scalding hot without you making any adjustments, it might be a sign that there is an issue with your water heater. When your appliance is unable to properly regulate temperature and deliver the right level of heat in your water, call a plumber for water heater repair.

Strange Noises in the Basement

Your water heater can’t be blamed for all those noises down in the basement, but if you hear popping, crackling, banging, or gurgling noises coming from the water heater it’s time to call a plumber. That usually means sediment is building up at the bottom of the tank, and too much sediment that is banging around could become dangerous. Some homeowners are tempted to try and flush the tank themselves, but if the sediment pieces are large they could clog the drain valve.

A boiling or “gurgling” noise could also be a sign of pressure buildup inside the appliance, which should not be ignored. Call a plumber for inspection immediately to avoid any complications.

Unnatural Colors and Smells

Sometimes a failing water heater is something you’ll notice with your other senses—smell, sight, and taste. If your water heater’s anode rod needs to be replaced and it comes in contact with high-sulfate water it can produce that “rotten egg” smell and may also cause the water to come out rust-colored. If running the water for a few seconds doesn’t get rid of the smell or color, call a plumber right away. In addition, if you notice a distinct metallic taste in your hot water, that’s usually a sign of the water heater failing.

Old Age

This isn’t necessarily something you will notice about your water heater, but if you know that the appliance is more than 10 years old, its efficiency is probably declining, and chances are it’s getting close to the end of its useful life. Proper maintenance each year from a qualified plumber in Salt Lake City can help keep it working well in the meantime, and also help you get a good estimate of when it will be time for water heater replacement so it won’t take you by surprise.

A Salt Lake City plumber can provide regular maintenance for your water heater, repair services when there is a problem, and eventually water heater replacement as well.

The Problems With Water Damage

Written by SLC Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

As we’re in the time of year where household plumbing maintenance is most important, water leaks and their resulting effects are a common topic of conversation. One of the primary purposes of yearly plumbing maintenance is to avoid water damage and related issues, and we specialize in this area at All Hours Plumbing.

If you’ve done a good job with your maintenance over the years, chances are you’ve never had to come face to face with some of the biggest issues that can arise through major water damage. How is water damaged classified, and what risks might you be at if you don’t take proper precautions?

Causes of Water Damage

Water damage in the home can be caused by a number of different factors, including the following:

  • Leaking pipes or dishwashers
  • Clogged toilets
  • Broken hoses
  • Overflowing washing machines or dishwashers
  • Leaky roofs
  • Cracks in the foundation of the home
  • Floods, or heavy snowfall or rainfall

Categories and Classes

Water damage is generally separated into categories and classes based on the type of water involved in the damage and the water damage repair that may be necessary. For types of water, categories are used:

  • Category 1: Clean water which does not pose a threat to human health, usually from sinks, dishwashers or your water heater
  • Category 2: Gray water that’s contaminated and can cause sickness or death, usually from toilets or sewage runoff
  • Category 3: Black water that’s fully unsanitary and may contain bacteria

When assessing overall damage and repairs that may be needed, classes are used:

  • Class 1: Least harmful, materials have absorbed much of the damage
  • Class 2: More serious, requires a fast rate of evaporation. Usually involving carpets or cushions
  • Class 3: For issues like broken sprinklers or overhead water sources, involves the fastest evaporation rate
  • Class 4: Special water restoration and removal procedures are needed, and can affect hardwood floors, plaster and concrete

Health Issues

Water damage can have mild to severe health effects if not treated properly and immediately in most cases. Some of these issues can include:

  • Mold
  • Bacteria growth
  • Increased risk of respiratory disease
  • Increased allergy and asthma symptoms
  • Further issues for people with weak immune systems

As one of the premier plumber services in Utah, we’ve seen every water damage issue imaginable at All Hours Plumbing. Our technicians are available 24 hours a day to help with any of these or other plumbing issues you may have.

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