After 30 years as the top plumbers in Los Angeles County, we’ve heard just about every plumbing question imaginable. We’ve collected the most common ones so we could share the answers with anyone who may need them.
Is PEX Better Than Copper for My Home?
Copper was once the top choice for all water supply pipes, but it’s seen some competition recently from flexible pipes made from cross-linked polyethylene⎯or PEX for short. While copper still plays an important role in water pipes for new construction, PEX is quickly becoming the preference for remodeling and retrofitting.
Both copper and PEX have their tradeoffs. Copper pipes have a longer lifespan, lasting between 50 to 70 years on average. By comparison, PEX pipes are expected to last 30 to 50 years. PEX pipes break down faster if they carry extremely hot water (180 degrees Fahrenheit or higher) or water with high levels of chlorine. Copper pipes are damaged by highly acidic water. Copper pipes work well when hooked up to a municipal water system. Households using well water can have local county extension offices test their water to determine which pipe type will be best for a retrofit.
In remodeling projects, most plumbers favor PEX. It’s pliable and can easily be snaked through walls and floors without cutting them open. Copper, on the other hand, is rigid and must be cut and fitted to follow the desired path. Drywall needs to be cut out to lay the pipe as well, adding to the time and cost of the project.
Why Are My Water Bills Increasing?
Rising water bills could be a sign of a leak. A common source that’s easy to check is your toilet. Examine the water level in the tank to see if water is spilling into the overflow pipe. If it is, adjust the fill valve so the water level stops at the mark stamped on the side of the tank. If you don’t see a mark, have the water stop an inch below the top of the overflow tube.
Steps like this can make a big difference. According to the EPA, repairing easily corrected household water leaks can save homeowners about 10% on their water bills. Regular maintenance from a Beach plumber can ensure your plumbing is operating properly.
How Do I Unclog My Drain?
Clogged drains are one of the most common plumbing problems facing homeowners. While chemical cleaners are marketed for removing clogs, they can also damage your pipes. The best bet is to call in a local plumber equipped with the tools and know-how to resolve the problem. Call Beach today!
Is There Anything I Should Not Put Down My Garbage Disposal?
Yes. Quite a few things can damage your unit and create clogs in your pipes.
Fibrous foods—think celery, asparagus and artichokes—can wrap around the blades and choke them. You should also avoid putting down potato skins, bone fragments, eggshells, banana peels, fats/grease, unpopped popcorn kernels, onion skins, fruit pits and seeds. If it’s too late and something is clogging your garbage disposal, call our office right away to schedule service.
What Are Some of the Biggest Benefits Tankless Water Heaters Offer Over Conventional Heaters?
Tankless systems, unlike conventional water heaters, never run out of hot water. While storage tank water heaters have a limited capacity (usually between 40 to 60 gallons), tankless water heaters heat water as it passes through the system. This way, you’ll never run out of hot water. That’s a nice perk when the whole family is in town!
Another plus? Since there’s no stored water, tankless systems eliminate most risk of an untimely leak. (Flooding from water heaters is one of the most common homeowner insurance claims!) And, because you’re only heating the water you’re using, you’ll see major reductions in your energy bills.
Beach plumbers are experts at water heater service. We can help clients choose the best solution for their needs and budget. Call today to schedule a consultation.
How Can I Tell If I Need a Water Heater Replacement?
A well-maintained, gas-powered water heater should last about 8 to 12 years. An electric water heater lasts a little longer, around 10 to 15 years. A tankless water heater should last at least 15 years.
- If you notice any of the following signs, it might be time to consider a water heater replacement.
- Your hot water is rust colored.
- Cold water runs through your hot water taps.
- You notice moisture or flooding around your water heater.
Hard water can also shorten your fixture’s lifespan thanks to mineral deposits. Installing a water softener or water conditioner can extend your water heater’s lifespan. For water heater service or a free consultation, schedule an appointment on our website.
How Can I Tell If I Have a Leak?
If you think you have a leak in your home, there’s an easy way you can check. First, go out to your water meter and record the level. Make sure no one uses any water for a few hours, then go back and recheck the meter. It’s easiest to do this when everyone goes to bed, then check it again first thing in the morning. If the level has changed, you probably have a leak and will need the services of a local plumber. Call a Beach plumber to have it taken care of right away!