The Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Plumber

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If you are facing a plumbing situation that you know you just can’t fix yourself, or maybe you just don’t want to tackle it and that is completely acceptable. So you have gone in search of a local fix all guy who says he can do it for a very cheap price, but is it worth it? There are reasons why you should invest the money into a licensed plumber to ensure the job is done correctly and properly. It can be really tempting to cut costs whenever possible, especially when you have a large issue to deal with but for long term benefits you should not cut the cost now as it could end up costing you a lot more time and money than just hiring the right person right now.

Why does a license even matter?

Well, in the plumbing trade, like most trades, there are certain standards and codes that need to be followed to have projects deemed safe and that the job has been done correctly. Having a license requires the plumber to complete a specific numbers of hours as an apprentice and it shows they have the knowledge required in specific areas to be considered a professional in their trade.

Overall the license means the plumber is willing to comply with all standards, safety measures and regulations set forth in the industry. Plumbers who are not licensed may still be using methods or tools that are harmful or may cause future damage.

Is it that big of a deal, really?

Anyone who is unlicensed can probably do a pretty good job of convincing you that they do just as good a job as their licensed counterparts, and they might be right. However you are always better to hire someone who is licensed by a regulatory body that confirms this individual has the necessary skill set.

What’s more is that licensed plumbers are, typically, required to carry their own insurance. This means that if they are injured while in your house you are not liable for this, whereas if the plumber is not licensed and does not have insurance you could be forced to pay those costly medical bills.

Licensed plumbers also tend to have completed more projects than the unlicensed ones so they will have references they can provide you. Perhaps in an emergency situation you won’t have time to worry about reviews and recommendations, but if you know you have to have some work done then you have time to see what they have done before.

Further, cutting costs now might mean you have to have a licensed plumber come out later – potentially at an emergency rate – and have to pay twice for something you would have only have to pay for once had you chosen a licensed plumber first.

What kind of recourse do I have if something goes wrong from using a licensed plumber?

In some cases, if the plumber violates any of the safety regulations or mandatory procedures set for they can be held liable for that. If you select an unlicensed plumber and they use tools that are outdated and something goes wrong down the road you will have zero recourse because they aren’t required to follow those same procedures.

How do I know who to call when I need a plumber?

When it comes to an emergency situation you might be struggling and just want the problem fixed, so you might just choose the first name you see when you search for an emergency plumber.

The solution? Take some time now and research plumbers in your area, get references and rates now and keep the numbers handy so you will know who to call when the situation arises.

Overall, there are benefits to choosing a licensed plumber and there are some drawbacks. The initial investment will be higher to use a licensed plumber, but they are held to a higher standard and they have the experience necessary to show they know this industry and can fix the problem you are experiencing. Your home is the place you rely on to keep you safe from the rest of the world, so do you want to risk the plumbing of that house to a man who only watched some YouTube videos and promises he can do the same job for a third of the price? With this kind of service, like many things in life, you get what you pay for and it’s really important to not trust the plumbing of your home to just anyone.

How to Install A Bathtub

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A new bathtub can definitely change the look and feel of your bathroom, and it can easily be accomplished as a weekend project. A lot of bathtubs come completely ready to be installed, with little prep work required on your end.

What You’ll Need to Install the Bathtub:

  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Pry bar
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • Slip-joint pliers
  • Hammer
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Sledgehammer
  • Shower stem socket wrench
  • Keyhole saw

Now that you have all the tools you need to install the bathtub, here is how you will install it

Turn off the water

Before you remove the old bathtub, make sure to turn off the water supply to the bathroom. If your bathroom does not have a separate water supply then you will have to turn off the water to the entire house. You should also open a valve in a lower level of your home so that you can relieve any additional pressure in the lines.

Remove the Drain and the Overflow

These two components are different on almost all bathtubs so the steps for this will not be the same. You will need to use a tool design especially for tub drain removal to remove the drain flange. Then disconnect and remove the waste and overflow valve at the front of the tub. Finally remove the tub spout from the wall, usually by turning it counterclockwise. Some of them will have screws holding it place, but most are just held in place by being twisted on.

Handle the Drain

First you will have to disconnect the drain either by accessing the drain through the wall, from the under side of the tub or from the floor under the bathroom. Use the channel lock pliers to disconnect the pipes. Once you the nut connecting the drain pipe is loose you can unscrew it the rest of the way and lift the section out by hand.

Out with the Old

Now it’s finally time to separate the tub from the wall and get it out of your bathroom. This is where you will use the pry bar to apply pressure and separate your old tub from the wall. Be prepared to have a lot of debris coming off from the wall, depending on whether you have drywall above your tub or a tiled tub surround. Cut or scrape away any remaining caulking from the wall after you have removed the tub.

In with the New

Once you have removed your old tub, and all the debris, from your bathroom you are ready to install your new tub. During installation you will need to make sure to protect your new tub from scratches or damage; you can use part of the packaging the tub came in to protect it from exposure during this process.

Slide the tub into place, and use pencils to mark where the tub will sit. Slide it back out and attach the overflow and the drain. After that is completed you can slide the tub back into place and start securing it, making sure to not disconnect the hook up you just completed for the drain. Make sure the tub is completely level, and if not you can use shims under the tub to even it out. After you have confirmed your tub is in the place you want to secure it you can attach the flange to the wall, or the studs if you cut away the drywall. Afterwards you can go ahead and replace the drywall or the tiles if you cut them away to remove the tub.

After that you can go ahead and reattach the spout, or install the new one if you purchased another one.

Purchasing a Tankless Water Heater: What You Need to Know

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There is probably nothing worse than getting out of bed on a cold morning, jumping in the shower and finding out you are out of hot water because the other four people in your house have already used it all up. A lot of people have been sold on the idea that a tankless water heater will solve this issue because you won’t have to wait for the tank to refill after it’s been emptied, but that might not be quite true. There are pros and cons to installing this kind of system, and you should be careful to review the full impact of it before going ahead and doing so.

There are Risks

Companies selling these units have come and gone in the past. There are some companies who have come into the market, sold a lot of units really quickly and then left customers high and dry without support, spare parts or warranty. So if you’re keen on getting one be sure to know as much about the company installing it as possible, and read all the fine print – twice!

The Cool Factor

These units are being sold on a lot of hype that they’re environmentally friendly and really cool; they’re all the rage. These are keywords used to trigger a reaction in consumers: everyone wants their home to be green, and who doesn’t want to have the coolest thing out there? Be sure that if you are purchasing one that you are not being taken advantage of based on these two things, as you may find out later your utility bills aren’t any less and any small infraction, such as missing a scheduled maintenance service, could void your warranty (if you even get one).

They can’t be compared to Their Counterparts

A lot of companies will sell these units based on how they compare to water heater tanks, but this is almost like comparing apples and oranges – they just are not the same and do not have the same properties.

Many companies will compare the least efficient water heater tank to their best tankless model when water heater tanks are available in a variety of efficiencies – usually anywhere from one to three inches of insulation.

Your Initial Investment

So, realistically no matter the method you choose you need to use some kind of energy to heat the water being used – you just can’t cheat physics that way. No matter if your home is tankless or not it’s going to cost the same amount, or use the same amount of energy, to heat a given volume of water. Tankless heaters are often priced significantly higher than their old-fashioned counterparts, so you have to really consider if it’s worth it when you’re still using the same amount of gas to heat the water.

Say Goodbye to Multitasking

With a tanked water heater you can usually do multiple things requiring hot water at once: wash the dishes and have someone taking a shower. This is because the tank has a stored amount of water and it will distribute until it’s empty. However with tankless this is difficult to do.

They’re not as Reliable

These systems are much more complicated than tanks are, so there’s a lot more that can go wrong. If you live in climate that experiences cold winters you may have to properly drain them or they will be subjected to damage during freezing temperatures. In areas that use hard water there have been cases where lime will build up inside the unit and will cause severe decreases in the efficiency promised.

You Won’t Save that Much

When energy uses are compared from homes with tanked water heaters and tankless ones, the difference usually is not enough to justify the investment to purchase one (see: laws of physics in heating water). So the sales pitches promising significant savings when switching may not be true, and you should always do sound research before making the investment.

Overall, from common use – like a house – it appears there isn’t really that much difference between these two systems and it ultimately will come down to your personal preference. There isn’t one system that will greatly increase (or decrease) your home’s carbon footprint but with careful research, and by reading all the fine print, you will be able to determine which one is right for your home and your lifetstyle.

Hard Water vs. Soft Water: What’s the Difference?

The terms hard and soft water are thrown around and all kinds of messages about which one you should have are all around, but what, actually, is the difference between these two and how do you know which one is better for you?

For starters, here’s a definition of each

Hard Water: this is water has a generous amount of dissolved minerals, like calcium and magnesium, in it.

Soft Water: this water is treated, in a treatment plant of some kind, and only has sodium in it.

So, is that it? Is that all there is to it? Well there is more to each of these kinds of water before a decision can be made.

Rainwater is naturally, before it is hits the ground, soft water. However, as it hits the ground and filters through to our waterways minerals like chalk, lime, calcium and magnesium are picked up and become part of the water. Since it is now considered hard water it contains a lot of essential minerals, and it is sometimes considered to be the preferred drinking water. Since soft water only contains sodium it can taste salty, and therefore hard water not only contains minerals essential to our health but it actually tastes better than soft water does.

With this information it is reasonable to also ask: if hard water is the preferred drinking water why would we ever want to soften out water?

The differences between hard and soft water, minerals aside, can be best seen in the outcome of most household tasks. Hard water will leave clothes looking dingy, dishes with a film or residue on them, and bathtubs or showers filled with soap scum. Even your hair, after you wash it in hard water, might feel sticky or look dull. Further hard water could also cause your appliances to use more energy over time. Finally, the minerals found in hard water – like calcium and magnesium – react in such a way with soap that is makes it less effective, as the lather will not be as bubbly and so it is less effective in terms of cleaning.

Overall, hard water is healthier for us but due to our lifestyles and expected outcomes of cleaning tasks soft water produces a visually more appealing finished product, which is why water is softened for household uses.

Temporary Solutions to Emergency Plumbing Situations

The last thing anyone wants to wake up to in the morning, or in the middle of the night, is a leak in a pipe and water all over your house. There are some temporary measures any one can take to slow, or stop, the leak until a plumber can come out to your home.

Shut off the Water

There may be shut offs in different areas of your home, so you could turn off the water to the area of your home where the pipe is leaking. If your home doesn’t have multiple shut offs then you will have to turn off the water to your entire home. By turning off the water the pipes will stop leaking.You need to know where the water shut off is for your home, and preparing for this situation ahead of time will be especially helpful in a time of panic.

Stop the Leak

It may be a couple hours, or even a day, until the plumber can get out to your house and it is less than ideal to have the water to your house completely turned off until then. So how can you fix this? To prepare for this situation you can purchase some putty or plumber’s epoxy from your local hardware store. Once the pipe is completely dry, after shutting off the water, you can squish some putty or epoxy onto the leak. Make sure you spread the putty a couple inches outside of the leak so it seals properly. Ensure the putty dries completely and then you can turn the water back on.

Silence the Noisy Pipes

Sometimes the pipes in your home can bag against each other, and it might keep you up at night. While this problem isn’t necessarily destructive to your home it can be very destructive to your sleep schedule and hinder the amount of sleep you get. To fix this, simply wrap some foam around the pipes. The best temporary solution is to slice a pool noodle length wise and wrap it around the pipe. You can also stuff some old blankets between the pipes to stop them from hitting each other. This is only a temporary solution and you should call a plumber to come out and take a look at it.

In an emergency situation these temporary solutions will solve the problem, and give you some peace of mind but they are only temporary. It is recommended you call a plumber to come out as soon as you possibly can so that the problem can be fixed permanently. To be prepared for this situation it is recommended to have the number of an emergency plumber that you trust on hand so you aren’t frantically searching for one at 3 a.m. when your basement has water in it.