Plumber Services 101 – What We Offer

Turns out some folks think plumbers only handle toilets and drains. The truth however is that plumber services cover a range of different parts of your home. This time on the Economy Plumbing Services blog, we’re giving a brief rundown of the different work we do, plumber services for residential and commercial clients!

What Do Plumbing and Plumber Services Cover?

While we know it’s not the ‘best’ way to begin an essay in college, it’s worth mentioning here, the Merriam Webster’s definition of plumbing is a: the apparatus (such as pipes and fixtures) concerned in the distribution and use of water in a building b: an internal system that resembles plumbing, especially: one consisting of conduits or channels for conveying fluids.

Plumbing is the pipes and fixtures that move fluids about your home. That includes things like:

  • potable cold and hot tap water supply
  • plumbing drainage venting
  • sewage systems and septic systems with or without hot water heat recycling and graywater recovery and treatment systems
  • Rainwater, surface, and subsurface water drainage
  • fuel gas piping
  • hydronics, i.e. heating and cooling systems utilizing water to transport thermal energy, as in district heating systems, like for example the New York City steam system.

Plumbing Installation

Perhaps the biggest job of all is the initial installation of plumbing lines and features! Pipes from the city lines under your home and up through the walls to the fixtures they need to go.  If you ever expand your home, or renovate a space and need to run water to or from (or gas) you’ll need a plumber to install the plumbing!

Expert installation services include:

  • New toilets
  • Tubs
  • Sinks
  • Faucets
  • New outdoor hose bibs
  • Water heaters
  • New pipes

Plumbing Repair

The most common services we perform and the most self-explanatory. When something isn’t working right, we repair it.

Expert Plumbing Repair Services 

  • Pipe replacements
  • Repiping
  • Repairs for water heaters
  • Sewer lines
  • Drain cleaning
  • Clog removal

Leak Detection

Not all leaks are so easily spotted. If you suspect a leak hidden leak, it is crucial to get a licensed, trusted professional plumber out for leak detection and repair as soon as possible. There are some signs to look for to indicate you may have a hidden leak that needs immediate attention.

Signs You Have a Hidden Leak

  • Water meter readings change even when not using water
  • Increased water bill when water usage has not changed
  • Unusual plant or grass growth in the yard or lawn areas
  • Toilets that are continually running or dripping faucets
  • Running water sounds when nothing is in use
  • Spongy, soft, or discolored walls or ceilings
  • Musty odor from floors, walls near drains, or sewers
  • Cracked or unusually damp foundations or slabs
  • Sewer backup problems that become chronic
  • Visible mildew or excessive moisture under carpet

Water Heaters

Water heaters a critical piece of any plumbing system. They allow us to have hot water, on-demand, whether in our sinks, dishwashers, or morning showers. Your water heater is used every day (the average family of four uses about 65 gallons of hot water a day)! If it’s not working as efficiently as it should, your day to day comfort will immediately be impacted. Water heater services include repair, Same Day Replacement, and Installation.

Sewer Lines

Services that fall under this umbrella: 

  • Sewer lines 
  • Sewer line repairs
  • Cleanouts
  • Installations
  • New sewer connections
  • Repairs for collapsed pipes
  • Repairs and replacements for old cast iron pipes
  • Repairs for cracked pipes

Gas Lines

This you might not expect to find under plumber services but we absolutely do it! Repairing or installing gas lines is a crucial step in maintaining or building a home. From minor repairs to complete replacements of gas lines, the experts at Economy Plumbing Service LLC can fix it all and keep you and your family safe.

Repiping

Similar to plumbing installation, repiping is when we replace all the pipes in a home with new pipe. Whether it’s replacing old galvanized metal pipes with PEX piping, or other materials, repiping gives a home a whole new lease on their plumbing life.

The plumbing experts at Economy Plumbing Services come into the home and assess the current network of pipes. Thankfully, there is a standard way of doing things and this means most plumbing is laid out in a fairly straightforward way, no matter who works on the plumbing. After the assessment, EPS will go through the wall, attic, wherever necessary to run new pipes throughout the home. For us at Economy Plumbing Service LLC, we get these jobs done in two days 

No matter what plumber services you require, Economy Plumbing Service LLC is here to help!

If water goes through it or to it, we do it!

Summer Fun, Plumbing Problems

Summer is fully here! Aside from the intense heat, it also means schools are out, kids are home, and folks are getting up to all the fun activities summer has to offer! Believe or not, summer can cause some plumbing problems for you! So here are some considerations for you from the experts at Economy Plumbing Service LLC!

Summer Fun and the Plumbing Problems to Look For

Outdoor Activities Makes Plumbing Difficulties.

Okay, this one might be a bit of a struggle year-round here in Tucson thanks to our lovely weather!  Whether it’s heading out camping, going hiking, or taking trips to the beach, it’s a safe bet your home is going to have a lot more dirt and dust coming its way.

Washing up post-adventure is what to be aware of here! Your home’s drains weren’t designed with tons of mud, gravel, and grit in mind! Do your best to use a hose outside or knock loose any excess mud etc from your clothes before washing them and you’ll be doing your due diligence to prevent clogs or damaging your pipes.

Garbage Disposal Vigilance 

Your garbage disposal does some heavy-duty defense work for your drains year-round but some summertime favorites are especially difficult for it to handle! Fibrous foods should never go down the disposal as they can jam it something fierce. Doing a lot of grilling? Make sure no bones or fat find their way to your disposal. Bones will blunt and break the machinery inside and fat is a one-way ticket to clogs-ville.

Winter Coats = Summer Clogs 

Some pets shed heavily come the summer as they get rid of their bulkier winter coats. All this excess hair can get into your tub drain or washing machine and clog it up right quick. To avoid that, make sure you brush your pet plenty to get rid of their hair before it covers your clothes and finds its way into the wash. Wash your dog outside if at all possible to prevent any hair from finding it’s way to the drain – you should do this anyways, the amount of dirt and mud a dogs fur can hide is astonishing!

Include Plumbing Preparation in Your Summer Vacation Plans

Hoping to travel this summer? Make sure your home is ready for your extended absence! Check your appliances for any leaks, turn the water heater down to save energy (some even have a vacation setting!). If you’re going to be gone awhile consider turning off the water to your water heater and draining it entirely. 

With all that handled you should be ready to have a great summer! Does your plumbing need a bit of a professional touch before vacation? Already have clogs you need to handle? You give Economy Plumbing Service LLC a call and we’ll get you sorted. No job is too big for us to tackle! 

If water runs through it or to it, we do it!

PEX vs Copper Pipes – Which Pipe to Use and Why

If you’ve spent any time on our site you know we love PEX piping. It’s a damn good tool for our job and makes things like repiping houses in two days possible! But it isn’t the only pipe and it’s not the best pipe for every job. This time on the Economy Plumbing Services blog, we’re looking PEX vs copper pipes, a duel for the ages!

PEX vs Copper

Copper pipes have been used for decades but so has PEX, and in that time they have both shown their advantages and disadvantages for plumbers and homeowners everywhere. Let’s lay it out.

PEX Pros and Cons

  • Fewer Connections

PEX is a flexible pipe so it requires fewer connectors and joint pieces to make turns and get the water where it needs to go. Makes installing it a breeze!

  • Cheaper

PEX as a material is just flat out cheaper than copper. It’s also lighter and easier to ship and handle so all those costs that might be incurred in the production and shipping don’t get passed on to the consumer.

  • Central Shut Off

PEX allows for a central shut off for all the water fixtures and features in your house. The ‘manifold’ connects all of the hot and cold water and can be labeled for ease of use. Think of it like a breaker box for your water!

  • Safer to Install

Unlike copper piping, PEX doesn’t need a torch on hand for installation, eliminating a potential fire hazard just like that!

  • DIY Friendly

Because it’s so flexible and cheap, it’s a great material to work with for DIY-ers.

  • Shorter Life Expectancy

While it’s not certain, PEX is expected to have a lifespan of about 50 years. It’s been in use since the 60s in England and we’re only now reaching the years where we’re expecting the pipes to fully fail. This con is easily avoided however, as PEX is so cheap and easy to work with, replacing it out is no trouble at all.

Copper Pros and Cons

  • Long-Lasting

Copper is long-lasting, no doubt about it. It is a rigid metal pipe and under ideal conditions will last up to 70 years. 

  • More Expensive

The cost of copper has risen substantially lately, partly due to its increased ability to be recycled. With more copper being recycled, more products using it are made (demand), and with it cost. On average, installing copper pipes will run you about 60% (closer to 63% if you want to be really precise) more expensive than PEX.

  • Rigid

Copper pipes are sturdy, but that rigidness comes with a cost. To properly fit a house with copper pipes requires plenty of precise cuts, connections, and joints to make it work. That means some serious labor.

  • Long History

Because copper has been used for so long, it is a ‘known’ entity. We understand how it works, how it interacts with the soil, etc. so even the difficulties are understood. For some plumbers that tried and true history is good enough for them and they prefer it.

 

Here’s the thing. As we said, there’s no one ‘right’ tool for every job. That’s why Economy Plumbing Services LLC uses both PEX and copper piping. PEX when it makes sense to run through walls and in the home, and copper for exterior work where we need rigid, durable piping. A combined system gives you the best of both worlds, and when it’s done by the experts here at EPS, there’s no downside!

Need help getting your plumbing working right? Repiping a house, or want to run water to a new refrigerator with the fancy water filter in the door? You give us a call and we’ll get it done right!

If water runs through it or to it, we do it!

How to Drain a Water Heater

Here’s a hot tip (literally)! There’s an easy maintenance job you can handle at home, today, with the tools you have on hand that can get your water heater working better instantly – and extend its lifespan to boot! This time on the Economy Plumbing Services blog, we’re going to teach you how to drain a water heater and answer how and why you might want to!

How to Drain a Water Heater 

Draining a water heater is a surprisingly straightforward job and with a bit of know-how and confidence, it’s a job you can easily tackle yourself at home. So let’s go ahead and get you the know-how!

Start with a Flush

Perform a quick flush. Before turning off the water, connect a garden hose to the drain valve and try and flush the water heater tank a bit while the water pressure is on. You do this by opening the drain valve for a few seconds and then closing it again. 

The pressure in the tank will blow out any sediment stuck in the valve. and help the tank drain faster. If quite a bit of sediment comes out, you can repeat this a couple of times.

Shut Down the Water Heater

Shut off the gas or power to your water heater (depending on what kind it is). Now shut off the water, using either the valve in the cold-water pipe above the water heater. You can also shut off water to the whole house if you find the main water supply but that’s not totally necessary. If you do so, make sure the pressure is off by testing the water faucets in the house, turning them on, and checking for hot water.

Open Up The Drain Valve

With a drain hose attached, open up the drain valve. It won’t drain too fast at first, as there will be a vacuum in the tank. To help speed it up, remove one end of the hot water pipe above the water heater to let some air in. The water will rush out of the drain.

Flush the Tank

Once the tank is fully drained, you will want to flush it. Use a few gallons at a time by turning the water on for few seconds and then letting it drain out again. 

Refill the Tank and Relight the Heater

Disconnect the drain hose and close the drain valve. Make sure you reconnect the hot water pipe if you opened it up, and tighten it right. Now you can turn the water back on and let it refill. You also want to make sure there isn’t any air trapped in the line, that’ll make for an unpleasant surprise later! Open the hot tap of a fixture in your house, you can just go for whatever is closest to your water heater, or using the bathtub  Leave the fixture running until all the air is out of the lines and you are getting nothing but water out of the fixture, then turn off the water.

Relight the water heater pilot, or turn the power back on if it is an electric heater. Give it some time for the tank to heat and you’ll be back in business!

Check the Valve

The last thing you want is to leave your drain valve open and leaking! See if your water heater drain closed completely by looking for leaks at the spout. If it did not close completely, you can put a cap over the hose thread of the outlet to stop the leak. If it’s giving you more trouble, give us a call, we got it covered.

When to Drain a Water Heater

This depends entirely on the make of your water heater! Check your owner’s manual for a good idea, most recommend draining it once every 6 – 12 months. Some may ask you to only do a gallon or so at a time, but to do it more regularly. But here’s the thing about those manuals, they can’t account for the quality of your water. 

So, after you’ve gone ahead and flushed your water heater, set a reminder, and do it again in six months. See how much sediment as accumulated again in that amount of time. It may be your water necessitates a more frequent (or relaxed) draining schedule.

Of course, if just reading this has given you a bit of a headache or caused your hands to get sweaty don’t stress. You don’t have to know how to drain a water heater, you can simply call in the professionals. We’re happy to take care of any job, no matter the size from a simple clog to a full-blown, whole-house repiping. Economy Plumbing Service LLC is here for you! Give us a call and one of our guys will be out in no time to get it working again, exactly as it should.

If water runs through it or to it, we do it!

Why Do Toilets Clog?

Few things put such immediate dread as the toilet not flushing like it should. You wait for a moment, heart pounding, ‘Is this about to happen? Am I ready for it? Where’s the plunger.’ If you are lucky the flush picks up strength and you breathe a heavy sigh of relief. If you’re not you might end up with a wet floor at least. Why do toilets clog? They’re made out of non-abrasive porcelain so what’s happening to cause this jam? Read on! We’ll cover every clog causing conundrum!

Why Do Toilets Clog?

Toilets, like the sewer pipes they lead into, are made of non-abrasive materials that allow for waste water to move freely through. In a perfect world, there would never be any snags – unfortunately, the real world is far from perfect and a number of different circumstances can cause toilets to clog.

Irresponsible Flushing

We’ve talked about what not to pour down the drain before, but with all the worries about toilet paper right now (thanks COVID-19) it bears repeating: only flush toilet paper down your toilet!

These WILL CLOG Your Toilet

  • Tampons
  • Facial tissues
  • Cotton swabs
  • Condoms
  • Dental floss
  • Diapers

 

Any of those materials can get lodged in the pipes and create an environment for other things to get stuck on. A single cotton swab could get jammed right across the middle of the pipe and soon enough toilet paper is catching too. Even facial tissues can clog a toilet despite their seeming similarity to toilet paper, they aren’t made to break down in water in the same way. 

How to Fix:  Just don’t do it! Avoid the clog, avoid flushing anything other than toilet paper.

A Blocked Vent

It might surprise you to learn but a portion of your plumbing runs through the roof! That’s right, the plumbing vent, or vent stack, helps regulate air pressure in your plumbing system. The plumbing vent pipe removes gas and odors from the system, just like the drain pipes remove the waste water. It also allows for fresh air to get into the plumbing to help water flow more smoothly. When everything is working as it should, the vent keeps the proper pressure in the plumbing system. But what happens when it’s not working?

If the vent becomes blocked, the toilet will begin to flush slower, and that reduced speed will cause the flushes to not be drained completely. This can cause a clog to develop as not all of the waste is flushed each time.

How to Fix: Plumbing vents are located on the roof, so fixing any blockages here are best left to professionals!

Flapper Fluctuations

The flapper (find out more about toilet parts here) is the part of your toilet that releases water from the tank down the back of the bowl and creates the flush. If the flapper isn’t opening entirely, the amount of water that gets through and generates the flush may not be enough to create a strong flush. When the flush is weak, clogs are more likely to form.

How to Fix: Take a look in the toilet tank and adjust the chain connecting the flush handle to the flapper. With the chain tightened, the flapper should open up completely when the flush handle is operated.

Older Fixtures

If you have an older toilet, especially if its an old ‘low-flow’ model, the toilet may not be able to generate enough flushing power. When those low-flow models were first introduced the engineering wasn’t entirely developed leading to some lackluster performance. Now a days the designs have drastically improved allowing for a more powerful low-flow flush.

How to Fix: The only way to fix an old, poorly performing toilet is to replace it.

Sewer Struggles

It’s entirely possible that the clog isn’t in your toilet at all, but rather the sewer lines down stream. A clog later in the line or tree roots bursting through can create backup problems.

How to Fix: Hire a professional to clear out the lines. While they’re at it, get a Sewer-Oscopy!

 

If you are having any troubles with your plumbing at all, from a clogged toilet to a leaky water heater, Economy Plumbing Service is here to help! Give us a call and our guys will be out in no time to get your plumbing working right and give you the peace of mind.

Remember, if water flows to it or through it, we do it!

A Quick Guide to Toilet Parts

While pipes and faucets are pretty simple bits of plumbing (comparatively), there are plenty of fixtures in your home that rely on water and are a bit more complicated than that. This time on the Economy Plumbing Services LLC blog, we wanted to give you a quick rundown on the various toilet parts! We’ll list them out, what they do, common problems and which parts they affect, and more. So without any more to do, let’s get into it!

Toilet Parts 

First, let’s start with the big picture. There are 4 Key Parts of the Toilet.

Bowl: The round part of the toilet that holds water and waste.

Tank: The back part of the toilet that acts as a reservoir, holding the water used for flushing. 

Stop Valve: Usually located behind the toilet on the wall fixture, this controls the water supply to the toilet. This is easily operated manually with a simple quarter turn open or close.

Supply Tube: The water supply tube connects from the toilet to the stop valve. It brings freshwater from the water supply into the tank’s refill tube.

Now, let’s go deeper! Inside the tank and under the bowl there are even more parts to consider!

Toilet Parts Within the Tank

Inside the tank is the majority of the plumbing parts of a toilet. Things like the refill tube, the lever and chains that operate the flushing mechanism, and the float.

Float: The float, also a float ball or cup, floats on top of the water in the tank and acts as a kind of low tech sensor for the water level inside the tank. When the proper amount of water is reached, the float rises with it and automatically shuts off the water from the refill tube. 

Refill Tube: When the water inside the tank (and the float ball with it) falls to a certain level, the refill tube begins to refill the tank and bowl with fresh water. When the float ball rises to the top of the tank, the water supply is shut off.

Ballcock: A valve at the top of the refill tube.

Trip Lever: When you press the handle to flush the toilet, this lever lifts the flapper and starts the whole flushing business.

Chain: The chain connects the trip lever to the flapper, allowing for the trip lever and flush handle to work.

Flapper: When the flapper is lifted by the trip lever and chain, suction is created, causing the flushing action within the toilet bowl, draining the water and waste.

Overflow Tube: This stops the toilet water from overfilling. If the tank gets too full, the extra water drains into this tube.

Toilet Parts Under the Bowl

Wax Ring: This is located under your toilet, it’s what your toilet sits on. The wax ring creates a tight seal from the toilet to the sewage line.

Trap: The trap is located under the toilet bowl. It separates the sewage line from the rest of the toilet.

Common Problems and The Toilet Parts They Impact

Problem #1 – Running Toilet

Parts Affected – Flapper, gaskets, fill valve 

If your toilet won’t stop running, you likely have a worn down or dirty flapper – or possibly the water level is set too high. If neither of these fix the problem you may need to replace the fill valve.

Problem #2 – Tank Filling Too Slow/Not at All

Parts Affected – Fill valve, shut off valve

A tank that’s slow to fill or won’t at all points to problems in either the supply line, shut-off valve, or the fill valve itself. If your valve is over seven years old it likely needs replacing.

Problem #3  Flush Handle Won’t Flush

Parts Affected – Chain, tank lever

If pressing on the flush handle isn’t doing anything, there are a few possible problems. The chain may have become disconnected from the tank lever. To fix this, simply open the tank and reach in, reattaching the chain to the lever. Don’t worry about getting your hands wet, the water is clean! It’s also possible the lever itself is broken in which case you’ll need to replace it.

No matter the problem, Economy Plumbing Services is here to help!

If you’ve identified the broken part but still can’t figure out how to get your toilet running again, don’t sweat it! We’re here to help. Give us a call and we can have a plumber out there in no time to diagnose and repair any problem with your toilet parts.

If water runs through it or to it, we do it!

Water Heaters – What’s the Difference

You know our saying, “If water runs to it or through it, we do it!’ Here at Economy Plumbing Services LLC, we pride ourselves on having comprehensive knowledge of everything plumbing related – and sharing that with our customers. We want to make sure you have everything you need to make smart decisions for your home and plumbing needs, whether that’s the power of PEX tubing or when to replace your water heater. Speaking of, if you are on the edge of replacing your water heater and wondering, ‘What’s the difference between all these water heaters?’ read on because this blog is for you! 

Diff’rent Water Heaters, Diff’rent Strokes

We talk about it on our water heater page, but there are different kinds of water heaters out there and we have tons of experience with each of them.  There are different fuel sources, different tank options and sizes. Let’s go over a few of them!

Electric Water Heaters

Electric water heaters use electricity as fuel to heat the water inside of the tank.  The unit takes power from your electrical and powers an electric heating element inside of the tank, if you think of a metal coil you basically have it right. These elements are replaceable in case wear and tear does a number on them. Usually, electric water heaters are less expensive than other types of water heaters. They can range in size from mid 20s to 100+ gallons of storage and also have a number of different efficiency models, which is nice because they generally are less efficient than gas water heaters.

Gas Water Heaters

Gas water heaters use your home’s gas lines to heat the water. The unit has a gas line that leads to a burner and chimney system that runs usually right down the center of the unit (to provide uniform and efficient heating). The burner – well, burns, and the exhaust goes up the chimney and through a vent while the heat generated warms the metal chimney walls. Gas water heaters are more energy efficient than electric water heaters but come at other costs. They need air circulating around the unit to properly vent it, you definitely don’t want to store any combustible materials nearby, and the are generally more expensive to purchase than an electric model. They have a similar range of tank sizes from 30 gallons up to 100 gallons.

Hybrid Water Heaters

Hybrid water heaters work off a heat pump system to heat the water. Using either the heat in the ground or the air, it uses minimal electricity to transfer that heat energy to the water. It can be set up outside or indoors. Hybrid models are more expensive on the front end, being larger than standard water heaters and need more room to install but afterwards they are incredibly energy efficient. They have a smaller range in tank size, from 50 to 80 gallons.

Fuel sources aren’t the only differences in water heaters – there are also tankless models to think about!

Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters, also known as ‘on-demand’ water heaters are coils that water passes through being heated in the process. These models are incredibly energy efficient as well as the only energy used is to heat the water as it is needed, no excess energy is spent filling the tank with hot water. Tankless water heaters are more expensive to install however.

All of these water heaters can handle the job you throw at them, but the differences in how they function, what they require to work efficiently, and upfront costs are all things to keep in mind when you are shopping for your next heater. Need help? Give us a call! The experts at Economy Plumbing Services LLC are here to help!

If water runs through it or to it, we do it!

How to Unclog Main Sewer Line Without a Snake

A clogged sink or toilet that is spilling out water into the home is no fun for anybody! It can cause damages and create an unsafe environment in your home.  Here’s how to unclog a main sewer line without a snake, if you’re up for it!

How to Unclog a Main Sewer Line Without a Snake

Step 1 – Run Hot Water

Running hot water for 5 to 10 minutes can help shake loose anything that is partially clogging the drain. The heat can help work free lingering oils, grease, or anything that is coating the sides of the pipe and allowing the clog to hold tight. Rarely will this alone be enough to help clear the clog and it’s only going to work with partially clogged lines anyways. More likely than not, if you’ve realized that you have a problem, it’s not a partial clog. But it can help, so it bears mentioning.

Step 2 – Use a Chemical Drain Cleaner

If you’re looking for some help on how to unclog a main sewer line without a snake, you probably have a serious clog. If your sink or toilet aren’t draining then you are already reaching for a chemical drain cleaner. These can definitely help break down the clog you have. There are several different chemical cleaners out there including caustic drain cleaners, oxidizing drain cleaners, and acids. We could do a whole blog on those (and maybe we will!) but for the most part these all work by altering the chemistry of the clog and reacting inside to break it down and carry it away. Whichever kind of cleaner you decide on make sure you follow the directions provided by the manufacturer to get the best results.

Step 3 – Apply the Plunger

An additional step to take is using a plunger in conjunction with the hot water or chemical cleaners. Plungers allow you to apply more pressure in the line to the clog and when used with running water can shift the clog – first loose from the sides of the drain and then free entirely.

Another Way – High-Pressure Water

Another way to handle a clog is through the careful application of high pressure water! You’ll want to find your clean out plug and attach a high-pressure nozzle to your garden hose. Then open up your hose and start flushing water through. Start slow! The last thing you want is to immediately cause a back up and flood your home(if that’s where your clean out plugs are located). Start slow and build up the pressure to clear the line.

 

There are many different things that can cause a blockage in your main line, and they’re not all clogs from improper waste management. Tree roots are a common enemy of sewer lines as they grow into the pipes and then cause a blockage. The point of the matter is that there’s a lot to take into account and if you’re just trying to solve the problem alone you might find yourself unable to get it sorted. 

Sewer line clogs happen all the time and it’s an easy job for any plumber to come take care of for you. If your attempts to unclog your main sewer line without a snake are fruitless well, give the professionals a call and we can come take care of it for you. A proper unclogging job can make sure your sewer lines are working like they should for a long time to come, where a simple DIY job might get you some results today, they may not last in the weeks and months to come.

Give us a call at Economy Plumbing Services and let us take care of your clogs!

If Water Goes Through It Or To It, We Do It!

Most Common Reasons Your Electric Water Heater is Not Working

Cold water when you need hot (or worse, when you are expecting it) can be quite the shock. Last time on the Economy Plumbing Services blog we took a look at how to test heat elements in your water heater to help avoid that. In that same vein, this time we are going to look at some of the most common reasons for an electric water heater not working. 

And remember, if you think attempting to diagnose or repair your water heater is outside your abilities: Don’t risk it, give an expert a call. Tinkering with electric water heaters without know-how, confidence, and a bit of experience can lead to more problems down the line or worse!

Most Common Reasons Electric Water Heater Not Working Like it Should

Electric water heaters can have a number of different problems. Overheating due to sediment build up, corrosion inside the tank leading to rust looking water, water too hot, and more – all are possible problems with your water heater. Here’s what’s causing them and how to address the problem.

Temperature Troubles

Too hot, too cold, not hot at all, or anywhere in-between there are a number of different problems that could cause temperature issues.  You may have crossed connections, a faulty thermostat or heating element. The circuit breaker may have a blown fuse. If the water is coming out too hot the thermostat may just be set too high! A simple fix, set it between 110 and 140 (Fahrenheit, of course!) and you should be in business. Otherwise, most of these fixes will need a bit of electrical or plumbing know hot to get sorted.

Leaks

Leaks are one of the most common problems with water heaters. We’ve written up a whole blog on leaking water heaters, so to put it briefly: turn off the power, turn off the water, find the leak. It may just be a loose connection, but it may be a broken temperature or pressure valve.

Internal Problems

There are a number of issues that might be happening inside the tank that can cause less than optimal performance. Rust colored water, hot water running out too fast, stinky water. All of these are caused by something malfunctioning inside the water heater tank. If your water has a rotten eggy smell, a sacrificial anode rod may need repalcing. If the water is rust colored it means the inside of your water heater is corroding.If any of these are happening you will want to call an expert to address it before the whole water heater needs to be replaced

Water heaters, whether electric or not, take some wear and tear on them through years of use. That’s just the facts. And with it come hiccups, malfunctions, and inconveniences but so long as you take precautions and keep an eye out you can keep those small problems from becoming disastrous! If you need help with your electric water heater today, feel free to give us a call and we’ll take care of you.

If Water Goes Through It Or To It, We Do It!

How to Test Water Heater Elements – Is It Broken or Just Installed Wrong?

Struggling to keep your water hot? Are your breakers constantly getting tripped? These are both sure signs that your hot water heater is on the fritz, specifically the element. Here’s a handy little blog on how to test water heater elements to determine what’s wrong, and what needs to be done to get your showers back on schedule!

How to Test Water Heater Elements

First things first, what even is an ‘element.’ No we aren’t talking about Fire, Wind, Water, or Heart Planeteer (you guys remember Captain Planet?)  we’re talking about is a metal component usually in the shape of a coil that converts electricity into heat using Joule heating. In water heaters they are located inside the tank itself.

Now, to test the element you are first going to need to get access to them in the first place. That means taking the necessary safety precautions and have the right tools.

Tools You’ll Need

  • Phillips head Screwdriver
  • Non-contact voltage detector
  • Multimeter

First, Turn Off the Breakers

Go to your breakers and flip off all the circuits that go to your hot water heater. You absolutely don’t want the heater to have any power when you are looking to test the elements.

Access the Water Heater’s Thermostat and Elements

The water heater’s thermostat is hidden behind a metal plate, usually near the base of the tank. Use a Phillips head screwdriver and remove the metal plate. As always, keep these screws and plate somewhere safe and sturdy where you won’t lose the pieces. Lots of hot water heaters have a layer of insulation under the metal cover so go ahead and remove that. Some also have a plastic cover that sits between the components and the insulation. Remove as necessary

Test the Power

Before you start touching anything willy nilly, make sure that the electricity is turned off to the room and that the water heater is not receiving any voltage. Use a non-contact voltage detector and touch the tip to the wires heading into the thermostat. If the detector lights up you need to go check your breakers! If no electricity is detected then you are good to go!

Locate the Elements and Undo the Wire

The element itself won’t be visible in the panel as they extend into the tank, but you should be able to see the ends of it. You should see the base of the metal element, usually about 1 inch across with a plastic plate screwed into it.

Test the Water Heater Element

Now is time to get to testing! Take your multimeter, set it for the lowest setting for ohm resistance and calibrate it. Now place the multimeter prongs to the two screws of the element. If everything is working as it should, the multimeter should so somewhere between 10-30 ohms of resistance. If nothing changes and the multimeter sits at 0, something in the element is not working correctly. Even if the number is very low, it is evidence that the heating element isn’t generating heat as necessary.

How Do Water Heater Elements Fail?

The heating element can fail for several reasons, none of them great!

Minerals

We’ve talked about this in relation to water heaters before. Water has more in it than you might think, including minerals. As these combine and deposit in the tank they can damage the element. The minerals coat the elements surface, creating another layer that it has to heat through for the water to reach the desired temp. This means the element overworks itself and burns out.

Wire Troubles

The element might not be to blame at all! It’s possible the wiring is loose or otherwise incorrect and not delivering the electricity needed to the element.

Thermostats

The thermostat itself might be the problem. It might be on the fritz, need resetting or replacement itself. If your thermostat isn’t working, the heating element won’t be sent the right signals to heat the water.

Power Surges

Heating elements have a voltage rating, what they are designed to withstand. In the case of power surges, that voltage could cause a sudden increase that surpasses what the element is rated for and harming it.

Air

The heating element in hot water heaters are designed to work when they are completely submerged in water, if your tank ever has air pockets or a lack of water and it still heats up the element won’t have anything to transfer its heat to. This can cause the element to burn out its core, resulting in failure.

Whatever the reason, if your water heater heating element isn’t working, you got to get it looked at! If you’re unsure and all of this seemed like a lot of work, no worries. Economy Plumbing Services is trained to handle it all! Give us a call and one of our trucks will be out in no time to help you get your water warmed up like it should!

 

If Water Goes Through It Or To It, We Do It!