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Looking for HVAC Companies Near Me? How They Can Save You Money

Are you tired of spending hundreds of dollars on your energy bill every month? Do you dread the summer and winter months when your energy bill spikes? If your answer is yes to either of these questions, you might want to consider getting your home’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning system checked out by an HVAC company. An HVAC system is one of the largest energy consumers in a home, and without regular maintenance, it could be throwing your money out the window without you realizing it. If you’re looking for HVAC companies near me, here are some ways that your local HVAC company can help you save money on your energy bill.

Looking for HVAC Companies Near Me? How They Can Help Save You Money

What Is HVAC Maintenance?

HVAC maintenance refers to the recommended servicing and inspections of your heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system. When this is done regularly, you’ll be able to detect problems before they become costly. This can save you money by preventing issues that might require costly repairs and replacements. Some HVAC maintenance tasks may include changing filters, installing new seals and gaskets, or repairing refrigerant leaks. Other tasks may include lubricating motors or cables and cleaning dirty coils. You’ll want to find a licensed professional for your home’s HVAC maintenance. A licensed HVAC contractor from your HVAC companies near me search will have the expertise to keep your system running smoothly and efficiently all year round.

Below are some ways HVAC companies near me can help you save money on your energy bills.

Check for air leaks

The first thing an HVAC company does is check for air leaks in your home. Air leaks can allow hot or cold air into the house and spike your energy bill. These leaks could be due to cracks, gaps, or holes in the ductwork system. In order to fix these leaks, you will have to improve the insulation around the ducts.

HVAC Maintenance Improves Efficiency

One of the simplest ways to save money on your energy bill is to search for HVAC companies near me and have your HVAC system checked for efficiency. If you’ve had your system for 10 years or more, chances are it needs a tune-up. This will ensure that the system is running efficiently, and when the temperatures start to drop, you won’t be worried about shocking your utility bill with a spike in usage.

For example, a poorly insulated duct can waste up to 50% of heating and cooling energy. Additionally, poor air quality and high humidity levels can cause drafts, which lead to a chilly house during the winter months. The best way to avoid these issues is to schedule HVAC maintenance with a professional service provider every year or two. As well as improving efficiency, HVAC maintenance will ensure that your system is running at its peak performance. Your chosen technician from your HVAC companies near me search will inspect the inside and outside of your HVAC system before making any repairs or adjustments – this includes checking for leaks, dirt buildup, corrosion, and proper airflow throughout the home. If there are any problems found during the inspection, they will be fixed or replaced before you know it!

Avoid Breakdowns

The benefits don’t stop there: scheduling annual or biennial HVAC maintenance with HVAC companies near me can also reduce the risk of breakdowns and costly repairs. By having your technician come out to check on your equipment regularly, you’ll get a heads-up when there is an issue with something major like a compressor or a blower motor – these components can lead to expensive repairs if they break down without warning!

Install efficient furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps

You can save money on your energy bill by searching for HVAC companies near me and having your chosen HVAC company install efficient furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps. Newer models of these appliances are better at conserving energy and running more efficiently than older models. By installing an energy-efficient appliance, you can cut your energy use by 10 to 15 percent.

Other Ways to Save Money on Energy

Replace old appliances with energy-efficient ones

One of the easiest ways to save money on your energy bill is by replacing old appliances, like your refrigerator and dishwasher, with newer ones that are more energy-efficient. Most homes in the United States are still using a 1980s refrigerator that consumes at least 700 kWh of electricity per year. When you get a new fridge or dishwasher, make sure it’s Energy Star certified. These appliances have been tested and rated by an independent lab to meet specific standards for energy efficiency. You can also look into buying a water heater that is Energy Star certified, which will help reduce your electricity bill.

Insulate your home

The number one way to save money on your energy bill is to insulate your home, especially the attic, better. Insulating your home will help keep the heat in and the cold out. Doing so will allow you to use less energy for heating and cooling. By insulating your attic, basement, exterior walls, and doors, you can reduce up to an additional 10 percent of your energy usage each year.

Final Words

So there you have it. If you were searching for HVAC companies near me and found this article, we hope it answered some of your questions. HVAC companies near me can help you save money on your energy bill in many ways. The most obvious way is to replace your old appliances with newer, more efficient ones. You may also want to consider putting insulation on your home. Insulating all of the vents in your home and checking for air leaks can be a simple way to keep energy bills down. One of the last things you might want to think about is installing an energy-saving HVAC system. High gas prices make it more cost-effective to invest in an energy-efficient system. Replacing your old system with a new one keeps you from wasting money and helps the environment by lowering our nation’s carbon footprint.

Palo Alto Plumbing Can Help

If you are looking for HVAC companies near me, you should contact Palo Alto Plumbing today. Do not wait for a scorcher to find out your system is not blowing cold enough air or is leaking money out the window. Call today!

HVAC Maintenance Checklist: 8 Important Steps You Need to Take to Prevent Breakdowns

The hot summer days are coming on quickly! Did you know that the average air conditioner in use in the U.S. is about 15 years old? Although they are a reliable source of cool air, they can also break down at any time. Without regular maintenance, your air conditioner will not operate at peak efficiency and pose a more significant threat of breakdown. This article provides an HVAC maintenance checklist and lists some of the most important steps you can take to prevent breakdowns in your AC unit. This helps ensure it continues to provide cool air for the long term.

HVAC Maintenance Checklist: 8 Important Steps You Need to Take to Prevent Breakdowns

Here is what to include in your HVAC maintenance checklist.

Change Air Filter on a Regular Basis

An air filter is necessary to keep your system running efficiently. It helps prevent dirt, dust, and other particles from entering the system and causing damage. If your HVAC system has a dirty or clogged filter, it will need to work harder to circulate the air in your home. The added stress on the AC unit can cause it to overheat and break down.

One of the simplest ways to keep your air conditioner in good shape is by changing the filter regularly. Most manufacturers recommend replacing the filters every 6-12 months; however, this can vary depending on where you live, how dusty or humid it is, and other factors. It would help if you changed yours at least once every year for maximum protection of your AC unit. In addition to reducing wear and tear on your HVAC system, you’ll also be able to enjoy clean air circulating throughout your home without any worries about the buildup of allergens or bacteria.

Change AC Oil

The air conditioning unit is filled with oil and different refrigerants. This mixture needs to be replaced every so often to keep the system working at its best. Have your AC maintenance company come out and replace the oil in your system every 2-3 years, usually around your seasonal changeover.

Perform a visual inspection

The first step to prevent breakdowns is a visual inspection. This should be done at least every six months, but ideally, it should be done once a month. It requires a quick look at the outside of the unit and looking inside for any leaks or mold. Check for a dirty filter as well–this could reduce your energy efficiency and cause the unit to work harder to cool your home.

Check for loose or damaged parts

One of the essential steps to maintaining your AC unit is checking for loose or damaged parts. A loose or damaged part in your AC unit will cause it to operate less efficiently, make loud noises, and run more often than necessary.

It may be difficult to see what parts need repair when looking from outside the unit. However, if you have access to the inside of your AC unit, you’ll be able to look more closely at its components. To identify loose or damaged parts, check for any broken wires, bolts that are not securely tightened, and any other signs of wear and tear on the inside of your air conditioner.

Clean your air ducts

One of the best ways to keep your system in good condition is to clean your air ducts. The HVAC system has two major components: the outside unit, which pumps out cool air, and the inside coils and furnaces (or heaters), which bring in and distribute warm air. When these elements get dirty, they can’t work at total capacity. Your furnace will do an inadequate job of distributing hot air, or your coil might break because too much cold air is being pumped through it.

To avoid these problems, conduct a regular inspection of your ducts, including vents, grills, and expanders. If you notice any dust buildup or debris around the vents or in the grills, then it is time to clean the ducts. Use a brush attachment for your vacuum cleaner and suck out all the dust from those hard-to-reach spots. You may need a professional to run a hose through some of your more difficult-to-access areas (especially if you have a big home). The professionals will be able to thoroughly clean all of these areas with ease.

Adjust your thermostat

Most people don’t realize this, but your thermostat is a critical HVAC system component. The system will work harder to cool your home and use more energy when it’s set too high. Likewise, it won’t have enough power to effectively heat your home when it’s set too low. The ideal setting for your thermostat is 78 degrees Fahrenheit or higher in the summer and 68 degrees Fahrenheit or lower in the winter.

Check your hoses

The first step to take when maintaining your system is checking the hoses. This can easily be done by simply inspecting the hoses using a hose inspection camera. If you see any of these problems, it’s time for a replacement.

  • Leakages
  • Cracks in the rubber
  • Any bulges in the hose
  • Missing or loose clamps or screws

Maintain your system

HVAC systems need to have regular maintenance. Without it, your system will not run well, and you risk breakdowns. A good practice is to have a filter inspection every 12 months, a tune-up every 24 months, and a complete check-up once every three years.

Final thoughts

HVAC systems are critical for the comfort of your home. A well-maintained HVAC system can save you a lot of time and money. Remember, investing in an HVAC maintenance plan is not an expense; it is an investment that will save you money and frustration down the road.

Need Help? Palo Alto Plumbing is Here

We hope this blog post helped you better understand maintaining your HVAC system.

If your AC is not working correctly, call Palo Alto Plumbing at (650) 374-0868 for a free service estimate. Our friendly staff is here to help answer any additional questions you might have.

Dishwasher Drain Hose Clogged? 6 Easy Fixes

A dishwasher is an integral appliance in most households, but a clogged dishwasher drain hose can cause big problems. If the hose is clogged, dirty dishwasher water fills the sink and won’t drain. This makes it impossible to clean your dishes and disrupts your daily routine. In addition, a clog can cause the hose to leak if it becomes too full. This could cause water damage to your cabinets or flooring. Finally, a clog can emit an unpleasant smell. Is your dishwasher drain hose clogged? Here are six easy ways to clear a clog as well as information about when to call a plumber.

Common Symptoms of a Clogged Dishwasher

Here are some ways you can tell that your dishwasher is clogged:

– Bubbles in soap dispenser: The dishwasher is not correctly rinsing the soapy water from dishes. Something is blocking the holes on the sprayer arm, preventing it from spraying.

– Film on glasses: The dishwasher is leaving a film of dish soap residue on glasses. Dirty filters or faulty sprayer arms could cause this.

-Slow to rinse: Dirty filters may need to be replaced or cleaned out. Or, too much detergent is being used. You might also need to adjust your water temperature.

– Leaks: If you have a dishwasher with an active leak, it will be leaking from the bottom of the machine where the water supply line attaches to the dishwasher. You may also notice that water is pooling around the base of your dishwasher.

How to Prevent Your Dishwasher from Clogging 

One of the most common causes of a clogged dishwasher is the accumulation of food particles. Food particles can get onto your dishes and into your dishwasher, eventually causing it to become clogged. To help prevent this from happening, rinse off any food particles on plates before placing them in your dishwasher. Additionally, run your garbage disposal if you have one before starting a load in your dishwasher. This will prevent food particles from backing up into your dishwasher when you run a cycle. It will also help get your dishes cleaner.

One of the most critical maintenance tasks is to make sure your dishwasher is cleaned out after every use. Check if any areas may have clogged up or are not draining well. If so, you can take a baking soda and vinegar mixture and pour it down the drain. Run water through the drain to ensure it’s fully clean before adding a rinse aid to prevent clogs from occurring.

If your dishwasher is not producing completely clean dishes, the residue will start to build up on the machine’s surface. This buildup can reduce the performance of your dishwasher and cause it to break down faster. Whenever you have a significant amount of time between loads, running a cycle with nothing but water is best. This will help keep any residue from building up.

Some other things you should check for are hard-to-clean grime around the door seal, mineral deposits under the rubber gasket on top of the door, and rust or sediment at the bottom of your dishwasher drum. All these things can build up over time and ruin your machine’s performance, so periodically checking for these items is key to maintaining your dishwasher for long-lasting use!

Dishwasher Drain Hose Clogged? 6 Easy Fixes

Here are six at-home remedies to unclogging your dishwasher and get it running again:

  1.     Check the dishwasher’s filter. If it is clogged, you can use a small cup or pot to scoop out the items. 
  1.     You can use a pipe cleaner or compressed air to clear out any clogs that may have formed inside the dishwasher. 
  1.     Look for any loose parts on the bottom. This might include screws, bolts or brackets that attach various components. The water supply line may even be disconnected or broken. If any of these are happening, call your local repairman or technician and get them to come by as soon as possible!
  1.     Using a plunger, plunge the clogged end of the hose until the clog releases 
  1.     Point a hair-dryer at the clogged end of the hose until you hear it suck water and then try plunging again 
  1.     Pour baking soda down the drain line followed by vinegar, which will start to bubble. Let it sit for five minutes before you try to clean again. 

If these home remedies do not do the trick, you might need to call in a professional to help you. Below are some situations in which a professional plumber might be needed.

When Should I Call a Plumber?

If your dishwasher is severely clogged or overflowing

A clogged or overflowing dishwasher can cause extensive water damage to your home if left untreated. If you have a dishwasher that isn’t draining, the first step is to check for an obstruction in the drain hose. If this is clear and there is still no drainage, it may be time to call a plumber.

There are strange odors coming from the dishwasher that you can’t get rid of

You should also call a plumber if you notice strange odors coming from your dishwasher. This could indicate bacteria growth due to standing water in the machine.

Your dishes aren’t getting clean or the wash cycles are of 

Lastly, if your dishes are not getting clean or the wash cycle is too long to complete, you may want to consider a professional’s assistance with your dishwasher. A clogged dishwasher can cause these problems because it cannot drain properly and water doesn’t flow through as well as it should.

Need Help? Palo Alto Plumbing is Here

We hope this blog post helped you better understand maintaining your dishwasher. 

Is your dishwasher drain hose clogged? Call Palo Alto Plumbing at (650) 374-0868 for a free service estimate. Our friendly staff is here to help answer any additional questions you might have.

 

 

The Importance of Air Conditioning Service

We often take the air conditioning systems in our homes for granted. We turn it on and off as we please and don’t think much about it otherwise. But here is the truth. You can’t wait too long to have your AC serviced because you run the risk of having a complete breakdown. Plus, without regular servicing, your unit will produce more cold air than it should. This will use more energy per hour and won’t last nearly as long. Scheduling regular air conditioning unit servicing is necessary for safety reasons as well as cost savings. This article covers the importance of air conditioning service, unit issues, and signs it is time for an inspection.

Why is Air Conditioning Service Important?

Air conditioners should be serviced regularly to work correctly and use the right amount of energy. If your air conditioning system is not serviced regularly, you run the risk of a complete breakdown at worst. You also risk having a problem with your system that could cost a lot more than regular service. Regular inspections also keep your AC operating at peak efficiency.

Allowing an expert to inspect your unit prevents any minor problems from becoming major ones. Plus, regular servicing will help you save energy costs because the unit won’t use as much energy per hour. This should help it last much longer than if it’s not regularly maintained.

Common Air Conditioning Problems

Here are some common issues that you could experience with an AC unit if it is not serviced regularly:

-Irregular indoor air temperature

-Noisy operation

-Loss of refrigerant, which reduces cooling efficiency

-Blow-fuse or breaker trips due to overload on the electrical system

-Excessive energy consumption causing high electric bills

-The air coming out of vents feels damp or hot

-It takes a lot of time for the AC to adjust to changes in room temperature

What to Do

If you notice any of these above issues, it’s time to call a professional. The hot summer months can be brutal for many of us in California, but they don’t have to be. More often than not, when the temperature reaches a certain point, it’s not uncommon for your AC to stop working. This can lead to more severe problems, such as mold growth and water leaks.

Don’t let this happen to you! You should know that this is not normal, and there could be something wrong with your AC.

By waiting till the temperature gets higher, the chances of needing urgent repairs or replacements increase exponentially.  It’s important to understand that waiting until the hottest days of summer is not the best idea. Remember that it’s never too early to prepare, so get your AC checked now before you feel the heat!

What Does a General Inspection Entail?

Although you know your air conditioner is working, have a general AC unit inspection every few years. Why? Equipment failure can happen suddenly and at any time, and when it does, it’s typically expensive to fix. Many different things can go awry with your air conditioner. You should never take a chance on ignoring this essential maintenance check-up.

In a general AC unit inspection, an HVAC technician will visually inspect the outside of the appliance. They’ll ensure the refrigerant levels are correct and look for signs of leaks or any other malfunctions. They’ll also look for any damage to the outside of the unit and make sure all connections are secure.

The technician will check the air conditioner’s fan belt for wear and tear or anything that would cause it to break. They will also inspect the compressor for leaks, which can be dangerous because they put out a lot of heat.

The technician will check your air conditioner to see if it runs properly. They will do this by listening to the sound of the fan, which should be around 60 decibels. They will observe if there are any moving parts.

The tester will also look at the outside of the AC unit for any leaks or damage. They will also ensure there is proper insulation around all electrical components and securely attach the thermostat wire.

When your technician is finished with the outside of your air conditioner, they will do an internal inspection. They will check how well it’s running and look for any problems inside the appliance itself.

Call for an Inspection with Palo Alto Plumbing

Call today for an appointment with Palo Alto Plumbing, Heating and Air. One of our experts will come out to perform a general AC unit inspection on your appliance. We will do all of the things noted above.

We will also check for any signs of mold or bacteria that could be growing inside the appliance. If we find any evidence of mold or bacteria, we can provide you with solutions.

One thing that could come up during a general AC unit inspection is that your air conditioner needs further servicing. We will go over the causes and your options in detail.

Why Wait?

Palo Alto Plumbing is very proud to have been the Bay Area’s top plumbing, heating, and air conditioning contractors for over 16 years. No task is too small or too large for our expert — and EPA Universal Certified — technicians. We enter every job with the mindset of meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations.

When was the last time you had your AC unit serviced? The hot summer months will be here before you know it, and winter is a great time to ensure you’re ready. Call us today, and we will get you going.

Water Leaks: 6 Ways They Can Ruin Your Home & How to Prevent Them

H2O is essential to life, but it can also be destructive if you have water leaks in your home. You might not know there’s a problem until water starts seeping onto the floor or through the walls or visible mold starts growing. A leaky pipe, dishwasher, toilet, or showerhead could cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. Here are 6 ways that a water leak can ruin your home.

How a Water Leak Can Ruin Your Home

Water leaks can cause mold

A leak in your home can cause mold growth. Mold is a type of fungus found in the air and on surfaces like walls, tiles, or furniture. Depending on where it’s located, mold can be harmful to your health and could also cause a significant financial loss. Mold can cause asthma attacks, respiratory infections, and other illnesses. It is also hard to clean because it’s hard to get rid of once it sets in. Mold can spread quickly if it gets into the air and there is a water source nearby. For example, if your faucet drips or your pipes leak water, the wetness will attract mold spores which will spread throughout your home.

Water leaks can destroy your home’s foundation

Every home has a foundation, and the foundation must be strong. If something interrupts the structural integrity of your home’s foundation, it can lead to structural damage. If your home’s foundation is compromised, you could end up with expensive repairs to save your home from falling apart and sinking. Leaks can cause damage to the foundation if left untreated. From small leaks that happen during construction and plumbing to more significant leaks due to faulty equipment or pipes, water can cause severe problems for your foundation.

Water leaks can ruin your carpets and flooring, and your possessions

Carpets and flooring are among the most expensive things to repair or replace inside your home. Carpet and flooring are more likely to show the effects of water damage than any other room. If you spot some mold, wet spots, or discoloration on your carpet or flooring, it’s time to call a professional.

A leaky pipe or toilet can also cause a wet and moldy mess and ruin your personal belongings like furniture and electronics.

Water leaks may affect the electrical system in your home

Water leaks can cause dangerous electrical issues in your home. Water is a conductor of electricity, and a leak’s moisture can short-circuit circuits. For example, if you have a dishwasher and it leaks, you may experience a short-circuit in your electrical system. This short-circuit will lead to power outages in your home. It can also damage your appliances with corrosion or rusting. If your dishwasher has an electric motor, then the leak could stop it from working correctly and it will burn out faster than expected. It could also affect the safety of your appliances, causing them to burst into flames or overheat. The issue could be so severe that an appliance catches on fire or explodes when you’re using it.

Water leaks can damage walls

Drywall will get swollen with moisture and start to split when the walls are exposed to water for an extended period. This can lead to dangerous structural issues that could cost thousands of dollars in damages. It’s best to avoid this situation altogether by having a professional check out your home for any potential leaks before they occur.

Water leaks can cause wood rotting

Water leaking can cause rot and decay in the wood that your home is made out of. Even if you don’t see any signs of wetness, the rotting process still has started.

Signs include:

-Pitting on the exterior side walls

-Sagging ceilings and floors

-Creaking noises in certain parts of your home

-Rust around windows and doors

If you have a noticeable leak, do this now

Here are two simple ways you can take care of minor leaks now while a professional is on their way:

  1. If a pipe in your bathroom or kitchen is leaking, install a drip pan under your sink so you don’t have to worry about leaking onto other surfaces.
  2. If a water leak has occurred because a pipe has burst, shut off your water now so you don’t have to worry about flooding your home.

Ways to prevent leaks

Here are some ways you can prevent most leaks.

First, make sure your pipes aren’t old. Old pipes have small gaps that allow water to seep into your basement or crawl space. With new pipes, these gaps are eliminated so you can prevent leaks.

Second, use a rubber stopper at the bottom of your toilet tank to avoid cracks and uneven surfaces in the tank.

Third, install an aerator in the toilet’s fill valve to reduce air bubbles and prevent clogs from happening.

Fourth, use a water meter with leak detection features to ensure that you catch any leaking water before it gets too big an issue for your home.

Fifth, check your faucets for leaks and make sure they aren’t dripping after only five minutes of being turned on.

Sixth, seal off any holes in walls or ceilings as soon as possible if you notice any evidence of leakage.

The Importance of Checking for Leaks

Often, homeowners are too busy to check for leaks on their own, or they might not be sure how, which can be costly and inconvenient. So why not call in the professionals at Palo Alto Plumbing? We will be able to detect any leaks that may go undetected by homeowners or are easily missed to the untrained eye.

Professional companies like Palo Alto Plumbing will also have the expertise and equipment necessary to execute leak fixes effectively and efficiently without wasting time or money. We can identify the source of any leaks quickly and make repairs quickly to eliminate future issues.

Call Today

Water leaks are a common cause of damage to your home, and it is essential to know how to identify where a leak might be occurring. If you suspect you have a water leak in your home but don’t know where to start, give us a call at Palo Alto Plumbing Heating & Air by dialing 650-405-1460 today for all of your heating, air conditioning, and plumbing needs! You can also contact us here.

7 Plumbing Mistakes Homeowners Make

As a homeowner, there are many things you can do to maintain your plumbing system and prevent issues like a sewer leak, but it’s easy for homeowners to make mistakes that cause problems with their plumbing systems later on. This blog post will go over some of the most common plumbing mistakes homeowners make and how they can avoid them.

Quick Tips

When you’re dealing with plumbing problems in your home, it’s usually important to act quickly. The longer the problem goes unfixed, the more damage it can cause, and the harder it can become to repair. If you have a burst pipe or a sewer leak, for example, shut off the water immediately before further damage occurs. Then call a plumber as soon as possible. But how do you avoid these types of situations in the first place?

These are a few of the most common plumbing mistakes that homeowners tend to make:

1) Trying to DIY Projects

The reality is that most homeowners don’t understand how their plumbing works beyond turning on a faucet or flushing the toilet. There’s simply no reason for most of us to have a broader understanding of how many things work in our homes, like how electricity functions, or all the intricacies of a gas furnace. That’s what experts are for. After all, who has time to get into the wide ranging technical aspects of total home maintenance? So let yourself off the hook for once, and instead of trying to DIY your plumbing to save a few bucks, go ahead and call a local plumber. Honestly, it will save you time and money in the long run. Not to mention, if you have a messy sewer leak on your hands, trying to DIY a plumbing fix can even be a health hazard.

2) Failing to Fix Leaks Right Away

One of the most common things homeowners tend to put off for later is taking care of things like leaky faucets. Whether you’re wasting water by leaving the faucet dripping around the clock, or have hidden leaks in your pipes, not addressing these issues can result in higher water bills, or even worrisome damage to your property.

One sign of a sewer leak is an unusual green patch in your yard. Such waste water can fertilize the surrounding area, so unusual plant growth is a clue that there may be an underlying issue to blame. It’s essential to note that leaks can disturb your home’s foundation over time, and also lead to mold growth, which poses health hazards as well.

3) Flushing The Wrong Things Down the Toilet

Plumbing systems are more delicate than many homeowners realize, so there are certain things that should never be flushed down your toilets. Be sure that things like trash, paper towels, baby wipes, and sanitary products are always thrown in the trash instead. If you have children in your household, it’s also important to teach them what can and can’t be flushed down the toilets. Otherwise, pipes can become clogged, leading to expensive plumbing repairs, or even emergency plumbing services.

4) Using Chemical Cleaners to Clear Clogs

While this seems like a cheap and simple solution, it’s not. Unfortunately, using chemical cleaners can eat away at your pipes. They also emit toxic fumes that can be dangerous to your eyes as well as your respiratory system. Some chemical cleaners are advertised to be able to clear a drain blockage with just one application, but, in actuality, this is seldom effective. Unfortunately, you’re actually more likely to damage your plumbing with these “quick-fix” products.

5) Placing Grease or Food Down the Sink

One of the most common plumbing mistakes that people make is putting grease or food waste down the sink. This is generally disastrous because it ends up clogging the pipes, even if you have a garbage disposal. It’s important to remember to always dump food waste in the trash or in a special container used for grease, etc. Certain types of food can’t go down your garbage disposal. For example, it’s just not designed to take on heavy-duty substances, like fruit rinds, despite the fact that we’ve all been told to freshen things up with a lemon.

Tip: It’s also very important not to put food waste in your dishwasher because it can get stuck and cause clogs. There isn’t really anywhere for it to go.

6) Not Scheduling Plumbing Maintenance

One of the best ways to save money on plumbing repairs or to prevent major issues, like a sewer leak, is to schedule regular plumbing maintenance for your home. Rather than waiting for there to be an emergency plumbing problem, it pays to take a more proactive approach. Our advice is to have your system looked over at least once a year by a trusted plumbing company.

7) Not Hiring an Experienced Plumbing Company

Before hiring a plumber to come to your home, you really need to do a little research. You don’t want to put yourself in a frustrating position by relying on someone who doesn’t have enough experience to take care of the problem. It’s better to spend some time learning more about a plumbing company before you make up your mind. A reputable plumbing service should have reviews or testimonials on their website or social media pages. It’s also important to ensure that they’re licensed and insured so you aren’t putting yourself at financial risk if they’re somehow injured on the job.

Need Help?

Like any other system in your house, you have to take care of your plumbing to make sure it lasts a long time. If not, you risk dealing with expensive plumbing repairs or even water damage and mold. These mistakes can wreak havoc on your home, and take money and energy to fix! We hope this blog post helps you better understand your home’s plumbing. If you have any questions for us at Palo Alto Plumbing, or would like a free estimate, please give us a call at (650) 856-3400. Our friendly staff is here to help.

7 Signs of a Sewer Backup

Are you worried you might have a sewer backup? From laundry to the kitchen sink, all wastewater drains to the same municipal pipe. This is why it can be so tricky to figure out just where the problem is originating from. The most important thing is identifying the issue early on, before it becomes a mess that ruins your day.

But how do you know that a sewer backup is developing? Palo Alto Plumbing is here to help. Below are the top signs that you have a plumbing emergency.

Top Signs of a Sewer Backup

1) Foul Odors

Bad smells are one of the earliest signs of a sewer problem. Sewer-related odors may smell like mold, sulfur, or even waste. You should note that not all bad smells mean that there’s a problem with your sewer line, but if there’s no clear reason for them, it’s worth having checked out by a professional. If odors persist, there’s a good chance that a sewer backup is imminent.

A properly functioning sewer line shouldn’t smell bad. It’s designed to carry waste and associated smells away from your home. This is a sign that a blockage might be forming. Contact a reputable plumber who can get to the bottom of the issue.

2) Your Drains are Slow

How are your drains behaving? Is the wastewater flowing away at the rate it should? Slow drains in your home are another indicator that there’s already a sewer backup, or one pending. This is caused by a buildup of materials, debris, and other waste in your sewer line. Similarly, tree roots are notorious for breaking pipes in search of water. This eventually causes your sewer to back up. Many homeowners turn to chemical drain cleaners when this occurs, but that’s the wrong choice. In fact, these harsh chemicals can cause more damage to your pipes and are generally ineffective. They can also seep into the area surrounding the broken pipe and cause hazardous effects.

It’s always best to call a professional plumber when you notice sluggish drains and suspect a sewer backup.

3) Clogged or Overflowing Toilets

Trouble with a clogged or overflowing toilet is inconvenient but usually fairly easy to resolve, so don’t panic. But if the toilet starts to consistently backup without an apparent cause, it should concern you. A toilet that regularly gives you grief can be a sign you have a sewer backup that needs to be fixed by a plumber.

This situation is unsanitary, messy, and a real hassle to clean up. If you notice recurrent clogs and backups in your toilet, enlist the services of a professional as soon as possible. An expert plumber will be able to inspect and help determine the main cause of the issue and put a stop to it.

4) Unexplained Lush Spots in Your Yard

Have you recently noticed plants growing in your yard that weren’t there before? Are they healthier, greener, and growing noticeably faster than the rest of your yard? If such changes appear along your sewer pipes, it should be cause to worry because it’s possible that you might have a broken sewer line. The lushness could be a result of a water leak. The fractured sewer pipe may eventually allow debris and other forms of dirt in as the cracks widen.

If you notice a situation like this, it’s a sign that a problem with your sewer line might be in the works, so give a plumber a call for your peace of mind, and to avoid ending up with waste overflowing into your house.

5) Bubbling and Gurgling Noises

Another sign to look out for is strange noises coming from your tub, faucets, or toilets. These can be due to a blockage or a breakage in your sewer line. Usually, strange noises, like bubbling and gurgling, appear when you flush the toilet, pour something down the drain, or even turn on the water.

This happens because the water can’t flow where it should, and the air is getting in where it should not. Don’t ignore these sounds just because they aren’t bothersome to you. They may be a sign of an underlying problem. Prompt action can help you avoid a bigger problem that would cost more money to fix.

6) Marshy Patches

Have you noticed the emergence of pools of fetid waters on your property? This is a strong indication that your sewer line has cracks in it and is seeping water. These Puddles show where the sewer is leaching underneath your yard. This is a real problem, so don’t put off calling an expert.

Have you noticed the emergence of pools of fetid waters on your property? This is a strong indication that your sewer line has cracks in it and is seeping water. These puddles show where wastewater is collecting underneath your yard. When leaks appear beneath yard fixtures, like sidewalks, patios, decks, and driveways, it can cause sinking and structural damage that’s expensive to fix.

7) One Plumbing Fixture Acts Up When You Use Another

Is your toilet filling with water when you turn on your faucet? Or is water backing up in your sink drains when you start your washing machine? These kinds of bizarre occurrences are an indication that you have a clogged sewer line. This is usually a result of blockages in the pipes, and can be caused by a number of things. Enlisting the services of a plumber can help prevent the spread of germs that the sewer backup can cause.

Contact Us

Wastewater can be infested with harmful toxins, bacteria and pathogens that cause illness. As a homeowner, it’s important to be proactive for both the sake of your health and your wallet. If you notice any of the above signs, seek experienced plumbing services as soon as possible. An expert can assess, diagnose and repair your sewer backup using professional tools for the job.

If you’re having issues with your plumbing, we can help. Call us at 650-405-3052 or fill out a quick contact form by clicking here.

At Palo Alto Plumbing, we pride ourselves on providing excellent plumbing services. Our two decades of experience serving clients in Palo Alto and the surrounding communities make us the preferred local choice. We can handle all of your emergency or run-of-the-mill plumbing problems. Give us a call today and let us take the problem off of your hands.

When to Call an Emergency Plumber

Are you wondering if you need a plumber right away or if the problem can wait a little while longer? This is a common question for homeowners to have. After all, what if something seems like a minor issue, but it turns into a real mess that’s twice as expensive to fix? Not to worry—these are some times when you can be sure it’s critical to call a plumbing expert without delay.

A Burst Pipe

If a pipe has burst in your home, stop reading and contact an emergency plumber immediately. Depending on the situation, it doesn’t take very long for gallons and gallons of water to flood your home. Water can cause damage to furniture, flooring, cabinets, and even your home’s insulation and wood framing. If you know how to shut the water off, do that first. Otherwise, give us a call at Palo Alto Plumbing, and move your valuables and electronics to a safe area.

Sewage Backup

It goes without saying that sewage is a health hazard. If you have a backup, talk to an emergency plumber right away. A backup in the sewer line can be caused by things like invasive tree roots, a break in the pipe, or some kind of blockage. A sewage backup is inconvenient but it can also be dangerous. Raw sewage emits fumes and can spread pathogens.

Overflowing Toilet

An overflowing toilet can also be an emergency. If you can’t easily resolve  the issue on your own, talk to a plumber as soon as possible. The water is contaminated with bacteria, making it a health risk. If you aren’t sure of the underlying reason for the problem, a plumbing expert can help you sort it out.

You’re Without Water

If you suddenly find yourself without running water, this is cause for concern. It impacts your ability to cook, clean, or even use the bathroom. These days, most of us don’t rely on the tap for drinking water, but a lack of running water is still an emergency plumbing problem. Talk to an expert about resolving the issue.

Flood Risks

A variety of plumbing problems can pose a flood risk. Call a professional right away to prevent the need for costly repair work to your home. Water damage can also lead to other issues. For example, mold growth. This can become a real issue in and of itself because mold can be a major health hazard. A burst pipe or a failed sump pump can lead to flooding, as well as a water valve that fails to shut off.

Clogged Drains

Only a plumber will be able to tell you if there’s a hidden reason for your clogged drain. If a drain keeps getting clogged, you likely have a bigger problem on your hands than you realize. This is especially true if there’s something stopping up more than one drain in your home. Don’t risk rising water. Give a pro a call to make sure you don’t have a sewer problem.

Water Heater Failure

Another common plumbing emergency is when your water heater gives up the ghost. Discolored water is one clue, but the most obvious sign your water heater has failed is a freezing cold shower in the morning. Another thing you might notice is that your water has taken on a strange smell. Be sure to call a local plumbing service to take a look at your water heater. You don’t want to put this off because a faulty water heater can actually have hidden leaks. The last thing you want to do is spend hours mopping up all the water from its tank.

Leaky Faucets

You might not think about it, but old hardware can cause leaks too. Even if that isn’t the case, a dripping sink, shower, or toilet can really add to your monthly water bill costs, especially in the long run. Standing water is also an unpleasant mess to clean up. It often smells bad and can cause both mold and rust. Additionally, pests are drawn to water too.

DIY Plumbing Mishaps

DIY plumbing can also lead to some costly mistakes. Some of them require emergency plumbing services. Here’s a list of the most common DIY plumbing mishaps…

Forgetting to Turn Off the Water

One of the most common mistakes we see when it comes to home plumbing projects is that people often forget to turn off the water before they start taking things apart. Forgetting to turn off the water will most likely lead to water spraying from the loosened connection. What’s worse is that  you probably won’t be able to stop the flooding by putting things back together until you turn the water off at the source. If you don’t know how to shut the water off, it’s hard to think clearly when you’re in a panic and water is pouring into your home.

Too Much Drain Cleaner

Chemical drain cleaners can actually do more harm than good, especially if you use them on a regular basis to deal with clogged drains. For one thing, they’re hard on your pipes. Their toxic fumes can also be a hazard to your health.

Incorrect Toilet Placement

An incorrect toilet placement is another issue we regularly see. While this might seem like a simple project you can handle on your own, it still requires specialized knowledge. Often, the new toilet doesn’t quite fit right, or the replacement bowl is the wrong shape. This can come down to incorrect measurements. For example, older homes have a different standard than more modern designs, so this is something to be aware of.

Talk to an Emergency Plumber

Here at Palo Alto Plumbing, our licensed plumbers can solve anything from a drippy faucet to a cracked sewer pipe. Our detail-oriented and knowledgeable plumbers can ensure your household’s health and safety by providing quality services. Contact us at 650-405-1460 or fill out a contact form on our website to chat with one of our representatives about all of your plumbing needs!

Methods to Detect Water Leak

It’s important to take immediate action if you notice water leaks in your home. Aside from reducing your water bill expenses, this will also prevent further damage to your plumbing system. But the thing is, it can be tricky to detect water leaks. Not all homes have the same plumbing systems, either. So, if you’re just as confused about plumbing as most homeowners, here are some signs of water leaks and how to detect them on your own.

Common Causes of Water Leaks

Water leaks sometimes occur due to a variety of reasons, which can include the following:

  • Pipes wear down over time
  • Overgrown tree roots can break underground water pipes
  • Animals burrowing or digging into pipes
  • Weather fluctuations
  • Malfunctioning of pipelines
  • Bursting of water pipes

Methods to Detect Water Leaks

Tracking Your Water Bills

It’s a good idea to pay attention to your monthly water bills. This is because unexpected changes can help you determine if your home might have a water leak. For instance, you might notice that your water bill has gone up, but there haven’t been any changes to how much water your household uses. In this case, it means that your home probably has hidden water leak issues.

With the multiple water pipes installed underneath your system, it becomes challenging to detect exactly where the leaks are. So, you should look for a professional plumber to inspect your pipes, and make the necessary repairs. It’s important to take care of these issues before the leak gets worse.

Checking the Water Meter

One of the simplest ways to detect water leaks in your home is by checking the water meter. In most cases, plumbers place water meters in different locations, like in the basement, under your kitchen sink, or in concrete boxes outdoors. After you locate your water meter, ensure you turn off the water in your entire home. This includes all of your appliances. Definitely don’t leave the washing machine or dishwasher running while you do this test. Once everything is turned off, look at the water meter to find out whether there’s any movement. If you notice some, then there’s probably a leak in one of your water pipes.

On the other hand, if you don’t notice any changes, it’s advisable to wait for at least one hour and check again. There could be a slow water leak in the pipes if you can spot some minimal movement. Knowing the actual location of the leak is tough, though. Odds are you won’t be able to find it on your own, so contact a plumber right away.

Stethoscope Test

One of the easiest ways to detect water leaks is through vibrations coming from running water. When performing the test, it’s advisable to ensure that all pipe fittings are tightly closed.

The next step is to get a metal screwdriver and place the tip on the pipe, with the other side next to your ear. You’ll feel some vibrations if any water is flowing through. This can indicate that there may be a water leak in your pipe. You should call a plumber immediately to examine the actual location of the leak, and make the necessary repair or replacement.

Check for Clues

If your home is slightly older, then the chances of having water leaks in the pipes are much higher. Start checking the condition of your bathroom. Make sure to monitor if there are leaky faucets, drains, or showerheads.

In the long run, watching out for these things can help you save money on expensive repairs or replacements. You can also use this method to check if your kitchen pipes are leaking. If you suspect that there are possible water leaks, don’t hesitate to contact a professional to inspect your water pipes, and fix the problem immediately.

Related Content: Plumbing Basics Every Homeowner Should Know

Examine Your Toilet

Since toilets use approximately a third of the water in most homes, it’s essential to examine if the water is running properly. A leaky toilet wastes a lot of water, leading to a costly water bill. To check for water leaks in your toilet, you need to add some food coloring droplets or dye tabs. Next, leave the toilet without flushing for a few minutes. If the color begins to slowly disappear, there’s probably a leak. In this case, you need professional help to stop this situation from getting worse.

Check Your Outdoor Water Systems

Walk around your home to see if your garden accessories are properly working. Take a closer look at the functionality of your taps, hoses, irrigation systems, and fountains. If you notice that your hoses have holes that allow water to leak into unwanted areas, ensure these holes are sealed properly. If you see any part of your outdoor that’s wet, take a step further to identify the cause, or call a professional to fix the problem.

Leak Detectors

Leak detectors can easily help in identifying water leaks in pipes and fixtures. These handy devices are installed to alert you of leaks. They send a message through their alarm system. In most cases, this helps detect water leaks early enough to prevent major water damage to your home.

Growth of Mold

The major cause of mold growth in homes is usually water damage. If you come across mold in your bathroom, kitchen, or basement, there’s a higher chance that there may be a water leak.

Wall Discoloration

You may also notice some abnormal stains on your walls, and even ceilings. The stains are mostly brown or yellow. This is a sign that your water pipes may have leaks that are soaking your walls or ceilings.

Key Takeaway

These are some of the most effective ways to detect water leaks in your home before calling a professional. But if you’ve confirmed that you have a leaky pipe concern, don’t hesitate to call Palo Alto Plumbing. Water damage is costly and can be tough to repair. Don’t risk it. Our skilled and reliable plumbers can fix your plumbing leaks in no time.

Water Heater Sediment Buildup: What You Need to Know

Sediment buildup in water heaters is an issue that occurs when the minerals that are naturally present in your water source accumulate in your water heater. If left unattended, not only can this cause overheating and reduce the lifespan of your water heater, but the impurities can also leach into your water supply. If you happen to use this water for cooking, you may even accidentally ingest the impurities. So how can one tell if their water heater is suffering from sediment buildup?

In this article, plumbing heating and air expert Palo Alto reveals the signs that indicate your water heater is suffering from sediment buildup and what you can do about it.