Although they are used daily, homeowners seldom think about their toilets and how they work. It’s only when they cease to work that toilets get the respect they deserve. When…
When determining the right time to replace your water heater there are several factors to consider.
*Age of the Water Heater
*Money Invested in the Water Heater
*Amount of Hot Water
*Future Family Plans
*Length of Time Being in the Home
All of these factors play an important role when considering it’s time to replace your water heater.
How to Determine the Age of Your Water Heater
Most home owners are unsure of the age of their water heater. Simply locate the brand of the water heater, the model number, and the serial number found at the unit. Once this information has been collected you may contact the manufacturer to confirm the age of the water heater and the status of the warranty.
Water heater manufacturers may be contacted by phone or the web to verify age and warranty status. A majority of water heaters come with a 6 year tank and parts warranty from the manufacturer.
Importance of Regular Maintenance
Performing proper water heater maintenance can significantly extend the life and energy efficiency of your water heater. Manufacturers recommend flushing the water heater at least once a year to prevent sediment build up and loss of efficiency. When flushing the water heater it is important to inspect the condition of the anode rod and replace when necessary. While performing maintenance, your plumber should also check to make sure the water heater is operating safely.
RELATED: How Often Should I Flush My Water Heater?
How Local Water Conditions Affect the Life of Your Water Heater
Knowing the local water conditions will help in determining when to replace your water heater. Your local municipality can provide you with a report of local water conditions. At home test kits are also available to do your own analysis. Once you have the results you can ask your local plumbing professional about options for water treatment if needed. Treating the water that feeds the water heater can help extend its life.
Resources for Minnesota Residents: Community Water Systems –
Is Your Water Heater Big Enough for Your Family?
Water heaters may be sized properly for your home, but not your family. If you ever run out of hot water or are planning on growing your family, you may want to consider a larger capacity heater. Take into account all hot water usage including bathing, dishwashing, laundry, etc.
Tankless water heaters are a great upgrade option for growing families or homeowners that plan on living in the home for an extended period. Always take these factors into account when deciding the correct time to replace your water heater.
An informed consumer has an advantage over a non-informed consumer. Keep record of any investments made for your home. You can compare the price you paid for your current water heater with the current costs of water heaters. Service receipts can give you the total invested in servicing and repairing your water heater. Tracking your investments will let you decide whether to repair or replace.
Contact a Professional Plumber
If you are having issues with your water heater, call the professional plumbers at Discount Plumbers in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. We can inspect your home’s water heater and give you an honest opinion if you need to consider a replacement, or simply need maintenance. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for any and all emergency plumbing needs.
Avoiding Plumbing or Drain Issues! Watch What You Flush/Pour Down the Drain.
You might think that flushing toilet papers or wet wipes won’t do any harm. But these “flushable” products can create clogs and damage your pipes. Additionally, avoid pouring any oil or grease down your sink. Instead, put it in a container or handy jar. You can also use strainers to keep debris and other particles from plugging the drain.
Test out your sump pump and make sure it is functioning properly by following these simple steps:
Pour a bucket of water into the pit where the sump pump sits. When it activates, drain the water. Then deactivate it.
If your sump pump didn’t work as it should, then you know that something’s off with your unit. Hire an expert plumber to take a look at the problem and fix it immediately.
Check for Leaks
Look for leaks around your home. Check the toilets, sinks, ceilings, and walls for any damp spots. This could indicate serious plumbing issues that need to be addressed quickly. Don’t let your money go down with a dripping faucet or broken pipes. Call your local plumbing contractor for an expert repair service.
Schedule a Maintenance Service
Living in a fast-paced environment makes it easier for us to forget our plumbing system. After all, as long as it’s working and there are no leaks, then it must be fine, right? Well, it isn’t exactly true. If you wait around for your system to malfunction, it could put your budget in a big hole.
With regular expert care, it can prevent costly repairs and future problems. Thus, you can have peace of mind and save more on your utility bills.
Other Ways to Avoid Trouble
Know where your home’s main water shut-off valve is. This way, you can quickly turn it off when there’s a leak.
Clean your shower head to improve the water pressure.
You can use vinegar and hot water to unclog any debris down your drain.
Don’t put hard food scraps and overload your garbage disposal.
Don’t let these plumbing issues trouble you and your family at any moment. If you experience a plumbing or drain problems call the professional plumbers at Discount Plumbers in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Area.
While not a common topic of discussion, sewer cleanouts become an important topic once you start having trouble with your sewer system.
And when your sewer system is buried under the slab and in the yard, the sewer cleanout plays an vital role in diagnosing any problems.
What is a Sewer Cleanout?
Sewer cleanouts are the pipes that give you access to the rest of your home’s sewer system.
Most homes in the Minneapolis area have under slab sewer systems. Each fixture — toilets, faucets, etc. — connects to pipes that feed into a to a branch line buried underground. These branch lines connect to the main sewer line. The main sewer line leads out of your home into the yard, still underground, and connects to the city’s lines.
Sewer cleanout pipes are typically found somewhere outside near the perimeter of the house and are attached to the main sewer line. You will often find the sewer cleanout opening near ground level covered by a sewer cleanout cap.
Types of Sewer Cleanouts
There are two types of sewer cleanouts.
A one-way cleanout allows for access in one direction.
If the curve is toward the yard, we would only be able to send something down the yard line. And vice versa.
A two-way cleanout provides access in both directions.
With this U-shaped cleanout, we are able to use it to access both the yard and the house lines.
Do All Homes Need a Sewer Cleanout?
Because all of the sewer pipes run under your home’s foundation, you can’t see when there’s a problem. Problems like stoppages, tree roots, leaks, bellying, or breaks go undetected until it reaches a point where you start experiencing things like slow drains, backed up drains, or worse.
This is where sewer cleanouts come into play. We use sewer cleanouts mostly for testing. We send sewer cameras into the cleanout and down through the lines to investigate, and we also insert inflatable test balls to test for leaks. Sometimes we can also use the sewer cleanouts to clear out a blockage using a sewer machine.
And sometimes you don’t even need tools to see there’s something wrong if you see standing water in the cleanout pipes. Since sewer pipes are installed at a slight decline to work with the power of gravity, standing water in your cleanout pipes means there’s a stoppage or belly in the line causing that water to not drain out to the city line.
So yes, all homes need a sewer cleanout.
Do All Homes Have a Sewer Cleanout?
At this point almost all homes have a sewer cleanout. The only houses that don’t are older homes in which a cleanout wasn’t installed originally. But even if you’re in an older home that was built without a sewer cleanout, it’s likely one was needed at some point and was installed.
But if you happen to be in a home without one, the system is probably cast iron. (It’s highly, highly, highly unlikely a PVC house did not have cleanouts installed as part of the system.)
And if this is the case, because we recommend replacing a cast iron system, we don’t recommend installing sewer cleanouts. There’s no reason to put a sewer cleanout on cast iron when you’re gonna replace the whole system, and a cleanout will be installed with the new system.
How to Find My Sewer Cleanout?
A lot of people think they don’t have sewer cleanouts. But as I said, pretty much all homes do these days.
It’s more likely that your sewer cleanout is buried, often in a flower bed area. People cover up the cleanout because they think it’s an eyesore. Then someone comes in and puts in more landscaping, mulch, etc., and covers it up even more. So at one time the cleanout may have originally been barely covered by half an inch of soil but now is covered by up to six inches.
If you’ve searched all along the perimeter of your home and still can’t find the cleanout, we can come out and use special tools to locate it.
Sewer Cleanout Installation Cost
As I said, it’s highly unlikely your home doesn’t already have a sewer cleanout. And if you are one of those rare cases, it’s because your system is cast iron and we don’t recommend installing sewer cleanouts on a system that needs to be replaced.
However, generally speaking, a sewer cleanout installation will run you around $1,000 to $1,500 depending on the company. The cost also depends on what exactly needs to be done to install the cleanout.
Is there concrete to get through? Is the main line really deep? These things and any other number of variables can add up making it more expensive.
Need Help with Your Sewer System?
A properly functioning sewer system is incredibly important for your home and your family. So if you think you have a problem with yours, please reach out to us at In-House Plumbing Company because we’re happy to help.
If you have any questions about sewer cleanout, give us a call the professional plumbers at Discount Plumbers in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. We are happy to discuss any issues you’re having, and always keep your specific needs and budget in mind.
A sewer camera is a valuable tool to help determine if there’s a problem with your home’s sewer system.
Maybe you noticed a nasty sewer gas odor. Or maybe your water isn’t draining as fast as it use to. Or worse, you’ve got an overflowing toilet.
If you’re like most people, you’ll call a plumber for help. And when that plumber comes to your house, more than likely, he’ll perform a sewer camera inspection.
But it’s important for you, the homeowner, to know what a sewer camera inspection can find and what it can’t. Armed with this information, you will know if the plumbing company you hire to come out and inspect your pipes is ripping you off or not.
What is a Sewer Camera Inspection?
First, let’s cover what a sewer camera inspection is. Typically sewer lines are installed under the foundation of your house. There’s the concrete slab which is about 4 or 5 five inches thick and then about 2 feet or so of dirt above the pipe.
To inspect the pipes and find possible problems, a special sewer video camera head connected to a flexible cable is inserted into the main sewer line cleanout, or in some cases, the vent stack and snaked through the pipes. Then the plumber watches on a monitor at ground level to see what’s going on in your pipes.
Here at Discount Plumbers, we use a sewer camera to help us determine what your problem is. However, unlike our competition, we know there are some problems a camera alone can’t find.
What a Sewer Camera Inspection Can’t Do
Despite what many in the plumbing industry think, there are limitations to what a sewer camera sees inside your sewer lines. But there is one thing a sewer camera absolutely cannot see.
A sewer camera alone cannot determine if you have a leak or to locate a leak or leaks in your sewer lines. In fact, this is so important, it bears repeating.
While it’s a useful as a secondary tool in a leak location test, a sewer camera by itself cannot be used to to determine if you have a leak or to find a leak.
4 Reasons Why a Sewer Camera Can’t Locate a Leak
A leak is water escaping the pipe through a hole, break, or crack. Since the camera is inside the pipe, it cannot see the outside of the pipe. Meaning, it can’t see if something is leaking OUT of the pipe. It can only show what is going on INSIDE the pipe.
The plumber is looking at a monitor displaying what the camera “sees.” So the plumber has to interpret, or guess, what he’s seeing. He might think he see something that looks like a hole, break, or crack in the pipe. But keep in mind, this is your sewer system we’re talking about. This is where your waste flushes and runs through. Trust us when we say it does not look good. And all that gunk and waste makes it hard to tell if something is a leak based solely on what can be seen on the monitor.
Sewer pipes are usually one of two types: cast iron or PVC, both thick-walled pipes. So something very possibly might look like a hole or a crack or a break. But because the walls of the pipe are so thick, it’s possible what the plumber is seeing does not go all the way through the pipe so no water is leaking out at all. The result: no leak.
Particularly with cast iron, but this could also be true for PVC, there are years of buildup on the walls of the pipe. Calcium, soap scum, grease, debris… you name it, builds up on the walls of your sewer pipes. So any cracks or holes the plumber sees could very well be in the buildup and not the actual pipe.
We estimate about 95% of plumbing companies are using a camera as their primary tool to locate a leak. They come in, run an inspection with just a sewer camera and then tell you you have a leak.
But keep in mind, what may look like a leak on camera may not actually be a leak. And vice versa.
What a Sewer Camera Inspection Can Do
While a sewer camera cannot find leaks, there are certain situations where the camera alone is effective.
Sewer cameras have location devices that send out a signal. Using a special signal receiver above ground, our plumbers pinpoint where the camera is underground.
Drainage or Stoppage Issues
We call this your “sewer is not working as it is designed to work.”
Sewer pipes work using the power of gravity. The pipes flow downhill so when something goes into the pipe—waste, debris, water—it flows or drains down through your piping system and ultimately ends up at your city’s waste treatment center or septic tank, depending on your particular situation.
However, if something is causing your system to not work properly, in most cases we can use a sewer camera to determine what is causing it. Often in cases like these we find stoppages, blockages, roots, mud, broken pipe, etc.
PVC or Cast Iron Pipe
We determine what type of system you have by running a sewer camera inside the pipes.
Sewer System Connections
With a sewer camera, we can see fittings, tee’s, and other types of connection. We can also use it at the connections to run water. We’re able to see where the water flows to or from and/or comes from one line to another.
Unnecessary Plumbing Repairs
Depending on your situation, a sewer camera inspection alone may not be adequate in finding potential problems. And it is not at all adequate if it’s leaks they are looking for.
The most important thing to know is if a plumbing company does a leak location test with a camera as the only or primary tool, it’s very possible you’re being told there are leaks when there are none. If that’s the case, you could end up paying for repairs you don’t need.
If you have any questions about sewer inspection, give us a call at Discount Plumbers in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area.
For plumbing near me, local drain plumber, emergency plumber or local plumber in Minneapolis, we can handle all your sewer and drain cleaning services in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro areas. Discount Plumbers® Minneapolis also offers a dedicated team of qualified professional plumbers ready to help with your faucets, toilets, garbage disposal, water heater, trenchless sewer repair and tub/shower valve issues. Our unclog drain cleaning specials can’t be beat by any other plumbing companies.. We provide rapid response for your clogged drain, clogged toilet, main drain cleaning, main line sewer repair, sewer lining, sewer pipe or even sewer line installation. Contact us today for $94 Drain Cleaners and Plumber services.