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Water Heater Selection Guidelines

Looking for a water heating system for your home?  In choosing a water heater, there are factors to consider in order for you to get the most out of what you paid for.  For starters, it is imperative that you choose a water heating system that does not only provide sufficient amount of hot water but also save you energy and money while doing so.  The market offers a wide variety of options to choose from when it comes to water heaters and if you’re looking forward to purchasing one that will cater to your water heating requirements, read on to find out more about water heaters. 


Conventional storage water heaters – Considered to be the most popular type of water heating system found in most homes today.  These water heaters keep a ready reservoir of hot water through the storage tank.  Conventional storage water heaters can run on propane, natural gas, oil, or electricity. 

Tankless water heaters – Also known as demand-type water heaters, these systems only provide hot water as needed.  Water is instantly heated as it flows through the unit.  The main advantage of having tankless water heaters is the continuous flow of hot water. 

Heat pump water heaters – Heat pumps make use of electricity to move heat from one point to another in order to provide hot water.  Because it does not directly generate heat, a heat pump water heater can prove to be more energy efficient than the conventional ones. 

Solar water heaters – These water heaters generate heat by converting the sun’s heat into renewable energy used for heating water.  The only disadvantage of having solar water heaters is that it won’t be able to do deliver sufficient water during the winter season. 

Tankless coil and indirect water heaters – This type of water heaters is part of an integrated water heating system that makes use of your home’s space heating system to cater to your water heating needs. 


In selecting the water heater that will work best for your home, the following are important factors that should be considered:

  • Fuel type or source of energy.  Consider the type of fuel or energy source that your water heater will be dependent on when providing hot water.  This factor will play an important role in the unit’s operation cost, size, and energy efficiency.  
  • Size.  Size matters when it comes to choosing the right water heater for your home.  To maximize efficiency, it is vital that the water heater is of the right size based on the needs of your home. 
  • Energy efficiency.  Another factor to consider when choosing is the amount of savings you can get from the use of your water heater.  Always be aware of the energy efficiency of a water heating system before you finalize your purchase. 
  • Costs.  You also have to consider or at least have an idea of how much you need to shell out in terms of unit cost and the annual operating costs.  By having this information ready, you can make a comparison and make your decision a little less stressful. 

When you explore water heating system options, it is important to take your time and gather as much information as you can to ensure that your final choice is the best one for you and your home.  It also wouldn’t hurt to talk to the experts so you can get the best advice there is.  More tips at

Avoiding DIY Plumbing Disasters

The level of difficulty of plumbing is not that high especially when we know which parts are having a problem. And don’t try to hide it, you go by instinct at times, too. Although sometimes we achieve the success of having fixed our plumbing issues, it also doesn’t take that much before everything turns into a chaos. It definitely saves a lot of money if we do the fixing ourselves, but remember that there’s fixing it yourself and there’s fixing it the right way.

So before you put your gears on and do your own plumbing, here are the things that you have to know to avoid DIY plumbing disasters.

Be aware of where the shut-offs valves are.

Regardless of how small the job is, it is a must that you know where the shut off valves are. You may have just one but if you don’t know where it’s located and how to turn it off, you could be in big mess. Most homes have a good system that was carefully thought of. This could mean that there is a shutoff valve for each bathroom. The number one rule is to always locate and be familiar with your shut off valves.

Valves are mostly located in the basement, but there are some that are located just behind some access panels. You can test if you got the correct valve off by flushing the toilet and turning the faucets on.

The most important valve location to know is the location of the main house shut off valve. This valve can usually be found where your water line enters your home. Be sure to also know the quickest way to get to each valve. You’ll never know when you will need to shut one off.

Learn how to sweat a copper pipe.

The ability to sweat a copper pipe is the foundation of today’s plumbing. All you need is a flux, a torch, a solder and some pipes.

Sweating a copper pipe is an easy task. Simply clean the ends of the pipes, evenly coat them with the flux, heat it up using the torch then apply the solder. The joints you’ll be making might not be as neat as what the plumbers do, but it’ll be as functional. And, it always gets easier and better as you keep on trying. Knowing this does not always have to mean that you will be piping the entire house, but it’s always safe to know it for some minor fixes such as plumbing.

Know your home’s entire plumbing system.

You should never begin a do-it-yourself plumbing project without understanding your home’s plumbing system. Learning plumbing’s basic concepts always saves you a whole lot of trouble when you do your own plumbing. Basically, when you know the function of your vent pipe, the amount of pitch that the waste pipe needs, and the size of the drain lines, then you can easily map your own plumbing. You would also want to know the location of the waste lines and where it ends, and which walls have pipes in them. If you have more information about your house and your entire system, it will be much easier for you to do your plumbing and avert any future plumbing disasters.

Keep a complete toolbox handy.

Any homeowner who likes doing do-it-yourself projects should always have a complete toolbox ready for just about anything. Plumbing requires some tools and having not enough tools will delay your fix and may cause more damage if you’ve already started with the project. It’s even frustrating to go to a hardware store while in the middle of the project. So before you even start putting your work attire on, make sure that you have all the tools you need to fix the problem.

DIY plumbing projects are always great. Just be sure to get ready with whatever knowledge and skills you need to make sure you get the project done and get it done right. You can avert plumbing disasters by making sure you have the right mindset, the right tools, and everything else in between to make your project a success – yes that includes getting the right advice from the right people. If you need more tips for your own plumbing projects, contact your trusted plumbing contractors now!

How to Choose a Plumber

How to Choose a Plumber Homeowners everywhere go a bit crazy during times when they have a clogged shower drain in their midst, and they end up sloshing in about four inches of unwelcome water,a toilet that refuses to flush or a burst pipe. They mostly panic and are overwhelmed by the thought of how to choose a plumber.

All of a sudden, you find solace in knowing you can contact plumbers who advertise their 24-hour service. During times like these, you just make the most out of your situation to get a quick fix at a fairly reasonable price. But when you finally found a particular plumber you like, make sure to keep his calling card handy as recommended by Mike at and Dwight at

You have the opportunity to make better hiring choices when you’re not facing plumbing emergencies, but rather more chronic plumbing issues such as uneven water pressure, leaky faucets, a running toilet, or your home is undergoing certain renovations that necessitate installing new fixtures or perhaps the construction of an extra bathroom. Check the following suggestions to know how to choose a plumber who can perfectly address your home’s needs.

The following are the questions you need to ask your potential plumber of choice:

1. How long have you been working as a plumber?

2. How did you train for it?

3. Are you a licensed, bonded, and insured plumber in this province or state?

4. Do you charge by the job or by the hour?

5. Do you have a specific fee for service calls?

6. Do you provide valuable emergency service?

7. Do you provide any warranty? If so, what is it?

8. Can you provide references?

These are the measures on how to save money when facing such plumbing emergencies:

1. Consolidate.Make sure that you consolidate all your plumbing needs, so you only pay the fee for just one service call and not spend a lot of money paying for numerous service calls on various issues.

2. Clear and clean.Make sure that you clear the area where the plumber will work and also clean it afterward to lessen the time the plumber works and charges you for it.

3. Conduct the necessary legworkAsk the plumber what specific parts he need and head to the hardware shop yourself to buy it.Or else, you’ll get billed by the plumber for the time he spend buying the parts and might mark up the price of the parts as well. If you plan on hiring a plumber for a remodeling or renovation project, also buy the fixtures yourself but make sure you consult with the plumber,so you end up with models and brands he is quite familiar with.

4. Make comparisons.Secure at least three quotes when dealing with bigger jobs and do not forget to check their references. It does not mean that when a certain plumber offers the lowest quote, he’s the best man for the job. Most of the time, you end up hiring the one you’re most comfortable with and to whom references attest to the quality of his work and can be relied on for more works in the future. You can save a great deal of money, time and effort by having any project or task done correctly the first time all the time.

5. Do it yourself. Try to become a handyman from time to time and carry out minor repairs on your own. You can start with clearing clogged drains, fixing leaky faucets and stopping a running toilet. You can save on cash from lower water bills and minimize mold and mildew growth within your home by doing so. If left unaddressed, it can worsen certain allergies by some family members.

6. Exercise preventive care. Make it a point to cover your pipes with insulation during the cold season. Moreover, prevent your dripping faucet from freezing at night, never to overstuff your toilet, and put a drain screen in your shower to catch falling hair.

7. Ask. In case you already have an expert plumber at home, take advantage of that opportunity to ask for his professional advice regarding other preventive care suggestions that is best for your home and location. It not only help you thwart any possible disasterbut likewise establish a good relationship with an expert member of your HVAC service company.

So now, the question remains on how to choose a plumber. Look for a plumbing expert you are comfortable working with and someone you can trust in the face of any plumbing emergencies. The piece of mind homeowners can get from it is priceless.

How to Prepare for a Furnace Installation

You will surely notice once your furnace fails. At times, you can still mend it and have it working once more, but sooner or later, you have no choice but to buy a new one and prepare for a furnace installation. And when the time comes that installing a new furnace is your only alternative, consider the following tips prior to signing up with a contractor on a new service contract.

Looking for the Right Furnace
The first thing you must consider is the kind of furnace you are going to install. And because the majority of furnaces can last as long as 15 to 20 years, you will likely be overwhelmed with the diverse choices of furnaces that weren’t there yet the last time you had a furnace installation. The most typical household furnace uses natural gas and likely cost around $2,500 up to $14,000. Some use oil and still prevalent in a few areas. But there is a catch, they are not as efficient as the gas-powered ones. Their prices range from $2,000 up to $8,000 for a furnace installation. It will cost you more when it involves work on the duct system.

Then, there’s also an alternative to opting for electric heat. It comes from small registers situated on the border of the rooms. To install one, you might need to shell out $1,000 up to $2,000. However, they’re not an effective heating alternative when you have a big room. Moreover, using it results to high monthly energy costs. The heat pump is a better choice and also becoming more popular now among homeowners. It pulls heat from the ground or air with the use of refrigerant coils. For heat pumps pulling heat from the air, it will cost you $1,500 to $7,000, whereas the ones with the ground source are priced at $7,000 up to $25,000. They double as ACs in the summer, but most cannot work during extremely cool temperatures thereby reducing their efficiency.

Furnace Efficiency

A gas furnace has a variety of choices that in turn affects its price,
Firstly, there is heat output. It is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). A 60,000 BTU furnace is enough for an average home. Meanwhile, higher BTU rating units does not translate to better units if you have a small home. They are expensive and achieve their ideal temperatures shortly and then shut off. In turn, your home has an inconsistent level of comfort.

Then, another important consideration is efficiency. You can expect around 80% efficiency or less among older-model furnaces. To better understand what this figure means, 20% of the generated heat is lost. Most of the newer models are 90% efficient, and some can reach as high as 95%. The higher the efficiency, the lower your operating cost will be.

You must find out how effective your furnace is in heating up your home. It is mainly affected by its “staging.” An old model has “one–stage,” indicating that these furnaces always run at maximum power. The majority of newer furnaces have “two-stages”, which can allow it to run at 65% at the start to save fuel, and then increase up to 95% when necessary. There are also “three-stages” models, but they are pricey. They can run at 33% to 90% power in 1% increments.

Taking into Consideration Labour Costs

A furnace installation also includes labor costs. Labor costs vary, but the minimum contractors or companies charge is around $75/hour for the contractor and an additional $50 for the helper. For an 8-hour furnace installation, it can cost you as much as $1,000 in labor alone. Furnace installations can become more costly if there is a need to repair or modify existing ductwork, or when a new furnace is much smaller or bigger than the current one.

A furnace installation is covered by two warranties. Firstly, there’s the manufacturer’s warranty. It comes along with the furnace and protects you against built-in defects with the unit. For instance, the pilot lights do not stay lit or an inoperable fan. Secondly, there’s the contractor’s warranty. It covers labor necessary when doing repairs when a furnace starts to fail and usually lasts as long as five to ten years. An extended warranty will cost you more.

Ensure that the warranty is in writing. Likewise, ensure that it covers all the specifics like what is its coverage, how long is it in effect, and what the contractor can provide to address the issue. Even though a furnace installation’s cost varies, you can save yourself from being fooled by scrupulous contractors by conducting your own research.

Drain Cleaning Tool for your Sewer

If you once hired an expert to clean your sewer, you probably have an idea how expensive it is. Some plumbing companies begin their prices for a standard clog clearing at around $250. And if the location of the work is not convenient, it will cost you even more. Likewise, you’ll pay more for jobs that take over an hour. That’s how it works. It is expected since this job is not for everyone and homeowners will gladly hire contractors to do the job for them. Good thing that those who cannot afford to hire an expert and plans on doing the task themselves can rely on a drain cleaning tool, the reliable sewer auger, to help them clear the stubborn drain.


The Sewer Line


For starters, a residential sewer line (typically 4-inches) runs from below the main waste or vent stack (commonly referred to as the main drain) of a house. Then, below the yard all the way to the city sewer below the street. It is the city government’s job to look after the main city sewer. Your home is your obligation, as well as the taps that connect your home line to the main city sewer.


The Cleanout


Use the auger on your drain through a cleanout. It is an access hole in your sewer line that is used for this specific purpose. The cleanout can be your fitting or a short pipe’s threaded plug found on its tip that connects to the main drain (often located in the crawlspace or basement). It can likewise be situated outside that is obvious for its plug or a tiny cover resembling a manhole-like appearance that seals the top of the steeply sloping pipe leading below the ground into the main sewer drain pipe. Houses built years ago may not come with a cleanout. For these older houses, you can access the sewer line by taking off your home’s toilet since it is the only drain in your home that is large enough to accommodate the auger. If you own an older house, you have no other alternative but to hire an expert.


What Drain Cleaning Tools you will Need?


Sewer Snakes or augers can typically be rented at various tool rental shops. It is a power tool that is made up of a 100-foot (some are just 50-foot long) cable within a metal spool resembling a cage that works hand in hand with a reversible electric motor. The frame of the auger has a couple of wheels that lets you tip it back and then roll it around just like a moving dolly. Then, there’s a two-pronged cutter on its end that rotates together with the cable when cutting the clog.


An auger is heavy. You need the help of the rental staff to carry it to your vehicle. The trunk of a car is not sufficient. You’ll also require a ramp and another strong person at home to help you take it out of your vehicle and bring inside the house. Renting a 100-foot auger for half a day or around 4 hours will cost you $65 or more (ask for its price from at least three rental shops before choosing one). Meanwhile, a 50-foot cable is a bit lighter and more manageable than the 100-foot one. However, you need to first rule out that a 50-foot cable is enough for you to reach the main sewer line before even considering of renting one. You’ll just need a disposable work gloves, a couple of rags, and then a screwdriver or a wrench for the cleanout. A garden hose is also helpful in helping you flush and test the drain prior to returning the sewer auger.


The Actual Cleaning Process


It is time to get your hands dirty. The initial step is to take off the cleanout cover or plug. But if your home’s drain is located way at the back, exposing the cleanout can initiate a tsunami-like release of sewage since the 4-ince pipe is being emptied onto the floor of your basement. Wait until your drain is empty on top of the cleanout prior to taking it off. When the clog is so severe, and you have no drainage, an expert is definitely needed to help you catch the contents in the cleanest manner possible.


Place the auger several feet away from your cleanout and then attach the power cord to an electrical outlet nearby. Many augers come with a foot pedal to let you operate the motor without having to use your hands. Position it in an accessible location. Then, pull out the auger’s cable and feed it into your home’s pipe several feet away. Next, step on the pedal to begin spinning the cable (as well as the cutter head) in the standard (clockwise) direction. As you are spinning the auger, start pulling the cable from the spool and feed it into your home’s drain one foot at a time. Moreover, rotating it helps the cable navigate the various twists and turns of the drain pipe aside from its cutting mechanism.


If you feel some resistance as you feed the cable, it is most likely due to the clog or a bend in the pipe. Just do not force it. Retract the auger’s cable a little by backing off the head of the cutter before feeding it once more. If the cutter meets some resistance again (often some tree roots or a clog), stop for a while as you keep on spinning the cable. If you must know, the cable is a torsion spring that is tightly wounded allowing you to wind it up for several more rotations. However, just bear in mind that it might break off when you get too far. Allow the pressure to build up gradually before yanking the cable back to free the cutter. You’ll see that the cable will spin back right away to its resting stance. In case the cutter is stuck and you can no longer unwound the cable, stop rotating the auger and press the motor’s reverse switch before rotating the auger backwards. You must first pull the cutter free prior to continuing in the clockwise direction.


As soon as your cable is working well again, you can resume feeding it to the drain. Continue doing this process until you eventually remove the clog. It is often needed to completely pull the cable outside, let it run over a rag while you coil it back to its spool cage to see if the head of the cutter has roots or other materials stuck in it. When you are trying to pull the cable, just keep the motor off, unless you must reverse it a little while passing a bend in the pipe. If you have a drain overflowing with water, you can sense or hear a very satisfying whoosh as you finally break the clog. But just to make sure, do the snaking process a few more times to ensure everything is clear. Then, run a garden hose below the pipe as you continue with the follow-up snaking. You’ll be able to clean the cable for good as well as flush out some troublesome debris too. Just leave the hose in there a little longer to make sure that the clog is no longer there.


When to Seek the Help of an Expert


You cannot always remove a clog on your own. There might be a very big tree root blocking or perhaps a damaged pipe among others. Most clogs need the expertise and advanced drain cleaning tools and gadgets owned by an expert plumber or a drain contractor. Just remember not to stress the auger or use it for a long period since you might damage it or the piping without ever clearing the clog. Just call an expert when you must. But first, choose wisely. A drain work is pricey most especially when repairs are necessary. You better choose a trusted plumber or a reliable drain contractor who gives out reasonable prices along with an outstanding reputation. But in case an expert cannot remove the clog, your next recourse is to take a video of the drain to determine the cause of the problem and the exact location of the clog.


Welcome to Guide to Plumbing

Welcome Friends!

Let me be the first one to thank you for visiting my site that I name Guide to Plumbing.  I've been in the heating and plumbing industry for quite a while now and I consider myself an authority in this subject.  If you are seeking valuable information in relation to how to unclog drains, how to avoid septic and sewer line problems, and how to avoid common plumbing issues, then you've arrived at the right place.

Have a look at my blog for great plumbing related guidelines.  

Plus, please, when you have any questions, do not hesitate to get in touch with me whenever you want.