Heating and air conditioning account for about 55% of all household consumption across the United States,1 making the potential for energy savings enormous. For those who are installing a new system or replacing an old one, one of the options that could make a big impact is choosing a heat pump over a traditional HVAC installation.
What exactly is the difference between these two systems? Will it really save you money? We look into what a heat pump is, how it compares to HVAC units, and how it will affect your bottom line.
What’s the Difference?
The traditional HVAC setup involves two separate units: the AC, or air conditioning, system and the furnace. When you’re cooling down your house, the AC pumps the warm air from the house outside. When you need to warm up, you switch off the AC and switch on the furnace, which uses natural gas or propane to heat the house.
A heat pump replaces both of these units with a single system running on electricity. It cools down your house in the exact same way as an air conditioning installation does: by pumping warm air out of the house. However, the same unit can also operate in reverse, pumping warm air into the house to heat you and your family up.
Which One’s More Efficient?
As we’ve just noted, the cooling cycle of a heat pump operates exactly the same as a normal HVAC unit. So, no matter what climate you live in, the efficiency and power consumption while the unit is cooling your house are also the same.
Heating, however, is a different matter. Heat pumps don’t exactly heat up the air as furnaces do. Instead, they draw warm air from outside and send it into your house. As it isn’t burning constantly like a furnace, a heat pump system in heating mode is more energy-efficient in most conditions.
When it gets really cold, though, the balance shifts back in favor of the humble furnace. If there’s not much warmth for the heat pump to draw from the outside air, it has to work a lot harder to heat up the home. In places which frequently drop below zero, heating strips must be added to the heat pump for it to work at all, reducing the efficiency even further.
How Much Do They Cost?
For somewhere like Texas, a heat pump is normally more efficient, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cheaper. Before you decide, you’ll also have to consider:
Installation – Since heat pumps are essentially both the heating and cooling units in one, the initial costs are close to half of what it would be for a new, traditional HVAC system.
Electricity versus Natural Gas – Electricity is more expensive than the natural gas used in most furnaces, so, even though a heat pump is generally more efficient, it still costs more to run overall.
Electricity versus Propane – However, if you don’t have natural gas available at your home, you’ll have to use propane for your furnaces, which is actually more expensive than electricity, and, therefore, costlier to run than a heat pump.
Maintenance – Heat pumps use the same unit and piping for both heating and cooling cycles, making air conditioning service and maintenance easier and cheaper in the long run. This depends, of course, on how often you’ll use your heating system.
Which One’s Right for Me?
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider before you make the decision. With hybrid systems also available, it can be almost impossible to choose what’s right for you and your family!
Let MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning do the hard work for you. We’ll take the stress out of making decisions by analyzing your household and usage to guide you to an HVAC installation solution that you’re completely satisfied with.
Ready to get started? Whether it’s air conditioning repair or installation, guidance, or maintenance, we’re here for you anywhere in Houston and the surrounding areas. Call up our friendly, expert team at (281) 994-6698 and we’ll find the system that’s right for you.
Whether you’ve lived in your home for twenty years or you’re not sure how old your current air conditioner is, if it’s not cooling the way you think it should, it could be time for an upgrade.
Air conditioning repair doesn’t automatically mean you need a new unit, but regular AC repair, combined with things like high electric bills and insufficient cooling, can mean the cooling capacity of your current air conditioner doesn’t fit your needs.
So, what is cooling capacity? Knowing more about it can help you know that your air conditioner is properly sized for your home. If it isn’t, an air conditioning service like MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning can help you to find an energy-efficient unit that will save you money and cool your entire home efficiently.
What Is Cooling Capacity?
Cooling capacity is just another way to describe how powerful your air conditioner is. It’s measured in something called British Thermal Units (BTUs) and tons. One ton is equal to 12,000 BTUs.
The cooling capacity you need depends on several different factors, but you first need to look at the area of the country in which you live. For example, people who live in warmer southern states typically need one ton of cooling per 450-700 square feet of flooring. People in the north typically need one ton per every 1,000 square feet since the climate is naturally cooler.
Your air conditioning unit needs to match the specifications for your home. If the cooling capacity isn’t enough for your home, you’ll notice that certain areas of your house don’t get cool enough.
On the other hand, there is such a thing as too much cooling capacity. If your AC unit has too much, it can create huge swings in temperature throughout your home. Both issues can cause your electric bills to be high, and they both waste energy.
What Affects Cooling Capacity?
To choose the right air conditioner for your home, you need to know more than the square footage. Some of the factors that can impact the cooling capacity needed for your house include:
Your home’s age
Landscaping around your house
How to Calculate BTUs
Again, it’s important to have an air conditioner that isn’t too big or too small for your home’s needs. After you’ve considered some of the factors above, you can use a simple equation to determine how big of a cooling capacity your house really needs.
To make this calculation, find the square footage of your home, or a room in your home if you’re just looking to cool one area. Multiply that square footage times 25 BTU. So, if you have a room that is 200 square feet, you’ll need a cooling capacity of 5000.
Choosing the Right Air Conditioner for Your Home
The first thing to keep in mind when you’re choosing an air conditioner is to decide which type you’re going to get. Some of the most common options include window units, portable air conditioners, or split ductless air conditioners.
Window units are often very popular because they can focus on one room or area of the house. Plus, you don’t have to choose a standard small window air conditioner. Larger models can have up to 12,500 BTU and cool up to 650 square feet.
Many modern homes have split central air cooling systems. The condenser is installed outside the home, while the evaporator coil goes inside the house. This allows cool air to be blown throughout the house from one unit, using a duct system.
The next thing to consider is your budget. Air conditioning units are expensive—especially if you choose a central air system. If you really need cooler air in one room or area of the house, a window or portable unit may do the trick for now, but, if you’ve planned ahead and you’re ready to install a more energy-efficient cooling system that will work throughout your own home, a central air system is often the most practical way to go.
Let’s take a look at some of the factors you can keep in mind as you decide on the type of system that is right for you.
Central air: Good for new construction or full remodeling projects. The cooling system itself is largely invisible.
Window air conditioners: Best for heating a single room or small area. Offers instant results.
Portable unit: Great option if you rent or can’t modify your living space. It’s easy to move from room to room and can be helpful for people on a budget.
Convenience Features for New Air Conditioners
When you’re considering a new AC unit, you’ll find many of the newer models are just as much about fashion and features as they are about function. It’s important not to get sucked into too many bells and whistles. Ultimately, the cooling capacity should be your main concern.
Things like remote controls, programmed cooling, and more can be beneficial and quite a draw for some people. If you’re looking at some of the special features of an air conditioning unit, don’t forget the most important one: make sure it’s energy-efficient. This usually isn’t a problem, nowadays, as most manufacturers take pride in creating EnergyStar-certified products. An energy-efficient air conditioner will not only help to lower your utility bills, but it’s better for the environment.
As you can see, there is plenty to consider when you need a new air conditioning unit for your home. If you’re still not sure which air conditioner is best for your house, or you want more information, call MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning today. We’ll help you to determine which type of air conditioning unit will best fit your needs so you can stay cool all the time.
As a homeowner, it’s difficult to anticipate emergencies or home repairs that need to happen due to wear and tear. It’s nearly impossible to pay attention to all of the “what ifs” that could happen at any given time.
Because of that, when something does start to wear out, or even if it breaks, it can be a shock to your bank account and dip into your savings unexpectedly.
Unexpected plumbing problems or drainage system problems can end up costing a lot. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of some of the most common warning signs that you might need to replace your sewer line.
Sewer repair by a trustworthy plumbing company can make a big difference in saving you money and time. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the warning signs that it’s time to replace your sewer line.
A Clogged Toilet
A clogged toilet doesn’t automatically mean you have sewer drain problems. There are many possible reasons why your toilet might not be working properly, but, if it keeps happening, it could be a sign of a sewer line issue.
When a sewer line is broken or gets clogged, it will start to back up in the pipes, and that means the waste and liquid will typically travel down the nearest, easiest route. Unfortunately, that’s often a basement or first-floor toilet.
If your toilet is consistently clogged, and it appears waste is coming back up into it, it could be time for a sewer cleaning.
Low Pressure and Rusty Water
An easy way to determine if you have a sewer line problem is to take a look at the water coming out of your faucets. Low water pressure can be a clear indicator of a problem. If a sewer line is leaking or clogged, it can result in a decrease in water pressure throughout your home.
Additionally, pay attention to the tap water that comes out of your faucets and shower. Does it have a rust smell or is it discolored? Rust in your water could mean the sewer line has started to corrode. This is especially common in older homes with galvanized pipes.
Increased Water Bills
If you’re used to your water bill settling in at a certain amount each month, it can be a shock to see that bill suddenly start to climb. An unexpectedly-high water bill could be a sign of a leak somewhere within your sewer line.
Or, it could be because your sump pump is working overtime to keep water out of your home due to a broken line. Either way, a sharp increase in your bill indicates a problem, and it should be looked at right away by a professional.
Avoiding Sewer Line Problems
If you start to notice any of these signs, a plumbing inspection is in order. Getting your pipes and sewer line checked out before these problems get worse can end up saving you a lot of money and hassle.
At MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning, we have the experience and skills to ensure your sewer line is working properly. If there are leaks or the line needs to be replaced, we’re happy to take care of it for you, so you don’t have to deal with plumbing problems in your home. Don’t second guess your plumbing issues—instead, give us a call at 281-994-6698 to make sure your sewer line is stable.
As sewer pipes age, they gradually start to deteriorate. Even with regular sewer drain cleaning and maintenance, the sewer lines will eventually wear out. How long sewer lines will last does depend on the age of the home, how long ago the sewer lines were installed, and the types of sewer pipes used. If your sewer pipes are 20 to 25 years old, now is the time to start thinking about different sewer repair options.
Types of Sewer Pipes
There are several different types of sewer pipes which could be used for your sewer main and connect to your septic tank or city’s sewer system, which include:
Cast Iron: Older homes could have cast iron sewer pipes. They can remain in the ground as long as they are not damaged and have no leaks since they are very sturdy.
Clay: Clay sewer pipes can be found in both older and newer homes. Clay is porous and makes it easier for tree roots to grow through and damage the sewer pipes.
Orangeburg: This type of sewer pipe is made from fibrous materials that are wrapped together using a water-resistant adhesive, which is then coated in a layer of tar to provide strength. Orangeburg pipes are typically found on older homes and are no longer used today.
Lead: Lead sewer lines were used for interior sewer drain lines in older homes and are no longer used.
Plastic: PVC and ABS plastic sewer pipes are more common in newer homes since they are not as prone to damages by tree roots.
How Do I Know What Type and in What Condition My Sewer Pipes Are?
The easiest way to determine which types of sewer drain pipes your home has, and their current condition, is with a sewer camera inspection service from a qualified plumbing company. A small camera is put down the pipes, typically from the overflow valve for exterior pipes. The camera will show any blockages, tree roots, or other damages.
A camera inspection can also be performed on interior sewer pipes if you want to find out what type of pipes were used when your home was built. The inspection also can help find and identify potential problems like leaks and clogs.
Types of Sewer Repair Methods
There are two general types of sewer repair methods that can be used to fix damaged sewer lines:
Pipe Relining/Trenchless Repairs
For traditional repairs, the existing sewer pipe is removed and replaced with a new one. This involves gaining access to the existing sewer lines. Interior repairs mean having to tear out drywall and flooring to reach sewer lines hidden away. Exterior repairs require digging a trench in your yard to access the sewer lines.
With pipe relining and trenchless repairs, all that is required are a few access points. A new pipe is installed either inside the interior of the existing sewer line or by using piper bursting, which breaks up the existing sewer lines as the new pipe is laid in place.
Selecting the Best Sewer Pipe and Repair
In order to select the best sewer pipe and repair for your home, you need to think about the location of the sewer line problem and the extent of any damage. It is also worthwhile to consider what types of sewer lines you currently have in your home and yard.
If you have cast iron, clay, lead, or Orangeburg sewer pipes, you may want to replace the pipes with new ones and opt for traditional sewer line repair. On the other hand, for interior repairs when the pipe is not broken, relining could be a good solution since you do not have to tear out large sections of drywall and flooring.
Trenchless sewer drain repair can also be a good choice for exterior repairs. However, if the sewer pipe is collapsed or has extensive tree roots that cannot be removed, then traditional repairs may be necessary. Additionally, you should weigh the pros and cons of relining/trenchless repairs compared to traditional repairs.
Pros of Relining/Trenchless Sewer Repairs
Minimal removal of drywall and flooring.
Sewer repair can be completed in a day or two.
You can remain in your home while your sewer lines are repaired.
Sewer damages may be covered under your homeowner’s
Peace of mind for up to 50 years, depending on the type of relining pipe used.
Lower overall repair costs.
Cons of Relining/Trenchless Sewer Repairs
Relining could reduce the size of the sewer lines.
Relining may not be possible, depending on the extent of damages to the sewer line.
Sewer pipes could be too old for relining/trenchless repairs.
Repairs have to be completed by a professional plumber, as relining/trenchless processes require the right equipment and are a precision job.
Pros of Traditional Sewer Repairs
Resolves problems where original sewer lines were not installed correctly.
Ensures all old sewer lines are replaced with brand new ones.
Maintains the same size of sewer lines.
Eliminates environmental and health concerns regarding lead pipes.
Certain sewer damages may be covered by your insurance.
The ideal solution if there is just a small section of sewer line that needs to be replaced.
Cons of Traditional Sewer Repairs
Outdoor repairs are more invasive and require digging up your yard, landscaping, driveway, and other outdoor areas, depending on where the sewer lines run.
Indoor repairs can be equally invasive and require tearing out sections of drywall and flooring to access sewer lines.
The total sewer repair costs can be significantly more when accounting for the additional repair work like repairing walls and flooring or pouring a new concrete driveway.
You may have to move into a hotel while repairs are being made.
Depending on the repairs being made, they could take a week to several months to complete.
Which Pipe Relining/Trenchless Sewer Repair Is Better?
There are two general types of pipe relining/trenchless sewer repair options, depending on where you live and what is allowed in your city:
Slip Pipe Relining
Pipe bursting is a method where a special “drill head” is dropped down the sewer line and pulled through it. Attached behind the drill head is the new sewer line. As the drill is pulled through the sewer line, it breaks away the existing pipe as the new sewer line is laid in its place.
Some cities do not allow pipe bursting because of the potential to damage other utilities like electrical lines, gas supply lines, etc. You may need to have an inspection performed prior to being allowed to use pipe bursting, to determine whether there are any other utility lines nearby the sewer line.
Slip pipe relining can be done using two different methods. One method is to apply an epoxy liner onto the interior of the existing sewer lines. As the epoxy dries, it fills in cracks and other interior damages on the existing pipe, while simultaneously hardening into its own “new sewer pipe.”
The other slip pipe relining method is cure-in-place repiping. This is where a new sewer line is passed through the interior of the existing sewer line. The exterior of the new sewer line is coated in a resin which bonds it to the existing sewer line as it dries.
Prior to using slip pipe relining, sewer drain line cleaning is performed, the water in the line is drained, and the pipe is dried. This can add to the amount of time needed to repair the sewer line. With pipe bursting, this is not necessary as the existing line is removed during the process.
Between the two general relining/trenchless repair options, pipe bursting is considered to be a faster repair. However, pipe bursting cannot be used on cast iron sewer lines because they are so strong.
There are advantages and disadvantages to traditional sewer line repairs and relining/trenchless sewer line repairs. The best place to start if you are not sure which one would be right for your home is by scheduling a sewer line camera inspection service and consultation with a qualified plumber in your area.
To schedule a camera inspection and consultation in Katy and the Greater Houston Area, please feel free to contact MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning at 281-994-6698 today! We would be happy to help you determine the most cost-effective and best sewer repair service for your home.
When you run a faucet in your home or flush the toilet, do you really think about where the water is coming from or where it goes as it rushes down the shower drain? Most homeowners don’t give much thought to their drainage system until a problem occurs.
However, it’s important to know the ins and outs of the drains, traps, and vents in your home. The more you know about water drainage and how the water system works in your home, the better.
Understanding more about drains, traps, and vents can make it easier to know when you might run into a problem. Each of these components has a unique job to do. If one isn’t working right, it could lead to a big mess.
How Does a Drain Pipe Work?
A drainage system is about more than just watching water swirl down the drain or toilet. The main purpose of a drainage system is to get rid of wastewater from your home. Each water fixture within your home will have its own drain line/pipe. Those pipes then lead to a bigger main line that will carry the water out of the home.
Many people have septic tanks that deal with the wastewater. Unfortunately, these tanks often get ignored. Drain cleaning and septic tank cleaning should be done at least once every ten years. If not, it could lead to a buildup, and you could find yourself with wastewater backing up into your yard or even your home, in some cases.
Drain cleaning may need to happen more frequently if you’re experiencing regular clogs or backups.
What Are Traps and Vents?
The trap is a crucial component of the drain, but one that often gets overlooked. A trap lives up to its name, “trapping” water inside the drain to prevent sewage gases from seeping into the house. Not only does it keep your house from smelling, but it can help to prevent sickness from the harmful organisms often found in sewer gases.
A vent ensures that the wastewater passes through the drainage system of your home quickly and easily, so you don’t have to worry about any backup. They help to equalize air pressure within the drain pipes, which prevents sewage from getting blown back into the drain.
When Should I Call a Drain Service?
Understanding the basics of your home’s drainage system is always a good idea, but if you notice any signs that something might be wrong, it’s important to contact a drainage service like MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning right away.
We’re happy to look at your drainage system and do a full sewer cleaning if necessary. Don’t wait until you’re stuck with clogged drains, a foul sewage smell, or worse! Instead, call us for an appointment, and we’ll be happy to take a look. Remember, regular maintenance and cleaning will keep your system running smoothly and will reduce your risk of a sewage problem within your home.
Adding a new bathroom to your home is a great way to address bathroom time issues when you only have one or two bathrooms and need more. Maybe you would like a half bath downstairs so you don’t have to run upstairs every time you need to use the bathroom.
You might want a small bathroom added onto your outdoor kitchen and pool deck area. You can shower after swimming and have an easily accessible bathroom when entertaining guests at a BBQ cookout or pool party. Before you start tearing out drywall or building new walls, there are several design aspects to take into consideration when adding a new bathroom to your home.
Where are the existing plumbing lines and electrical wiring?
You will need to run bathroom plumbing, drainage system lines, and electrical wiring to the new bathroom. It is important to choose an area of the home that has easy access to each of these. You can also choose an area of the home where it will not be difficult to extend existing plumbing and electrical wiring to the new bathroom.
In this first example, you want to build a bathroom on the opposite side of the wall that is your laundry room. Extending plumbing and electricity from the laundry room would be fairly easy. On the other hand, you may really want a bathroom attached to your bedroom. However, the existing bathroom is on the other end of the floor, but your bedroom is over the kitchen. It would be more feasible to run plumbing from your kitchen to your bedroom so you can have the master bathroom you desire.
As you can see, the location of existing plumbing doesn’t always have to be right next to the area where you want to build the new bathroom. As long as the plumbing lines are within close proximity, it will help save on your construction costs. Even in cases where there is no plumbing nearby, you can still build your dream bathroom by having new plumbing and drainage system lines installed—although, this can add to your to your project costs.
Where will the new bathroom be located?
There are all sorts of places around your home where you could install a new bathroom, such as:
Closets: A decent-sized closet can be converted into a bathroom, for example, if you have a closet on the main floor of your home no one uses. Converting the closet would give you the bathroom you desire.
Hallways: Another area of the home you could use is your hallways if they have any unused space. For example, hallway dead-ends with no adjoining doors in a 5×8 foot area can be converted to an additional bathroom.
Existing Bathrooms: Sometimes you don’t like your current bathroom layout and features. Other times, you want to take a small bathroom and extend it into a closet to make it bigger. You could also take a larger bathroom and divide it to make two smaller bathrooms instead.
Bedrooms: Do you have extra space in your bedroom that goes to waste, like a corner or extra closets? These spaces could be used to build that master bathroom you have always wanted.
How will the new bathroom be ventilated?
You will need to run a vent pipe for the toilet and a bathroom fan. Make sure the room you choose has easy access to an exterior wall or roof. The vent pipe and bathroom fan exhaust can be installed through an exterior wall if roof access is difficult. Depending on where you are installing the new bathroom, you may also be able to tap into existing vent pipes and fan exhaust lines.
10 Steps to Build Your New Bathroom
Once you determine where you want to add the new bathroom, you will be that much closer to starting your renovation project. Prior to starting, you will want to create a bathroom design that details where the toilet, tub/shower, and sink will be installed. Your design will also help you determine what materials you are going to need so you can create a budget for your project.
Step 1: Schedule an in-home consultation with a bathroom plumbing professional.
You should consult with a bathroom plumbing professional to verify where your existing plumbing and drainage lines are located within your home. You need to make sure plumbing can be run to the location where you want to build your new bathroom. Your plumber is happy to provide advice, as well as a free quote for installing the new plumbing.
Step 2: Prep the room.
After you know how you are going to run plumbing to the new bathroom, you will be ready to start preparing the room. The amount of prep work required will depend on where you are constructing your new bathroom.
If you are converting a closet, you will want to essentially “gut” the space. This requires removing existing shelving and flooring. You will want to also remove any drywall in the locations where the plumbing lines will need to be installed.
If you are building a new bathroom by enclosing an open space, like at the end of a hallway, you will still need to remove flooring, as well as the drywall where plumbing will be installed. In addition, you will need to build the framing to enclose the space.
Step 3: Install vent and drainage system lines.
It is highly recommended to have your plumber install vent and drainage system lines. You want to make sure they are up to current building codes. Your homeowner’s insurance may even require a professional do the work since it may need to be certified for coverage. Your drain line installation should also include any bathtub, sink, and shower plumbing.
Step 4: Install water supply lines.
After the vent and drain lines are installed, it is time to run the new water supply lines. You will need separate lines for hot and cold water. As an option, if you only want to run a single cold water line to the new bathroom, you could have a tankless water heater installed in the bathroom to provide hot water.
Step 5: Install electrical wires and outlet/switch boxes.
For this step, get an electrician to install these things if your plumber is not certified to do electrical work. You need to make sure the wiring and outlet/switch boxes are up to code. In addition, you may need to have a new breaker installed so you do not overload existing ones. This is also a good time to have any ceiling light fixtures as well as the vent fan installed.
Step 6: Hang drywall and paint the walls.
Now that all the vent, drain, and plumbing lines and electricity are run to your new bathroom, you can hang up drywall. Remember to cut out openings for water supply lines, electrical outlet/switch covers, and wiring for your wall-mounted light fixtures. Once all the drywall is up, you can seal and paint it.
Step 7: Install the bathtub or shower.
Have your plumber assist with the installation of your bathtub or shower since you will need to connect the tub and shower plumbing and drain lines, as well as the faucets and fixtures. If you are constructing a shower enclosure, this is when you would take care of this task too.
Step 8: Install the flooring.
Now is the time to install the flooring of your new bathroom. Make sure to leave an opening for where the toilet will be installed if it is a floor-mounted toilet.
Step 9: Install the toilet.
Toilet installation should be after you install the flooring. It does not matter whether your toilet plumbing is for a floor-mounted or wall-mounted toilet.
Step 10: Install the bathroom cabinets, countertop, sink, and mirrors.
As your new bathroom addition is nearing completion, this is the final step. You may want to have your plumber take care of installing the sinks and fixtures and connecting the water supply and drain lines. If you opted for a tankless water heater in the bathroom, this is when you would want your plumber to install it, especially if it is being installed under a cabinet.
Depending on the bathroom design you created, you may still have some finishing touches to complete, such as:
Hanging Up Towel Bars
Installing Wall-Mounted Light Fixtures
Hanging Up Pictures/Wall Decorations
Once everything is completed, give your new bathroom a detailed cleaning and enjoy! Remember to take pictures at each stage, so you can share your new bathroom addition on your favorite social media site.
Plumbing problems like a leaky pipe or leaking water heater aren’t exactly fun, but they can often be repaired relatively quickly. Unfortunately, not all plumbing issues are the same.
If you’re having serious problems with your plumbing, it might be time to re-pipe your house. If it sounds overwhelming, don’t worry! Whole house re-piping should always be done only by a professional plumbing services company, like MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning. When you hire the right team of professionals for your re-piping process, you can rest easy knowing you won’t face common pipe problems anymore.
There are also plenty of benefits to re-piping your home that you may not have thought of. We will cover a few of those benefits, as well as the process of re-piping and how to tell if/when your house might need it.
When Should You Re-Pipe Your House?
If you’re a homeowner, re-piping your house may not be the first thing on your mind. In fact, most people don’t even think about it until they experience some kind of problem. Whether it’s a leaky drainage pipe, a bathtub drain not working, or a sink drain having issues, we often want our plumbing problems to be fixed quickly.
In some cases, though, that’s simply not the best solution. So, how can you tell if you should re-pipe your house, rather than hiring a plumber to fix just a certain section? Let’s look at a few of the most common reasons:
Low water pressure: When you run a faucet in your home, do you find that water isn’t coming out as quickly as it should? If you’ve lived in that home for a while, do you notice that the water isn’t coming out as fast as it used to? This could be due to a buildup on your pipes of rust, minerals, and fats. It’s a good indicator that the pipes are getting old; this process takes a long time to occur.
Discolored water: Does your water have a red or brown tint? That could be a sign of rusty pipes. Again, a rust buildup takes many years to occur. Tinted water is a strong sign your pipes are old. If you continue to drink rusty water, it could start to affect your health.
Multiple leaks: Having a leak in your pipes here and there isn’t necessarily uncommon, but experiencing multiple, frequent leaks is a good indicator that the pipes are old and need to be replaced.
An Old House Can Equal Old Pipes
Even if your pipes aren’t showing any of the signs listed above, consider when your home was built and if the pipes have ever been replaced before. If the home is over 50 years old and still has the original pipes, it might be a good idea to consider re-piping.
Even if you haven’t experienced any problems yet, you’ll undoubtedly start to as buildup continues to occur and the pipes get weaker. Pipes in older homes have been known to burst, which can create a lot of damage and end up costing you a lot of money.
It pays to research the history of your home if you haven’t already. Look back at the history of construction projects to see the last time new pipes were installed. With a little bit of research, you could save yourself a lot of trouble.
What to Expect from Your Plumber
Once you’ve decided to have a full home re-piping, it’s important to know what to expect throughout the process. It’s a large job, but, when it’s done right, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits for a lifetime. The basic outline of the re-piping process looks like this:
Discussing the different types of materials that will be used in the project. This typically consists of copper lines and different types of plastic.
Small, precise sections of drywall will be cut into, in order to reach the plumbing lines and safely replace them with the new materials.
Once the entire re-piping project is finished, our team at MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning will restore your drywall to a smooth finish and paint over it, leaving the area as it was found.
How Long Does a Home Re-Piping Take?
Depending on the size of your home, a total home re-piping typically takes anywhere from 3-7 days. Keep in mind that some of that time will be used to restore your home to its previous condition. This is a large home project, and it should never be rushed or done by anyone who can promise results in a day or two.
Once the project is complete, there are ways to make sure your new pipes stay in the best possible condition for as long as possible. Our team at MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning will give you the knowledge and resources to be able to take care of your pipes for years to come.
What Are the Long-Term Benefits of Re-Piping?
Once you’ve had your home re-piped, you’ll immediately start to notice some changes around the house. Some of the biggest benefits include:
Increased water pressure: You’ll notice your faucets flowing freely right away. This is often one of the first major differences people recognize with new pipes. Maybe you didn’t even realize you were experiencing low water pressure before, but the difference after re-piping can really be amazing.
Clean, rust-free water: Rust isn’t only bad for old pipes, it’s bad for your health if it gets into your water. New pipes help to ensure clean, rust-free drinking water that you can feel good about.
Lower risk of water damage from bursting pipes: Again, if you have older pipes in your home, they’re more likely to burst. Water damage within the home can cost thousands of dollars. Re-piping is a one-time investment that will offer you more security when it comes to the strength and integrity of your pipes.
Increased home value: Re-piping your home is a great way to increase the value of your house. If you ever plan on selling it, advertising brand new pipes can really be appealing to potential buyers.
Lower monthly water bill: Newer pipes will help with water flow efficiency. You’ll notice a difference in your monthly water bills almost right away.
So, whether you’re experiencing issues with your pipes or you know it’s time to make a change, contact the team of experienced, qualified plumbers at MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning today. We serve areas all over Texas, including Houston, Katy, Cypress, Sugar Land, The Woodlands, and Spring. We look forward to giving you peace of mind when it comes to your pipes.
There can be all sorts of reasons for low water pressure at your home. The first thing to do, before having your home re-piped, is determining if the problem is just coming from a single room or faucet within your home or all of your water supply lines.
If it appears the problem is with your entire home, check with your neighbors to see if they, too, have low water pressure. If multiple homes in your subdivision are affected, then the problem could be with the city water supply system.
If this is the case, then you should contact your local water municipality provider and make them aware of the problem. Otherwise, if it is just your home that is experiencing low water pressure, you will want to have your plumber do a detailed plumbing inspection to help narrow down the problem further.
Step 1: Check to make sure all water supply lines are fully open.
Check your water main shutoff and your water meter valve, if you have city water, to make sure both of these supply lines are fully opened. If they are not, open them fully, then check the water pressure inside your home to see if the problem is fixed.
Step 3: Check your water pressure regulator and/or water pressure-reducing valve.
If your home has a pressure regulator or pressure-reducing valve, these could be the cause for low water pressure if they are failing or not set correctly. It is highly recommended to contact a professional plumber for assistance in adjusting these devices or replacing them to avoid causing more plumbing problems.
Step 4: Have a pressure regulator or pressure booster installed.
If everything else is in order, you can help boost water pressure in your home by having your plumber install a pressure regulator or pressure booster. A pressure booster is an electronic device which helps pressurize the water and keeps it inside a small storage tank. As the pressurized water is used, the device turns on and pressurizes the water coming into your home through the water main.
Step 5: Have your water supply lines replaced.
If you have an older home or well water, the problem for low water pressure could be from scale and sediment buildup inside the water supply lines. These deposits can create restrictions in water flow, which lowers the pressure. A whole house plumbing re-piping service from a qualified plumber is the best solution if this is the cause of the low water pressure.
While re-piping can fix low water pressure problems in your home, you need to verify that this is the cause of the low water pressure. Simply replacing the water supply lines without checking the other plumbing items mentioned above will not guarantee the problem will be fully resolved.
For assistance in trouble-shooting low water pressure problems in your Katy or Greater Houston Area home, please feel free to contact MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning at 281-994-6698 to schedule a residential plumbing inspection today!
Depending on the type of heating system installed in your home, the different stages of the furnace heating process can and do vary slightly. Some homes have central heating and cooling systems that have a split AC unit outdoors and a furnace indoors. Other homes could have a heat pump, which is another type of split system.
Many homes in Texas and other moderate climate areas have packaged systems, which are an “all-in-one” heating and cooling HVAC system installed on the outside of the home. In addition, each of the different systems could either be gas or electric forced heat. There are also other general components used with all types of systems, whether there are electric or gas, including:
Thermostat: The thermostat is the part of the heating system which sends an electronic signal to the furnace to turn on and off. Think of the thermostat as the system’s brain.
Heat Transfer Unit: The heat transfer unit is the part of the heating system where the heat is made prior to being released into the air handler.
Air Handler: The air handler is also called the blower motor or furnace fan. It is responsible for blowing the heating air into the ductwork and into your home to keep it warm.
Now that you have a general understanding of the different systems and components, let’s take a look at the different stages of the heating process for each type of heating system.
Electric Split System Furnace
The thermostat sends a signal to the furnace for it to turn on. Electric coils or heating elements start to heat up as electricity passes through them.
As the heating coils continue to heat up, the air around them is heated up, and the heating coils become very hot.
A sensor inside the area with the heating coils senses the air has reached the right temperature level and then turns on the blower motor. The air handler unit draws in air through the return air vent and into the furnace. The air then passes over the heating coils and forces it out of the furnace and into the air ducts.
Warm air blows out of the air ducts inside the home.
The thermostat sends a signal to the furnace to shut off. Once the temperature level has reached the pre-set one on the thermostat, it will shut off the furnace, causing the heating coils to stop making heat and the blower motor to shut down.
Gas Split System Furnace
The stages of the heating processes for a gas split system furnace are similar to an electric split system with a few key differences, most notably that natural gas is used to create the heat rather than electricity.
The thermostat sends a signal to the furnace to turn on. Gas is released into burner tubes, and an electric igniter creates a spark to set the gas on fire.
The burning process creates combustion gases, which rise into the heat exchanger. Here, they continue to become hotter, heating up the walls of the heat exchanger.
A sensor inside the heat exchanger turns on the blower motor when the heat inside the exchanger reaches the right level. The air handler draws air into the furnace from the return air vent. The air then passes over the exterior of the heat exchanger, causing the heat to transfer to the air and into the air ducts.
The heated air is released into the home through air vents inside the home.
The gases created from the combustion process are released out of the heat exchanger into an exhaust vent, which safely vents the gases outside.
The thermostat sends a signal to the furnace to shut off. Once the desired temperature level has been reached, the gas supply is closed and the blower motor shuts off.
Older gas furnaces will have a pilot light in place of an electric igniter switch. The pilot light stays on all the time. When the thermostat sends a signal to turn the furnace on, it is the pilot light that sets the gas on fire.
Electric Heat Pump
The thermostat sends a signal to the heat pump that heat is needed inside the home.
The heat pump turns on and extracts heat from the outdoor air.
A sensor in the outdoor unit turns on the blower motor to release heat into the home through the air ducts once it has extracted a sufficient amount of heat energy from the outdoor air.
Once the home reaches the desired temperature level, the thermostat sends a signal for the heat pump to shut off.
Some heat pump models also have a secondary heating system they use when it is colder outside and they need to make more heat faster. This secondary system consists of electric heat coils which turn on and heat up to create heat, which is then released into the home along with the heat energy extracted from the outdoor air.
Some homes in colder climates may also have a combination electric heat pump and stand-alone indoor gas furnace. This type of HVAC system setup uses both gas and electricity to generate heat for the home using the same processes as the individual system stages covered above.
Electric Packaged System
The thermostat sends a signal to the outdoor unit to turn on the heat. Electric heating elements start to heat up as electricity passes through them.
Once the heating coils reach the right temperature level, the blower motor turns on to draw air into the return air vent and into the outdoor unit.
The air passes over the heating elements and is blowing into the home through the air ducts and released into the rooms through the air vents.
Once the inside of the home reaches the desired temperature level, the thermostat sends a signal for the heating unit to shut off.
The blower motor continues to run for a short time, after the heat coils are shut off, to push any remaining heat into the home before turning off completely.
Gas Packaged System
A gas packaged system functions much like a split-level gas HVAC system.
The thermostat sends an electrical signal to the heating side of the outdoor unit. The gas is turned on, and the electric igniter switch sets the gas on fire.
The combustion gases rise into the heat exchanger and start to heat up the exterior walls of the heat exchanger.
Once the heat has reached the right level, a sensor turns on the blower motor and return air handler unit. As air is circulated through the system, the heat is transferred from the heat exchanger into the air.
The heated air is blown into the home through air vents in each room.
The gases created from the combustion process are released from the heat exchanger through an exhaust vent outdoors.
Once the indoor air temperature reaches the desired level, the thermostat sends a signal to the heat side of the packaged unit to shut down. The gas supply is shut off, and the blower motor stops running.
All Heating Systems Need Regular Heating Maintenance
No matter which type of system you have to create heat and keep you warm on those cold winter days, your system does require regular heating maintenance to ensure it is operating at its peak efficiency levels. The types of maintenance services performed will vary slightly between an electric and gas heating setup.
With electric setups, the heating coils are inspected and checked to make sure they are functioning correctly. With gas setups, the burner tubes and exhaust venting have to be inspected and checked to verify they are in proper working order. With regular maintenance at least twice a year, you can avoid unexpected breakdowns and emergency service calls.
For further information about the type of HVAC system your home has, how it makes heat, or to schedule HVAC repair or maintenance service, please feel free to contact MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning at 281.599.3336 today!
The air quality of your home can have a big impact on the way you feel, and, simply put, how well you can breathe. You might not think much about the air quality in your house, but it’s more important than most people realize, especially if you or someone in your family suffers from allergies or any respiratory issues.
During the winter months, it’s especially important to be aware of the air quality in your home. Doors and windows stay shut in colder areas, which can trap in dirt, dust, and allergens.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to improve air quality within your home. With these tips, everyone will be breathing a bit easier!
Keep Things Clean
One of the best ways to reduce pollutants and allergies in the air of a house is to keep things as clean as possible. This is especially true if you have pets. Fur, dander, and dirt can get into the air very easily.
Some cleaning actions that can make a difference in your home’s air quality include:
Hanging washable curtains
Vacuuming the furniture frequently
Vacuuming carpeted areas
Cleaning up spills immediately
Throwing out old/rotten produce
Wash sheets and bedding each week
Different rooms in your house will require different areas of cleaning. Just think about where allergens and pollutants might like to stick, and be sure to clean those areas as often as possible.
Change the Filters in Your HVAC System
Heating maintenance is hugely important when it comes to the air quality of your home. Your HVAC system has a filter included, and it needs to be changed periodically. The filters in your HVAC system capture a lot of the dust, allergens, and dirt in the air of your home. When the filter gets too dirty, it loses its efficiency, and those particles reduce the air quality.
Some filters need to be changed each month, while others can go longer. It depends on your system.
If you’re not sure how often to change your filter, or you need help doing it, contact an HVAC repair company like MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning.
Install an Air Purifier
Air purifiers are an efficient and inexpensive way to improve air quality room by room. Purifiers come in all different sizes and levels of power, so you can decide which type will work for each room in your house.
Some rooms may be naturally more susceptible to dirt and debris, like rooms your pets spend a lot of time in or in rooms with more carpet, etc. Choosing an air cleaner that is a certified asthma- and allergy-friendly product will make a big difference in the air quality of a room.
Try to let as much outdoor air get into the house as possible. In the winter months, this isn’t always possible when you want to stay warm. If you can’t open windows or screen doors, it’s important to make sure your HVAC unit is running efficiently.
Regular maintenance services can ensure your HVAC system isn’t contributing to air pollutants within your home.
If you or someone in your family struggles with allergies or other respiratory problems, taking these tips into consideration can really help. At MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning, we’re also happy to help when it comes to improving the air quality of your home. Call us today to schedule a regular heating service checkup or furnace repair. By keeping your HVAC system in good shape, everyone will be able to enjoy cleaner air.