Home maintenance can be a tricky matter for many homeowners, especially when you can’t see the problem coming. Hidden issues can worsen over time until they become an emergency, resulting in serious damage and high repair costs. Sewer pipes, specifically, have the additional disadvantage of being underground, truly out of sight and too often out of mind.
Because our master plumbers at Adams and Son Plumbing want you to avoid the unpleasant surprise of a clogged or – even worse – broken sewer line, we offer this guide to cleaning your sewer lines, recognizing the signs that a cleaning is due and what to do if you discover an issue.
Why would you need to clean your sewer pipes?
It’s important for homeowners to know some basic sewer line maintenance tips, as they can help you avert major plumbing disasters. Common causes of sewer line problems include the following.
Roots –Tree root intrusion in sewer pipes can completely block the line, causing serious problems. Roots can eventually break the pipes, creating the worst-case scenario in terms of raw sewage backing up in indoor plumbing and spilling out into the yard – as well as the considerable expense of replacing sewer pipes.
A sag in the pipe – A sag in your pipe or a bellied pipe can occur when a portion of the pipe slopes down, creating a belly effect. A sag in the pipe can occur when the soil around the pipe loosens or breaks, which makes the soil unstable, which causes the pipe to sink. Sewerage starts collecting in the bellied area of the pipe, eventually resulting in blockage.
Grease – Grease and drains are not the best of friends. If you are in the habit of pouring grease down the drain, then you should be prepared for frequent blockages in your sewer pipes. The grease which you pour down the sink will ultimately solidify and cause a blockage in your pipe, as described in our blog post, “Still Pouring Grease Down the Sink?”
Reduces blockages – Regular cleaning of drains can help prevent blockages to a large extent. While small blockages can be irritating when you use the sink or take a shower, a serious clog can cause tubs and sinks to back up.
Prevents odors – It is hard to get rid of sewer odor once it’s entered your home. When you keep your sewer clean, it prevents the blockages cause odor. If a sewer odor comes through the P-traps in your plumbing fixtures, you need to call a plumber.
Keeps your home clean and healthy – If you don’t keep your drains clean, it can result in serious cleanliness issues. Regular cleaning can help prevent drains from becoming clogged, which leads to blockages that result in an overflow.
Reduces your expenses – Keeping the drains cleaned on a regular basis can prevent serious problems with the drains overflowing and leading to unsanitary conditions in the home. It is beneficial to plan on having professional plumbers not only clean the lines but look for other concerns as well.
Several clogged fixtures – One common sign of a sewer drain clog is multiple clogged fixtures. If you have two or more fixtures that get clogged at the same time, it can be an indication that you have a clog and need sewer drain cleaning. Most commonly, homeowners will notice that more than one toilet gets clogged at the same time. Toilets are usually the first place where you will notice signs of a clogged sewer drain, because toilets have the most direct path to the sewer system and the largest drain. When there is a clog in the sewer drain, it is rare for the toilets to function properly.
The bathtub and shower are also frequently affected by a clogged sewer drain, as these drains are lower than other drains – like sinks.
Plumbing fixtures show unusual reactions – If your plumbing fixtures show unusual reactions, it is yet another indication that you have a clogged sewer line. Some of the reactions that you need to be aware of include the following.
If the water backs up into your tub or shower when you flush your toilet.
When you run your washing machine and the toilet starts overflowing, or water backs up into the tub or shower.
When you turn on the sink faucet to wash your hands after using the toilet and the toilet starts to bubble up. This indicates that air is trapped in your plumbing system.
Keep a tab on the main line clean out – In some plumbing system, there is a main line clean out point that you can check for problems. You can remove the cap and look for water or sewage backing up. If you find the water coming out of the clean out, or if there is standing water in the drain, it means that there is a blockage in your sewer system.
Now that you know the issues that can cause your sewer line to clog, you’re better informed to prevent inconvenient, expensive plumbing problems. The state-certified Master Plumbers at Adams and Son Plumbing can perform preventive maintenance to keep your fixtures and lines in top condition – and provide the experienced, industry-leading repair service that we’ve built our reputation upon over the past 60 years. Contact us and learn more about our services today.
Kitchen and bath remodels are always ranked first among remodeling projects that give homeowners the best return on investment when they sell. But while people typically focus on the big picture vision, paying attention to the details is just as important. Whether you’re planning to put your house on the market, making home improvements or just want to increase water efficiency in the interest of economy and/or the environment, upgrading your plumbing fixtures and fittings can deliver big benefits.
And like every other home system, plumbing is now “smart.” More on that later.
Fixtures and fittings – what’s the difference?
While the general public tends to use the phrase, “plumbing fixtures” to include toilets, tubs, sinks and faucets, the plumbing industry uses it in reference to only the first three of the four just listed. By definition, a fixture is a device for receiving water and/or waste matter that directs these substances into a sanitary drainage system. Faucets fall under the category of “fittings” – a device designed to control and guide the flow of water. Examples include faucets, shower heads, shutoff valves, shower valves and even drinking fountain spouts.
Plumbing pipes can even play a role in which type of fixture is best for the bath and kitchen. One advantage of professional installation – as opposed to taking the DIY approach – is that an experienced plumber can determine if the pipes are in sound condition before installing a fixture.
Here’s our guide to getting the most of your plumbing upgrades
Keep in mind, this post is intended for those who are not planning a major remodeling project. A major remodel gives you the opportunity to design a completely new space, with all-new fixtures and surfaces. This is for those interested in a quick (or relatively quick) “facelift.”
If you’re looking at a quick cosmetic lift that will also improve function and water efficiency, you’re likely to focus on the toilet and sink. Replacing a tub is typically done as part of a remodel. For an upgraded toilet, choose a water-efficient dual flush model with an elongated bowl. Sinks are a matter of taste and budget, with water efficiency depending upon the faucet.
Showers – The typical shower is a single-handle pressure balanced valve that has a chrome finish. For maximum water efficiency, select a shower head with a flow rate of less than 2.5 gpm. There are two basic types of low-flow showerheads: aerating and laminar-flow. Aerating showerheads mix air with water, forming a misty spray. Laminar-flow shower heads use high pressure to produce a strong water delivery.
The first upgrade option is to change the finish of your shower. You can opt for polished brass, stainless steel, and brushed nickel look shower that gels well with your bathroom.
The next upgrade option is to add a hand-held shower on a holder (or slide bar). You can also upgrade to body sprays and rain dome shower heads, as well as an advanced shower system, such as Kohler’s DTV Prompt digital shower system.
Upgrading a kitchen sink can provide a subtle or dramatic update, depending upon the scope of your project and budget. For a quick improvement, choose a sink that can be installed without damaging or altering the countertop. Even a basic brushed stainless sink can be a step up over a stained, chipped enamel sink in an older house. If you want to splurge, choose an upgraded faucet set with sleek, contemporary lines.
Kitchen sink – The standard kitchen sink is a 20 or 22 gauge steel drop-in. Laminate countertops in older homes will usually have a drop-in sink. When you upgrade your countertop to granite, homeowners generally opt for an under-mount sink. The most popular upgrade option is to switch to an under-counter mount stainless steel sink.
Recent upgrade comes in the form of quartz-based drop-in sinks and under-mount sinks which are available in white, black, and granite shades.
Kitchen faucets – The standard kitchen faucet is a single handle chrome faucet, without a side spray. The first upgrade can be the side spray with your existing faucet. The actual upgrade starts when you opt for a pull-out spout.
New fittings – more than just a stylish update
Styles change over time. Elements that date a home to a specific decade also include plumbing fixtures and fittings. For example, a suite of turquoise bathroom fixtures place the home in the 1960s, while bright brass faucets indicate they were probably installed in the ‘80s. With few exceptions, such time capsules are considered undesirable by today’s homebuyers – and also by homeowners who want to stay, but bring their house into the 21st century.
New fittings provide a great way to update your home’s style without the major investment in new fixtures. If your fixtures are in good condition, upgraded fittings can make a statement that elevates the entire room. Home improvement centers offer a wide array of styles, metal finishes and price points.
Depending upon your commitment to water conservation (and lower water bills), fittings can be much more than the plumbing version of jewelry. WaterSense-labeled faucets are high–performing, water–efficient fittings that will help reduce water use in your home and save money on water bills. WaterSense labeled bathroom sink faucets and accessories that use a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute can reduce a sink’s water flow by 30 percent or more from the standard flow of 2.2 gallons per minute without sacrificing performance.
One such breakthrough technology has been developed by BrainPipes. With BrainPipes, you can integrate your new or existing smart home automation solution into your household plumbing system – providing peace of mind, reducing water consumption and saving money. BrainPipes works by locating a leak and sending a text message to the homeowner. It then shuts off the main water supply to the property – which helps prevent secondary damage, such as water and mold.
BrainPipes is fitted with a monitoring system that can detect the pressure of water for every faucet and fixture that dispenses water. When the water pressure drops, an alarm goes off, setting the alert and water shut-off process into motion.
BrainPipes. Mind Control for Plumbing. - YouTube
No matter how “smart” you want your plumbing, choosing the right plumber is the smartest step you can take in any type of plumbing installation.
Our master plumbers at Adams and Son Plumbing have been serving Central Florida homes and businesses since 1958. Whether you’re planning an update or major remodeling project, we’ll do the job right.
Tired of the steady drip, drip, drip of your leaky faucet? Whether those water droplets fall at a regular pace, or until you’re able to locate the “sweet spot” on the handle that stops the drop, a leaky faucet is one of a homeowner’s most annoying problems. The first question is which solution is more cost-effective: repair or replacement? The second question – regardless of the answer to the first – is DIY or hire a plumber? Because we at Adams and Son Plumbing believe that knowledge is power, we offer this guide.
How long do faucets last?
Generally, good-quality faucets can last for about 10 years.
But the life of a faucet depends on several factors:
• Frequency of use
• Make and model
• Water hardness
• Proper installation
If the offending faucet is at or near the 10-year mark, replacement may be more cost-effective than repair – unless it’s a high-end designer faucet, which could cost well over $1,000 to replace. As many homeowners have learned from experience, however, a fancy European brand and high price tag doesn’t always mean a superior product. In such a case, it’s probably better to cut your losses and replace the temperamental tap with a tried-and-true brand.
Ignoring the drip isn’t an option. Our April 2018 blog post, “Got a Plumbergency?” cautions that a neglected faucet leak can lead to very costly repairs. In addition, leaky faucets can waste thousands of gallons of water over time, and result in higher water bills.
Cartridge faucets – These generally use an up/down motion to regulate water flow and control temperature with a left/right motion.
Compression faucets – This type features two knobs or levers – one each for hot and cold.
Ball-type faucets – These have a knob directly above the spout that controls water flow and temperature, depending upon the direction it’s twisted.
Should I do it myself, or hire a pro?
The next question is should you tackle repair or replacement yourself, or hire a professional plumber? There are numerous websites and YouTube videos providing step-by-step instructions for either type of project. But as easy as they try to make the process seem, taking the DIY route isn’t advisable unless you have hands-on experience with plumbing. Even then, your DIY experience with a cartridge or ball-type faucet may not transfer to compression faucets.
Also consider unanticipated problems you may encounter that could result in damage or a more extensive repair that you’d expected. Removing an existing faucet may expose corroded pipes or other components that require replacement.
DIY repair and new faucet installation
Again, many tutorials are available online from reputable sources, such as home improvement stores. If you have intermediate repair skills and feel comfortable, a repair can be done in a half-hour to an hour, depending upon the type of faucet.
Replacement is, of course, a more complex and time-consuming project. Basic tools and supplies required are a basin wrench, adjustable wrenches and bucket. Lowes provides step-by-step instructions and a video. Not all faucets come preassembled, so be sure you have the know-how necessary to install your faucet.
Faucet repair and installation by a plumber
While the cost of professional installation varies, online research can provide the suggested retail price of specific faucet brands and models. If you want a basic, quality faucet, a plumber can provide and install it for one price. Should you buy the faucet yourself, make sure it will fit your sink and is compatible with your home’s plumbing.
A plumber also has the experience and proper equipment to replace supply lines and repair related problems that you may not have noticed, or were hidden until the old faucet was removed. Hiring a professional can save time and money by ensuring the job is done right.
Helping you select the best quality products for your home.
Installing your fixtures quickly and cost-effectively.
Performing all work in compliance will local municipal codes.
Ensuring all connections are safe.
Whether you’re a proud Central Florida homeowner or business owner, Adams and Son Plumbing can keep your plumbing working dependably. We are a family-owned business with over 50 years in plumbing service. A state-certified plumbing contractor, we have over three generations of master plumbing experience.
One of the advantages of living in Florida in general – and Central Florida in particular – is that the increasingly harsh winter weather making news this season is absent in the Sunshine State. While Northern and Midwestern states dig out from massive amounts of snow and sleet, we nevertheless complain bitterly when the thermometer dips to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
So if you’re a snowbird lucky enough to have a winter home here, or permanently relocated to escape the Arctic freezes, you may be wondering if your septic tank needs special attention this time of year.
Fortunately, the short answer is “no.”
However, certain times of year and certain weather conditions in Florida demand more vigilance on the part of homeowners who have a septic system. But back to that short “no.” What Florida lacks in snow and ice, it more than makes up for in winter visitors – many of who may be your houseguests. As your home is their vacation headquarters, they’re stressing your septic system with additional use. Since their home’s plumbing is most likely connected to a municipal sewer system, they may not know the special care a septic system requires.
Here’s their observation, because, frankly, we couldn’t say it better ourselves:
“Having guests over during the holiday season can cause damage to your septic system. Your system can become overworked with an increase in showers and laundry usage.
The preparation of elaborate holiday meals can contribute to an overworked system as well. Additionally, guests who are unfamiliar with septic systems might flush unauthorized items down the toilet, leading to damage of your system.
“In order to avoid these issues, stagger showers and laundry usage, rather than using a large amount of water all at once. Stagger your food preparation over a few days if possible. Additionally, you should remind guests what items can and can’t be flushed down your toilet.”
As we always say around here at Adams and Son Plumbing, no matter if your home is on a septic or sewer system, only three things should be flushed down the toilet – one them being toilet paper. That means no baby wipes, tissues, paper towels or feminine hygiene products. Ever.
Now, back to the weather and your septic tank
Anyone who has called themselves a Floridian for any length of time knows that summer is the danger season for septic tanks. To understand why, it helps to know how a septic system is constructed and how it operates.
Inlet pipe: Waste from all of the drains in your house run through this pipe into the septic tank.
Tank: An underground two-chamber tank holds the waste as it separates into sludge, scum and effluent (liquid).
Drain field: A perforated pipe releases effluent into the soil for further biodegradation. Solid is routinely pumped by specialists.
The solid waste settles at the bottom of the tank and becomes sludge as microbes break the material down. Grease and lighter solids float to the top. On a non-rainy day, the liquid material, also called effluent, flows from the drain field into the soil and is purified by microbes.
Heavy rain results in excessive water in the soil. This limits the drain field’s ability to release effluents into the soil and leads to dangerous levels of liquid filling up in the tank. Day after day of heavy, sustained rain – as we experience in Florida during a typical summer – can saturate the drain field and overwhelm the septic tank, causing water to back up in toilets and drains. Add an active hurricane season to the mix, and disaster looms.
Save water to save your septic system
The best course of action during rain/hurricane season is to go into holiday houseguest mode. Schedule laundry to avoid washing more than one load a day. Give the dishwasher a break and wash by hand in the sink, running the water only to rinse. Shower, rather than bathe, and keep it brief. Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth and performing other personal grooming. If you have a swimming pool, don’t allow it to drain into your septic system.
Of course, call us if you suspect a leak anywhere in your house or on your property, as leaks also add to the demand on a septic tank – in addition to the other damage they cause. Our June 2018 blog post, “How to Detect Plumbing Leaks” provides valuable tips on locating leaks before they cause extensive destruction. Our July 2018 blog post, “Septic Tank Maintenance – What You Need to Know,” offers additional water-saving advice, as well as steps to keep your septic system trouble-free.
No matter what the season – rain or shine – Adams and Son Plumbing has been providing experienced, expert septic system service to Central Florida residences for 40 years.
As January begins, many of us get down to implementing our new year’s resolutions. While these typically focus on self-improvement, we at Adams and Son Plumbing recommend that you resolve to pay better attention to your Central Florida home’s plumbing for a happier, healthier and less expensive 2019!
Unfortunately, homeowners tend to take plumbing for granted – until a toilet backs up, a pipe bursts or some other emergency erupts. Being observant and diligent can help you avoid nasty surprises.
We haven’t forgotten about you business owners, either. Keep reading to learn how you can make this year run smoother and more profitably!
Check for water leaks
Plumbing leaks anywhere in the house can lead to problems when left undetected. Our September 2018 blog post, “How to Locate Plumbing Leaks and Tap Into the IOT,” provides a list of areas that commonly spring a leak, and what to look for. Check faucets, toilets, drains, etc., on a regular basis. In addition to such telltale signs of water in places it shouldn’t be, a higher than usual water bill can indicate a hidden leak. Other places prone to leaks include accessible pipes (the visible pipes below sinks and other exposed areas) and sink hose connections. Florida weather and saltwater air can cause pipes to rust, so check pipes seasonally to prevent damage caused by corrosion.
Water heater maintenance
Check your water heater annually. There are different types of water heaters: traditional, tankless and hybrid. Most are the traditional variety, which can be maintained by the homeowner. This Old House offers a step-by-step procedure, which includes the following:
Check the temperature pressure release (TPR) valve – Turn off the power and cold-water supply valve. Put a container under the pipe connected to the TPR valve on the side or top of the tank. When the tank pressure becomes too high, the valve opens up. Lift the tab of the valve and let some water drain, then leave it this way. If you notice that the water keeps flowing out, then let it drain and replace the old valve with a new valve.
Inspect the anode rod – Let out a few gallons of water by putting a hose to the tank’s drain cock. Unscrew the rod, and if it is less than half an inch in thickness or is coated with calcium, replace the rod.
Wash out the sediment – Let the water drain completely from the tank, then open the cold water valve briefly so that the sediment is washed out. Repeat the process several times until clean water starts coming out. You can turn on the power after closing the drain cock and refilling the tank.
Insulate the pipes – Insulate the cold and hot water pipes with 3/8-inch-thick foam pipe insulation tape. Cold water pipe insulation helps prevent condensation in summer.
Insulate the heater – Ensure that you properly insulate the pipes, TPR valve, temperature control and the side of the tank. Be sure that you don’t cover the top of a gas heater.
Consider a monthly plumbing maintenance schedule for your business
We told you we had some advice for fellow members of our Central Florida business community! If you aren’t already on a monthly plumbing maintenance schedule with a plumbing contractor, there are great reasons it can benefit your establishment. Our colleagues at Brewer Commercial Services point out that a professional plumber can take care of the following jobs on a regular basis, preventing the big problems resulting from neglect or a botched repair attempt.
A monthly plumbing maintenance visit can address the following tasks:
Water heaters and boiler check
Grease trap cleaning
Water, sewer and gas lines check
Camera line inspection
As Brewer Commercial Services points out, creating a plumbing maintenance plan is not just about knowing the professional repair services available to your business. It should also include the determination of the reasons behind the usual plumbing issues. With this, you can implement the appropriate methods to prevent them from derailing your operations. By knowing what causes plumbing problems, your business can be more proactive with maintenance. Plus, you can avoid untimely replacements of plumbing fixtures and other components.
Whether you’re a proud homeowner or business owner, Adams and Son Plumbing can keep your plumbing working dependably. We are a family-owned business with over 50 years in plumbing service. A state-certified plumbing contractor, we have over three generations of master plumbing experience. Contact us to learn more.
Plumbing emergencies – or plumbergencies (as we at Adams and Son Plumbing call them) – are a nightmare for everyone. While some can’t be avoided, many conditions that lead to those panicked middle-of-the-night calls to us are preventable. It’s just a matter of being thoughtful and taking care to do things around the house the right way, rather than the easy way.
Disposing of grease, for example.
Oh, sure – we understand. Running grease from the skillet in which we prepared that delicious bacon just this once down the kitchen sink won’t hurt anything. Here’s our list of excuses er, reasons, for doing so:
Don’t want bacon sandwich to get cold.
Running late for work.
Want to get back to watching the game.
Don’t want bacon sandwich to get cold.
Bacon – delicious, but dangerous in more ways than one
That’s the basic issue. If you don’t dispose of bacon grease – or any kind of liquefied fat produced from cooking – as soon as it cools enough to no longer cause a third-degree burn, it will congeal into a solid that’s hard to clean from the pan. If you wait for that safe temperature, your bacon sandwich will be cold – which pretty much negates the point of making it! So we do emphasize with why people often cut corners in this respect.
Trouble starts when “just this once” happens again and again over time. Grease builds up in kitchen sink’s drain pipe, eventually causing water to drain slowly and ultimately not drain at all. Most people believe that using a consumer-brand drain cleaner will prevent or solve the problem. However, this can best be compared to eating a steady diet of bacon sandwiches (much as we’d like to) and thinking it’s okay because you can take an antacid pill. The latter is bad for your long-term health, while the former is bad for public sewer systems. Which leads us to some true-life horror stories.
The Fatberg that ate London and Detroit
So think about what cooking grease looks like when it’s solidified in the pan. The same thing happens after pouring it down the drain. But not all of it clings to your drain pipe’s interior. A good amount reaches the pipes of your municipal sewer system – where it joins the grease everyone else in town thoughtlessly poured down their kitchen sink.
Photograph By Adrian Dennis, Afp, Getty Images
What eventually results is a fatberg. In public works parlance, the components of a fatberg are known as FOG: fats, oils and grease. When poured down the drain, they coagulate, harden and typically cling to other items – such as baby wipes – that also don’t break down in the sewer. Much like an iceberg, it can result in disaster. While we offer only two examples, fatbergs are a problem in cities throughout the world.
In 2017, London water officials encountered a monstrous fatberg in the Whitechapel area. The London fatberg was a rock-solid 130-ton mass that required an eight-person crew equipped with high-power hoses several days to break up. The fatberg was one of the biggest to form in the history of London, and weighed about the same as 11 double-decker buses.
This year, a fatberg measuring 100-feet long, 11-feet wide and 6-feet high was reported in Detroit. Described by Macomb County public works commissioner Candice Miller as “gross,” the fatberg is planned for use as the centerpiece of an awareness campaign about the types of materials and items best kept out of the municipal sewer system.
The right way to dispose of cooking grease
In the same way a snowball can become an avalanche (for those Central Floridians from colder climes), now that you know the effect “just this once” can have, here’s how to safely dispose of cooking grease without your bacon sandwich getting cold. Lifehacker offers the following tips:
Let the grease solidify, then place in a sealable bag and throw in the garbage. Yes, a little extra cleaning may be involved, but it’s worth it in the long run.
Are you planning to build a new home? Congratulations! Whether it’s intended as your dream home or an investment property, you’re assuming a great responsibility – especially if you’re going to act as your own general contractor. That means you hire all of the subcontractors involved in the construction trades, coordinate when construction phases begin and oversee progress, among many other activities. Of course, this will also include perhaps the most important system in the house: the plumbing. By this time, we assume (and hope) you’ve deeply researched what’s involved with being your own general contractor and are confident you’re up for the task. We offer the following so you can ask knowledgeable questions of the plumbing contractors you contact for quotes.
Good to know: Even if your home is being constructed by a production builder, having basic knowledge about a residential plumbing system is still a plus. Not to sound cynical, but being able to talk intelligently about it to your home’s production manager may keep the crew on notice to prevent shoddy workmanship.
Now, on to the fun stuff!
The fine people at SFGate provide the basic layout and steps of a new plumbing installation. While this is very general (there’s mention of a frost line, which definitely doesn’t apply to Central Florida), it’s still helpful.
First, there are three main components in residential plumbing: the water supply system, the drainage system and the appliance/fixture installation. Standard plumbing procedures are governed by the local codes, but it is your home’s layout that determines fixture placement, the pipe routing diagram and the size of the pipes.
To start the plumbing system installation, the sewer accommodation stubs are set before the concrete foundation is poured. The basic laying of lines without making the final connections – which is referred to as the rough-in plumbing phase – occurs when the framing is complete, but before the hanging of the drywall. All the main drains are installed and connected to the stack. At this stage, rough-in drain fittings for bathtubs and sinks are also installed, along with the water supply pipes and toilet flanges.
Next, large plumbing fixtures – such as bathtubs and showers – are installed. It is difficult to set these fixtures after the doorways and walls are framed, so they’re set before this step. Sinks and commodes are set after the walls and flooring are complete.
Then comes the main water supply line, which enters the house and splits into two – one to supply cold water; the second connected to the water heater to supply hot water. And, from here, these two lines carry hot and cold water to each fixture.
The drainage system consists of the main vent and soil stack to which the waste drains are connected, and the stack directs waste to the main sewer drain. The waste then exits the house, and travels to either the septic tank or the municipal sewer system.
Vent pipes are also essential for your plumbing system if you want your drains to remain clog-free. When there is no constant source of air, water locks can form in the drain pipes, which can cause blockages. A common vent can work fine for most of the fixtures and appliances if they are connected within 10 feet of each other. However, you need a separate vent pipe if they are more than 10 feet apart. Vent pipes connect to the vent and soil stack in the attic.
To avoid toxic sewer gases from backing up in the house, you need drain traps. This is a U-shaped pipe that connects to the bottom of the sink, shower or tub drain. These drain traps retain some amount of water, which prevents the gasses from being released into the air.
When planning the plumbing system, Florida’s unique climate necessitates being proactive. Our blog post, “Plumbing Lessons from Hurricane Irma,” offers advice on buying water-efficient fixtures and faucets to reduce water consumption – which goes easy on both the environment and your monthly water bill. Also consider a tankless water heater if your home will have gas, or a hybrid water heater if your home will be all-electric.
Looking ahead – increase your home’s resale value
Good plumbing is not only essential for your health and comfort, but also helps you in the long run – especially when you plan to sell your house. Bad plumbing can cause many ongoing problems, such as seepage issues, blocked drains and septic tank overflow. Any of these problems can play havoc with your house, and make it less attractive on the market. For this reason, plumbing should always be considered a good investment because it will be beneficial in maximizing your asking price – and perhaps more quickly attracting an offer!
Common issues with plumbing in new construction
If you’re house hunting for a brand-new home, be aware that trouble could be lurking beneath the pristine surfaces. Our colleagues at A&H Plumbing, Hendersonville, TN, offer valuable advice on what to look for. The bottom line: some builders opt for the lowest quality piping and fixtures possible. The most common problems in new builds include leaks, water pressure issues and pipe movement. Looking for these issues may not be easy for the untrained eye, as they start as small signs and eventually develop into major issues.
Ready to start building? So are we!
Again, acting as your own subcontractor is not for the inexperienced. And it definitely isn’t something you can pick up from watching a few videos on YouTube. But if you’re ready to run the show and want a quote on the plumbing job, call our team of master plumbers at Adams and Son Plumbing. Our decades of experience in the plumbing industry include new residential construction. Avoid the headaches, setbacks and extra unexpected expenses that can occur with less-experienced plumbers. We will give you a fair, realistic quote for your new home – and show you how we can actually save you time and money. Contact us to discuss your project.
Plumbing is in high demand and is requiring with the expanding house market this subcontracting industry will be in just as in need or more. It’s been a family owned business that began over 50 years for my family and with over three generations of plumbing. I’m hoping to continue Adams and Sons Plumbing for further more generations. If you have any doubt on why you should be a plumber, plumbing apprenticeships, or even common plumbing rates then read more to learn everything on how to be a plumber.
Why you should be a plumber?
When dealing with plumbing issues in the home, it’s important to hire a skilled plumbing professional rather than attempting to tackle the issue yourself with YouTube videos and phone calls to Dad. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a professional plumber due to the retirement of Baby Boomers and the perception problems the industry faces.
In an interview with Newsweek on the topic, Ed Schoen, owner of Prestige Heating Service Inc. in Long Island, has found it difficult to rebuild his business back to pre-superstorm Sandy operations, but would like to grow his company from his two trucks and employees. “I could expand more if there were more people interested in learning the trade,” said Schoen.
Schoen is not the only one finding it difficult to fill critical positions within his business, and plumbing is not alone, the entire skilled labor industry is having trouble filling jobs.
“There are simply not enough skilled workers available in the labor market,” said Troy W. Maschmeyer, Jr., president and CEO, Maschmeyer Concrete in Lake Park, Florida. “Demand is rising, but many older workers have retired or left the trades during the recession. This is a major challenge for contractors and their customers.”
The plumbing industry has long-term stability to offer with the demand for skilled workers on the rise in an evolving job market. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that there were 425,000 jobs in plumbing and plumbing related fields in 2014 with an estimated increase of 49,100 jobs (12%) by 2024.
On The Plus Side: Robot Plumbers Are Far Away
According to A.I expert and author of Rise of the Robots, Martin Ford, driverless cars and trucks are just the beginning wave of automation that will threaten every industry across the board. Ford said that the jobs that will be the last to go are “the kind of job that requires lots of dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and flexibility. Think about skilled trade jobs like a plumber or electrician.”
This job security and the fact that the median annual wage is $95,010 make the plumbing industry a good option for those who might be looking for a new career.
On the national level, the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors National Association (PHCC) and the PHCC Educational Foundation have sought to combat young adults’ perceptions of the plumbing profession through classroom programs, videos, and hands-on learning experiences.
Despite the challenges the plumbing industry is facing there are plenty of opportunities for it to expand. If you’re interested in pursuing this type of career check out these plumbing resources.
How to Start a Plumbing Career
You’re at a loss. You’re either stuck in a job you hate, or trying to find a career that works for you. While it may be unlikely, have you considered a plumbing career? It may be the job you’re looking for, and there is a dire need for more plumbers in the United States. So before you rule it out, check out this information on starting a plumbing career.
Why Should You Start a Plumbing Career?
It may seem like a long shot, but getting into the plumber industry is not as difficult as you might think. Most states require a high school diploma and you to be 18… and that’s it. At that point, anyone can begin plumbing courses and look for a job as a Plumber’s Helper, or Plumbers’ Apprentice. It’ll take time, and you will have to work your way up, but it is ideal for someone who isn’t interested in the life of an academic, and learns well with hands on material.
Types of Plumbing Jobs: What Kind of Jobs Do Plumbers Do?
So what do plumbers do? You may not realize, but plumbers do more than just unclogging toilets. Everything from digging ditches to designing new pipe layouts for lots, being a plumber actually offers a lot of variety in your day-to-day activities. That means you have to be versatile. You don’t get to choose that you only want to work on one thing, especially when you are starting out. You’ll have to meet with new people, sell your services, be in good physical shape, and be able to crunch numbers and weigh decisions in the moment.
As you gain experience, you may realize that there are actually different plumbing jobs. You may be happy as a standard Plumber. This means that you’ll be working residential or commercial, usually with lighter pipes to handle small volumes of liquid. However, if you decide to take up a role as a Pipefitter, then you’ll mostly be working on large-scale commercial projects, that require heavier pipes to handle large volume. These larger scale jobs benefit from higher pay, and from typically having the materials delivered to the site. Finally, a Steamfitter will be similar to a Pipefitter, but will also involve setting up pipes to transport gases.
Plumbing Salary Expectations: How much do Plumbers Make?
Still here? Good. Because now here’s the part everyone has been waiting for; how much do plumbers make?
There are three levels to being a plumber, and so, there are three salary levels.
The Plumber Apprentice salary can be anywhere from $13,000 to $25,000. You’ll work side-by-side with a Master as you are learning the trade. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but a lot of that comes from taking up the master’s time and experience. You’ll essentially be receiving a free education, and so the payment is a supplement.
After 4 to 5 years, when you are able to graduate to a Journeyman, you’ll be able to start taking jobs on your own. That means a larger paycheck. Pay generally starts somewhere from $25,000 to $40,000 a year, but you’ll be earning the average yearly salary of a plumber of your state.
If you work hard, and have the drive, you can eventually earn the rank of Master. This means you are recognized by the state, can own your own business, and employ other plumbers. This salary can vary greatly, but it is possible to earn well over $100,000 a year.
This may have you thinking, “Where are the plumbing jobs near me?” But wait one minute, because you can’t just jump in.
Common Plumbing Rates for everyday home issues:
There are many reasons for clogged pipes, such as environmental (tree roots) and foreign objects (baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, etc.). The most common type is toilet clogs. The average cost to repair can range from $152 to $202.
Blocked drains are caused by waste wateraccumulation – such as built-up grease and food, which is common in kitchen sink drains. They are the direct result of clogged pipes. A broken drain pipe could lead to a plumbing emergency, such as flooding and water damage. To repair a drain pipe could cost around $549, depending on the circumstances.
Most bathroom drain clogs result when dirt, skin flakes and hair binds to soap scum on the walls of drain pipes. Over time, this gunk accumulates and reduces water flow. Blocked drains are also a common problem for washing machines, and can cost anywhere from $120 to $500 to repair. All these problems could be reduced or avoided by waste monitoring, and refraining from flushing foreign objects. If neglected, drain problems could be highly costly and frustrating to deal with, not to mention the serious health risks they can cause.
another common plumbing problem is leaky faucets. If neglected, they can turn into a very costly repair averaging around $341. In addition, leaky faucets can waste thousands of gallons of water over time, and result in higher water bills. The repair may be relatively simple or require installing a new faucet.
Water Heater Repair
The water heater is one of the most important appliances in your home. Problems can include water leaks and low hot water pressure. The most common problem is issues with heating elements. What could be more frustrating than hopping in the shower and not finding any hot water? While some minor plumbing fixes can be done on your own, replacing a heating element – or the water heater itself – requires a plumber. National average to repair a traditional tank-style water heater is $460. This cost could depend on other factors, such as the type of water heater, and the possibility of needing additional repairs.
As you can see common everyday plumbing issues can add up that can lead you to a very profitable career;
Local Orlando Classes & Online Courses
There are a couple of ways to get into a plumbing career. The first being a plumbing school. This will give you a solid foundation of information before you leap into hands-on work, however, it can cost anywhere from $1,000 for online courses to $20,000 for a 2-year Associate’s degree. Florida Technical College offers a Plumbing Degree Program, so take a look if you are interested, or try ePlumbing Courses and learn from home.
If you would like to try an Apprenticeship, take a look at the Orange Technical College Plumbing Apprenticeship. It is a nationally recognized certificate program that will provide paid work and free classes. After completing the program, and passing the test, you will be recognized as a Journeyman and entitled to all of the benefits that includes. The perfect place to start your new plumbing career.
As an Orlando restaurant owner, you deal with numerous vendors. But do you consider your plumbing contractor to be one of them? If not, you probably should! Just like all of the businesses you depend upon in your supply chain, a good plumber can help your restaurant save money while raising the real – and perceived – quality of your customer experience. With 60 years of experience in the industry, we at Adams and Son Plumbing want you to know the advantages of having a reliable plumbing contractor who not only provides prompt, expert service during emergency situations but works with you on a proactive basis to prevent problems and recommend improvements.
First, the obvious. Water is vital for both cooking and maintaining clean and sanitary conditions in your kitchen and serving areas. And it’s also probably one of your major costs of operating your business. As the trade publication restaurant development+design points out, restaurants can pay for water up to three times: to bring it into the building, to heat it and eventually to dispose of it. Obviously, the more efficient your restaurant is at conserving water, the more economically it can operate. And, of course, plumbing in excellent repair helps provide the sanitary conditions essential for safe operation and passing health inspections.
It’s bad enough when residential plumbing is neglected. But as a restaurant owner, your responsibilities are more far-reaching. You literally can’t afford to let things go until an emergency occurs. Drain line maintenance company Drain-Net Technologies takes a look at common restaurant plumbing problems, complete with disturbing photos of some of the major issues that restaurants can face when they neglect their drains and plumbing.
According to the company, the average restaurant’s plumbing expenses are about 0.2% of sales. So a restaurant that has annual sales of $5 million could average about $10,000 a year in plumbing expenses. Add emergency calls to that – plus the revenue lost due to operational interruption – and you can see the true cost of neglect. Of course, ongoing plumbing problems can ultimately result in lost business, as word about poor sanitation spreads on review sites and other social media platforms.
Faucets – Check that faucets function properly and don’t leak when not in use. A small drip can go unnoticed in a busy restaurant but can make a big impact on your utility bills. Look for evidence of leaks around the pipes and under the sinks, and repair them as soon as possible. Install low-flow aerators at all sinks. This can save about $100 annually per sink.
Water brooms – They’re faster and more efficient in cleaning spray-down areas than garden hose nozzles, and can also save on energy costs. Look for one with a wide spray arm with multiple jets to manage the use of water.
Water filtering systems – High levels of chloramine in municipal water can wreak havoc with your equipment and deteriorate stainless steel. Installing a whole water filtering system can ensure your water is safe to use and prevent deterioration of your equipment.
Drain tempering kits – Most areas require the water to be cooled down before it can be dumped into the sewer system, which means your hot water from dishwashers and other equipment must pass through a drain tempering kit before it exits the building. Use copper pipes instead of plastic, which can melt or warp from repeated exposure to high-temperature water.
Grease traps – It may be tempting to only use grease traps on sinks where you know it will be an issue. But the truth is, grease is often a problem in all sinks in a restaurant or kitchen. Installing grease traps on all your sinks may save you aggravation and the cost of emergency calls to the plumber.
While we’ve focused attention on the kitchen, the front-of-house areas your customers encounter are just as important. Yes, we mean restrooms. Negligence here can result in a poor customer experience and bad reputation. Just check out Yelp! reviews for complaints about how dirty restrooms ruined the dining experience. Toilets that don’t flush properly can create a health hazard (many people give up on trying to flush the contents down, leaving an unsanitary mess for the next visitor).
Word to the wise:
Even though it isn’t a plumbing issue, running out of soap and paper towels makes it impossible for your waitstaff to wash their hands properly before returning to work. Customers aren’t too thrilled about not being able to wash up, either, but guess which one is more likely to cause an outbreak of E. coli? It’s last-mile failure to have the plumbing working, but not keep up with the supplies needed to maintain sanitary conditions.
Regular plumbing maintenance lets you keep your restaurant safe, while ultimately saving money on water bills and emergency repairs that can interrupt operations (which is also an increased expense).
In the long run, building a relationship with an experienced plumbing contractor is right up there with the relationship you’ve cultivated with your jealously guarded source of artisanal endives. Okay, that’s probably not a great example, but we’re master plumbers, not restaurateurs. Which is exactly our point. Orlando is one of America’s most competitive restaurant markets, so you need every advantage you can get! Contact us today.
At the most seemingly inconvenient of times, you may notice your toilet emitting a new or strange sound. As major problems with this particular fixture create an unsanitary and expensive situation, Adams and Son Plumbing wants you to learn some common sounds so you can determine which ones warrant immediate professional attention.
Why is my toilet making a foghorn sound?
A distinct foghorn-like noise is often due to an older model toilet with a loose washer in the metal ballcock-style fill valve. To confirm that this is the issue, open the tank and flush the toilet. When the sound begins, lift the float ball up to the top of the tank. If at this point, the noise stops, there is likely a problem with the washer in the mechanism. If the ballcock is not sealed, you can either replace the washer or the valve itself as a long-term solution.
Why is my toilet making a hissing sound?
If you hear a hissing noise, you can rejoice that it is likely a less- than-serious issue at hand. Although it could be somewhat costly if ignored, this sound is made by running water. More often than not, it is the result of one of two dysfunctional parts. First, there is the potential of a miscalibrated fill valve. When you lift the lid off of the toilet, there will be a plastic buoy or ballcock floating at the top of the water. If it has been adjusted to stop above the overflow tube, water will continuously fill past this point and drain. To resolve it, simply re-adjust the height of the fill valve or ballcock to below that of the overflow tube.
Secondly, there is a chance that the flap valve – located at the bottom of the tank – has deteriorated, and is allowing water to continuously escape into the bowl. In this case, start by shutting off the water supply and flushing the toilet to drain the water. Then, you can remove the flap valve. It may simply need a cleaning, or you may notice that it has become cracked or brittle. If it has become too worn to properly function, it should be replaced. Once repaired, the water supply can be restored and it should function normally. If neither of these parts are the case, your last resort should be to replace the entire flush-valve, or have it inspected by a plumber.
Why is my toilet bowl make a gurgling sound?
Surprisingly, one of the least noticeable and less ominous sounds could carry the largest potential for disaster. A gurgling sound is made when air is able to escapes backwards into the toilet. This can indicate several possible issues, one of the most common being a blockage in the main line. Left unchecked, you are likely to discover the bathroom toilet, tub or sink, backed up and overflowing with dirty water. If you suspect a blockage is the case, make sure you first stop any appliances that could flood the pipes, then contact a certified plumber. A plumber’s snake, sewer jets or an air burst drain cleaner are typically used to resolve the problem.
Another possibility is not the pipes itself, but the environment surrounding a pipe. In particularly wooded or ground-shifting areas, pipes are particularly susceptible to being penetrated, closed off or even separated. This situation tends to take a longer time to occur, and can be checked by a professional plumber with a sewer camera. With a regular inspection, it can be caught early enough to avoid a full pipe repair or replacement.
When you need a reliable and professional plumber, look no further than Adams and Son Plumbing. We respond quickly and efficiently, preventing further damage and future repairs. Plus, we are one of the few companies that send a state-certified master plumber every time! View our full list of services, or contact us to request and appointment. We look forward to serving you!