Aurora Plumbing Company, we pride ourselves on excellent plumbing, heating, air conditioning, indoor air quality, drain and sewer, water heater and commercial services in the greater Denver, CO area. Family owned and operated since 1984, our company is run by a father–daughter team, and a squad of highly trained and experienced technicians who excel in their respective fields.
When someone says they’re doing a remodel in their home, the bathroom probably isn’t the first place your mind goes to, but the right bathroom remodel can do a lot to improve not only the aesthetics of your home, but its functionality, too! Any type of remodel can improve a home’s value, plus a refurbishing a bathroom can make the space easier to move around in and use.
It’s important, however, that if you plan on undertaking a bathroom remodel, that you work with a plumbing expert with experience in these types of jobs. A professional plumber will help you come up with the best idea for a retrofit, and help you decide what to prioritize. So, give our team a call! In the meantime, we’ve shared below some of our best ideas for bathroom plumbing upgrades to make during your remodel.
A New Bathroom Sink
The sink is often the central focus of a bathroom. Depending on the type of sink you get, it can have a huge impact on storage and overall bathroom design. There are a number of options for you to choose from, like a pedestal or vessel sink, or an undermount or overmount sink. It’s important to be realistic about how much storage and counter space you’ll need before installing your sink.
Low-Flow Plumbing Fixtures
We strongly suggest that you upgrade all your fixtures in the bathroom to low-flow models during your remodel. This includes low-flow sink faucets, showerhead, and even your toilet. Choosing this means you’ll help the environment by wasting less water, and you’ll begin earning money back on your remodeling costs right away.
A non-low-flow toilet uses about 3 to 6 gallons per flush, depending on how old it is. A low flow model, however, only uses about 1.5 gallons per flush. You can save the equivalent of 40 showers-worth of water every year with a low-flow toilet!
Walk-In Shower (with Storage Space!)
Do you use the bathtub portion of your shower very often? If not, you might consider a walk-in shower installation. This helps save valuable space and also makes the room look more stylish. You can also arrange for storage space within the shower, such as recessed shelves to put your soap and shampoo.
You don’t see much of the plumbing within your bathroom. The one exception to this may be the p-trap under your bathroom sink. However, if your bathroom is 2-3 decades old and has never been repiped, then you could have outdated pipes that are already breaking down or are well on their way.
This is especially true if you have galvanized steel pipes. They’re in danger or corroding, and can even introduce toxins into the freshwater. And any leaks that occur within bathroom plumbing pipes can, as you might imagine, lead to significant water damage. If you’ve never considered at least partial repiping before now, a remodel is a great time to think about it.
If you’re reading this, chances are you are not a professional HVAC contractor. If you are, well, then you’ll agree with our assessment below.
Only skilled and trained professionals can install and service your heating and cooling systems.
Our pros are the ones to call. Put down that toolbox and let professionals handle whatever HVAC service needs you have in your home. This isn’t just because we’re saying so, but rather because we want the best for our customers. Chances are you may end up calling us up anyway to repair something an amateur did while trying to install or repair your HVAC system.
Why Do We Stress Professional Work?
Great AC performance starts at installation, so that’s where we’re going to start.
There is a lot that goes into an HVAC system installation, and there are amateurs out there with limited mechanical ability who may claim they can do it at a bargain price. But we are here to say that there is definitely some validity to the phrase, “you get what you pay for.”
HVAC equipment must be carefully chosen and checked for compatibility with your home. The sizing, for instance, is vital. You can likely imagine why your system shouldn’t be too small—it won’t be powerful enough to cool down your entire living space. But too large of a system is just as bad—it will be too powerful, and will go through a process called short-cycling that is damaging to the system itself.
Speed shouldn’t ever trump quality of workmanship. But you don’t want to wait around while someone pieces together your HVAC services bit by bit, which is why you should only work with experienced professionals who offer comprehensive services.
Our technicians come to any HVAC job with fully stocked service vehicles. This means that almost any part that might be needed for the job can be easily accessed. Professionals also have means to easily procure parts that aren’t stocked in the van. In other worse, we won’t get halfway through a job, realize we’re missing an important component, and leave you hanging as we completely halt work.
You should definitely work with a pro if you want the job done right, and fast.
The warranties on air conditioners and heating systems can be comprehensive, but they’ll rarely cover damages and issues in every situation. Case in point: any problems caused by allowing amateur and unqualified individuals to install, repair, or maintain your HVAC systems. Working with technicians qualified for the job means maintaining the warranty on your system.
Additionally, professional HVAC technicians know everything to look for during your maintenance appointment. Maintenance tune-ups are when we fully inspect your heating and cooling system, checking for pending repair needs, any components that need adjusting, and parts that need cleaning. All of this helps your system work more efficiently in the long run, costing you less month-to-month and helping the system actually last longer, too.
Have you scheduled your professional air conditioning maintenance appointment yet? With temperatures still relatively cool for now, it’s hard to imagine needing your air conditioner on a daily—if not hourly—basis any time soon. But summer will be here before you know it, and when it hits you want to be able to rely on the comfort provided by your cooling system, right?
Professional Maintenance Is the Answer
Professional maintenance allows our technicians to fully inspect your HVAC system, checking for signs of wear and tear, pending repair needs, parts that need adjusting, and components that need cleaning. By cleaning and adjusting the system, our technicians help it perform efficiently. By scheduling repairs early, you can avoid a sudden massive breakdown in the middle of summer.
But let’s say you’ve already had professional maintenance done a while back. Is there anything else you can or should do to make sure your air conditioner is prepped for summer? Well … yes, yes there is! Performing the following tasks on your own will ensure your air conditioner will perform as effectively and efficiently as it’s meant to.
Check Around Your Outside Unit
This is called your condenser unit, and it is housed with electrical connections and other system components. Throughout the cooler seasons, with storms and snowmelt, debris can accumulate around this unit. This might include things like small tree branches, dirt, lawn clippings, lawn mulch, leaves, and more.
Before you turn your air conditioner on for the first time this summer, it’s a good idea to take a look around and remove any of this debris you may find. This will help ensure proper airflow so you can rely on the efficiency you’re meant to.
Change the Air Filter
You know that filter that comes already equipped in your air conditioning and heating systems? It’s there for more than protecting your indoor air quality. In fact, protecting your indoor air quality isn’t even its main purpose. Rather, it’s function is to protect the interior components of your HVAC system from dust, dirt, and other debris that can impact its performance and hurt efficiency.
This air filter should be changed every 1–3 months—more often if you have significant contaminants in the home or if you have a basic air filter.
Clear Obstructions From Your Vents
Be sure to check that your supply and return air vents are open and free from obstructions. Debris can affect airflow, and if airflow is blocked then your HVAC system simply can’t perform efficiently. Cleaning and checking all your vents is a great best practice to follow at the start of each cooling season.
Run the System to Ensure Proper Operation
After you’ve gone through all the steps outlined above, wait for a warm day and turn your AC on! After a few minutes, you should feel cool air. If it’s lukewarm or you don’t feel air coming through the vents at all, then call a pro.
If your air conditioner is experiencing any issues at all or you suspect something is amiss, shut it off until our technicians can take a look. Running a malfunctioning air conditioner can end up doing more damage to the system, which can turn an easy fix into a costly emergency repair.
A worn down fan belt, a breach in ductwork, a dirty evaporator coil—these all have something in common. They are typical problems for an air conditioner to experience. And, they’re all issues that you can usually prevent altogether, so long as you stay on top of routine professional maintenance. In fact, professional maintenance can help prevent about 85% of the repair needs your air conditioner would ever need throughout its lifespan!
However, what about unexpected or uncommon AC problems? Issues that you should never have to deal with or that are so rare you don’t hear about them very much? They do happen, and it’s wise to be aware of what they are so that if you are impacted, you won’t be caught off guard, and you’ll know to call our pros for service right away.
High Refrigerant Charge
A refrigerant’s “charge” is its level within your air conditioner. This fluid is tasked with allowing the cooling process to occur. Refrigerant is a heat transference fluid that goes through the process of evaporation and condensation to enable heat to move from inside your home to the outdoors.
When your air conditioner is installed, it is supplied with a set amount of refrigerant already within it. This isn’t a fluid that “runs out,” like gasoline from a vehicle. Instead, it is recycled throughout the system and throughout that system’s lifespan. If at any time you’re losing refrigerant, it means there is a leak that must be professionally repaired. But what if there’s too much refrigerant to begin with—too high of a refrigerant charge?
Though this is rare, it’s a possibility. It will likely only happen if you’ve had an amateur install your air conditioner—they’re probably not trained on how much refrigerant is needed for the system and why. Unfortunately, too high of a refrigerant charge will eventually cause your compressor to breakdown, which will most likely be the end of your air conditioner’s lifespan.
The signs that you have too much refrigerant are similar to signs that you have too little. Fortunately, you’ll probably notice the signs right away if you have a brand new air conditioner—you may notice low cooling power, high energy bills (your cooling bills should typically go down with the installation of a new air conditioner!), or an odd noise coming from the system—strange sounds can be the sign of a number of problems and if this is happening in a new system, or if you notice anything that seems unusual to you about your system’s performance, you should call our pros right away.
High Outdoor Temperatures
But… air conditioners are designed to handle excessive heat—that is literally their job, right?!
Well, yes. But, intense heat over an extended period of time can actually have a negative impact on your air conditioner, particularly if it is an aging system. It can cause your capacitors to overheat and fail, first off. The capacitors are components that send electrical voltage to the motors of the compressor and fans, and too much heat reduces their ability to hold an electrical charge.
So, eventually, the capacitors won’t be able to turn the motors on, or keep them running once they do. The best way to prevent this type of problem from occurring is to keep up on your annual maintenance (or biannual, if you have a heat pump), since during our inspection we check these components and more to ensure they’re ready for the heat of summer. If you notice anything amiss though this summer, particularly after a heat wave, please be sure to give our pros a call right away!
Temperatures around our parts have slowly but surely started warming up, to the point that soon enough we’ll need our air conditioners on a daily basis. Think about last summer. What would have done without an air conditioner in June and July? While it might be livable, it’s certainly not comfortable to go without efficient and effective cooling.
Therefore, we urge you to take proper care of your air conditioner. There are many ways to properly care for your cooling system, and there are many ways to improperly care for one—mistakes that can be detrimental to its functionality overall. What are these mistakes? Keep reading to find out!
If You Want an Effective and Efficient AC System, You Should Not….
….do anything that compromises its performance, such as:
Skipping Maintenance: Professional maintenance is the only way to ensure that your air conditioner will be fully inspected, cleaned, and adjusted in order to perform as efficiently as it’s meant to. In fact, maintenance can prevent up to 85% of the repairs that a cooling system may need in its lifetime otherwise! This is because maintenance helps us spot small problems before they become big ones that start wearing down on your air conditioner and negatively impacting its operation.
Use the Same Air Filter Month-to-Month: When people think about the air filter that comes standard with their HVAC system, they tend to think of their indoor air quality. After all, that’s what an air filter is for, right? To block allergens and other particles from coming through your ventilation system into your home? Well, not quite. The air filter in your HVAC system filters out the air leaving your home, so that the internal components within your air conditioner don’t get pummeled with these particles. Therefore, you should be changing your air filter, depending on what type it is, every 1-3 months during periods of system use. Oh and don’t forget, the air filter in your air conditioner is usually shared by your furnace, so don’t assume that because you haven’t used your air conditioner yet the air filter doesn’t need changing!
Turn the Thermostat Down as Low as It will Go: We do understand this misunderstanding—the misunderstanding that turning your thermostat down as low as it will go will cool your home down faster. But this just isn’t the case. Turning your thermostat down that low will only cause your compressor to run longer, until it reaches that desired temperature, if it ever does. Another problem with this is that air conditioners are typically only capable of effectively cooling a space to about 20°F below what the temperatures are outside. So, turning your thermostat down to 62°F when it’s 90°F outside won’t get you very far. If anything it will leave you wasting energy and paying way more than you should just to use your air conditioning system!
Whether you’re looking for more advice on how to most efficiently use your air conditioner or you have an AC problem that needs attention, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Did you know that summertime is the most likely season for air conditioners to develop problems? This is because they’re placed under a lot more stress than, say, in fall or spring. After all, you’ll be using yours every day for at least 3 months straight, and this added wear and tear makes it more likely for various components to break down.
It’s essential that you have your air conditioner checked out by a trained and experienced professional if you detect any signs that it is malfunctioning in any way. Keep reading to learn more about one of the biggest signs that something is amiss: scary or unfamiliar sounds coming from the air conditioner.
Is your air conditioner making a grinding noise as it operates? This is probably due to an issue with your air handler. The air handler motor is comprised of a number of oiled bearings to help keep friction as low as possible during operation.
Over the years, these bearings start to wear down, and cause friction on the air handler motor to slowly increase. Once this friction gets too high, the air handler motor will begin making a grinding noise. If you hear this, please call us for repairs ASAP! The bearings will need to be replaced before the air handler motor overheats and burns out.
If your cooling system is making a noise that resembles the air being let out of a tire, what you’re probably hearing is air bubbles in the refrigerant line—signaling that you have a leak in the line. The lower the refrigerant level is in your air conditioner, the lower the air conditioner’s output capacity will drop as a result.
Eventually, the refrigerant level in your cooling system will drop so low that it will be forced to shut down. Be sure to call for repairs as soon as you notice any fluid dripping from your system or if you detect the aforementioned hissing noise.
The scary thing about short-cycling is that it sounds no different than the normal shutting off and turning on of the compressor of your air conditioner. But the actual sound isn’t what you’re listening for. You’re listening for how often your air conditioner cycles on and off. If it’s doing so every couple of minutes, this is called short-cycling.
This problem can be the result of a number of different things, such as electrical issues or compressor malfunctions. Regardless of the source, however, what’s more important is the threat it poses to your air conditioner. The system cuts down on the AC system’s ability to cool the home, but also accelerates the rate at which the system wears out. Prolonged short cycling will make the system more prone to breaking down, and shorten its lifespan by a number of years. Be sure to call for repairs as soon as you notice your system short-cycling.
You don’t need to know much about science to understand that when water meets metal, there’s a danger of corrosion starting. Corrosion is the term given to the chemical reaction between water and metal in the presence of oxygen. The damage from it causes the destruction of the metal.
There’s one appliance in your home that is particularly in danger of this chemical reaction—your tank water heater. This huge metal appliance stores and circulates water, and yet, it never rusts. How is that possible? Well actually, corrosion is very rare for water heaters, due in large part to your anode rod.
What Is the Anode Rod?
This may sound like a weird term that you don’t need to worry about, and so long as you’re having professional maintenance done on your water heater once a year, you probably don’t need to worry about it. But this rod, also referred to as the cathodic anode rod, runs the length of the center of your water heater tank and is made from two pieces of metal that attract the oxidization ions that cause corrosion.
Essentially, an anode rode corrodes so that your water heater doesn’t!
Therefore, knowing the condition of your anode rod, or having that condition checked, is important. Anode rods don’t last the entire life of your water heater—eventually they corrode completely, and the rest of the water heater is then at risk. This is why, again, maintenance is so vital. That said, you can have your professional plumber show you how to check the anode rod so you can make sure it’s still in good shape between maintenance sessions.
Other Lines of Defense
Your anode rod is your water heater’s main line of the defense, but not the only line of defense. The tank lining helps out a bit here too. The tank itself is made of a durable steel, but the inside lining is made of glass, which doesn’t corrode. It is possible for cracks in the glass to happen though, and then water will be permitted to reach the metal.
Another defensive component is the fact that there’s no air in the tank. A cushion of air used to be included to prevent water pressure spikes, but allowing air into the tank encourages corrosion to begin. So now, there is an expansion tank placed over the main one to absorb any water pressure increases.
“Corrosion Happened, Now What?”
An aging water heater—that is, one that is over 15 years old—may start to corrode no matter how strong its defenses are. It might not be from water but rather from the combustion gases from the burner or some other problem. The best thing you can do if you suspect a water heater problem is to call in a pro!
Not only can we help you with your water heater replacement, but we can fill you in on your various options. A standard electric or gas-powered tank water heater is great, but it’s not all there is out there. You may want to consider a tankless system for efficiency, among other benefits.
When you’re planning a remodel in your home, most people assume it’s the kitchen, maybe one of the bedrooms, or perhaps you’re adding on a guest room. Well, the bathroom deserves some love too! There are a lot of great remodeling ideas out there that can make your bathrooms not only more aesthetically pleasing, but more functional and efficient too. After all, with all the utilities you pay, shouldn’t your water bill be one of the most minor?
Now, when you get started on a bathroom remodel, it’s important that you work with an expert. Since most, if not all, bathroom remodels deal with the plumbing system, you’ll want an experienced plumber on your side. Fortunately, you needn’t look very far for one. Give us a call when you’re ready to get started. In the meantime, read on for 5 great additions to consider for your bathroom remodel.
A New Sink
When it comes to visual appeal, the sink and vanity of your bathroom is a lot more important than you may realize. Also, this is where you have a lot of room to work with on storage capabilities (i.e. if you want a cabinet under your sink or want a pedestal sink instead). You’ll want to consider this as well as how much counter space you need—and then you’ll want to decide on whether you want a low-flow faucet or not.
Speaking of low-flow faucets, we strongly recommend upgrading all your plumbing fixtures to this—not only your sink but also your showerhead and toilet (and other faucets throughout your home). Putting in these fixtures allows you to start earning money back on your remodeling costs right away, cutting down on your water use and subsequent utility bills.
A Walk-In Shower with Storage
If you only ever use your shower and never take a bath, then there’s really no need to have a huge bathtub taking up space in your bathroom. Consider installing a walk-in shower—this will help you save space and can help make the room more stylish. Don’t forget storage space though! Many homeowners are opting for recessed shelves in the shower wall rather than bulky shower caddies.
Homeowners don’t normally see much of the plumbing in their bathroom, with the exception of the p-trap under the bathroom sink. So for an older bathroom, it’s important to consider the condition of your pipes before starting the remodel. For instance, if you have old, galvanized steel pipes then they are in danger of corroding and introducing toxins into the freshwater.
Not to mention, leaking bathroom plumbing can lead to extensive property damage and unhygienic situations. We’re happy to check your pipes for you and help you make an educated decision on whether or not to repipe your bathroom. Depending on the age of your living space, we may even recommend repiping your entire home, so that you don’t have to worry about pipes failing you when you need them the most later on.
The official start of spring is just a short ways away, but that doesn’t mean we’re done dealing with winter temperatures here in the Littleton area. And while you might not be using your heating system as frequently now as you have in previous months, chances are you’d still like to use it as efficiently as possible when you do need it, throughout the remainder of the heating season.
The good news is, there are quite a few things you can do to boost the efficiency of your heater and save more money, that will cost little to nothing to implement, especially when you consider the costs of running your heating system. Here are some things you can try:
Upgrading Your Thermostat
This is a small component that you can upgrade to boost the efficiency of your furnace. You may not even realize what a big impact the thermostat can and does have on the rest of your HVAC system. While it is a tiny part of a much larger and complex system it’s one of the essential parts of heating operation. This device is what helps you communicate instructions to your heating and cooling systems, after all.
Even an upgrade to the most basic digital thermostat, or even better an upgrade to a programmable thermostat, can help boost efficiency and enjoy more affordable heating.
The heat from your furnace can escape through cracks in your doors and windows, which means you’re losing energy that you are paying for. Consider a very affordable investment in weatherstripping in order to seal up your windows and doors, to ensure that the heat in your home stays in your home.
Use Your Ceiling Fans!
Many homeowners are unaware of the benefits of using ceiling fans during the winter. Sure, we all know that ceiling fans can help keep us cool in the summer. But there is actually a switch near the center of the fan that allows the fan blades to go in reverse, and help more evenly distribute heated air to help boost the efficiency of forced air heating systems.
True this is a tip we usually provide at the beginning of heating season. After all, it’s beneficial to have your heater completely tuned-up before you need it the most. But what if you forgot or skipped maintenance this year? Well, it’s not too late!
It’s actually more important that you have heating maintenance done once a year than it is the time of the year you have it done. Professional maintenance allows our technicians to fully clean, inspect, and adjust components within your heater to help it perform at its best. It’s also during your maintenance session that our techs will make any necessary recommendations for repairs.
Handling these repair needs right away will ensure that your system will be in great shape next year, as well. Otherwise, you’ll just have a malfunctioning heater sitting in wait, to potentially be surprised by a heating system that doesn’t work altogether when you go to use it next fall.
Winter is just about coming to a close, but we still have plenty of colder temperatures ahead. The last thing you need right now is for your heating system to give up on you and breakdown. If you’re using a heat pump to warm your home this winter, this means your system is relying on heat from the outdoors to do its job.
This is a reliable system, but it can run into problems just like any other home comfort system—one of the more frustrating being a heat pump that’s blowing cold air during the wrong time of the year! Fortunately, you can turn to us for reliable Denver heat pump services. In the meantime, we’d like to let you know what’s going on when this occurs, as well as other troubles you may run into if your heat pump isn’t well-maintained.
Cool Air in the Winter?
Understandably, the last thing you want your heat pump to do in the dead of winter is to blow out cold air. When this happens, you should first check to be sure that it didn’t accidentally get set to “cooling” mode. If you’ve checked your thermostat and it is on the correct setting, then the problem might be with your refrigerant levels.
If you have a refrigerant leak, it will significantly impair how your heat pump operates. A refrigerant leak must be located, refrigerant refilled (what we call recharged) and patched up so you never lose refrigerant again. After all, your heat pump is supplied with enough refrigerant upon installation that it should last throughout the system’s lifespan!
Other Heat Pump Problems
We don’t mean to scare you, if you have a heat pump, but these are some other common problems you can run into as winter comes to a close, if your heat pump is not adequately tune-up by a professional twice a year.
Failure to Defrost
It’s perfectly normal for a light layer of frost to appear on the coils of your heat pump during cold weather. When a heat pump is operating as it should, it will switch into defrost mode itself and melt this ice that’s forming. But if the defrost function fails for some reason, and ice is allowed to develop, then you could start experiencing serious operational problems with your heat pump. Please do not try to remove or defrost the ice on your own—give our team a call so we can conduct proper repairs and get your system back up and running as it should be.
Inability to Turn On
This is certainly a problem! In some cases, however, it may be something minor like a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker. Check this first, replacing the fuse or resetting the breaker. If this doesn’t do the trick though, reach out to our team.
If your heat pump ever appears to be leaking or dripping, it’s an indication that there is a draining issue. This happens when a heat pump is grounded on an unsteady surface, it’s been submerged in snow, or it was exposed to heavy amounts of rainwater. Not only will you need to call in a pro for repairs, but it’s a good idea to allow our team to offer solutions so this doesn’t happen again.