Your disposal and drains take a beating during the holiday season. In this podcast, Tyler gives us a few tips to make sure your plumbing system stays healthy this year.
Is it time to replace your water heater? Find out more about our water heater services.
The best way to avoid a major water heater issue is regular maintenance. In this podcast, James tells us why it’s so important and when we should thinking about replacing our water heaters.
Yearly maintenance is the best way to extend the life of your water heater. The Ben Franklin Society Maintenance Program membership includes a water heater tune-up annually.
During that tune-up, we’ll flush your water heater to clean out all the sediment that builds up in the bottom. That will help the heater work more efficiently throughout the year.
We’ll also check what’s called your anode rod, which basically sacrifices itself for the life of the heater. If you keep the anode rod in good shape, water will have something to attack other than the tank itself.
The average lifespan of a water heater is eight to twelve years. Like anything else in your plumbing system, it depends on the type of water flowing through it. If you have soft water that’s filtered and free of chemicals and minerals, it’s going to last longer.
Water heaters are steel tanks with a glass lining, but as they heat and cool repeatedly, the glass breaks up and water gets to the steel. Eventually they just rust out. Especially if your water heater’s inside your attic or a closet, it’s wise to replace it around the 8-10 year mark. If it fails, you could be dealing with a flooding issue.
When it comes time to replace your water heater, we offer several options. Whether you’re interested in energy efficiency or you need hot water for a family of ten, we can help you find a system that’s right for you. Call the professionals at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing at 813-676-9046.
The holidays are a busy time of year for our drains. It’s important to do whatever we can to make sure our plumbing systems make it through the season without any issues.
Friends and family that are visiting might not realize the kind of care your garbage disposal requires. It’s best to advise them to scrape their plates off in the trash, rather than dumping the whole thing down the disposal.
If you do end up putting foods like peels and rice down the drain, be sure to plug the sink, fill it with water, and pull the plug as you turn on the disposal. The added pressure helps the food get down the drain a little better.
We see a lot of pipes and water heaters spring leaks in the cold weather, due to expansion and contraction. Proper maintenance is the key to avoiding those leaks.
During regular maintenance, we’ll flush your water heater, and do a complete check of the elements. We’ll inspect your faucets, fixtures, garbage disposals, and thermostats. We make sure your entire plumbing system is ready for the season.
Enjoy your holidays without any plumbing problems by scheduling maintenance from Ben Franklin Plumbing at 813-676-9046.
Tropical storm or the rain bands associated with hurricanes can damage your plumbing. Here are the precautions you should take to prevent plumbing issues:
Clear Slow or Backed up Drains
Make sure you do not have any sewer drain backups or slow drains prior to the storm. As the saying goes, it is the straw that breaks the camel’s back – Heavy rain will cause an even larger backup in your home.
You can test to see if your drains are working by pouring water through them and seeing how long it will take to drain. If your drains take longer than a few seconds to drain, try using a product like BioBen to clear and maintain the drain. If you are experiencing any drain backup it is best to call prior to the storm. Routine maintenance to keep your sewer main line clean by an experienced plumber is key.
Prepare BEFORE the Storm
Clear any debris around your home, including gutters. That debris eventually finds its way into the public sewer and can cause a backup for the neighborhood. Stinky stank!
Have stock a supply of 3-7 days of drinking water per person. You should also fill a tub up with water prior to the storm. If the water level is low, use a bucket of water to help flush your toilet. You can also use the water for other non-sterilized household tasks.
When Water is Restored After a Shut Off
When a water source is shut off or the pressure levels drop below 20psi, a water boil advisory is issued. When this happens the water becomes contaminated and bacteria will begin to grow. If you have a Water Boil Advisory, follow your local municipal for directions on your water usage.
When the water is turned back on:
- Run water for 5 minutes through direct connections which will release any trapped air in the system. You may experience a loud hammering sound that should stop as all the air trapped in the pipe is released.
- Run a water softener through one cycle of regeneration which will help remove the chloramine that the city adds to kill bacteria when they shut the water off.
- Run drinking fountains for 1 minute
- Dispose 3 batches from your ice cube maker
- Run all faucets/cold lines for 1 minute
After the storm passes inspect your property. Check to see if any shrubs or tree roots have shifted that could cause potential damage to underground pipes. If you experience any sewer backup from the storm, call Benjamin Franklin Plumbing immediately at 866-867-5309. We are here waiting to address any pre or post storm drain issues.
Do you ever suspect that the plumbing systems throughout your home are really nothing more than a complex headache waiting to happen? Like if you look at the pipes beneath the kitchen sink the wrong way they’ll start to leak just to spite you?
In our new eBook, Flush This! The DIY Guide to Gaining the Upper Hand on Wonky Plumbing Devices, we’ll show you how you diagnose and start fixing all those problems that keep you awake at night.
In truth, you don’t have to fear toilets that only flush partially or drains that seem to disagree whenever you expect them to get to work. You don’t even have to be too concerned about whatever is making that unidentifiable smell in the sink. There are plenty of simple, DIY plumbing fixes that you can handle around the home.
Get Your Free eBook
We’ve put together this list of instructions and guidelines for everyone who wants to take a more proactive approach to home plumbing maintenance and repair. While there are a number of procedures that you need to leave to the professionals, you can use the information collected here to take care of those lingering problems.
Do you have specific concerns about the plumbing in your home? What is going to need the most attention? Flush This! is divided up into five basic categories so you can quickly find the information you need when something goes wrong.
– Problems with partial or phantom flushing, constant running, or reduced bowl water? This section details several fixes for some of the most common problems.
– Are strange odors coming out of the sink? Do you wonder why the water in your shower backs up until you’re standing in a soapy puddle? Drains come in all shapes and sizes, and this information will help you determine how to diagnose the issues and get them repaired.
– A leaky faucet is more than just an annoyance. It can lead to higher utility bills, gallons of wasted water, and perhaps even indicate some other issues that need your attention. Use this section to determine the best way to fix both indoor and outdoor faucets.
– We put a lot of things down the sink, whether in the kitchen or bathroom, so it’s important to make sure they don’t stop working on us at the most inopportune moments. Whether you’re thinking of replacing the entire sink or just looking to replace some smaller components, you’ll find some guidelines here.
– The kitchen is the place where families and friends gather to enjoy each other’s company. It’s also the place where a lot of plumbing-related things can go wrong. This section details how to find the problems and what to do about them.
For the DIYer in You
Download your eBook today and start tackling some of those plumbing problems hanging around your home. There’s no better time than the present to tackle these chores, and this will show you some of the best ways to put your pipes back in line.
Tankless water heaters are a topic of much discussion many different circles, from plumbers to conservationists. This is because people have grown so accustomed to having a large tank to hold and heat water that they are unsure how a small little box could possibly do the same job. So when you describe this kind of solution to someone, they instantly want to know if it really works and how much it costs compared to the traditional heater.
A lot of people will struggle to get past the upfront price tag since the tankless water heater will cost more than a traditional tank.
There is a lot more to saving money, though, than just the upfront cost, and tankless water heaters are an investment that pays off in the long term. The government, for example, will often give tax breaks for buying these, so you get back a bit of the cost in your taxes, but the majority of the savings are accrued over the years of using these heaters versus the bigger, bulkier, less-efficient models. There are different aspects of a tankless version that make it a great option for saving money and space.
The main savings from a tankless water heater are in energy costs. Older models use a lot of energy to heat the water that is held in the tank so it’s warm and ready when you need it. This means that these models are using a lot of energy around the clock.
The tankless models heat the water on demand very quickly, meaning you will typically save 40% in energy. (Although this might depend on other factors such as the climate in which you live. If it’s colder throughout the year, more energy is used to keep your water at a constant temperature.) The amount of energy you use this way can have a surprisingly large impact on your utility bill.
There are different tankless water heaters styles, brands, and sizes to fit the many types of homes and sizes. When you are looking at the options, you’ll see that the description says right up front how much energy they use so you can estimate your bill each month. If the idea of calculating those kinds of numbers on your own makes you nervous, don’t worry. The government has an energy cost calculator to help you estimate just how much you will spend and save when you switch to either an electric or gas tankless water heater.
The Space Advantage
Tank heaters are big and bulky, which is fine for some homes. Smaller homes, condominiums, apartments, and other small dwellings don’t have as much room for their utilities. Most tankless water heaters are the size of a suitcase and are mounted on the wall, which means there is more room for storage.
Saving money on operating costs and gaining more floor space are not the only advantages of a tankless water heater. Here are just a few more to consider:
A longer life. Tankless water heaters can also potentially save you more money in the long run because the average lifespan of these models is 7-10 years longer than storage tank heaters. If you are replacing the heater less often, you are spending less money over the time you spend in your home.
Cleaner water. Water might end up sitting in your tank for a long time, and if it is really old, it can build up scale and rust inside. Since the tankless heaters have no storage tank, there is less buildup, which means cleaner water.
Faster Service. If your water heater has ever broken or had the flame go out, you know it takes a long time for it to warm up again. A tankless model heats the water up so fast that you don’t have to wait around for the water to reach the right temperature.
This is especially beneficial if you have company at your home. Everyone trying to take a shower in the morning means that there is a limited supply of hot water with a traditional tank model. If you have a tankless version, your only concern is getting out the door on time, not wondering how cold your shower is if you are last in line.
Worth the Effort
No matter what your hopes are for a tankless water heater, it is worth looking into as an option. Once you take some time to research on your own, don’t forget to talk to a pro to get their recommendations for your current situation. This is probably the best way to make your final decision. Even if you don’t end up taking the tankless route yet, it is worth the effort to educate yourself on the subject for the future.
Finding a good plumber isn’t always easy, but it is worth the effort. All too often, plumbers and other repairmen show up late, even after giving you a really large window. Then, what happens when they do show up but don’t fix the problem adequately? Or when they don’t do the repair in a timely manner? You might soon find yourself racking up the charges for labor costs without much to show for it.
Finding a great plumbing company is like finding a new friend. Not only are they reliable and helpful, but they are going to do everything they can to determine your needs and go above and beyond the standard level of service. There are many attributes you could look for in a company, but which ones are the most important? There are five characteristics that take a plumbing company from good to great.
Licensed and Insured
Most companies are required to be licensed and insured, but not everyone is. This is important because they need to be legally able to do work in your home and, in case anything goes wrong, they need to have the means to make it right. There are many accidents that could happen to a plumber, but there are also mistakes that they could damage your home or plumbing – and these are their responsibility. Licenses and insurance are not only protecting the company, they are protecting their customers, too.
Background Checks and Drug Tests on Technicians
Allowing a stranger to come into your home, even to fix something, can make you vulnerable to something bad potentially happening. In order to make sure you are not compromising the safety of your family, home, and valuables, all technicians should have a background check and drug test done. This way you can feel more secure when they are around instead of on guard.
A plumber with a positive attitude is important because then you can feel like you can ask questions. We tend to assume that grumpy people are less likely to explain problems, so attitude matters a lot. A little friendliness will give you a reason to use them whenever you have a problem and even recommend them to friends and family when they have similar concerns.
Another thing to consider is that a friendly company wants you to feel like there is a connection between the customer and the service provider. The more friendships they can establish the more people will rely on them, ensuring they will be the first on the call list for a long time. This kind of permanence and reputation in a local area usually comes from years of experience and a well-earned reputation.
Fast and Guaranteed Repairs
When any part of your plumbing is broken, repairs must be done as quickly as possible. Great plumbers don’t show up to a job with just the basic parts to do the most common repairs – they come prepared with fully stocked trucks. If a special part has to be ordered to complete the job, the company will do everything possible to get your problem is fixed the as soon as possible.
However, fast service sometimes leads to sloppy results, which is why it’s nice to have a guarantee on the work done. Any company that won’t stand behind their jobs 100% is a company you don’t want to touch your pipes. Any job that has a guarantee allows you to feel as confident about the repair as possible. This saves you money if the first job doesn’t totally fix your problem.
Respects Your Time
One of the most frustrating parts of getting a repair done is waiting around all day for the technician to show up. A great plumbing company will respect your time and even offer some form of compensation if they are late. Sometimes there are circumstances, like traffic, that get in the way, preventing the plumber from showing up on time. If a company truly respects your time, they won’t pass on that frustration to you – they will just get to work as quick as possible and do the job they were paid for.
A Powerful Tool
Finding the best plumbing company is like gaining security for your home if anything else breaks. If you feel like you have a friend in the plumbing business, you are much less likely to try and fix things yourself and leave it to the professionals instead. Home repairs are never pleasant, but knowing that you have someone you can trust in your corner helps by giving you a little peace of mind.
Every specific part in a toilet plays a specific role in helping your toilet work properly. When one part goes down it can prevent the whole toilet from functioning properly. We know toilet jargon is only known among professional plumbers so it can be very difficult to communicate what’s actually wrong with your toilet with a plumber when things aren’t functioning properly with your toilet. We thought we would spend a few moments to educate you on all of the parts in a toilet, and the purpose each part plays. Once you understand each toilet part and what it does, you’ll be able to communicate the problem to a professional plumber with clarity.
One important thing to understand about toilet parts is that the name of the parts are not universal. For example a plumber in Florida might use the word ‘float ball’ when referring to the float ball, where as a plumber in California might just say ‘ball’ when referring to the same part. Mainly in situations like this you just want to pay attention to the main keyword that identifies the part. This will help in your toilets communication skills.
The Main Toilet Parts
1. Toilet Tank – The biggest part of the toilet is the toilet tank. The toilet tank holds ‘the brain’ of the toilet. It holds 2 gallons of water at all times. The toilet tank water is either used to push the waste water down the main sewage pipe, or to fill the toilet back up with water. Once the 2 gallons of water is used the refill mechanism kicks in, and the tank fills back up with water.
2. Float Ball –The float ball is designed to turn off the water from entering into the toilet tank. Once the water hits a specific level, the float ball rises to a point where the angle will close the flapper or ballcock. If your toilet is running, chances are the float ball is off and the toilet tank is still adding water, while letting some water go. Simply just work on the float ball, fix it, and your running toilet will stop.
Cold Water Supply Pipe – In every bathroom there should be a small valve sticking out of the wall right next to the toilet. This valve is called the cold water supply pipe. It supplies the entire toilet with water. The pipe coming out of the wall should be a hard metal. At the end of the pipe there should be a soft hose that connects to the toilet tank. By turning the valve on and off you’ll be able to control the water supply to the toilet.
Ball Cock –The ball cock prevents overflow and backflow of water into the toilet tank. The ball cock is placed right on the flush tube and is connected to the chain. Once someone presses the flush handle it picks up the chain, which lifts up the ball cock. All of the water in the toilet tank then falls down into the flush tube which ends up pushing the sewage down the main sewage pipe.
Fill Valve –The fill valve is connected to the water hose and is responsible for bringing water back into the toilet tank. The fill valve also sends water through the bowl fill tube, which is responsible for filling the toilet back up with water.
Siphon –Every toilet has a small siphon. The siphon is the miraculous way the toilet is able to flush. The siphon creates a force with the water by being shaped upwards, then downwards. By the gravitation of energy, when water is pushed through the siphon it creates an energy. There’s an equation on how the siphon works.
Lift Chain –The lift chain connects the flush valve and the ball cock. It pulls the ball cock up which pushes the water down the siphon. If the lift chain is broken the toilet will not flush.
Summary – Conclusion
Toilets are very simple but can seem very complex. Once you understand all of the parts and their purpose, you will be able to understand how the toilet operates. Once you understand how the toilet operates, you’ll be able to understand how to fix a toilet when things aren’t working properly. If you can’t seem to figure it out, give us a call.