Why Get Professional Water Heater Maintenance?

Avoid Getting Stuck Without Hot Water This Fall!

Hot water is such a ubiquitous part of everyday life in most American homes that it's easy to take it for granted. After all, it's used for everything from handwashing and bathing to doing laundry and washing dishes. So when the water heater goes on the fritz, everyone in the house feels the pain – especially as colder weather approaches.

Aside from old age, the leading cause of water heater failure is a lack of proper maintenance. And with the water heater tucked away in a garage, basement, or utility closet, it's easy to overlook or put off maintenance until it's too late. To ensure homeowners don't get stranded without hot water just as the chilly weather rolls in, this article will explain why routine water heater maintenance is so important, what it entails, and how to tell when the hot water heater is on the verge of a breakdown!

Benefits of Regular Water Heater Maintenance

save money Every homeowner should be aware of several water heater maintenance benefits. Firstly, it helps prevent unexpected breakdowns and other issues by addressing minor problems as early as possible. Along these lines, maintenance also helps prolong the unit's life by mitigating the effects of normal wear and tear.

A well-maintained water heater will also perform better and with greater energy efficiency, which can lead to lower energy bills. By improving the unit's efficiency and reducing or prolonging the need for water heater repair or replacement, routine maintenance can save homeowners loads of money in the long run!

What Is Included In Water Heater Maintenance?

water heaterDuring a water heater tune-up, a professional plumber will perform various tasks, which vary depending on the type of water heater. 

When servicing a conventional water heater, the plumber will flush the hot water tank to remove sediment buildup, inspect the anode rod (a device that attracts corrosive substances to protect the tank shell) and replace it if necessary, and test the T&P (temperature & pressure) relief valve. They will also check electrical connections, safety devices, and burners, replacing, tightening, or cleaning anything that needs it.

Tankless water heater maintenance involves most of the same tasks, although there's no water tank to flush and no anode rod to replace. However, tankless water heaters must be flushed periodically since mineral scales can accumulate inside the unit, interfering with the heat exchanger's ability to heat the water.

Mineral scale and sediment buildup can crack heat exchangers, clog pipes, and damage storage tanks, so flushing a water heater is one of the most important parts of maintenance. Generally, it's best to do this once yearly for conventional units and every 1-2 years for tankless units.

Signs that the Water Heater Needs To Be Serviced

Suppose it's been more than one year since the water heater was last serviced. In that case, homeowners should consider scheduling water heater maintenance to ensure the unit is in good shape and operating smoothly. But there are a few other signs it might be time for water heater repair or maintenance:

  • The hot water runs out faster than usual
  • The water doesn't get as hot as usual, doesn't get hot at all, or comes out too hot
  • The water temperature fluctuates frequently
  • Low hot water pressure (particularly if the cold water seems to have normal pressure)
  • The hot water is discolored or smelly
  • Water is leaking from the water heater itself
  • The water heater is making strange sounds (popping, rumbling, hissing, whining, etc.)

If homeowners notice any of these signs, there's likely a problem with their water heater. A simple maintenance visit may resolve the issue, but in some cases, water heater repair may be necessary. But if the unit is very old (10+ years) or the storage tank is leaking, a water heater replacement may be more cost-effective. To properly diagnose and resolve the issue, homeowners should consult a qualified and reputable plumber!

About A&A Plumbing

Since opening its doors in 2007, A&A Plumbing has become one of the most trusted and highly-rated plumbing companies in San Antonio. As an award-winning, family-owned local business, they are proud to offer up-front pricing, personalized solutions, and emergency plumbing service. They also offer a money-saving maintenance plan and guarantee 100% satisfaction on every job – so homeowners know they can count on A&A for water heater maintenance in San Antonio, TX!

When Does a Home Need a Water Softener?

Understanding Hard Water 

Water is called the universal solvent. What does that mean, exactly? It means that water can dissolve most things it comes into contact with. When water has dissolved a substance, that substance is carried around in the water until it is chemically removed or the water is distilled. This has huge implications for drinking water piped into homes daily. 

In nature, water is distilled as it evaporates into the atmosphere to form clouds. As the vapor condenses and forms rain, it picks up substances it comes into contact with. Once rain hits the ground, it picks up minerals and runs off to a river or lake that may serve as a municipal water supply. 

In many areas, the mineral profile of the soil allows water to pick up copious amounts of calcium and magnesium. These minerals are dissolved in water to a great extent that they can interfere with some aspects of modern plumbing. Here is a quick discussion about dealing with hard water by installing water softeners

How Do Water Softeners Work? 

water softenerThe solvent qualities of water are one of the things that can make it so useful. When water is saturated with dissolved minerals, it can have a hard time dissolving things like treatment chemicals or anything intended to be washed off a surface. Removing hardness minerals from water allows water to behave better in useful ways. 

To accomplish this, water softeners pull minerals out of residential water. Water softeners are installed at the service entrance where water lines enter the home. All of the water in the home is flushed across a bed of resin that captures ions. Periodically, the resin bed is flushed with a heavy brine to remove ions and refresh the resin bed. This process is automatic and goes on without any intervention from the owner. 

Signs Hard Water Is Present 

hard waterMost people may be uninterested in water softeners because they believe water is water. Most often, these people don't recognize the signs of hard water or understand how helpful softened water can be. Some of the signs that a water softener can be beneficial for a home are: 

  • Itchy, dry skin and hair
  • Poor-tasting water
  • Soap residue left on hair, skin, and dishes
  • Water spots on dishes and spotted glasses 
  • Dull, faded clothing with residual dirt and odors 
  • Crusty, white buildup on plumbing fixtures and appliances 

How Can Whole-Home Water Softeners Help? 

Water softeners can improve the water quality in a home, promoting health and prolonging the life of plumbing and appliances. When soft water is used to bathe, soap and grime are more easily dissolved and washed away. This results in healthier skin and hair. Additionally, soft water tastes better, promoting hydration. 

Water softeners are one of the best ways to protect plumbing. First, they remove the minerals that can form a scale on piping that can interfere with water pressure and corrode appliances faster, like the water heater. This reduces plumbing repair costs and prevents expensive water heaters' premature failure. 

About A&A Plumbing

A&A Plumbing can help every home achieve more healthy and helpful water. Water softener and water treatment options help owners protect their water supply. Call today for comprehensive plumbing service in San Antonio, TX. 

Distribution Links +

FAQs for Dealing with Slab Leaks

What is a Slab Leak? 

In most homes in the area, the foundation is a large block of concrete called a ‘slab.’ The materials that make up a home weigh a lot, not to mention the weight of the belongings inside a home. That means the home should be thoroughly supported to carry the weight of the building materials and everything inside a finished home. Engineers have figured out that monolithic concrete slabs are the best way to carry the load. 

The main problem with building a home on a poured slab is that the most effective way to route utilities around the home is to bury them in the ground before the slab is poured. Once the pipes are underground and cased in concrete, they are relatively safe. However, accessing these pipes when slab leaks arise can be a tricky problem. 

How to Spot the Signs of Slab Leaks 

leakSince pipes are encased in concrete, their leaks can be particularly tricky to spot. Water will likely pop up anywhere because it has limited options to relieve the building pressure. However, there are always signs of slab leaks, allowing homeowners to recognize the problem and respond quickly. Here are the most common signs of slab leaks. 

  • Hissing or gurgling noises with an undetermined source
  • High water bills
  • Clean water leaking out along the edge of a foundation
  • Wet or moist floors
  • Mold problems or associated odors

Responding to slab leaks at the first sign of trouble is important to minimizing damage. Read on to learn the dangers that slab leaks pose. 

Common Dangers of Slab Leaks 

Slab leaks are dangerous because they affect the very foundation of a home. This can lead to all sorts of very expensive problems. In the worst case, water can undermine soil from underneath the slab. This can lead to voids where the concrete has no support. Without repairs, the slab can crack and fail. 

Less serious cases can involve several scenarios that are still pretty serious. The excess moisture can bolster mold growth and damage walls and flooring if water absorbs upwards through the slab. Apart from the repair process, mold remediation will need to be contracted, and floors and walls replaced. 

How Do Professionals Deal with Slab Leaks 

leakFinding the right professionals to deal with slab leaks can be the difference between a quick repair and a major upset. Experts jackhammer the slab out of the way to access piping and dig away soil to expose the pipe. Repairs will be made then the pipe will be reburied in sand before more concrete is poured. Because these repairs are invasive, finding a plumbing contractor with experience is important. 

The right plumbing contractor will advertise their expertise in slab leaks. They often will have specialized tools for pinpointing the source of leaks before they start jackhammering the slab. This makes them more accurate, so they will minimize the secondary repairs that must be made after repairing the pipe. 

About A&A Plumbing

A&A Plumbing is a full-service plumbing contractor. Their technicians handle anything from clogged drains to serious below-foundation repairs. Call today for slab leak repair in San Antonio, TX. 

Distribution Links +

Repiping: When It Is Necessary

Signs That Home Needs Repiping Services

A home plumbing system cannot last forever, but the decision to repipe is never easy. It can be expensive and invasive, but repiping a house may be necessary. There may be times when a homeowner can do one part of their home at a time, and there are also ways to perform repiping minimally invasively. Suppose a homeowner wants more information on methods. In that case, they should contact a reputable plumbing company, but if they are interested in signs that indicate a need to repipe, they should read on.

The Pipes Are Falling Apart: Leaks and Constant Need for Repair

Repiping a house may seem like an extreme measure, which it undoubtedly is, but it can make daily living much more convenient if a household encounters certain problems with its plumbing system. A leaking pipe may be an isolated incident. Still, if a house has to have several leaking pipes repaired over a fairly short period (say months) then it is probably time to consider replacing the pipes. This constant need for repair means that pipes are losing their ability to function properly and cannot be considered reliable. Replacing the pipes can save money by remedying the cause of constant repairs and can lower water bills due to the lack of leaks.

Water Pressure Problems

Low water pressure can plague a home for many reasons. Some of them have more to do with the water supply than the home’s piping, but there are usually solutions. If the pump fails, a home that gets its water supply from a well can have water pressure issues. People with municipal water are likely to get consistent service unless there is a problem with their pipes. Reasons for low water pressure can include the following:

  • Leaking Pipes: A supply line leak can lower the home's water pressure. A leak near a faucet can cause issues for that particular outlet.
  • Hard Water Scale: A buildup of hard water deposits, called scale, can inhibit the water flow just as cholesterol in the arteries inhibits blood flow.
  • Pipe Corrosion: Pipes that have begun to corrode can fill up with flakes of rust and are also prone to leaks. 

These are the three major reasons for low water pressure, and it is easy to see why repiping might be necessary in each case.

A Change in Water Color or Smell


Another issue that indicates a need for repiping is a change in the color or smell of a home's water. If it has always smelled sulfurous, then there is likely not a problem, but if it begins to smell sulfurous with no explanation, then there may be an issue. Pipe corrosion can be a big part of this problem. Pipe corrosion can cause:

  • A metallic smell or taste
  • A rusty color
  • Yellowish water
  • Brownish water

Homeowners should call a plumbing professional to check their pipes if any of these symptoms occur suddenly.

About A&A Plumbing

A&A Plumbing prides itself on its excellent service and personal attention to customers. The company serves the people of San Antonio, TX, and the surrounding communities. Call today for plumbing service!

Why Having A Water Filter Can Make the Summer Better and Less Expensive

The Benefits of a Whole House Water Filtration System

It is perhaps culturally understood that water put through a water filtration system is better. It may, however, leave people asking, “In what way?” If filtered water is better, how and why is this so? That is the question that this article will try to answer. Since most people don’t know exactly where their water comes from, it can be difficult to know what it may contain. When people are backpacking in the wilderness, they must carry water filtration equipment with them to keep from getting sick from the microbes that may be present in the water. Even though the water that comes into individual homes in residential areas is treated, there are still things that people may not want to ingest. Below, the paragraphs will discuss why filtered water is the best choice for any household.

Benefit #1: Improves Taste of Drinking Water and the Beverages Made from It

waterAnyone who has had to drink sulfurous well water knows the rotten egg smell that never quite leaves the water. It has very little taste, and such water is not harmful, but it is a bit unappealing. In the same way, even if a home doesn’t have well water, invisible elements can affect the water’s taste. Purer water makes for better-tasting water and better-tasting coffee, tea, lemonade, etc., because if there are contaminants in the water, they are in the drinks that use water as well. A few examples of the types of water filtration systems used in homes are listed below.

  • Activated Charcoal: This is often the first step in water filtration to remove things from the water that affect the taste of it. This is the most common filter in those that attach to a sink.
  • Reverse Osmosis Water Filter: This filter forces the water through a thin membrane that removes particulate matter, larger molecules, and even some microbes. This leaves the water purer and better tasting.
  • UV Filter: Though this is not a “filter,” passing the water through a beam of UV light does sanitize it by destroying any remaining germs.

All three of these filters are often combined with a whole-house filtration system. 

Benefit #2: The Water is Purer and Safer

Not only do filters make water taste better, they also make it safer. Everyone knows that water is healthy and humans need to drink a lot of it. But if the water has contaminants, it can do more harm than good. Some of the contaminants that filters remove are:

  • Chlorine
  • Fluoride
  • Hard water salts
  • Heavy metals
  • Iron rust
  • Microbes

This ensures that the water household members pitting in their bodies are actually good for them.

Benefit #3: It Pays for Itself

saveBuying and drinking bottled water can get expensive, and it can be very bad for the environment with all the plastic trash it produces. Having a whole house water filter can nip this problem in the bud. If a household uses reusable bottles and fills them with their filtered water, they can drink safe, healthy, and paid-for water. It is money-saving as well as helpful to the planet.

About A&A Plumbing

A&A Plumbing offers multiple-award-winning service to the Greater San Antonio, TX Area. Call them today for comprehensive water filter service from friendly technicians.