Go Back to School with Plumbing Basics

Learn About Your Home's Plumbing

Home plumbing systems connect the home's plumbing fixtures such as sinks, showers, washing machines, and pools to the main water line. Professional plumbers undergo years of rigorous training in the classroom and on the field as apprentices to learn how to service plumbing systems. Homeowners should also have basic knowledge of their home's plumbing to properly maintain their system.

Knowing how the plumbing system works, what kind of maintenance it needs, and the warning signs that something is wrong can help homeowners to save money in the long run. A small plumbing issue can usually be quickly resolved, but leaving it in a state of disrepair can lead to expensive property damage and complicated repairs if it worsens. Learning about plumbing systems has a lot of benefits for homeowners.

The Main Water Supply

The complicated network of pipes and plumbing fixtures in a home connects to one main water source. Most people rely on city water, but rural homeowners often have well water.

A water meter measures how much water enters the home's plumbing. This meter is used to troubleshoot plumbing issues and for utility companies to bill for the amount of water being used. A damaged, leaking, or malfunctioning water meter can lead to higher utility bills, water damage, and low water pressure.

The water meter also has the main shut-off valve that cuts off the water supply for the whole home. Plumbers use the main shut-off valve to stop the water flow and safely service the plumbing system.

Water exits the home through drains in the plumbing fixtures. Once the water enters the drain, it travels to the city sewer or a septic tank. The pipes that carry wastewater away to be disposed of are called the sewer line.

Common Plumbing Fixtures

shower

  • Showers
  • Bathtubs
  • Sinks
  • Faucets
  • Toilets
  • Dishwashers
  • Clothes washers

These are the main plumbing fixtures that are found in most homes. Some homes also have outside plumbing fixtures such as pools, hot tubs, fountains, and sprinkler systems. Properly maintaining plumbing fixtures by keeping them clean and replacing outdated parts helps improve the plumbing system's longevity and performance.

New plumbing fixtures are more eco-friendly and water-saving than ever before. Homeowners can save money on utility bills by replacing old plumbing fixtures with new, energy-efficient models. Saving water is good for homeowners' wallets and for the environment.

Plumbing Maintenance

water meterHaving a maintenance schedule can positively impact a home's plumbing system. Homeowners can lengthen the lifespan of their plumbing fixtures, save money on utilities, and prevent plumbing disasters by doing bi-annual maintenance. Drain cleaning services are one example of a beneficial maintenance service that homeowners can invest in to improve their plumbing performance.

Water heaters provide essential hot water for cleaning, bathing, and other daily tasks. When the water heater works, natural minerals such as calcium and magnesium in water separate into solid sediments. Over time these sediments build up and can cause corrosion. During maintenance appointments, plumbers drain water heaters safely and flush water heater tanks out to remove sediment buildup.

Plumbing maintenance should always be done by a qualified professional. During maintenance appointments, the plumber will have a chance to inspect the plumbing for signs of damage or malfunction that the homeowner may not know to look for. Benefits of hiring a professional plumber for routine maintenance include:

  • Improved safety
  • Less time spent on maintenance
  • Getting professional advice on how to improve plumbing performance

About A&A Plumbing

A&A Plumbing provides the personalized service that homeowners can count on in San Antonio, TX. Since 2007, their community has trusted this locally-owned plumbing company to provide expert plumbing services with honesty and integrity. Call them today to schedule an appointment for plumbing maintenance or repairs in San Antonio, TX!

Why Is Plumbing Maintenance So Important?

Three Benefits of Plumbing Maintenance Visits 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stresses maintaining the home’s plumbing system. It uses a direct quote from John W. Gardner, the Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare from 1965 to 1968: “The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness…neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.” 

There is no denying the importance of maintaining the plumbing system. It keeps water coming and going from the home and is also key to residents’ health. A healthy plumbing system is a healthy home.  

Regular Upkeep Keeps Everything Running Smoothly

homeBy maintaining the plumbing system, homeowners can avoid: 

  • Clogs: Most clogs don’t happen overnight. There are usually small signs that become big signs over time. For instance, poor water pressure at first may seem inconvenient, but really, it can point to a clog. Foul smells from a sink’s drain may also indicate a hidden obstruction. 
  • High utility bills: Homeowners should have a rough idea of how much water they use each month. They know what to expect when the water bill comes around. An unexplained increase in water consumption (and, by extension, higher-than-normal utility bills) could point to a leak. 
  • Flooding: Flooding is one of the worst plumbing disasters that can befall a home. This can cause mold growth, wood rot, and water damage. 

Maintenance Extends the Plumbing System’s Lifespan 

How long the plumbing system lasts depends on many factors, including what the pipes are made of. For example, copper pipes generally last 50 years. On the other hand, some PVC pipes can last up to 70 years. 

To have the home’s pipes last long, homeowners need to maintain their plumbing systems. To extend their system’s lifespan, homeowners should: 

  • Schedule annual visits: A trained professional can assess the plumbing system and catch any problems before they become expensive. 
  • Promptly address any leaks. Leaks don’t go away on their own. They only cause more damage the longer they’re left alone. 
  • Remove any water-damaged drywall: Water-damaged drywall may seem nothing more than an unappealing blemish. However, it can serve as a hotbed for future mold and mildew growth. Over time, these organisms can damage the home’s plumbing system, causing irreparable damage and threatening the home’s safety. 

These are just some considerations that can prolong the plumbing system’s life. They’re also

Being Vigilant Saves Money

save Nobody wants to shell out thousands of dollars to fix a once-avoidable problem. They’d rather catch the issue before it causes serious damage. Saving money is just another benefit of maintaining the plumbing system. By being mindful of any problems, they can avoid paying for: 

  • Underground water leaks
  • Burst pipes or water mains 
  • Damage to drywall or structural foundations 
  • Chronically breaking appliances 

Plumbing problems can go beyond the cost of repairs. They can also cause higher-than-average utility. Sometimes, the cost difference is so small that homeowners might not realize it. 

About A&A Plumbing

When a homeowner calls A&A Plumbing, they can learn more about maintaining the plumbing and access a host of home improvement services. These professionals offer same-day service, upfront piercing, and reliable repairs. Interested parties in San Antonio, Texas, can call these experts today for plumbing services!

How Plant Growth in the Spring Can Damage Plumbing

Spring Gardening Could Hurt Your Plumbing 

Many people look forward to new blooms of flowers each spring, but being careless with planting can lead to plumbing issues. Homeowners in an HOA may already know that their planting options are limited based on underground plumbing and electrical wiring. Homeowners should be aware of how the growth of plants on their property could lead to problems with plant roots growing into underground pipes. 

Tree Roots Intruding Pipes

roots

Tree roots are at least as long as the tree is tall, which means that they reach deep within the soil and can interrupt the path of underground pipes. When planting new trees, homeowners should plan their landscaping around the layout of their underground plumbing. Consulting with a trusted local plumbing contractor on new landscaping projects can help save homeowners a headache down the line from tree roots growing into the pipes. 

During the winter months, trees and other plants become dormant. Once the weather heats back up again, trees and roots can grow rapidly. These roots work their way into the plumbing system through any crack they can find. 

Eventually, the pipes can become blocked and result in a burst pipe. A pipe burst underground can be hard to detect, so it is best to take preventative measures with careful planting to prevent future issues. The plumber will need to repipe the plumbing to fix a burst pipe. Underground repiping is disruptive to the yard’s landscape and should be avoided. 

Warning Signs of Tree Roots Intruding

drainingUnderground plumbing issues can be hard to diagnose because they are hidden away from the eyes of the homeowners. Homeowners should be on the lookout for some warning signs of underground plumbing blockages caused by plant roots. Tree roots can affect both the main water line and the sewer line. 

When tree roots grow into the sewer line, it can cause slow draining as the water has to work its way past blockages of roots in the pipes. Slow draining can be frustrating and can even be a hazard to human health if dirty water containing waste remains stagnant in the home for a long time. On the other hand, when tree roots block the main water line, it can low water pressure. There are three signs of tree roots in the pipes: sudden spikes in utility bills, slow draining plumbing fixtures, and low water pressure. 

How Professionals Fix Tree Root Pipe Obstruction

Homeowners can help prevent tree root growth from affecting their plumbing systems by carefully planning their landscape around underground piping. When a blockage from tree roots does occur, homeowners should give a trusted local plumbing company a call. Professional plumbers have several professional tools to remove roots growing into the pipes. 

Plumbers use hydro-jetting to blast away roots that have grown into the waterline. Hydro-jetting involves using pressurized water at high speeds to dislodge blockages from tree roots. To find the source of the problem, the plumber may need to insert a camera into the pipes to find the tree roots visually. 

One can install a root barrier to prevent tree roots from growing into the home’s plumbing or foundation. Homeowners concerned about trees on their property expanding their roots into their plumbing systems should ask their local plumber how a root barrier can help. 

About A&A Plumbing

A&A Plumbing is a trusted local plumbing company proud to serve San Antonio, TX, and the surrounding communities with high-quality services from professional plumbing contractors. They provide personalized service for every call. Homeowners can depend on A&A Plumbing for friendly, professional customer service and affordable, up-front pricing. Give them a call today to schedule an appointment for plumbing service

New Plumbing Fixture Trends for 2022

Sleek Bathroom and Kitchen Updates for the New Year

If a homeowner wants to update their kitchen or bathroom space, now may be the time to do it. When looking at a remodel, there are many things to consider, such as the use of space, longevity of fixtures and color trends, and the practical considerations of accommodating all family members. This article will examine what designers and realtors predict for kitchen and bath design for the new year and moving forward. 

Everything and the Kitchen Sink: Kitchen Plumbing Trendssink

The kitchen is an ever-evolving space often used for more than just meal preparation. It is a place for family and entertaining guests. If a person is contemplating a kitchen overhaul, they must consider first how the room is used and by whom. As technology improves, integrating the kitchen with the tech in the rest of the house is beginning to trend.
  • Fixtures: The jury is still out on whether shiny or matte finishes will dominate the faucets of the next few years, but there is a movement toward mixed metals such as a matte black and brass kitchen faucet. 
  • Sinks: As the kitchen gets used to social gatherings and multiple cooks, sinks are growing to extra-large size. Industrial design is often favored for the no-hassle cleaning element, but the classic farmhouse design is still relevant.
  • Color: Bold and bright colors are used for indoor and outdoor cooking areas. Bright backsplashes offer an eye-pleasing color pop.
  • High Tech: Both touch-to-activate faucets and touchless faucets with motion sensors are great kitchen upgrades that help keep the high-use area as germ-free as possible.

Bath Trends: What’s New in Tubs and Showers?bathroom

Perhaps the kitchen is not where a customer wants to change. Perhaps they want to transform their bathroom into a perfect spa retreat space that can suit both private and romantic purposes. They are not alone, as this has become popular in recent years and is continuing to change the face of home baths. Not satisfied with a simple practical bath, sink, and toilet, the modern homeowner is expanding their bathroom to be a place of luxury and rest.

  • Away with the Tub!: There is a growing trend of removing the traditional alcove tub and replacing it with a large two-person shower or a spa tub. If no one in the house takes baths, what is the use of having one? As real estate sellers still advise having one tub in the house, this may be something to discuss with a contractor or realtor if a person is planning to sell.
  • Luxuriant Shower Heads: Multiple showerheads add immediate luxury to a shower, and having an extra handheld head is great for dog washing and spot cleaning. Consider installing a rain shower head or one of the many multi-head options available for a great clean.
  • Bidets: Since the pandemic has produced multiple toilet paper shortages, bidets have become a trending item. They appear luxurious and an excellent way to keep clean down below.
  • Fewer Grout Lines and Art Deco Design: Simple geometric lines are still elegant and classy. A minimalist form of art deco seems to be favored in bathroom sink faucet installation. Larger tiles that produce fewer visible lines create a more dramatic view and add to the spa feel of the modern bathroom.
  • Toilet Replacement: Consider upgrading the toilet for a more efficient, eco-friendly one. Earth-friendly is always in style.

Professional Remodeling

While a remodel may seem daunting, having the right professional for the job will make the project much easier. While do-it-yourself may seem trendy, doing it right (and safely) is a much better choice. A homeowner should always hire professional remodelers when considering a major project. In the end, it will save time, money, and mental strain.

About A&A Plumbing 

Since 2007, A&A Plumbing has provided San Antonio, TX and the surrounding areas with top-notch, friendly service. They always put their customer’s safety first and provide personalized work to fit all needs. Call them today for plumbing service.

Plumbing Services That Can Help Homeowners Conserve Water This Earth Day!

Professional Plumbing Services for Water Conservation

Earth Day is quickly approaching, and for homeowners looking to improve their sustainability, water conservation is a great place to start! Homeowners can limit their water waste in several different ways. One of the best options is to hire professional plumbing services.

Plumbing systems are a significant source of water usage in most homes. Many times, problematic or obsolete plumbing fixtures may lead to unnecessary water usage. Inspections of or updates to these systems can drastically decrease water consumption.

Plumbing System Assessments

Homeowners can conserve water by getting basic plumbing inspections to ensure their plumbing systems are running properly and efficiently. Typical inspections involve system assessments in various areas where water runs through the house:

  • Inside – faucets, lines, pipes, sinks, toilets, tubs, water heaters, other
  • Outside – hydrants, pipes, other

Each fixture may also undergo specific testing. For example, one may check toilets for adequate water levels and proper valve functioning. Routine inspections will help water conservation efforts by catching leaks, clogs, or damages that may be contributing to excess water usage. Inspections are typically recommended for homeowners every two years.

leak

Leak Detection and Repair

Homeowners can conserve water by hiring professionals for leak detection and repair. Leaks can occur in all different areas, such as pipes, couplings, and faucets. While certain leaks present obvious symptoms, others are not as easily detected. Professionals can use various techniques to find leaks, including:

  • Meter testing – uses a tool to measure the water pressure of one pipe versus the healthy “standard” to determine if there is an issue
  • Infrared camera – uses a specialized camera to take pictures of potential damage at various angles
  • Dig and drill – exposes the damaged pipe (invasive)

Detection requires very specialized tools, hence why it requires professional expertise. If a leak is confirmed, professional plumbers can determine a repair plan based on the specific location and severity. Of course, since leaks cause unnecessary water waste, repairs will greatly improve water conservation.

Toilet Repair and Installationtoilet

Homeowners can also conserve water by seeking professional help for toilet repairs related to leaks or clogs. Toilet leaks are typically detectable either through sound or through a DIY dye test. Old or faulty valve seals are usually the culprits. Homeowners may also require toilet repairs for clogs, which are often caused either by a natural buildup of waste (e.g., toilet paper, large paper towels) or by foreign objects that accidentally get flushed down the toilet (e.g., children’s toys).

In addition to repair, toilet replacement and installation can greatly contribute to water conservation, particularly if homeowners choose water-conserving toilets. Some common model types include:

  • Dual-Flush
  • Gravity-Assisted
  • Pressure-Assisted
  • Vacuum-Assisted

While each of these models differs in structure and cost, all of them achieve the same goal: allowing homeowners to conserve water in the long term.

About A & A Plumbing

A & A Plumbing of San Antonio, TX is a family-owned and operated company that has been expertly handling local residential and commercial plumbing needs since 2007. Their team of highly skilled technicians takes a personalized approach to each request and operates with the belief that customers deserve “an experience, not simply a service call.” Give them a call for plumbing services today!