New Year, New Plumbing Fixtures

2023: New Showerheads, Bathtubs, and a Whole Lot More 

The new decade got off to a rough start––but that doesn’t have to continue. Instead of looking at the same outdated plumbing fixtures each day, one can completely outfit their kitchen and bathroom with new features. Not only can these upgrades bring a home into the 21st century, but they can also save homeowners money in the long run. 

Changing the Kitchen Faucet 

sinkThe kitchen’s faucet can take a lot of damage throughout its lifetime. While the internal components can last decades, a faucet’s exterior could show signs of rust, corrosion, and other blemishes. A worn-down-looking faucet can even make the most modern kitchens seem stuck in time. 

Thankfully, homeowners have many options when seeking to upgrade their kitchen sinks and faucet. Some considerations include the following: 

  • Getting a touchless faucet. Touchless faucets have only been on the market for a few years, but they’ve made their mark on the home improvement world. Touchless faucets dispense water at the slightest touch. Homeowners don’t have to worry about regularly cleaning faucets or washing their hands before each use. Some touchless faucets even use voice commands, making matters even more convenient. 
  • “Smart” faucets. Smart faucets are a lot like touchless faucets but have one key difference: they rely on a Wi-Fi connection. Here, homeowners can control faucets using their phones. This is ideal for people who have disabilities or spend a lot of time in the kitchen. 

Remodeling the Bathroom 

bathroomPer the Daily Infographic, one could spend more than two years in the bathroom throughout their lifetime. That’s a long time to look at ugly faucets, knobs, and other fixtures. Instead of turning a blind eye to outdated decorations, homeowners should instead consider getting: 

  • Rain showerheads. Who doesn’t like standing in the rain every once in a while? What if that could be an everyday thing––except instead of cold water, it’s warm and refreshing? Rain showerheads make that possible.
  • A bidet. Bidets eliminate the need for using toilet paper. Many are even add-ons to already-installed toilets, so one doesn’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on one.
  • A new bathtub. Over time, bathtubs can get dirty and are a pain to clean. Some can even rust. A homeowner should consider getting a porcelain tub; these are easy to clean and can last decades. 

Hiring a Professional 

It’s tempting to install new plumbing fixtures without professional help. After all, there are countless videos online. Yet, homeowners should work with professionals instead of trying to install fixtures themselves. That’s because: 

  • Amateur installations could violate county ordinances and codes
  • Some repairs come with serious safety hazards
  • A homeowner risks damaging their home while making repairs

It’s worth mentioning that a homeowner could come into contact with toxic substances, like black mold, while installing new plumbing fixtures. If inhaled, this could cause various concerns, from respiratory ailments to cancer. 

A professional knows how to do the job without endangering the home or their health. 

About A&A Plumbing 

More than ten years of experience. Countless five-star reviews. Licensed and insured professionals. These are just some of the many things the San Antonio, Texas residents have come to expect from A&A Plumbing. To ring in the new year, homeowners should consider upgrading their plumbing fixtures. They should also schedule their annual maintenance checks to avoid any problems. For more information, one can call A&A Plumbing to learn more.

The Best Methods for Dealing With Clogged Sinks

Say Goodbye to Drain Clogs 

Nothing like a clogged drain can ruin a nice dinner or a hot shower. Instead of cleaning up after a delicious meal so everyone can relax or unwind after a long day, people are met with a nasty mess, meaning they should make repairs before continuing their plans. 

Clogged drains in the kitchen and bathroom sinks can ruin anyone’s day, and unfortunately, they are common plumbing problems. There are three main ways of dealing with clogged drains, and homeowners should be familiar with each to maximize their chances of having reliable, headache-free plumbing. Here are some strategies homeowners can use to prevent drain clogs and deal with them easily as they arise. 

Drain Cleaning and Maintenance From Professionals 

The best way to deal with a clogged drain in the kitchen or bathroom is to call a professional drain-cleaning plumber. These experts have the necessary equipment and expertise to completely clean drains fast and effectively. Sure, DIY solutions can have some good effect, but there is no better solution than to trust an expert. 

Along with professional drain cleaning to deal with a drain clog, most drain cleaning experts also provide preventative drain cleaning and maintenance to unclog a drain that hasn’t completely backed up yet. By scheduling professional drain cleaning periodically, homeowners can enjoy the benefits of never having to deal with a drain clog.   

Always Use Drain Screens 

drain screenThe main cause of clogged drains is somewhat obvious. Debris allowed to flow into the drain tends to collect in portions of drain pipes where it can combine with other debris to make a nasty clog. In light of this, the best way to prevent clogged drains is to keep debris out of the drain system altogether. 

Whether in the bathroom or the kitchen, sinks are equipped to deal with materials that could clog drains, and one can use special devices for further protection. In the kitchen, drain screens help catch food scraps and should be employed constantly to keep food waste out of drain piping. In the bathroom, one can use hair-catching drain screens to great effect in sink and tub drains to keep all hair from forming nasty clogs in drains. 

Properly Deal With Food Waste and Grease 

The kitchen drain is expected to deal with copious amounts of food waste and grease, but this wasn’t how they were intended to be used. Instead, homeowners should change some habits to ensure they never have to deal with nasty clogged sinks in the kitchen again. 

All food scraps should be discarded in the trash, even if a garbage disposal is present. A garbage disposal is intended only to deal with incidental food that gets in the sink. One should put vegetable peels in the trash and scrape plates into the garbage before placing them in the sink. Additionally, one should put all grease in the trash since it can harden as it cools inside drain pipes, causing a stubborn clog. 

About A&A Plumbing

A&A Plumbing offers personal attention for plumbing problems, especially clogged drains. Where others might fail, A&A Plumbing promises to keep every home clean despite dealing with messes from drain clogs. Call today for comprehensive plumbing service from start to finish in San Antonio, TX. 

Avoid Getting Stuck Without Hot Water This Winter!

3 Signs the Water Heater Is Close To Failure

As winter approaches and the weather in south-central Texas turns from pleasantly brisk to chillingly cold, the importance of a working water heater is not lost on San Antonio homeowners. Sure, cold showers may be a popular and refreshing health hack, but most people probably don't want that to be their only option - especially in the colder months. Unfortunately, that's when most water heater breakdowns tend to occur. 

But the good news is that water heaters seldom fail without warning - the trick is to spot the signs before it's too late and the home is left without hot water. So this article will share a few of the most common signs that a hot water heater is going out!

temperature

Problems with Water Temperature

Water temperature issues are among the most obvious signs of water heater trouble. Such issues include temperature fluctuations, running out of hot water, or lacking hot water. Sometimes, the problem may be a faulty thermostat or broken heating element. The cost of replacing these parts varies, but if the unit is very old, it may be more cost-effective to replace the entire unit.

Another possibility is that the water heater is undersized or outdated and can't keep up with the household's hot water demands. This is surprisingly common in growing families or older homes with aging water heaters. If this is the case, the solution may be to upgrade to a larger hot water tank unit or install a tankless water heater that rapidly heats water on demand.

 

The Unit Is Leakingleaks

Another common sign of a failing water heater is evidence of leaks on or around the unit. A water heater leak often results from smaller issues, such as a loose connection, damaged/corroded pipe, or faulty valve (the temperature & pressure relief valve is a common culprit). Fortunately, these are relatively quick and easy fixes for a professional plumber.

But if the water heater's storage tank is leaking, that's a different story. This can occur if the tank has become cracked or corroded due to inadequate maintenance - failing to regularly flush sediment buildup or replace the anode rod (a corrosion prevention device inside the tank) are the two most common causes of such leaks. A leaking hot water tank generally cannot be repaired, so homeowners will likely have to replace the entire unit.

Old Age/Wear and Tear

In addition to the specific issues described above, it may also be time for a water heater replacement if the unit is very old or in constant need of repairs. Traditional water heaters have a life expectancy of about 10-15 years or 15-20 for tankless water heaters (depending on how well they've been maintained).

If the water heater is over 10 years old (or 15 for tankless) but gets annual professional service visits and is still functioning normally, there's probably nothing to worry about. But if it's getting into that age range and frequently requires repairs, it will probably make more financial sense to replace it rather than shelling out for repairs and parts every year - not to mention that such a unit is more likely to break down completely.

If homeowners notice any of these signs, they would do well to contact their plumber to diagnose the issue rather than trying to repair it themselves. Professional water heater technicians can pinpoint the exact cause and make expert recommendations on whether to repair or replace the unit. They can also work with the homeowners to determine what type and size of water heater to choose based on the household's specific needs - if it comes to that!

About A&A Plumbing

Since opening its doors in 2007, A&A Plumbing has quickly become one of San Antonio's most trusted and highly-rated plumbers. As a family-owned business focused on personal attention, unbeatable workmanship, and stellar customer service, they have been honored with ServiceTitan's "Titan of the Year" finalist award and a 5-star rating on Home Advisor. They offer competitive up-front pricing, financing, and a money-saving membership program, so don't hesitate to call A&A today for water heater repair in San Antonio, TX!

Steer Clear of a Frightful Plumbing Emergency This Halloween!

Don’t Let a Potential Plumbing Emergency Haunt Your House!

One of the joys of Halloween is decking out the house with all sorts of fun, spooky decorations for a festive atmosphere of chills and thrills. But no matter how scary the Fright Night decorations are, they pale in comparison to the real horrors of a plumbing emergency!

Whether it’s a backed-up sewer line, an overflowing toilet, or a broken-down water heater on a cold October night, plumbing emergencies can be the stuff of nightmares for any homeowner. So to help homeowners enjoy the spooky season without being haunted by the possibility of a plumbing catastrophe, here are a few tips for preventing common plumbing problems!

Keep Drains Clean

One of the best ways to avoid a potential plumbing emergency is to keep the home’s drains clean and free of debris. All of the home’s drains lead to one main drainage pipe called a “lateral line,” which leads to the city sewer main or septic system. Individual drain clogs are bad enough, but if the lateral line becomes clogged, it can cause every drain in the home to back up - yuck!

Preventing such a scenario starts with being mindful of what goes down the drains - the most common contributors to drain clogs are grease, hair, coffee grounds, eggshells, and certain hygiene products that get flushed down the toilet (more on those shortly).

Of course, small amounts of grease, soap scum, and other debris will wind up in the drains and build up over time, so it’s necessary to clean the drains regularly. This will help prevent clogs and reduce nasty odors and indoor air quality concerns from mold and bacteria. Periodic professional drain cleaning is the best way since pros have the tools to thoroughly clean the drains as far down as the sewer line. 

Many homeowners may be tempted to use liquid drain cleaners, but these contain harsh chemicals that can damage the plumbing and release toxic fumes - so it’s best to avoid these. Homeowners can instead use non-toxic household substances (such as baking soda and vinegar) to help keep the drains clean between professional drain cleaning visits.

Prevent Toilet Clogs

toiletToilet clogs are nearly as common - and just as unpleasant - as ordinary drain clogs. The number one cause of clogged toilets is inappropriate materials being flushed. This includes paper towels, sanitary napkins, feminine hygiene products, makeup remover wipes, pet litter, and the occasional toy or action figure. The only things that one should ever flush are toilet paper and human waste - even “flushable” baby wipes don’t properly disintegrate and cause blockages.

Unflushable materials don’t just get stuck in the toilet plumbing itself but can also get lodged in the sewer line and cause large-scale clogs. Fortunately, preventing these clogs is usually as simple as not flushing the wrong items. However, many older toilets may be more prone to clogs than today’s more efficient models, so a toilet upgrade may be in order if clogs are a recurring issue.

Stay On Top of Water Heater Maintenance

maintenanceOne plumbing emergency that often gets overlooked is a water heater breakdown. It may not be as big of a deal in the heat of summer, but as autumn brings colder weather, getting stuck without hot water can make things uncomfortable. On top of that, having to shell out for a new water heater unexpectedly can be horrific in its own right.

The primary cause of water heater problems is a lack of maintenance. Without regular maintenance, mineral sediment can build up inside the tank and compromise the tank lining. More than that, the anode rod can deplete and expose the tank to corrosion, gas burners can get clogged with grime, safety devices can fail, and the unit can become less efficient. In short, nothing good can come from neglecting water heater maintenance.

Having the water heater serviced annually by a professional will not only help prevent unexpected breakdowns, but also extend the lifespan of the unit, improve energy efficiency, and keep the home safe from the truly scary dangers of a malfunctioning water heater, such as fires, scalding water, and carbon monoxide or gas leaks.

About A&A Plumbing

The family-owned and operated A&A Plumbing has been San Antonio’s go-to plumber since 2007. As a testament to their outstanding customer service, personal attention, clean and courteous technicians, and expert workmanship, they have been awarded Service Titan’s “Titan of the Year” finalist award and HomeAdvisor’s “Top Rated Business” title. They offer competitive up-front pricing, financing, and a money-saving membership plan, so call A&A today for plumbing maintenance and drain cleaning services in San Antonio, TX!

3 Signs of a Water Leak Every Homeowner Should Know

Tips for Detecting Water Leaks at Home

Water leaks are one of the most common and insidious plumbing issues homeowners can face. The EPA estimates that an average household can lose as much as 10,000 gallons of water to leaks every year - that’s not just a lot of wasted water, it’s also a lot of wasted money. But leaks can also damage the home or its foundation, degrade indoor air quality by facilitating mold growth, and attract pests, so it behooves every homeowner to find and fix any leaks as quickly as possible.

The trouble is that leaks aren’t always easy to spot. Some reveal themselves through obvious signs like mold and mildew growth, evidence of water damage (discoloration, warped wood or drywall, bubbling or peeling wallpaper/paint, etc.), or even a puddle of water under a pipe. But other leaks, hidden behind walls or underground, only leave subtler hints of their existence. This article will outline three common signs of a hidden water leak that often gets overlooked.

Running Water Sounds

The first clue that the home may have a hidden water leak is the sound of running water when no plumbing fixtures are in use. This is typically described as a muffled hissing or rushing sound coming from somewhere in the house. If the home’s faucets are off and appliances like dishwashers are not running, no water should be actively flowing through the home’s supply lines. If there’s a leak, water will continue to flow through the pipes, sometimes quite noisily.

Running water sounds can not only alert homeowners to the presence of a leak but may also indicate the general vicinity of the leak itself. Unfortunately, very slow leaks aren’t likely to make much noise when running water, so this clue won’t help homeowners detect every kind of leak.

Weak Water Pressurewater

The next potential sign of a leak is low water pressure. The water in a home’s supply lines is kept under constant pressure so it can be instantly available whenever a faucet or fixture is opened. If there’s a leak, some of that pressure will escape through the opening along with the water, resulting in weak water pressure. There will also be less water reaching the fixture, which will decrease the flow rate - while technically different from water pressure, both amount to the same thing in a practical sense: a weak flow of water.

Low water pressure can also be caused by other issues, such as a partially closed valve, faulty pressure regulator, or mineral deposits inside the pipes. It’s best to have a professional plumber diagnose water pressure issues.

Unusually High Water Bills

billsFinally, higher water bills can also point to a hidden water leak in the home. Unfortunately, the water meter doesn’t distinguish between water used and water lost to leaks - and neither does the utility company. As water leaks out of the pipes, the meter will keep on ticking.

However, homeowners can use that fact to their advantage by running a simple test. First, they can ensure that no faucets or fixtures are used anywhere in the home. Then they can go to their water meter and write down the number displayed on its face, which signifies the amount of water used in a given period. Then they can wait for about an hour (without water) and check the meter again. If the number has gone up, there’s almost certainly a leak.

Even a relatively minor water leak can dramatically increase utility costs and cause significant water damage, so if homeowners determine that they have a leak using any of the above clues, the next step is to call a professional plumber or leak detection service soon as possible. Professionals can pinpoint the exact location of the leak, determine the root cause, and repair it quickly - as well as offer advice for preventing future leaks.

About A&A Plumbing

The experts at A&A Plumbing have been proud to serve San Antonio and the surrounding areas since 2007. As a BBB-accredited company, their personalized approach, cost-effective solutions, and industry-leading expertise have earned them a 5-star HomeAdvisor rating and ServiceTitan’s prestigious Titan of the Year Finalist Award. Their financing options and membership plans make it easy for homeowners to get the plumbing services they need without breaking the bank - so call A&A for leak detection in San Antonio, TX, today!