Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Hot Water System

Hot water maintenance - Water heater

If you want your hot water system to have a long life of reliable service, these tips should help. 

Add Extra Insulation

The insulation on your tank does a good job of keeping your water hot but adding more can help reduce heat loss by more than 40%. With this sort of improvement, you can expect to save almost 10% on your hot water energy costs. 

Test the TPR Valve 

The TPR valve is a safety valve that ensures your hot water system and pressure relief valve stay within their defined parameters. After shutting off the power and cold-water supply valve, place a bucket under the TPR. Lift the valve and let some water out. If water keeps flowing when you let it go, then it’s time for a replacement. 

Check the Anode Rod

The anode rod is a safety measure to prevent corrosion of the metal lining inside your water heater. If this lining is compromised, the internal pressure could cause an explosion, so checking and replacing the anode rod when needed is the cheaper option. An anode rod that is around 1/2 an inch thick or covered in calcium means your hot water system is due for a new one. 

Clean out Sediment

Sediment build-up in the tank can make the hot water system inefficient, so it’s a good idea to remove it at least once every year.  You will need to turn your system off and give it time to cool before you start draining water from it. The cold-water valve will also need to be turned off; otherwise the water you drain will be just as quickly replaced. Make sure you turn on some faucets around your home to prevent a vacuum from forming in your pipes. 

Get Hot Water Inspections From Local Plumber

There are some things you can do yourself, but others you should leave to a professional. A heating specialist will thoroughly inspect your hot water system to ensure it’s working efficiently and will pick up faults you may miss before they can develop into expensive problems. Annual inspections are highly recommended for extending the life and efficiency of your hot water system.

Contact Plumbing Systems Inc. for any Water Heater or Hot Water needs.

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Boiler / Furnace


Plumbing/Heating Tips for Home Maintenance on Furnaces and Boilers

Repairs on a faulty furnace can cost a pretty penny, but if you follow these tips, you will save money on your energy bill, and you won’t have to call out your plumber or electrician as often to fix a faulty furnace.  

Check, Clean, or Replace Your Filters

The filters in your furnace play a critical role in delivering clean, warm air to every area of your home. The filter removes particles like dust mites, pollen, pet dander, and bacteria from the air as it flows through the return duct back into the furnace. 

You will get some basic protection from inexpensive filters, and they will do the job. However, you will get better performance and cleaner air if you opt for higher quality filters. Either way, a dirty air filter will make your furnace inefficient. Most air filters will require changing every 30 to 90 days. 

Check the Blower Motor

The blower motor creates the air movement that pushes cold air through to the heating element and then throughout the house after it is warmed. The average blower motor has many moving parts, and it’s the most likely to break down on a furnace that isn’t regularly maintained. If you notice noise from the blower motor like high shrill sounds, or a loud humming, then it’s a good idea to get it checked out before catastrophic failure. 

Make Your Home Heating More Efficient

The less work your furnace has to do to keep your home at an even temperature, the longer it will last between services. Seal up any areas of your home where heat may be escaping. If you aren’t sure, your local HVAC expert can perform a heat audit on your property and identify sources of heat loss. 

Keep Your Vents Clean

Air must be able to circulate freely around your home, which means all your vents should be clear of any blockages. Check that all vents are open, and they are clear of household furniture. 

You should regularly maintain the heating and cooling systems around your home to ensure optimal performance. Regular maintenance doesn’t take long, but it will keep the most common issues from developing. If you have noticed any problems, don’t hesitate to call your local HVAC experts.

If you need more than basic maintenance then give Plumbing Systems Inc. a call at 970-926-0500.

Reasons Why Your Hot Water is Not Warming Up

Why Your Hot Water is Not Warming Up
A hot water system that has suddenly stopped working is a big problem for most families, especially when you’re in the middle of winter. Cold showers, washing clothes, and doing the dishes, become much more of a chore than they should be. 

Many hot water system issues are simple fixes, but more than a few will require a visit from your local plumber, Plumbing Systems Inc. Here are some of the most common causes of why your hot water is not warming up.

Electric Water Heaters

Electric water heats are prone to just a few problems. You can start your troubleshooting by checking the most common.

Leaky Pipes or Water Tank

If you’re only getting cold or tepid water out of the tap, it might be a sign of a leaky pipe or tank. A major leak will be obvious, but small leaks may not be with just a casual glance. You might be able to tighten up a leaky connection, and a plumber can sometimes replace a busted pipe.  Unfortunately, a leaking tank usually means replacement with an entirely new system.

Tripped Circuit Breaker

A circuit breaker is a safety feature built into a home’s electrical system to prevent electrical system overload. Check that your circuit breaker for your water heater is still intact. Reset the breaker back to the on position. If it refuses to stay put, then you should call an electrician to have it checked. 

Failed Heating Element

A failed heating element is the most common fault in electric hot water systems. Heater elements are not that difficult to replace, but if you are not confident in your handyperson skills, your local plumber will be more than happy to help you. 

Gas Hot Water Heaters

Gas water heaters work differently from electric ones, but they can still fall prey to faults that stop you from getting hot water.

No Gas Reaching the Burner

If there’s no gas reaching the pilot light, then the burner can’t start. Check that somebody hasn’t turned off the gas supply by accident by ensuring the gas valve is in the on position.

Check the Pilot Light

If the gas is flowing, but you still don’t have a pilot light check the following components:

Thermocouple – the tip of the thermocouple should be inside the flame and tightly connected to the gas line. If it’s blocked, the thermocouple may need replacing. 

  • Air in the line – Make sure you have gas flow. Force any air out of the line by lighting the pilot light several times. 
  • Pilot light orifice blocked – take this out and give it a clean. 
  • Defective supply line – tiny holes in the gas line can cause intermittent heating. Replace faulty lines immediately

These are just a few of the most common problems that can occur with your hot water system. If you cannot detect and quickly rectify the situation of no hot water in your home, it’s time to give your local plumber at Plumbing Systems Inc a call

Benefits of Energy Efficient Plumbing and Heating Systems

Limit your water usage - Plumbing tips

Reducing water and energy usage around the home delivers many advantages. Here are a few reasons why you should consider talking with Plumbing Systems Inc. about installing energy-efficient plumbing and heating systems. 

Energy Costs Are Rising

We’ve all had energy and water bills arrive that were significantly higher than last year’s, even though we used the same amount. Energy and water bills will continue to rise. More efficient plumbing and heating systems you install today will pay for themselves many times over in the coming years. 

Save on Water Bills

With all the challenges we face now and into the future, reducing expenses will significantly benefit families and businesses. Around 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM) flows out of a traditional faucet. By contrast, a modern high-efficiency faucet reduces the water flow to about 1.5 GPM, which adds up to thousands of gallons of water per year in savings. 

The first generation of low-flow showerheads delivered an unsatisfying level of water pressure, which caused people to avoid installing them. However, today’s models are high-performance and capable of providing the same experience as less efficient showerheads.  The benefits of using less water in the shower are two-fold; you save water, but you also use less hot water, saving significant amounts on your energy bill. 

Benefits of High-Efficiency Heating Systems

We all deserve a cozy, warm home regardless of the freezing temperatures outside. High-efficiency heating systems can do the same or better job of heating your home as less efficient models while delivering excellent benefits. 

Improved air quality – A high-efficiency heating system is an investment in cleaner air. Older HVAC systems pose a carbon monoxide risk. Modern HVACs use less fuel and reduce the risk of carbon monoxide buildup while also saving you money on energy bills. 

More control over the temperature – Modern heating systems use the latest advances to heat your home. Features like variable-speed technology ensure you can enjoy a more consistent temperature throughout the day and improved humidity control. 

Benefits to the Environment as Well as Your Bank Account

Installing high-efficiency heating and plumbing technology in your home not only helps your bank account, but you are also helping the environment. Energy and water are resources we can no longer squander, so becoming more efficient in using them will help reduce our carbon footprint and our reliance on non-renewable resources.

Is Your Home Heating System Ready For Winter?

Woman Cold - Get ready for winter - PSI

The colder days are warning us that winter is just around the corner, so it’s time to ask yourself if your HVAC or Heating System ready for the big chill. Regular maintenance is the key to keeping any machine in good operational order, and your HVAC system is no different. Winter is not the time to be dealing with heat issues in your home, so here’s how to prepare for the cold months ahead. 

Schedule Regular Maintenance For Your Heating Systems

Optimum times for service and maintenance on your HVAC, boilers, thermostats, and snowmelt systems is during the warmer months when they aren’t in heavy use. Spring and fall bi-annual checkups will ensure your HVAC and other systems are in tip-top condition for working efficiently and keeping you warm during winter. 

Install a Smart Thermostat

Smart Thermostats - PSI

Smart thermostats keep your home at optimum temperatures and help you save energy. An adaptive thermostat optimizes your HVAC for efficiency and comfort, such as keeping the house at 68 degrees during the day and turning it down around 10 degrees at night while you are in your warm bed. 

A smartphone app allows you to control your HVAC in real-time from any location and turn it off automatically using geolocation when you leave home. Smart HVAC systems can shave up to 10% of your energy bill when you take advantage of these features. 

Turn Your Furnace on Before Winter Sets In

Heating Systems - Make Sure They Are Ready - PSI

Before winter fully arrives, it’s a good idea to test your furnace by turning it on a few times during late fall.  Let your home reach the desired winter temperature before turning off the air. Doing this will alert you to any problems so you can rectify them before winter sets in. 

Clean Your Air Vents and Replace Filters In Your Heating Systems

Dirt and dust buildup are the primary cause of problems in HVAC systems. You can easily prevent issues by checking your filters at least every month. If you notice any problems, don’t wait too long before replacing them. A ready supply of backup filters is highly recommended. Vents around your home should also be checked and cleaned to ensure adequate airflow. 

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

A local HVAC technician like Plumbing Systems Inc can help get your home ready for the winter. They can make sure that your equipment is providing the most heating efficiency so that you are not cold during the winter months.


Prepare Your Plumbing for the Cold Winter Months

Preparing your home plumbing for winter
The chill in the air is telling us that winter will soon be upon us, and it’s time to start thinking about preparing your plumbing for the freezing weather. Here’s how to protect your plumbing against the worst that winter can bring. 

Fix Your Leaky Faucets and Small Plumbing Problems

A dripping faucet is one of those jobs we will get to when we have time, but we never seem to get around to it. Now that winter is on the way, it’s time to put leaky faucets at the top of the list. Not only are leaks costing you money in wasted water, but they can also indicate faults in your plumbing that could be made worse by freezing weather. 

Insulate Your Pipes For Winter

If you know your pipes are vulnerable to freezing, you can protect them from the cold with insulation. Beneath the sink and your exterior walls should be your main considerations. You may be able to insulate your pipes yourself using duct tape and foam, but a professional plumbing service will ensure nothing is missed.  

Drain and Shut Off Your Outdoor Faucets During Winter

Any moisture inside your outdoor pipes can potentially freeze and cause damage. Draining all the water from the pipes and shutting off the valves will prevent damage from expanding ice.

Check Your Water Heater

The cold winter months mean your hot water will be putting in some overtime with all the long hot showers. Check the outside of the water heater for rust, drips, or other damage. If it’s over eight years old, it’s recommended to get it thoroughly checked out by a plumbing service and replaced if necessary. 

Get to Know Your Plumber

Plumbing emergencies are not fun at any time but can be very distressing in winter when the hot water supply dries up, or the pipes are frozen. Plumbing Service Inc (PSI) is your local plumber and offers many types of plumbing services which include 24/7 emergency services – before winter sets in, give PSI a call to make sure that your plumbing is ready for winter.

How to Find the Right Heating Contractor for Your Home or Business

Benson Residential Boiler Replacement

If your HVAC or Heating System is ten years or older, or has started developing some issues, you will be in the market for a heating contractor you know you can trust like PSI. Here are three key considerations to keep in mind that will help you find an experienced professional. 

1. Heating Contractor: Experience and Licensing

Heating systems are expensive and complicated, so whoever will be working on it should not only have the appropriate qualifications but should also be experienced. Experience is no guarantee of quality, but longevity in business is a good indicator that they know what they are doing and have many happy customers. It would help if you also asked about the brands the contractor works with regularly because each brand is unique. 

2. Heating Contractor: References and Referrals

 You should always ask your heating contractor for references and referrals of past customers and be sure to call them up. Good questions to ask are how respectful they were of the property, did they complete the job on time, and did they thoroughly test the system after installation or repair? You can also research reviews online such as those provided by Google and trade directories.

PSI Projects
Benson Project
Hyatt Project

3. Heating Contractor: System Evaluation?

Heating contractors should offer a thorough home evaluation to determine what will work best for your home. They should also be checking for leaks, insulation, and loose fittings. Once the assessment is complete, you should receive an itemized estimate on the costs associated with installation, repair, or replacement. You should never base your choice on price alone, as cheaper may cost more in the long run because of inefficiencies. 

In Conclusion

Heating systems in your home or business can be an HVAC system, water heater, boiler, furnace, thermostat, snowmelt system, and steamer. Sooner or later, some of these systems will fail, and you will need the services of a quality heating contractor. Even if your system is new, you will still want to ensure it continues to operate with regular maintenance. Make sure you take the time to find a heating contractor you can trust and will provide you with a reliable system.

Plumbing Systems Inc. (PSI) has been working on plumbing and heating systems in Vail, Avon, Edwards, Eagle, Gypsum, and neighboring counties for close to 20 years. Give us a call for any heating service you need at (970) 926-0500. 

Is a Tankless Water Heater the Best Solution?

A tankless water heater doesn’t have a storage tank to store preheated water in advance.  Instead, water is heated the instant it is required. 

How Tankless Water Heaters Work

A tankless water heater will heat cold water flowing through the system as soon as the hot water tap is turned on. The heating system can be either an electric element or a gas burner. 

A typical tankless water heater will deliver around 2-5 gallons of water per minute, with gas able to handle larger capacities than electrical versions.

Advantages of Going Tankless

For large families demanding a lot from their hot water system, it may struggle with delivering the volume needed. However, if less than 40 gallons of water are used in a day, a tankless system can provide significant energy savings of around 30%. The energy savings drop to approximately 12% when water demand reaches about 90 gallons a day. 

One way to get around dropping efficiency rates versus rising demand is to install a tankless water heater at every outlet, which can increase efficiency by as much as 50%. More units mean extra installation costs, but the energy savings will offset this. 

Other Advantages of Going Tankless

The initial cost of a tankless water heater is more than a conventional hot water system. However, lower maintenance costs, energy savings, and longer service life bring the total cost of ownership down to comparable levels. 

Conventional hot water systems will give you around ten years of reliable service, or 15 if you are lucky. A tankless water heater typically lasts about 20 years. 

Using a Gas Tankless Water Heater

You will have the option to install either an electric or gas tankless water heater.  Considerations need to be given to the pilot light, as this will be a factor in your energy costs. 

In a conventional gas hot water system, the pilot light delivers heat to the water, so its energy is not wasted. A continually burning pilot light in a tankless heater is an energy loss. A few models include an Intermittent ignition device (IID), which gives you the option to turn the pilot light off when hot water is not required. 

Tankless water heaters offer many advantages in energy savings, but they’re not the best solution for all situations. Discuss your options with PSI to discover how you can lower your energy costs by making the best choice in hot water system.

Prevent Plumbing Emergencies with These Plumbing Tips for Summer

Plumbing Tips for Summer

The arrival of summer usually corresponds to a rise in household water consumption. More wastewater flowing through our pipes creates greater potential for plumbing issues to develop and the hot days puts a strain on the water supply.  Here are a few tips to help you get through the summer without any problems. 

Monitor Your Outside Water Usage

check your sprinkler this summer - Plumbing tips

Check your sprinkler heads for damage or blockages, so you know that the water will be going where it’s needed most; on your lawns and garden, and not onto the footpath and down the storm drain. Also, consider installing a system under the ground to reduce water waste through evaporation. A sprinkler system on a timer can also create savings when you set it to only water during the cooler parts of the day.

Be Kind to Your Garbage Disposal

Make sure appliances like your garbage disposal is working right - Plumbing tips

Summer is a time for BBQs and cookouts with lots of watermelons, corn on the cob, steaks, and greasy burgers. Watermelon rinds, bones, and, corn cobs can all spell havoc for your garbage disposal.

You may not be able to see it, but some of the waste may not make it all the way and could lodge in the pipes and create a blockage. Hard material like corn cobs may also damage the grinding teeth. Greasy food waste can leave grease and oil to solidify in the pipes and cause problems with the flow. Whenever you use the garbage disposal, don’t use it with hard waste, and be sure to flush it with a full blast of water for about 15 seconds.

Be Water Wise

Limit your water usage - Plumbing tips

Hot summer days put a strain on our water supplies. Everyone must do their part to keep their water usage to a minimum. Take shorter showers, don’t run sprinklers all day, and put a cover on the pool to reduce evaporation.

Save Energy

Turn off appliances when on vaction - plumbing tips

Summer is also a time of vacation for lots of families, with houses that are vacant for weeks at a time. Empty your fridge of perishables before you leave and turn the temperature up. Your fridge won’t have to work so hard, and you’ll save on energy. You can also turn the water heater down because you won’t be using hot water while you’re having fun away from home.

Maintain Your Sewage

septic and sewage systems

The sewage line is out of sight and out of mind, for the most part, which means that potential problems could be building up without you knowing. A once-yearly check-up is a fast and affordable way to make sure your plumbing is in good order. If there are problems, you will save money by taking care of them sooner, rather than later. 

The Advantages of Hydro Jetting Your Clogged Pipes

How Clogged Pipes Happen

Over time, a small amount of debris trapped in your sewer line traps more waste as it travels down the pipe. Eventually, it can grow into a large clump that will eventually block the pipe. Hydro Jetting can unclog almost any pipe.

Clog in drain
You will get warning signs that this may be happening. There will be issues with the drainage from toilets and sinks, and you may notice gurgling sounds, foul smells, or wastewater flowing back through your drains.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time to perform some maintenance on your sewer lines. Hydro jetting your sewer pipes is the best way to ensure the long life of your plumbing, and stop future problems from developing.

Hydro Jetting Advantages

Hydro jetting will clear any build-up of dirt, sand, and silt. Once complete, the process blasts away the debris to leave your pipes free and clear of any clogging and stops build-up in its tracks.

Hydro Jetting Nozzle close up
Because every speck of debris is jetted away, it takes a long time for any more clogs to develop. In the long run, regular maintenance of your pipes through hydro jetting is a cost-effective solution, because you can avoid costly repairs. 

Your pipes will be checked for physical damage before jetting, which will give you a good indication as to the condition of your pipes and whether any repairs are needed. Unfortunately, you cannot use hydro jetting on damaged pipes because a powerful jet of water will make the damage much worse.  

Because hydro jetting takes place inside the pipe and is non-abrasive, there’s no need to dig up your land and risk breaking the sewer line to remove the blockage.

The only cleaning agent used in hydro jetting is water applied at high pressure. This feature makes it the most environmentally friendly method for cleaning pipes and removing blockages. 

Hydro jetting at work cleaning pipes

Regular maintenance and clearing up potential clogging problems before they turn into expensive repairs is the best way to save money on your plumbing, and save you from an emergency plumbing call in the middle of the night. 

Call PSI Vail today to see if you qualify for Hydro Jetting with their Inspection Camera Service.