Category Archives: Home Improvement

Being a leading home service contractor, My Plumber CA is part of the overall improvement of your home. Your home most likely your number one investment and taking care of that investment, can help increase your home value. If you are looking for furnace tune up tips, or preparing for El Nino, My Plumber CA has get advice from our experiences. My Plumber CA can help give an estimate if you are looking to move a gas line, or do a whole house repipe, we can help! Give us a call today for a free estimate.

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Why Does My Water Meter Spin Backwards?

There’s a good chance that you’ve never really taken a good look at your water meter. Or at least, not in a long while, and maybe only when you’ve suspected there was a leak. The truth is that not everyone is familiar with their water meter, how to read it, and how it should function. We’ve recently had one of our clients call stating that their water meter was spinning backwards, and they weren’t sure what that could even mean. If you’re also wondering, “why does my water meter spin backwards?” read on to find out more.

1. Improper Installation

This is the first in our list because it’s also highly probable. We’ve seen a lot of weird things, and a water meter that was improperly installed wouldn’t be the most surprising on the list. For reference, the meter should be installed so that the arrow on the meter is facing the direction of water flow.

2. Backflow

Let’s assume that your water meter is indeed installed correctly. If the meter is still spinning backwards, what then? It could be indicative of a larger problem – backflow. Backflow is when water flows incorrectly in the wrong direction. This would definitely make the meter spin backwards, and warrants a call to your local plumber. Backflow can occur due to either back pressure or back siphonage, which are essentially too high or too low of pressure in the system.

3. Broken Water Meter

Let’s not forget that aside from the issues outlined above, water meters do sometimes break. If you’ve had your water meter properly installed and there’s no backflow situation going on, then it could be that your water meter is broken. Contact your local water supplier and explain the issues. They’ll be able to send someone out to inspect your water heater and advise you on what to do next.

If you’ve been wondering why your water meter spins backwards, it’s important that you take note of our advice above. Don’t let the problem go unsolved – check for a backflow issues, or have your water meter fixed sooner rather than later.

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Tips for Buying a New Water Heater

Tips for Buying a New Water Heater

If you’re looking to purchase a new water heater, then you probably already know that there are a ton of options out there. Whether you purchase a water heater yourself from some place like Home Depot, Sears, or Lowes, or you get your water heater repair specialist to order one for you, you’ll need to know exactly which water heater will be best for your home or business needs. We’ll give you some tips for buying a new water heater that should help you choose between tanked or tankless, gas or electric, and more.

Know Your Required Gallon Capacity

One of the first things you need to know is what size tank you’re looking for. The gallon capacity new hot water heater being installed by worker(or the hot water flow rate, if you choose a tankless water heater) determines how much hot water you can use at a time. If you’re living in a home with just 1-5 people, your recommended tank size will be a whole lot different than if you were looking for a water heater to satisfy the needs of a 20-person business. Below are the general recommendations for the appropriate gallon capacity based on household size:

  • 2 or fewer people: 23-36 gallons
  • 2-4 people: 36-46 gallons
  • 3-5 people: 46-56 gallons
  • 5+ people: 56+ gallons

And if you choose to use a tankless or point-of-use water heater, you’ll need to consider the possibility of needing more than one unit in different areas of your home.

Here are a few other questions you should consider when determining the size of your new water heater:

  1. How many showers do you have? How many bathrooms?
  2. Does everyone in your home shower at the same time? If so, this would require a larger tank size (or more tankless water heaters, once for each bathroom)
  3. Do you tend to run multiple appliances at the same time (like your shower, dishwasher, and clothes washer)? If so, you’ll need a bigger gallon capacity, or else to change your habits so only 1-2 appliances use water at once.
  4. Do you have a large tub, whirlpool, or Jacuzzi? If you want to fill the entire thing up with hot water before you soak, then your hot water heater’s gallon capacity will need to be at least as large as the tub.

Know the Trade-offs Between Fuel Type and Energy Efficiency

The final weigh-in on which water heater you should get might very well be the energyworker installs new hot water heater at home efficiency – and this goes hand-in-hand with which fuel type you choose. While gas water heaters might be more common and less expensive to install, it’s possible that an electric water heater would save you money, especially if your utility company offers lower off-peak prices.

Different Fuel Types

  • Electric

Electric water heaters have a good number of high-efficiency options, and they are usually cheaper to install than the other types. Check with your utility company to see their rates and whether you can get better prices during off-peak hours.

  • Gas or Propane

Gas and propane water heaters tend to be more energy-efficient than electric ones, but they do cost a bit more up front to install. You must also be careful about what you store near these water heaters, and have them regularly inspected for gas leaks.

  • Heat Pump or Hybrid

These hybrid water heaters are becoming more and more popular for several reasons. They are more energy-efficient, they cost less to run, and they can stand alone or be added onto an existing water tank.

  • Solar

We expect to see solar water heaters gaining in popularity in areas like the Southwest where sun is abundant (but in the Midwest, not so much).

The main takeaway we want you get get is that you need to do your research. Look at your local gas and electricity rates, the cost to install each unit, and see if over a 5-10 year period you could see significant savings with one fuel type vs. another.

Know Your Budget

Keeping in mind the above information, you also need to know how much you are able to spend on a new water heater. Are you able to afford multiple tankless water heaters? Can you spend a few hundred extra dollars on a high-end hybrid water heater? See the average cost for different models below:

  • Electric – $300 – $600
  • Gas – $300 – $800
  • Tankless – $300 – $1500
  • Hybrid – $1000 – $1400

Keep in mind that even though a hybrid water heater might be more expensive up front, you’ll need to factor in utility cost savings for the life of the unit as well.

Did you recently buy a new water heater? Share your own water heater buying tips and tricks with us!  And if you are ever in need of water heater repair and installation give us a call.

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Tips for Your Fall Furnace Checkup in San Diego

We always recommend to our customers that they start up the furnace as fall approaches to ensure that everything is working properly. Because it has been many months since you last ran your heater, the chance that your furnace will malfunction are higher. Below are some common furnace problems you might encounter during your fall furnace checkup in San Diego.

The Furnace Won’t Turn On

If this happens to you, first check that the thermostat switch is in the on position. If it is, then check your temperature setting to make sure that it is set to a temperature higher than the current indoor temperature. Still no luck? Check the date and time of your thermostat – if you are on a program setting, then date and time will determine when the furnace turns on. Lastly, try replacing the battery on the thermostat control. If your furnace still will not turn on, have a professional check your furnace shut-off switch, breaker, and fuse.

The Air Smells Stuffy or Musty

Musty smelling air when the furnace is on is a sure indicator that you should check the air filter and change it as necessary. A clogged air filter can also cause the furnace to shut itself off until the filter is changed out.

The Furnace is On, But Only in One Room

Be sure to check the vents and registers in all rooms of your home, and clean debris from them as needed. Have a professional duct work specialist seal any leaks, which will ensure that air is not escaping somewhere other than into your rooms.

Still Not Sure What the Problem is? Try this.

If none of the above worked, then it’s time to call in the professionals. Have a tech clean out the chimney exhaust and flush the drain lines. Your heating and air technician should also check the pilot light and gas line to make sure they are on and functioning properly.

Remember – our heating technicians at My Plumber are always available to help you with your fall furnace checkup and repairs in San Diego. Call us today to schedule an inspection and get advice over the phone.

Planning for the 2015 El Niño storm season and preparing plumbing and furnace for Storm issues Planning for the 2015 El Niño storm season and preparing plumbing and furnace for Storm issues Planning for the 2015 El Niño storm season and preparing plumbing and furnace for Storm issues Planning for the 2015 El Niño storm season and preparing plumbing and furnace for Storm issues Planning for the 2015 El Niño storm season and preparing plumbing and furnace for Storm issues Planning for the 2015 El Niño storm season and preparing plumbing and furnace for Storm issues

2015 El Niño Preparation for Your Home or Business

By now the entire country is well aware the California has been experiencing its worst drought in over 1,000 years. So the news of an El Niño winter should be welcomed with open arms, right? Well, not exactly. Experts have predicted that the 2015 El Niño will be worse than its 1997 predecessor, which remains the worst El Niño on record. The 1997 storms led to disastrous floods, landslides, and mudslides off of California’s coast, destroying many homes in the process. So just because California is in desperate need of water doesn’t mean you should avoid taking steps to prepare for the upcoming El Niño season.

  1. Have an evacuation plan.

    Even if your area doesn’t end up flooding, it’s always safe to have a plan in times of high risk. Know your neighborhoods safe routes and the surrounding area. Draw or write up an emergency evacuation plan and go over it with your family. Don’t forget to include your pets in your plan!

  2. Make a list of all your possessions.

    In the event of a flood or devastating landslide, your entire home and everything in it could be destroyed. Make life easier for you and your insurance company by taking photos of your home’s interior and exterior and making a detailed list of all your belongings and their worth. It’ll save you more headaches in the future.

  3. Invest in flood insurance.

    Often times, flood insurance is a separate insurance plan from your regular homeowner’s insurance. Sometimes you even have to wait a month after purchasing flood insurance for it to take effect. So do yourself a huge favor – talk to your insurance agent about flood insurance today.

  4. Inspect your home for leaks.

    When the colder months approach, your pipes are at a greater risk for fractures leading to leaks and water damage in your home. Have a certified plumber come and perform a safety inspection before the winter season begins. Check for water pooling in or outside your home, especially in the basement or garage.

  5. Inspect your furnace.

    An El Niño season doesn’t just mean more rain, but also colder temperatures. Make sure your furnace is in working order so you and your family can remain comfortable during the winter.

Common Ways to Fix Any Kitchen Sink Problem

Your kitchen sink is one of the most important parts of your kitchen. It is because of this that it’s so important that everyone know how to fix a kitchen sink.  If you have a problem with your sink, you’ll have a problem cooking food, cleaning dishes, and keeping your work area clean.

Anything can go wrong with your kitchen sink. The faucet may drip, the drain or faucet might leak, or the sink might become clogged. Here are a few things you can do to fix your kitchen sink if you experience these or other problems with it:

Clear a Clogged Drain

A clogged drain is one of the most common kitchen sink problems. Food or hair can get into the drain, or oil can harden in the pipe. The next thing you know, you have water and sludge backing up into your clean sink.

You can use a number of chemical drain cleaners to remove the clog. If these do not work, you can try a drain snake to remove the offending material or use a plunger the same way you would on a toilet. You should be able to clear most minor blockages on your own using one of these methods.

Fix a Leaky Drain or Pipe

If some part of your kitchen sink is leaking, such as the drain, the faucet or the pipe, you should easily be able to repair it by tightening the part. Tighten all washers and other connections to start. If that does not solve the problem, you will need to inspect the seals around the area that is leaking. If the seal is broken or cracked, you will need to replace it.

Call a Plumber

The very best thing you can do to fix any kind of problem with your kitchen sink is to call a qualified plumber like My Plumber in San Diego. You could damage your drain by putting the wrong cleaners in your sink or using materials to try to clear clogs. You could easily overlook problems that are contributing to leaks, and you could make problems worse by trying to repair them. Always call the professionals to for plumbing repairs in your San Diego home. You’ll get the job done right and will protect your investment.

My Plumber CA is Fixing Leaks for San Diego

From March 16 – 22 is National Fix a Leak Week. We are here to fix leaks to help in an effort to save water in our city. Water conservation is in everyone’s mind as California continues to see more effects of the ongoing drought. Trillions of gallons of water are wasted down the drain each year says The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  My Plumber CA of San Diego will do everything we can to help stop leaks and save all the water we can. For more information, see an article from The Times of San Diego.

Most Common Leaks for San Diego Residents:

  • Water Heaters

    Most water heaters have pans that catch leaking water and have a drain to control the water. Checking to see if the water heater is leaking can be a great way to track your water usage. Water heaters can leak from the tank, pipes, or drain valve. There can be many reasons why this is leaking, your best option is to call a plumbing tech for a free estimate for the water heater to do your part on saving in San Diego.

  • Garbage Disposals

    A single drip every minute can cause gallons of water to be wasted. Garbage disposals can leak from the top main seal, at the drain pipe, at the optional dishwasher inlet or along the garbage disposal body. To check the leaking disposal, wipe it dry, fill the sink with water and run the disposal. The leak should show itself. Call us today if your have a leaking garbage disposal.

  • Faucets and Shower Heads

    Gaskets and washers can get worn out and can cause leaks. An easy fix is to make sure your shower heads and faucets have piping tape, teflon tape, around all the connections and replace the gaskets and washers. This can have a significant impact on saving many gallons of water every year.

  • Toilet Leaks

    Most toilet leaks come from an old rubber flapper that is located in the tank of the the toilet. These rubber flaps are cheap and easy to replace but many people do not check on them. This stops the toilet water from running into the bowl and can save gallons.

Why do we need to worry about leaks in San Diego?

Simple leaks in a household can account for 10,000 gallons of water every year. Households with leaks, 10 percent of homes, have leaks that can account for nearly 90 gallons a day. With the continued drouth in California it is important that we all try and conserve as much as we can. Every gallon of drinking water we can save, the longer and better off we all will be. Take a look around your house to see if there are any leaks. Or call a local San Diego plumber to fix that leak you have been putting off.

Apple Smart Watches, iPhones, and… Toilets?!

Apple Smart Watches, iPhones, and… Toilets?!

In lieu of Apple introducing the newest iPhones and a smart watch, the only thought on my mind is what will Apple do next? From phones to watches to mp3 players, Applecertainly has a multitude of products in the technology sector. The flair and finesse of their products cause them to stand out and have created the Apple signature. I can only imagine how this flair would carry over if Apple were to delve into the plumbing business. Your bathroom appliances would be made of glass, steel and aluminum with shiny finishes. Of course, concepts for all plumbing appliances haven’t been drawn out, but there is one concept for a bathroom utility Apple fans can dream of owning: the iPoo toilet.

the Apple iPoo concept toilet

iPoo: The Toilet for You

Conceptualized by Milos Paripovic in 2012, the iPoo is a “prestigious designer toilet” that, instead of being oval or round like most toilets, is apple shaped. This design is meant to offer a more comfortable seat as the apple shape resembles a person’s bottom. Furthermore, the toilet has a shiny finish and a single button on top of the ‘stem’ part of the toilet for flushing. The iPoo does not boast any added functionality or features besides its appearance, but for some, appearance is all that matters.

While the iPoo concept is a satire by the author solely meant to entertain, it is certainly a testament to how much influence style and looks have on a buyer in all facets of home life. There are some very real changes and additions you can make to your bathroom in order to add style, though for the time being these changes do not include anything manufactured by Apple.

Realistic Luxury Bathroom Ideas

Blue tile luxury bathroom

Many homeowners love the idea of standing out amongst their neighbors and friends with lavish, luxury homes. While the iPoo toilet certainly would be an eye-catching addition to any bathroom, there are some luxury bathroom ideas created by Metropolitan Home that are equally enticing.  One concept features a tub that stands alone on marble and centerpieces the rest of the bathroom. Shower lovers, fear not for there is a large shower enclosed in glass. The use of marble and the color white in this bathroom scheme gives the impression of cleanliness and highlights the sharp lines of the design. Another concept has blue tiles lining the floor and walls, dual sinks, a bathtub in the floor, and a walk in shower. The entire layout brings the beach or a tropical island to mind with its simplicity and blue color scheme. And really, who wouldn’t want subtle reminders of the ocean and tropics while showering or brushing your teeth?

These are just two ideas to spruce up your bathroom and add a touch of elegance to your home. The possibilities for designing your dream bathroom are endless, and here at My Plumber CA, we are committed to helping you accomplish your bathroom needs and dreams. Call us today to discuss your next bathroom remodel!

Centerpiece bathtub in a luxury bathroom remodel


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Cosmetic Changes: Bring Your Bathroom Back to Life with New Fixtures

Updating your existing bathroom could be as easy as making a few changes with new fixtures and hardware, adding a coat of paint or hanging some special artwork. Here are a bunch of low-cost ways to totally transform your current bathroom look.


Whip the Walls Into Shape

Even though there isn’t a whole lot of wall in most bathrooms, they still set the tone for the space. You can change the entire feel of the room with a fresh coat of paint. Be bold and go with a bright red or green, make it serene with a light blue, seafoam or beige, or take it to another level with a chocolate brown or charcoal. The latter two are great to use with white and gold fixtures and accents.

Maybe you’ve got a larger bathroom. Try adding wainscoating to divide the space into two distinct color and texture zones. There are plenty of styles to choose from to create everything from a cottage feel to something right of a Spanish bordello.

Sometimes paint and wainscoat just won’t do what you need. Opting for a full scene wall paper can make it feel like you are bathing on a sunny beach or in the middle of birch woods.


Amp it Up With Accents

The kitchen isn’t the only room that can use a backsplash. Consider installing some glass accent tiles behind the bathroom sink up to the mirror. Maybe even take it a step further and add a chair rail height band all the way across the wall.

Accents can be as simple as a new set of artwork on the wall. It could be a set of three related pictures, a group of small shelves with pots on them or even a few well placed pieces of 3-d metal art.

The largest canvas you have in your bathroom is the shower curtain. Get one that really sets the place off. There are literally thousands of choices out there to choose from.

Do you have one of those huge glass monstrosities from the 1980s. Add a frame to that mirror with prefabricated trim. It takes less than an hour and can class up your bathroom immediately.


Step Up Your Storage

Is your bathroom a little short on storage space? Could you use a place to put bath towels and amenities? Consider adding some custom shelving to the bathroom.  Smaller shelves can be used to handle groupings of candles, bath salts, and makeup kits. Larger shelves could hold wicker baskets filled with towels, hair care products, curling irons and more.


Fascinate With New Fixtures

The place you’ll get the most bang for your buck – outside of paint – is in the fixtures. Because the faucet and sink, toilet and shower are the three major focal points in the bathroom, changing them will immediately re-invent your space. The best thing about new fixtures is switching them out may end up saving a ton on water costs by doing it.

Get some new hardware and draw pulls for your vanity as well. Make sure they match your faucet. Don’t like your vanity – scrap it and go with a pedestal sink. It will open up a cramped space. Double up by putting in shallow shelving and you won’t even lose storage space.

Sometimes new lights can add an entirely new feel to your room. Not just the type of fixture either. Actually changing the type of bulb can give you different light spectrums in your bathroom. Purchase a natural sunlight spectrum bulb to give you the most natural light.

If you’d rather go for a big budget redo, our design specialists can help you. We’ve done dozens of remodels in the past few years and look forward to helping you with yours.

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Summer Air Conditioning Costs Too High – Old Ductwork Could Be Blowing It For You

How old is your ductwork? No, really, it’s important to know. If your ducts were installed before energy efficiency was a key concern for home buyers (mid 1990s), your ducts could be leaking live a sieve. Ductwork used to be tossed in at the last minute and secured into place with a few metal screws. You’d be lucky if they met minimum building code. This fast and cheap builder mantra could be costing you hundreds of dollars every year.

With Old Ductwork Failure is an Option

Your cheap, old ductwork may be starting to fail if it even worked right in the first place. Your ducts could be rusting out, have significant air leaks, or a complete run may have already fallen and disconnected from main system. This is because the metal joints were often held together with six hex-head screws. That’s it. If you were lucky you got some duct tape to seal around the joints. Duct tape, by design, is only meant to hold ducts in place temporarily because repeated heating and cooling makes it brittle. A good duct tape will last about 5 years.

The point here is that you probably are losing a lot of heating and cooling efficiency behind your walls – maybe up to 30 percent. You’re paying to condition the spaces behind your walls and under your feet. In addition, unfiltered air is getting sucked back into the ductwork when your system shuts off. The negative air pressure created when the fan shuts off draws in dust, debris, insulation and chemicals into your system that are then pushed into your living areas when the unit kicks back on. We’d like to help you fix that.

Let’s Inspect Your Ductwork

First, there needs to be a visual inspection of your ductwork to make sure there are no major areas of concern. This is the place you’ll find disconnected duct runs, potential blockages and other problems. We suggest checking the attic and crawlspaces that are hard to access. These will be the places that the construction crew was likely to hurry through. Look for peeling duct tape, dust lines around joints and any areas of rust. If you don’t find any of those, congratulations! If you did, you’ll probably need to get a professional to fix it the right way.

Smaller leaks are harder to find, but easier to fix. Here’s a professional trick. Get yourself a smoke candle or incense stick and turn on the blower fan at your thermostat. Run the smoke candle along the joints. Any small leaks will become immediately visible. Aluminum backed tape can be used to seal these leaks – fast and affordable.

Once you’ve sealed up the leaks that you can find, do this last thing – check the airflow in each of your rooms. If you don’t have air movement somewhere, or the temperature is significantly different in one area, you could have a leak behind the walls where you can’t get to it. This is another time the professionals have the right tool for the job. We can run a video snake through the ductwork and see what is going on. We can also schedule a blower test to check for high pressure leaks in your system and clear them up as well.

Routine Maintenance

crescent wrench used for routine plumbing maintenance in San Diego, CAWhen you buy a new car, you’re looking for not only a car that looks great, but one that is durable, reliable, and in good mechanical condition. Whether you buy a top of the line luxury car off the lot, or a used sedan, you are going to get regular oil changes, tune-ups and part replacements at a predetermined schedule. We do this to keep our cars not only running their best, but retaining value as well.

Many of us don’t look at our home plumbing systems in the way that we would our daily driver, and it can end up being a costly mistake. Rather than waiting for a breakdown, try out a regular maintenance routine to assess the health of your home plumbing system, and keep it running smoothly.

There are a lot of things to be aware of on a regular basis. If you notice any changes, your safest bet is to diagnose what might be causing a problem before it grows. While you don’t need to take detailed logs of daily performance, it pays to be aware of anything seems a bit off.

What to Look For:

  • Corrosion
  • Leaks, condensation
  • Low water pressure
  • Low flow rate
  • Water heat issues
  • Leaky faucets
  • Garbage disposal performance changes
  • Corrosion/hard water damage

Aim for Maintenance Instead of Repairs

Creating a system of scheduled maintenance will keep you in the know before an issue becomes a problem. Let us show you how regular maintenance can be an investment into your home. Common plumbing problems like leaks and corrosion, if left unattended, can cause water damage, mildew, rust, corrosion. Call a licensed plumber before a plumbing problem becomes a structural one.

Get it in Writing

Nothing conveys confidence to a buyer, and nothing is more valuable to the seller than comprehensive maintenance records. Remember when you last bought or sold a used car? Imagine if you had ten years of maintenance records on the car in question. A thorough maintenance record will tell you what has been fixed, when it was worked on, and what may need work in the future. This is a valuable tool to have, and you will be building the value of your home while you keep it running smoothly.

Don’t know where to start? We Do.

Give us a call today. Our licensed residential plumbing technicians are trained to assess your home plumbing system. We’ll tell you what to keep an eye out for, and can even help you get started on a plumbing maintenance plan that’s right for you and your home. To learn more about our plumbing services, visit our plumbing services page.