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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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.

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4 Life Hacks for Your Bathroom!

We’ve been in thousands of San Diego bathrooms, and seen the best (and the worst) of human ingenuity. Today we’re going to focus on those eureka moments where we saw something so unique, so smart, so simple, that it only made sense that everyone should be doing it. These are our top 4 life hacks for your bathroom. We’re sure you’ll share them with your friends – don’t worry, we won’t tell.

Emergency Toilet Paper Roll Storage

We’ve all been there – rushed to the bathroom narrowly escaping a major catastrophe only to find an only slightly catastrophic situation – no toilet paper. Sure, at that moment you want to strangle the last person who used it and left the empty roll there. After all, how hard is it to replace the roll? Really? But lashing out doesn’t help, because you’re stuck on the pot with no paper in reach.

The solution – keep an emergency roll of toilet paper nearby, but don’ make it so accessible that everyone will use it instead of loading up a new roll. So, forget about the additional roll holder (you’ll just be 4 times as mad when there are four empty rolls instead of 1) and go for something unconventional. As plumbers, we suggest placing a roll of two on your plunger handle since it is probably crammed in a corner right next to your toilet. If you don’t want the bottom role to touch the rubber, cut a small hole in a plastic bag and slip it over the handle first. You can tie the bag at the top to prevent dust from gathering on your TP. If you need the plunger, slip the bag containing your extra toilet paper off and set it to the side.

Too see how genius this really is, check out a patent of this concept right here.

No need for this type of advertisement – that roll will be gone in a day!

Organize with Spice Racks

a spice rack used to organize bathroom supplies

sleek – elegant – minimal

If you’re sink looks like a personal grooming catch-all, with lipstick leaning on a tube of toothpaste surrounded by floss, a toenail trimming kit and a misplaced Q-tip, you could use a bit of organizational help. One of the cleanest, minimalist solutions we’ve seen is the use of spice racks. Yes, spice racks. Mounted to the wall, they give the perfect amount of space to store everything from toothpaste tubes to detangling sprays.

 

Ditch the Towel Bar

Do you run into a problem with space on your towel bar? As a member of a family of 5, I do all the time. My wife actually figured this one out before I saw it in another house, so I have to give her credit. Instead of that standard two foot bar, we installed 5 coat hooks. They can hold a towel and washcloth for every member of the family, no overlapping necessary. Here’s a really classy looking version from an upscale boutique store. You can get your own hooks from Lowes or the Home Depot for $10 bucks or so.

 

Get a Second Shower Rod

organize your shower with some baskets hanging from a second shower curtain rod

So simple we should have thought of it

I don’t know about you, but I’ve dropped a full bottle of shampoo on my toes more than once. Nothing ruins the calm, refreshment of a shower like that throbbing pain. Of course, for every time it hit my foot, the shampoo bottle or one of the myriad of other things that get stacked on the shelves fell in at least a hundred times. I’d never had any luck with the suction shelves anyhow. Then I saw a brilliant idea in a starter home in Santee. The husband said his wife wanted him to buy an extra shower rod for the main bathroom. He couldn’t understand why, but he did. She proceeded to put it up on the backside of the shower and hung see-through baskets from it to hold shampoo, razors, bars of soap, scrub brushes and anything else they needed. Totally brilliant.

 

Do you have any life hacks that our readers in the San Diego area might want to know about? Share them with us. We’re always looking for ways to make life just a little bit easier.

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Maintenance Plans Save Money

A maintenance plan helps ensure that your heating and cooling systems operate at peak performance when you most need them and is a great investment to have. A maintenance plan can save you money and help your HVAC system live longer and perform more efficiently. With a maintenance plan, you can save yourself from costly repairs later on. Without a maintenance plan, a unit that is not well maintained can malfunction, and the repairs can be expensive. You may even have to replace your unit, which is very costly.

Ways a Maintenance Plan Saves You Money

A maintenance plan helps your system run more efficiently by getting it the required maintenance it needs in order to run properly. Having regular maintenance on your system helps keep your system clean and makes sure any little problems that may be wrong are taken care of before they turn into bigger, more costly problems. With a clean, more energy efficient system, you will have peace of mind knowing that the more expensive repairs won’t be needed for your system.

A well-maintained system will also last longer, which means you won’t have to worry about replacing your unit anytime soon. Not having to replace your unit will save a lot of money. Having a maintenance plan can help increase the lifespan of your system.

Seasonal weather can put a lot of stress on your system, but with a maintenance plan, you and your system will both feel less stress. A clean, well-maintained unit uses less energy to cool or heat your home, which means less wear and tear on your unit. With your unit having to use less energy, it will help keep it from having any major problems. If your system is not well-maintained, it can use more energy than what is needed to cool or heat your home.

Don’t let your system cost you unnecessary money and leave you in the heat of summer or cold of winter. If you do not want to have to pay for costly repairs or a new unit later on, call My Plumber today at 866-779-7204 and talk to one of their trained professionals about a maintenance plan for your system. The trained professionals at My Plumber will be able to help you get a maintenance plan in place as well as perform the needed maintenance your system currently requires.

To learn more about what we offer, visit our air conditioning & heating pages.

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How To Repair a Kitchen Sink

Your kitchen sink is a very helpful piece of equipment to have. But if the pipes become clogged or get a hole in them a lot can go wrong. Water can leak out and wet the floor which can cause you or someone else to slip and get hurt. Moisture causes black mold, which is also a severe problem if not caught early. Also, if you don’t have a dishwasher, a clogged sink or leaking sink pipe can keep you from washing dishes or using your sink for anything else.

Leaks are more difficult problems than clogs, and you will probably not want to tackle them yourself as the tools are somewhat specialized. If part of the plumbing under your sink leaks, it may be an isolated incident, like a leaky seal. But if it’s coming from the pipe itself, the leak is likely caused by corrosion, which means it’s likely more cost-effective in the long run to replace all those pipes with PVC piping than it is to fix another leak every six months. Your plumber will take a look and give you a rundown of possible solutions.

But in case you are interested, here is a general plan for how the plumber will tackle your kitchen sink repair job:

  • First he will place a bucket beneath the kitchen sink’s drain assembly. This is to catch the waste water from the p-trap. Then he will loosen the nut holding the p-trap with a pipe wrench.

  • When the water has almost completely stopped draining from the p-trap he will remove the p-trap from the drain assembly and throw it away.

  • Then he will loosen and remove the nut that connects the sink strainer to the sink basin, the extension pipe and the nut that connects the wall drain pipe to the wall drain extension pipe and discard all the old pipes.

  • Next he will need to use PVC adapters to merge the old metal piping to the new PVC piping he will be putting in. PVC piping is glued together, not soldered, so there will be no open flames.

  • Then he will use an array of PVC parts, just like the metal ones he removed, to replace all the traps and extension pipes.

  • Once everything is put back together, he will test and make sure there are no longer any leaks. If there are no leaks then he is done.

So if your kitchen sink is leaking, give us a call immediately and we’ll be there. You can also visit our sink repair & installation page to learn more. If your leaking sink manages to cause damage to your floor, you may also need help from a water damage restoration company in San Diego

Is It Time For A Water Heater Service Or Replacement?

A hot water heater is a simple machine, one with few moving parts. As such, there is little to go wrong with it, but when it does, it’s impossible to ignore.

In general, hot water heaters should be serviced by a qualified plumbing service at least every three years, whether or not you are having problems or not. The reason for this is because there is an anode, or sacrificial rod inside the tank, which is meant to attract all the minerals which would otherwise cause corrosion to the tank itself. Depending on the mineral content of your water, the sacrificial rod will wear out over time, and it must be replaced before the tank itself starts to sustain damage.

There are tell-tale signs that your hot water heater needs attention, though. Is there condensation around the tank? Does the water appear rusty? There may be a leak in the tank or a faulty pressure relief valve.

Is there crackling in the tank? Do the pipes bang? This may be caused by a buildup of sediment at the bottom of the tank. If it smells like rotten eggs, you might have the additional problem of excessive bacteria buildup in the tank.

Conventional hot water tanks have a life expectancy of about a decade (on municipal water). If your tank is getting up there in years, be aware that nearly any mechanical issue will likely suggest replacement — new tanks are up to 20% more energy efficient and can save you a lot of money.

If it’s been more than a year since your hot water heater has been serviced, or you’re experiencing any of the problems above, call My Plumber San Diego at 1-855-410-2390 to get things fixed up right.

September is National Baby Safety Month

September is National Baby Safety month and the team at My Plumber Heating and Cooling would like to remind parents of some basic safety rules that can protect babies and toddlers from plumbing-related accidents in the home.

  • The law requires manufacturers of home water heaters to set the thermostat at 120°F. The reason for this requirement is because babies, the elderly and some people with disabilities burn easily or react slowly. Water temperatures above 120°F can scald in a matter of seconds. Homeowners can save on their energy bills and reduce the risk of scalding accidents by setting the thermostat on their water heater to 120°F.
  • Don’t leave standing water in a bathtub or a bucket; a toddler or baby can drown in as little as an inch of water. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death among 1-4 year olds, and the fifth leading cause of accidental death in infants under one year of age.
  • Keep toilet lids closed and consider using clamps to keep top-heavy toddlers from leaning over an open bowl and falling in.
  • Never leave a baby or a small child alone in the bathtub, even in a safety seat. Safety seats are not foolproof and it can take less than ninety seconds for a child to drown.
  • Face babies and toddlers away from the faucet during baths so they cannot grab a hot water spout or turn on the hot water. Consider installing a shower safety tap. This is a clear box that attaches around the shower tap to prevent children from turning on the water and burning themselves.

Accidents involving babies or toddlers are heartbreaking – even more so when they could have been prevented. We hope that by writing about the safety rules listed above, accidents will be avoided, and readers will be galvanized to put into practice the safety measures necessary to protect small children in their homes.

Dealing with the Heat

Don’t suffer through another summer of sky-high electricity charges.If an overworked or an under-maintained air conditioning unit is to blame, take these hints and get a grip on that utility bill.

Make sure that your filter is clean.Many people think that changing the filter or cleaning it twice a year is plenty of protection, but the filter should be checked once a month.If dust is apparent on the filter, it is time to change it.A dirty filter means that dirt is sifting through into the system and a dirty system requires more energy to work.
If your home is on two levels, make sure the upper level vents are wide open and the lower-level vents are slightly closed.Shutting them completely can stifle proper air-flow and harm the system.Heat rises, and limiting the intake on the lower floor will ensure that your home receives equal cooling distribution.
Check that your air conditioners fan is in the “on” position instead of on “auto”.This will improve air circulation and will allow you to be comfortable at a higher room temperature.
Keep curtains drawn against the summer sunshine.The sun beating through the window may brighten the room, but it plays havoc with the utility bill and sends electricity charges through the roof.
Get your A/C system cleaned and checked by a professional HVAC technician.This will improve your systems operations and the technician can spot potential problems before they cause a mid-summer breakdown.
Be a cool operator this summer.Use these tips in the name of “going green” or because you want to maintain a level of comfort while you save.Either way, using these tips will help you maintain your cool while you keep the electric bill under budget.

Bath Time Safety Continued

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Many people have mobility issues that make personal care difficult.Nerve degeneration, paralysis or problems born of the aging process each holds its own set of concerns that need to be addressed individually.The array of equipment available to assist with these issues is amazing; it requires research to find it all.Some implements are pretty standard for bathing and we will concentrate our attention on them.
One of the simplest methods you can use to make bath time easier for someone with mobility problems is to install a hand-held showerhead. Standing or seated, alone or bathing with the aid of an assistant people find that nothing directs the flow of water where it is needed most, better than a hand-held showerhead.
Grab bars are a major aid to anyone with mobility issues.The act of pulling their own bodyweight to a standing position or supporting their weight on the bar while they exit the tub encourages muscle strength.Make sure that the bars installed are institutional grade; stainless steel and they are mounted according to the manufactures instructions. Don't make the mistake of installing a towel bar with the expectation that it is going to support the weight of an elder family member or someone who is mobility challenged.It won't and the results could be painful and costly.
How the bars are installed and where will depend on the needs of the person, the plumbing layout and the bathtub or shower design.Please avoid the temptation to install a bar diagonally; a vertical or horizontal installation is always best. If the hand slips and footing is not secure a fall could ensue.
Bath tub seating can be as simple as a stool with suction cups on the feet setting inside the tub or a "bench" that sits half out of the tub and half in.The bather sits on the outside and slides across the bench to access the inside of the tub.There are also walk-in tubs with a door that seals shut for water retention.A favorite aid is the reclining lift-chair that eases the bather down into the water for a nice long soak.
For someone who has become mobility challenged many things that were routine become onerous and what used to be an everyday task becomes frustrating at best and sometimes completely overwhelming.The installation of well thought-out bath time aids will go a long way to make life a little easier for that person.

Preparing a Bathroom for an Elder

 

We often think that our lives differ somehow from the “Good Ole Days” when multiple generations of a family lived together in one home, sometimes several generations together under one roof.But in the current economic climate with children leaving the nest later and the elderly needing care that families simply can’t afford to hire, multiple generational families are becoming common.

Post-war baby boomers are aging and their safety and health are being overseen by the next generation.Taking on the care of an aging parent can be intimidating since we are trained from birth to depend on our parents for our own safety and health. Ratcheting up the safety factor in the bathroom can be an easy way to introduce ourselves to the idea of “caring for” our elders.

Take a fresh look at the bathroom that older family member uses with an eye for basic safety.Is there a bathmat with a rubberized, non-skid undercoating? Are there appliqus or some other form of anti-skid prevention in the bottom of the shower or bath?

And when was the last time you thought about the water temperature out of your hot water faucet?Our senior family members may be moving a little slower these days and can’t react as quickly to a sudden burst of hot water; their skin has become more fragile and subject to injury.It does not heal as well as it did in their younger years.These factors combined with very hot water can lead to a tragedy.

It is federal law that manufactures must set the thermostat to heat the water to 120 degrees on all water heaters before they released for sale. The installer is also equally compelled to leave that setting where he found it.For anyone else (usually the homeowner) the thermostat setting is a matter of personal choice. If they choose to set the water temperature to 140 degreaser even 160 degrees it is their right to do so.In many homes circumstances have at times dictated those higher water settings, but in a home with an elderly resident safety over-rides any other consideration. Check the water heaters thermostat setting.

Many seniors hold a silent fear of bath-time, they are unlikely to talk about it, may not even be consciously aware that that is what they are feeling.They just know they dread bathing. The consequences of that fear can be difficult to live with.

There are devices that have been created to make bath-time easier on everyone involved.They are almost innumerable and finding the ones that are most helpful to your particular situation can be over-whelming.Next week we will begin discussing these helpful aids and hopefully, we can remove some of the intimidation factor.