Roughly 17 people die every year because of natural gas leaks. This might sound like a small number — until, of course, one of those 17 is a friend or family member. And even if fatalities associated with gas leaks are low, the health consequences that they cause must be taken seriously. In short, in order to avoid injury, illness, or disaster, you need to know the signs of a gas leak to watch out for.
That’s what this post is all about. We’ll also tell you what you need to do if you suspect that your home or place of work has a gas leak.
1. You Smell Something Nasty
One of the most recognizable signs of a gas leak? The slightly sulfuric smell of rotten eggs.
If you suspect that the stink isn’t coming from your trash can or your refrigerator, then it could be coming from natural gas that has somehow leaked into your home. We know what you’re thinking: isn’t natural gas naturally without any kind of odor? Yes — but remember that mercaptan has been added to the gas. This was done specifically so that it would be easier for people to recognize the signs of a gas leak in a house. If you notice this smell, leave your property immediately. Call in an emergency service or a gas line repair professional. You don’t want to run the risk of a gas explosion.
2. You Hear an Odd Sound
So, maybe you don’t yet smell anything like rotten eggs in your home. Instead, perhaps you’ve noticed that there seems to be a strange, soft hissing sound. This sound, even more oddly, seems to be coming from behind your walls. You might also notice that the hissing sound originates around your pipes. This is another common sign of a natural gas leak. What you’re actually hearing is the sound of the gas consistently leaking from the pipe itself. If you notice this, don’t use your phone inside your home, turn any light switches on or off, or light any sort of a flame. Also, make sure that you don’t use any appliances in your kitchen until you’re certain that the leak is fixed. Leave your home, and call in a professional while staying at a neighbor’s house.
3. You Feel Sick
It might come as a surprise to many that there are serious physical side effects that may indicate gas leaks in your home. Things like a sudden loss of appetite, nosebleed, feelings of dizzinesses, and even exhaustion are all common gas leak symptoms. You may also notice that you seem to be dealing with ringing in your ears, or sometimes, even pain in your chest. The same thing goes if recently, you’ve been having trouble breathing, or if you’ve experienced an uptick in the number and severity of headaches you get. In some cases, you may even notice that you feel depressed, sad, or even angry. If you’ve been to your doctor, and they can’t diagnose another problem with your health, err on the side of caution and have a gas leak inspection done.
4. Your Lawn Doesn’t Look so Good
If you’re concerned that you might be dealing with a natural gas leak, don’t just take a look for signs on the inside of your home. You should also look at your lawn/yard, especially in the area surrounding the meter. Have you noticed that there are tons of dead flies and other insects around it? What about the lawn itself? Are there green and brown patches throughout the lawn, but especially as you get closer to the meter? If you have plants over the meter, are they starting to wilt, turn brown, or die? This is a likely indication that you’ve got a gas leak on your hands. What’s happening is that the gas around the meter is leaking. This means that they’re no longer able to get the oxygen they need in order to survive.
5. Your Bills Have Gone way Up
Of course, we know that the signs of a gas leak that you’re the most likely to notice relate directly to your finances. Have you noticed that, lately, your gas bills have been way higher than normal? Have you been on vacation for a week or so, only to return to gas bills that are through the roof? Especially if you haven’t been cooking more than usual, or haven’t experienced any other change in your gas consumption, there could be a problem.
It’s likely that a leak within your gas pipes is what’s responsible for this sudden hit to your wallet. To be sure, take a look at the exterior of your meter. You might notice that there’s some serious rust built up around it. This is a sign that it’s time to seek professional help to deal with your gas leak.
Don’t Ignore These Signs of a Gas Leak
Whether you notice that tell-tale rotten egg smell, or if you spot dead patches of vegetation and grass on your lawn, you need to take the signs of a gas leak seriously.
The last thing in the world that you want to do is end up putting the health and safety of your pets and family members at risk. In addition to knowing the signs of a gas leak in a house, you also need to know who you can call to handle it. We want to be the people that you rely on. Spend some time on our website to learn more about the gas leak services and routine inspections that we offer. Then, get in touch with us to schedule your service appointment. Don’t wait.
Is water coming through your ceiling from your upstairs bathroom?
Whether it’s a damp spot, a continuous dripping or a full-blown waterfall, a ceiling leak can cause a huge amount of damage to your home. If you leave it for too long, you may have to shell out a lot of money on repairs.
That’s why you should see to it right away. Read on to find out what do you when you have a bathroom leak through the ceiling.
How to Find and Fix a Ceiling Leak
Many homeowners worst nightmare are water leaks that grow and turn into water damage in your home. Some of the trickiest to spot and fix are ones that show up in your ceiling, especially if you have a two story home with a bathroom upstairs. Any water leaks in your home need to be fix and repaired right away. If left for too long a simple fix can become a costly repair.
You can’t fix a leak if you don’t know where it’s coming from. Here’s how to identify the source of your leak and stop it.
A leaky toilet is a plumbing nightmare. That’s why this should be your first port of call. Check the base of the toilet. Its connection to the floor should be sealed by a wax ring. If the ring is worn, cracked or broken, it’s likely that it’s allowing water to seep through the ceiling every time the toilet is flushed. If you’re still not sure, you can use food coloring to check. Add some coloring to the bowl and flush. If the water that seeps through is the same color, you’ve identified the source of your leak. If your toilet is leaking, the water supply shut off is usually right behind the toilet coming from the floor.
Shower or Bathtub Leaking Water Into The Ceiling Below
If the ceiling leak only occurs while the shower is in use, it could be coming from either the faucet or through a tile in the bathroom. If this is the case, you may need a complete bathtub replacement.
Check the faucet and the pipe between the valve and the shower head for any leakage first. Then, leave some water in the bottom of your shower or bathtub overnight. If you don’t find any leaks in the morning, this part of your bathroom isn’t the culprit. If the leak continues while the shower isn’t running, it’s probably coming from a water pipe.
Water Supply Line Leaks And How To Fix Them
Water supply lines are often the underlying cause of water dripping from the ceiling. This is because loose connections can easily allow water to seep through. To check yours, simply go run your hand along your water supply lines to check for any damp spots. If you find any, you’ll then need to tighten or replace the connector joints in those places.
Supply lines can leak but by definition, they supply the water to your fixtures and those could be the culprit of the leak instead of the lines. When the fixtures leak, turning off the water supply is the best way to stop the leak. Water supplies can be in different places depending on where you live and the age of your home. If you are a home owner, it is important to know where your main water supply is so in an emergency, if the water needs to be turned off, you know where to look. You may also need a special tool to turn off the water. Remember to try and stop the water from continuing to leak and turn it off ahead of the leak.
Drain Pipe Ceiling Leaks
Drain pipes are also a common cause of the water leaks in your ceiling if you have an upstairs bathroom or shower. Common causes can be deteriorated pipes from age or hard water.
If you are experiencing leaks only when taking a bath and not a shower from the same bathroom then it’s commonly your bathtub overflow drain that is causing the issue. This is a separate smaller drain pipe that connects your overflow to the main drain. Over time the seals on that pipe can degrade and cause leaks when your tub is too full or when bath water is splashed up and into the overflow drain.
In order to carry out a proper inspection on your drain pipes, you may need to cut a hole in your ceiling and expose them. Many times leaks like these are small and take a while to build up enough damage to make them noticeable. In other cases if your ceiling has a light fixture or something similar installed you will notice this leak right away as the water will drain out of your ceiling by running down and out of your light fixture. There’s nothing more frustrating than taking a nice relaxing bath only to go downstairs afterwards to a broken light and flooded kitchen.
Call a Plumber
If you make DIY plumbing repairs for a ceiling leak, you’ll have to make sure you use all the correct tools and fittings. Otherwise, you could make some serious mistakes.
If you’re not comfortable doing any of this yourself, it’s best to arrange for a plumber to do it for you. Fully-trained professionals are equipped with all the tools and knowledge to get the job done as quickly as possible.
Contact us today to book an appointment, and we’ll send the experts out to fix your leak for you.
Is your water heater making a thumping noise? It’s not a thief in the night, or a solicitor knocking at your door – it’s your trusty water heater. You might have dealt with a variety of other water heater problems before, like no hot water, inconsistent hot and cold water, or a leaky water heater. But your water heater also has a voice of its own, and will occasionally make thumps, bumps, and groans. But what do they mean? And what should you do about them? We’re here to help.
The Hard Water Problem
If your water heater is making a thumping noise, it’s likely due to sediment build-up from hard water in your area. This can be a serious issue for your water heater, and one that should be attended to immediately. If you know that you live in an area with particularly hard water, then it’s important that you look out for a thumping water heater. When the minerals in your water are heated (specifically, when calcium carbonate is heated) they start to settle to the bottom, creating a problem for your water heater. Sediment build-up reduces efficiency, and also circulates throughout the rest of the water heater.
What Can You Do to Stop the Thumping?
In order to get rid of the thumping water heater problem, you’ll need to remove the sediment from the tank. This can be done via a tank flush (which, realistically, should be done on an annual basis at least). You can flush your water heater yourself, or have a professional plumber do it for you. The tank must be flushed through the drain valve, and you can perform either a full flush (the water heater must be fully shut down) or a mini flush (which is easier, but not as effective as a full flush). Flushing the water heater will prevent corrosion, rust, and will also improve the efficiency of your water heater.
Are you suffering from low water pressure, or water pressure that fluctuates throughout the day? This can be a frustrating problem, whether you’re noting low water pressure in your shower, at your kitchen sink, or elsewhere. But the good news is that you don’t have to live with low water pressure forever, and there are several tools and procedures that can help you to improve your water pressure problem. One of these tools is a water pressure booster. But what exactly is a water pressure booster?
A water pressure booster pump works alongside your expansion tank. Your water pressure booster, depending on which type is installed, is either on-demand or manually activated, which allows you to choose when you want increased water pressure. You should work with your plumber to determine which type of booster is right for you and your budget, since an on-demand system can be a bit more costly.
How Can I Benefit from a Water Pressure Booster?
Here are a few signs that you might benefit from a water pressure booster:
- Your faucet only dribbles water
- You see inconsistent high and low water pressure depending on the time of day
- Your water pressure fluctuates depending on the temperature
- One or more of your plumbing fixtures is exhibiting low water pressure at the same time
We also want to remind you that if you’re experiencing low water pressure, you should first contact your plumber for a plumbing inspection. Your low water pressure can be cause by a variety of issues, including a water leak, corroded pipes, mineral build-up, and more. Don’t ignore the issue, but instead call your service provider for an inspection. If no obvious cause for your low water pressure is found, then they might recommend a water pressure booster. Work with your technician to determine which model is right for your home or business, and get back on track with normalized water pressure once more!
We’ve finally reached the first day of winter in 2016, and that means the cold days and nights are in full swing. Even though San Diego is blessed with what the rest of the world considers warm temperatures all year long, the temperature can still dip into the 30s on the rare occasion. What does this mean for your plumbing? Frozen, cracked, or burst pipes at its worst. Even if we don’t end up seeing freezing nights this winter, it’s important to know how to prepare your plumbing for winter in San Diego – if not now, then for future years to come. Below we outline 5 tips for winter plumbing preparation that you should follow in order to ensure the longevity of your plumbing system.
1. Know Where the Water Main Is
First thing’s first – you NEED to familiarize yourself with your plumbing. We recommend that everyone in the home knows where the water main shut-off valve is. Why? The kids need to know in case there’s an emergency leak while mom and dad are at work or on vacation, and mom needs to know because, let’s face it, handywork isn’t just for men. If a pipe bursts or a sudden leak occurs, the first step should always be to turn off the main water valve and stop more (extremely expensive) damages from occurring.
2. Insulate Your Pipes
Cold pipes become brittle, and this means a greater risk for cracked or shattered pipes – and, consequentially, leaks. All pipes that are exposed to the outdoor air should be insulated, and if they already are, you should check to make sure all insulation is still intact. We’ve heard stories of rodents eating away at insulation, so keep an eye out. If you have an attic or crawl space, make sure the pipes are insulated there as well.
3. Store Your Hoses
You likely won’t be watering your lawn in winter (especially because your lawn goes dormant when it’s cold outside). Your gardening hoses are made of rubber which, you guessed it, becomes brittle when exposed to extreme cold. You might as well pack up and store any hoses that you aren’t using so they stay durable for longer. You should also empty out your spigots so that there’s no water insdie that will freeze and cause damage.
4. Drain Your Sprinklers
You should also winterize your sprinkler system by draining any remaining water from the pipes. Remember, water freezes, and when it does it expands. This means that pipes with water inside will be at risk for bursting when exposed to freezing temperatures. Before retiring your irrigation system for the season, run them one last time for good measure.
Have your local plumber check your plumbing line for leaks before winter starts. Any leaks, no matter how small, will be a rude awakening if you wait to fix them until the spring. Small constant leaks all winter mean a big spike in your water bills, and you need to save all your pennies during winter for buying holiday gifts!
Invest in Preventative Seasonal Maintenance
The main takeaway we want you have is that seasonal maintenance is not a joke. By being proactive instead of reactive, you can spare yourself a lot of stress and a lot of money on fixing your plumbing line. Call your local plumber today to schedule winter maintenance for your plumbing line in San Diego, CA.
Do you love the smell of rotten eggs?
That’s not really a question since the unanimous answer from all homeowners is a loud and definite, “No way!” However, we’ve had a few clients ask us why their water smells like sulfur over the years – and the reason why is somewhat surprising. Luckily, there is an easy fix for the nasty odor, and it’s something you can take care of yourself if you’re handy when it comes to basic water heater maintenance.
Drain the Water Heater
Hydrogen sulfide is naturally present in some water sources. That’s just a fact. You might notice the smell only when you first turn the water on, or especially in one area of the home like the bathroom or shower. The first thing you should do is drain the water heater. Realistically, you should be doing this on an annual basis anyway, and draining the water heater will certainly do no harm. Some of our customers have told us that draining their water heater on a monthly basis (not all the way, but maybe 10 gallons each time) has helped to keep the water from smelling like sulfur.
Check the Magnesium Corrosion Control Rod
If draining your water heater didn’t help, then changing the magnesium corrosion control rod definitely will. It takes a bit more handiwork to replace, but it’s a surefire way to remove the rotten sulfur smell from your water. The actual cause of your smelly sulfur water is a reaction between bacteria present in the water with the magnesium and aluminum anode rod in your water heater, together creating hydrogen sulfide gas. You can replace your water heater’s magnesium anode rod with an aluminum/zinc anode rod for a permanent fix.
For Those with Softened Water
The trick of replacing the magnesium corrosion control rod won’t work if you have softened water. The science behind it is a little bit dry (essentially, softened water promotes the production of hydrogen sulfide gas, aka “the smelly stuff”), but luckily there’s an easy fix to this issue, too. A powered anode rod will solve the issue of your water smelling like sulfur if you have softened water in your water heater.
If you’ve suffered from water smelling like sulfur, try following the steps above to see if your smelly water issue is fixed. If you feel uncomfortable performing any of the above steps, call My Plumber CA for help. We offer a full range of plumbing services including tankless water heater in El Cajon, garbage disposal repair in Santee, and more!
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 (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:
- How many showers do you have? How many bathrooms?
- 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)
- 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.
- 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 energy 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 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.
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.
We’ve all had that moment. You’re washing dishes and then you go to drain the water only to realize that your wedding ring is missing from your finger and has gone down the garbage disposal or sink drain.
But where did it go?
A wedding ring can easily become lost in your garbage disposal or sink drain if not properly sized or if you don’t wear gloves when doing the dishes. Luckily, you might be able to get your wedding ring from your garbage disposal more easily than you think.
With a little bit of stealthy maneuvering (and a bit of luck), you could have your wedding right back on in no time.
If You Can See the Wedding Ring in the Disposal
Using a flashlight, see if the wedding ring is visible inside of the disposal. If so, then you might be able to retrieve the ring without too much trouble. Follow these steps below to attempt to retrieve your wedding ring from your disposal.
1. Unplug the Garbage Disposal
You should never begin work on your garbage disposal if you haven’t first unplugged it. It’s especially unsafe if your wedding ring has gotten jammed in your garbage disposal. Allowing the motor or blade to run with the ring inside will not only damage the ring, but also the disposal’s blade. More importantly, if you are ever reaching inside the disposal, an unplugged unit means that you don’t have to worry about accidentally grinding your hand.
Which leads us to our next point…
2. Keep Your Hands Out of the Disposal
If at all possible, don’t put your hands in the garbage disposal.
It’s difficult to see what is going on inside of your disposal, meaning that you could easily run your hand across the blade or across another piece of sharp metal. This will cause lots of blood, a trip to the emergency room, and lots of cash. Just don’t do it.
3. Try Using a Magnet
So if you can’t stick your hand down your kitchen drain, how are you going to get your wedding ring out? First, try using a magnet. A long magnet or a plain old refrigerator magnet tied to a string will do the trick. Dangle the magnet just inside the kitchen drain and see if it picks up your wedding ring. Got a ring made out of silver or gold? Sorry, your wedding ring isn’t magnetic. You’ll have to try something else.
4. Try Using Pliers, Tongs, or a Long Wooden Spoon
Shine a light down your kitchen drain. Can you see your wedding ring? If so, try using pliers, kitchen tongs, a long cooking spoon, or other useful device to scoop up the ring. Remember – refrain from putting your hands in your garbage disposal.
5. Check if Your Wedding Ring is Stuck in the P-trap
Still haven’t found your wedding ring? It is possible that your ring went all the way through the disposal and is stuck in the u-shaped pipe below the kitchen sink. Many p-traps have drain plugs or cleanout plugs at their lowest point. This make it easy to open up the p-trap and remove any waste that has collected there. Place a bucket under the pipe, remove the drain plug, and (hopefully) discover your wedding ring inside.
If your p-trap does not have a cleanout plug, you’ll have to remove the slip nuts on either end of the pipe and take out the entire u-shaped section. You can do this yourself, or have a professional do it just to be on the safe side.
6. Still No Luck? Call a Professional Plumber
If you still cannot locate your wedding ring in your garbage disposal, it is likely that the ring is stuck inside the unit itself. In this case, we recommend calling your local plumbing professional to disassemble the garbage disposal and reveal your wedding band.
If You Can’t See the Wedding Ring in the Disposal
If you can’t see your ring but you’re positive that it fell into the sink drain, don’t lose hope. Call your local plumber and have them inspect your garbage disposal. It could be that your ring is stuck somewhere inside the disposal or in another section of easily accessible pipe.
Remember – don’t run the disposal if you think your ring is inside of it. You will only cause damage to your wedding ring and ruin or jam your disposal in the process. My Plumber CA offers garbage disposal repair in San Diego and beyond. Call us today to schedule a plumbing repair appointment ASAP.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.