We’re your local plumbing team here in Hayward, San Jose, and the Bay Area. We provide emergency plumbing repair service. Call us when you need water heater repair, maintenance, or other services. We’re a full-service plumbing company with experienced plumbers on our team.

Are tankless water heaters energy-efficient?

Whether you are building a new house or replacing a broken or outdated water heater in your current home, you may be considering installing a tankless water heater. This type of water heater doesn’t constantly maintain a large reservoir of water at a high temperature. Instead, a tankless water heater only switches on as necessary: whenever you turn on a hot water tap in your home. While these benefits are well-understood, many homeowners here in Hayward still have a big question: are tankless water heaters energy-efficient?

The short answer is yes. Demand-type systems use less energy (whether natural gas or electricity) than standard water heaters. However, as we’ll explore in this blog post, the exact extent of these savings is determined by your water usage, water heater placement, and several other individualized factors.

Are tankless water heaters an energy-efficient option for your home?

On-demand operation can lower energy usage

Even the most energy-efficient traditional water heater constantly uses energy to keep the water in the tank at the right temperature. Because a tankless water heater only operates when you need hot water, its overall energy consumption is generally less than that of a traditional water heater. Tankless water heaters may also last longer than their traditional counterparts because they don’t spend at much time operating every day for years on end. Whereas an older traditional water heater may use more energy to keep water hot as parts wear out, a tankless water heater may display energy-efficient performance for its entire lifespan.

Yes, tankless water heaters are energy-efficient and can save you money on your utility bills every month.

Yes, tankless water heaters are energy-efficient and can save you money on your utility bills every month.

High demand may require multiple water heaters

One of the advantages of a tankless water heater is that it doesn’t run out of hot water. Theoretically, it can keep heating water for your home as long as there is an open hot water tap somewhere initiating demand.

However, some tankless water heater varieties may struggle to heat water fast enough during times of high usage: for example, when the shower and dishwasher are running at the same time.

You may solve this issue by installing multiple tankless water heaters for your home and placing them close to showers or appliances. When calculating the potential energy savings for your home, it’s important to account for multiple tankless water heaters if you need them to meet your usage requirements.

Energy savings depend on numerous factors

While tankless water heaters are generally more energy-efficient than traditional models, it’s important to factor initial costs into your calculations. Many regular water heaters cost less to purchase and install than tankless water heaters.

Additionally, the energy savings of a tankless water heater may be greater in households that use less hot water. Households that use approximately 80 gallons of hot water daily may see lower energy savings that households that use around 40 gallons every day. The location of the equipment can make a difference too.

Placing a tankless water heater at every hot water outlet can significantly improve energy savings because the water doesn’t lose heat during a long journey between the heater and the faucet.

We can help you choose the right water heater

If you need more details on tankless water heater energy-efficiency and want to learn what options may be best for your home, contact ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing. Our expert water heater technicians understand all the available options and can help you figure out which type of water heater will meet your needs and increase your home’s energy-efficiency.

Contact us to get an estimate on installing a new tankless water heater in your home.

Plumbing 101: 4 Common Reasons the Storm Drains Becomes Clogged

Your storm drains play a critical role in protecting your roof, your home, and your property. When it rains here in the Bay Area, your roof drains—also known as “gutters” or “downspouts”—safely carry the water off of the roof structure and down to the ground, where it goes into a storm drain that carries the water to the local sewer. This process prevents excess water from pooling on the roof, which can lead to a number of problems for your shingles, tile, and underlayment.

This roof's gutters are clogged with fallen leaves, which may prevent water from properly draining off the roof into storm drains.

This roof’s gutters are clogged with fallen leaves, which may prevent water from properly draining off the roof into storm drains.

However, this system does require regular upkeep, maintenance, and cleaning. If not regularly cleared out, downspouts can fill up with leaves, branches, and bird nests. This effectively forms a dam, preventing water from traveling down the spout. The result can be damage to your roof. If your storm drains are not cleaned, water will have nowhere to go once it gets to the ground level.

At ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing, our plumbers specialize in indoor drain, sewer line, storm drain cleaning. If you have a blockage deep in your storm drain, let our team clean it out. Need storm drain cleaning in Hayward, San Jose, and other parts of the Bay Area? Contact our team today to have an experienced plumber come out to your home.


Read our other Plumbing 101 articles:

SIGNS OF SEWER LINE CLOGS   •   CAUSES OF SEWER LINE CLOGS   •   CONSERVING WATER IN YOUR HOME   •   WAYS TO AVOID EXPENSIVE PLUMBING REPAIRS


Here are the 4 reasons why your roof drains and storm drains may be blocked

1. Natural Debris

 

This residential storm drain is starting to become clogged with fallen leaves and other yard debris.

This residential storm drain is starting to become clogged with fallen leaves and other yard debris.

Storm drains can be clogged due to the buildup of leaves inside the drain pipe. This is particularly the case in autumn and spring. In addition, sometimes the roots of trees or shrubs head straight to the drains, resulting in a blocked drain.

This is commonly the case with willow trees, boxwood shrubs, oak trees, magnolia, gum trees, and palm trees. Here’s a guide to the best trees to plant around sewer lines and storm drains.

To reduce the risk of blockage of the drain due to the buildup of natural debris, you should keep the areas around the drain clear of all kinds of natural debris. If the leaves or roots get into the drains, it could prevent water from getting to the sewer, leading to a backup in your yard.

2. Broken Storm Pipe

Storm pipes can fracture due to general wear-and-tear. The roots growing inside the pipes can also fracture the pipes. Once it becomes fractured, the drain pipe is susceptible to blockages. The fractures are not easily visible. The professional plumbers from ABC will closely inspect the pipes for damage and then repair the fractured storm pipe.

3. Improper Installation

Improper installation of the storm pipe can also lead to drain blockages. This is usually the case when the pipes are installed as a DIY project. Improper installation will either result in fracture of the pipe or reduced water to flow from the pipe. That’s why it’s essential that you have a licensed plumber install drain pipes around and inside your home.

4. Heavy Rains

The storm drain can also become blocked due to heavy rains. Most of the household drain pipes are not manufactured to take the full impact of heavy rains and storms. This leads to overflow of the drain pipes that can buildup on your home’s roof. Since we live in an area where heavy rains are common, you should consider installing a larger drain pipe to weather the storm.

Blocked drain pipes can be a great inconvenience. What’s worse is that a blocked pipe can result in water accumulating on the roof of the house. Eventually, the accumulated water will drip down and leak from the ceiling inside the house. This can also do major damage to the foundation of the home, posing major risk to individuals.

Have ABC work with your storm drains

That’s why it’s essential that you have the storm drain cleaned regularly by an experienced plumber. If you want to avail the services of an emergency storm drain cleaning company in the Bay Area, call our team at ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing.

Our plumbers use specialized tools to quickly remove all kinds of blockages from the outside drain pipes.

Here are the 5 best ways to conserve water in the home

As every homeowner here in the Bay Area now knows after years of drought and intense fire seasons, water is our most precious commodity. It can never be taken for granted. It’s the duty of every homeowner here in Hayward and beyond to take steps to make their home more water-efficient and conserve water. In this article, we’ll review 5 of the best ways you can cut down on your home’s water use.

Install a low-flow showerhead to conserve water while showering.

You can conserve water while showering by having our team install a low-flow showerhead.

#1. Install a low-flow showerhead and limit shower times

Most Americans use about 17 gallons of water when they shower. Here in California, that’s a lot, considering our climate and state of drought. By installing a low-flow showerhead, you can cut that number down to 10 gallons per-shower or even less. That’s 7 gallons of water saved with every shower—over the course of the year, a major improvement.

Of course, a low-flow showerhead will not have much of an impact if you and your family still continue taking 20-minute showers. Our recommendation is that you streamline your shower down to 5-7 minutes. This should give you sufficient time to get clean without wasting water and time. The shower is a place for deep shower thoughts—keeping close track of time, not so much! A shower timer or simple 5-minute hourglass can really help keep you moving.

#2. Upgrade to a dual-flush toilet

Older toilets used water without much thought for conservation. If your toilet predates the 1990s, chances are that it uses as much as 3.6 gallons per-flush! We recommend that you have the ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing team install a new dual-flush toilet in your home. Dual-flush toilets are a versatile, alternative option to low-flush toilets in that they have two separate flushes for different purposes. The smaller flush uses only about 1.5 gallons with every flush—less than half that of a standard toilet flush.

Thinking about switching out the toilets in your home? Give us a call. You’ll want a plumbing specialist to take measurements and ensure that your bathroom can fit the toilet—or toilets—you’re thinking about buying.

#3. Avoid automated watering

Yard irrigation makes our lives a lot easier, but it often results in habitual water waste. For example, very few homeowners bother to turn off their irrigation on days where it rains. In many cases, your trees, bushes, plants, and garden are actually getting more water, more frequently, than they need. By switching to watering by-hand with either a hose or a watering can, you’ll cut down on this waste. Of course, your automated irrigation is still nice to have for times when you’re away or at work.

You can reduce the overall watering you need to do by switching the trees, plants, and shrubs in your yard from thirsty imported species to drought-tolerant ones native to the climate of the Bay Area. This is a great change that yields long-term water-saving results for your home. It’s one of the best ways to conserve water for years to come.

#4. Capture and reuse cold water from the shower

Everyone does it: you turn on the shower, set it to hot, and then walk away for a minute while the cold water is flushed out and the hot water arrives. Meanwhile, you’re wasting gallons of otherwise good water. One option is to step into the shower while it’s still cold, but that’s rough to do in the winter. Instead, try this: get a large bucket and position it underneath the showerhead. As the water warms up, the bucket will fill with cold water. You can then move the bucket and take your shower. The next time you need to water indoor plants, clean your floors, wash your car, or fill pet water bowls, use the water from the bucket.

#5. Proactively deal with leaks and water waste

One final way to conserve water: fixing indoor and outdoor leaks. A leaking pipe might not seem like that big of deal, but the cumulative water wasted throughout the calendar year can be mind-boggling. For example, a faucet that drips at a rate of 20-times per-minute will waste 700 gallons of water every year. You can find even more ways to cut down on your water waste with this online calculator.

If you notice that you have a leak or drip in your home’s plumbing, bring in the plumbing professionals at ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing. We’ll quickly make the fix, helping your home conserve water and avoid future water damage.

Here are the most expensive plumbing repairs and how to avoid them

As a homeowner, you already watch a significant portion of your take-home pay go toward maintaining your home and property. That’s just part of the cost of owning a home. However, what really keeps homeowners up at night is the thought of a major, urgent repair that costs thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars to address. While such scenarios are rare and may only be encountered by a homeowner once a decade, they do exist. In this article, we’ll review the most expensive plumbing repairs a homeowner can face and what steps you can take to avoid such problems in the first place.

For fast and reliable plumbing repair here in Hayward, Fremont, Union City, San Leandro, and beyond, call us at ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing. Our experienced and friendly plumbers are ready to help you address your home’s plumbing repair needs.

Hidden leaks

In a home, water damage is insidious. It destroys floors, weakens the home’s structure, and leads to the growth of mold and mildew, which can make everyone in the home sick. The most common cause of water damage in U.S. homes is from water leaks, which—in turn—are often the result of:

  • Leaking pipes
  • Leaking roofs
  • Frozen pipes

While we don’t often face the threat of frozen pipes here in the Bay Area, a leaking pipe or a leaking roof can be a major headache for a local homeowner. This is especially true when the leak is hidden behind a wall or underneath the floor. This can make finding—and dealing with—the leak difficult.

Addressing leaks and water damage

If you have reason to believe that you have a leak in your home—such as obvious water damage or falling water pressure—turn off the main water supply and call our team for plumbing repair. We’ll send out one of our experienced plumbers to inspect your home, identify the problem, and make the repair. Our plumbing team carries advanced leak detection equipment that helps us find leaks hidden in ceilings, under floors, or behind walls.

Preventing leaks

While not all leaks are preventable, you can take steps to reduce the risk of water damage to your home:

  • Protect your roof: Have your home’s roof inspected at least once per year, and address any of the roofer’s recommendations immediately.
  • Upgrade your pipes: If you own an older property with copper or galvanized steel water pipes, talk to our team about when you need to upgrade to new pipes.
  • Maintain your home: If you have a basement and a sump pump, periodically check to ensure that the pump is working properly.
An ABC plumber cleans out a home's sewer line as a means of preventing a sewer line clog and backup—one of the most expensive plumbing repairs a homeowner can face.

An ABC plumber cleans out a home’s sewer line as a means of preventing a sewer line clog and backup—one of the most expensive plumbing repairs a homeowner can face.

Sewer line issues

Your home relies on its sewer line to carry water and waste away from the home to the municipal sewer. Unfortunately, issues with this line are some of the most expensive for a homeowner to address. Here are two of the most common problems:

  • Sewer Line Clogs: A clogged sewer line will need to be cleared out, or the home runs the risk of a sewer backup where wastewater comes up through the drains and into the home. This can lead to serious water damage and the need for mold remediation.
  • Sewer Line Leaks: These leaks in the line can be caused by an aging and deteriorating line, shifting earth, or thirsty tree roots that have grown around the line. In many cases, a cracked sewer line requires the line to be dug up, which can escalate repair costs.

Addressing sewer line issues

Any issue with the sewer line—whether it’s a partial clog, a complete clog, or a leak—warrants turning off the water supply and calling us for plumbing service. Our plumber will start by running an endoscopic camera snake tool down your drain and into the line. This allows you and the plumber to visually identify the issue. If a clog is found, our plumber will diagnose what it is made of and select the best way to clear it.

To that end, our team uses high-powered water jets, advanced snake tools, and other professional equipment to clear most sewer line clogs without the need for digging up the line.

Preventing sewer line issues

Most sewer line clogs or leaks are preventable. Here are just a few ways you can protect your home:

  • Watch what you put down the sink: Avoid putting grease, oils, fats, eggshells, uncooked rice, and flour down your kitchen sink drain. Instead, dispose of these items in the trash. For grease and oil, we recommend pouring it out of the pan and into a glass jar while still hot and then disposing of that jar in the trash once the grease has cooled and solidified.
  • Move trees away from the line: Form a 10-15 foot perimeter around the sewer line as it runs under your yard to the municipal sewer. Inside this zone, have trees and bushes relocated and replanted in other parts of your yard. Talk to a tree specialist here in the Bay Area to assess which local species pose the greatest risk to your sewer line. Trees with fast-growing roots should be removed.
  • Schedule a sewer camera inspection: If you suspect a clog is forming deep in the line, a precautionary sewer camera inspection from our team is probably a good idea.

Water heater tank burst

Your water heater tank stores heated water under pressure. Most events of catastrophic water heater failure start when a combination of the following occurs:

  • The tank’s walls are weakened due to internal corrosion, and the tank is no longer capable of storing water under high pressure.
  • A malfunctioning pressure-relief valve can’t release excess pressure or heat building up inside of the tank.

What often follows is commonly known as a “water heater tank burst.” Essentially, the water heater reaches a breaking point and “pops” open, spilling out gallons of water into your home or garage. Most modern water heaters come equipped with an emergency valve that stops the flow of water to the heater in this event, but homeowners are still faced with thousands in expensive plumbing repairs.

Addressing water heater problems

Immediately turn off the water heater’s water supply valve to prevent more water from flooding your home or garage. Next, give us a call. Our plumber can ensure that the leak has been dealt with and provide you with the next steps for cleaning up any resulting water damage. We’ll also give you a quote for the removal of the burst water heater and the installation of a new unit.

Preventing a water heater tank burst

Not every water heater tank failure is inevitable. Here are some steps you can take to avoid this outcome:

  • Be proactive: If you notice exterior cracks in the tank shell, water pooling under the unit, or other obvious signs of trouble, turn off the water heater and call our team for service. Most water heater tank bursts are accompanied by early warnings such as these that give homeowners a narrow window in which they can avert disaster.
  • Care for your water heater: Every year, you should flush your water heater to remove built-up sediment. During this maintenance, check the anode rod and take note of the amount of corrosion: a completely corroded anode rod means that corrosion is likely being attracted to the tank walls. Also, check that the system’s emergency pressure-relief valve is working. This helps prevent the catastrophic build-up of excess pressure inside of the tank.
  • Replace your water heater: Most water heaters last about 10-15 years. If yours is nearing the end of that lifespan, talk to our plumber about when might be a good time to replace it. The upfront cost of replacing your water heater before a tank burst is very small compared to potential expensive plumbing repairs and cleaning up water damage later.

Avoid expensive plumbing repairs by calling our team

At ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing, we’re proud to be your friendly and experienced plumbing team here in Hayward and the Bay Area. If you need fast and reliable plumbing services, contact us today. We specialize in all types of plumbing repair work, and we back everything we do with our 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Everything you need to know about sewer line clogs

Your sewer line carries wastewater away from the sinks, toilets, and showers of your home. It travels underneath your yard to the street, where it connects to the municipal sewer. Most homeowners don’t give their sewer line much thought: beyond the fact that the entire operation of waste disposal is a bit unsavory to think about, the sewer line also fulfills its important function without much issue.

However, when problems do occur, the results can be disastrous. A sewer line clog can lead to sewage and wastewater backing up into your home. Known as a sewer backup, this event is a homeowner’s worst nightmare.

In this article, we’ll provide a complete guide to sewer lines, the issues they can encounter, and how you can prevent a sewer backup in your own home.

We’re your sewer line experts

At ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing, our team specializes in sewer line inspection and repair. Our team of plumbing professionals has the tools and expertise needed to quickly diagnose issues with the sewer line and then recommend the right fix. We also fix storm drain issues.

Since 1953, homeowners in Hayward and the Bay Area have trusted our team with all their home service needs, and we’re proud to continue that tradition of great service into the present day.

Need a sewer inspection or repair here in Hayward, San Leandro, Union City, or surrounding areas? Fill out the form to schedule service with our team.

Common causes of a sewer line clog

Tree Roots

Many sewer line clogs have their roots in, well, roots. The sewer line runs from your home to the street, often passing under a front or side yard. Any nearby trees, bushes, or shrubs are a potential danger to the line. Over time, their thirsty, moisture-seeking roots will burrow down to the line, where they either enter it through an existing crack or put enough pressure on the line’s exterior to crack it open.

As the roots attempt to take in more and more moisture, they eventually grow into the line, partially—and then fully—obstructing it. This leads to a sewer line blockage and the high risk of a sewer backup.

If you have trees in your front yard, you should be aware of the threat they may pose to your home's sewer line.

If you have trees in your front yard, you should be aware of the threat they may pose to your home’s sewer line.

What types of trees pose the biggest threat?

Any tree within 10 feet of the line is a potential threat. Some tree species have faster-growing roots than others, making them more dangerous to the sewer line than others:

Less Dangerous

These trees have slow-growing, less aggressive root structures, and can be planted 10 feet away from the sewer line.

  • Maple species
  • Dogwood species
  • Crabapple trees
  • Ginkgo trees
  • Smoke trees

More Dangerous

These trees have fast-growing, aggressive root structures, and should not be planted near sewer lines.

  • Ash species
  • Poplar species
  • Cottonwood species
  • Oak species
  • Sycamore species

How can tree root incursion be prevented?

  • Plant all new trees, bushes, and shrubs at least 10 feet away from the sewer line on all sides.
  • If you have existing trees near the sewer line, consider having them moved to another part of your yard as a preventative measure.
  • When planting a slow-growing tree, plan on replacing or moving the tree in the next 15-20 years.
  • If you are planting a fast-growing tree, plan on replacing or moving the tree in the next 8-10 years. Depending on the species, this is typically representative of how long it takes its roots to expand the distance to the sewer line.

Grease & Waste

Many homeowners don’t give much thought to how they use their garbage disposal, or what they put down it. However, just how you dispose of kitchen waste can have a big impact on your home’s sewer line.

In general, the most dangerous thing to put down the sink is anything that is a liquid while hot but solidifies upon cooling.

An ABC plumber cleans out a sewer line clog at a local home.Grease

Grease is the most famous example of this. The homeowner pours hot cooking grease down the drain. As the grease travels through pipes, it begins to cool. By the time it reaches the sewer line, it may be much cooler than it originally was, and begins to solidify with the temperature change. This partially solidified grease sticks to the interior of the line. Time after time, disposing of grease in this way adds to the building blockage in the line. Eventually, it’s enough for a clog to start to form.

Food Waste

It’s not just grease that’s a problem. Here is some food waste that you should never dispose of down the sink drain:

  • Coffee Grounds: Besides grease, coffee grounds are the number one cause of sewer line blockages. These grounds can become stuck in pipes when they adhere to other materials deep inside of the line.
  • Eggshells: As the shells fracture in the garbage disposal, tiny pieces of shell shrapnel travel down the lines and become stuck in the sewer line.
  • Oil & Butter: This is essentially the same story as grease: fats and oils can coat the inside of the line and congeal deep inside of it. While it is a kitchen staple, coconut oil is especially dangerous, since it solidifies at room temperature.
  • Rice & Pasta: Anything that physically expands upon continued contact with water is bad news once in your sewer line. A half-cup of uncooked rice can bloat to a sewer line-blocking mess once exposed to water.
  • Flour: When combined with water, most flours become sticky and adhesive. This is not something you want inside of your sewer line.

Bathroom Waste

Inorganic bathroom waste is a major cause of sewer line issues. Just because something can be flushed down the toilet doesn’t mean that it should be. Avoid putting non-biodegradable items down the toilet drain. A few common examples include human hair, sanitary products, plastics, baby wipes, or flushable wipes. That latter one is a common misunderstanding: despite what their marketing says, ‘flushable’ wipes are not actually flushable and can cause a clog.

Sagging Sewer Line

Your sewer line does not use electricity or gas to move wastewater from one place (your home) to another (the municipal sewer). Instead, it accomplishes this by using gravity. The sewer line is slightly sloped diagonally so that the end at your home is several inches higher than the end at the street. This helps facilitate the movement of water from one location to another. In most cases, this gradient is very gradual: about a one-fourth of an inch drop for every foot of pipe length.

The Sewer Line “Belly”

No matter how perfectly installed the sewer line was originally, there are some potential problems that can crop up as time goes by. First, the movement of soil around the line. Throughout the year, soil can shift and move due to changes in moisture and local topographic factors. As it does, the line moves, too. If a certain patch of soil sinks, the line also sinks. This can cause a “u” shape to start to form, disrupting the gravity-assisted flow of water out of the system.

This is often known as a sewer line “belly,” and it can cause several issues. First, it creates a place in the line where wastewater gets perpetually stuck and pools. This can lead to foul odors as not all the waste is being discharged from the line. Second, if the wastewater can no longer “climb” back up the other side of the “u,” it may eventually start to back up the line and back into the house.

Dealing with a sagging sewer line

Generally speaking, there are two ways to fix a sagging sewer line. The first is relatively self-explanatory: the plumber digs up the sewer line and fixes the sag, either by replacing that section of line or by restoring it to its original position. However, this requires digging a trench in your yard to get to the line, and may not be practical for every home. Plumbers have two other options in such cases:

  • Guidance Method: Using this method, the plumber pushes the old pipe out using the new pipes and compacts the soil around it as they go, maintaining the slope.
  • Sliplining: The plumber inserts a smaller sewer line into the current one, and then pulls away the old line. The only downside of this method is that the smaller diameter of the new sewer line may be easier to clog in the future.

Schedule a camera inspection

The best way to diagnose sewer line clogs, leaks, and other issues is by using a sewer line camera tool. Most plumbing professionals—including ours here at ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing—have specialized snake tools that allow us to feed a small camera down the drain and into the line. As the camera moves through the line, we can see any points of trouble and any partially formed clogs.

If you have reason to believe that your sewer line is experiencing issues, a sewer line inspection is the next step. Talk to your local plumbing professional about scheduling a camera inspection.

Warning signs of a sewer line blockage

There are many potential warning signs of a sewer line clog or leak. Here are the two that you need to be on the lookout for in your home:

Simultaneous clogging

When a single drain pipe in your home is clogged, you’ll notice that the sink is backing up, the toilet won’t flush, or the shower basin is starting to flood. This is a pretty regular occurrence, and—in most cases—the problem can be solved locally by running the garbage disposal, plunging the toilet, or cleaning out the shower drain.

However, if all the drains and toilets in your home are clogged at the same time, this is almost as sure a sign as any that something is wrong deep inside of the sewer line. You should immediately turn the water off and call a plumber for service.

Slow-moving drains

Not every sewer line clog starts as a complete and total blockage. In most cases, sewer line clogs are first noticed when they only partially block the line. You’ll start to see your drains draining more and more slowly as this happens.

Call ABC for help clearing a sewer line clog

The above are the most common reasons for a residential sewer line clog. You should contact the licensed and certified plumbers at ABC to come and diagnose the exact reason for a clog. After assessing the reason for, and the location of, the clog, our plumber will use professional tools to efficiently get your sewer system working again.

In case you reside in San Jose, Hayward, or the surrounding locations in much of the Bay Area, you should contact our team for expert help for sewer line clogs. Our professional plumbers will quickly diagnose the problem and resolve any issues with your home plumbing.

4 DIY energy upgrades you can make in your home

Owning a home takes a lot of work and money. On top of the mortgage, property taxes, and maintenance costs, Bay Area homeowners can be in for a rude awakening when they open that first summer electric bill. Here’s the good news: there are actually quite a few ways for homeowners to make their home more efficient and lower their energy bills. In this article, we’ll review some DIY energy upgrades you can make in your home this summer for greater comfort and savings.

One of the best DIY energy upgrades is adjusting the temperature of your water heater.

Lowering your water heater temperature is one of the best DIY energy upgrades you can make in your home. If you’re not sure how to do this, call us and have a plumber from ABC adjust the temperature of your water heater.

Start with a home energy audit from our team

Before you can start upgrading your home, you need to know where to start. That’s why we recommend that you call our team to schedule your 26-point home energy assessment. Our certified energy experts run through a professional energy audit, finding the places where your home is both saving and wasting energy. We then translate the data from our tests into easy-to-implement recommendations for improvements.

While some of our recommendations—such as upgrading to a new, more efficient air conditioner or adding attic insulation—require the assistance of a professional HVAC technician, there are many projects that homeowners can tackle immediately to put their home on the road to future savings. If you do have ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing work in your home after an energy audit, we’ll perform another set of measurements after the upgrades have been completed so that you can measure the positive change in your energy efficiency.

Tackle these DIY energy upgrades and start saving!

Add weatherstripping

A majority of the energy used in the home typically goes to the air conditioner and furnace. That means homeowners here in the Bay Area spend a lot of their utility bill cooling and heating their home, depending on the season. Anything you can do to retain more of that cooled or heated air is going to have a positive impact on your energy use and costs.

Here’s a low-cost, easy way to prevent the loss of cooled and heated air: add weatherstripping around your doors and windows. You’d be surprised how much energy is wasted by drafty exterior entryways. Efficiency-boosting weatherstripping can be found at any hardware store, and the minor investment is typically well worth the results.

Lower your water temperature

Without knowing it, many homeowners keep their water heater at a much higher temperature than it needs to be. This is especially true since many manufacturers set the default temperature at 140 degrees, while the minimum temperature recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is actually 120 degrees. Why the difference? For one, higher temperatures in the tank kill off harmful bacteria faster, although the DOE notes that 120 degrees works just as well in that regard for most households.

Too high of water temperature actually has a number of negative effects. First, it can pose a serious scald risk, especially to children. Second, any additional heat in the water heater tank means additional pressure on the tank itself. Finally—and most relevant to this article—continually keeping water hotter than it needs to be for household use wastes money.

Your water heater should have a temperature dial where you can adjust the temperature setting. By lowering the tank temperature from 140 degrees to 120 degrees, you can save between 6-10% on your home’s energy costs. Not sure how to do this? Be sure to talk to the plumbers on our team for water heater service.

Put your lights on a timer

In addition to upgrading any older light bulbs to LED or CFL bulbs, you should also watch your household lighting use. Policing yourself or kids when it comes to turning off the lights can get, well, old for everyone in the house. We recommend that homeowners add timers to control when lights turn on and off for the night.

If you want to take things a step further, use smart switches or bulbs that allow you to control the lights from your smartphone. That way, if you forget to turn off the lights when you leave, you can always do it on the go. This upgrade is convenient and will help you cut down on your home’s energy use.

Upgrade to a smart thermostat

Just like your lights, there’s a lot of energy waste that occurs because humans just aren’t good at remembering to do small, repetitive tasks on a daily basis. For many homeowners, adjusting the thermostat back up when they leave is easy to forget, yet—as a mistake repeated day after day—can really lead to a spike in unnecessary energy use and higher electric bills.

A smart thermostat solves this problem by allowing you to put your home on a schedule that accounts for when you’re regularly away from home, such as days you’re at work for 8 hours. With this control, you can have the air conditioner take a break while you’re gone, and then set your home to cool back down 30 minutes before you walk through the door.

Not all smart thermostats are the same! Look for ones with other helpful features, such as learning technology that allows the thermostat to program the most-efficient schedule on its own. If you have questions about smart thermostats and which models are compatible with your HVAC systems, call our team.

For more energy-saving advice and projects, call your friends at ABC!

As it turns out, there are quite a few projects that Bay Area homeowners can take on themselves to improve their home’s energy efficiency. Many of these upgrades have twin benefits: they both make your home more comfortable and lower your energy bills. Just remember: some of the most impactful energy upgrades—from upgrading to a new air conditioner to having new insulation installed—will need to be handled by a professional. Don’t forget to plan and budget for those changes if you really want to start saving.

If you’re ready to get started using less energy and saving money, our home energy audit is a great place to start. With a checklist from our team, you’ll be able to start knocking out items and watch your electric bill decrease every month.

Popular plumbing services in the Fremont area

As most homeowners know, it’s a good idea to have experienced service professionals already picked out so that you know exactly who to call when you need something repaired in your home. Here in the Bay Area, ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing is your best choice for your home’s plumbing repair, upkeep, and installation needs. For plumbing in Fremont and other parts of the East Bay, you’ll want to give us a call. In this article, we’ll review what services we offer and what makes ABC a trusted source for local plumbing services.

What plumbing services does ABC offer?

We’re your full-service plumbing team. Our plumbers are ready to handle any and all of your home’s plumbing needs, from finding and fixing a leaking pipe to repairing your water heater.

While many other plumbing companies here in the Bay Area specialize in just one or two plumbing services, our plumbers have the experience and equipment to handle all residential plumbing projects, no matter how simple or complex the issue is. So, whether you have a clogged toilet or are dealing with a slab leak, call us for service.

Our plumbing services in Fremont:

Our team is proud to offer the following plumbing services to homeowners in Fremont and the surrounding communities of the East Bay:

  • Bathtub & Shower Repair
  • Drain Cleaning
  • Drain Installation
  • Faucet Repair & Faucet Installation
  • Garbage Disposal Repair
  • Gas Line Services
  • Pipe Repair
  • Sink Repair
  • Sink Installation
  • Toilet Repair
  • Toilet Installation
  • Water Heater Repair
  • Water Heater Installation

In addition to the services listed here, we can help with your general kitchen and bathroom plumbing needs, ranging from installing water line connections to troubleshooting bathtub drain problems.

Call ABC when you need plumbing services in Fremont.

Call our team for plumbing services here in Fremont and the Tri-City area.

What are common plumbing service needs in Fremont?

Some of the most common plumbing needs and service calls in Fremont and the Tri-City area include water heater repair and installation, drain cleaning, and pipe repair. If you think about it, this isn’t surprising: every home has a water heater, so repair, maintenance, and installation calls are relatively common for our team. Similarly, drains are a key component of indoor plumbing, and clogged drains and toilets are a regular occurrence for most homeowners.

That brings us to pipe repair: while Fremont does have some new development, there are many neighborhoods in the East Bay that were built in the 50s, 60s, and 70s or even earlier. For homeowners in such properties, their existing pipes and plumbing are beginning to age. As such, we see more pipe repair and pipe replacement calls coming in here in Fremont.

How do you know when you need plumbing repair?

Some plumbing problems are immediately apparent. For example, when your water heater stops working and you can’t take a hot shower that morning, you’ll know you need to call a plumber. Other issues may be harder to notice, such as a water heater pressure-relief valve that is stuck and not discharging properly. Here are a few tips for determining when you need to take action:

  • Trust your gut: If something feels off about your water heater, your pipes, or your drains, don’t ignore your instincts. Follow up with a plumber. Homeowners are often very adept at noticing slight disruptions to their routine or changes in their home, such as slightly discolored water coming from the tap that may be an indicator of corrosion inside of their water heater.
  • Establish good maintenance habits: At ABC, we recommend you flush your water heater and check its pressure-relief valve at least once per year. This kind of preventative maintenance can not only prevent problems, but also give you a heads-up when you need to call in a plumber.

Why call us for your plumbing service needs?

Here are just a few of the positive qualities that set ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing apart from other plumbing service companies here in the Bay Area:

Experienced, friendly plumbers

Trust us: your home’s pipes and plumbing are not things you want to leave to an beginner plumber who is on their first job. In contrast, the plumbers at ABC are experienced, trained professionals who take pride in their work, service, and craftsmanship. When an ABC service vehicle arrives at your home, you can have confidence that the plumber inside is ready to address your home’s plumbing needs and get the job done right. In addition, all of our plumbers are background-checked for your peace of mind.

Super service

What separates average companies from great ones? We’d argue that it’s the people. At ABC, we make it our priority to hire the best plumbers and technicians here in the Bay Area, because we know that investment in our people pays dividends for our customers. We’re a service-oriented company that exists to help you and your home with your plumbing needs.

When you hire us, you can expect top-notch, friendly service from our plumbers, from the protective blue “booties” we wear over our shoes while in your home to our willingness to answer your questions and keep you informed throughout the project.

No additional charge for weekends

Plumbing problems don’t adhere to a traditional Monday-Friday schedule. At ABC, we don’t charge our customers extra for work on weekends or holidays. No matter what day of the week it is, give us a call and we’ll get a plumber out to your home to address your plumbing issue as soon as possible.

Our work is backed by our guarantees

Every great company should be willing to back their words and their work with real guarantees. In fact, all of our plumbing services come backed by two guarantees: our 100% satisfaction promise and our 1-year warranty on our labor. When you hire us, you deserve the peace of mind that comes with bringing a true plumbing professional onto the project. That’s what our guarantees bring you and your home.

What plumbing repairs should you avoid doing yourself?

In today’s day and age, many homeowners feel empowered by online videos and tutorials, and are tackling more of their home’s maintenance and repair needs themselves.

For the most part, this is a positive development: homeowners who are aware of their home’s maintenance and upkeep needs are going to prevent some plumbing issues from developing in the first place. However, there are certain plumbing projects that should be left to a professional. Here’s why:

  • Training: Even the most comprehensive of online tutorials is no substitute for the years of training and real-world experience that each of our plumbers have. Your home’s plumbing is a critical component of life in your home. Plumbing repairs are best left to professionals.
  • Tools: Even if you feel comfortable with how to do something, you may not have the right, specialized tools to complete the job, and it may not make sense to invest in those tools. Alternatively, completing the plumbing project with the wrong tools could lead to disaster.
  • Time: For busy homeowners, dealing with your home’s plumbing issues is a distraction from everything else you do on a daily basis: work, spending time with your kids, eating, and sleeping. DIY plumbing projects often turn into multi-day affairs, which is just that much longer you have to go without a working water heater or garbage disposal.

In general, we recommend calling a plumber for nearly all of your home’s repair needs. But, you should especially consider bringing in a professional when dealing with your pipes, water heater, or gas lines, as these represent areas of high risk.

We’re here for homeowners in the Tri-City area!

Since 1953, ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing has built our positive reputation here in Fremont by offering super service from a team of friendly, knowledgeable plumbers. Experience the benefits of working with true professionals by giving us a call for all your home’s plumbing needs. Our plumbers are ready to troubleshoot and fix your home’s plumbing problems.

4 water heater warning signs and when to call a plumber in San Leandro

In our previous blog, we discussed the importance of regular water heater maintenance and upkeep. But, how do you know if your water heater is having problems, and—if it is—what should you do about it? In this article, we’ll review common water heater problems and when to bring in a professional plumber in San Leandro.

At ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing, we’re here for all your water heater repair, upkeep, and replacement needs. Call us for fast, expert service here in San Leandro and the East Bay!

What are the warning signs of impending water heater trouble?

While there are some water heaters that just stop working, many water heaters exhibit symptoms and warning signs ahead of them failing. Here are some of the potential signs of trouble to look out for:

A plumber in San Leandro works on a local water heater.

If you’re noticing water heater warning signs such as leaks or performance issues, call ABC to have an expert plumber in San Leandro out to your home to identify and fix the issue.

Age

Most standard water heaters last about 10-12 years before they need to be replaced with a new unit. Tankless water heaters generally last about double that, 18-20 years.

Where your water heater ends up inside of that range can depend on both upkeep and luck. With the right water heater maintenance—including the replacement of the anode rod about 5-6 years in—you can typically extend that lifespan by a few years. But, generally, homeowners should be starting to prepare for the possibility of replacing the water heater by year 8, and keeping an even closer eye on the system after year 10. After year 12, every year is borrowed time.

Less hot water

It’s not your imagination: the water may be getting colder. As water heaters start to fail, they often become unable to keep up with the hot water demands put on them by your family and your home like they once did. This is true even if your family’s hot water use has essentially remained unchanged over the past decade.

It’s not that the capacity of your water heater has been diminished, but that the heating element is not able to heat the water as effectively as it once did due to mineral buildup inside of the tank. Instead of a tank full of properly heated water, the water supply is lukewarm, resulting in colder water at the shower head or sink faucet. Regularly scheduled water heater flushes can help alleviate this problem, but hard deposit buildup is just a part of aging for most standard water heaters.

Leaks

Most homeowners first spot water heater trouble in the form of a puddle of water underneath or around the tank. This typically indicates one of two problems—both of which should be addressed by a plumbing expert:

  • Excess Pressure: As mentioned in our water heater maintenance blog, the water heater pressure relief valve is designed to open and release water when excess pressure builds inside of the tank. If water is discharging from this valve on a regular basis, something is clearly wrong with the water heater and its temperature setting. Over time, excess heat and pressure in the tank puts additional strain on it, which can lead to the problem outlined in the bullet below.
  • Tank Leaks: Once it has finished “eating” through the anode rod, corrosion typically attacks the water heater’s interior tank lining and walls. The end result are small cracks and leaks that form, releasing small amounts of water onto the floor below the water heater. However, given that your water heater is pressurized, even the smallest of these leaks could suddenly burst open, releasing gallons of water into your basement, garage, or utility closet.

Here’s the bottom-line: if you see water on the floor beneath your water heater, don’t just assume it’s nothing. Call in one of the professional plumbers at ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing and have us inspect your water heater to ensure that it isn’t on the verge of a catastrophic tank burst.

Other signs of trouble

In addition to all the warning signs listed above, call our plumbers if you:

  • hear any strange sounds coming from your water heater,
  • notice a significant change in your water quality,
  • or cannot get your pressure-relief valve to discharge hot water during an annual test.

These are all signs that your water heater may need to be repaired or replaced.

When in doubt, call a professional

While there are some aspects of water heater maintenance that homeowners can perform themselves (such as an annual flush), all water heater troubleshooting and repairs should be left to an experienced, licensed plumber with professional-grade tools. DIY water heater repair is dangerous and can often make the initial problem far worse.

For example, the hot water in the tank represents a scald risk for untrained people working on the heater or its valves, and the outcome of improperly completed maintenance and repairs could be a flooded home. It’s just not worth it: call a plumber.

Need a water heater specialist here in San Leandro? Call us at ABC!

We’re your go-to professionals for water heater repair and replacement services here in San Leandro and the East Bay. If you are experiencing water heater performance or efficiency issues—or have noticed the signs of trouble outlined above—call us for fast, reliable plumbing repair service from our experienced plumbers.