• The Hazards of Ignoring Your Old Water Heater Until It Fails

    Hot Water Heater

    Water heaters tend to be one of those home appliances that go largely unnoticed and un-maintained until a huge problem arises. From flooded basements to cold showers, here are just a few of the hazards of putting off replacing your old water heater .

    Water Leaks

    A typical water heater has a life expectancy of around seven to 10 years. If your unit is approaching this age, you should start scheduling regular inspections in order to avoid a flooded basement, garage, or home, depending on the appliance’s placement. Gradual corrosion usually determines a water heater’s life expectancy. Over time, minerals naturally contained in water can eat away at the unit’s tank, causing leaks.

    Sediment Buildup

    The same minerals that corrode a water heater’s tank also tend to build up in the bottom of a unit over time. This sediment buildup is a common cause of water heater problems such as a sudden lack of hot water while taking a shower. Scheduling regular water heater maintenance is a good way to avoid sediment buildup. A plumber will empty your water heater and flush out any accumulated sediment, all while inspecting your unit for other problems. 

    Gas Leaks and Explosions

    Though exceedingly rare, every so often, a home fire or explosion may stem from a hot water heater. Fires can occur when vapor from your unit leaks into the air, igniting when the flame kicks on. Explosions are more common among older water heaters, which lack the thick protector seals of new units. If you’re concerned about an explosion or fire risk, talk to your plumber. 

    With emergency 24-hour plumbing services available, All Plumbing, Inc. is here when you need us. We provide highly respected plumbing and water heater repair services to homeowners in Arlington and throughout Northern Virginia. Call (703) 525-7973 to set up an appointment today.

  • How to Shut Off Your Home’s Water

    Knowing how to shut off the water at your meter can be invaluable when a leak, burst pipe, or other plumbing emergency occurs. All water meters have a valve that can be closed to cut water from the municipal supply to your home. This video explains how to operate this valve.

    Keep in mind that you may need a specialized key, available from most plumbers or hardware supply stores, in order to operate the valve. Locate your water meter, and then open the plastic or metal cover. Inside will be a valve you can either operate by hand or with the key. Turn the valve until it closed, and you are done—your water supply is shut off.

    For more tips, to learn about your plumbing system, or to schedule maintenance, contact All Plumbing, Inc. at (571) 451-2971. We have been providing emergency plumbing services to our Northern Virginia customers for over 30 years.

  • Learn More About All Plumbing’s Services by Following These Links

    Frozen pipes can burst at any time during the day or night. Luckily, All Plumbing, Inc. has 24/7 emergency services. Learn what causes a frozen pipe and more with the great resources below.

    plumber drain

    • NE.gov can help you understand what causes a frozen pipe , where pipes freeze, and how to shut off the water in your home.
    • Visit this page from the American Backflow Prevention Association to understand how backflow occurs.
    • Head to Energy.gov to learn about the low-energy operation of tankless water heaters.
    • This interactive page from the University of Southern California can help you familiarize yourself with the terms associated with backflow and backflow prevention.

    For more information, contact us at (571) 451-2971.

  • Why Do Frozen Pipes Burst?

    Calling an emergency plumber at midnight to fix a burst pipe is something no homeowner wants to experience. When pipes freeze, the risk of bursting increases, but not because of the expanding ice inside the pipe. Instead, pipes burst due to building water pressure. By understanding why frozen pipes burst, and how to prevent your pipes from freezing in the first place, you can avoid a messy and costly situation.

    Cold faucet

    When a Pipe Freezes, Water Pressure Increases.
    It’s true that water expands when it freezes into ice, but it’s not the ice itself that can damage pipes. When ice forms inside a pipe, water becomes backed up instead of flowing through, causing intense pressure buildup. Most pipes burst between the location of the freeze and the plumbing in your home, as opposed to between the freeze and your local water supply. This is another reason why burst pipes can be so expensive—the leak often occurs inside the home, which can damage possessions or create structural issues.

    Liquid water does not compress, so literally any other material must give way under extreme pressure. Even the strongest metal pipe stands no chance of overcoming high-pressure water; if the frozen block in a pipe continues to move towards your home, water pressure will increase further until the pipe itself bursts.

    The Key to Protecting Your Home Is to Take Action.
    The best way to avoid a burst pipe is to not let your pipes freeze in the first place. Though insulating your pipes and installing heat tape can prevent your pipes from freezing, there may come a time when a freeze occurs. If you turn on a tap and no water comes out, this is a sure sign that you have a frozen pipe.

    When this occurs, it’s best to open the taps around your home to a trickle on both the hot and cold sides. This can relieve the pressure and prevent bursting. Open cabinet doors under sinks to allow warmer air to circulate near the piping.

    If you suspect a frozen pipe or a leak, call All Plumbing, Inc. at (571) 451-2971. We will fix your plumbing safely so your home can operate at its peak all year long. Our 24-hour emergency plumbing services are always available to Arlington residents.

  • Save Energy, Water, and Time with a Tankless Water Heater

    Heating your home’s water with a traditional storage tank water heater can comprise a large chunk of your energy bill. Depending on the size of your home and how much hot water you use, your water heater can have a real impact on your energy costs, especially during the winter. Tankless water heaters, appropriately sized by your plumbing professional , can provide all the hot water you need for your entire home and even cost less to operate. Read on to find out why going tankless can help you enjoy endless hot water and lower bills.

    bathroom with clawfoot tub

    Save Energy
    When compared to traditional water heaters, tankless units have a very important and energy-saving feature : They only operate when hot water is in demand. In contrast, a storage tank water heater cycles constantly throughout the day in order to keep the temperature of the water inside the tank at the level set by the thermostat. This means that traditional water heaters turn on and off whether you’re using hot water or not, even when you’re asleep.

    Tankless water heaters activate the moment hot water is demanded, and shut off as soon as hot water is no longer needed. Otherwise, they don’t operate—plain and simple.

    Save Water
    Because your tankless water heater only heats water as you use it and as soon as it’s demanded, you waste less water while waiting for the shower to warm up. You never have to worry about running out of hot water, either—the cold water supply feeds directly into the tankless unit and is heated instantly for delivery to your shower, sink, dishwasher, or washing machine.

    Save Time
    You may have heard that tankless water heaters provide “instant” and indefinite hot water. As soon as you open a hot tap, hot water rushes through your plumbing and is delivered to the faucet. There is no delay in waiting for the water to heat up; the tankless unit will continually heat water until you’re done.

    All Plumbing, Inc. of Northern Virginia can size and install the right tankless water heater for your home. Let us change the way you enjoy hot water and help you lower your bills. Call us at (571) 451-2971 if you would like to learn more.

  • What to Do After a Frozen Pipe Bursts

    Even the smallest crack in a frozen pipe can allow a massive amount of water to enter your home. This can be devastating for vacationing homeowners who have left for warmer climates during the winter, only to return to a severely water-damaged home . Frozen pipes affect more than 50 million American families every year.

    This video from State Farm will help you understand how to react to a frozen pipe. First, shut off the water in your home by locating the main shutoff valve, which is often in the basement. You can also shut off the water from street level at your water meter. You may also want to turn off any affected electrical circuits at your service panel. Contacting your plumber and insurance company should be your next steps, helping you to get everything back to normal as soon as possible.

    Watch this video to learn more about preventing frozen pipes. You can also contact All Plumbing, Inc. at (571) 451-2971 for information about winterizing you plumbing. We are happy to help you protect your Arlington home , offering 24-hour emergency plumbing services.

  • Find More Useful Plumbing Information by Visiting These Resources

    Read the articles below to understand what causes frozen pipes to burst ; how to tell the difference between a clogged drain and a clogged sewer line; how a tankless water heater can save you energy, time, and water; and even why backflow prevention devices are necessary.

    WaterHeater Cutaway

    All Plumbing, Inc. can give you the information and services you need to protect your plumbing system and enjoy lower utility bills. Learn more about our maintenance and repair services for residential and commercial customers of Arlington by calling us at (571) 451-2971 today.

  • What Is the Main Purpose of a Backflow Prevention Device?

    Backflow is a term that describes water flowing oppositely of the intended direction in a plumbing and water supply system. Water is supposed to flow in one direction within a plumbing network —to your house from a municipal supply, and then directly to the sewer or septic system, for example. Backflow presents a contamination danger and can occur in a variety ways. A properly installed backflow prevention device is intended to keep backflow from occurring regardless of the cause.

    Plumbing, man with wrenches

    How Backflow Prevention Devices Work
    Backflow prevention devices (BPDs) are designed in a few different ways to prevent backflow from occurring. They can use air gaps, spring-powered check valves, and even detectors to react to water flowing in the wrong direction. Without a BPD, your main water supply may be vulnerable to infiltration by non-potable water.

    Why Backflow Prevention Devices Are Necessary
    Non-potable water is hazardous to your health. Backflow water can contain sewage, bacteria, chemicals, microbes, pathogens, and any other contaminants that have entered the water drainage system. Backflow can occur at a damaged cross-connection or due to back pressure, often far away from your home. There are also localized causes of backflow. For example, even the water from your garden hose can return to your potable water supply because of back siphonage.

    For commercial buildings, especially those dealing with contaminants, BPDs are absolutely necessary. An office building could be contaminated by a neighboring carwash, for example. Localized backflow issues can also occur.

    Finding the right backflow prevention devices for your home or business can keep you healthy and protected. All Plumbing, Inc. of Arlington can help you understand why installing a backflow prevention device in your plumbing system is a necessary measure, and we can help you protect your home or building. Call us at (571) 451-2971 for more information or visit our website today.