The Plumber's Blog

How Water Heater Maintenance Can Save You Money

By performing regular maintenance on your Tampa water heater, you can reduce the amount that you pay every month on heating your water, which can translate to a significant amount over the years. These regular maintenance steps can also help your water heater to have fewer issues and last for its expected lifespan.

Lower the Thermostat on the Water Heater

Did you know that most homeowners have their water heater thermostats set far too high? Most units are set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature that can cause burns in less than six seconds of exposure. Our licensed plumbers in Tampa recommend reducing your water temperature to 120 degrees. This temperature is far more comfortable and safe, and it will reduce the amount of energy your tank has to use to get water to the appropriate temperature.

It is worth noting that not all water heater thermostats read temperatures accurately, especially on older models. You may want to test the temperature of your water before moving your thermostat to ensure that your water is heated to the temperature you want.

Drain Sediment from the Tank Every 3 Months

It is natural for Tampa hot water heaters to build up sediment, especially calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is a mineral that is naturally present in water, but it separates from the water during the heating process. This builds up on the bottom of the tank and makes it more difficult for your water heater to heat the water. Our plumbers encourage you to drain roughly a quart of water from your tank every three months to remove the sediment build-up. You should fully drain your tank every two years.

Insulate Exposed Pipes and the Tank

You can keep your hot water at its hottest by insulating the pipes that bring it to you. Any exposed hot water pipes should be insulated with foam insulation to reduce heat loss. You can also insulate your hot water heater if it is an older model. Ask one of our Tampa plumbers about whether your water heater would benefit from added insulation.

Check for Leaks

A leaky hot water heater is wasting energy to heat water that drips onto your floor. You should check your water heater once a month. Check the faucet to the heater to make sure it is not leaking. If you find a leak, call The Pampering Plumber immediately. Leaks may be a sign that your water heater needs replacing or repairs.

How To Make Your Garbage Disposal Last

Garbage disposals are a huge convenience, however, the second your garbage disposal doesn’t work properly, life becomes much more difficult. Our Tampa plumbing service wants to help you make sure that your garbage disposal works properly for as long as possible with these tips.

The Garbage Disposal Is Not a Trash Can

While “garbage” is in the name, you should never put non-food items down your garbage disposal. You should also not expect your disposal to handle large quantities of food. It is only intended to handle small quantities of food at a time, such as what might be left on your plate after you’ve eaten a good meal. Our Tampa plumbers also want to note that certain foods should not be put down the disposal, including dry rice, dry pasta, fibrous foods like celery and corn husks, popcorn kernels, animal bones, grease, and oil.

Always Run Cold Water When You Run the Garbage Disposal

You want to run cold water whenever you put food down the garbage disposal and run the disposal immediately to clear it while the water is running. Cold water keeps food particles from sticking to the pipes and causing clogs. It also helps any grease that might be present in your food to solidify so that the disposal can process it.

Sharpen and Clean the Blades

Before we begin to explain this tip, our Tampa plumbing professionals want to remind you that you should never put your hand down the disposal drain. You can easily injure yourself even if the disposal is off.

So, if you can’t put your hands down the disposal, how can you sharpen the blades and clean them? Simple — our Tampa plumbers recommend that you put a few handfuls of ice into the disposal and run it to help keep the blades sharp. To clean the blades, you can use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar or you can use a lemon sliced into wedges. Put the lemon into the disposal a few slices at a time and run with water. For the baking soda solution, pour 1/4 of a cup of baking soda into the disposal. Follow this with 1/4 of a cup of vinegar. Allow the solution to foam, then run your disposal with cold water.

Call a Plumber

If something seems off about your garbage disposal, don’t hesitate to call one of our licensed plumbers in Tampa. We can help  diagnose and fix the problem quickly so that you can get back to your life.

Find Out If You Need a New Water Heater

Hot water heaters are absolutely essential for any Tampa homeowner. They allow you the comfort of a hot shower or bath, and they also give you extra sanitizing power when you are washing clothes or dishes. Hot water heaters typically have long life expectancy, that range anywhere from 15 to 20 years with proper care. Most homeowners will honestly put it out of their minds that their unit will need to be replaced someday. They just assume that someday will be later down the line, even when it was actually yesterday.

Fortunately, hot water heaters do give off some signs that the time has come to replace them. If you see any of the following signs, you should call your local Tampa plumber to inspect your hot water heater and determine whether it needs to be replaced.

There Is No Hot Water

There are a variety of issues that could be causing your hot water heater to not be producing hot water. Your pilot light could be out, your power source could simply have disconnected or you may have a damaged component. However, it’s also a sign that you may have a water heater that needs replacing. If your unit has exceeded its projected life expectancy, you will need to replace the unit instead of trying to repair it.

The Tank Is Leaking

Sometimes hot water heaters will leak. Some of these leaks are easily repaired by one of our licensed plumbers in Tampa, but some can indicate it’s time to replace your water heater. If the leak is located in the main tank and caused by corrosion, it’s time to replace your unit.

There Is Rust or Discoloration in the Hot Water

Whenever you see discoloration in your water, call our Tampa plumbing service immediately. This can be a sign of a pipe failure, rust in your pipes or a failing water heater. It is crucial to determine the cause of the discoloration and have it handled immediately.

The Hot Water Runs Out Too Quickly

If you’ve lived in your home for even a short while, you know how long it takes before the hot water runs out. If it seems like the hot water is always running out more quickly than you expect it to, you may be having issues with your Tampa water heater.

Common Causes of Bathroom Clogs

By far the most common issue that our Tampa plumbers are called out to take care of is clogged bathroom sinks, tubs, and showers. Bathrooms are notorious for clogging, and many households will deal with at least one clogged bathroom drain once every year. Some of these clogs can easily be cared for by using a basic sink plunger, but others require the knowledge of a skilled Tampa plumber. These are some of the most frequent causes of bathroom clogs that we see:


Hair has the tendency to accumulate over time, especially in our drains. It gets trapped in the sludge and gunk that naturally lines pipes, settles down in the p-trap of your pipes and starts to tangle and accumulate. Plumbers have to use specialized drain snakes to remove the thick clogs hair causes.

Soap Scum

Soap scum is still one of the leading causes of buildup in drain pipes, to the point where it can block up a drain completely. Soap scum also creates acidic chemical compounds as it sits on your drain pipe, and these compounds can damage your pipes’ interior. Chemical drain cleaners can worsen this damage, so it is crucial for you to call our Tampa plumbing service.

Small Objects

If you have children, pets, or even a slightly clumsy spouse, you know how easy it is for small objects to mysteriously find their way into your sink or drain. We often are able to catch these before they make it too far down the drain, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen. Our Tampa commercial plumbers can help you to find the object that is clogging your drain and extract it so that your drain will work properly. Even if the object you know fell into the drain is small enough to let water get through, you should have a plumber extract it so that it does not build up material and cause a clog.

Do Not Use Chemical Drain Cleaner

Some homeowners assume that the way to handle any clog in their bathroom drains is to attack it with a store-bought chemical drain cleaner. Unfortunately, this is the very worst decision these homeowners could make. These chemicals are highly acidic, and they are extremely harmful to drain pipes. These chemicals also create toxic fumes as they work, which can lead to them harming your family. Instead of using these unsafe chemicals, call your friendly Tampa plumbers at The Pampering Plumber instead.

What To Ask Your Plumber

You can hardly wait to upgrade your bathroom or kitchen with a new sink, bathtub or shower, but for the majority of homeowners, these kinds of projects are best left to someone who has had extensive experience in the field. Thanks to the Internet, you can find dozens of local plumbing contractors eager to take your next job within seconds, but how do you know which one to hire?

Tampa Plumber Consultation for Beginners

The best plumber is the one that will provide quality work, affordable rates, and have prior experience with similar projects. For simple run-of-the-mill jobs (e.g. installing a new toilet, rerouting a water line, etc.), most any licensed contractor should do the trick. More complex projects such as large-scale remodels or the installation of high-end devices are best left to Tampa plumbing companies with specialty expertise.

Regardless of what your needs may be, taking the time to thoroughly evaluate the plumbers in your area is imperative. Such decisions should never be made in haste. The Pampering Plumber has been contacted numerous times to remedy the wrongs made by sham contractors. Protect your investment and money by researching in advance — it is well worth the effort!

Ask to see a copy of the plumbing company’s license and insurance. The business must have verifiable workers’ compensation insurance if they have four or more employees working for them. This is in adherence with Florida state law and protects you from being sued if one of the laborers happens to be injured on your property.

The same goes for general liability insurance. You may be liable for any third-party accidents that result from work performed by a Tampa plumber on your premises if they lack it.

Another important question to ask is how the business charges for their service. Will the job be paid hourly or as a flat rate? Furthermore, you should be prepared to inquire about any guarantees of service or product/labor warranties the company offers. Do they have a specific timeline as far as part breakage or failure goes?

Any hesitation on the contractor’s end involving these questions should give you the answer of whether or not you should hire them as your Tampa plumber.

Your Water Heater’s Lifespan

Hot water is a feature of modern living that most people take for granted. Our plumbing pros at The Pampering Plumber want to stress the importance of preventative maintenance, particularly with respect to your home’s hot water system, to make sure the heated H2O in your house keeps flowing.

Getting the Most out of Your Water Heater

Unfortunately in most households, adjusting the temperature dial from time to time is usually the only attention the water heater gets until something goes awry and an emergency call to a plumber must be made. How long your water heater lasts is contingent on multiple factors, the most crucial of which is how well you take care of it.

Tankless models usually last far longer (up to twice as long) than their traditional tank-outfitted equivalents. These types provide an endless supply of on-demand hot water since they do not rely on a storage system for the heating phase. No tank means less mechanical parts to worry about and ultimately less problems to deal with.

Storage tank units can typically function for up to 15 years without needing major repairs, although this lifespan can be shortened to as little as eight years if routine maintenance is avoided. Tankless water heaters may easily surpass the 20-year mark. For both types, but especially for tank models, the hotter the water temperature, the more wear and tear there is on the heating system. Corrosion rates increase markedly when the recommended 130-degree temperature mark is surpassed, especially in areas where hard tap water is rampant.

Sediment and mineral deposits should be inspected and removed on a regular basis, so we advise a full system checkup at least once every year. Contact our licensed plumbers in Tampa for a free consultation or to learn more about formulating a preventative maintenance plan today.

Plumbing Terms To Know

Like most conversations between layman and experts, speaking to a plumbing contractor can seem daunting and confusing. After years of working in a specific field or industry, it is only natural for people to speak in so-called foreign technical languages. Many professionals have a hard time communicating in a way that the average person will understand, although this is one skill everyone should work to master.

How To Talk Like a Tampa Plumber

At The Pampering Plumber, we promise none of our plumbers will ever talk over your head or make you feel inferior. However, to make conversations with them smoother and to provide you with a better understanding of what he or she is referring to, here is a brief lingo cheat sheet. This should help bridge the communication gap, which will make for a more successful, efficient project in the end!

Solder — The metal substance that fuses two or more surfaces together. Soldering uses a lead or tin alloy and heats the material along with a base metal. The resulting bond is durable and impenetrable.

Access Panel — The area in your home that provides access to specific plumbing or electrical controls. These covered openings can be found in walls, floors, and ceilings. Be sure to ask our Tampa plumbing staff where the access panel is located for emergency purposes.

Branch Drain — One of many drains in your home’s sewage system network that leads to the main drain line. All secondary sewer pipes are considered branch drains, since they are all connected to one another in configuration.

PVC — Polyvinyl chloride. These are the white plumbing lines most modern homes and retrofitted houses are outfitted with. PVC piping is a growing alternative to copper.

Trap — This is the part of a drain line that holds water to prevent gases from resurfacing. Every garbage disposal has a trap that keeps the odor from flushed food from coming back up the pipe.

Plumbing Putty — An adhesive that is used to make watertight seals around fixture fittings and pipe joints. The residue hardens once applied and is an essential tool for preventing water leaks.

Run — The total length of a pipe from start to end.

There are many more terms that plumbers in Tampa use on a daily basis, but getting a general handle on the ones listed above will surely help facilitate any conversations you have with one. We do not expect our customers to be masters of the trade, but better communication is always a good thing!

Plumbing with PVC Pipes

For the longest time, copper was used as the primary residential and commercial Tampa plumbing material, and for many good reasons. This metal is highly resistant to corrosion and can handle cold and hot temperatures very well. Most older homes that have not had their plumbing lines updated still feature copper tubing, but a more affordable alternative has dominated the modern housing market: PVC.

Why Tampa Plumbers Use PVC

The more money builders save, the more savings are passed onto the homeowner. Polyvinyl chloride, commonly known as PVC, can be found in almost all new residential construction projects. Strong, durable, and flexible, this specialty plastic first made its way into the plumbing market in the 1950s, but manufacturers have since created a wide array of PVC products.

A unique blend of vinyl and plastic, this material affords nearly all the benefits of copper, stainless steel, and galvanized steel with very few of their respective drawbacks. Perhaps most important is its affordability. With thousands of new homes being built every day and a major emphasis on efficiency, developers, plumbing contractors, and homeowners are all striving for one thing: cost-effective, sustainable housing!

Unlike many types of metal (copper being the exception), PVC is not affected by rust, rot, or general wear and tear. The hybridization of plastic and vinyl forms an ultra-protective coating that is quite capable of withstanding the elements. Given its high durability, PVC is commonly used for both water and sewer lines. The advantage it has over other materials with regards to sewer pipes is that it does not bend easily.

In earthquake-prone regions, PVC has prevented millions of dollars in potential damage. If that does not say cost-effective, we do not know what does! In terms of lifespan, modern polyvinyl chloride can easily last upwards of 100 years. Coupled with a century of a low to no maintenance, one can begin to see why metal may soon be phased out of the residential plumbing market.

Certain commercial and industrial applications still require steel and other high-pressure resistant materials, but the use of copper is bound to dwindle at some point. PVC is the go-to choice for plumbing in Tampa due to its many benefits.

Outdoor Plumbing Problems

While indoor plumbing issues typically get more attention, outdoor plumbing issues can end up being the source of major water bills, flooding, and even damage to your home and property. It is not often easy to discover the source of these issues on your own, which is why we always recommend that you call out one of our skilled plumbers to diagnose and fix the issue when you first notice it.

Roof Damage

Leaks can come from a variety of sources, including damage to your roof. However, it is often difficult to impossible to diagnose the source of these leaks on your own. Roof damage, for instance, can only be discovered by looking at the roof from the outside, which is something you definitely should leave to the professionals.

Our licensed plumbers in Tampa can help you to determine the source of a roof leak and the level of damage you will need to have repaired. Please remember that you will have to hire a roofing contractor to fix your roof. We cannot fix the damage ourselves, but we have contractors that we can recommend.

Faucet Leaks

Nearly every house in Tampa has at least one outdoor faucet, and some even have several. Unfortunately, outdoor faucets are notorious for leaking, and this can cause some major issues, not to mention high water bills. Typically, broken hardware is the cause of these leaks, but that is not always the case. One of our Tampa plumbers can determine what the cause of your leak is and fix it easily.

Flooded Pool Area

What home in Tampa doesn’t have a pool? If you’ve ever come out to swim and discovered that the area around your pool has flooded, it’s a sign of a problem. The problem could be with your pool or your plumbing, but the only way to know for sure is to have one of our Tampa commercial plumbers investigate the source of the issue.

Issues in and near Your Garage

It may be surprising, but sometimes your garage area can be the source of leaks and flooding outside. This can sometimes be caused by your hot water heater, which may be stored in or just off of your garage, or they can be caused by issues related to your external plumbing, including faucets located off the garage. If you see flooding in or around your garage, you will need to call us to determine the cause and how to fix it.

The Plumbing Checklist for Homeowners

One of the best ways for homeowners in Tampa to keep their plumbing costs at bay is to take steps to prevent plumbing problems from happening and to discover any potential problem as early as possible. Routine maintenance visits from our Tampa plumbing service are the best way to become aware of issues early, but you can also do your own rudimentary inspections.

Regular Visual Inspection

It’s a good idea to be constantly on the lookout for any outward signs that you may have a problem. Be aware of any changes or abnormalities that you may be able to see. The following are ways you can inspect your plumbing yourself, without having to call out a Tampa plumber.

  • Look for signs of leaking from exposed pipes.
  • Look for obvious puddles.
  • Look for water marks coming through the wall, floor, or ceiling.
  • Look for signs of corrosion. Copper and brass pipes and valves will show greenish stains as they corrode, and steel pipes will have orange or yellow stains.
  • Look in your toilet’s tank for any parts that look like they are getting rusty or that may be broken. You will want to have a licensed plumber in Tampa replace any issues you find immediately.
  • Look for mold or mildew growth near your plumbing as it is a sign that there is water escaping the pipes.
  • Look for any cracked or broken tile flooring. Pooling water beneath tile can cause it to break without showing any other signs.
  • Look for signs of rust or corrosion on your water heater.
  • Look for cracks in your washing machine hoses and check the connections for leaking.
  • Look for areas of your lawn that puddle without heavy rainfall.

Test Your Systems

After you have visually inspected your property for any plumbing issues, you will want to test your plumbing systems to ensure that they are all working properly.

  • Keep a constant awareness of your overall water pressure in each system. If the pressure seems to drop over time, you may have an issue with sediment buildup. If the pressure drops drastically and quickly, you have a bigger problem. Either way, a call to one of our Tampa commercial plumbers is in order.
  • Test for issues with drainage. Any drain that does not let water out quickly is an indication that the drain is clogged or backed up.
  • Listen for any excessive noise and watch for bubbles coming up when water is draining down a pipe. These are indicators of plumbing issues.
  • Try to wiggle your toilet. If it moves, you may have leak issues.

If you notice anything in line with what we’ve listed above, call The Pampering Plumber right away.

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