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Plumbing Checklist To Prepare for Your Next Bathroom Renovation

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While upgrading your bathroom is not nearly as expensive or extensive as many other home improvement projects, there are many details to figure out before you can get started. Your favorite Tampa plumbing company recommends putting together a list of what you need to do and may have already done. It will make the remodeling process all that much easier and your life a lot less stressful!

How To Make Your Bathroom Remodel Painless

As obvious as it sounds, you need to first set a budget for this project. While you may have quite a bit of money lying around, it is never a good idea to commit to things like this on a whim or leave the costs open-ended.

Having a clear idea on paper of what you want to spend as well as where you want these funds allocated is absolutely crucial. If you are unsure of what to expect or include, you can always give our Tampa plumbers a call for advice. We have worked on many of these bathroom and kitchen remodeling jobs and can provide a rough estimate for all plumbing-related expenditures.

Unless you have the experience needed to tackle the remodel on your own, you are going to need to hire a contractor, and the amount you spend in labor costs is tied directly to the time it takes to complete the project. Do not go in with unrealistic expectations; small and simple jobs typically take a few days if nothing out of the ordinary arises, while large-scale projects may easily take a couple of weeks or more.

Whatever you do, do not buy any new appliances until you have first precisely measured the size of the bathroom, located the existing Tampa plumbing lines, and gauged the dimensions of the current fixtures.

With your dreams of a fully remodeled bath space on the horizon, the last thing you want to think about is getting the necessary paperwork in order. However, without a qualified building, electrical, and Tampa plumbing permit, that renovation will not be going anywhere anytime soon! The same goes for lead and asbestos testing, two additional requirements we recommend getting out of the way early.

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Alternative Materials for Line Piping

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If you live in an older house, your plumbing lines may need to be replaced sooner than you think. Depending on the type of material used for your water and sewage pipes, leaks can and will occur over time. These may develop gradually or come on unexpectedly, particularly if you live in a region prone to cold winter temperatures.

Since the last thing anyone needs is a burst pipe in the middle of the freezing season, it would serve you well to contact a licensed Tampa plumber to carry out a full service system inspection.

This is not to say by any means that your existing lines are in immediate jeopardy – they very well may have decades of life left. The point is that the only way to know this for sure is to have a detailed assessment completed. Most Tampa plumbers charge between $75-$100 for this service, which is far cheaper than having to replace a damaged water line!

Are Your Tampa Plumbing Lines on the Line?

It is important to note that water supply lines typically do not last as long as drain pipes, mainly due to the fact that they are under a much higher degree of pressure on a consistent basis. These lines are also much more likely to cause significant damage where leaks are concerned.

The three primary materials used in these kind of lines are brass, copper, and galvanized steel. The former two can last upwards of 70 years in some instances, while steel usually has a high-end lifespan of 50 years, though some have been known to break down within a couple of decades. Cast iron was the original material used in residential drainage systems, and it can last upwards of a century in ideal conditions. However, since most of the existing homes that feature this metal are just as old, upgrading to Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is often necessary.

The two Tampa plumbing line materials to be wary of are polybutylene and lead. They are prone to damage and are hazardous. Call us if you suspect you have these types of pipes.

To extend the longevity of your water and sewage pipes, you need to take care of them properly, and that means addressing any defects (no matter how small) the moment they are discovered. Give us a call at The Pampering Plumber to learn more about our Tampa plumbing services, including maintenance, installations and repairs.

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PEX vs Copper Piping: Which Is the Better Option?

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Do your Tampa plumbing lines need to be re-piped? If so, you have probably already begun researching which material is the best to upgrade to. A few options are available, and they each have distinct pros and cons, but the most popular of these are PEX and copper tubing.

Time To Upgrade the Pipes

Galvanized steel and cast iron dominated the market years ago, but due to having a number of disadvantages when compared to modern products, they are no longer of significant value. Very few existing homes today still feature these types of Tampa plumbing pipes, and for those that do, it will not be long before they need to be replaced. So, how do you choose between copper and PEX, and which one is best for your home’s needs?

PEX Piping

PEX is known best and identified very easily by its bright colors. Blue and red are used for cold and hot water lines, respectively, but making it easy to distinguish which lines are which is hardly the only benefit PEX offers. This material is highly flexible and durable, and it can easily withstand extreme temperatures.

Additionally, these lines allow water to flow faster, they are highly eco-friendly, and they can cause a marked reduction in your utility expenses. The best part of all is their permanence. After being installed, PEX lines never need to be replaced. For all of these reasons, it is one of copper’s biggest competitors, and given its cheaper cost and widespread availability, we imagine more and more Tampa plumbers will be using it on the job.

Copper Piping

Copper has been used in residential and commercial plumbing systems for a very long time, and it is just as reliable today as it was back then. The key benefits provided by this metal are its natural resistance to corrosion, its extreme durability, its lengthy lifespan (100 years is the average), and that it will not burn in the event of a fire.

It does cost more to install these plumbing lines since copper costs more than PEX. As long as you get a 50-year manufacturers’ warranty on these pipes, you are going to make a sound investment.

The Pampering Plumber has years of experience installing each of these materials, so do not hesitate to get in touch if you are thinking about upgrading!

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Understanding Copper Piping

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For more than three quarters of a century, copper has been the material of choice for Tampa plumbing lines for a number of very important reasons. It is hardly a surprise that a staggering 95 percent of existing homes are outfitted with copper tubing, or that in all-new residential construction, it is still used 80 percent of the time.

Copper: The Water Line Winner

There are indeed a few notable alternatives, some of which do offer excellent benefits, but copper has long been the favorite. One of the reasons for this is due to the fact that since copper tube has been around for so long, it passes almost every local plumbing code.

Copper is one of the few water line materials that is not synthetic. This metal is eco-friendly and guarantees long-lasting durability. Issues with pipe crumbling or cracking and corrosion are nearly non-existent with copper tubes.

Another major advantage copper has over competing products is that it is both light and strong. It can be easily installed with costly support brackets/systems, and it will not sag when stretched out across lengthy water line runs. This comes in very handy for commercial and industrial Tampa plumbing systems and can easily save building owners thousands in extra expenses, depending on the size and scope of the installation.

Of further benefit is copper’s strong, leak-proof joints. You do not have to worry about the pipes breaking down or suffering from premature wear; this cannot be said for all plumbing line products. Once installed, there is rarely a need for any follow-up maintenance.

Copper tubing beats the competition by far with respect to uncompromised reliability and performance. Perhaps the best thing to keep in mind is that you can enjoy all of these benefits without paying much more than you would for alternative materials.

Your trusted Tampa plumbers stress the importance of long-term costs and savings. With copper, you are getting the best bang for your buck. It is also one of the safest plumbing materials you can use, and that is no small matter.

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What Is Hard Water and How Does It Affect Plumbing?

Dry, itchy skin is the tell-tale sign that your Tampa plumbing lines have hard water running through them. What exactly does this mean? Does it cause any problems other than leaving you a bit uncomfortable after getting out of the shower?

The Negative Effects of Hard Water

Hard water refers to water that contains various sediments and impurities, albeit to a minor degree. The Water Quality Association states this is the most prevalent water quality issue in the country, and for multiple reasons.

Water is comprised of hydrogen and oxygen molecules when pure, but most of the H2O we drink and bathe with is also muddled with calcium and magnesium as well. So, what causes these unwanted elements to mix in? Groundwater passes through rocks and soil while en route to water supply lines, so it is only natural for these materials to be picked up along the way.

Unfortunately, most municipalities do not have water purification systems in place to oust these deposits, so it is up to home and business owners to install these devices. Hard water can take a major toll on Tampa plumbing systems, mainly because the deposits slowly erode pipes, sinks, bathtubs, and shower stalls.

You are probably all too familiar with the nasty buildup that forms as a result of continual hard water use. Over time, sediment buildup causes appliances to run less efficiently, in turn reducing their lifespans and increasing operating costs for owners. Fixtures are also known to clog and fail far sooner in the presence of hard water, and that coffee you are drinking probably tastes a little funny because of the scale left on your mug.

Thankfully there are plenty of options available to get rid of hard water problems once and for all. Get in touch with a local water dealer and have them perform a sample test. Oftentimes, an in-home purification/water softening system is the best solution. Do not purchase anything until you have had a reliable assessment and proper water problem diagnosis performed because hard water may not be the only issue. Ultimately, the benefits offered by softening systems include better running appliances, cleaner-feeling skin, and more money in your pocket. Contact our plumbers in Tampa for a free inspection today.

Tree Roots and Sewer Pipes

Our Tampa plumbers know that trees are an essential part of any residential landscaping design. Aside from the curb appeal they bring to properties, the shade they offer helps keep your home’s cooling costs down in the summer, which is especially important in Tampa! However, they are not without their disadvantages. Beneath that sprawling oak tree in your front yard lies an extensive root system that can actually damage your property.

The Reality of Root Invasions

When gauging the size of a tree’s root network, the general rule of thumb is that the diameter is as wide as the tree’s height. As you can probably guess, the roots of large trees can interfere with Tampa plumbing lines, namely sewage drain pipes. This can lead to some major repair costs, especially when the roots fully penetrate the affected line.

Since it is every homeowner’s responsibility to maintain their connecting sewer laterals, any damage is yours to repair. The worst part about all of this is that because everything happens underground, most people are blissfully unaware of the havoc that is being wrought below the surface until they start to notice sewage seeping out of their yard.

So what causes tree roots to interfere with Tampa sewer lines in particular? Interestingly enough, it is the emission of water vapor from these pipes, which is caused by the flow of warm water and subsequent evaporation of moisture to the cool soil above, that leads the root system’s growth pattern to deviate from its original state.

The vapor often comes out of a small crack, crevice, or vulnerability in the pipe. Over time, the roots will slowly but surely make their way inside the opening and will flourish due to the abundance of nutrients (human waste makes for great compost material) that are located there. One thing leads to another, and you have a major problem on your hands!

Do not underestimate the power of tree roots — the internal force generated by their expansion often leads to irreparable structural damage. Unless addressed early, there will be no choice but to perform a full-blown replacement of the pipe.

You can tell something is wrong if the drains in your home start backing up and continue to do so, even after they have been cleaned. The Tampa plumbing team at The Pampering Plumber has removed countless tree roots from sewer lines. We use specialized augers and high-pressure water systems that are capable of clearing virtually any blockage.

Save Money with These Plumbing Solutions

Cutting back your home’s water usage may be easier than you think. Being conservative not only helps lighten the load on your wallet, but it also greatly reduces your environmental footprint. Every day, millions of gallons are wasted due to irresponsibility and carelessness. It is about time we all get serious about our Tampa plumbing expenses.

Did you know that if every household in the United States installed water-efficient appliances and fixtures, it would save 3 trillion gallons of water and nearly $20 billion per year? That is a lot of water and money that could be put to better use, so do your part by following this sound H2O-saving advice.

How To Conserve Your Water

A low-flow toilet is probably one of the best things you can put in your home. High-efficiency, ultra-low-flush models use the least amount of water per flush (1.28 gallons on average compared to 3-5 gallons for conventional toilets). It may not seem like much, but when you consider the number of times your family flushes each day, the costs definitely do add up.

Additionally, dual-flush types come equipped with two flush modes, one for liquid waste and the other for solids. The U.S. has lagged in making this technology go mainstream. It has been popular in most European countries for many years, but the market is indeed growing. The good news is that thanks to available conversion/retrofit kits, you can install dual-flush systems on any standard toilet, which is much cheaper than having to buy a new one altogether.

For the best in water conservation, composting toilets are a hard bargain to pass up. They use virtually no water, so you can imagine their return on investment. Your trusted Tampa plumbers highly recommend going the composting route if you have the opportunity.

For the average household, showering comprises 20 percent of water usage with some homes using much more. With an ultra-low-flow shower-head, you can realistically get this number down to 5 percent — and that includes an uncompromised stream of water. If someone in your home is notorious for taking longer than average showers, an efficient shower-head is a must!

Your home’s faucets are the third and final water wasting device that needs to be addressed. There are plenty of culprits out there that expend 2.5 gallons per minute. Efficient models reduce this flow rate to 1.5 at the top end. Greater conservation levels can be supplemented with an attached aerator or flow restrictor.

The Tampa plumbing pros at The Pampering Plumber can install any and all of these devices for you to make your home more green and efficient.

Tips To Avoid DIY Plumbing Problems

Every homeowner dreams of being able to tackle any household repair or project without needing to contact a professional. Some people have the handyman skills to tackle basic tasks, but large do-it-yourself projects pose greater challenges and bring with them bigger risks.

The Tampa plumbers at The Pampering Plumber want to remind you to never attempt a repair job if you are not confident you can handle it solo. Can it be difficult to swallow your pride and pick up the phone? Definitely, but consider the cost of your investment. Will it be in your best interest from a financial (and mental) standpoint to pay a professional? Sometimes it is just the better choice to use an expert, especially since we have been called upon numerous times to correct Tampa plumbing damage done by inexperienced home and business owners.

Here are some tips for avoiding serious damage to your plumbing while attempting to do it yourself.

DIY Tampa Plumbing Tips

You cannot expect to perform any plumbing repair without having a working knowledge of the basic parts, supplies, and concepts. Familiarize yourself with your home’s plumbing system before delving into the job.

Shut-off valves serve a very simple yet important purpose, and that is to stop the flow of water in your plumbing lines. Regardless of what project you are tackling (e.g. a leaky faucet, clogged toilet, etc.), knowing the exact location of these valves and what device they control is vital. In most houses, the majority of these can be found by the water main and the individual fixtures within the home. Depending on how your home’s Tampa plumbing system was laid out, some valves may be hidden behind specialty access panels. The main shut-off valve is the most important, and there is usually one inside and outside near the water meter.

Although many newer homes use PVC for their plumbing lines, copper systems are still very popular. To perform quick joint fixes and add valves, you will want to buy a small torch, flux, solder, and copper tubing. This is an essential plumbing toolkit for everything from quick fixes to retrofits. Clean the copper pipe, add some flux, heat the joint and finish with the solder.

Get in touch with our Tampa plumbing service experts at The Pampering Plumber if you need assistance or to schedule an on-site inspection.

Save Money With Regular Water Heater Upkeep

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.

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