We Recommend Regular Drain Cleaning for Your Home

We Recommend Regular Drain Cleaning for Your Home

Drain cleaning sounds like a job you need when you’ve got a clogged or slow drain. This is one of the important reasons that plumbers do drain cleaning. After all, there is no plumbing trouble that’s more common than a clogged drain or toilet. Professional plumbers can take care of any clog without doing damage to the pipes the way chemical drain cleaners can.

But drain cleaning is more than an emergency fix-it solution. It’s also a long-term plumbing care job, a regular preventive maintenance task. We recommend homeowners make drain cleaning a service they schedule every year. If you’ve never had routine drain cleaning done before, right now is the best time to get started.

How Regular Drain Cleaning Helps You

You can’t see the inside of your pipes, so you won’t have a good idea of what goes on down inside them from day to day. However, you can see what goes down those drains, and that will give you a picture of the types of problems that can build up.

Let’s start with the kitchen. When cooking and cleaning, you’ll allow some food particles to go down the drain along with fats, oils, and grease (collectively known as FOG). You can help prevent excess food and grease from entering the drains with a garbage disposal and by carefully pouring FOG into a separate receptacle. But you can’t stop all of it—and this organic waste easily sticks to drainpipe walls. Over time, the gunk on the walls will create slow drains and make it easy for the drains to clog. It can also attract sewer flies and create terrible odors.

Moving to your bathroom drains … Soap scum and hair are the major troubles here. Although drain covers can help prevent big hair clumps from going down the drain, soap scum is harder to stop. Soap scum is hard to get off pipes, and if it remains for too long it can create a chemical reaction with the metal of the pipes that triggers corrosion. Hair clogs are among the most obstinate and difficult to remove.

Now imagine a professional plumber coming to your home with high-end tools like video pipe inspection equipment, mechanized rooters, and powerful hydro-jetters. The plumber can use these tools to locate problem areas and then scour away the buildup. When the plumber is finished, the interior of the drainpipes will be cleared of debris. It will be so clean that it will be hard for buildup to start again. You should have trouble-free drains for next year, when you schedule regular drain cleaning again.

Your Local Drain Cleaning Experts

When we say that we recommend regular drain cleaning in Sacramento, CA for your home, we mean we recommend our plumbers for your drain cleaning. We have our own “rooter division” that specializes in handling drain cleaning, drain repair, sewer pipe cleaning, and other vital services for home drainage systems. We don’t just want to be the company you call to unclog a drain today—we want to be your partner for great plumbing in the future as well!

At Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air, we offer “Customer Service the Way It Used to Be!Customer Service You Deserve!”

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When Repairs Aren’t Enough: Time to Replace Your AC

When Repairs Aren’t Enough: Time to Replace Your AC

Warm weather is here, hotter weather is on the way. If your home’s air conditioning system needs help to get it through the coming summer, right now is one of the last convenient times to arrange for it before the temperatures spike. Make sure your AC has gotten its regular maintenance as well as any necessary repairs to ensure it works its best.

But what if repairs are no longer the answer? At some point, any cooling system will cost far more to continue to patch-up than it’s worth. This year may be when you stop sinking money into an over the hill AC and have it replaced with a new one. Call on our service professionals to find out more about a new air conditioning installation in Sacramento, CA. We can help you make the right choice when it comes to the great “repair vs. replace” debate.

Some of the Ways to Tell if Your AC Is Ready to Retire

The quickest route to finding out if it’s time for a new air conditioner is to call on HVAC professionals you can trust. But there are some indications that will give you the heads-up that a replacement is probably in your near future.

  • System Age: The standard central air conditioning system can last between 10 to 15 years with annual maintenance, and 5 to 8 years without it. If you have a system that’s over 15 years old, then we strongly recommend having it replaced—even if it still seems to be working fine. Once over the 15-year mark, an AC is in greater danger of failing and will start losing efficiency.
  • High Cost to Run: Look over the bills for the past couple of summers. If your electrical bills are rising and rising, even though you haven’t used the AC more than usual, it means the system is declining. If you’ve kept up with maintenance, this decline usually means the AC is simply too old to remain efficient.
  • Too Many Repairs/Too Expensive Repairs: Calling for HVAC professionals to repair an air conditioner more than once a year is too much. We advise capping repairs for the year at $500. Paying more than this isn’t worth it. Don’t pay more than half the cost of replacing the system on any single repair either.
  • AC Can’t Keep Up Like It Used To: Are hot spots around the house becoming a regular problem in summer? This is one of the first warning signs that an air conditioner is losing its cooling capacity. If you’ve already had repairs and maintenance attempting to fix this problem, but if it keeps coming back, it’s time to put in a new system.

Finally, you may wish to replace your air conditioner because you want to take advantage of newer systems with higher efficiency features like a variable speed fan and multi-stage compressor. These new units have incredibly high energy efficiency ratings and can start saving you money as soon as they’re installed.

Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air offers “Customer Service the Way It Used to Be! Service You Deserve!”

Getting the Most from Your AC Replacement

Getting the Most from Your AC Replacement

As the summer weather closes in, we recommend you give some serious thought to whether your current air conditioning system will be able to get through the coming heat. For an AC that’s more than 15 years old, or one that’s costing far more to run than it used to, replacing it is usually a better option than to continue throwing money into repair after repair.

To get an expert opinion on AC replacement and repairs, or to schedule an air conditioning replacement in Granite Bay, CA, we’re the HVAC contractor to call. We have some helpful tips on how you can maximize an air conditioning replacement.

Upgrade the Thermostat As Well

Replacing a thermostat on an older air conditioning system is tricky. The advanced computer algorithms of the current smart Wi-Fi thermostats can actually damage an aging HVAC system and void the warranty. But putting in a new thermostat along with a replacement system is a fantastic idea. The installers can match the new AC with an advanced thermostat that lets you take the best advantage of all the energy efficiency capabilities of the new cooling system. You’ll discover that having a smart thermostat can make an enormous difference in the efficiency of the new AC, and it will make the new cooling system more convenient to use.

Consider Zone Controls

Zone controls allow you to choose which rooms connected to the ventilation system receive cool air from the AC (as well as warm air from the heater in winter). Retrofitting an existing air conditioner with zone cooling is difficult. But if the zone control installation is done as part of a system replacement, it’s a much easier job. The technicians can put in a variable-speed, multi-stage air conditioner that works with zoning so you can enjoy the best savings possible from your HVAC system.

Install a Whole-House Fan

Here’s an excellent addition to a new air conditioner. A whole-house fan draws air up through the house and exhausts it out of the attic. This not only expels hot air, it also draws in cooler air from outside to help lower the temperature. Whole-house fans are especially useful in the evening and let you give the air conditioner a rest—and the whole-house fan uses much less power to run. We recommend the QuietCool whole-house fan, although we work with all brands.

Fix Those Bad Ducts

An air conditioning system can only be as good as the ventilation ducts connected to it. If those ducts are filled with holes and gaps, it will severely cut down on how effective the AC is—and it will raise cooling costs by a third. If you install a high-efficiency air conditioner but have ductwork in poor shape, all the potential savings of your new system will vanish. Our team is experienced with duct repair services, and they can help ensure you have a ventilation system that’s worthy of your new replacement air conditioner.

Replace your AC with Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air. We offer “Customer Service the Way It Used to Be! Service You Deserve!”

Summer Is Here, So Is It Too Late to Get a New Air Conditioning System?

Summer Is Here, So Is It Too Late to Get a New Air Conditioning System?

No, it’s not. Call us and we’ll get you a great new AC.

That’s the short version of this post—but taking care of an AC replacement in Sacramento, CA really is that straightforward when you work with us. We’ve been in business since 1976 and know the best way to provide central cooling for homes. We do customer service the old way, and it’s our goal to see that you’re fully satisfied with your air conditioning system and enjoy a great rest of the summer and many summers to come.

But Let’s Look a Little Closer at Your Current AC Needs

Choosing to have an air conditioning installation is a big decision, and even with the help of skilled professionals, it’s a major job. (Without skilled professionals it’s impossible, so put away those DIY ideas or going to an amateur.) If you’re thinking about having a replacement AC, consider the reasons you’re looking to make this change:

  • The current AC isn’t working well: If it’s hot outside and your air conditioner can’t handle the temperatures, then it’s never the wrong time for a new air conditioner. But first make sure that the trouble isn’t something that repairs can fix. Call HVAC technicians and they can tell if it’s worth repairing the system or if the more cost-effective solution is to put in a new one.
  • The AC is draining too much energy: How much do you pay each month in electrical costs? You can expect the amount to rise in summer because of the power needed for the air conditioner. But the rise shouldn’t be significantly steeper than in previous summers. If you’re facing higher cooling costs than before—even though the AC is well-maintained—you may need to retire the air conditioner.
  • The 5000 rule: When your AC malfunctions and you want to know if it should be repaired or replaced, apply this rule. Multiply the cost of the repair by how many years you’ve had the system. If the number is 5000 or greater, it’s better to have a new system. So any repair that costs $500 isn’t worth it for a system that’s 10 years older or more.
  • The 15-year rule: Even if a repair passes the 5000 rule, an air conditioning system that’s 15 years older or more is due for a replacement. This is the point when any decline in performance indicates the time for an upgrade. The new system will have greater energy efficiency than the older one did even when it was new.

There is no season for air conditioning replacement. If the above guide tells you that it’s best to have a new cooling system installed, don’t hesitate. That last thing you want to happen during the remaining months of summer here in California is to have your AC give out on you for the last time. It’s best to schedule the replacement on your time, not the time the AC decides.

Get started with a new AC by calling Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air: “Customer Service the Way It Used to Be! Customer Service You Deserve!”

Your Water Heater Isn’t Doing Its Job—Here’s Our Advice

Your Water Heater Isn’t Doing Its Job—Here’s Our Advice

No matter how hot it gets outside in summer, there’s one heating appliance in your home that has to work each day: the water heater. People in your home still need hot showers in the morning, and hot water is still necessary for cooking and cleaning.

If you’ve noticed that the water heater isn’t doing what it’s supposed to—you don’t have enough hot water or the water from the taps isn’t getting sufficiently hot—it’s something to investigate as soon as possible. Here’s our advice on what to do when your water heater seems to be falling behind.

Check the aquastat

The aquastat is the temperature gauge on the water heater. In most cases, you don’t need to change it from its factory setting. If you do notice a drop in water temperature in the house, make sure the aquastat hasn’t been accidentally set too low. A temperature below 120°F can lead to water that’s lukewarm.

However, please don’t push the aquastat up higher as a way to compensate for a decline in water temperature if the aquastat already above 120°F. This doesn’t solve the root problem and it might lead to accidental scalding. The aquastat should never be higher than 140°F.

Look for any indication of leaks

Check around the water heater to see if there is any water buildup, such as puddles or moisture. Look over the tank for water droplets. You shouldn’t see any water leaking from the tank except from the pressure relief valve. If there are signs of water around the units, call for repairs right away.

Check the pilot light/ignition system

The trouble may be due to the gas heaters failing to fully ignite (if you have a gas-powered water heater). Older water heaters may use a standing pilot light to ignite the burners, so check to see if the pilot light is burning. For newer water heaters with electronic ignition, the igniter may be turning on intermittently. Also watch for delayed firing of the gas burners, which warns that there’s carbon build-up along them. You must have trained professionals handle any repairs for gas lines and ignition systems.

Remember the age of the water heater

A water heater that isn’t keeping up is often a sign that it’s coming to the end of its service life. Although repairs may help, they won’t help for long, and the best choice is to have the entire system replaced. The standard tank water heater may last for 15 to 20 years. If your water heater is older than 20 years, we suggest calling a technician to see about replacing it.

Except for a simple mistake with the aquastat, most of these troubles with a declining water heater require professional repairs. Don’t try to fix the system on your own, especially a gas-powered unit. Have a professional check the system, find out what’s wrong, and recommend targeted repairs or a replacement. The sooner you have this done, the sooner you’ll have your hot water worries taken care of. For water heater replacement or water heater repair in Sacramento, CA, call our experts.

Get the customer service you deserve: Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air offers customer service the way it used to be!

The Top Causes of Drain Clogs

The Top Causes of Drain Clogs

Slow drains, clogged drains—they’re a plumbing problem everyone has to deal with at some point or another. Although you can’t avoid all possible drain clogs, you can take steps to prevent the majority of them. One of the best ways is to schedule regular drain cleaning in Sacramento, CA with our team of plumbers.

Another way to avoid drain clogs is to know their most common causes. Identifying the problem makes it easier to stop them from getting started. Below are the main reasons drains turn slow or clogged.

Hair

This is the most frequent reason for bathroom drains to become stopped up. Hair strands can become stuck in the p-trap below the drain (the curved section that traps water), where it will start to catch hair strands. Eventually, a thick tangle of hair will block the drainpipe, and this can be difficult to remove. The best way to prevent too much hair from getting down these drains is to place strainers and caps over the drains and routinely clean them of the hair trapped in them.

FOG (Fats, Oils, And Grease)

This is the major enemy of kitchen drains and garbage disposals. FOG all look harmless for drains when it is hot, liquid form. But if you’ve ever seen what FOG looks like after its cooled off, you’ll understand why it is such problems from drainpipes. The waxy solids that fats, oils, and great turn into clings to the walls of drainpipes and can eventually close off the drain entirely. Only professional drain cleaning can wipe away this heavy residue. To keep FOG from your drains, always pour out these cooking oils into a separate receptacle and place it into the trash.

Soap Scum

A problem for all types of drains, soap scum is an insidious problem that presents more dangers than clogged drains. Soap scum can create corrosive chemical reactions with drains, leading to leaks. The best way to keep soap scum from building up too fast is to remember to run hot water down the drain after you’re finished. This helps to break up the soap and keep it moving deeper into the pipes.

Mineral Build-Up

The minerals inside water can start to build up on pipes—especially if a home has a problem with hard water. Hard water has a higher concentration than normal of calcium and magnesium suspended in it, and the deposits on pipes can quickly reduce the pipe volume. To avoid mineral build up, the best technique is to have a water softener installed for the home. This won’t just prevent clogs, it will protect the plumbing in general and avoid serious damage to water-using appliances.

Dirt

Yes, plain old everyday dirt can create blockages in pipes. If you wash off dirt-covered items in a sink, knock off excess dirt from the item before washing it.

If you need drain unclogging or water treatment services, contact our offices. We offer “Customer service the way it used to be!”

Unclog those drains with a call to Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air. Our services come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee!