4 Signs You Need a Bathtub Valve Replacement

Many homeowners take a shower and bath system for granted. The inner workings of a tub run hot water and cold water and can instantly send the water to either the tub itself or up through a showerhead. With so many elements, the parts may wear down over time. Before things go from bad to worse, check out some of the signs that you need a valve replacement.

When a plumber replaces your bath valves, you will have increased pressure and more accurate temperatures and help reduce water waste in the home. Check out some of the signs and know when to contact a plumber.

1. Faucet Leaks

One of the easiest signs to spot includes a faucet leak. With a tub faucet shut off, you may notice a slow drip still escapes the faucet. The drips showcase an issue with the valve. Wear and tear over time can result in the leaks, and the leaks may expand as the problem worsens.

A valve replacement will remove the worn parts and prevent leaks in the tub. If water continuously drips from the faucet, you will waste energy and could see higher bills as a result.

2. Shower-to-Tub Transition Issues

A leak may not occur just when the tub remains off. If you switch from the tub faucet to the shower, then you may notice a leak through the tub faucet while the shower runs. The leak most likely occurs due to a worn-out diverter spindle. The spindle itself can wear down along with the rubber washers and filters that block out water.

Eroded parts wear down over time, and a plumber can securely replace the parts to ensure the shower does not leak. When the leak occurs, the water pressure out of the showerhead may reduce, and you could have wildly uneven water temperatures if only hot or cold water goes through the leak as opposed to the showerhead itself.

3. Tight Shut-Off

When you turn off a bath or shower, the handle should easily glide into place and provide a secure shut-off. The lube on rotating parts could have worn away, along with the parts themselves. If you need to use excessive force to shut off the water completely, then you may need new parts.

A whole new valve system will change the way you operate the water and provide you with much smoother control. If you struggle each time to force the water off, then you could do even more wear to the valve system and create bigger issues. For example, the hot water seat or the cold water seat could crack and cause a non-stop leak.

Contact a plumber when you notice any signs of change to the shut-off process. Sometimes, just extra lube will help if no damage has occurred on other parts.

4. Irregular Temperatures

Inside a bathtub valves are two parts known as seats. The valve typically contains a hot water seat and a cold water seat. Those parts control the flow of the specific water directly to the tub. Over time, the seats may loosen or wear down. If worn, then you may notice irregular temperatures in the tub.

Some days, a shower may feel burning hot. On other days, a tub may only supply cold water. A plumber can replace both hot and cold water seats to ensure the temperatures remain consistent. You do not want to play a guessing game each time you go to bathe. The part replacement can also help reduce the amount of water you waste as you find a good temperature.

Make an appointment with us at First Class Plumbing, LLC, to fix your shower. The earlier you address the problem, the fewer issues you will run into in the future.

5 Warning Signs of a Sewer Line Problem

Sewer lines serve a crucial function in your home. Sewer line pipes carry wastewater and sewage to a municipal sewer system from your home. Therefore, sewer line problems are never a pleasant experience. 

A sewer line problem can result in severe damage to your plumbing and pose a health hazard.

Tree roots, grease, and debris can accumulate in the sewer lines and damage them. Unfortunately, sewer line problems are not easy to detect. In most cases, an obvious problem won’t present itself until it has become serious, costing you more for the repairs.

The key to avoiding costly repairs is knowing what to look for early. Read on to discover some warning signs of a sewer line problem you should look out for.

1. Lush Green Lawn

One of the first warning signs you may have a problem with your sewer line is a lush green lawn area in your yard. A lush green lawn is a nice feature for any property, but if you have a lush lawn in one spot in the yard developing quickly, it could indicate a break or partial blockage in the line.

When a sewer line bursts, it can cause a leak that might be responsible for the unusually green area you can’t explain. A sewer line is especially responsible if you do not have sprinkler systems or leaky hoses around the lush area.

As wastewater leaks out of the pipe, it releases nutrients and moisture into the ground. The nutrients and moisture create the ideal environment for grass to grow.

2. Slow Draining Sink

Usually, debris build-up inside the drain causes a sink to drain slowly. However, if the slow drainage occurs with multiple sinks, it could mean a complete blockage somewhere in your main sewer line.

When the sewer line backs up, it blocks all the drains in your home, interfering with the water drainage. In extreme cases, the drains don’t only slow down but reverse altogether, so sewage comes back up through the drain lines and into your home.

3. Sewage Smell in the House

An unpleasant odor coming from drains is sometimes an indication of sewage backing up and escaping into your home. Sewer smells in the house manifest as burning sulfur, rotten eggs, skunk smell, or just plain old sewage.

Sewer gases could pose a health hazard as their primary components include hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and methane, which are toxic. The sewage backup could also cause bacteria or mold to grow throughout your home, so you need to call a professional right away.

4. Sudden Change in Your Water Bill

If you have seen a sudden increase in your water bill but haven’t changed anything that would affect your water use, you may have a sewer line leak.

If you have a leak somewhere within the line, water will constantly run through it, causing your utility bill to escalate. Sometimes, sewer line leaks can take some time to show up on your bill. 

5. Gurgling Noises From Your Toilet

Gurgling noises coming from your toilet indicate it’s unable to drain properly. 

The gurgling sound occurs when the air in the sewer line can’t escape as water flows down the drain. The air mixes with water, and the pressure fluctuations in the system force out the water trap in the drain resulting in the noise. Gurgling toilets can happen when a clog in the pipe prevents wastewater from flowing freely through it.

Maintenance is key to ensuring sewer line problems don’t occur as frequently or become as severe as possible. You can take steps to minimize the chances of a sewer line issue by scheduling inspections regularly and scheduling clean-out services if necessary. A sewer line problem can be costly if you don’t take the right prevention measures. 

If you notice any warning signs above, contact a professional to inspect your sewer line. The longer you wait, the more damage the sewer line issues could do to your plumbing. Give First Class Plumbing, LLC a call for expert sewer line and plumbing repairs.

3 Common Faucet Problems

You probably don’t think about your faucets much, but they are some of the most important fixtures in any home because they provide direct access to clean, potable water. Unfortunately, you may find that the faucets in your home don’t always flow as smoothly as they should.

Despite their apparent simplicity, your average household faucets have several small components inside where issues may arise, and not all faucets are made the same. This guide will explain three common faucet problems and their solutions.

1. Slow or Stopped-Up Faucets

Do you feel dismayed when you turn a faucet to full blast and what comes out is hardly more than a trickle? A slow or stopped-up faucet is a problem that usually happens because of a clog in the faucet itself.

The water that goes to your home will naturally contain small amounts of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals. Water with a high concentration of these minerals is known as hard water. Even if your home doesn’t have hard water, minerals can gradually build up inside your faucets and clog them over time.

The aerator is the most likely location for a clog to form inside of a faucet. The aerator is a thin metal mesh that covers the opening at the tip of a faucet spout. The aerator adds air to the water from the faucet to limit splashing, preserve water, and provide a comfortable stream of water.

Unfortunately, the aerator mesh is also small enough to trap mineral particles until a layer of sediment forms and clogs the faucet. Some faucets allow you to remove the aerator quickly to clean it by simply unscrewing the tip of the faucet. Homeowners who don’t want to try disassembling their faucet at all can leave this repair task to a plumber.

2. Dripping Faucets

A dripping faucet is more than a nuisance: according to the EPA, a single faucet that drips one time per second can waste over 3,000 gallons of water each year. Most faucets start to drip when the parts inside them that stop the flow of water wear down.

The two main types of faucets are compression faucets and washerless faucets. Compression faucets stop water by pressing a rubber washer against the valve seat in the base of the faucet. When these rubber washers tear, water can start to leak around the valve and drip out of the faucet.

Washerless faucets include several subtypes of faucets that don’t use washers. Two-handle faucets are a common type that fall into this category, and they are usually cartridge-style faucets. In these faucets, the cartridge turns when the handle is turned to open or close a valve that controls the flow of water. Replacing the cartridge is usually all that’s necessary to repair leaks in these faucets.

3. Noisy Faucets

Your faucet can make many unusual noises depending on what’s wrong. For example, a clogged aerator as mentioned above may cause your faucet to sputter until the aerator is clean. The good news is, you may be able to diagnose your faucet by learning to recognize a few distinct sounds.

Whistling or screeching noises from your faucet can be alarming, but they are often the result of scale buildup in the faucet. Disassembling and cleaning the faucet can resolve the noise and prevent a clog from forming.

If you hear a booming sound when you turn your faucet off, you may have water hammer. Water hammer occurs when highly pressurized water slams into the faucet valve and suddenly comes to a stop.

Faucet valves have rubber washers or an air chamber to mitigate water hammer, but these can wear and become ineffective with time. Your plumber can solve water hammer issues by replacing the faucet valve or installing a water pressure regulator.

Whether you have slow, leaky, or noisy faucets, the pros at First Class Plumbing, LLC, can help. Get in touch today so we can help you get the most out of your home’s plumbing.

Signs Your Home Has a Plumbing Leak

Your home has numerous plumbing systems, from clean water inlets to wastewater outlets and the connections in between. These plumbing systems deteriorate over time, leading to plumbing issues like pipe leaks and dripping faucets. While you can easily spot leaks at the visible parts of your plumbing system, leaks that occur beneath floors, inside appliances, and behind walls can go unnoticed for a long time.

Unfortunately, if unaddressed, such leaks can increase your water bills and cause serious damage to your home. Don’t wait until simple leaks lead to expensive home repairs and high water bills. Read on to discover some signs to look out for.

Higher Water Bills

If you notice an increase in your water bill, you probably have a leaking pipe somewhere in your home. The increase can be gradual or it can happen suddenly. To confirm that the real culprit is a leak, you can record the numbers on your meter and check again after an hour or two. If the numbers have changed, you have a leak. However, you should ensure that no one has opened any water outlet in that period.

Stains on Walls or Ceiling

Does a spot on your wall or ceiling appear discolored or stained? If so, that could be a sign of a leak behind the surface. Hidden leaks are the most dangerous because they can cause significant home damage. For example, if your house has plastic paint, a leak can cause bubbles on walls or ceiling, meaning you will have to repaint all the affected areas.

Mold and Mildew Growth

If a water leak goes unnoticed for a long time, it can lead to mold and mildew growth on walls, thanks to the moisture. If unaddressed, the leak can lead to the development of dangerous black mold. This mold can cause allergic reactions like vomiting, nausea, and nose bleeding. While you may think that cleaning the mold is a quicker, easier option, the best solution is to fix the leaking pipe.

Unpleasant Smells

The water from the leaking pipes can stagnate and produce a lingering odor that quickly spreads in the house. The smell can also come from the mold growing in the areas around the leak. You should also be aware that the pipes in your home do not only carry clean water. So, the odor can also result from a leaking sewerage pipe in your bathroom or outside.

Low Water Pressure

Though lower-than-normal water pressure can be caused by a variety of things, you cannot rule out leaks in the system. A sudden drop in water pressure can signify that water is leaving the system before reaching the delivery fixtures.

Uneven Lawn Growth

The best way to spot outdoor pipe leakages is to examine the vegetation on your lawn. If you notice a spot where the grass has outgrown the rest, a pipe may be leaking underneath. You can also dip your hands into the ground beneath the vegetation to check if the area is wetter.

Cracks on the Foundation or Floor

A leaking pipe underneath your house’s foundation can cause sudden cracks on the foundation. A large leak can also soak the soil below, causing the slab to shift or drop. Similarly, if a pipe under your floor leaks, tiles can become loose, or the floor may turn soft or spongy.

Now that you are aware of the signs to look for when inspecting your home for water leaks, you should not wait until the situation worsens. Call a professional plumber immediately after noticing any of the signs above. At First Class Plumbing, we have professional and certified plumbers available 24/7. Contact us today and enjoy a timely response.

Is Your Well Running Dry? Here Are Some Possible Causes

One of the primary reasons you chose to install a well in your country home is to ensure you have a reliable water supply. But like other water resources, your well water can dry up if you fail to manage it properly or due to natural causes.

Often, wells run out of water temporarily, and there are reasons this issue occurs. Keep reading to know some possible reasons why your well is drying up and what to do when facing this problem.

Lack of Rain

When you have a constant supply of water in your country home, you rarely think about the rains because you have enough water for household and farm use. However, the water your well supplies come from a source, and when there’s no replenishment, it will start to dry out.

Whenever you experience a long dry season or don’t get other forms of precipitation, the water that gets to the underground system will reduce significantly. This will, in turn, affect the well’s water supply, especially if the source of your well is linked with your area’s precipitation patterns.

Recent Geological Activities

Most wells you will find today rely on underground aquifers to provide water constantly for years. Some aquifers aren’t far from the earth’s surface, but others are hundreds of feet away. When geological activities like volcanoes, landslides, and earthquakes occur, water accessibility locations may change, causing your well to dry up.

If you realize your well is drying up after a recent geological activity, get a professional to confirm if the water source is compromised. If so, the professional will offer a reliable solution to your problem, including digging another well or digging deeper to find another aquifer.

Higher Water Demand

Every well produces water at a specific speed, and you might not notice any issue if your water requirements are below the average production levels. However, if your water usage increases, maybe because of a new project or more connections, the well may run out of water.

Before you increase your water usage or allow your neighbor to draw water from your well, confirm if the water output is enough to meet your new requirements. If you don’t check the output, you will likely face a water shortage due to high usage.

Lack of Underground Water Replenishment

Even if your area is getting adequate rain, the amount of water that gets to the underground sources will determine if your well’s production remains steady throughout the year. This is the water that recharges the aquifers.

Factors like soil type, wind, evaporation rate, and temperatures determine if the underground water sources get enough replenishment. If the underground water refill process is slow, the well might not produce as much water as it does, which could be why it’s drying out.

Water Table Level Changes

The underground water tables fluctuate naturally from one season to another. This is why a well may have more water in one season and little or no water in another season. People with shallow wells have a higher risk of having water shortages when water table levels reduce since such wells get water from the surface aquifers that recharge via precipitation.

If you’d like to increase your well’s water yield, you may need to drill your well deeper. The probability of finding a larger aquifer increases as you go deeper into the surface. You may also increase the water production rates through hydrofracking, a procedure for creating new pathways to direct more water to your well.

At First Class Plumbing, we can help you determine why your well is drying up and provide a lasting solution to ensure you don’t face water shortage issues in your country residence. Call us today for a consultation or to book an appointment.

5 Common Electric Water Heater Issues You Shouldn’t Ignore

An electric water heater is among the essential items in your home. This equipment provides hot water in all water outlets in your home whenever you need it.

Although electric water heaters are designed to serve you for a long time, this equipment may develop issues and inconvenience you in several ways. This article highlights five common water heater problems you should never ignore.

1. Strange Noises

When you use your water heater, you may hear some sounds due to normal contracting or expanding in the pipes. However, your water heater may produce strange noises like banging, knocking, popping, and hissing after some time.

Often, strange noises from your water heater result from sediment build-up on your water heater’s elements. Too much scale build-up at the bottom of the water heater’s tank can also make the equipment produce strange sounds.

Strange water heater noises can be alarming. Nevertheless, you can easily fix this problem by flushing your water heater. If the issue persists, you can call a professional plumber to help identify and fix the problem.

2. Rusty Colored Water

Sometimes you may notice your water heater starts producing rusty-colored water. Rusty-colored water usually indicates a corrosion issue within your tank. Also, if your anode rod rusts, your water heater may produce dirty water.

The best way to handle this issue is to replace the anode rod. If your tank still produces dirty water, you may have to replace the tank.

3. Leaks

Water leaks are among the most common water heater issues you may have to deal with. Water heater leaks can be dangerous since they may cause flooding in your home.

Most times, water heater leaks occur when there is corrosion in your tank. However, water heater leaks don’t always indicate an issue with the tank. If the source of the leak seems to be at the top of your tank, there could be a loose water connection issue. To solve this problem, you need to check whether the water inlet and outlet pipes are strongly connected.

On the other hand, if the leak comes from the bottom of the tank, it may be due to condensation. You can quickly solve this issue by turning the thermostat up.

Other causes of water heater leaks include incorrect water pressure, overheating, and a stuck valve.

4. Long Recovery Period

Generally, electric water heaters take a longer time to reheat the water than gas water heaters do. However, if you notice that your heater takes longer than usual to reheat water, there could be an issue.

Some of the common reasons why your water heater may take ages to reheat include:

  • Scale build-up on water heating elements
  • Defective water heating elements
  • Bad thermostat
  • Small tank capacity

A water heater with a long recovery time can inconvenience you, especially when you are in a hurry. Once you notice this issue, you need to ask a professional plumber to replace the faulty parts. You should also consider replacing your water tank with a bigger one or buying the tankless model.

5. Smelly Water

When using hot water in your home, you may notice a rotten egg smell. The main reason your water smells bad is bacteria build-up, especially if you depend on a well as the main water source.

You can fix the smelly water problem by boiling the water in your tank at the highest temperature for about one hour. This way, you will kill the bacteria. During this period, you need to avoid using hot water and ensure you inform every member in the house. Otherwise, the water may cause serious burns. If this option doesn’t work, flush your tank with high chlorine concentration water.

Once you notice any issue with your water heater, you need to call a professional plumber to help you fix the problem. If you ignore the signs, the issues may escalate and cause serious problems. If you need any water heater service, contact First Class Plumbing.

4 Reasons to Use Hydro Jetting for Drain Line Maintenance

A functional drain line is essential for a healthy and comfortable home. The plumbing components allow a smooth flow of waste liquid away from your house. However, a clogged drain or sewer line can cause the wastewater to back up into the house. The backflow affects the structural integrity of your home and increases the risk of infections.

In the past, a plumber would dig extensively to troubleshoot and unblock the drainage system. However, hydro jetting technology now offers a faster, more effective, and more cost-efficient way to clear your blocked drainage system.

The plumbing technology uses high-pressure water to remove any buildup in a plumbing system. Read on to find out more advantages of hydro jetting technology.

1. Clear Up the Drainage

Hydro jetting can protect your home through comprehensive cleanup of the plumbing system. From grease and mineral scale to tree roots, the high-pressure water leaves nothing in its path.

For the best results, a plumber can first inspect the drains using a video camera. The inspection helps assess the state of the plumbing before the use of high-pressure water. If the drain or sewer line is in good condition, the plumber then guides a cleanout pipe and a nozzle into the system.

When the cleanout pipe comes across a blockage, the plumber uses a powerful blast of water to clear it. The process continues until the entire system is clear of any blockage. This plumbing solution is more effective than other drain cleaning technologies.

2. Protect Your Home

A blocked drainage system poses an enormous threat to your precious investment. Whether it’s a sewer line or a sink drain, any clogged part of the plumbing can affect your home. The blocked wastewater flows back through the system into the house or seeps through the piping into the structure. Without immediate action, your home can flood, leading to property damage.

If you don’t inspect your plumbing regularly, the backflow can burst the piping and leak into foundation walls. With time, signs of water leaks emerge, including cracks, mold growth, and wet walls or floors. Other signs of backflow include bad odors in the home, discolored water in the faucets, and strange sounds in the piping.

By clearing the blockage in the drains or the sewer line, the wastewater can flow smoothly again. You don’t have to worry about costly home repairs caused by blocked drains.

3. Save Money on Drain Cleaning

Conventional drain cleaning is a labor- and cost-intensive project. Plumbing professionals may have to dig extensively across your property’s landscaping to locate the problem in the piping system. The specialized equipment and labor required for the job push the cost up. The technique also doesn’t resolve all the problems in the piping.

Hydro jetting offers a more efficient solution to blocked pipes. This plumbing technology saves money on labor and equipment. When you combine the process with a video camera inspection, you can more easily identify other minor issues in the plumbing system. Plus, the water blast leaves a completely clean drain or sewer line, which reduces the risk of another blockage.

4. Protect the Environment

Blocked drains and sewer lines are among the most common plumbing emergencies. Over the years, more methods have emerged to deal with these home emergencies. Some drain cleaning methods involve the use of chemicals to break down grease and mineral buildup. Some of these chemicals eventually seep into the soil and affect the ecosystem.

However, hydro jetting is a green technology that only uses water to clear blocked drains. The eco-friendly cleaning technology won’t affect the environment, and some plumbing companies even use recycled water for drain cleanup.

Do you suspect a blocked drain in your home or office? If so, our certified plumbers at First Class Plumbing, LLC, can help. We’ve served our area for years, and we commit to delivering exceptional plumbing solutions for every client. Get in touch today, and let’s resolve any plumbing concerns you might have using the most effective technology.

Tips for Choosing a Garbage Disposal

Repair or service can solve many garbage disposal problems. However, a time will come when you have to replace your garbage disposal. That might be the case, for example, if the garbage disposal is old and has suffered catastrophic damage. Below are some tips to help you choose your next garbage disposal if that time comes.

Type of Feed

Garbage disposals feature two forms of feed.

1. Continuous Feed

The continuous feed type allows you to add food wastes to the disposal while it is already running. This type of feed is common, relatively inexpensive, and available in different brands. Continuous feed disposal requires either a powered wall switch or an air switch; the former requires professional installation.

Since the disposal can run with its drain open, small objects (such as a spoon) can fall into it and cause damage. Bits of wastes can also fly out of the disposal if you run it with the drain open.

2. Batch Feed

You cannot add wastes into batch-feed disposal while it is running. Rather, you must follow these steps to add wastes to the disposal:

  • Stop the disposal
  • Open the drain
  • Add the wastes
  • Close the drain opening
  • Turn on the disposal

That means you cannot accidentally drop something into the disposal while it is running. However, the disposal requires a more significant investment than the continuous feed variety.

Motor Size

The motor’s size determines how powerful the disposal is. A powerful motor can grind more waste than a less powerful motor within a given time. A powerful motor can also handle tougher wastes than a less powerful one. The garbage disposal motor rating is in terms of horsepower (HP). You can get anything from 1/3 HP to 1 HP motor for your garbage disposal.

Get a powerful motor if:

  • You have a big household
  • You cook daily
  • You cook food with tough wastes, such as chicken bones

Note that big motors also tend to be more durable than smaller ones.

Chamber Size

The garbage disposal chamber holds the waste during grinding. The larger the chamber size is, the more wastes you can grind at once. Thus, a big chamber size saves you time since you can feed all your wastes and grind them at once. Disposals with big motors typically come with big chambers.

Grind Stages

A garbage disposal grinds wastes into tiny sizes for easy drainage. The grinding can take place in a single or multiple stages. You can buy a system with:

  • Single-stage grind that grinds the food once before draining it away
  • Two-stage grinding that grinds the wastes twice; the first stage leaves the waste in fine particles while the second stage liquefies the waste.
  • Three-stage grinding that grinds the waste thrice; the third and final stage handles waste particles that might have passed through the first two stages.

Multi-stage grinding reduces the risks of clogging. Clogging typically occurs if relatively big waste particles remain after grinding. Thus, you should also get a disposal with multi-stage grinding if you regularly handle tough wastes.

Extra Features

Like other plumbing appliances, garbage disposals come with different extra features. Some of the extra features may include:

  • An anti-jamming design that automatically reverses the grind table to loosen jammed waste
  • Stainless steel chambers that are durable and don’t corrode
  • Moving parts, including motors, that produce minimal noise
  • Cartridges that inject microorganisms into the disposal to help waste decomposition in the septic tank

Evaluate these features and choose those that you want and your budget can accommodate.

First Class Plumbing, LLC, has extensive experience with garbage disposal installation and repair. We handle both residential and commercial systems. Contact us for a quote on garbage disposal service or any other plumbing service you need.