Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Plumber

water heater

In truth, we can’t answer this question directly in this post. Why not?

It’s not because we don’t know our stuff, obviously. When you’re looking for a plumber in Loveland, CO, you know we’re the company to trust.

No, it’s because there is no one type of water heater that is right for every home or every homeowner.

What we can do in this post is to help you better understand both the pros and the cons of tank and tankless water heaters. That way, you can make an educated decision for yourself.  And, of course, you can always reach out to a member of our team with any questions that you may have.

So keep the following in mind, and let us know if you’re ready to invest in a new water heater for your home!

 

1. Initial Cost

The first thing that most homeowners are going to look at when investing in any new system for their homes is the price tag associated with those systems. And that price tag is what can send some budget-minded homeowners running to the tank water heater section.

There’s no getting around it. A tankless water heater is going to cost more to purchase.

That’s important phrasing, though. Because, yes, the upfront cost of a tankless water heater is more than a tank water heater. Much more, depending upon which models of each system you’re looking at. It’s also important that you keep in mind how long you plan to be in your home, because this brings us right into our next point.

2. System Lifespan

If you’re going to be in your home for the foreseeable future, and you’re the type of homeowner that likes to hang on to the items you purchase for as long as possible, then a tankless water heater definitely might make the most sense for you.

Your average tank water heater is likely going to last you about 12 years. Some go longer, of course, but that’s the average.

A tankless water heater, on the other hand, will typically last to—and beyond—20 years of age. That’s impressive, and it only grows more impressive when you consider this lifespan as it relates to our next point.

3. Energy Efficiency

This is the big one. Because tankless water heaters do not use hot water tanks to store water—they heat water in an on-demand fashion, instead—they aren’t subject to standby energy loss.

What’s that?

When you store hot water in a tank, some of that heat will inevitably transfer through the tank and into the cooler air surrounding it. Now, modern hot water tanks are more efficient than ever before. And they can be further insulated with insulating jacket materials. But, with the extensive lifespan of the tankless water heater, serious energy savings over additional years or projected lifespan can result in long-term returns, even if the initial investment is higher.

Have questions? We’re here to help!

Schedule your water heater services with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big Enough to Serve, Small Enough to Care.

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3 Easy Ways to Protect Plumbing

We are writing this post on a sunny Friday morning in Loveland. It may be mid-January, but the weather isn’t too cold. In fact, it’s going to be a pretty warm day! Nearly 50 degrees! Not too bad, right?

Of course, currently it is only 19 degrees, which brings us to the point of this post.

Don’t get complacent.

Sure, we’ve got some warm and sunny days on the radar. But we’ve also got some cold nights and mornings ahead, as well. Just because the temperature is pleasant during the day doesn’t mean your pipes aren’t still at risk of freezing.

Keep these tips in mind to protect your plumbing in Loveland, CO, this winter.

1. Insulate Pipes and Hose Bibs

This is one of the simplest ways in which you can protect your pipes throughout the coldest time of the year. When temperatures drop, water can freeze inside pipes and outdoor hose bibs. As most of you will recall from science classes way back when—water expands when it freezes.

And that spells trouble for pipes!

If any water in your pipes freezes, and it expands enough, it can cause pipes to burst. That can lead to extensive damage, not just to your pipes but to your property at large. The last thing you want to wake up to on a winter morning is a flooded basement.

Insulating pipes with cheap, easy to install sleeves is a breeze. Covering hose bibs with insulating caps after shutting off the water to those outlets is also a great precautionary measure. A simple online order or a (safe) trip to the local hardware store can save you a major headache and expense this winter.

2. The Ol’ Trickle Trick

We know people shy away from this, and we understand why. You don’t want to waste water that you’re paying for.  You want to be environmentally-friendly. Both great arguments.

But, if you’ve had issues with freezing pipes in the past, you’ll understand that this isn’t wasting water. It’s using it for preventative purposes.

When you keep even a tiny trickle of water moving through taps, you’re helping to keep water from freezing in those pipes. Yes, you’re paying for it, but reserve the practice for very cold temps, and you can avoid an even heftier pipe repair bill.

3. Allow for Airflow

This one is maybe the easiest of all, though it may make your home a bit unkempt when in practice.

Have pipes passing under cabinetry, or behind closet doors?

Open them up.

These spaces may be uninsulated, and they may be a lot colder than your living space. Opening doors and drawers can help to facilitate airflow around these pipes.  That can go a long way toward keeping water flowing through them reliably.

Of course, even the most careful homeowners can’t avoid plumbing problems 100% of the time. That’s why you should have our number stored right in your phone. Make us your go-to plumbing service!

Schedule your plumbing services with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big Enough to Serve, Small Enough to Care.

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drain cleaning

With the holidays coming up, and the additional cooking and cleaning that come along with them, you can count on your drains taking a beating. It can be tough to ensure that nothing that shouldn’t go down your drains actually doesn’t go down your drains—especially when you’ve got extra help in the kitchen. But the holidays are not the only time you should be thinking about your drains. They’re also not the only time when things go wrong.

Today, we’ll talk a bit about what can cause drain problems. We’ll also talk about why you should really leave the resolution of those problems to the professionals. We know, we know. They sell drain cleaners at the hardware store. But we also know that that’s not the quick-fix that so many people seem to believe. In truth, nothing beats a good drain cleaning from a professional plumber in Loveland, CO.

 

What Clogs Drains?

So. Many. Things.

We spoke about the kitchen dilemma up above. Failure to drain off fat and grease, or putting starchy materials that can absorb water and swell up down the drain, often account for kitchen drain clogs. However, there is also the bathroom. That’s where hair winds up in the tub drain, where parents mistakenly flush baby wipes, etc.

Put covers over your drains, empty them regularly, and make sure that everyone in your house, resident or visitor, knows the expectations when it comes to your plumbing system. It may seem intrusive to tell someone not to flush wipes or to put rice in the garbage disposal, but it’s a heck of a lot better than needing professional plumbing services!

Why Is Professional Drain Cleaning the Way to Go?

Two reasons. It’s the most effective way to handle the issue, and it can give your plumber the chance to recognize more serious problems brewing. We aren’t saying that you’re not allowed to try and plunge your toilet or anything. That’s totally within reason. However, if you can clear a clog with that simple procedure, you should really stop and think before dumping a bunch of harsh chemicals down the drain—or trying to snake out the drain yourself.

Those harsh chemicals are not easy on the environment or on your plumbing system. And they will most likely just clear enough of the clog to allow the cleanser to pass through. That leaves enough behind that the problem will probably pop back up before long, anyway. And if you try and snake the drain out yourself, you may well just force that snake through the clog. Again, that may give the illusion of having solved the problem, but it’s only a matter of time before you’re dealing with it again.

Let Us Clean Your Drains the Right Way

Our professional plumbers have the tools and training that they need to get your drains cleaned out properly. That way, you won’t have to worry about what’s left behind or how much time you’re buying yourself. Yes, it’s a professional service that comes with a charge, but you’ll be saving money in the long run thanks to the lasting results that a professional provides.

Schedule your plumbing services with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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Plumber Windsor CO

You pay for the water that you use in your home. You’re reminded of this on a monthly or quarterly basis. When that water bill comes in, how do you feel? Do you need to sit down with a cool glass of water to process the sticker shock? If so, then this is the post you’re looking for. Why? Unfortunately, because you might have some bad habits that need breaking. Consider this your breaking point.

Our plumbers in Windsor, CO, have some tips that will help you to scale back your water costs. The good news is that it is really not that difficult to do. In fact, you are probably aware of some of these tips. You just may not realize how effective they can really be. So, break those bad habits and put these good ones into practice. You’ll see real financial results before long. No more water bill sticker shock for you!

 

1. You’re Running the Water too Much

We are all guilty of this one. Yes, the shameful truth. Even a great plumber has, from time to time, wasted water by running it too much. Brushing your teeth? Don’t leave the water running. Doing the dishes? Don’t leave the water running. Taking a shower? Get in, get clean, and get out. Run through your day while your toweling off. The more water you use, the more water you’re paying for.

Again, this is not shocking news to anyone. But when you’re distracted or zoning out while doing unexciting things, it’s easy to forget. One more tip—make sure your kids are aware of these best practices, too. They might roll their eyes. They might think you’re exaggerating. But they’re not paying the water bill! And if they are, well—how’d you work out that deal?

2. You’re Ignoring “Minor” Problems

This is a huge issue in a lot of homes. We get it. Not every plumbing problem is an emergency. And not every plumbing problem is going to justify the expense of a house call in your mind. But trust us on this one. Any “minor” plumbing problem is only going to cost you more in the long run. Yes, even those ones that you know you can tolerate and live with.

We’re talking about dripping faucets. We’re talking about running toilets. We’re talking about that hose bib that never quite shuts off all the way. Not only does the wasted water resulting from these issues add up—but you might also run into property damage caused by the moisture created.

3. You’re Not Using Some Very Simple Tools

There are plenty of ways in which to cut back on water usage without major changes to your daily routine. If you’re not using aerating faucets, for instance, you’re using too much water even if you’re using good conservation practices. These aerators mix air into the water, saving you resources.

Also—spend the money on that dishwasher! There is no way that you’re coming out ahead if you are washing dishes by hand. Modern dishwashers are more efficient than ever, too, so you don’t have the old “it uses electricity” argument to fall back on.

Contact Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning today. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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plumbing

Out of sight, out of mind. If you want to minimize as much stress as possible from your life as a homeowner, then there is one thing that you should put out of your mind—and that is that very phrase! Just because something is out of sight does not mean that you can afford to put it out of mind—and we mean the word “afford” quite literally. Many plumbing leaks, for instance, develop in areas that you cannot actually see with the naked eye.

However, that does not mean that you should just ignore them. Nor should you ignore any plumbing problems because they seem, in your opinion, too “minor” to really worry about.  Trust us, we’ve had plenty of plumbing repair calls that were the result of ignoring “minor” problems. When it comes to your plumbing in Loveland, CO, you can’t always anticipate problems. But when you know some warning signs to look for, you can at least act fast!

How’s Your Water Pressure Doing?

Nothing gets the day started like a nice, invigorating shower, right? Well, it can really put a damper on your day if you start it off by being annoyed due to low water pressure. Don’t just write this off as an annoying situation, though. Think of this as a potential sign of a plumbing leak!

Now, if you’ve always struggled with water pressure in your home, there may be a more comprehensive problem to address. If it’s a new occurrence, though, then a leak is the prime suspect. Is the pressure low in just one fixture? Then you may have a supply line leak. Throughout the whole house?  That could indicate a main water line leak—nothing to take lightly!

Noticing Strange Staining?

When you live in a house,  you’re going to wind up with stains. Stains on the carpet, stains on the couch, stains on the—ceiling? Walls? What? Don’t downplay what such stains are telling you. Water staining is one of the most common and obvious signs of plumbing leaks.

Even if you have stains on the floor, walls, or ceiling where you’re certain no plumbing pipes run through, that doesn’t mean that a plumbing leak is not the cause of the problem. Water follows gravity, and can travel along construction materials. The symptom may appear quite far from the actual leak itself. We’ll find it for you, and fix it right.

Hear Running Water?

If you’re out camping or relaxing by a brook on a hot day, then the sound of running water can be quite soothing and relaxing. If you’re just sitting in your house, not using any water, and you hear water running, though, it’s not nearly as relaxing. And it shouldn’t be! It should send you to your phone, our number in hand.

If you can’t locate the source of the running water sound, try shutting off the main water valve in your home. If you still hear running water, or you see the water meter ticking upward, then you have a leak that needs to be pinpointed and addressed.

Schedule your plumbing services with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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Save Me Money

The answer to the question posed in the title of this blog is, yes, a tankless water heater can save you money. However, there is a lot to consider when deciding if a tankless water heater in Fort Collins, CO, is actually the right system for your needs and personal user preference. Plus, there is your budget to consider. Because a tankless water heater can certainly save you money, you have to look at it as a long term investment.

A lot of homeowners thinking about using a tankless water heater stop thinking about it when they see the price tag on these systems. It is true that they cost more than traditional tank water heaters do. That initial investment should not necessarily deter you, though, because the improved efficiency with which these systems operate can offset that initial investment and save you money provided that you give it the time to do so. Call our plumbers today if you’re thinking about going tankless. 

If There’s No Tank, Where’s the Water?

For many homeowners, the mention of a water heater conjures up the classic image of a big, cylindrical tank in the basement. This was the standard for so long that it can be difficult to imagine providing hot water throughout a house without a tank of hot water waiting at the ready. That is exactly what is accomplished in using a tankless, or “on-demand,” water heater, though.

Rather than store hot water in a tank, a tankless water heater simply heats the water that you need, when you need it. Cold water circulates through the system when you open a tap or run an appliance using water in the house. If it’s hot water that you’re looking for, the system heats that water as it passes through. When you shut off the hot water, the system stops heating it. It’s just that simple. But why pay more for a water heater, just to ditch the tank?

No More Standby Energy Loss

Modern hot water tanks are very well-made and are very well-insulated. The fact remains that no water heater tank is immune to the effects of standby energy loss, though. Keep in mind a basic principle of heat—it moves from warmer areas to cooler ones. And the air surrounding your water heater is definitely way cooler than the hot water stored inside the tank, right?

That means that some energy is going to transfer through the tank and into the cooler air surrounding it. It may not be much heat, but over the years that is going to really add up. This is why so many homeowners are starting to turn to tankless systems, despite them being more expensive.

Long Term Energy Savings—and We Mean Long Term!

An added benefit to the tankless water heater is the fact that it has such a long lifespan. If you plan to be in your home for many years to come, don’t be turned off by investing in this relatively expensive technology. Where a tank water heater has lower efficiency and lasts around 12 years or so, a more efficient tankless water heater can last in excess of 20 years! That means a lot of years of improved efficiency and energy savings!

Schedule your water heater services with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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water pressure

Picture this. You’re running late for the workday. Got out of bed a bit later than you’d intended. That’s okay, it happens to everyone. You throw on the coffee pot, jump in the shower—and make do with the weak stream, little more than a sputter, spewing forth from the showerhead. Now an inconvenient morning has become just that much more frustrating. Do not forget about this issue as you rush to go about the rest of your day.

Low water pressure is not just an inconvenience. It may indicate a very serious issue with your plumbing system at large. If you find yourself facing down an issue with low water pressure, it is definitely in your best interest to schedule service with a professional plumber in Severance, CO, immediately. The longer that you wait to do so, the greater the risk to your plumbing system. This is not a time when rolling the dice is going to pay off in any way.

Is This a Localized Problem?

When we say localized, we don’t mean local to your neighborhood. We mean local to a specific area in your home. If you have a single fixture that is suffering from low water pressure, then you almost certainly have a leak in the supply line running to that fixture. Now, this is more serious than you may realize.

Sure, only one fixture is compromised, but that does not mean that you don’t have a major problem on your hands. That pipe could be leaking somewhere behind your walls or beneath the floor, so you don’t really recognize the extent of the issue. Or you don’t at first. Before long, you could be dealing with major water damage, wood rot, and even the proliferation of biological pollutants like mold.

Is It an Issue Throughout the House?

If you notice that you have low water pressure throughout your entire home, then chances are that you don’t have a leak in every individual pipe serving every individual fixture. It’s much more likely that you have a main water line leak. There is a pretty simple way to test this. Shut off all of the water in the house, check the meter, then recheck it an hour or so later. If that meter is going up, it means that water is still coming in, even if you’re not using it.

Of course, there may be even more obvious signs. Like a new, growing pond in the yard, or a very unfortunate swimming pool filling up where your basement used to be! If you notice any such issues, you really need to call us right away. You’re at risk of serious water damage, potentially even to the foundation of your home.

What About the Neighbors?

This is something too many homeowners forget about. Unless you’re using a private well, you’re getting the water in your home from the same main water line as your neighbors. If you notice a sudden drop in pressure, get in touch with them. If they notice the same thing, then you’re probably looking at an issue that the municipality needs to resolve. Give them a call, and they may be able to give you a timeline.

Schedule your plumbing services with the company you can trust: Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning.

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You Flush

One issue that few of us saw coming as the world deals with a viral outbreak is a lack of toilet paper. Lo and behold, though, toilet paper has become something of a commodity in certain areas. We hope that you’ve got everything that you and your family need stocked up and at your disposal. If, however, you do find yourself running out of toilet paper, think twice before you try and flush an alternative down your toilet!

Our plumbers are very skilled at removing clogs and getting toilets flushing again, and we will certainly be there for you should you need us. Right now, we understand that a plumbing problem is probably not something you really want to be thinking about, though. Prevention is key if you want to avoid plumbing issues, so we’ve got a few tips to help you keep your bathroom plumbing in Loveland, CO, as reliable as possible.

Hey, Paper Is Paper, Right?

Are paper towels and toilet paper very similar in terms of what they’re composed of? Sure. Does that mean that you can flush paper towels down the toilet the same way that you flush toilet paper? Absolutely not!

Remember, just because something can be flushed down the toilet does not mean that it is going to make it all the way through your drain and sewer system. Paper towels may be paper, but they are not designed to break down easily the way that toilet paper is.

Facial tissue might be a little better, and you may be able to get by with it if you’re flushing very small amounts very frequently. Really, though, your best bet is to throw this stuff in the trash can when you’re done with it if you have no other choice but to use it in the bathroom. Is that as convenient as flushing it? No. Is taking the trash out very frequently more convenient than dealing with serious clogs? Absolutely.

Don’t Be Fooled by “Flushable” Claims

Again, there is a difference between “flushable” and something that is actually going to get through your system with no issues. Perfect example? Flushable wipes. If you have wipes in your home and you don’t have toilet paper, then you’re not too bad off. However, again, those wipes should be going in the trash, not down the toilet.

Baby wipes are a great option for hygiene, but they just don’t break down the way that paper products do. That goes for pretty much anything claiming to be “flushable” that is not toilet paper. Trust us, we get called out to plenty of service calls where pipes are clogged due to flushing “flushable” products. Better to play it safe than sorry here.

Schedule Your Plumbing Services with Our Team

This is a trying time. It is a confusing time. You don’t need any other stress on your plate right now. When you choose to work with our plumbers, you won’t be adding any.

Contact the company you can trust today: Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning!

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Gas Piping Safely

If you use natural gas in your home, you don’t need us telling you how great a resource it is. It is piped directly into your home, eliminating the need for fuel deliveries or for storing fuel. It is a largely domestic product, so you don’t have to worry about volatile markets and the pricing spikes that come with them quite as much. Plus, it is just so versatile! Homeowners use natural gas for everything from heating their homes to fueling their water heaters, ovens and ranges, and even their clothes dryers.

Like most any other fuel source, however, natural gas can be dangerous if not used and/or delivered throughout your home properly. That is where the necessity for professional gas piping services comes into play. You can’t do better than working with our plumbers in Loveland, CO. We aim for your 100% satisfaction with every job that we do, and your safety is even more important! Let us help you use gas safely.

Natural Gas Is Combustible, and Leaks Are a Serious Problem

Obviously, natural gas is a combustible fuel, and fires or explosions are possible when this gas is ignited. That’s a good thing in a controlled environment, of course. It’s how a gas furnace is able to generate heat and how your oven is able to cook that nutritious dinner for your family. When natural gas leaks develop, though, things get very dangerous very quickly. That is why it is so important that your natural gas appliances and piping are installed and serviced by trained professionals.

When you hire us to install your gas piping, everything is done with the utmost care and local codes are satisfied. Again, your safety is among our most serious priorities. By no means should you avoid natural gas because it’s dangerous. Pretty much any fuel is dangerous is if you’re not able to use it properly in your home.

Natural Gas Leaks: How to Spot Them

If you’ve ever smelled natural gas, then you know that its odor is actually pretty hard to ignore. Simply put—it stinks! What you may not realize is that this sulfuric stench is actually very deliberate. Natural gas, in fact, is odorless in its most natural state.

That smelly, rotten egg odor is the result of an additive put into the gas. And why would something so gross smelling be added to natural gas? To keep you safe! Again, you’d have trouble ignoring this odor if you smelled it in your home, and that is the entire point. If you smell this eggy odor in your house, exit the premises and contact the appropriate utility/service immediately.

You should also take note of this odor outside your home. Natural gas is piped in from a main gas line, and you may develop a leak in your main delivery line. You may notice that vegetation is dying off in the proximity of your gas line, too. That’s a strong indicator that you may have a gas leak on your hands.

Schedule your gas line services with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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Plumbing Problems Plaguing

Your bathroom is the apex of the plumbing system in your home. Yes, you have a water heater tucked away somewhere in your house. And sure, you have plumbing fixtures in your kitchen. But when you hear the word “plumbing,” we’re willing to bet that it’s the bathroom that springs to mind. And that makes sense. It’s where most of your direct interaction with your plumbing system takes place. Unfortunately, due to this concentration, it’s also where many plumbing problems will surface.

When you encounter bathroom plumbing issues, and encounter them you will, you’ll need to get in touch with a professional plumber in Windsor, CO, immediately. The longer that you wait to do so, the worse off your plumbing system is going to be. Trust us, we’ve dealt with many extensive, complex, and costly bathroom plumbing repairs that could have been a lot more minor had the homeowner acted faster.

Clogged Drains and Toilets

If there is one plumbing problem that we can all but guarantee that every homeowner will run into eventually, it’s the dreaded clog. Clogs aren’t always that serious, but failure to take clogs seriously can definitely lead to much more serious problems than you may realize. Let’s put it this way—if you can effectively clear a clog with a few pumps of the plunger, great. Problem solved. If you can’t resolve the clog that simply, do not turn to online tips or tutorials for what to try next. You need the help of a professional.

Remember, there is a world of difference between removing enough of a clog to allow water to pass through, and effectively clearing that clog to resolve the current and also to help prevent the problem from developing again before long. When it comes to lasting results, professional drain cleaning is the way to go.

Leaks of All Kinds

That dripping faucet may just seem like a bit of an annoyance, but consider this—you are paying for every drop of water that comes out of that faucet and goes down that drain, regardless of whether or not you are actually using that water. This can be a major waste of water and your hard-earned money over time, not to mention the environmental impact of consistent water waste.

Then there are those leaks that seem a lot more pressing because they are either disrupting your life or putting the condition of your home at risk. We’re talking a leaking toilet tank that renders your toilet inoperable, leaks that are occurring behind walls or beneath floors, etc. Remember, by the time you actually notice a leak, there is a good chance that this leak has been in action for a while already. That means that some damage may have already occurred, and is only going to get worse. This is not a time to delay in scheduling professional plumbing services. We’ll find the source of the leak accurately, and we’ll resolve it completely.

Schedule your plumbing services with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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