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5 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Water Heater


1st Sign: Your Water Heater Is Too Old

And how old is too old you ask? You really should replace electric water heaters after 10 years and gas water heaters after 8. But what if you don’t know how old your water heater is? Well, the year and month of production is on the serial number, but it’s not always obvious.

In the case of Bradford White Water Heaters, one of our favorites, the first two characters of the serial number represent the year and month of manufacture, but it’s coded as follows. Other brands, use different codes, but a quick online search will help you solve the puzzle.

BWWH Serial Number

2nd Sign: The Tank is Rusted

If hot water comes out of the faucet rusty or you see rust around the water inlet or pressure relief valve on the water heater, there’s a good chance the inside of the tank is rusted. Rusty water, in and of itself, isn’t great, it’s also a harbinger of leaks which means you’ll need to replace your water heater soon.

3rd Sign: The Water Heater is Making Noise

Like rust, noise is never a great sign. More often than not, the cause of the noise is sediment buildup. With continued use, sediment collects at the bottom of the tank. If you are not flushing the tank regularly (at least once a year), the sediment will harden, making the water heater inefficient.

Water heaters with sediment buildup have to work harder to heat the same amount of water so they consume more energy and the increased wear and tear will inevitably shorten its lifespan. If the water heater is still making noise after it’s flushed, you probably need a new water heater.

4th Sign: There’s Water Around the Water Heater

Over time, your water heater goes through thousands of heating cycles. The constant expansion and contraction of the metal will eventually compromise the integrity of the tank. Leaks can also be caused by problems with the connectors and fittings or the pressure relief valve.

Even a small amount of water can damage floors, subfloors and walls, and it can quickly turn into a much bigger problem like flooding or mold. If your water heater is leaking, turn off the water and the electric or gas that power it, and call your plumber as soon as possible.

5th Sign: The Water Heater Isn’t Heating Water

If your water isn’t getting hot enough (or if it’s getting too hot), you may need to adjust the thermostat (the thermostat should be set somewhere between 120 and 140 degrees) – this one isn’t a big deal.

If you’re not getting any hot water, you could have a broken heating element. You’ll need a plumber for this one, but you probably don’t need a new water heater, unless it’s an older unit.

If your family has grown or your demands for hot water have increased recently– you probably need a water heater that is better suited for your current needs.

Professional Plumbing & Design has been offering residential and commercial plumbing services to customers in Sarasota, Bradenton, Palmetto, and Venice, since 1985.

Our Pro Club members get front-of-the-line service, 10% discounts & 2-year guarantees on all repairs and replacements, and FREE annual safety inspections so we catch small plumbing issues before they become big problems. Best of all, their monthly investment of just $4.95 is accrued and can be applied to any future service so it’s basically FREE to join the club.

To schedule service or for more information about our Pro Club, Call The Professionals at 941-355-5400.

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Can you trust Angie's List?

angies list blog

Angie’s List offers “FREE access to ‘top-rated pros’, exclusive online deals and more than 12 million verified reviews from real people” so how can you go wrong with a recommendation from Angie’s List?

Well, for starters, only advertisers are described as “top-rated pros” and they’re listed ahead of other contractors. They’re also given special treatment when it comes to negative reviews and, when a consumer asks for a recommendation – they’re only given the names of advertisers.

In fact, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) warns “If you use Angie’s List, ignore their recommended companies.” CFA recommends that “When possible, consumers should rely on nonprofit organizations that evaluate businesses and are not funded by the companies they are evaluating.”, but Angie’s List isn’t a great deal for advertisers either…

When consumers are sent 4 or 5 recommendations, they tend to choose the lowest priced option. On top of that, advertisers are encouraged to offer discounted prices and onsite search results seem to favor businesses that offer coupons. For this reason, established contractors who are unwilling to sacrifice quality in order to offer bargain prices avoid Angie’s List.

Angie’s List started out as a subscription-based service in 1995. In 2017, IAC bought the company, merged it with Home Advisor, and switched it to an advertising-based model that gives preference to their “top-rated pros”, otherwise known as their advertisers. Since the merger, Angie’s List has been flooded with Better Business Bureau complaints from their customers – again, their advertisers.

IAC owns over 150 brands and operates Vimeo and Dotdash, among others. They have majority ownership of Match Group, which includes Tinder, Match, PlentyOfFish, OkCupid and Hinge, as well as ANGI Homeservices, which includes HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List and Handy.

Read the Forbes article on Angie's List

If you need a Plumber, these simple guidelines will help you find the best contractor for the job:

1. Consider only licensed plumbers who carry liability and workers’ compensation insurance.
2. Find out how long the company has been in business. When it comes to plumbers, the longer they’ve been around the better…
3. Is it a drug-free workplace and do all employees go through high-level background checks?
4. Does the company have an excellent reputation in town?
5. Check the companies reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp and other referral sites.
6. Ask friends, family and neighbors for their recommendation.

Or, if you’re lucky enough to be in Sarasota, Bradenton, Palmetto or Venice, you can just Call The Professionals at 941-355-5400.

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Do you have polybutylene pipes?

gray pipe

Polybutylene is an inexpensive, flexible plastic that was used for residential piping from 1978 to 1995.

It was found to be extremely vulnerable to ruptures, which led to a class-action settlement and the material is no longer accepted by U.S. building codes.

Polybutylene pipes can be blue, black, white or gray, but they always have the letters “PB” on a printed label on the pipe. The easiest way to determine whether you have polybutylene pipes is to check the pipes near the water heater, the sink connections or at the main shut-off valve or water meter.

If you have polybutylene piping, we highly recommend that you replace it as soon as possible.

Professional Plumbing & Design has the experience and equipment needed to repipe water lines and drain lines under mobile homes, in crawlspace homes, overhead in slab home attics, and under the floors of multiple floor homes and condominiums.

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Sarasota Cast Iron Pipe Replacement - A Solution for HOA's!

If you are a Home Owners Association Manager, chances are you have all had that 5am call regarding water pouring through the ceiling from the unit above.

Neighbors are knocking on the door of the resident upstairs and there is no answer. He isn’t answering because he’s in the shower and doesn’t know his shower water is pouring thru three floors. And he can’t hear the neighbor’s urgent knocks on the door, or their phone calls.

By the time the shower is over, three floors of units are wet and need drying out. What happened? One of the cast iron pipes in the bathroom burst and flooded three units below. The resident getting out of the shower is blissfully unaware of the situation, until he checks his messages.

By now the neighbors have all used the emergency number to reach the manager. The manager has dispatched the crew to look at the problem. The building maintenance crew is on their way to the unit or already knocking on the door.

The plumber will be called to make the repair. The resident is instructed not to use the shower until the plumbing problem is fixed. A remediation company will be called to dry out the units below. The insurance company will also need to be involved. Everyone wants to know how soon this situation is going to be fixed.

In addition to the stress, the condo is probably spending funds that weren’t budgeted. Welcome to management by crisis! This is a common situation. Don’t let it be common at your community! Cast iron pipes have a projected life of 25 – 30 years. Plan for replacement.

Being proactive can eliminate a lot of pain for the residents, the manager, and the board. That’s not to say it won't happen again. But having a corrective plan in place is far less costly in terms of stress and dollars than responding to an emergency.

How do you know you have bad pipes? Interior and / or exterior corrosion, rust, cracking, thinning of the pipe, deterioration visible by camera. Leaking, ruptures, frequent clogging, sewer backups, slow drains, foul smells, and pests such as rodents and roaches are also signs that plumbing problems are lurking...

Typically, it is the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room and vent pipes that burst. When you have to open the walls to replace a section of pipe - consider replacing all of the visible cast iron pipes in that section of wall before you close the wall back up. There’s nothing worse than having to come back and replace another pipe in the same wall. This definitely makes for unhappy residents! If the resident is doing a renovation on their unit, require them to have all of the pipes replaced while the walls are open. Which is much less expensive and you’re preventing a later disaster!

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