Author Archives: Service Force Plumbing

What Is a Sewer Camera?

A Plumber Fits a Sewer Camera Together.

What is a sewer camera?

When plumbers are called out to repair sewer lines, these days, instead of digging up lines in hopes to find the problem, they use a sewer camera. These are specially made waterproof cameras attached to flexible rods that are snaked through pipes that are otherwise difficult to reach. During a sewer camera inspection, plumbers snake the camera through the line to look for cracks, clogs, corrosion, leaks, root intrusion, and any other problems. The camera sends real-time video to a high-definition monitor that the plumber watches live and records for future reference. The cameras also have radio transmitters that record depth and location of defects.

Inspections are useful anytime you have a sewer line problem such as a backup or clog. Realtors and prospective home buyers also use them in home inspection to check the condition of sewer and main water lines. If you are in need of a sewer camera inspection in Rockville, MD, look to the professionals at Service Force Plumbing. You can connect with us by calling 301-841-6284 to schedule a service appointment.

How often should you check your plumbing?

Regular plumbing inspections and maintenance will ensure the health of your plumbing. With an inspection, you can learn if your plumbing is functioning properly and plumbers can identify any potential problems. This can save you money in the long term, as it prevents small problems from becoming large ones that might cost you much more money to repair. Most plumbing professionals recommend that you have your plumbing inspected every two years. A sewer camera inspection should be included.

What can I expect from a plumbing inspection?

When you have your plumbing inspected, whether as part of regular maintenance or when buying or selling a property, a thorough inspection will include:

  • An inspection of water filtration systems
  • An examination of fixtures, drains, and supply lines
  • An examination of above-ground and exposed plumbing such as shut-off valves and trap under all sinks
  • An inspection of sinks, toilets, showers and baths
  • A check of draining and venting systems
  • A check water heater tanks or tankless water heater
  • A sewer camera inspection of drains, underground pipes, and sewer lines
  • An inspection of sump pumps

What are the most common plumbing problems?

When plumbers go out on service calls, they often encounter these common problems:

  • Faucets dripping
  • Sinks draining slowly
  • Shower or bath clogs
  • Toilet clogged
  • Toilet continually running
  • Water heater malfunctioning
  • Water pressure low
  • Garbage disposal jammed
  • Pipes leaking
  • Backed-up sewer system

How do you tell if my sewer line is collapsed?

While you hope never to have a collapsed sewer line, they are fairly obvious to discern. Collapses usually occur because of clogs deep down in the sewer lines. These clogs get so bad they’ll begin to cause frequent backups in your showers, sinks, toilets, and tubs. Frequent backups are sure signs of a line collapse. You might notice issues like your tub draining slowly while at the same time hear your toilet bubbling or all your fixtures will drain slowly. You won’t be able to plunge the drain to clear it. Along with drainage issues, you’ll probably begin to smell the odor of sewage because waste material is not draining through the pipes.

Your yard might also show signs of a sewer line collapse. You might find there are areas of your yard where the grass grows faster or is greener that normal. You might also notice your yard stays soggy even when it is dry outside. And, of course, you might end up smelling sewage. When you see these problems your lines are probably collapsed and have begun to leak. Whenever any of these signs are noticed, a plumber will have to come out, provide a sewer camera inspection, and find out where the damaged line is located so repairs can be made.

Sewer inspection camera and locator

When a sewer camera inspection is performed, the camera can find damage in the pipe or spot where tree roots have intruded—a common problem—but the camera alone normally can’t detect leaks by itself. Cameras usually have locators that use sound to transmit the depth and location of a leak. Plumbers also use separate location devices to find pipes that are underground, under the house, or behind walls.

Sewer camera inspection rental

There are rental businesses that rent sewer cameras and other expensive plumbing equipment. This equipment is typically rented out to professionals rather than individuals wanting to do a DIY inspection. Trained professionals will know what they are looking at and looking for when it comes to inspecting sewer pipes and other plumbing lines with a camera. Homeowners can rent or buy inexpensive cameras but these often only allow you to go down a few feet into pipes and won’t have the capabilities of the cameras that most professionals use.

Municipal sewer camera inspection services

Some municipalities might offer sewer inspections to homeowners, depending on where the problem is in the sewer line. If the problem is especially close to where a private line connects with the main line, they may even provide repairs. But most inspections and repairs on private property are handled by the homeowner.

A View Inside a Sewer Line.

Sewer camera inspection near me

If you are having trouble with sewer line backups and need a plumbing professional for sewer camera inspection, reach out to the experienced experts at Service Force Plumbing. We have the equipment and expertise to properly diagnose what’s wrong with your sewer lines and effectively repair them. Find out more or schedule a service appointment by calling 301-841-6284.

Do Water Heaters Need to Be Inspected?

water heater inspection

Do Water Heaters Need to Be Inspected?

Believe it or not, water heater inspection and testing is a very important part of homeownership. If a water heater is not properly installed from the outset, there could be a whole host of problems that occur as a result. That is why water heaters should be inspected about once a year. A qualified plumber who is experienced with water heaters will be able to provide a good report concerning any issues that are lurking with your water heater. As a matter of fact, if your water heater is experiencing a lot of problems already, your plumber may suggest a water heater replacement.

How Often Should Water Heater Be Inspected?

Your water heater inspection professional will be able to answer this question based upon the specifics of your water heater. For example, if your water heater is over ten years old and already exhibiting problems, then you will want to schedule more inspections with regularity. According to a leading resource, your water heater could be inspected every two months, once every six years, or once every year. The first checkup that you schedule for your water heater should focus on observing the plumbing joints for excessive or unusual corrosion.

How Do You Check a Hot Water Heater?

If your water heater isn’t working, you may want to investigate it. You can do so by troubleshooting. The first thing that you will want to do is distinguish what kind of water heater it is. If you have an electric water heater, it will work differently than a gas water heater. The main difference is the heat source. For electric water heaters, the water is heated by an electric upper and lower heating element that extends into the water tank. Alternatively, gas water heaters possess a gas burner that heats the water from below the tank. If there is no heated water, the problem likely lies in a failed heating element. Such elements are easy to replace.

What are the Signs that a Water Heater is Going Bad?

As a responsible homeowner, there are many signs that you should be aware of when it comes to identifying the signs and symptoms of a bad water heater. Please review the following list to discover more.

  • There isn’t enough hot water.
  • The water temperature varies widely.
  • Your water heater is leaking.
  • Your water is smelly or discolored.
  • Your water heater is very old.
  • There is a reduced water flow.

In any of these instances, it is important for you to call your local, professional plumber. He or she will be able to make recommendations for you based upon your current water heater needs.

How Many Years Does a Water Heater Last?

Are you wondering how long your water heater will last after its initial installation? To be fair, it’s a great question. According to leading estimates, you should have your water heater repaired or replaced every eight to twelve years. It’s important to recognize that some water heaters do last longer, and tankless water heaters have an increased lifetime projection over standard tank water heaters.

Who Does Water Heater Inspection

Not all plumbers are experienced or inclined when it comes to water heater inspections. When you are searching for an individual who can conduct your water heater inspection, it will be important for you to review their services. If they advertise water heater inspections, it is a safe bet that they will be happy to review your water heater.

Hot Water Heater Inspection

The reason why hot water heater inspections are so important is because there is a movement being coordinated to make there that there is a permit involved in the installation or replacement of a water heater. Water heaters need to be installed correctly in order to make sure that any dangers that are associated with scalding, legionella bacteria growth, fuel gas leaks, ignition sources, fires, and explosions are avoided. It is projected that there is not enough regulation of water heater installations.

Hot Water Heater Inspection Checklist

Are you wondering what is included in a good hot water heater inspection checklist? An inspection of your water heater should include the following: checking the fuel gas piping to see if the piping is holding pressure. Checking the gas pressure regulator. This is to make sure that the gas pressure is within the gas pressure range on the appliance gas regulator.

water heater inspection

Water Heater Inspections

If your water heater is behaving erratically, it is important for you to get it checked out as quickly as possible. That’s because there could be sediment blockage in your water heater. Worse still, it could be a sign of a leak, and if there is a leak, water damage is never far behind.

If you need a water heater inspection in Rockville, MD, your smartest move is to call an established plumbing company. Our team is very experienced. You can always reach us at our phone number, 301-841-6284.

How often should you clean your sewer line?

sewer line cleaning

Sewer Line Services

When we speak about needing sewer line cleaning, there are two types of sewer lines. The sanitary sewer line carries clean water into your home. The water you use to bathe, clean, cook and do laundry comes from this line. The water that flows from this line comes from the sewer treatment plant the city owns and operates. Then there is a storm sewer line that sends redirects to the rainwater from roofs and roadways to the storm system. 

For this article, our focus will be on the sanitary sewer line going to your home, starting with a popular question: “What do you do if your sewer line is clogged?”. If you are like the average homeowner, you probably haven’t given your sewer line that much thought. You may understand that sewage and wastewater have to go somewhere, but beyond that, until you have a problem with drainage, you haven’t given it two thoughts. Dial 301-841-6284 to speak with someone on our team about sewer line cleaning for your Rockville, MD property.

What to Do About a Clogged Sewer Line

When a sewer line is clogged, it can spell disaster for a homeowner. The sewage and wastewater you don’t think about start backing up into every drain inside your home. You may not realize it right now, but that is probably the worst nightmare for a homeowner. However, this will be when the words ‘sewer line cleaning’ come to mind, and you realize the value in what this article has to offer you. 

Fortunately, there is something you can do for your immediate needs that will restore your home’s plumbing system to a better state of being – temporarily. 

Pressure Release for Sewer Line Cleaning: As soon as you realize there is a possible clogged sewer line, you need to turn the water off at the main supply (this is usually at the meter). Search your basement, roof, and yard to locate the sewer cleanout. It is typically a short, white pipe that is three to four inches round with a screw-on cap. Once you find it, remove the cap. This action will release any pressure in the sewer line, forcing that backed up wastewater that backed up in the shower, sink, or tub to drain.

Chemical Sewer Line Cleaning: Tree roots are a sewer line’s enemy. However, a sewer line clogged with tree roots can be cleared of any clogs they’re causing by using one of these chemical treatments: Copper Sulfate – recommended by professional plumbers for immediate and fast sewer line cleaning. You simply pour it in the toilets and flush. It kills any tree roots that are interrupting your sewer line’s flow. The downside to this substance it that it flushes away fast so you may need to repeat the application a few times to clear the clog completely. Some public water municipalities prohibit this product, which is something a professional plumber would know. 

The other product recommended by plumbers for sewer line cleaning is Dichlobenil, and like the Copper Sulfate, you simply flush a dose down the toilets. It is a foam product that sticks to the pipes, and in a few hours, it kills those pesky tree roots. The downside to this product, those dead tree roots don’t disappear immediately and could still cause you problems until they do flush through, which can take a few months.

Mechanical Sewer Line Cleaning: Professional plumbers and sewer cleaning professionals have a few sewer line cleaning tools for unclogging main sewer lines that the average homeowner doesn’t. Among those tools is a flexible cable, the most effective tool. Your plumber may refer to it as an auger or plumber snake. The auger is power-assisted, and the plumber feds into the sewer line until they reach the clog. It breaks the clog up, and your wastewater starts flowing again. 

Another sewer line cleaning method used by plumbers today is high-pressure water that blows the roots and debris down the sewer line. These are sewer line cleaning that you can rent from big box home improvement stores, but keep in mind, if done incorrectly, you can do a lot of damage. Then you end up calling a professional plumber to fix what you damaged and complete the sewer line cleaning you didn’t get finished.

backed up sewer line

How do you dissolve toilet paper in a sewer line?

Toilet paper is manufactured to break up easily to dissolve in water, which works unless there is too much, and it becomes a gummy clog. Fortunately, there a few things you can do to dissolve that toilet paper clog with the following steps for sewer line cleaning and get the toilet flowing again.

  • Step 1: First, clear everything away from the toilet like rugs and towels. 
  • Step 2: Raise the seat and insert the plunger in the toilet bowl, covering the toilet drain opening. 
  • Step 3: Start plunging the toilet, downward, and upward over the opening so that it creates a suction and pulls the clog up or pushes it on down.
  • Step 4: Flush the toilet to see if the clog of toilet paper has dissolved. 
  • Step 5: If not, use a toilet auger, inserting it into the toilet drain, and pushing it down the drain till you hit some resistance.
  • Step 6: Start rotating the auger handle while pushing it inward so the barbs can disintegrate the clogged toilet paper.
  • Step7: Remove the auger and flush the toilet. If there is still a toilet paper clog, repeat steps 5 and 6 again. If you still have a clog, its time to call a professional plumber. 

How do I know if my sewer line needs to be replaced?

This invisible but essential part of the plumbing in your home will tell you when your sewer line clogged or broken, and sewer line cleaning may not be enough by one of the following ways: 

  • Bathtub, shower, sinks, and toilet slow draining
  • Water pressure dropped in sink or shower 
  • The toilet water level varies from almost empty to overflowing
  • Constant backup wastewater and sanitary blockages
  • Water pipes leaking 
  • Pooling or standing wastewater, smelly water puddles in the yard
  • Sewer gas odor lingering around the property
  • Ceilings and walls have mold growing
  • Green, lush, thick grass in areas of the yard
  • An indentation in the lawn above the main sewer line
  • Foundation cracks, sinkholes around the foundation
  • Basement flooding or smelly water around the drains
  • Persistent insect and rodent problem even with pest control treatment
  • Loud gurgling noise coming from water pipes while bathing, doing laundry, washing the dishes
  • Water bill increases a large amount all of the sudden

Do I need a permit to repair sewer line?

It depends on the jurisdiction where you live and their local laws, but chances are yes, a permit is needed, which is why hiring a professional plumber is always the best way to go.  Drain line replacements and sewer line replacement usually require a permit by the person doing the work. There are safety codes to be followed, and typically, stiff fines are implemented when those permits are not pulled, and the safety codes followed.

And It’s A Wrap! 

You go to all the trouble (and expense) to have new sewer line installed, your next question is “How long does sewer line last?”. Well, it is going to depend on several factors, like the ground condition where the line is buried, the quality of the sewer line, and how well the install job was done.  Another important factor is your homeowner’s maintenance routine in keeping the lines clear with routine sewer line cleaning and making sure that tree roots find another path.   

A sewer line pipe can last anywhere between fifty years to over a hundred years.  As a homeowner, you hope that it will outlive you and your children, grandchildren, or the next owner will be the lucky one to deal with the next sewer line cleaning, repairs, or replacement! 

How Often Should You Repipe a House?

A Plumber Connects a Pipe.

How often should you repipe a house?

Plumbing problems like leaks can occur at any time. Most of the time, the leak can be repaired and everything goes back to normal. But, if you have an older home and leaks and other problems like rusty water are occurring with great frequency, you may want to consider repiping the house. Here are some of the main reasons you want to repipe your house:

  • You have a home more than 50 years old that still has galvanized steel pipes.
  • Rust and mineral buildup causes frequent problems with low water pressure.
  • Rust from old pipes begins to turn your water red or brown or give it a rusty taste.
  • You are experiencing frequent problems with pipe leaks.

Anytime you are having serious problems with older pipes in your home, you might want to consider getting your home repiped. For affordable and reliable whole house repiping in Rockville, MD, look to the team at Service Force Plumbing. We are a licensed full-service plumbing contractor specializing in repiping. You can schedule a service appointment with us by calling 301-841-6284.

Why repipe a house

There are many reasons why you might want to repipe your house. Older homes may have galvanized steel pipes that are rusting and corroded and causing frequent leaks. You may have problems with rust in your water or low water pressure because of mineral build-up, you may want to repipe your home. Another problem is water with low pH, which causes the water to be highly acidic. If you have steel or copper pipes and highly acidic water, your pipes will corrode much faster. Replacing them is a better option. 

If you’re living in a home that’s had a lot of plumbing work over the years, it’s likely your plumbing is a patchwork of fittings, connections, and even different types of piping that will continue to cause you problems like leaks and clogs. Replacing the pipes will reduce many of those problems and probably improve things like water pressure as well.

What does a repipe include

If you are considering a repipe, the big question on your mind might be: How do you repipe a house? A whole house repiping is a big job and will usually cause some disruption in household activities because your water will need to be shut off frequently and old pipes will have to be excavated so the new pipes can be installed. Professionals like those at Service Force Plumbing work quickly to do their best to keep disruptions at a minimum. They have the equipment and training to detect the location of your pipes and choose the right materials like PVC or PEX piping that will best serve you and your household. Once they get the new pipes in place, the plumbers get everything back in order by restoring and resurfacing the spaces affected.

Can I repipe my own house

While it’s entirely possible to repipe your own house, it’s not recommended, even if you have some experience with basic plumbing repair. Repiping is a big job, and requires the right equipment, skills, and manpower to get the job done right. In some municipalities, moreover, you might not be able to obtain the permits you need for repiping unless you are a licensed plumbing professional.

Should I repipe my house with PEX?

PEX piping, which is basically flexible plastic tubing, has become a popular option for whole house repiping. As with any other material, PEX has it’s advantages and drawbacks. Because it’s flexible, it’s easy to install. It’s also one of the least expensive types of plumbing pipes, especially compared to copper pipes, and it won’t corrode or freeze. But, PEX, if used for outside piping can be susceptible to damage from sunlight. If it is used for outside piping, ask your plumber what will be used to protect the pipe. There are also studies suggesting PEX affects water quality, but little is definitively known.

Does repiping a house add value?

If you are thinking about repiping your house before selling it, this can be a good idea, especially with an older home with galvanized steel pipes. A home repipe might not necessarily add value, but it will often get it up to market value. In fact, if the home needs to be repiped, it’s value will be lowered because buyers don’t want the inconvenience of having to do it themselves. Check with your real estate agent to see how a repipe might add value to your home.

Does insurance cover repiping?

Although repiping can fix many problems like leaks that could damage your plumbing and your home, you will probably have to shoulder the expense on your own. Homeowner’s insurance rarely covers the cost of repiping. On the other hand, your insurance will probably cover water damage caused by a burst pipe, if that burst pipe occurred suddenly. If the pipe bursts because of lack or maintenance or because it was old, rusted, or corroded, insurance might not cover the damage. Updating with a repipe might be a good idea just for this reason.

Copper Pipes

Repipe specialists near me

Do you have old, outdated pipes causing you to spend more on repairs than they are worth? Whole house repiping may be the right thing for you. If you are looking for a repipe specialist in Rockville, MD, the professionals at Service Force Plumbing can help you. Find out what we can do for you by calling 301-841-6284.

How do I Install a new Bathtub?

bathtub installation

Bathtub installation details

When wanting a complete home or apartment bathroom, one the necessities is a bathtub. As a way to get clean while relaxing, bathtub installation does not have to be a difficult endeavor when you want it done in your home or in a piece of property connected to you. Not only can one be designed for the elderly in the form of a walk in tub, but it can also be meant to remain in for longer periods in the form of a soak tub or can provide hydrotherapy as do whirlpool tubs. The possibilities depend on what you want it used for, whether you want simply a standered tub or a specialized one like those mentioned. There are things to consider before taking on bathtub installation, such as:

  • Appearance: How do you want your tub to look, whether it will complement your bathroom or take on the appearance suited to its purpose
  • Design: Will it be lifted or built into your walls, will it be a bathtub and shower or stand alone
  • Purpose: Like those mentioned above, will it offer hydrotherapy, be designed for the elderly, or just a place to relax. Maybe all three?

For those wishing to do it themselves, there is an issue that Service Force Plumbing can easily solve when contracted to do the job. All persons working on or installing a bathtub or shower must have permits to do the job. That goes especially for when the person is dealing with the sub level and interior of the walls when working with piping. We can help you, by calling 301-841-6284 we can get that bathtub installed, repaired, or replaced today.

How much does it cost to install a bathtub?

Bathtub installation cost depends on a variety of factors. While a general stand alone bathtub is generally cheap, a specialized bathtub can go for a fair price when done by professionals. It largely depends on the materials you want used for your bathtub, the surface it is being built on or into, the purpose it will serve when completed, and how the piping can be changed to make it function. It can also depend on the positioning of your tub in the room it is placed, a good plumber like those that work at Service Force Plumbing will suggest the best place a tub installation can be started and completed. The plumber would also inform you on which materials would do you better for the intended purpose of your tub. All that said, a plumber would give you a quote before committing to bathtub installation, also informing you on what is possible and giving suggestions when something would not be advised.

What is better porcelain or acrylic tub?

While both are popular, there are more options in bathtub installation than just porcelain and acrylic. Both last around fifteen years and have their advantages and drawbacks. Acrylic for example retains heat slightly better than porcelain, but acrylic is not as tough as porcelain and must be cleaned more often. While the mentioned plastic suggestions for bathtub installation are indeed the most flexible and popular, there are also other options on the basis of material. Enameled steel and cast iron tubs stand as superior options in terms of resistance and will last a longer time than just plastic alternatives. Cast iron tubs like enameled steel tubs last fifteen to twenty years for a reference on longer lasting fact. 

As mentioned there is the question of what purpose you want for your bathtub as well. Bathtubs for that matter can have a multitude of installations added to them to better serve you better in your own home or apartment. Installing bathtub grab bars would help assist those in a normal or walk in bathtub by helping be a way to support those that use it. A bathtub diverter installation also connects your bathtub to your shower faucet, for when a shower needs to be accessed it can be made easy rather than at an elevated level. Insulating your bathtub also proves to retain heat longer in a bathtub installation rather than without. There are a multitude more options you could explore in terms of the perfect bathtub that fits your specific taste and purpose. Each adds something to the experience that helps you relax or support you when making use of the tub. Regardless if you prefer it ice cold or steaming hot. 

installed bathtub

Bathtub installation on a concrete floor?

A bathtub installation is absolutely possible on a concrete surface, regardless of how you want it to look. Whether you want a bathtub installation to culminate in a fancy high class tub or a simple modern looking tub, both can easily be a reality for you, especially when contracting Service Force Plumbing for the job. For a summary of the process, our plumbers would find where the piping would connect, level out a location for the tub, and then our plumbers would begin the process of placing the tub and supporting it before finishing the process. While that is a highly shortened version of the process we could undertake for you, the choice of a bathtub for your home or apartment needs only be hard when deciding the appearance. Call 301-841-6284 today to make an appointment and start the process in your bathtub installation today.

Gas Leak Detection Monitoring and Prevention

detail of a residential gas pipe against a red brick wall

Learn More About Gas Leak Detection

Your property will typically incorporate the use of a gas line for your oven or HVAC system. A gas line will typically incorporate a pipeline where natural gas or other types of fuel enter into the home or business. Sometimes, unexpected circumstances can occur where the pipeline is punctured, cracked, loosened or otherwise damaged and acting abnormally. This can cause gas to infiltrate areas that shouldn’t have gas in the air as gas can be harmful to living beings and organisms. Therefore, occupants have made a practice to incorporate gas leak detection devices that can alert them when there are abnormal levels of gas in the area. It’s important to consider the installation of these devices as gas leaks are hard to immediately find or become sensitive to unless levels are high. Even with high levels that can be a detriment to health so it’s important to get in touch with a professional plumbing company that will be able to provide services in gas leak detection if something is off. They can also be employed to provide gas leak detection devices for your property so you can be taken care of in case of future worries. In the meantime, here is some information concerning gas leak detection that may prove useful to you in being prepared.

How does gas leak detector work?

Gas leak detection can come in many forms yet generally involves detecting hazardous gasses through sensors. Some will have an audible alarm that will alert occupants in the area when there are dangerous levels of gas. Some will detect the presence of gas in the area and trigger the system to shut off if levels are higher than it deems normal. This type of equipment, when detecting emissions or gas leaks, will interface with a control system where a process of automatic shut down can be activated. Gas leak detection can be used for the detection of oxygen depletion as well as combustible, toxic, and flammable gases. There are also gas leak detection thermal cameras that can identify gas by visual cues. These sensors typically also have audible alarms upon gas leak detection. With ultrasonic gas leak detection, the device can detect acoustic emissions created by pressurized gas expanding in low-pressure areas through an opening. Acoustic sensors will detect the changes in the background noise of the environment and indicate that a gas leak is present.

Gas Leak Detection Infrared Camera

Gas leak detection with an infrared camera will be able to visualize gas by inverting the physics of gas leaks. The camera itself will scan the area and produce a picture of leaks on the camera viewfinder of LCD with gas appearing as smoke. This visualization of gas emissions will be succinct in efforts of gas leak detection.

Will a carbon monoxide detector detect a gas leak?

Carbon monoxide detectors only detect carbon monoxide and not fumes or raw fuel.

What alarm detects gas leaks?

Carbon monoxide alarms will not be able to detect other forms of gas like methane, propane or natural gas. A natural gas alarm will be more powerful in detecting multiple forms of gas. 

Is there a detector for natural gas?

If you’re looking for a natural gas leak detector for gas leak detection consider models that are able to detect multiple forms of gas. A natural gas alarm, for example, can do so while also testing for carbon monoxide and propane. As such, you can smell the potential of natural gas as well to supplement the alarm.

How do I know if I smell gas?

There is an additive given to natural gas by gas companies nowadays (which is odorless by itself if there isn’t an additive.) This odor is distinct as it is the smell of rotten eggs.

Is a small gas leak dangerous?

Even small amounts of exposure to gas leaks can show up with health discomforts like nausea, headaches or dizziness. Yet with natural gas that doesn’t burn off properly, you’ll see more severe dangers as gas will begin to emit carbon monoxide which can cause death after long exposure.

Gas or steam leaking from an industrial pressure gauge

What is the best gas leak detector?

  • Best Overall: CD100A Combustible Gas Leak Detector
  • Best Plug-In: First Alert Explosive Gas Detector
  • Best Handheld: Techamor Y201 Portable Gas Leak Detector
  • Best for Contractors: Ridgid CD-100 Gas Leak Detector
  • Best for Radon: Corentium Home Radon Detector
  • Best Intrinsically Safe: Combustible Gas Leak Detector
  • Best for RVs: MTI Industries Propane Gas Alarm
  • Best Budget: Home-Flex Electronic Gas Leak Detector

How long do gas detectors last?

Gas leak detection with devices like carbon monoxide detectors can last between 5-7 years. Smoke detectors or alarms, in turn, last 8-10 years. At the end of that time, the whole unit usually needs to be replaced, you may also need to replace batteries in between that time or after the end of the device’s natural life span.

Where to Install Gas Leak Detector

Where to install a gas leak detection device all depends on the device and the manufacturer’s guidelines on placement. A Honeywell gas leak detector, for example, says it should be placed higher than all windows and doors about half a foot from the ceiling and within 10 feet of the gas appliance. Others are instructed to be placed directly on the gas line in case of punctures where the switch can activate shut off of the gas line. Based on where you’d prefer installation there can be a gas leak detection device out there for you. Other than that a professional plumber can best recommend the device that works with your property’s specifications.

Contact A Professional For Assistance With Gas Leak Detection

If you’re looking for assistance with gas leak detection in Rockville, MD or heater services in Lanham, MD contact your local plumbing and HVAC companies for help. They will be able to provide an inspection as well as services to make sure your gas line and heating are properly connected and working as they should. Incorporating a gas leak detection device to your property will prevent risking the health of occupants as well as any potential fires with high levels of gas being triggered by electrical use. Get in touch with an expert today and incorporate gas leak detection onto your property for the betterment of your property’s longevity.

If you’re needing help with gas leak detection in Rockville, MD call 301-841-6284 with Service Force Plumbing!

What is a Burst Pipe?

Burst pipe with black background

What is a Burst Pipe?

If you have had a burst pipe in your home or property, it is unlikely you will ever forget the experience. Burst pipes need to be immediately shut off at the source in order to mitigate further water damage. A burst pipe can occur due to a variety of factors, including rats, tree roots, corrosion, or a collapsed pipe. When a pipe ruptures, it bursts water forth to the surrounding surfaces and areas. 

What Happens When Pipes Burst?

When pipes burst, you can expect a variety of catastrophic results. The primary one is of an excess spray of water around the surrounding areas. You will see evidence of your burst water pipe in your high water bills. You will also see it in the water damage that occurs to your home or property. 

How Do You Know If Your Pipes Burst?

There are a number of things that you should be aware of when it comes to understanding whether or not your pipes have burst. While it is sometimes easy to diagnose a fast-leaking burst pipe, the signs and symptoms for a slowly leaking burst pipe can be more difficult to determine. For instance, if your water pressure goes up and down in addition to not looking right, you may have a slow pipe leak. Another thing to look out for is if your water smells like rotten eggs and if your pipes are making noises. Another thing to look out for? If your water bill is too high. Red flags include these signs and symptoms such as if puddles keep forming under sinks. In such instances, your plumber can become your best friend. There are so many components to be aware of in a kitchen. If you require walk-in cooler repair for your commercial property, please be sure to consult a licensed and insured plumber.

How do You Fix a Burst Pipe?

Burst pipe repair is an important and necessary service whenever you have a burst pipe on your property. If you would like to take on your burst pipe repair, you will need some tools and materials to start the process. These materials include a mini copper-pipe cutter, steel wool, lead-free solder, soldering paste, a torch kit (which includes a torch and striker). You will also need a good ½ inch copper pipe, a stop and waste valve, and ½ inch copper fittings. The steps are extensive. However, the first step is the most important: shut off the main valve where water comes into the house. The lowest fixture in the house can be used to drain the water. A pipe cutter can be used to remove the desired section of the pipe. A section of copper pipe should be cut to fit the specified section. The steel wool can next be used to clean both the pipe and inside the stop and waste valve.

Next, spread soldering flux on the outside of the pipe end and inside the valve fitting. After that has been done, you can slide the valve fitting on the end of the pipe. With safety goggles in place, you can use a propane torch to heat the fitting and the pipe where they connect. At this point, you can push about two inches of solder into the joint where the valve connects to the pipe. As always, it is important to utilize safety precautions. You should always contact a reputable plumber to oversee any important plumbing process.

Is a Burst Water Pipe Covered by Insurance?

This can be a tricky question and deserves to be answered in-depth. Homeowners insurance can help cover damage caused by leaking plumbing if the leak is sudden and accidental. However, if the source of the problem stems from a lack of maintenance, homeowners’ insurance will not provide the necessary assistance.

Can a Toilet Pipe Burst

If there is a significant increase in water pressure, it can lead to a burst pipe or a failed plumbing fixture. This includes all the plumbing fixtures in your bathroom, such as your sink or toilet. When the water pressure to your home increases, the pipes in your home cannot contain the excess water. This can cause a rupture.

Why Do Pipes Burst

There are a number of reasons why pipes burst. Please read through the following reasons why pipes burst to learn more.

  • Poorly insulated pipes. Exposed pipes are prone to freezing, even in climates that are naturally warm. That’s why it’s important to insulate them with pipe sleeves.
  • Increased water pressure. When too much water pressure is introduced into a plumbing system, the increased water pressure can cause a pipe to burst where there may be some vulnerabilities.
  • Rats or rodents. There are times when rats or rodents chew on pipes. This means that if a PVC pipe is exposed to rodents, and they chew on it, you can have a burst pipe on your hands.

How to Fix Burst Pipe in Wall

If you have a burst pipe in your wall, you will need to address it procedurally. The first thing you will need to do is cut out sections of the damaged drywall with a saw. Next, you will need to wrap a sheet around the pipe. Place a container beneath the broken pipe. Cut the pipe below the leak. Dry the pipe. Then cut above the leak with a pipe cutter and clean the pipe. Then you can mount a copper repair sleeve. As usual, you will need to consult with a licensed and insured plumber to ensure that all procedures are up to code. 

A burst pipe can take hours to repair

How Long to Fix Burst Pipe

Depending on the severity of the pipe situation, the amount of time that it takes to fix a pipe can vary between two to three hours. Some pipe bursts take longer.

Scheduling an appointment for your burst pipe has never been easier. Our staff at Service Force Plumbing are ready to take your phone call at 301-841-6284. Discover more about what we can do for your burst pipe in Rockville, MD!

Is It Worth Getting a Tankless Water Heater?

A White Tankless Water Heater Installed On a Wall.

Are Tankless Water Heater Worth It?

If you are in the market for a new water heater, then you might have thought about getting a tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters are that do use a traditional water heater tank and they are able to provide heated water instantly. Many people who are thinking about tankless water heaters typically ask, “Is it worth getting a tankless water heater?” It depends on what you are looking for in a water heater. Tankless water heaters have a ton of benefits, so its worth knowing what those are in order to make an educated decision.

One of the best things about these types of water heaters is that they can save you money in the long run. Other great things about them is that they last more than 20 years, save space, provide on demand hot water, and they have really good warranties. So based on those benefits, are tankless water heaters better than traditional tank water heaters? They could be if they tick off all of your water heater qualifications. However, while its important to know the benefits of tankless water heaters, its also important to know what the drawbacks are.

What Is the Downside of a Tankless Water Heater?

There are many wonderful benefits when it comes to tankless water heaters, but knowing the downsides of tankless water heaters can help you make a better decision about whether its the best water heater for you and your home. You don’t want to choose a water heater based on the advantages alone; you will need to know if the disadvantages are worth it.

  • Higher Cost: Although you get incredible savings with a tankless water heater, the cost of the water heater and installation are pretty expensive.
  • Inconsistent Temperatures: If you have multiple people using hot water, then the tankless water heater might have trouble offering hot water to every system.
  • Cold Water Sandwich: This term means when you are using the hot water, it can get really hot one minute, then cold, then hot again. This can happen with tankless water heaters.
  • Limited Hot Water: With tankless water heaters everyone is able to get hot water when they want it, but they can’t all be using systems that need hot water at the same time. If systems that need hot water are used consecutively, then there won’t be a problem; systems that need hot water being used at the same time can limit hot water.

Now that you know what the drawbacks are, you can make a better decision on whether a tankless water heater is worth investing in. For the most part, tankless water heaters have more benefits than drawbacks, but if you still aren’t sure, you can speak with a plumber about your specific needs and whether a tankless water heater is the right option.

Which Tankless Water Heater Is the Best?

When choosing a tankless water heater brand for your home, there are a lot of options. People always want to know what the best tankless water heater is, but there are many brands to choose from. Some of the best brands for tankless water heaters are Rinnai, Rheem, Stiebel Eltron Tempra, Takagi, and ​Atmor. The good news is, you don’t have to make this decision on your own. You can talk with your plumber and they can help you find the best tankless water heater brand that will fit your specific needs.

Can Tankless Water Heater Be Installed in the Attic?

The great thing about tankless water heaters is that they can be installed almost anywhere. From storage closets to garages, if there is space for the water heater, then it can be installed there. Many people ask if they can install tankless water heaters in an attic. There is no reason why a tankless water heater can’t be installed in an attic, but it will need to proper pipes like water or gas lines in order for the water heater to work. If your current water heater was installed in the attic, then the tankless water heater can also be installed in there! However, if it was installed in the garage or a utility room, it might be best to just install the tankless water heater where the current one is located.

Can a Homeowner Install a Tankless Water Heater?

A Tankless Water Heater Installed On a Green Tile Wall.

What Size Tankless Water Heaters Do I Need?

Homeowners can definitely install there own water heaters, but its important to get the sizing right. A water heater can become damaged if you use a water heater that is too small for the size of your home plus the devices you are using. You will need to determine how many devices will be using the tankless water heater, the temperature rise, and whether you need a gas or electric water heater. Many people want to know, “What is the average cost to install a tankless water heater?” and it can be anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000. You can try to install a tankless water heater for your Rockville, MD home, or you can call Service Force Plumbing! We are able to offer tankless water heater installation that is done with precision and care. Whether you need kitchen and bathroom repairs or another type of plumbing, we are here to help you! Contact us at 301-841-6284 to schedule an appointment!

What Would Cause a Hot Water Heater to Stop Working?

Hot water heater and boiler

Can a Water Heater be Repaired?

Standard tank-style and regular tankless water heaters can be repaired. After all, water heaters are generally very reliable, but they can manifest problems over time. Water heater problems include little or no hot water, rusty or odorous water, odd banging noises, and leaks. When any of the following problems occur, homeowners are advised to turn off the power and the gas supply (if applicable) to the water heater before investigating further. Most of these problems can be repaired provided the water heater is in good overall condition. 

Who to Call for Water Heater Repair

For homeowners looking for a standard tank or tankless water heater repair, it will be important to schedule an appointment with a local, licensed and insured plumber. There are different tiers of plumbing expertise and no one plumbing company is entirely comparable to another. Homeowners are advised to select a plumbing company that not only specializes in water heater repair but has many years of experience and a staff that is comprised of licensed plumbers. A plumbing referral from a friend or neighbor can be very helpful.

How Often Do You Need to Replace a Water Heater?

Water heaters have a usual lifespan of approximately ten years. With regular maintenance, this lifetime estimate can be extended. If your water heater is at around the ten-year mark, it’s probably a good time to evaluate how much life is left in your water heater installation. If you spot signs of rust, either on the tank or in the water, it’s never a good sign. Noises, leaks, and the water heater failing to work are all straightforward signs of water heater failure as well. Scheduling a yearly water heater flushing can help immeasurably with built-up sediment in the bottom of the tank, and contributes to a longer life for your water heater.

Water Heater Repair or Replacement

Water heaters normally fly under the radar, stored away in a safe location, and left unnoticed. That is until finally, an icy shower blasts a home inhabitant out of nowhere. A broken water heater can have homeowners debating whether or not they need a repair or a replacement. There are a few factors that help homeowners eventually arrive at a correct conclusion. Getting a new water heater ultimately depends on whether it’s too old to be serviceable anymore. Over time, water minerals react with steel, corroding the inner tank of the water heater. When water heaters become corroded, the energy efficiency of the unit is impacted, until one day the unit fails completely. Has your water heater sprung a leak? If so, replacement is the only answer. 

The upside of water heater replacement is that they are always, without exception, more energy-efficient. This energy efficiency translates into lower energy bills for the homeowner. 

Is it Dangerous to Have a Leaking Water Heater?

Water heaters are usually very reliable parts of the inner workings of a home. They operate well under most circumstances with proper care, cleaning, and maintenance. However, whenever a water heater is leaking, either due to a corroded water tank, loose valves or simply condensation, problems can arise. If the leak is the result of a build-up of water, then it should be controlled by the temperature-pressure relief valve. This valve is designed to release extra water when pressure builds up in the water heater. When the water temperature is set too high, then the relief valve can be broken or damaged. Pressure may build up in the tank and cause it to explode!

If your water heater is leaking, please give a reliable, local plumber a call as soon as you are able. 

Water Heater Repair vs Replace

What are some possible problems with your water heater? At the end of the day, if homeowners can regularly schedule water heater maintenance or repairs in a timely fashion, they can avoid water heater replacement. Browse through the following list to determine what causes your water heater to stop working.

  • The pilot light. Check your water heater to ensure that the pilot light is still on. If not, homeowners should follow the instructions in their owner’s manual to help re-light it.
  • A leak in the gas line. If your gas water heater has stopped working, one of the reasons why could be the fact that there is a leak in the gas line. For such problems, it is advisable to contact a qualified plumber. Gas lines are very dangerous and should be handled by the experts.
  • Thermostat problems. If you have hot water, but not enough hot water, the problem may lie with your thermostat. You may need to adjust your thermostat to a higher temperature. If this does not work, you may need to replace the thermostat.

How Do You Know if Your Hot Water Heater is Going Bad?

One of the chief indicators of water heater failure is age. Homeowners are advised to find the age by locating the serial number on the manufacturer’s sticker on the upper portion of the water heater. The serial number has the date that the water heater was manufactured. In addition to recognizing whether or not your hot water heater is going to need some necessary repairs, it’s also important to recognize when the cool breeze emanating from your air conditioner is growing warm. In such cases, it will be important to schedule air conditioning service in Severn, MD or in your area.  

Water Heater Repair Cost

Generally speaking, water heater repair costs have a range of $150-$300. If the problem stems from a blown-out pilot light, you can usually relight it yourself, providing that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. According to a lead plumber, the two most common forms of water heater repairs are replacing a thermostat or a heating element (or both). Most standard electric water heaters have two thermostats and two elements. To clean and repair the thermocouple, the cost can be $395, and replacing a thermostat or heating element can cost $150-$200. Leaks are not an affordable repair until the unit is still under warranty.

Water Heater Repair for Tankless Water Heater

What Happens When a Hot Water Heater Fails?

Unfortunately, in a worst-case scenario, it is possible for a water heater to explode. In cases where water heaters have sediment build-up, rust corroding the tank, and too much internal pressure, the water heater can explode. However, through education, research, and proper water heater repair and maintenance, this circumstance can be avoided.

Scheduling an appointment for your water heater repair has never been easier. Our staff at Service Force Plumbing are ready to take your phone call at 301-841-6284. Discover more about what a water heater repair in Rockville, MD can do for you!

Which Water Heater is Best Gas or Electric?

Technician Installing Gas Water Heater

Choosing the Best Water Heater for Your Home

There are a lot of appliances and gadgets for your home, but none are quite as important as your hot water heater. That appliance is used almost every single day by almost every single household member. Your hot water heater has an important job, which means you have to make sure you are choosing the right one for your home. Since there are so many options on the market, it is hard to determine what is exactly the best for your home and your needs. One option that many homeowners are always interested in is the gas water heater. For questions about a gas water heater installation in Rockville, MD, contact Service Force Plumbing. We’re available today at 301-841-6284.

Gas Water Heater vs. Electric

If you are in the market for a new water heater, there are a lot of options to choose from. What many homeowners find themselves debating, though, is whether to choose an electric or gas water heater. If your home can accommodate a gas water heater, then it may be one to consider. Before you decide on one or the other, it’s best to go over what makes either better or worse compared to the other.

Gas Water Heater Pros

  • Rapid Recovery Rate
  • Lower Operating Costs
  • Works Without Electricity

Gas Water Heater Cons

  • Initial Upfront Cost
  • More Involved Installation
  • Risk of Gas Leaks/Explosions

Electric Water Heater Pros

  • Compact Structure
  • Easier Installation
  • Lower Upfront Costs

Electric Water Heater Cons

  • Longer Recovery Time
  • More Expensive Long-Term
  • Doesn’t Work Without Electricity

Benefits of Gas Water Heaters

Purchasing a gas water heater can seem like a daunting investment. There is a large, up-front cost that is a major concern for many potential customers. But though the initial cost is high, there are several advantages to investing in a gas water heater.

  • Faster Heating: Gas water heaters have a much faster recovery time than most electric water heaters do. That means you’ll have to wait less for hot water. This is great for homes that need fast or quick access to hot water regularly.
  • Potential Lower Energy Bills: While propane is often more expensive than natural gas, it is still less expensive than electric heating. So you’ll lower operating costs with a gas water heater versus an electric one.
  • Works in Blackouts: Probably one of the great things about a gas water heater is the fact that it will usually work, even when the power is out. Most gas powered units use a pilot light to warm the water, which means that you won’t lose any or have to wait for any hot water if your home loses power.

Even though there are many benefits to choosing this type of unit, there are still gas water heater problems. For many, it is the fact that they aren’t as energy efficient as they are cost-effective. Since gas water heaters use a pilot light, excess heat is often a major drain on finances and resources. Additionally, if there is any problem with the pilot light, then your whole unit is ineffective. Regardless of the pros and cons, having consistent, schedule water heater services is the best way to get the most out of your water heater. Contact Service Force Plumbing at 301-841-6284 when you need any kind of water heater service.

Close Up of Installed Gas Water Heater Panel Nob

Gas Water Heater Installation Requirements

When installing a gas water heater, there are a few things that definitely need to be in place before the installation in complete.

  • Proper exhaust vents: For a gas water heater to be installed, there needs to be proper ventilation already in place. Without, you run the risk of your home filling with smoke or gas, neither of which is good.
  • Gas Lines: It’s helpful when installing a gas powered water heater that the gas lines are already placed in your home. Not having a gas line means you’ll need special contractors to run the lines.
  • Air Quality Regulation: One thing many homeowners may overlook are air quality tests. Having a gas water heater means that an excess of smoke, gas, or other by-product could linger in your home. Installing a house air purifier can help make sure the air in your home is always healthy and safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the life expectancy of a gas water heater?
    • The life expectancy is the same for most other water heaters. You’ll have about 8-12 years with one water heater, electric or gas.
  • What is the best water heater?
    • Usually anything from Rheem will be a good option. They make a variety of water heaters. You can choose from electric, gas, hybrid, and even tankless.
  • What are the best gas water heaters?
    • Gas water heater brands like Rheem and Rinnai make quality gas water heaters that work well, last-long, and require little maintenance overall.
  • How much does it cost to have someone install a water heater?
    • For an average sized water heater, about 40-50 gallons, homeowners should expect to pay around $889 for the cost of installation.
  • What is the most cost-effective hot water heater?
    • It will ultimately depend on what you need and want from a hot water heater. For either gas or electric, Rheem makes top-quality, high-efficiency water heaters. As well as water heaters specifically designed to be energy efficient, providing the most cost-effectiveness.
Close Up of Gas Water Heater Panel After Installation

Connect With the Service Force Plumbing for All Your Water Heater Needs!

Choose Service Force Plumbing for all you water heater needs. Call us at 301-841-6284 to schedule an appointment for a gas water heater installation in Rockville, MD today.