The Signs of a Gas Leak, and Why They Shouldn’t be Ignored

What Are the Signs of a Gas Line Leak?

Faulty gas lines are a serious concern. They can cause long-term and expensive damage to your property, such as through irreversibly destroyed appliances.

At worst, they even endanger your health and safety if they lead to house fires or physical ailments like dizziness, poisoning and, on occasion, death. Because of the magnitude of these concerns – which are literally life-threatening – people must take every step to ensure their gas lines are always in good working condition.

This does two things: it prevents the need for costly maintenance work and protects people from safety and health hazards. Experts, such as those at Spartan Plumbing, are uniquely qualified to assess gas lines and make the necessary repairs or replacements.

Gas Line Repair Leak Detection Services in Tucson, TX

There are several warning signs people can look out for to help identify whether their gas line needs check-ups, repairs, or even replacement:

Appliances not functioning correctly

Many home appliances depend on a gas line to function. These appliances include furnaces, stoves, water heaters, grills, and heaters. Although appliances malfunction for many reasons, strange noises or performance issues could point to a gas leak.

A problem with the gas line is especially likely when multiple appliances that operate independently of each other begin to malfunction.

Spikes in the gas bill

When the gas bill increases unexpectedly, and there have been no changes in the household’s consumption or living patterns (or an increase in gas prices), problems with the gas line could be to blame.

A leak, for example, increases the amount of gas needed to run the household’s appliances even if the appliances are not being used to a greater degree.

Physical evidence of gas-line damage

Leaking gas will have a physical impact on the surrounding area. Plants, grass, and other vegetation that come into contact with the gas will wither and die, while land hardens and cracks.

Gas in the air will also cause condensation on windows and other plastic or glass fixtures near the lines. In the long term, gas leaks can damage the landscaping of outdoor areas by causing unintended and unsightly depressions or lumps in the land.

If gas lines are exposed, pay attention to whether there are cracks, kinks, corrosion, or rust in the metal. Whether the lines are exposed or concealed, also pay attention to unusual sounds (e.g. hissing or rattling) from the gas-line.

The smell of sulfur

Gas is naturally odourless. However, gas suppliers generally add sulfur to the gas to make it more noticeable in case of leaks. Sulfur is often described as smelling like rotten eggs, but the smell may still be too subtle to pick up, depending on the severity of the leak.

Nausea, fatigue, or other health concerns among household members

While gas leaks are not obvious culprits for people’s health problems, gas permeating the air does lead to many serious health problems such as fatigue, nausea, dizziness, poisoning and, in extreme circumstances, loss of consciousness and death.

If the damage is bad enough for gas to have permeated the air to the degree of causing illness, the situation is very dangerous and people must immediately remove themselves and their pets from the area.

Unfortunately, all of these indicators may be explained by other factors, and it may take a while for homeowners to realize that gas-line damage is the culprit for these concerns. Even if the damage does not reach the point of being life-threatening, it will likely still result in long-term expenses for the homeowner that could have been avoided.

Thus, it is important for people to remain on their toes and be mindful of the need for regular check-ups for gas lines.

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Spartan Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning

6211 E. Speedway Boulevard

Tucson, AZ 85712

(520) 617-1000

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How to Identify and Repair a Slab Leak

Ways to Troubleshoot and Test Potential Slab Leak Problems

A slab leak is a serious threat not only to your home plumbing system but to the foundation and structure of your home as well. Recognizing the signs of a possible slab leak can help you address the problem immediately, saving your plumbing system and your home in the process.Tucson, AZ slab_leak_repair_360

A plumbing leak that runs beneath your home is not something that you can easily see or notice. This is why it is important to know what to do.

If ignored, a slab leak has the potential to damage the foundation of your home, and create tons of problems that may require a lot of money to repair, aside from the hassle it brings.

By learning how to spot slab leak signs, and understanding the required restoration and repair process, you save your home and make sure that your plumbing system remains in tip-top condition.

What Are Slab Leaks?

The copper water lines in your home run under the house’s foundation. Over time, the lines can develop leaks. This will result in various problems for your home’s foundation and yard.

Slab leaks may be found anywhere under the foundation. If there are pipes in the area, leaks are possible.

Slab leaks can happen on both the side of the drainage and your plumbing’s incoming side. If left alone and unchecked, slab leaks can result in a shifting, sagging, or complete collapse of your foundation.

A slab leak can cause extensive damage. Thus, it is important that the leak is detected and repaired as early as possible.

Signs of a Slab Leak in Your Home

When you see any of the warning signs listed below, it is best that you call an experienced and competent plumbing company like Spartan Plumbing right away. This way, a proper diagnosis can be made, and immediate repair can be done, preventing further damage from happening.

  • Rising Water Bills – If your water bills continue to rise despite normal water consumption, and you don’t notice any water dripping or overflowing in your home, the culprit could be a slab leak.
  • Running Water Sound – If you aren’t using the dishwasher or washer or taking a shower, yet you hear running water somewhere, then it could be a leak. Also, if you notice your water meter moving even if you are not using water, this is a good sign that you may have a slab leak.
  • Musty Smell or Mildew – A musty smell, mildew, or moisture that you can’t pinpoint may be an indication of a slab leak problem.
  • Low Water Pressure – If you notice a drop in your water pressure, a leak in one of the pipes underground may be to blame.
  • Wet, Soggy Yard – A wet yard or the presence of standing water in the yard when it hasn’t rained could mean that the water is flowing from somewhere underneath the ground. An investigation is necessary.

The Slab Leak Repair Process

Proper diagnosis and repair of a slab leak is, ideally, not a DIY task. The process requires both plumbing expertise and specialty tools. If you are experiencing a slab leak, you must call a plumbing expert right away. A professional uses a variety of proven methods in reaching the affected pipes safely and knows the necessary steps to fix the problem.

It is not recommended to cut into the foundation of your home to gain access to the leaking pipe. This may only result in more damage. Spartan Plumbing uses advanced, specialized tools to safely reach the leak so the issue can be addressed without disrupting the rest of your home’s plumbing system. Once the problem is identified, the technician will remove the affected pipe and replace it. The disrupted ground will be fixed if it was affected during the slab leak repair.

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Why Is Your Air Conditioning Unit Generating a Loud Buzzing Noise?

What Noise is Your Air Conditioner Making?

Every homeowner wants a quiet home air conditioner. The good news is that most AC units today are designed to operate as quietly as possible. However, some factors make it impossible to achieve silent running all the time. These include the equipment’s age, the location of its installation, and whether or not it is maintained regularly.

Over time, you may notice your air conditioner making some buzzing sounds – even if it was completely silent when first installed.

Although some of these noises are normal and just a result of its day to day operations, some are not, and may indicate problems with your air conditioner.

Possible Causes of Loud Buzzing Sounds from Your AC

If you notice loud, buzzing noises from your AC – loud enough to cause distractions in your household – it may be a sign that your equipment is not functioning properly and needs repaired.

Here are some of the probable causes:

Malfunctioning Compressor –

Your air conditioner’s compressor is the component in your cooling system that causes the refrigerant to flow through the evaporator coil, creating the cooling effect.

When you hear buzzing sounds, it may mean that the compressor is not performing its normal functions. It is also possible that the electrical voltage that flows through the outdoor AC unit may not carry the right amperage.

Damaged or Missing Isolation Feet –

The AC compressor is typically mounted at the base of the air conditioning unit. It rests on top of small rubber feet that are known as isolation feet.

After constant use over time, the isolation feet’s rubber sometimes disintegrates or develops cracks. This creates an imbalance on the compressor and can trigger a loud buzzing sound when you operate the unit.

Frozen Air Con Unit –

You expect to use your AC during the hottest days of the year.

However, your unit may freeze up when you need it the most. Freezing may be caused by a refrigerant leak and this can cause a buzzing noise that you can hear coming from your AC unit.

Loose Parts –

Your entire cooling system is complex, as it is made up of many working parts that are designed to work in sync to cool your room or home.

Even if only a single small part is missing or becomes loose, such as a bearing, it can affect other parts of the system. They may wear out prematurely and trigger the loud buzzing sound you can hear through your entire house.

Causes of Other Disturbing AC Noises

Aside from buzzing, your unit may produce other disturbing noises. These include the following:

Banging –

When you hear banging sounds coming from your AC, it is most likely a sign of a broken or loose part inside the compressor such as a crankshaft, piston pin, or connecting rod.

It’s also possible that the indoor blower is not balanced. Worst case scenario is you need to replace your compressor.

Clanking –

Another indicator of an unbalanced or loose part, clanking may mean either the failure of a part inside the sealed component or a loose compressor.

The outdoor fan or the indoor blower, including the blades, are hitting other parts. If ignored, the problem may only get worse.

Clicking –

Hearing electrical components clicking when starting up and shutting down is normal.

However, if it becomes persistent, it is unusual. It may indicate a failing thermostat or a defective control.

Your AC unit contains many electrical parts. Thus, it’s crucial that you address any potential issue right away. Otherwise, it may lead to more serious and costly repair in the future.

If you hear any disturbing noises from your AC unit as mentioned above, it’s best that you address the problem right away – before it gets worse! Call Spartan Plumbing, your local AC specialist.

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Should You Be Concerned About Hard Water?

Water has various properties, one of which is hardness. This is the measure of water’s mineral content, which is usually comprised of magnesium and calcium.

Mainly, water is considered to be hard if it is difficult to wash in. It is not easy to create lather in this type of water. The higher the calcium and magnesium content in the water, the more difficult it is to generate suds. 

The ASABE and the WQA have established a system that classifies water hardness. According to the National Research Council, drinking hard water is not harmful in general, as it somewhat contributes to your total magnesium and calcium dietary needs.

However, it may cause skin irritation and a host of smaller nuisances.

If the water in your home is excessively hard, you can address the problem by installing a water softener in your plumbing system. However, you need to be careful when choosing which unit to install. A lot of water softeners get rid of magnesium and calcium by replacing them with salt. As a result, your salt intake may significantly increase, which may not be good for your health, especially if you have high blood pressure.

If your water softener uses salt in its ion exchange process, you could end up drinking 8–16 times more sodium in each glass of water compared to what you normally would.

Eliminating the minerals from the water will also affect the stability of the water, making it more corrosive. If you install a softening system where water enters your household, your plumbing system may suffer from corrosion.

Nevertheless, hard water can still be an annoying issue. When it evaporates, mineral deposits are left behind.

These deposits may manifest as white residues on glassware, dishes, sinks, and shower walls. They can also gather in dishwashers, water heaters, washing machines, and other household appliances that use water, causing extra wear and tear.

If the surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom are not cleaned regularly, the residue may become difficult to remove as detergent or soap will only mix with the minerals, forming a sticky soap film. Your appliances may also suffer from inefficient operation or shorter useful life if not cleaned regularly because of the mineral build-up.

A convenient and cheap way to clean mineral build-up is the use of distilled vinegar. Because a major part of hard water is made of calcium (highly reactive to acids), soaking small parts of appliances or wiping counters with a solution of water and vinegar will easily dissolve the mineral deposits.

Water Softener Services in Tucson, TX

Disadvantages of Hard Water

Following is a short summary of the downsides of hard water:

Washing –

Clothes will look dull and grey after some time. Hard water minerals also pervade the cloth, resulting to an abrasive and rough feel.

Lather –

Hard water does not create lather.

Residue –

The residue results from the minerals left behind from the flow of water. It may also appear as dark or dullish brown stains that are often seen in sinks, toilets, and the enamel found around showerheads and showers. While these may not be health hazards, they give your home an unappealing, dingy look. In addition, the stains keep coming back even if you frequently apply cleaning solutions. This is because water flow will always leave behind some residue.

Dishwashers –

The water’s heat releases the minerals. This results in a filmy or spotty look when the minerals stick to glassware.

Home Heating –

While a lot of the negatives on this list involve an unappealing appearance, the limescale build-up in the boiler of your heating system is more than just visual. It can deteriorate the performance of the boiler, making your home heating less efficient, and increasing your power costs. The boiler will eventually require a replacement.

Plumbing –

Your pipes can also experience mineral build-ups, reducing the water flow. The pipes may also corrode, which may eventually lead to leaks and other damages that may require expensive repairs. Worse, pipes may burst.

If you have hard water concerns, contact Spartan Plumbing right away. Whether you need a water softening system installed or you have other plumbing issues, Spartan Plumbing can fix your plumbing problems fast.

Should You Be Concerned About Hard Water? is available on Spartan Plumbing (520) 617-1000

What Are the Different Water Softener Salt Types?

People who drink and use tap water should use a water softener. It’s a type of filtration method that “softens” hard water. Hard water is caused by high magnesium and calcium concentrations. These minerals can cause buildup in appliances that use water and may not be good for your health.

Water softeners use special salts that can remove harmful minerals and replace them with sodium or potassium. You can’t use regular table salt as a water softener. There are special salt products that are only used for this purpose.

Water Softener Services in Tucson, TX

 

However, there are two types of water softener salts on the market. It’s important to know about these types before buying any softener for your home system. Here are the different types of water softener salts that you can use.

Sodium Chloride

This type of water softener can come in different forms: cubes, crystals, or pellets. Typical households often use salt pellets because they’re easy to find. Also, they’re cheaper than potassium pellets.

Evaporated sodium chloride salt pellets are some of the best to use for any equipment. Because of their purity, they contain very little insoluble matter, which means you won’t end up with sludge in the bottom of your tank, which would otherwise need to be cleaned out every so often. This lowers the need for cleaning out your brine tank.

You can get a 40-pound bag of sodium chloride for less than $10. It’s a budget-friendly option to remove hard water.

Potassium Chloride

If you don’t want sodium-residue water, you can use potassium chloride instead. It works similarly to sodium chloride. The difference is that instead of sodium, potassium will replace the harmful elements in the water.

Having potassium in your drinking tap water may be good for the health. It’s also much safer for the environment, but potassium chloride is much more expensive than sodium chloride.

A 40-pound bag of potassium chloride can cost up to $40 depending on the brand. It’s expensive, but a safer option for people with sodium-affected issues such as high blood pressure.

When buying water softener salt, you should ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I have health concerns with sodium?
    1. If yes, go with potassium chloride.
    2. If no, use sodium chloride.
  2. Do I value health benefits more than costs?
    1. If yes, spend some extra money on potassium chloride.
    2. If no, settle for sodium chloride.
  3. Do I have a limited budget?
    1. If yes, go for the cheaper option – sodium chloride.
    2. If no, go for potassium chloride.

These questions can serve as a guide when choosing water softener salt. It’s also important to buy high-grade softeners, as buying cheap ones can also affect the quality of your water.

After deciding on what type of water softener salt you want to use, decide on the form you want to buy.

Pellets

There are two types of pellets – solar pellets and evaporate pellets. Evaporate pellets can purify better and are more expensive than solar pellets. Pellets are the most common water softener that people buy. This is because they don’t create much buildup in your brine tank.

Crystals

Crystals are less expensive than pellets. But, they have a higher calcium sulfate content. This may lead to buildup that will end up requiring more maintenance checks.

Block Salts

This type of water softener shouldn’t be used in normal systems. Unless your system calls for block salts, avoid this type.

Besides the type of salt, it’s important to get a high-quality water softener system. Installing a water softener requires the skills of a professional. Maintenance of water softener systems isn’t much of a problem but it’s important to get them checked once in a while. A professional plumber can also give you a heads-up if you need to get your system replaced. With your water softener installation, only trust a reputable plumbing service company, like Spartan Plumbing

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Spartan Plumbing & HVAC

6211 E. Speedway Boulevard

Tucson, AZ 85712

(520) 617-1000

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How to Ensure Your Air Conditioner Is Operating at Max Efficiency

Making sure your air conditioning unit is running at maximum capacity is necessary at least once a year, and best before summer begins. After all, summer is the time when you’re most likely to use the unit the most. If you live in a perpetually hot area, a check should be done at least twice a year. At maximum capacity, air conditioners cool your home better while utilizing lower amounts of energy, giving you as much comfort as possible without the added cost.

Air Conditioning Fan Belt Replacement

Have a Complete Air Conditioner Clean Up

This means a thorough cleaning, which includes the interior and exterior of the air conditioner. The unit has to be opened, and the different parts separated for a complete tune-up. Call an expert like Spartan Plumbing for a tune-up to make sure that the unit is correctly disassembled and reassembled. A thorough tune-up conducted by experts translates to a quick clean and easy replacement of any old parts.

Make Sure Filters Are Clean

The filters can be cleaned without professional help. Just find the little slot in front of the air conditioner that’s just behind the sieves. This is where the unit draws in the air before it is blown back out. The filter can be pulled out and cleaned by running soap and water through it. Once done, you can put it back in. As the name suggests, the filter stops the dust and gunk from entering the unit, which is why you’ll find it stacked with dirt. Once cleaned, you’ll notice a nicer hum to your unit. This should be done every few months or even once a month.

Keep windows and Doors Closed

What happens if the refrigerator is running while you keep the doors open? All the cold air escapes and the quality of the food becomes compromised. While you won’t exactly spoil if your AC is operating inefficiently, the same principle applies. You want to make sure the room is properly sealed so that there’s zero chances of the cool air leaking out through unseen exits. The doors and windows are the obvious culprits, but so are window caulking, holes along the walls, problematic insulation, and so on. This is something you should do at least once a year because, during the cold season, you also want to prevent the heat from escaping.

Clean the Drain Line

You can find the drain line, which is often located on top of the furnace in the basement. It’s by the indoor cooling coil and, over time, gunk can accumulate inside the drain line so that it’s difficult for the unit to “dispose” of material waste. To clean this, all you have to do is flush bleach down the drain, around one cup will do. After that, you can follow it up with a gallon of water. This will clean the drain and prevent blockage.

Find a Proper Spot

The location of the unit matters just as much as the unit itself. It has to have free space at the back, so there’s enough ventilation. Clear any trees, branches, or other things that block the unit, extending to one or two feet. The same goes for the front portion of the air conditioner. You’ll notice that most units are also located a little above the room. This is because cool air tends to settle down instead of moving up. Placing the unit high allows for even distribution of cool air – especially when matched with a fan. Also, make sure the unit is not affected by direct sunlight.

Experiment with the Heat

Most homeowners set their air conditioning unit too cold for the capabilities of the unit and this forces the unit to work too hard, which can cause the ac unit to fail. You will find that setting the degrees just one or two units higher will still keep your home comfortable without pushing the unit too hard, or your wallet too much. Just try upping it one degree and see how everyone in the household reacts. Likely, they won’t even notice. Regular air conditioning tune-ups can help prevent air conditioning system failure and requiring an HVAC technician to repair your ac unit.

The following article How to Ensure Your Air Conditioner Is Operating at Max Efficiency is courtesy of Spartan Plumbing – your local plumber

was originally published on

Spartan Plumbing & HVAC

6211 E. Speedway Boulevard

Tucson, AZ 85712

(520) 617-1000

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3 Signs That You Have Sewer Lines That Need Repairing

All households experience plumbing problems from time to time. However, what most homeowners dread is having to deal with a leak, break, or clog in the sewer line. This is because it can affect the entire household and not only the plumbing system. Worse, it can happen anywhere in the sewer line that runs through your property, right up to the municipal sewer in the middle of the street.

Sometimes, the problem is not yours alone. It can be your city’s problem as well since it may affect several households and the required repair job may be extensive. Either way, the job will require the services of highly skilled and experienced plumbers like Spartan Plumbing.

Dangers of Having Damaged Sewer Lines

The dreaded sewage backup is undoubtedly every homeowner’s bane. The worst part is that it can be quite harmful. Thus, it is imperative that you address the problem right away before the problem becomes worse.

Having said that, the following are the biggest dangers of having a damaged sewer line that results in a major sewer backup:

Family members may get sick –

If water from the sewage finds its way to your body via an open wound or your mouth, it may cause serious ailments including Salmonella, Shigella, Giardia, E Coli, Hepatitis A, and Rotavirus, among others.

Mold can start to thrive in various areas of your home –

Mold thrives in damp and dirty places. Sewers and dirty water are a perfect combination to trigger a mold outbreak or infestation.

Anyone in your household may experience breathing problems –

If you or other members of your family are already suffering from symptoms of asthma or other similar health issues, a sewage backup can significantly worsen the condition.

Signs That Indicate Your Sewer Lines Are in Need of Repair

Sewer line problems need to be addressed right away. Otherwise, you may be facing more serious problems that will require more expensive repairs in the future.

Here are the top signs to watch out for:

Drain Clogs in Various Areas of the House –

You may consider one drain clog as a minor problem, or even two clogs as an easy to fix the issue. However, if you notice slow drains and clogs in practically your entire household, then it may be an indication that breaks or blocks in your sewer lines are forcing the sewage to back up into your drains. If you also notice a foul-smelling odour coming from your drains, then you could be facing a serious sewer line problem that requires the attention of an experienced plumber. You need to have the damage fixed right away.

Smelly, Damp Spots on Your Lawn –

If corrosion or extreme pressure from tree roots cause a sewer line to break, wastewater will leak upwards and make its way to your yard. The soggy areas on the ground will emit a lingering bad odour, which will not dissipate until repairs are made.

Pests or Leak Signs in the Basement –

The lower areas of your home will be the first to be affected by sewer line problems. Thus, if you maintain a basement, a damaged sewer line may first leak water into this area before the water spreads upward. Before you know it, there are issues all over your home. Vermin and insects may likewise start to infest the area because of the excess water around the basement drains. This is another reason not to ignore a sewer line problem.

Unlike other plumbing repairs, a damaged sewer line requires the skills and experience of a professional. Call Spartan Plumbing if your sewer lines need repaired.

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