Should I Consider Hydronic Heating for New Installation?

October 8th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

There are a lot of choices when it comes to home heating systems. One that has been around for a long time is hydronic heating, which is a system most commonly associated with use of a boiler. With the advent of better, more durable materials, the outlets for hydronic heating have expanded, giving homeowners even more flexibility. If you are considering hydronic heating, call the experts who can help you with professional heating installation in Tustin: Saddleback Plumbing.

What Is a Hydronic Heating System?

A hydronic heating system is one that uses hot water steam to heat your home. Boilers are part of a hydronic system, and the most commonly-used fuels with these systems are gas or oil.

How Does a Hydronic System Work?

In a hydronic system, water is held in a tank where it gets heated to a specific temperature. Once the water reaches this temperature (or creates the needed amount of steam), it is circulated through a system of pipes to a designated outlet. Outlets can be:

  • Radiators
  • Baseboard heating
  • Hydronic floor heating
  • Hydronic wall heating

Hydronic systems are closed systems, so once the water (or steam) cools, it returns to the tank to be heated with the next cycle.

What Are the Benefits of a Hydronic System?

There are a few benefits that hydronic systems have which others may not:

  • Good energy efficiency – hydronic systems that use oil as fuel have an average energy efficiency of 89%, and those using gas have average efficiency ratings of 90% and above.
  • Comfortable heating – the heat of hydronic systems is gradual, which can be more comfortable for many people when compared to forced air systems.
  • Quiet operation – the only time noise is created by a hydronic system is when the combustion operates to heat the water. Otherwise, the circulation and heating is silent.
  • No dust – because air doesn’t blow through ductwork, there is no build-up or circulation of dust in your home.

If hydronic heating in Tustin sounds like it’s for you, call Saddleback Plumbing and schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.

Common Water Heater Repairs

October 1st, 2014 by Bill Chronister

Your water heater provides comfort and convenience at home, improving your showers, keeping laundry fresh, and helping you with many of the cleaning tasks around the house. But not all water heater repair needs will be immediately apparent. It’s important to schedule water heater maintenance every year for cleaning and adjustments and to make sure no component needs immediate replacement.

Without proper maintenance, it’s likely you’ll run into some sudden repair needs from time to time. If you call a technician because of reduced heating, loud noises, or discoloration, here are some of the problems a plumber may look for when inspecting water heaters.

  • Broken Dip Tube: The dip tube is a pipe that allows water to flow into the bottom of storage tank water heaters. A burner or electric heating element at the bottom of the tank heats up the water, which then rises to the top of the tank due to the heat rising principle. If the dip tube is cracked or broken, cold water can flow to the top of the tank, which means you may not feel any hot water at all. This part will probably need to be replaced.
  • Sediment in the Tank: Loud rumbling in the tank may indicate sediment buildup. If you have hard water, mineral deposits may build up in the tank, and could eventually block the pipes. With regular maintenance, however, your tank is flushed to keep this from occurring. If you hear a loud banging or rumbling noise from your water heater, call a professional who can flush your tank and make sure there is no further damage.
  • Rust: Many people will tell you that rust in your hot water supply is a death sentence for your water heater. However, rust-colored water may result from a corroded anode rod, which simply requires immediate replacement to prevent your tank from rusting as well. The anode rod attracts particle that cause corrosion, sacrificing itself for the good of your unit. However, it needs replacement every now and then so that it does not corrode too much to function properly.

If you have questions about water heaters in Orange County, call Saddleback Plumbing today!

Some of Your Options for Water Treatment Systems

September 24th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

As a homeowner, it’s important to you that your family has access to a clean potable water supply. The promise of clean drinking water is just one of the reasons you may choose to call a professional for water treatment system installation. If you smell something strange in your water, notice discoloration, have a problem with hard water, or if you just need peace of mind, the plumbers at Saddleback Plumbing may have a solution for you. Here are some of the water treatment systems we recommend to homeowners in Lake Forest, CA.

  • Water Softener: “Hard water” is one of the most common conditions in the U.S. with homeowners’ water supplies. As water moves through the pipes from the municipal water supply, it may pick up minerals like calcium and magnesium in the process. Luckily, these are rarely harmful to your health, although some people may experience sensitivity. However, hard water can have a major impact on the fixtures in your home and your plumbing system. If you’ve ever noticed a chalky white or yellowish-green substance around your faucets and fixtures, you may have hard water. These same mineral deposits build up along the insides of fixtures, washing machines, dishwashers, and pipes, sometimes leading to irreparable damage. A water softener replaces these minerals with other ions to keep hard water out of your home.
  • Carbon Filter: A whole-house carbon filter helps filter out some of the contaminants that may cause your water to smell or taste funny. While some minerals and additives reach your water as they move through the pipes, other contaminants may reach your water supply because they are added to the water by the city. Chlorine, one of these additives, is meant to kill bacteria in the water. But many homeowners are sensitive to chlorine or would prefer it to be out of their home’s water supply. A carbon filter can rid the water of this and other common substances.
  • Reverse Osmosis System: One of the most advanced water filtration systems is the reverse osmosis system. This can remove a large assortment of minerals, bacteria, salt, and other contaminants through the process of reverse osmosis, which relies on the use of a membrane that allows only water to pass into your home.

For more information about these and other water treatment systems in Lake Forest, CA, call Saddleback Plumbing today!

How Video Pipe Inspection Works for Kitchen Plumbing Repair

September 17th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

Many people do not think much about the drains in their kitchens and how much they do on a daily basis. But your kitchen plumbing system makes it so that wastewater and food scraps move into the sewage system without any trouble. And without a functioning drain system, cooking and cleaning would be a lot more difficult. So when the drains clog in your kitchen, you want immediate repairs from a professional. But you shouldn’t choose just any plumber for the job. In this guide, we’ll look at why you should choose a company that relies on video pipe inspection for kitchen plumbing repair.

Video pipe inspection involves using a fiber optic cable with a small camera attached at the end. A technician pushes this camera into the pipes and views the live feed on a screen. This helps the plumber to find the precise location of clogs. This is important because some clogs require a different piece of equipment than others. It would not help for a plumber to use an auger that can only reach clogs close to the drain opening, when the blockage is actually deep within the sewer line.

With a fiber optic camera, a technician can also tell whether fat, oil, and grease (F.O.G.) affects your pipes. These substances may seem innocuous, but they may actually solidify and collect inside of the pipes until they clog. During video pipe inspection, a plumber may inform you of this problem. To be safe, always throw F.O.G. into a separate trash container.

Video pipe inspection may also tell you whether hard water poses a threat to your plumbing system. If your water has too many minerals such as calcium and magnesium in it, deposits may build along the insides of pipes. With video pipe inspection, the plumber can detect this and recommend solutions for your home, whether it’s pipe repair or a whole-home water treatment system.

When you need any kitchen plumbing services in Mission Viejo, CA, call the professionals at Saddleback Plumbing. We use video inspection to make sure your pipes are clear when we leave your home. Give us a call!

Why Have I Lost Water Pressure in My Home?

September 10th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

If you’ve lost water pressure in your home, daily tasks like rinsing the dishes or showering may seem to take too long. And while this is somewhat of an inconvenience, low water pressure can also indicate trouble for your plumbing system. Low water pressure may be attributed to many factors, including the fixtures in your sink or shower. But in today’s post, we’ll look at a couple of ways that the water lines may be to blame.


One possible reason for lowered water pressure is a leak in your water line. The water line is the pipe that runs from the water main to your home plumbing system. But leaks can occur in this pipe for many reasons, including tree root infiltrations, corrosion, or a sudden change in pressure elsewhere in the system. As a result of leaks, water cannot reach your home at a high pressure. Also, water may leak into your yard, causing it to pool around the home, and the leak may only worsen, leading to the need for professional pipe replacement.

Mineral Deposits

Another common source of low water pressure is a buildup of mineral deposits. A majority of homes are affected by “hard water.” If your water is hard, it simply means that certain minerals are present in your water, usually because it picks up some minerals as it moves underneath the ground. If you have hard water, you may notice white or yellow-green deposits around your faucets, drains, and showerheads. Also, it may be difficult for soap to lather, so water spots or residue show up on your glasses after running the dishwasher. Mineral deposits also build up inside your pipes, and water lines are most at risk. If mineral deposits build up in your pipes, it will block the normal flow of water into your home. But it may also build up to the point that you have to replace the pipes entirely. If it’s caught early, a simple repair and the addition of a water softener might solve the problem.

The professionals at Saddleback Plumbing have years of experience locating trouble areas and repairing water lines in Irvine. If low water pressure is an inconvenience for you, call us today!

The Very First Labor Day Celebration

September 1st, 2014 by Bill Chronister

Labor Day as a federal holiday, held on the first Monday of September, has been with us now for 120 years. President Grover Cleveland signed the law that made Labor Day a national holiday in 1894. Ever since then, the three-day weekend has provided people in the U.S. with the opportunity for vacations, time with their families, shopping trips, and a general celebration of the conclusion of summer and the beginning of fall.

However, there were twelve years of Labor Day observations in the U.S. before it became an official holiday. The first Labor Day celebration took place in 1882 in New York City on September 5. According to the accounts from the time, it had a rough start and almost didn’t happen.

The main event planned for that first Labor Day was a parade along Broadway that was to start at City Hall. However, the parade ran into a bit of a snag early on. The marchers started to line up for the procession around 9 a.m., with a police escort to make sure the event went peacefully. However, the problem of the day wasn’t rowdy members of the parade—it was that nobody had remembered to bring a band!

With people ready to march, but no music to march to, it started to look like no parade would happen at all, and the first Labor Day would have ended up a failure. But just in time, Matthew Maguire of the Central Labor Union—one of the two men who first proposed the celebration—ran across the City Hall lawn to the Grand Marshal of the parade, William McCabe, to inform him that 200 men from the Jeweler’s Union of Newark were crossing the ferry to Manhattan… and they had a band!

At 10 a.m., only an hour late, the band from Newark walked down Broadway playing a number from a popular Gilbert and Sullivan opera. They passed McCabe and the other 700 marchers, who then fell in line behind them. Soon, the spectators joined in, and an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people marched through Lower Manhattan.

According to the New York Times, “The windows and roofs and even the lamp posts and awning frames were occupied by persons anxious to get a good view of the first parade in New York of workingmen of all trades united in one organization.”

The parade concluded two hours later when the marchers reached Reservoir Park. But the party was only getting started. Until 9 p.m., some 25,000 people celebrated with picnics and speeches and beer kegs. It was an enormous success, and all thanks to the speedy arrival of jewelers carrying band instruments.

If those musicians from Newark hadn’t shown up, perhaps we wouldn’t have the holiday opportunity that we now have every year. However you celebrate your Labor Day, our family at Saddleback Plumbing wishes your family a happy end of summer.

Contaminants that Water Treatment Systems Remove

August 27th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

If you’re a homeowner, you care about the quality of your water. So if your water begins to smell, look, or taste strange, it’s time to call a professional plumbing company to test your home and install the proper water treatment system for your water supply.

In fact, some contaminants may not be so obvious. While not all contaminants have a foul taste or smell, many can seriously affect the quality of your plumbing system or be hazardous to your health anyway. If you’ve never had your water tested, you may not know about the hidden contaminants that may lurk in your water supply. Here are just a few of the contaminants that can be treated with water treatment systems in Ladera Ranch.

  • Magnesium and Calcium – An excess of magnesium or calcium in the water, known as “hard water,” can cause problems for your plumbing system. While these minerals in your water usually will not negatively affect your health, deposits may build up along the insides of your pipes, leading to clogs and low water pressure. Furthermore, changes in the pressurization of the water in your plumbing system may seriously damage your pipes. This issue can be treated with a water softener.
  • Excess Salt – However, water softeners eliminate these minerals by replacing them with sodium. Because high levels of sodium may be unhealthy, a reverse osmosis system can be installed as well to remove excess salt and other minerals in your water.
  • Nitrates and Arsenic – Nitrates and arsenic can also be harmful to your health, but they often do not have any noticeable effect on the smell, taste, or color of your water. If this is found in your water during testing, a plumber can install a cartridge that can eliminate the problem.

Still not sure what contaminants may be affecting your water supply? When you call Saddleback Plumbing, we check your water supply to determine whether you need a reverse osmosis system, a water softener, a specialty cartridge, or any other water treatment system for your home. After we install your system, we’ll test it again to make sure the problem is taken care of. If you have more questions about installing water treatment systems in Ladera Ranch, call one of our experts today!


How to Maintain Your Kitchen Garbage Disposal

August 20th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

The garbage disposal is a convenience that few people think about until it runs into problems. But the garbage disposal is a useful appliance, and without it you may clog your drain more often, and cooking or cleaning may become more difficult. That’s why you should do everything in your power to keep your garbage disposal working its best.

The following tips can help you keep your garbage disposal in top shape so that it can last for years. If you do run into problems that require the services of a kitchen plumbing expert, be sure to call a professional, like the plumbers at Saddleback Plumbing in Irvine.

  • No non-food items: First and foremost, you should never put non-food items down the disposal, and this includes your hands! Non-food items can damage the disposal blades and clog your pipes. If you run into repair needs, be sure not to put any items down the drain, and call on a kitchen plumbing professional instead.
  • Small quantities only: The garbage disposal chops food into smaller pieces so that it can move down the drain easily with the rest of your home’s wastewater, but you should still break up larger food items to make the job easier for your unit and to avoid over-exhaustion.
  • Avoid these foods: There are many foods you should avoid putting into the disposal entirely. These include hard foods like popcorn, the hard shells of shellfish like crabs, and animal bones. You should also avoid fibrous foods like celery and corn husks, as well as any grease or oils.
  • Run cold water: Running cold water every time you use the garbage disposal can help break down oils so they’re easier to process.
  • Sharpen the blades: You can keep the blades of your unit sharp by throwing in a few handfuls of ice cubes occasionally.
  • Keep blades clean: You can also clean the blades by adding in some baking soda and vinegar or lemon juice.

These tips can help you get a longer lifespan out of your garbage disposal. But if the need for repairs or replacement comes up, call the professionals at Saddleback Plumbing for kitchen plumbing services in Irvine.


The Cause of Bad Odors from Drains

August 15th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

A plumbing system in a home that generates foul, sewer-like odors is something that you want corrected right away. There are a number of reasons that drains can start to emit bad smells, from simple problems that you can fix yourself in a few minutes, to extensive troubles with the sewer system that require major repair work from professionals. Whatever the cause and whatever the remedy, take care of those smelly drains right away.

Here at Saddleback Plumbing, we’ve provided comprehensive plumbing repair in Lake Forest, CA and the rest of Orange County since 1981. We handle drain cleaning and sewer repairs that will take care of bad smelling drains or any other trouble. Make us your first call for all your plumbing needs.

Why Drains Can Develop Bad Odors

  • Dry p-trap: This is the simplest explanation, and also one that you can take care of on your own. The p-trap in a drain is the curved section of drainpipe directly beneath the sink. This shape is designed to trap water to serve as a plug against sewer gas that rises up from the wastewater system. If the sink is not used for a long period, the water in the p-trap will evaporate and allow sewer gas to escape out of the drain. If you notice the sewer odors coming from a sink in a guest room or some other sink that doesn’t receive much use, a dry p-trap is likely the source of the problem. Run water through the drain for a few minutes to restore the water plug, and that should take care of it.
  • Blocked drain vents: Your plumbing has vent pipes in the wastewater system to prevent a build-up of pressure from sewer gas. Gases from the plumbing rise up through these vent pipes and leave through vent openings on the roof. If these openings become blocked (animal nests, debris from bad weather, construction errors) it will force the sewer gas up through the p-trap and push it through the water. If you hear a gurgling sound from the bad-smelling drains, it probably means the plumbing vents are blocked. Don’t go to the roof to try to fix this: stay safe and call for professionals.
  • Sewer line damage: This is the most serious scenario. If you notice multiple drains in your home are emitting the bad smells, it may mean that the sewer line that carries the collected wastewater from your home to the municipal sewer system is damaged or blocked. This needs immediate attention, since it can lead to sewage flooding into your home’s foundations and up onto your yard. The repairs required are extensive and need the most skilled plumbers you can find to perform.

If you can’t solve the bad drain odors on your own with a little water poured down the drain pipes, call Saddleback Plumbing right away. One of our skilled plumbers will help you with the necessary plumbing repair in Lake Forest, CA that will eliminate those odors and protect your home’s plumbing.

Air Conditioning Installation Considerations for the End of Summer

August 14th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

It’s nearing the end of summer, and you’ve made the wise decision to replace your older air conditioner. Since older air conditioners run a higher risk of frequent repair needs, installing a new air conditioner at the end of summer reduces the possibilities of turning on your air conditioner next season only to find your system has broken down completely. However, the threat of a breakdown shouldn’t be the only consideration when calling for air conditioning installation.

When you install your new air conditioner this year, consider the many different money-saving options available for homeowners. Your new air conditioner may go above and beyond your older system in both performance and efficiency when you ask a professional about the following upgrades.

Energy-Efficient Systems

As parts become worn down, older air conditioners are more costly to run because the components of the system have to work harder to cool your home. This means a new air conditioner may automatically be more energy efficient than an older one. However, a new AC may even be more efficient than your older system was when it was brand new. Advancements in technology and changes in government regulations make newer systems more energy efficient than those built 10-15 years ago. Installing a system with the ENERGY STAR label can help to protect the environment and save you money.

Thermostat Upgrade

Some homeowners use unreliable, difficult-to-read manual thermostats in order to set the temperature in their homes. Even if you set your thermostat just a couple of degrees two low, you may be spending far more on cooling costs than you should. A new digital, programmable thermostat will provide greater accuracy and will allow you to set the temperature ahead of time to save you money every month.

Zone Control

Another upgrade to consider during air conditioning installation is the addition of a zone control system. Zone control allows you to set the temperature differently in multiple areas of the home so that your family members will be more comfortable wherever they choose to relax.

These upgrades may be a small cost compared to the savings you’ll see throughout the years. If you want to save money with cost-effective upgrades during your air conditioning service in Tustin, CA this summer, call the experts at Saddleback Plumbing today!