The Dip Tube and Water Heater Repair

December 10th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

A traditional water heater works under a fairly simple heat rising principle. Hot water naturally rises above denser cold water, which is why water heaters use a large tank that heats water from the bottom so that it can flow into your home from a pipe located at the top of the tank. When your water heater quits working, you may fear the worst. But oftentimes, a problem with the water heater occurs in one of the simplest components: the dip tube.

When you notice a problem with your water heater, don’t want to wait to schedule repairs. The solution may be fairly quick and easy for a technician with a trained eye, or there could be a potential leak that must be addressed as soon as possible. The skilled experts at Saddleback Plumbing can diagnose any water heater repair in Orange County with integrity and accuracy.

What Is the Dip Tube?

The dip tube is essentially just a long tube, often made out of plastic, that leads to the bottom of the tank. This portion of piping connects to the cold water supply line to bring cold water into the unit. There is either an electric heating element or a gas burner located near the bottom of your tank which heats up the water so that it can rise to the top of the tank and remain available for use throughout the day.

There are a number of problems that could go wrong with the dip tube over time. Some indications that your dip tube is in need of replacement is if you notice intermittent bursts of hot or cold water, hot water that runs out too soon, or very little hot water at all. This occurs when the dip tube either snaps in half or breaks off entirely so that cold water stays near the top of the unit. Sometimes, shards from the dip tube can even block the pipes, further compromising the state of your water heater.

Don’t let your water heating issue go on for longer than it needs to.

Contact Saddleback Plumbing as soon as you notice that you’re in need of water heater repair in Orange County. Call us today!

Does My Water Heater Need to Be Flushed?

December 3rd, 2014 by Bill Chronister

Most people don’t think about doing maintenance on their water heaters. After all, water heaters are pretty durable and many times it seems easier to just buy and install a new water heater when yours fails. However, just as maintenance on your heating or air conditioning system can help reduce and prevent repairs to those systems, so can maintenance for your water heater. Part of maintaining your water heater involves flushing it a least once a year, and you may be surprised at how much it can help your system.

How Is a Water Heater Flushed?

A water heater is fairly simple. Your technician will turn off the power source (gas or electricity) and pull out the hose attachment at the top of the tank; this allows air to enter the tank, which makes it easier to drain. A small garden hose is attached to the nozzle at the bottom of the tank, and the nozzle is opened, allowing the tank’s water to drain out. Once the water in the tank drains, the technician will flush it with warm water to clear out sediment that may be in the bottom of the tank. If bacteria has developed, the technician may do a second flush mixing bleach with the water to kill and remove the bacteria from the inside of the tank.

Why Do a Water Heater Flush?

As mentioned above, flushing your water heater is part of maintenance. But why do it? Here are some reasons to consider:

  • Removal of sediment and minerals – all water has small amounts of sediment and minerals, but when allowed to build for a number of years, the amount that settles in the bottom of your water tank can be significant.
  • Better energy efficiency – when your hot water heater isn’t impaired by significant sediment and mineral build-up, it functions better, which can increase its energy efficiency.
  • Removal of bacteria – if you have ever experienced a sulfur smell around a water heater, you’ve experienced bacteria in a water heater. When water heaters aren’t properly maintained, bacteria can develop inside the tank and flourish; the result is a rotten-egg type of smell. Flushing the tank removes the bacteria and allows the technician to clean the tank, ensuring that upon refill, there is no more bacteria.

Flushing your water heater annually can help prevent water heater repair in Orange County. If you are interested in maintaining your water tank, call Saddleback Plumbing today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

Will Thanksgiving Turkey Really Make You Sleepy?

November 26th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

We’ve all heard it before: you feel so sleepy after a Thanksgiving meal because of the main event: the turkey. For years, people have credited extraordinary levels of tryptophan in turkey as the reason we all feel the need to nap after the annual feast. But contrary to this popular mythology, tryptophan is probably not he largest responsible party for your post-meal exhaustion.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, which means it’s something that our bodies need but do not produce naturally. Your body uses tryptophan to help make vitamin B3 and serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that sends chemicals to the brain to aid in sleep. But in order to get this essential amino acid, we have to eat foods that contain it.

Turkey has somewhat high levels of tryptophan, but so do many other foods, including eggs, peanuts, chocolate, nuts, bananas, and most other meats and dairy products. In fact, ounce-for-ounce cheddar cheese contains a greater amount of tryptophan than turkey. In order for tryptophan to make you feel sleepy, you would have to consume it in excessive amounts, and serotonin is usually only produced by tryptophan on an empty stomach.

The truth is, overeating is largely responsible for the “food coma” many people describe post-Thanksgiving. It takes a lot of energy for your body to process a large meal, and the average Thanksgiving plate contains about twice as many calories as is recommended for daily consumption. If anything, high levels of fat in the turkey cause sleepiness, as they require a lot of energy for your body to digest. Lots of carbohydrates, alcohol, and probably a bit of stress may also be some of the reasons it feels so satisfying to lay down on the couch after the meal and finally get a little bit of shut-eye.

If you feel the need to indulge in a heaping dose of tryptophan this year, go ahead! Turkey also contains healthy proteins and may even provide a boost for your immune system. Here at Saddleback Plumbing, we hope your Thanksgiving is full of joy and contentment this year. Happy feasting!

Does Ductless Heating Installation in Laguna Hills Make Sense?

November 19th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

Choosing a heating system for your home can be a daunting task due to the number of options homeowners have. But needing a new heating system can be an opportunity to consider a different type of heating system for your home. One system you may want to consider is ductless heating. Many people are familiar with ductless air conditioning systems, but you can also use a ductless system to provide heat for your entire home. Installation for any heating system should always be handled by trained professionals, so if you need heating installation in Laguna Hills, CA, call who have been in business since 1981: Saddleback Plumbing.

How Does a Ductless System Heat?

Ductless systems heat your home by employing heat pump technology. This means that the outdoor unit of the ductless system has a component called a reversing valve. This valve allows the system to change the direction of the refrigerant flow, which enables the system to both heat and cool your home.

What Are the Components?

The components for a ductless heating system are the same as for cooling, except with the outdoor unit has a reversing valve. The components are:

  • Outdoor unit – holds the compressor, condenser and reversing valve
  • Indoor blower – has a small fan, evaporator coil and filter
  • Conduit – a conduit drilled into an exterior wall connects the outdoor unit to the indoor blowers
  • Dual-mode thermostat – allows the homeowner to switch between modes

Benefits of a Ductless Heating System

  • Very energy efficient – a ductless system does not need fossil fuels to operate; it uses only a small amount of electricity, making it very energy efficient.
  • Easily installed – ductless system are minimally-invasive installations as no ductwork is needed. The outdoor unit is installed and the indoor blowers are mounted flush against walls or hung from ceilings. They are connected by the conduit, which contains the refrigerant line, power cord and condensate drain pipe.
  • Customized comfort – each indoor blower operates individually, allowing you to set each blower at a temperature you want.

Ductless systems can also be great for older homes without ductwork and for adding heating and cooling to new home additions. If you are ready for a new ductless heating installation in Laguna Hills, CA, call Saddleback Plumbing today!

Reasons for a Leaky Toilet

November 12th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

One of the most common plumbing components to cause a leak in the home is the toilet. While this installation uses a fairly simple flushing and refilling system to operate, it can fall victim to leaks just like any other device in the home that handles water. If your toilet begins to leak, it may be due to any of the following problems. Keep in mind that you should always trust a professional for any major bathroom plumbing repairs in Lake Forest, CA, like the friendly, experienced plumbers at Saddleback Plumbing.

  • Drain Clog: If water is backing up into your home from the toilet after you flush, it’s probably due to a drain clog, either near the opening of the toilet or further down in the drain pipe. For clogs close to the drain opening, a plunger will usually do the trick. However, if the clog is further along in the pipes it may affect multiple components of your plumbing system, and you’ll need a professional to use the proper drain cleaning tools for removal.
  • Problems with the Float Assembly: The float assembly is the portion inside of the tank that allows water to fill up the bowl and drain when it is flushed. If the float is improperly installed, or if components are aged and wearing away, water will run continuously, which could result in leaks from the tank or out of an overflowing bowl.
  • Seals, Washers, and Bolts: Another possible reason for an overflowing tank is if the toilet seal, washers, or bolts that hold the toilet in place and secure it to the floor are loose or worn away. This should not be a difficult fix for a trained plumber. In the meantime, you can shut off water to your toilet with the valve located near the bottom of the bowl.
  • Cracked Tank or Bowl: Unfortunately, there are a couple of instances in which a leaky toilet cannot be repaired. One of these is if the tank or bowl develops a crack. This generally requires immediate replacement to prevent water from flooding into your home and damaging your property.
  • Corrosion: Another major problem could be if the pipes in the toilet assembly fall victim to corrosion. This may mean that components in your plumbing system need replacement. Be sure to schedule plumbing maintenance every year to prevent this possibility from catching you off guard.

Call Saddleback Plumbing anytime you encounter a problem with your bathroom plumbing in Lake Forest, CA. We offer fast and professional service to get your bathroom back to normal as quickly as possible.

Reasons to Schedule Heating Maintenance for Your Furnace

November 5th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

Homeowners have a lot to deal with. Utility bills, plumbing, insulation, and a whole host of other little things have a way of occupying all of a person’s attention. These people can’t really be blamed, then, for neglecting their regular furnace maintenance until something breaks and demands a response. This will end up costing a lot more in the long run, however. Let’s have a look at some of the reasons that you should schedule regular heating maintenance.

It Saves Money

The number one reason to schedule regular furnace maintenance is simple: it saves you money. Furnaces don’t ever suddenly break down. There is always a progression of severity, as a minor issue becomes worse and worse until it begins to hinder the furnace’s normal operation. Often, this is from unavoidable wear and tear, but even then it is better to catch the problem before it gets worse. A dirty air filter, for example, is a very cheap and easy thing to replace. Leave it for too long, however, and it can trap heat in the furnace, causing a host of other problems like a cracked heat exchanger. Such things are far more complicated and expensive to fix.

It Improves Efficiency

As a furnace gets older, it will naturally decline over time. It may have to work a bit longer to reach the desired temperature, or burn a bit more fuel than it used to. These minor things aren’t major threats to the furnace or its owners, but they do have an impact on the overall lifespan of the heating system. Regular maintenance can fine-tune your furnace, replacing aging parts that aren’t performing as well and lengthening the amount of time before you have to replace the system.

Ultimately, regular maintenance improves the health and efficiency of your furnace. There’s no reason to ignore it until a problem presents itself. It is recommended that you get your furnace checked at least once a year, to ensure a long and healthy tenure of service.

If you haven’t had your annual furnace maintenance yet, call Saddleback Plumbing. We offer professional heating maintenance service in Orange County.

When Sump Pump Installation Is a Good Idea

October 29th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

Here in California, the term “sump pump” is not a term that is foreign to many. A sump pump is a plumbing installation designed to protect your home from unexpected flooding. Water damage is a serious threat to your home. Not only can it ruin your property, requiring massive renovations and destroying irreplaceable items, but it may also pose health hazards for some members of your household if mold and mildew gathers as a result.

If you’re worried about flooding, or if you’ve ever had a flood in your home in the past, sump pump installation may be the best choice for you. To learn more about installing a sump pump in Mission Viejo, CA, call on the plumbing experts at Saddleback Plumbing.

How a Sump Pump Works

A sump pump is installed at the lowest point in your home, usually in the basement or a crawlspace. A technician digs a pit in the ground and installs either a submersible pump, which has a waterproof encasing and sits inside of the pit, or a pedestal pump, which rests above the pit on a pedestal. In either case, a sump pump uses motors to impel water into a drain pipe which leads to the outdoors.

Reasons You May Choose a Sump Pump

So why should you consider a sump pump in Mission Viejo? There are a few reasons. Sure, California is not as prone to flooding as many other parts of the country, where many homeowners choose sump pump installation because high water tables indicate a high risk of floods. However, it’s still a possibility that your pipes will burst and water will move into your house, especially if it has happened in the past or if it’s a frequent problem for neighbors.

People often choose to install a sump pump to protect asthma and allergy sufferers in the home, who may have a serious reaction if mold spores move into the air. Others choose to install a sump pump to increase the property value of the home. Whatever your particular reasons, the experts at Saddleback Plumbing can help you protect your home from water damage with professional sump pump installation in Mission Viejo, CA. Give us a call!

Time to Replace the Furnace: Some of the Warning Signs

October 22nd, 2014 by Bill Chronister

There is a wide range of symptoms that indicate that your furnace may need repairs. There are some signs, however, that indicate something a bit more serious. If you notice any of these behaviors when you turn on your furnace, you may need to get your furnace replaced.


Short-cycling is what happens when your furnace turns on and off constantly. This will cause the system to enact safety measures, which will shut down the furnace. After a short time, the furnace will restart and the cycle will continue perpetually. There are two possible causes for this. The first is that your furnace is too large for your home. The furnace itself may operate as it was intended to do, but the increase in heat output will cause the system to lock it into short-cycling.

The second possibility is that something is preventing your furnace from venting properly. This could be a problem with the air filter, heat exchanger, or several other areas that are necessary for the furnace itself to maintain the proper temperature. This can be quite serious, and is a definite sign that you need your furnace replaced.

Repair Frequency

Needing repairs every once in a while isn’t a big deal. All heating systems will eventually have problems that need fixing. When a heating system starts needing repairs every couple of months, however, you should pay attention. Needing frequent repairs is usually a sign of extreme wear and tear on the system as a whole. This is usually caused by simple age and repeated use. If your furnace suddenly seems like it needs more and more professional attention, especially if it’s an older unit, it’s probably time to start looking for a replacement.

All unusual behavior should be checked by a professional for accurate diagnosis. If you suspect that your furnace might need replacing, don’t go out and buy a new one right away. Call an HVAC technician to confirm first.

If your furnace is acting odd, call Saddleback Plumbing. We conduct heating replacement in the Orange County area.

Advantages of an Electric Furnace in Irvine, CA

October 15th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

Electric furnaces have come a long way over the last few years, providing excellent heat in an energy efficient way. There are a number of benefits an electric furnace in Irving can offer your home, as we’ll out line below. It is important to note that any whole-home system requiring a large load of electricity should always be installed by a professional, so call the certified experts you can count on: Saddleback Plumbing.

How Does an Electric Furnace Work?

An electric furnace uses hot coils to generate heat. These coils are heated until they are red hot, and a fan at the bottom of the cabinet draws air into the system and over the coils. The warm air is distributed throughout your home via your ductwork.

What Are the Benefits of an Electric Furnace?

  • Low initial costs – electric furnaces are some of the most inexpensive furnaces available. The average price is around $900 for purchase versus $2,000 for gas or oil furnaces.
  • Very good energy efficiency – because electric furnaces do not burn fossil fuels, they can have an energy efficiency rating as high as 100%. This can be great for your home and the environment.
  • No need for a gas line – some homes do not have access to a natural gas line, and some are not very accessible for fuel delivery. However, electricity is widely available, and as such, may be the best choice for a homeowner challenged with these situations.
  • Safety – while no heating system is guaranteed to be 100% safe, there is no need to worry about toxic fumes with an electric furnace.
  • Clean – because an electric furnace doesn’t use a burning fuel to operate, the system stays clean, which is helpful when it comes to annual maintenance.

Electric furnaces can offer homes without easy access to fossil fuels the ability to heat with energy efficiency and comfort. If you think an electric furnace may be a good fit for your home, call Saddleback Plumbing today and schedule an appointment with one of our trained experts for professional furnace installation in Irvine.

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.