What Plumbing Is and What Isn’t

Plumbing Express, Inc. is a system of pipes that conveys water, waste products, and gas throughout a building. Plumbers install, repair, and maintain these systems to ensure safe, clean water supply and effective drainage.


A water heater is an appliance that keeps hot water ready at all times. It is located in your basement, garage or utility closet and stores a large tank of between 20 and 80 gallons of hot water that is heated by gas or an electric heating element. These units provide hot water for sinks, showers, washing machines and dishwashers throughout your home.

During heavy use, your water heater is constantly working to keep the water in your storage tank at optimum temperature. This can wear on the unit and, in some cases, cause it to run out of hot water too quickly.

To prevent this from happening, we recommend that you choose a unit with a 12-year warranty that is rated for heavy use. It also helps to look for a model with brass drain valves, which are more durable than plastic, and glass-lined tanks that reduce corrosion.

If you are having trouble with your hot water heater, there are several things that can happen, but the most common is sediment buildup, a faulty thermostat or a broken dip tube. If you’re experiencing any of these problems, contact us to have one of our professional plumbers come out and take a look.

Our licensed professional plumbers have the expertise and training to diagnose your problem and repair it right away, saving you time and money. They are fully insured, bonded and certified to perform work on all your plumbing needs.

Besides being an essential part of your home, your water heater is also a major safety concern because it contains hot and dangerous water. The best way to avoid a disaster is to install a sturdy heat-resistant drain pan underneath your water heater in indoor environments. This will help to protect your floor and any nearby individuals from the consequences of a water heater leak or pressure valve runoff. For outdoor environments, a rainwater catchment system is recommended to divert the excess hot water from your tank. This system can help to lower your energy costs and conserve water. Our trained professionals can handle both indoor and outdoor installations.

Tank-Type Heater

If you live in a typical American home, your water heater is likely a conventional tank-type model. These conventional units feature a large, insulated tank that is designed to hold 30 to 80 gallons of hot water until you need it.

A dip tube is located near the bottom of the tank and helps to send cold water to the burner that heats it inside the tank. Once the hot water reaches the dip tube, it is sent back to you from a hot water outlet located at the top of the tank.

Gas water heaters utilize a gas burner to heat the water, and they can be equipped with an electric heating element for added energy efficiency. A flue is positioned at the center of the unit to vent combustion gases out of the tank.

These tanks are a great option for homes with limited space, but they require regular maintenance to ensure the unit works properly. Minerals and sediment build up on the heating elements, which can decrease thermal transfer and lead to poor performance. Over time, these sediments can also cause the heater to rust and leak.

Another concern with traditional tanks is the fact that they continuously heat and store hot water, even when you are not using it. This process results in significant amounts of wasted water and energy. In addition, even today’s highly-insulated tank models are susceptible to heat loss via radiation and a process known as standby loss.

The average lifespan of a traditional tank is less than 12 years, which is an unnecessarily short amount of time to wait for hot water. While you may think that investing in a new unit is expensive, it’s actually much more cost-effective to choose a high-efficiency model that can help to cut your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint.

Another excellent option is a tankless water heater, which is ideal for homes with no need to keep a large supply of hot water on hand. These units work on demand, meaning that they only heat water when you need it. They do so by funneling cold water to a gas burner or heating element that quickly and efficiently delivers it to you for your use.

Water Filter

Water filters remove impurities that may affect the taste or appearance of the water, or that may pose health risks. They range from simple mechanical filters to complex filtration systems. The most common types of filters include pitchers, end-of-tap or faucet-mounted filters and plumbed-in or under-sink filtration systems. It is important to know what contaminants you want to remove from your water before purchasing a filter or treatment system. The best way to do this is by checking if the product is certified by NSF International, an independent public health organization that sets standards for filtration products.

When shopping for a water filter, look for one with a micron rating that indicates the size of the pores that allow the water to pass through. This helps you find a filter that can effectively remove certain contaminants like Cryptosporidium and Giardia. A 5-micron filter or lower is adequate for removing most of these contaminants.

The first step in a filtration system is often a sediment prefilter, which acts like a sieve to remove larger particles of sand, silt, clay and debris from the water. This helps reduce turbidity, which is the cloudiness caused by these particles in the water. It also extends the life of the more expensive, finishing filters by preventing premature clogging.

Some filters use carbon adsorption, which binds to contaminants and removes them from the water. These are usually available in the form of granulated or powdered carbon. They are effective in reducing chlorine, chlorine byproducts and dissolved volatile organic compounds that can cause unpleasant tastes and odors.

Many filtration systems also incorporate reverse osmosis, which uses pressure and a series of membranes to separate water molecules. This can reduce or eliminate a wide range of contaminants, including bacteria, cysts and parasites such as protozoa, which are responsible for diseases such as malaria and dysentery. Many manufacturers offer complete whole-house filtration systems that combine these different technologies into a single unit. These are ideal for removing chlorine, rust and other contaminates from water that comes into the home, as well as for reducing chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides.

Water Softener

Water softeners use basic chemistry to remove the minerals that make up hard water, typically calcium and magnesium. Those minerals cause spots on glassware, build up in hot-water-using appliances like coffee and washing machines and can even clog pipes over time. Softened water reduces these issues and improves the overall quality of your home’s water supply.

Water passes over the negatively charged resin beads in the softener, which are filled with sodium ions. The ions replace the positive calcium and magnesium ions in the water, making the water soft. The water-softening process is called ion exchange, and it’s the most common method of household water treatment.

When the resin bed becomes coated with hardness minerals, it must be regenerated to continue producing soft water. During regeneration, the softener flushes a solution of salt and water through the resin tank. The high levels of salt force the calcium and magnesium ions off the resin, replacing them with sodium ions. The resulting softened water is then released into the house.

While using a water softener will add some sodium to your household’s drinking water, it’s not considered a health risk by the FDA and is safe for consumption in moderation. Those who wish to avoid this added sodium can install a bypass valve and connect their water softener to a separate water dispenser or opt for a salt-free system, which uses potassium chloride instead of sodium.

While the benefits of a water softener are obvious, its operating costs can add up. Fortunately, this cost is offset by the money and energy saved over time. For example, softened water requires less energy to heat, and soaps and other cleaning products produce a larger lather with less soap than their hard-water counterparts. It also helps protect your plumbing from mineral buildup, prolonging their lifespan. Compared to the daily expenses and frustrations of dealing with hard water, the installation of a water softener is well worth the investment.


Use a Drain Snake to Get Rid of Clogged Drains and Pipes

Clogged drains can throw off your entire schedule. Dealing with them takes time away from other important tasks like caring for kids or preparing meals.

drain cleaning

Regular Drain Cleaning Delaware County can help keep clogs at bay. However, serious clogs may require professional assistance. Here are some options to consider:

The chemical drain cleaners you see at grocery stores and hardware stores are filled with toxic chemicals that can be dangerous to both people and pets. They typically work by creating a chemical reaction that generates heat, melting away hair, grease, and soap scum in the drain. While these products can be effective, they should only be used when there is a significant blockage that cannot be easily removed by other methods.

The vast majority of liquid drain cleaners use hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid, which can be dangerous if not handled properly. These chemicals can damage metal pipes and cause severe burns if they come into contact with skin or eyes. They also pose a risk to septic systems, as they can kill the bacteria that break down waste in the tank.

These cleaners usually come in gel or liquid form and are poured down the drain to create a chemical reaction. Most manufacturers recommend ventilating the area while using them, as they can produce strong odors that are difficult to mask. They may take 15 to 30 minutes to dissolve large clogs, after which you should run hot water down the drain to flush away any remaining residue.

While some liquid drain cleaners are intended for specific types of clogs, most are able to remove hair, food, grease, and toilet paper debris. However, they are not able to break down larger blockages that involve sludge or tree roots.

Another option for cleaning a slow-draining drain is an enzyme-based drain cleaner. These cleaners are safe for most pipes, but they are not effective for sludge or tree root growth.

Enzyme-based cleaners work by breaking down organic materials into smaller molecules that can be easily absorbed through the drain opening. They are not as effective as caustic drain cleaners for hair and grease, but they are much safer for pipes.

One example of a safe and effective liquid drain cleaner is the 4.3-star Drano formula. This product is safe for most pipes and works by combining an acidic solution with an oxidizing agent. Simply pour the cleaner down the drain, wait 15 to 30 minutes, and then rinse with hot water.

Liquid Sewer Drain Cleaners

While a clogged drain or pipe might seem like a major problem, it’s often possible to fix with just a little household cleaner and a few tools. Fortunately, there are liquid drain cleaners that can help break apart food or hair buildup and dissolve minor blockages. But it’s important to remember that these chemicals are dangerous if not used properly, and repeated use can cause severe damage to pipes.

Chemical drain cleaners usually work by creating a chemical reaction inside the pipes. They release harsh chemical fumes that are unpleasant for anyone near them, and can be damaging to your health if the fumes get into your body. These cleaners also typically contain hydrochloric acid, which can eat away at the rubber gaskets and metal of your pipes. They can also discolor your fixtures and are especially harmful to septic systems.

Oxidizing drain cleaners contain bleach, nitrates, or peroxides, which are heavier than water and can move through standing water to reach the site of a clog. When they reach the clog, they oxidize, or absorb electrons from the organic material that’s causing the blockage, which helps break it down and dissolve it. Caustic drain cleaners have a high pH level and can melt through grease, soap scum, and other materials. They’re also effective at breaking apart hair clumps and other debris.

If you do decide to use liquid drain cleaner, follow the instructions on the label carefully. Most cleaners require you to wait a certain amount of time before flushing the drain with hot water. After you’ve completed the recommended steps, it’s a good idea to call a plumber for more serious clogs that are beyond your DIY abilities.

It’s also important to keep in mind that while these bottled solutions might temporarily fix your clogged drain, they won’t last long. Overuse can cause serious, lasting damage to your pipes, and even one-time use can be too much for some older plumbing systems. It’s best to try using natural, homemade drain cleaners before turning to chemical products for stubborn clogs. You can make a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, or try boiling water to clear most minor clogs.

Chemical Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners work by generating heat to melt or dissolve clogged materials such as hair, soap scum, food residue, and grease. However, they can be harmful to your pipes and plumbing system as a whole, not to mention your health and the environment. They often contain caustic agents or acids that can damage your pipes and create toxic fumes that are hard on the respiratory system. Moreover, they can actually hide underlying issues like broken pipe connections or a backed up sewer line.

Most chemical drain cleaners are caustic in nature, which means they can cause severe burns if they come into contact with your skin or eyes. Inhaling these chemicals can also be dangerous, especially if the area is not well ventilated. Repeated exposure can even cause brain damage over time.

Additionally, chemical drain cleaners can contaminate the environment by seeping into groundwater sources such as rivers and lakes. This can have a devastating effect on wildlife and the ecosystem at large. If your home is connected to a septic tank, using chemical drain cleaners can be even more detrimental as these cleaners can kill the bacteria that break down organic waste.

While you may be tempted to use a liquid drain cleaner for a stubborn clog, it is best not to. Instead, call a plumber for a drain inspection and cleaning to make sure the problem is not a backed up sewer line or other major issue. If you must use a chemical drain cleaner, only pour a small amount and follow the product’s instructions closely. You should also wear gloves, a face mask, and goggles to protect yourself from any accidental spills or splashes.

If you are looking for a safe and effective alternative to chemical drain cleaners, try boiling water or baking soda and vinegar. These natural drain cleaners are just as effective, but much safer for your pipes and the environment. Plus, they are cheaper than most liquid drain cleaners. Just be sure to pour the hot water down the drain first to loosen up any clog material.

Drain Snakes

A drain snake is the ideal tool for dislodging hard, clogged household drains. Also known as plumber’s augers, these long, flexible steel cables provide the leverage needed to mechanically power through and dislodge most drain blockages. They come in a wide range of cable lengths to handle most residential plumbing networks, with specialty types available for sinks, toilets, and sewer drains.

Unlike chemical drain cleaners, which depend on air bursts and a physical reaction to work, a mechanical auger mechanism directly latches onto the source of a clog and cuts through or dislodges it. A proper snaking technique requires patience and time, but it’s the only way to thoroughly unclog drains.

For the best results, a drain snake should be fed into a clean pipe opening. Uncoil the snake from its drum and feed it into the drain opening until you feel resistance or touch the clog. Slowly rotate the snake’s head as you work to break up or entangle the obstruction, and always apply minimal force.

Once the clog has been broken up or hooked, withdraw the snake and flush out the pipes with water. Be sure to wear rubber gloves and eye protection during this process, as the entangled debris can be messy. If necessary, repeat the snaking process on stubborn, deep clogs.

While chemical drain cleaners can be harsh on pipes, a drain snake provides a mechanical approach that’s safer for most pipes and a preferred option for environmentally conscious homeowners. Just be sure to use the right type and size of snake for the job, as improperly-matched tools run the risk of getting stuck or causing pipe damage.

By using the correct methods to prevent clogs, you can keep your home’s plumbing system working like new and avoid costly professional repairs. For example, avoid pouring grease down the kitchen sink and regularly clean your drains with a drain snake. And if you must use a chemical drain cleaner, do so sparingly and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. In addition, regularly inspect your home’s plumbing for leaks and loose connections to ensure everything is in good shape.