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.