Three Ways Plumbing Affects Health

Plumbing affects health? Linking your house’s plumbing to your personal health may not be what comes to most homeowners’ minds, but it should. The quality of your plumbing affects the quality of your health. Over time your plumbing can wear down due to use and weather conditions, which require watching out for potential problems, or replacing a few pipes if necessary. If you have some damaged plumbing, it’s important to have a plumber fix the problem right away as your health is at stake.

How Your Plumbing Affects Health

Homeowners use plumbing on a regular basis, whether it’s to cook, wash, or bathe. The quality of your plumbing affects health. The quality of your plumbing affects your water quality. A damaged water heater, for example, can rust on the inside, and that rust can leak into your drinking water. Damaged pipes or sewer lines can result in backed up sewage which is toxic to touch and spread diseases. Leaky pipes or roofs can create tripping hazards. There are several hazards that are caused by damaged plumbing. Here are three ways in which your home’s plumbing directly affects your health.

  • Leaks create mold. One of the most common problems with damaged plumbing is a water leak. A leaking pipe cause more problems than just unseemly water damage, but the growth of mold. Mold and mildew grow when there is enough humidity and excess moisture, and they are toxic to breathe in. Health problems caused by mold can start off irritating, such as nasal congestion or a few sneezing fits. If any mold in your house is left untreated, however, it can lead to some serious health problems, especially for people with compromised immune systems or a chronic lung illness. If you smell something foul or musty, it could be mold and should be treated right away. Always inspect your home for any potential leaks as that can lead to mold growth. Check your floors, walls, and ceilings for any warped, bubbled, or discolored spots.
  • Toxins can leak into your drinking water. Your plumbing affects your water, including the water you use to drink and cook. Your local municipality treats your water well enough, but they don’t prevent every contaminant from leaking into your tap water such as chlorine and lead. Installing a water filtration system to your plumbing ensures you’re drinking cleaner, healthier water, without the harmful contaminants. The chemicals, minerals, and heavy metals found in your houses tap water can also cause damage to your plumbing over time. Installing a water filtration system protects your health and plumbing. Damaged plumbing can also leak things like sediment, rust, and sewage into your drinking water, none of which are healthy to consume.
  • Hard water can irritate the skin. Depending on where you live, your house may run on hard water, which not only takes a toll on your water heater but your skin. Hard water contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which make it difficult for the running water to form a solution with the soap, leaving behind a soapy, scummy residue on your skin. Instead of enjoying a nice lather, hard water causes soap scum to build upon your skin and clog pores, causing blemishes and zits. Hard water can also strip the moisture out of your skin and prevent the natural oils from retaining moisture in your skin. Luckily you can prevent dry and irritated skin by installing a water softener, which works by replacing the harmful minerals inside your water with something else, usually sodium.

How You Can Protect Yourself and Your Plumbing

Fixing an issue early is the best way to keep your plumbing working as it should be and that means a healthier lifestyle. Your plumbing, however, is complicated, and if it needs a repair, that’s best to be left for a licensed plumber. Luckily there are plenty of tricks that should be up every homeowner’s sleeve to ensure your house has functioning plumbing. Here’s what you can do.

  • Avoid pouring greases, oils, and fats down your drain.
  • Routinely clean and clear your sewer line.
  • Use drain strainers to catch food waste, hair, and soap scum.
  • Avoid using chemical drain cleaners.
  • Don’t flush anything other than toilet paper down the toilet.
  • Annually flush your water heater.

Take Care of Yourself by Protecting Your Plumbing

Your health is important, but so is your plumbing, and that means routine care and maintenance. Damaged plumbing causes much more problems than expensive repairs and higher utility bills, such as dangerous safety and health hazards. Take care of yourself by taking care of your plumbing. Don’t wait until the pipes burst, schedule an inspection with a licensed plumber today.

Call Rebmann Plumbing today for more information on how plumbing affects health!

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Tips for Preventing Frozen Pipes

Preventing frozen pipes this winter starts with you! The winter season brings frigid temperatures, heaps of ice and snow, and potential plumbing problems. Frozen pipes are every homeowner’s worst nightmare, and it can happen if a house’s plumbing isn’t properly prepared. If your home has frozen pipes, it’s much worse than a plumbing nuisance, but a flooding catastrophe. Luckily preventing frozen pipes is easy if it’s done ahead of time.

Knowing When You Have Frozen Pipes

Understanding how your plumbing can freeze is a good place to start. Contrary to popular belief, your pipes don’t burst where the water inside freezes, but somewhere between the freeze and a closed faucet. When the pressure builds due to an ice blockage, that water has nowhere to go but through the pipe walls, causing your pipes to burst and cause some serious damage. Preparation is crucial, but it’s also important to act fast if you suspect you have frozen pipes. Here are a few warning signs.

  • Frost on the pipes. Search for all your exposed pipes such as under your sink or in the basement. If you find frost accumulating on any exposed pipes, that indicates you have frozen pipes.
  • No running water. If you’re having little to no success running water out of a faucet, it could be a handful of plumbing problems. There’s no guarantee that frozen pipes are the culprit for a lack of running water, but it’s best to contact a plumber urgently.
  • Foul odors. Another potential sign for frozen pipes is an odd or unpleasant smell coming out of a faucet or drain. If a pipe is partially or completely blocked up, the only direction those foul odors can go is back up.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Preparing your home’s plumbing involves proper protection and insulation for your pipes. Your home’s plumbing by can’t protect itself from the cold if there are any air leaks, damaged or missing insulation, or excess running water and open valves. Most of your plumbing is tucked inside walls or underneath your house, automatically protected with some sort of layer of insulation. Your house alone isn’t always enough to protect your plumbing, so are six tips to help prevent frozen pipes.

  • Insulate your pipes. One of the best ways to prevent frozen pipes is by adding some insulation directly to your plumbing. Depending on where you live, your pipes may require heavier insulation such as polyethylene or fiberglass. Wrapping your pipes with heat tape before insulating also helps to add an extra layer of protection.
  • Let your faucets drip. If your pipes are frozen, they burst due to the pressure of water having nowhere to escape. Letting your faucets run a small and steady drip can prevent a lot of busted pipes and some freezing as it constantly keeps the water inside your pipes running.
  • Open your cabinet doors. You want the heat to circulate throughout as much of your house as possible, and inside closed cabinets is several cold pockets of air that can potentially freeze any exposed pipes. Leaving all doors open allows for better heat circulation throughout your house, and it prevents your furnace from overworking itself.
  • Seal air leaks. The most common cause for frozen pipes is a lack of insulation, which includes your home’s foundation, outside walls, and inner insulation. Check for any cracks, holes, and damages, and seal them up right away. Foam insulation or caulking should work to seal most air leaks.
  • Close up your crawl space. Before the snow falls, it’s important to seal your crawl space closed. Seal up all crawl space vents with heavy-duty cardboard and duct tape it in place, and close off all access to your crawl space.
  • Drain your hose bibs. There’s the indoor plumbing to protect, but when the leaves fall and the flowers die, it’s easy to forget about your outdoor plumbing. Your hose bibs, for example, if left unattended, can burst in the night. Make sure to detach your hoses, drain your hose bibs, insulate them, and shut off their valve before the freezing temperatures hit.

Don’t Wait for Your Basement to Turn into an Ice Skating Rink

Struggling to keep warm this winter season is enough of a struggle, and frozen pipes are a major holiday downer. Nobody should have to put with the water damage and costly repairs that come from a busted pipe, especially when it can be avoided. Your home deserves functioning plumbing, no matter what time of year. Call a plumber today if it’s time to winterize your plumbing.

Call Rebmann today for more information on preventing frozen pipes!

Heating System Tune-Ups: 21 Things to Check for Peace of Mind This Winter

Heating system tune-ups should be on your mind with the cooler weather on its way. You should have your heating system routinely checked and tuned up, preferably before this time comes. It may be hard to remember to do so when summer is winding down, but thinking ahead can prevent a system failure and an HVAC emergency in the future.
Can you imagine losing your heat in the middle of winter, when it’s more necessary than ever? Heating system failure in the colder months can result in frozen pipes among other damages, as well as leaving you and your family in the cold. Even if you call for professional maintenance right away, the heat will still be off until it’s fixed. This happens to anyone, but routine maintenance can certainly help to prevent it.

Benefits of Routine Maintenance

If your heating system is compromised, your safety and wellbeing can be at risk. Along with the temperature drop, poor air quality and carbon monoxide are a potentially hazardous possibility. A regular tune-up will improve your energy efficiency and reduce your monthly bills. Average maintenance once or twice a year is certainly cheaper than having to unexpectedly replace your entire system.
More importantly, you will be protected from harmful or toxic emissions and contaminates. Your system will have a longer lifetime, and there will be a uniform heat flow throughout your entire home. Imagine the peace of mind you’ll have after hearing that your heating system is working perfectly!
Now that you know what a tune-up can do to benefit you and your home, it’s time to become familiar with the steps included in a routine inspection. Here are 21 steps that professional heating system tune-ups will include.


1. Burner: The burner on your system should be void of contaminants and structured to code to work as it is intended to.
2. Inspect the combustion chamber: Just like the burner, any contaminants or structural faults in the combustion chamber will prevent it from working properly.
3. Inspect heat exchangers: Consistent heating can only be accomplished if the heat exchangers are working properly. The heat is created by a medium that can be distributed throughout the entire house, so this is necessary for efficient heating.
4. Inspect the flue: The flue is essential for proper ventilation. If there is a blockage, a buildup can occur.
5. Inspect belts for cracks: Average wear and tear will eventually cause cracks in the belts. However, they may not be immediately noticeable. A professional will be able to determine if they need to be replaced.
6. Inspect belts for tension and alignment: Belts loosen and can shift over time, and if they aren’t fixed as soon as possible, their lifetime will diminish.
7. Check gas line for leaks: In the event of a leak, a professional will be able to detect and fix it immediately. This is a serious issue and should be treated as such.
8. Check safety controls: Safety is of the utmost importance, so regular maintenance is necessary.


9. Fan control: Adjusting the fan will set your system up for better airflow. Efficiency will increase, as will the quality of your heating.
10. Calibrate thermostats: Your thermostats will need to be adjusted frequently in order to reach the exact right temperature. Your desired temperature is set through the thermostat, so it’s important that it functions properly.
11. Adjust the pilot light: To properly turn off the system, the pilot light is essential.
12. Tighten electrical connections: Connections can loosen due to age or wear and tear, and it can happen often in any large electromechanical system. Tightening them regularly prevents problems that would otherwise occur.

Heating System Tune-Ups Maintenance and Testing

13. Lubrication: Lubrication of all moving parts is essential for efficiency.
14. Replace thermocouple: this measures the temperature within the system. It’s a common way to identify early failure and should be replaced and checked as needed.
15. Air Filters: These should be replaced routinely to keep air quality at its best.
16. Clean blower components: This system moves the air, so it’s imperative that they stay clean.
17. Test combustion air openings: Airflow that is stifled will affect the performance of your system. Air flows to the combustion area through these openings, so functioning openings are essential.
18. Manifold gas pressures: In this area, gas travels to the main burners. Any pressure abnormalities can indicate an issue.
19. Check noise and vibration levels: More noise or vibration than usual is a sign that something isn’t working right and should be addressed immediately.
20. Interior of the vestibule: This creates an air lock between the inside of the furnace and the outer door. Cleanliness of the area is necessary.

Operational test

21. At the end of your tune-up, the  HVAC professional should perform an operational test. This will ensure that steps 1 through 20 were serviced properly. If anything is still off, they should be able to tell during the test. They want to be sure, as your safety and well-being are at stake.

Call the HVAC specialists at Rebmann Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning today to learn more about heating system tune-ups!

3 Different Types of Heating Options

Heating options are plentiful in the world of heating. For most American homeowners, keeping interior spaces comfortable is the single largest energy expense for their home. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling account for 48% of a typical home energy budget. If your present heating system is more than 20 years old, you are probably spending a significant amount to keep it running – funds that could be better spent on a new, more energy-efficient system.

Understanding Heating Options

Selecting an appropriate heating system that is best-suited for your geographical location and needs requires a basic understanding of the differences between different heating systems, including their efficiency ratings as well as long-term operating costs. Installing the wrong system for your climate or heating requirements could end up costing more in the long run. Knowing the difference between furnaces, ductless heating, and heat pumps can help you avoid issues such as:

  • Lack of heat
  • Reduced efficiency
  • Frequent system failures
  • Not enough space for proper installation
  • Increased repair and maintenance costs

On the other hand, selecting the right heating system for your home has many benefits. Choosing the best type of system is an investment that will pay for itself and will bring you peace of mind due to:

  • Reduced energy costs
  • A long-lasting, durable system
  • Reliable heating
  • Increased home value
  • Reduced carbon footprint

Types of Heating Systems

Knowing the differences between the different heating options,  gas furnaces, ductless systems and heat pumps will help you determine which system is the perfect match for your family’s needs. When shopping for a new heating system, look for a high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. This rating measures how efficiently your heater utilizes its fuel. The more efficient your furnace is, the more heat it will return per unit of fuel.

Gas Furnaces

Gas furnaces are fueled by either propane or natural gas, and typically cost less to install than heat pumps. A new high-efficiency furnace consumes more than 30% less fuel than less efficient, outdated furnaces. Due to rising oil and natural gas costs, it is important to select a system that helps you reduce your heating energy consumption.

Newer gas furnaces aren’t just more efficient – they are much quieter than older models, provide more even heating, and maintain more constant temperature levels. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, high-efficiency gas furnaces feature a second heat exchange, sealed combustion and a 90% to 98.5% AFUE.

Ductless systems

Ductless heating systems move air through different areas or ‘zones’ in your home. They are easy to install, but typically cost more to install than a furnace. Ductless systems, also called split-systems, multi-split systems, and split-ductless systems, offer highly flexible solutions for a range of home comfort issues. While heat pumps force heated and cooled air through ducts, a ductless system delivers air directly to a specific zone.

Ductless systems are smaller than comparable forced-air systems, meaning they operate on less power, and are more efficient since the temperature-controlled air is delivered directly where desired. Ductless systems allow homeowners to only heat specific occupied rooms or zones within the home. Because they don’t have ducts that can attract dust and allergens, and they offer multi-stage filtration, they can increase indoor air quality by reducing dust, pollen, bacteria, and allergens in the home.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps operate by using electricity to heat and cool indoor spaces. Heat pumps are the best heating options for temperate climates, though they typically cost more to install than furnaces. Electric heat pumps are one of the most efficient heating systems available. They operate as a furnace during chilly weather, absorbing warmth from the ground or atmosphere, multiplying it, and delivering it to the home. Conversely, it works as an air conditioner during hotter months, transferring heat from the home. Heat pumps can be operated on gas or electricity.

Heat pumps don’t generate dry heat, so there’s no need to use a humidifier during operation. Heat pump systems are less expensive to use than systems fueled by natural gas and don’t experience the fluctuations in temperature commonly seen in other types of systems. While the initial installation may cost more than other systems, and they require more maintenance, they are more environmentally friendly.

If you are considering purchasing a new heating system or replacing an existing one, scheduling an energy audit can help you make the right decision. An energy audit measures a variety of factors, including heat loss through doors and windows, the integrity of existing ductwork, the overall efficiency of your present heating system, and insulation levels. Also take into account any federal or state tax credits or utility rebates offered by Energy Star partners for installing a new, energy efficient heating system.

Possible Results For Not Maintaining Your Heating System

As the weather turns colder, you’ll come to rely on your home is heated quickly and efficiently. Properly maintaining it now can ensure that you have heat all fall and winter and make it less likely that you’ll need to have your heating system repaired. An improperly maintained heating system results in a decrease in its energy efficiency which means you’ll see an increase in your utility bills. In addition, you’ll have an increased chance of fire as well as a higher likelihood of exposure to carbon dioxide

Homeowner Tips for Your Heating System

There are simple and effective tips that homeowners can take advantage of to improve their heating system.

  1. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on a monthly basis by following the testing method for each device. Put a reminder on your phone and have it repeat each month so you don’t forget.
  2. change and replace your air filters on a regular basis to improve the efficiency of your heating system
  3. keep all your belongings at least three feet away from your heating system to reduce the chances of them catching on fire
  4. always turn off any portable heaters when you leave the room or go to bed for the night to prevent them from accidentally overheating or falling over and causing a fire
  5. install a metal or glass fire screen in front of your fireplace to reduce the chances of a stray spark catching your floor or the surrounding area on fire

Call Rebmann Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning today to learn more about your heating options!

Drain Clearing as a Home Owner Essential

Drain Clearing as a Home Owner Essential


Most homeowners are probably familiar with drain clearing, which is the act of preventing grease, soap, hair, and food residue from clogging your drains. Drain clearing fully clears the entire lining of your pipe, keeping your drains clog-free for much longer periods of time. Unfortunately keeping your drains clear can be a costly task, costing hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the clog. By clearing your drains, you not only save the money and effort of unclogging your drains repeatedly, clearing your drains can also prevent other major sewer problems from happening.


When Is It Time for A Drain Clearing?


Preventing a plumbing catastrophe whether it’s a broken sewer line or clogged drain, includes knowing what to look for. Luckily your home has many ways to telling you when there’s a potential clogged drain or sewer problem. Sometimes you can avoid a costly clearing or repair, but the most effective way to help with stubborn clogs is a drain clearing. Here’s what to look for to get started.


  • Slow drains. Toilets, sinks, and tubs that slowly drain usually mean that there’s something clogged in the drain. Depending on how many drains have a slow drain indicates how severe the clog is. If multiple sinks and toilets are slow to drain, that typically means the clog is in the sewer line and requires a professional plumber to properly identify and clear the clog.
  • Toilets backing up. If flushing your toilet results in water backing up or coming up in the bathtub or shower stall, that’s a good sign for a clogged sewer line. Toilets that don’t work properly are another key indicator of a clogged drain or sewer line, especially since toilets have the most direct path to the sewer and biggest drain line in the house.
  • Sewer odors and gurgling sounds. Clogs that buildup inside your sewer and drain lines can force sewer gases back up the pipes and through the drains. On top of a nasty smell, you may also hear some gurgling noises coming from the sewer gas pushing up through the water. It’s important to contact a plumber immediately if something stinks, as there could be a problem with the sewer line.


What Type of Drain Clearing Works Best for You


If your home is in need of a drain clearing, the next step is then determining what type of drain clearing your plumbing or sewer line needs. A professional plumber will have the right tools to access your sewer line and help you determine what would best clear your drains. Different methods of drain clearing will vary in cost, the most expensive cost being if your plumber decides your sewer line needs to be replaced. When deciding to have your drains cleared, here are a few different methods to consider.


  • By using a powerful stream of water to fully clear and remove all clogs and waste from inside your piping, hydrojetting is an economical and long-term solution. For more extreme blockages such as tree root incursion, hydrojetting is the best method to break and remove tree roots which if left untreated, can cause your sewer line to break or collapse over time.
  • Cable auger. For smaller clogs that can’t be reached with a plunger, it’s best to use a cable auger or plumbing snake. Using a flexible steel cable with a corkscrew or blades attached, a cable auger can dislodge clogs up to 100 feet deep. There are several different types of augers depending on the clog. An electric power auger is powered by an electric motor and also has the power to cut through tree roots.
  • Pipe bursting. Another effective, long-term solution for sewer backups is a pipe bursting. Treating a sewer blockage with pipe bursting entails hydraulically breaking apart the old pipe while seaming in a new one. Since pipe bursting replaces your old sewer line, it is one of the most expensive options of drain clearing.


Don’t Let Your Drains Suffer


Clogged drains are a frustration all homeowners have to face, but constantly clearing your drains can wear out your pipes and cost you some expensive repairs. Clearing your drains is a cost-effective solution that saves you the time and trouble of constantly maintaining your drains. It’s not easy keeping tabs on everything inside your home, so if it’s time for a drain clearing, call a professional plumber. Not only will a professional plumber be quick to identify what and where the problem is within your drain lines, they can offer you the best, cost-effective solution.

The professionals at Rebmann Plumbing have the experience you need to help you with your homes drain clearing!