How New Federal Regulations Have Caused Water Heater Prices to Rise

If your water heating needs replacing, you may find something unexpected when you go to get your next model—its price is appreciably higher than your previous water heater. Water heater manufacturers aren’t ripping you off; there’s actually a specific cause for this rise—new federal regulations. Though these regulations may have put some people’s wallets in hot water, this change may be better in the long run.

Earlier this year, Congress passed the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA), a bill that raised the energy efficiency standards to reduce overall, national carbon dioxide emissions. Part of NAECA has raised the standards of water heaters as sold by manufacturers; as of April 16th, manufacturers could no longer sell water heaters that did not much the new standards—which are most of them.

On a technical level, the new, NAECA-compliant water heaters feature new flue baffling technologies, electronic ignition (instead of a pilot light), and additional insultation. As a side effect, new water heaters are, on average, bigger than their outdated counterparts.

According to the Department of Energy (DOE), the changes brought on by NAECA will result in $63 billion in energy savings between 2015 and 2044, and reduced annual greenhouse gas emissions “of about 33.8 million automobiles,” said their website. The U.S. Energy Information Administration claims water heaters account for approximately 18% of household energy consumption.

Though these changes are posed to save people money in the long-run, they will cost consumers more in the short-run. The average NAECA-compliant water heater will cost about 35% more (on average, a couple hundred dollars) than previous water heaters due to the new technology. According to Mark Cooper of the American Federation of Consumers, however, the average consumer will recoup the extra cost within two to 10 years of purchase. The average homeowner should earn savings back on the sooner end of that scale.

A customer may also experience additional cost or inconvenience due to the changed sizes of these new heaters. To accommodate upgrades and newer technology, many of the new heaters are several inches wider in diameter and often somewhat taller. If the space housing a previous water heater is particularly snug, the consumer may need additional work or support from installers or plumbers.

The most profound effect, however, is felt on consumers who need to heat a lot of water—owners of whirlpool tubs, for example. These people either need to use multiple water heaters, or purchase an expensive condensing unit or tankless water heater. Though they are more expensive regarding up-front costs, tankless water heaters heat water on demand (so they never “run out” of hot water), are more energy efficient, and last, on average, three times longer than ordinary water tank heaters.

Home and business owners are wholly allowed to keep their current water heaters as is; the new regulations only apply to water heaters as sold by manufacturers. The NAECA ruling only factors in when purchasing a new water heater, either as a replacement or as an addition. Based on the DOE’s predictions, the increased up-front cost should be a small (if initially painful) price to pay for the sake of long-term savings and environmental impact.

How Camera Inspections Can Save Your Sewer Line and Your Wallet

Everyone is familiar with inspections and routine maintenance; sometimes they happen through physicians and benefit your personal health, and other times they’re for your home or business, and ensure your money and safety. Generally speaking, people know their value—especially with security and well-being is concerned. Unfortunately, some people think, in an effort to save time or money, that skipping lesser-known procedures such as sewer line camera inspections is okay; it’s not.

A business or home’s sewer line system is often out-of-sight, so many people consider it out-of-mind. When there’s a minor problem (that can accelerate into a much bigger problem), it goes unnoticed because it’s underground. It’s lessened visibility is not a reason to ignore, it’s an extra reason to be hyper-vigilant. Sewer line camera inspections can help save your sewer pipes from bursting and costing you thousands of dollars in property damage.

Sewer Line Risks

The biggest threat to a sewer system is plant life. Plant roots, from shrubbery and trees, can, over time, entangle themselves around sewer piping, gnaw through weak spots caused by damage or rusting, and clog the pipe’s flow. By doing so, the roots back up incoming debris and risk either sending it back through appliances or exploding the piping.

Either scenario can result in catastrophic property damage that is not easily undone. Appropriate insurance may cover cleanup and restoration, but it will likely not pay for replacement and repair of either the sewer line or damaged property. Backed-up sewage can cause all sorts of unpleasant structural and visual damage. Sewage incidents also severely lower property value and future resale value.

Businesses in particular have much to lose during a sewer accident. Not only will the damage sink revenue, but it will also likely scare away customers. The smell of sewage (and lingering reputation) is not easily scrubbed out from incidents like these.

What is a Camera Inspection?

A sewer line camera inspection is a popular form of non-destructive testing. It can gauge the health and strength of your sewage structures without risking any damage in the process. The procedure particularly excels at inspect pipes that are small in size.

No one plumbing company handles the process in the same way, but, on average, the process involves an inspection camera that’s attached to a cable and winch. Often, there’s a truck with additional supplies, a generator, and required monitoring equipment.

The camera is lowered through the pipeline and the monitoring process begins either at the descent or at both the descent and return trip. The process is handled slowly, so the inspectors can carefully note blockages, threatening roots, or other pipeline damages. This helps to highlight immediate threats or problems that may arise in the future.

Most of the monitoring process is handled as the camera is pulled through the pipeline, but the video footage is often also saved for later review. Building owners can expect a thorough reviewing process and, ultimately, a peaceful state of mind.

Saving Money in the Long-Run

Sewer pipe camera inspections do cost up-front money, but it’s a paltry amount compared to the prospective damage that a pipe burst could lead to. It’s also important that these inspections happen annually, as weather, nature, and time need only a year to levy appreciable damage onto a sewer system. Home-sellers need to engage in these inspections; it keeps them from liability once the new owners take over.

For Drain Problems, a Licensed Plumber Will Save You Time and Money!

Drain issues come in various forms, and there’s always a temptation to fix the problem yourself. Sometimes, the drain is only a little bit clogged and the problem fixes itself. Other times, the problem may go away for a week only to come back worse once the obstruction is pushed further down the pipes. In fact, drains have more potential problems than just obstructions, and these types of problems require a specialist to analyze and fix. While fixing it yourself may help for a day, it could also lead to more serious damage in the future. To prevent your drains from rupturing, degrading, or causing compounded damage to your bathroom or kitchen, allow a certified plumber to correctly diagnose and fix your drains!

Common Drain Problems

The drains in your home are likely to slowly degrade over time, and while this is perfectly normal, it can also lead to incremental cracking and more serious problems. Common problems include:

• Decreased water pressure

• Rust and debris causing obstruction or cracking

• Obstruction from papers, hair, foods, and other disposed items

The Signs of Drain Damage

As your drains are used constantly throughout the day, these initially small problems can begin to build and build. You may start noticing a few changes in how your drains work, and the most common signs include:

• Water taking longer to drain from your bathtub, sink, or toilet

• Water dripping from pipes or pooling around the toilet

• A terrible odor from the bathroom area

This last sign may mean that there is an obstruction deep within your piping system, and if left untreated, the pipes could rupture. Should the drains rupture, it may lead to extensive damage within your house and especially in the bathroom area. Along with this, sinks can become clogged from settled foods, and this can lead to wall or floor damage. All of these worst-case scenarios can be costly and time consuming, but they can also be prevented.

Should I Fix It Myself?

Drain problems may seem simple at first, but there are usually multiple factors at play that lead to the damage. While you may be able to temporarily fix the symptoms on your own, you risk overlooking the main problem which can lead to costly damages and time consuming repairs. On the other hand, a professional plumber will have the modern tools and rigorous training required to quickly assess and fix your drainage problems.

A licensed and professional plumber will:

• Wear shoe covers and place mats on the floor to ensure that your home stays clean

• Quickly assess and diagnose the problem

• Find a solution that will get your plumbing working again quickly

• Provide tips to ensure that your plumbing stays strong for years to come

Should you fix it yourself or hire an unlicensed plumber, you may be delaying more problems while risking your home’s integrity. A licensed plumber will have insurance to guarantee that your drains are safely and effectively fixed without damage to your property. While drains may be inexpensive, a big leak could damage a home’s foundation or walls. To prevent this, a plumber will assess your home for future risk which will save time and hassle down the road.

Even if your drain problems seem simple, contact a licensed plumber from Pipe X today to ensure complete satisfaction. Fixing drains on your own can lead to overlooked problems and costly future repairs. With a trusted plumber, you will never have to worry about your drains again!