3 Winter Plumbing Mistakes to Avoid

plumbing mistakesWe’re right in the middle of winter and it’s time to really step up your homeowner responsibilities. If you start to slack now, not only will you not be as prepared for the warmer weather as you should be, you could find yourself having some serious financial issues during the colder months.

Plumbing, for instance, is an essential aspect of home ownership that you should never take for granted. Demand for pipe fitters and local plumbers is extremely strong nowadays. The number of employed plumbers is expected to increase 21% by 2022, versus 11% across all other occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Because of the weather, you and the rest of your family will be inside the house much more over the winter. There are all kinds of problems that can arise from spending that much time indoors. In order to keep your family comfortable this winter and avoid some serious plumbing issues, be sure to not make any major winter plumbing mistakes. Here are some of the most common plumbing mistakes that homeowners often make during the winter.

Not insulating your home’s pipes
You need to make sure you are insulating your pipes before the freezing temperatures come or you’ll be dealing with major issues. It doesn’t matter if you have copper piping or plastic, you need to properly prepare your piping for the winter. You can use heat tape to keep your pipes from freezing, but you must use a tape that will not overheat and cause a safety risk.

Pouring grease down the drain
Since your family will be indoors all winter long, there will probably be a lot of cooking going on. Do your best to ensure that you and everyone else in your family refrains from pouring all that grease down the sink. When grease and other food particles go down the drain, it eventually causes a clog that can lead to some major plumbing issues.

Flushing non-toilet-appropriate items
No matter what kind of toilet you have inside your home, it is designed to only flush three things: toilet paper, liquid waste, and solid waste. Placing anything else inside the toilet and attempting to flush can ruin your home’s plumbing and lead to some very costly repairs.

Make sure you avoid these plumbing mistakes at all costs. If you need professional assistance, contact My Plumber today.

How Clean Is Your Home’s Water? Probably Not as Safe as You Think…

How Clean Is Your Home’s Water? Probably Not as Safe as You Think…

America has a problem with water. Not only do 10% of homes nationwide have leaks that waste up to 90 gallons or more per day, but some residential water supplies are becoming so polluted that it is hard to find clean water at all. This begs the question — how safe is your tap water to drink?

Any homeowner assumes that when they go to their tap to drink, shower, or clean, they’ll get clean, unpolluted water to drink. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, and what’s even scarier is that sometimes the water may look, smell, and taste clean, but it is really filled with invisible contaminants.

This is partially the case with the water utilities in Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County, Virgina. While the water supplies there are all technically in compliance with federal standards, they still contain a few contaminants, according to the Environmental Working Group. The EWG is a non-profit with the goal of protecting human health and the environment, and they recently shared some troubling information about the water in these Virginia counties.

For their findings, the EWG used data from the Virgina Department of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency to analyze drinking water tests between 2010 and 2015 in counties all across the nation. They found that in the list of 500 contaminants, there were 267 found in Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta counties. Contaminants found include chlorate, which harms the thyroid, and chromium, which is a known carcinogen.

It’s important to note that just because the water is deemed safe by federal standards, there could still be enough contaminants in the water to pose a severe health threat. Some local officials are reluctant to come to terms with this fact. It’s easy to see why: no one wants to think that their home’s drinking water isn’t safe for consumption. Unfortunately, one only has to look to Flint, Michigan to see how dangerous it can be to make assumptions about the safety of our drinking water.

“Just because your tap water gets a passing grade from the government doesn’t always mean it’s safe,” said Ken Cook, the president of the Environmental Working Group to News Leader. “Americans deserve the fullest picture possible of what’s in their tap water.”

What Can You Do To Ensure Your Virginia Home Has Clean Water?
Cleaning up municipal water supplies and natural water sources is a complicated project with no easy answers or solutions. Not only can the water be contaminated, but toxins can also seep into the water from aging, rusty pipes. But while it’s not easy to fix your city’s water source, it is easy to ensure that your home or business has safe drinking water.

According to News Leader, the Environmental Working Group “recommends using an in-home water filtration system to help avoid contaminants in tap water.”

So, with this in mind, it is crucial that you contact a plumbing company to come and check your water supply and ensure it is providing your family the clean water you deserve. If you have doubts about the water flowing into your home, our local plumbers will come to your home and install a water filter in no time at all. Call us today to get peace of mind every time you turn on the tap!

Common Summer Plumbing Emergencies

Common Summer Plumbing Emergencies

Plumbing problems can occur at any time of the year. Usually when you least expect it and need it fixed immediately. However, some problems are more likely during the summer as water consumption increases. Filling pools, running sprinklers and garden hoses can all put extra strain on your plumbing system. This can lead to higher water bills and an increased likelihood of problems. The following are extremely common in the summer.

Clogged Disposal

During the summer, we tend to spend more time at home. We also entertain guests more than any other time of the year. When food is involved, it’s extremely important to take care when disposing of waste. Fruits and vegetables can damage or clog your sink disposal. Hard foods such as corn and watermelon rinds should be disposed of in the trash.

Sewer Line Backups

Summer rain can cause sewer lines to backup. Another problem is tree roots that travel underground and crack sewer pipes. If you notice signs of sewer line trouble, such as toilet water backing up in the bathtub drain, it’s important to call an experienced plumber right away.

Clogged Toilets

If your children are home during the summer, your toilets will get more use during the day. This increases the chance of a clog. Although most clogs are fairly easy to clear with the help of a toilet plunger, tougher clogs will require additional assistance. My Plumber Heating and Cooling can help!

Sprinkler Issues

Sprinkler heads should be checked and cleaned regularly. Before mowing, it’s crucial to ensure that sprinkler heads are lowered to prevent damage to them. Broken sprinkler heads should be repaired immediately to avoid wasting water.

Washing Machine Issues

Your washing machine will likely get more use over the summer. It’s a good idea to stay home throughout the entire washing cycle. This way if you notice any problems you can stop the cycle. A washing machine leak can damage property and waste a lot of water. Any problems should be reported to a professional.

Water Leaks

Water leaks are a common problem all year round. Even a very small leak can waste 50-100 gallons of water per week. Inspect your home regularly for any signs of leaking water. If you find a problem, contact a qualified plumber as soon as possible.

Plumbing Emergencies

My Plumber Heating and Cooling is Northern Virginia’s company of choice for plumbing, heating and air conditioning services. Please contact us (866) 440-7456 to help with summer plumbing problems.

Use Your Tax Refund to Invest in Your Home with A Tankless Water Heater

Use Your Tax Refund to Invest in Your Home with A Tankless Water Heater

Getting a tax refund can be the silver lining to paying taxes. You have many choices when deciding how to spend your tax refund. Investing your refund in your home can have major and lasting benefits.

Investing in a tankless water heater from My Plumber Heating and Cooling can help reduce your carbon footprint and save you a considerable amount of money. While the initial investment might seem like a lot, qualifying tankless water heaters come with a federal tax rebate of approximately $300.

northern virginia tankless water heaters

More Efficient Than Tank Heaters

Tankless water heaters are extremely efficient. They use only the energy necessary to heat the amount of water that you’re using, unlike tank heaters which heat several gallons of water at a time. A tankless water heater and can save you as much as a 20% on your energy bills.

Tankless Water Heaters Take Up Less Space

Tankless water heaters take up less space than tank heaters and can be mounted on the wall or stored under cabinets or in closets. However, it’s important that you don’t go too small. A small tankless water heater might not be able to handle your family’s water heating needs. Our experienced technicians can help you decide which model is best for your home.

No Risk Of Flooding

Since tankless water heaters don’t have a tank, there is absolutely no risk of flooding. While leaks are possible with any type of plumbing appliance or fixture, a tankless water heater won’t cause the same damage as fifty gallons of water from the tank of a traditional water heater.

Lasts Years Longer Than A Tank Heater

Tankless water heaters outlive tank heaters by as much as five to ten years. This eliminates the cost and hassle of having to replace your water heater every eight to twelve years.

My Plumber recommends using Navien Tankless Water Heaters.

My Plumber Heating and Cooling offers quality plumbing and HVAC services to residents in Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland. We are committed to being the company of choice for all of our customer’s plumbing, heating and air conditioning needs.

Please contact us for more information about our tankless water heaters.

Purchasing an Efficient Water Heater: Gas or Electric?

Purchasing an Efficient Water Heater: Gas or Electric?

Your water heater died. Kaput. Sayonara. That’s no good. You’re kind of scrambling, because you need hot water to, you know, shower and not stink. Your neighbor recommended My Plumber Heating & Cooling for the purchase and installation of a new water heater. As Manassas VA’s resident plumber, we think you made the right decision; we’ll get the water boiling again in a jiffy, but don’t ask us to do the dishes. Our team of experienced home appliance professionals is standing by to answer that ages-old question:

To purchase an electric or gas water heater?

Gas or electric: Which performs better?

Gas. A gas water heater can warm a 50-gallon tank in one hour, and its recovery rate (that is the time it takes to re-heat after use) is approximated at 50 gallons an hour, whereas its electric counterpart takes nearly three times as long to heat the same amount of water. Another significant benefit of gas is this: It’ll still work if the power goes out! More hot water faster, and you can still wash dishes in the dark. Gas water heaters are often recommended for large families / people who take lots of showers.

Gas or electric: Which is more efficient?

In theory, electric. Your typical gas storage unit is pretty inefficient; water is kept hot at all times, which means gas is never not being used, which means quite a bit of heat is lost from exhausted gases and through the walls of the storage tank. It’s convenient, sure, but if efficiency tops your list of importance, consider purchasing an electric water heater. It is, however, important to mention that when you factor in the higher cost of electricity versus gas, the efficiency savings are minimal. (Additionally, water heater manufacturers and installation professionals are rising to the efficiency challenge; modern gas condensing units are more and more efficient, and adequate insulation can help too.

Another, third option is to purchase and install an electric heat pump. These units pull heat first from the air all around, with back up from electric resistors, to heat the water for your shower. An electric heat pump is the most efficient by far, but remain very expensive to install and maintain. Ah, maybe someday…


Looking for a Cure to the Common Plumbing Emergency? Call My Plumber Heating & Cooling

Looking for a Cure to the Common Plumbing Emergency? Call My Plumber Heating & Cooling

Plumbing emergencies can strike without warning, and when they do you’ll be glad to have My Plumber Heating & Cooling on speed dial. Some plumbing problems can be easily with a few tools and a little determination, but others require the assistance of a professional.

Consider these, a few of the most common plumbing emergencies:


Fixing a leaky faucet can be as simple as replacing an O-ring, but fixing or replacing a leaking or burst pipe requires extensive knowledge, experience and tools rarely found in the average homeowner’s toolbox. The culprit — that pesky leaking pipe — can be difficult to locate, and is typically found hiding in a hard-to-get-to place, like behind a wall. Your Manassas VA plumber carries special tools designed to locate the source of the problem without doing undue damage to your walls.

Clogged toilets and drains

Plunge, flush, pray. Plunge, plunge, plunge. You’ve plunged and plunged, but the blockage clogging your drain or toilet is proving more persistent. It’s time to enlist the help of a licensed plumber. My Plumber Heating & Cooling’s expert technicians know just the way to quickly and effectively clear the lines.

Low water pressure

Water that trickles from a tap or faucet, instead of flowing freely, indicates low water pressure. Such an issue is sometimes related to the municipal water supply; a break in the main line can temporarily reduce your water pressure, but this is rare. Most commonly, low water pressure results from a build-up of deposits or sediment on faucet aerators. There are steps you can take to remedy this issue yourself: Remove aerators from faucets, and soak them in a vinegar solution overnight; this will typically dissolve the build-up, but if you still experience low water pressure, there could be a bigger, more complex issue. A sudden and significant reduction in water pressure warrants a call to a professional plumbing service that can quickly pinpoint the reason for the change.

Leaking water heater

A leaky water heater means trouble. Don’t pass GO. Don’t collect $200. Call My Plumber Heating & Cooling. Only experienced service providers should perform water heater repairs. Extensive knowledge and special tools are required to fix a myriad of issues that can plague an appliance like your water heater, and attempting to do so yourself — or ignoring the problem outright can result in higher-than-average energy, not to mention repair costs, and if you’re not careful, severe injury.

Plumbing emergency?

Call your Manassas VA plumber.

My Plumber Heating & Cooling has been helping residents of Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland with their plumbing needs for more than 30 years, and our experienced are highly trained and equipped to handle any residential or commercial plumbing emergency.

Don’t Let Leaks Ruin Your Holiday

Don’t Let Leaks Ruin Your Holiday

Leaky pipes and fixtures are never convenient for a homeowner, but when they happen during the holiday season, it can be twice as bothersome. For one thing, most people are a lot busier during those times, with shopping, socializing, and extra family activities. Then too, trying to reach a professional plumber might be a bit more difficult during the holiday season, because chances are your plumber has many of the same extra commitments that you do, while still trying to maintain his/her business.pipe repair - emergency repair service

In contrast to holiday unavailability at some other companies, when you contact My Plumber Heating & Cooling, you can be guaranteed of same day service. And if you should need a problem drain cleared, it will be completed within 90 minutes – or it’s free*! When you find any of the home leaks mentioned below at your residence, be sure to call the expert plumbing specialists at My Plumber Heating and Cooling.

Wrap your pipes

One of the most common reasons that pipes burst in the winter time is that cold-water pipes are situated near the home’s exterior, and when there is no water flowing through them, they can easily become frozen when the temperature dips. By wrapping your pipes with some kind of insulator, you’ll significantly lessen the likelihood of freezing pipes, and the complete loss of water service that goes with it. Being proactive about this is far better than having to thaw out all your pipes, and possibly having to replace some which burst in the process.

Eyeball under the sink

It’s a good idea to look under your kitchen or bathroom sink once in a while, since these are common areas for plumbing mishaps to occur. If you can look under the sink and see that everything appears normal and dry, chances are that everything’s under control.

Check the pipes

Even if you’re not a plumbing expert, you should be able to see obvious trouble spots in the piping throughout your home. Of course, you won’t be able to observe pipes which have been routed behind walls, but those in the basement can easily be checked for any apparent leaks or drips. Rust is another condition to be on the lookout for, since that can develop into a compromised pipe fairly quickly.

Check your water heater’s drain pan

Once the lining of your water heater wears thin, water will probably begin dripping through the base soon afterward, and when a water heater starts dripping, it’s pretty much kaputt. Hopefully the unit is still under warranty, and a quick call to your dealer will net you a replacement with minimal charge. If there isn’t a pan under your water heater, it might be a good idea to place one there, so that if a drip develops in between your spot checks, the water will be trapped before it can spread around the basement.

Don’t forget faucets

Even if you love the look of your kitchen and bathroom faucets, you should keep in mind that they won’t last forever, so if they’re a little on the older side, you should make your checks for dripping more frequent. In most cases, it’s simply easier to replace an old faucet entirely than it is to go through the hassle of swapping out washers or other sources of problems.

My Plumber Heating and Cooling is committed to being the company of choice for our customer’s Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning needs. We strive to exceed the expectations of our customers on every visit. We value our employees in an effort to make our company the best, inside and out.

5 Gallons a Day, 1800 Gallons a Year: So Much Water Wasted from One Leaky Faucet

5 Gallons a Day, 1800 Gallons a Year: So Much Water Wasted from One Leaky Faucet

That leaky faucet is so annoying, but it’s largely been a problem you’ve been able to ignore; you’ve been shutting the bathroom door, drowning out the constant drip, drip, dripping with the sound of the television, listen, this is a terrible idea. Ignoring the issue will only make it worse, leading to more water wasted, more stress on the environment, and the bottom line: a higher water bill.

How much water does a leaky faucet actually waste?

The average household’s pipe and faucet leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, or the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry. It all starts with a little drip, and it really doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. One drop of water every few seconds — what could that be doing, really? More thank you think. Break it down this way. Imagine one drop, every few seconds, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It adds up. Imagine if this was every faucet in your home, in your neighbor’s home, in all the homes that surround yours.

The math can only be approximated because every drop of water from every faucet is a slightly different size, and falls at a slightly different rate, but using the US Geological Survey’s average of 1/4 millimeter per drop, it would take about 15,000 drops to equal one gallon of water. And sure, 15 thousand drops sounds like a lot, but a faucet that drips a drop every second would fill that gallon in just four and a half hours.

That’s five gallons a day, 35 gallons a week, and as many as 1800 gallons a year. Suddenly, that little drip doesn’t seem like such a small amount of water anymore.

Banish the drip. Call in the experts at My Plumber Heating & Cooling.

A leaky faucet may seem like a minor annoyance, but it can quickly turn into a major problem if not tended to and fixed. For those of you move and sell your home or move your office, a leak could jeopardize a sale. My Plumber Heating & Cooling serves business- and homeowners in northern Virginia and southern Maryland, with the knowledge and the expertise to banish that drip for good.

Winter Has Arrived in Manassas: Bundle Up & Protect Your Pipes from the Cold

Winter Has Arrived in Manassas: Bundle Up & Protect Your Pipes from the Cold

Old man winter sure took his sweet time coming into northern Virginia, but now that he’s here, he’s here to stay. It’s cold out there. And when it gets brutally cold, the tips of your fingers and noses aren’t the only ones to suffer.

Do what you can to prevent your pipes from freezing in Manassas this winter.

Be proactive this winter, and do what you can to prevent pipes from freezing.

Keep garage doors closed —

Especially if there are water supply lines in the garage.

But keep kitchen cabinet and bathroom doors open.

Doing so will allow warmer air to circulate in and around the plumbing, and may help keep your pipes from freezing.

Let cold water drip from the faucet when it is especially cold outside.

Running water through the pipe — even at a trickle — will go a long way to protect your pipes. With fixtures that have both cold and hot water pipes exposed, allow a bit of water to drip from each because (and it might surprise you) the hot water pipe is often the first to freeze.

Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night, and no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit when you travel.

By maintaining a relatively stable ambient temperature in your home, your pipes will be protected against potentially frigid temperatures that might cause them to freeze and burst.

If you suspect your pipes have frozen:

Keep the faucet open while you are home.

There are steps you can take to treat the frozen pipe, and as the frozen area begins to melt, water once again begins to flow and will help melt the ice in the pipe.

Apply heat to the frozen section of pipe until full water pressure is restored.

This can be done using an electric heating pad, or a hair dryer. If you’re unable to locate the frozen section of pipe or if it’s not easily accessible, call your trusted northern Virginia plumber. (A word of caution: Never use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.)

Check all other faucets in your home.

When one pipe freezes, there’s a higher likelihood that others will have frozen too.

Take further action to protect your pipes now and in the future — with a call to northern Virginia’s plumbing and pipe experts, My Plumber Heating & Cooling.

Exposed pipes are especially vulnerable, and if frozen pipes are a recurring problem in your Manassas home, consider a phone call to My Plumber Heating & Cooling. We’ll come out and take a look, and can recommend the best solution, be it to relocate and reroute certain pipes, or simply to add a bit of extra insulation.

And hey, in the event of a worst-case, busted pipe scenario, we’re the name to know.

Don’t leave your pipes out in the cold; call My Plumber Heating & Cooling today.