Water Heater FAQ How Do Tankless Systems Really Work?

April 15th, 2014 by Gary Bell

For many decades, all water heaters operated on this same basic principle: a storage tank holds a supply of water, and the heat applied to this water (from gas jets or electric heating elements) raises its temperature. Whenever a tap calls for hot water, the water heater pumps a supply from the tank, while energy continues to heat up more water to replace the amount used. Although this means immediate hot water available, the system has drawbacks: running out of hot water before a sufficient new amount is heated up, and wasting a large amount of energy to standby heat loss and the need to keep the water continually heated.

A new technology, tankless water heaters, now competes with the old storage systems. Sometimes called “on-demand” water heaters, these systems only heat up water as it is needed, so they will not run out of hot water and use less energy. They also last, on average, 10 years longer than storage water heaters. We’ll explain how these tankless heaters operate.

Call Bell Plumbing & Heating Company for information about tankless water heater installation, as well as any maintenance or water heater repair you need in Greenwood Village, CO.

The basics of tankless systems

Tankless water heaters use a powerful heat exchanger to raise the temperature of water, either through electricity or a natural gas burner. (There are also some propane models.) The water in your hot water pipes runs through this heat exchanger, which activates as soon as it detects the flow of water. When a hot water tap turns on, the water in the pipes begins to move, and either the electrical coils or the gas burners turn on and the heat exchanger transfers their heat to the water in the pipes. Presto! Hot water on demand—and only as much as you need. Once the demand for hot water stops and water no longer flows through the heat exchanger, the gas jets or electric coils shut off.

There are two basic tankless models: a point-of-use heater and a whole-house heater. Point-of-use heaters work for a single water outlet, such as a shower head, while whole-house systems are larger and can take care of more than one faucet at a time. Whole-house heaters tend to use natural gas, while point-of-use heaters are usually electric.

The type of tankless water heater that will work for your home depends on a number of factors. And, despite their many advantages, tankless systems are not the ideal choice for every home. You should consult with a water heater specialist to analyze how much hot water you use and if you will receive the full benefits of a tankless system.

Regardless of what type of water heater you have in your home, you will need to have it regularly maintained and occasionally repaired. Bell Plumbing & Heating Company can take care of the necessary maintenance and water heater repair in Greenwood Village, CO. Call us to consult about tankless water heater installation as well.

Root Destroyer: A Necessary Tool for Sewer and Drain Repair

April 15th, 2014 by Gary Bell

One of the great enemies that your home’s sewer line and drain system can encounter is actually a beautiful one: the trees growing in your backyard. These same trees that provide shade on warm days and branches for hammocks and tire swings also have an underground force that your pipes have a difficult time resisting… roots. Roots naturally move toward water sources, and this will draw them right to underground pipes where they will begin to infiltrate the pipes, blocking them. In some cases, the pressure from large root growth will even break the pipes.

Damage to sewer lines is a major plumbing issue that requires immediate remedy. When you notice problems with slow or clogged drains throughout the house, sewer smells, or wet spots around your basement drains, you may have root infestation in the plumbing. Call Bell Plumbing & Heating Company for drain repair in Arvada, CO to fix the problem.

What Root Destroyer can do for your sewer and drain repairs

Repairing a sewer line or any other underground plumbing can often involve extensive excavation that consumes time and makes a mess out of your yard. You want to avoid any potential problems, and with annual visits from plumbers and the preventive power of Root Destroyer, you can eliminate one of the major threats to your plumbing.

Root Destroyer is an application designed specifically to eliminate roots from sewer lines and keep them away. This compound uses copper sulfate crystals that cause root ends to die. It also discourages the roots from continuing to grow in that same direction, so once you begin to use root destroyer, you’ll have effective prevention for many years to come.

Your plumbers can detect when you need to have Root Destroyer used during their regular inspections. It’s crucial to have these inspections done once a year on your plumbing and sewer line to catch problems like this so small repairs can prevent needing a larger excavation later. Your plumbers will place the recommended amount of Root Destroyer into your plumbing system, and check with each inspection to see that your pipes remain root-free.

Sewer repairs are something that you want to avoid if at all possible. With maintenance from Bell Plumbing & Heating Company that includes video pipe inspections and Root Destroyer application, you should have a drainage system that can resist most damage.

Should you find yourself in a tough spot and in need drain repair in Arvada, CO, you can always count on Bell Plumbing to help—any time, day or night. Call us today. 

What to Look for in a Remodeling Company

April 8th, 2014 by Gary Bell

Here in Parker, bathroom remodeling and kitchen remodeling are common goals of many homeowners. Not only does a remodeling project help fix potential flaws in the design of these important areas, but they can bring the space more into line with your own ideas of a perfect home, as well as adding new amenities like a second sink or an island for your stovetop. But that won’t happen without a good company to help: one that knows how to deliver on your vision without ignoring the practical realities of space and budgeting.

 If you live in Parker, bathroom remodeling and kitchen remodeling projects are our specialty. So give us a call today and let us show you what we can do!

What to look for in a remodeling company

  • Credentials. There are plenty of objective, third-party organizations that can attest to the quality of a home contractor. They include the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and the local Chamber of Commerce. A company with these kinds of affiliations tends to be one you can rely on.
  • Longevity. Companies that have just started out can certainly be good – we all started somewhere after all – but generally speaking, the longer a given company has been in business, the better and more reliable their service will be.
  • Clear communication. The most important aspect to look for in a remodeling company is clear and direct communication, both during the process and in the planning stages. The company needs to tell you what factors are in play for each part of the remodeling process, and to show you both the limits in terms of space and budget, and the possibilities that you might not have considered. When problems arise during the building process, they need to tell you what the problem is and how it will impact the project overall.

If you know what to look for in a remodeling company, the next step is to call the experts at Bell Plumbing & Heating Company. We have been in business since 1926, we’re fully accredited by the BBB, the NARI and numerous other reputable groups, and we pride ourselves on our clarity and communication skills.

3 Things to Remember When Remodeling Your Kitchen

April 8th, 2014 by Gary Bell

When it comes to kitchen remodeling, Denver has plenty of services to help you along. It’s a big project, and in some cases represents the culmination of your dream. But that doesn’t mean that practical considerations simply go away, or that proper preparation won’t make the process go a lot more smoothly. You have a vision for your ideal kitchen and a good service can help bring that vision to life.

When it comes to kitchen remodeling, Denver has a great resource with Bell Plumbing & Heating Company. Give us a call today to discuss your options. You’ll be glad you did!

3 things to remember when remodeling your kitchen

  • Keep space in mind. Your kitchen has a lot of variables to work with, but you only have a set amount of square footage and whatever changes you need to make have to fit in that square footage. Keep that in mind and remember all of the things you’ll need in that space – including your refrigerator, stovetop and sink – before considering a lot of big additions.
  • Remember the hidden components. Your stove likely needs a gas or electric line to function. The sink needs to be linked to the plumbing system, as does the refrigerator if you have an ice maker or a water dispenser. They will need to be linked to those systems, and in almost every case, those links need to stay hidden in order to preserve the aesthetic beauty of your kitchen. Placement of each component should be factored in accordingly.
  • Prioritize. You probably have a list of things your want to see in your new kitchen, from better cabinets to a larger sink. In all likelihood, you’ll be able to include most of them in the final design, but not all. The best way to make those tough decisions is to rank your wishes in order of importance before it all begins. That way, you can drop what necessity dictates and ensure that you still have a kitchen that reflects your wishes.

A good contractor will remember these things when remodeling your kitchen, but it helps if you can factor them in during the preparation stage. Contact Bell Plumbing & Heating Company today to set up a consultation with one of our kitchen remodeling experts.

Late Season Furnace Repair

March 28th, 2014 by Gary Bell

Spring will soon start warming up Colorado, although we may have a few more weeks in which we’ll need to rely on the heating systems in our home. It’s as important now as during the deep of winter to keep your furnace in good repair. Your furnace has probably gone through a long haul over the last few months, so there’s a greater likelihood of repair needs cropping up even with the best maintenance done in the fall.

Here are a few furnace repairs you may need to schedule before the spring thaw arrives. Make sure you have them done as soon as necessary, or else your hard-working heater might have an expensive break down during one the last harsh cold days. For fast and effective furnace repair in Lakewood, CO, call up the experienced team at Bell Plumbing & Heating Company.

Furnace Problems to Watch For in Early Spring

  • Dirt across the burner: If dust and dirt have managed to creep inside the furnace’s cabinet over the winter, they can build up across the burner and make it difficult for the pilot light/electronic ignition system to light the gas jets. A booming or rumbling sound from the cabinet will often warn you that this is happening. If the burner fails to come on at all, you should call for repairs immediately.
  • Worn-down motors: The motors that run the blower and the air handler can also suffer from dirt and grime getting into their mechanical parts; or they could lose their lubrications and begin to degrade rapidly. Screeching and grinding noises are the warning signs to pay attention to, and you should call for assistance before the motors burn out. Repair technicians will need to replace the dying motors before they suffer complete failure.
  • Failed electronic igniter: Modern furnaces have replaced the standing pilot light with an electronic ignition system that increases fuel efficiency. However, the igniter has a shorter life than the furnace itself and will need occasional replacement. The time when the igniter is most likely to fail is at the end of heating season, so call for a repair technician to replace it if it no longer lights the burner.

Remember: Don’t Try Repairs On Your Own

Aside from changing out the air filter once a month, resetting tripped circuit breakers, and checking that the thermostat is set correctly, there is little you should attempt on your own to remedy furnace problems. Especially gas furnace problems. This work requires years of training and special equipment. You’ll risk your safety and your furnace’s long-term prospect with DIY or amateur repairs.

You will encounter a hard time finding a company with more experience with a wide variety of heating system services in Lakewood, CO than Bell Plumbing & Heating Company. We’ve been in the business of keeping people warm since 1926. Give us a call today and set up an appointment for your next furnace repair.

What is the Purpose of a Trap in Kitchen Plumbing?

March 27th, 2014 by Gary Bell

Every time you open the cabinet under a sink, you’ll see it: the unusual U-shaped bend in the drainpipe as it runs from the drain assembly into the wastewater system in the wall. Most of the time, you won’t think about why the drain has this odd shape; you’ll assume it must have some practical purpose, since plumbing is rarely designed with an artistic slant. But every once in a while, you will pause to wonder what it’s actually does.

The bend in the drainpipe under the kitchen sink is called the p-trap or just the trap, and it has an important function that it fulfills every day without you thinking about it. Occasionally, it will need unclogging and repairs; contact a professional plumber to help. Bell Plumbing & Heating Company has many decades of experience repairing plumbing in Aurora, CO, so make us your first call.

The Basics of the P-Trap

Although you probably think of the bend under the sink as a U shape, if you tilt your head to the side you’ll understand why plumbers call it a “p-trap”: the full assembly including the pipe into the wall looks like a capital P.

The purpose of the trap is to catch water in the dip in the pipes and keep it there. After you run water down the drain, gravity will keep a plug of water in the dip. (The maximum trap seal depth is 4”.) This plug blocks the odors of decaying sewage from wafting up from the wastewater system and into your home. If you notice sewer smells inside your kitchen, the trouble might come from a sink that hasn’t run in a couple of weeks and has a dried out p-trap. If you run water through the sink again, it should take care of the problem.

P-traps serve another purpose, although they weren’t built with this in mind: they can catch valuable items that may accidentally slip down the kitchen sink. If your wedding band falls down the sink drain, you’ll be glad for the p-trap catching it!

Because of the large amount of food waste that goes down a kitchen drain, the p-trap can collect enough debris to become clogged. If a sink plunger won’t clear a clog, you need to call plumbers to remedy the problem. Occasionally, a clog can become so thick that plumbers will need to detach the p-trap from the drain assembly and clean it.

The p-trap is there to make your kitchen a more pleasant and efficient place. Don’t let problems with the trap cause you unnecessary worries: call Bell Plumbing & Heating Company for the help with your plumbing in Aurora, CO that will clear up your kitchen trap troubles.

Stages of Drain Installation

March 21st, 2014 by Gary Bell

Drains are a crucial part of plumbing in a house, removing wastewater from sinks, showers, and tubs and down into a sewer line that carries it to the municipal sewer system. You need to take good care of your home’s drains with regular cleaning and occasional repairs—as well as making sure that objects that can cause clogs don’t go down them.

Sometimes, however, you’ll want to have a new drain installed, either as a replacement or an expansion. When you need this service, don’t try to do it yourself. A number of important factors go into drain installation; it requires the work of a licensed and trained plumber.

Bell Plumbing & Heating Company has many decades of experience with drain installation in Centennial, CO. Give us a call when you need the work done fast and accurately, and we’ll take care of it.

How Plumbers Install Drains

The first stage of drain installation involves figuring out how to match the new drain with the current plumbing system; improper installation of a single drain can affect the flow of wastewater in the rest of the plumbing. Plumbers will then determine the drain and pipe size for the amount of water expected to go down the drain, a crucial step to maintain safe pressure within the pipes. Selection of the pipe material is also part of this step: copper or one of a number of different plastics.

Once the plumbers have all the right material, they install the actual drain piece (the “drain assembly”) in the bottom of the sink and use plumbers’ putty to seal it down onto the hole at the bottom of the sink (or tub or shower) and secure it from beneath with washers, completing the drain assembly.

The next stage is connecting the drain assembly to the drainpipe. The plumber will have already cut the piping to match the space available so the drain will lead to the wastewater exit and form a p-trap (the U-shape dip in plumbing underneath a sink). This often requires different specialty wrenches and careful installation so it does not interfere with the hot and cold water lines. (If this is the installation of an entirely new sink, the plumber will at this point install water lines to the faucet.)

When the connection is finished, the plumbers will test the new drain to see that there are no leaks or problems with pressure. The whole process should go fast and leave you with a drain ideally fit to your plumbing.

Have Professionals Attend to All Your Drains

Proper drainage for a home requires the right balance in your plumbing. Whenever you need help with your drains, from installation to cleaning, always rely on the expertise of a licensed plumber. With more than eighty years of experience, Bell Plumbing & Heating Company is the contractor you should call for drain installation and other plumbing services in Centennial, CO—or anything else you need for your plumbing.

Common Drainage Problems in High Altitudes

March 20th, 2014 by Gary Bell

Life in the Mile-High City brings with it some unusual conditions, such as differences in baking temperatures and needing to remember that the potential for our cars to overhear is much greater than at sea level. One thing the altitude doesn’t affect, however, is drainage. The drain problems we have in Denver are much the same as you’ll encounter anywhere else. And that means, like anywhere else, you can’t ignore them when they occur.

Whenever you encounter clogs or slow drains in your home, you may have anything from a simple issue you can resolve with a plunger to a major problem affecting all your plumbing. The important thing to remember is that if you can’t fix it yourself with a plunger, you need to have professionals plumbers in Denver, CO come out to your home to find out what’s wrong and figure out a way to fix it.

If you’re looking for a company with long experience in Denver, you’ve found it in Bell Plumbing & Heating Company, where we started out in 1926 and have remained family owned and operated ever since.

Some Common Denver Drainage Problems to Watch For

  • Food clogging kitchen drains:
    A reason that kitchen drains clog so often is that the insides of their drainpipes collect food deposits that can start to seal off the passageways. The greatest concern comes from grease, fat, and oil, which often go down drains when they shouldn’t, and which change into waxy solids that will build-up over years. We advise that you have occasional full drain cleaning services done for your kitchen: this is better than unclogging a sink whenever it blocks up, because it applies cleaning to all the drains using high-pressure jetting that will make clogs a rarity. It will also keep the pressure in the pipes from rising too high.
  • Sewer line damage:
    If none of the sinks in your home are draining properly, with numerous clogs and slow drains, then you probably have a general drainage trouble in the sewer line that runs from your house under the street to the municipal sewer main. Tree root damage is one of the common causes of sewer line breaches in Denver; but whatever the reason for it, you need to have professional plumbers on the job as soon as possible. Sewer line damage can lead to flooding in your basement and its foundations, and the infiltration of sewer odors into your home.

Call the Denver Drain Experts

For your problems with drainage in Denver, CO, trust to people who have experience in the Mile-High City keeping plumbing clean and water flowing: Bell Plumbing & Heating Company. Contact us today and schedule your next service appointment. We offer drain cleaning and maintenance services, and have the skill necessary to replace your sewer line.

3 Methods of Fixing Clogs in Water Lines

March 13th, 2014 by Gary Bell

When homeowners think of the term “clog,” they immediately associate it with drains. Clogs closing off drains in kitchens and bathrooms rank among the most frequent hassles that can afflict plumbing. However, other parts of home plumbing can suffer from aggravating blockages, such as the water lines that bring water to you. These clogs usual occur because of a build-up of minerals along the interior of the pipes due to impurities in the municipal water supply.

When you start to notice a drop in water pressure in your home, or if water ceases coming out of some taps entirely, you may have water supply line clogs. Unclogging them requires professional plumbers: there’s no plunger you can use to affect an incoming water line!

For help with your Englewood, CO water lines, look to Bell Plumbing & Heating Company and our experienced staff.

How Plumbers Fix Clogged Water Lines

Before using any of these repair methods, plumbers will check to make sure there isn’t a faulty fixture or blocked faucet aerator causing the trouble. After ascertaining that a clogged water supply pipes is the culprit, they can use these methods:

  1. Pipe removal and cleaning: The plumbers locate the pipes with the clogs and detach them from the rest of the plumbing. They then use powerful cleaners to thoroughly remove the deposits from the inside, then restore the pipe to place and test the water flow.
  2. Pipe replacement: This is the common solution for when pipe clogging has become extreme and/or the pipe is made from corroded older material. Plumbers will track down the pipes that are causing the trouble and remove them and put in new pipes, usually made of more corrosive-resistant material (copper, PEX, CPVC) and with a larger diameter to reduce water pressure.
  3. Air pressure: This is essentially the “plunger” for a water supply pipe. Plumbers attach an air hose line to the faucet affected by a local clog. They blast air pressure into the faucet, then run the water to watch for dislodged corrosion, calcite, etc.

Consider Installing a Water Softener

If the deposits that clogged your water supply pipes came from hard water (water with high mineral content), you should consider installing a whole-house water softener to prevent this problem in the future. Your plumber can help you schedule installation and select a model.

Bell Plumbing & Heating Company has offered water line repair and other plumbing services in Englewood, CO since 1926. We also carry a line of water softeners to help keep your plumbing healthy. Contact us any time of the day or night when you need skilled assistance with your plumbing.

Signs of Breaches in Your Sewer Line

March 12th, 2014 by Gary Bell

If there’s any part of your plumbing system that you want to remain in solid shape, it’s the sewer line. This pipe collects wastewater from the drains in your home and transports it beneath your house and front yard to the municipal sewer pipe in the center of the street. Until it meets the street pipe, the sewer line is your responsibility to repair should it become damaged.

Because the sewer line lies in a trench, far out of sight, it can be difficult at first to detect that it has a breach until the potential for damage has become too large. There are a few warning signs you can look for that will give you an early indication that you need to call professionals to repair the sewer line before sewage starts flooding the basement and foundations.

For the thorough drain and sewer work that Lakewood, CO sewer repair requires, look to the experienced plumbers at Bell Plumbing & Heating Company.

Ways to Tell You Have a Sewer Breach

  • Drains clogs throughout your house: A clog in a single sink usually means a blocked drainpipe. But when clogs and slow drains begin to occur in many different places in your home, it usually means something has gone wrong with the sewer line that has caused it to back up, like a breach from a tree root or dirt getting into the breaks. These clogs will usually have a foul sewer odor, another sign of trouble.
  • Sewer smells from your yard: The sewer line runs under the front of your home, so if you begin to detect unpleasant odors of sewage rising from your front yard, it’s a tell-tale sign of a broken sewer line. The yard will also become soggy, as if recently watered—just much, much smellier.
  • Gurgling noises from drains and toilets: If you haven’t noticed drain clogging yet, but you hear gurgling sounds emanating from drains when water flows into them, it can indicate that sewage has started to back up along the pipe. Sewage gases escaping will bubble through the water pressing down on them, making this noise.
  • Vermin in the basement: Sewage problems will first start to emerge in the lowest area of your house, such as the basement, and this will attract pests like flies and rats. If notice the appearance of vermin when you’ve never had a problem with this before, you may have a leaking sewer line.

Sewer Line Repair is a Task for Professionals

You don’t even want to think about grabbing a shovel and digging to find a broken sewer line. This work requires extensive excavation followed by full pipe replacements. Don’t risk your plumbing or your property: call the experts like those at Bell Plumbing & Heating Company for sewer repair and other plumbing services in Lakewood, CO.