There are two things you depend on from your water heater.  The first one is obvious:  a steady and reliable source of hot water for your cooking, washing, bathing, and cleaning needs. 

What’s the second thing?  To operate as safely and reliably as possible for the well-being of your home and family.  Of course, it’s still only a water heater, so to fulfill goal #2, it needs a little help.  And we’re just the people to provide it. 

One call to Connor Plumbing is all it takes to start the process of outfitting your water heater with its own shutoff valve. Once the installation is complete, your water heat will automatically shut itself off at the first indication of a water or gas leak.    

The benefits are obvious:  

  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Reduced risk of water damage
  • Added years of life from your water heater

Most water heaters fail within 7 – 10 years from the time they’re installed, resulting in about 5 million water heater tank failures every year. And yet yours doesn’t need to be one of them. 

Here’s even more to like about having a water and gas shutoff valve:

 

  • Fully mechanical, requires no external power supply.
  • Can be used to shut off water to other tanks, fixtures and appliances, including boilers, pumps and well-tanks
  • Sits in a drip pan under the water heater and is activated when leaking water accumulates to a predetermined level
  • Easily installed on new or older water heaters.

Contact Connor Plumbing today to start enjoying the added peace of mind that comes with a water heater water and gas shut-off valve.

By Mike Connor, Jr. 

It’s 9pm on a Saturday, you’re snuggled up with your favorite blanket, watching your favorite show when suddenly you notice a chill in the air. You check your heat vent, then the thermostat, only to discover that your heating system has stopped working. Ah, the joys of home ownership. 

You know what the say – anything that can go wrong, most often will. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be ready for all those ill-timed household emergencies that will inevitably pop up. Here are tips on how to handle 5 common misadventures you’re bound to encounter as a home owner.  

Kitchen Fire

Keep a household fire extinguisher in case of small fires and be sure to familiarize yourself with its use. Do not try to smother flames with a towel or anything else that could catch fire. Instead, use a pot lid to extinguish stove top flames or sprinkle them with baking soda. If you’re faced with an oven fire, keep the oven door closed and carefully turn the oven off; the fire should put itself out. If you are unable to extinguish a kitchen fire quickly, evacuate your house and call 911 from a safe location. 

Gas Leak

If you notice that familiar rotten egg odor associated with a gas leak, evacuate the premises and call your gas company’s emergency help line or 911 from a safe location. Do not reenter your home until you are told it is safe to do so.

Locked Out

At one point or another, you’re bound to get locked out of your house. And while keeping a spare key under the doormat or in a magnetic key hider is convenient, it can also pose a security risk. Instead, leave a spare key with a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member. 

Animal Intruder

If an unwelcome guest finds its way into your home, keep it contained in one room or area of your home as best you can. Close all interior doors and open a window where the critter is contained, thus giving it a convenient escape route. If it chooses to linger beyond your patience threshold, contact your local animal control center. 

Burst Plumbing Pipe

If you see water gushing from a pipe, prompt action is necessary to prevent damage to your property or belongings. First, shut off the water valve to the burst or leaking pipe, then shut off the main water valve. Once all water has been shut off, place a bucket or large bowl under the damaged pipe and slowly open the two valves to drain any remaining water. Then, contact your trusted plumber to assess and remedy the problem. 

Enter Connor Plumbing:  your trusted Beaumont area plumber since 1908.  And here today for any plumbing need you might have.  Contact Connor Plumbing for the service you need, when you need it.

Your toilet shutoff valve (located on the wall behind your toilet) can leak simply from being turned too far to the left, i.e., counterclockwise.  So, if yours is leaking, try turning the valve in the other direction to see if that solves the problem.

If not, you’ll be glad to know that repairing the valve is a fairly simple procedure, one that starts with shutting off the water supply to your entire house and draining the pipes up to the location of the shutoff valve.  Let’s start from there:

Grab a pan or small tub

After turning the shut-off valve to the full “off” position (all the way to the right), detach the steel hose. But first, place a small tub or pan on the floor to catch any water that might still be present.

Untwist the nut

Next, dis-assemble the valve, remove the screw from the handle and untwist the packing nut. Remove the threaded valve system. In the process, remember the position of the neoprene washers for ease of re-assembly.

Clean the washers

Clean the washers with a rag to remove any mineral deposits.  Keep cleaning until their flexibility returns.

Re-assemble the Valve

Make sure the washers are positioned properly, and then tighten the packing nut a little at time with your wrench or pliers. Do not use plumber’s putty or you might have a hard time fixing the shut-off valve in the future. Also, be sure not to over-tighten the nuts as that could damage the valve.

Re-attach the hose

Re-attach the steel hose to the valve assembly.

Turn the Water Supply Back On

First, re-engage your main water supply and then do the same with your toilet relief valve. If the valve is still leaking, it needs to be replaced, but at least you gave it a heckuva try.

Or, maybe this DIY plumbing stuff just isn’t for you.  If that’s the case, one call to Connor Plumbing is all it takes for any plumbing repair or replacement job, including toilet relief valves.

Upgrading your home with smart technology can save you money, time, and help turn your home into a safer environment. It could also increase the value of your home! Here are a few simple upgrades that you can make now:

Temperature Control

A digital thermostat is an easy way to regulate indoor temperatures and save up to 15% on your energy bills.  Using the pre-programming function, you can set a schedule so your home is perfectly comfortable upon your arrival while easing back on the warm or cool air when no one’s home.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors have moved up in the world! Detectors can self-test, and send updates to your computer or smart phones. They also can detect the difference between smoke and fire, and slow burning and fast burning fires.

Motion Sensing Lights

The motion sensing lights you have at work can also be installed in your home. No more having to holler at the family to turn off lights when they leave a room, or worrying that you left a light on as you pull out of your driveway. Also, if you have a pet that is home alone sometimes, you don’t have to leave any more lights on than you’re comfortable with – the light will find them whenever they enter a room with a motion sensing device.

Keyless Entry

This one is a favorite! Not only can you avoid losing your house key, you also can give a family member or your children access to your home without the transfer of keys, or having keys get stolen. The key pad also is back lit for easier use at night.

Refrigerators

Smart refrigerators have a computer screen on the door that can access the internet, provide cooking directions, music, or your favorite cooking show. They also can show you the inside of your fridge to help you never forget that last item on the grocery list and avoid opening and closing the door any more than necessary.

Showers: There are lots of upgrades to be made to the modern bathroom, but water power is one of the most popular. With a smart shower head, for example, you’ll enjoy a great shower with plenty of water pressure while using less water than conventional shower heads consume.  Shower heads also can make a unique wave pattern that creates the feeling of more water while using less.

Speaking of bathroom upgrades, contact Connor Plumbing for professional plumbing assistance if a kitchen or bath upgrade is on your drawing board.  We can introduce you to a world of new options and help you choose what makes the most sense for your home and budget – just like always.

Did you know that a cooking fire is more likely to occur on Thanksgiving Day than at any other time? All those extra guests and increased activity in the kitchen can cause even the most careful cooks to become distracted and, for example, forget about that pie in the oven.

That’s why it’s so important to plan in advance for the safest possible holiday experience, and here are several tips we’re sure you’ll find useful:

  • Make the stove area a kid and pet free zone, keeping them at least three feet away from hot ovens and stove tops.
  • Don’t leave that turkey to roast on its own; leave the errands for another day or leave someone in charge if you must head out of the house.
  • Use a timer to remind you to check on cooking food, especially those that require extra cooking or baking time.
  • Keep pot holders, dish towels, and other flammable items away from the stove top or any other heat source.
  • If you’re thinking of using an outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryer, you may want to reconsider. They can lead to serious oil burns and even destruction of property.
  • Whether you’re using an electric knife, a crockpot, or warming dishes, make sure that cords are out of reach of children.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended, and make sure they too are out of reach of children.
  • Test your smoke detectors and make sure your fire extinguisher is full and ready to go.

Another common Thanksgiving mishap is either a clogged drain or garbage disposal.  Never mind common, they’re rampant!  So much so that plumbers all over America refer to the day after Thanksgiving as Black Friday, too, because it’s our busiest drain cleaning day of the year.  And while Connor Plumbing to lend a helping hand at your home this Thanksgiving or anytime at all, you help prevent any drain or disposal problems by:

  • Keeping grease, fats, and oils out of the drain
  • Grinding up only small amounts of food at a time
  • Placing meat bones and fibrous foods like lettuce and soft vegetables in the trash

From all of us at Connor Plumbing, we hope yours is the best Thanksgiving ever.

Home plumbing problems have a way of sneaking up on you, often at the worst possible time.  Not that there are good times for problems to occur, it’s just that some are worse than others.

Well, no matter when it might occur, doesn’t it make sense to be better prepared the next time a plumbing problem comes calling?  We think so, and now you can be by observing these six plumbing DIY tips:

1. Be on the lookout for water leaks. Small water leaks can lead to big watery messes. So be alert to signs that more trouble is on the way: leaking faucets, damp cabinets, rocking toilets or dripping refrigerators all require fast and decisive action.

2. Repair problems early. A leaking faucet isn’t just annoying; the moisture it releases increases the wear and tear on sink fixtures and can encourage the growth of mold and mildew. Another way to detect plumbing leaks is to check behind your refrigerator once a month or so.  If you do spot water on the floor, keep in mind that the smaller the amount, the greater the potential problem.  That’s because water could be leaking through your floor into your sub-flooring where, over time, structural damage can occur.

3. Plumbing overflows. If water is gushing from your sink or toilet, turn off either that water supply valve or your home’s main water supply valve.  Don’t exactly where they are?  Now’s the time to find out before you need to act.

4. Locate your sewer shut-off valve.  Your house is equipped with a sewer shutoff valve to help minimize damage from an overflowing toilet.  Find it, learn how to use it, and you’ll save can potentially spare yourself a ton of grief.

5. Learn how to tackle small problems yourself. With a plunger, pipe wrench and a sewer snake, you can take care of a host of small plumbing problems and, in the process, save yourself both time and money.

Still, not all plumbing repairs are of the DIY variety.  Sometimes, only a pro will do, and when that time comes, Connor Plumbing will be on hand to lend all the assistance you need, just as we have been for well over 100 years.

Let’s get one thing straight:  there’s no bad time of year for a water heater performance and safety inspection. It just so happens that we perform more of them in the fall than any other time of year.

Part of it’s a back-to-school thing.  You know, like when four or five people all expect and want a hot shower before leaving the house for the rest of the day.  Not to mention the shaving and maybe even starting a load of wash.  Or maybe it’s just that summer’s over and it’s time to get back to some basic home maintenance.

Whatever the reasons might be, having your water heater inspected by a licensed plumber is one of the smartest and safest things you can do.

Here’s just some what goes into one of ours:

  • Visually inspect your water heater for leaks, rust or other problems
  • Check water emergency shut-off valve for safe operation
  • Check the safety relief and emergency shutoff valves to ensure safe operation
  • Ensure thermostat setting and water temperature are at optimal levels for just the right amount of comfort without scalding
  • Inspect the burner assembly and the power supply that’s heating the water
  • If warranted, flush out the system to get rid of any contaminants that could cause internal problems
  • Ensure combustion gases are venting properly for your family’s added safety

It all comes down to ensure the effective and safe operation of your water heater, with a strong emphasis on “safe”.

Has it been a year or longer since your last water heater performance and safety inspection?  If so, contact Connor Plumbing today to schedule service.

More and more we’re being cautioned advised unhealthy ingredients and additives that somehow have managed to infiltrate everyday items of consumption and convenience.  Pesticides in our produce, BPA in plastic food containers, not to mention the fumes and toxic chemicals in household cleaning products.

And while companies and food manufacturers are now listening and responding to consumer demands for safer products, sometimes their actions aren’t as swift or as strong as we might like them to be.

Still, there’s plenty you can do on your own to help make your home a safer and greener living environment, and using vinegar as a substitute for chemical-based cleaners is a really good place to start.

One bottle of vinegar can replace several bottles of chemical cleaners, and here are just a few ways to make it work for you:

  • Swinging a rag through the air that has been dampened in vinegar can quickly eliminate foul odors like cigarette smoke or burnt food. If the odors have infiltrated the entire house, leave a cup or bowl of vinegar in each room.
  • Make your own spray bottle of air freshener by mixing 3 cups water, 1 cup vinegar, and several drops of an essential oil like orange or lemon in a clean spray bottle. Spritz away for a natural, clean, inviting scent without the pricey store-bought stuff.
  • For a streak-free shine on windows and glass, mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a clean spray bottle and use just as you would any commercial glass cleaner.
  • Eliminate odors in your refrigerator and clean the inside with a half and half solution of white vinegar and water. And the best part? No rinsing required!
  • Spray undiluted vinegar around window frames and exterior doors to prevent ants from making themselves at home in your house this season.
  • Reduce the spread of germs by spraying full strength white vinegar on doorknobs and wipe dry.
  • Give grease the boot from your kitchen exhaust fan hood, stove top, or non-granite counter by scrubbing with a sponge dipped in white vinegar.

At Connor Plumbing, we bring a lot to the green living table.  From dual-flush toilets to tankless water heaters, low-flow aerators, new high efficiency water heaters, and much more, you and your family can help conserve natural resources without sacrificing even a bit of comfort with Connor Plumbing as your home comfort partner.

Whether you’re ready to start swinging a sledgehammer or just thinking about remodeling your kitchen, it’s important to do a little research before making those important design decisions.  Take your kitchen counters, for example.  Not only do you a material that can stand up to knives, hot pots and pans, spills, and everything else your family can dish out, you also want them to look beautiful doing it.

So to help you along, here are the pros and cons of 5 popular countertop materials.

Quartz – Touted as one of the most durable countertop options around, quartz is available in a variety of colors and can even mimic the look of granite. ProsQuartz is stain and bacteria resistant, doesn’t require sealing, and laughs at knife cuts and cracks. Cons - It’s a more costly option and is not as heat resistant as crushed glass and granite. It can also discolor over time in direct sunlight. The lighter the color, the more noticeable the seams.

Granite – Eye-popping, tough, and a favorite among prospective home buyers, granite can easily fit into a world of design styles. ProsIf sealed annually, granite can resist stains and look as beautiful as the day it was installed. It’s also chip and crack resistant and can withstand heat from pots and pans. ConsAlthough it is tough, it’s not indestructible. A hard enough clunk can chip the edge of a granite counter, requiring it to be polished down. If not sealed regularly, it can stain. And because it’s a natural stone with unpredictable variations, an installed slab may look quite different than the sample you picked out.

Recycled Glass – Recycled or crushed glass is an eco-friendly option made from recycled beer bottles, windshields, and traffic lights. It can be set in cement or acrylic. ProsRecycled glass counters are heat, chip, scratch, and stain proof. They don’t need resealing and won’t discolor over time. ConsThey’re pricier than other options like granite and can crack under too much weight. Citrus and other acidic juices can eat away at the acrylic if not wiped up right away.

Laminate – Available in nearly infinite patterns and colors, and more durable than ever before, this is not your grandma’s laminate. Pros It doesn’t require sealing, is stain resistant, and can mimic everything from granite to wood. ConsLaminate counters can scorch, crack, and scratch much more easily than the countertop materials it mimics.

Solid Surface – Solid surface countertops are made from acrylic, polyester resins, and even marble dust. ProsAvailable in many colors and patterns, they’re non-porous and don’t require sealing or special cleansers. If scratched, they can easily be sanded out. ConsIt’s a pricey option and doesn’t have the warmth and charm of quartz or granite. It can scratch and burn easily and is energy intensive to manufacture and difficult to recycle.

You know what all of the above suggests?  That your ultimate choice is probably going to come down what looks and feels the best within your price range.  Isn’t that always the way?  Oh, and if your kitchen project is underway or nearly at that point, why not give us a call.  Here at Connor Plumbing, we can handle any of the plumbing your project requires.  And, if you’re thinking about switching from an electric to a gas range, we also can install a gas connection in your kitchen or anywhere else in your home you might need one.  Contact Connor Plumbing today for a free quote or to request service.

Backflow takes places when water reverses its flow in anywhere in your plumbing systems.  It’s a dangerous condition because it can allow drinking water to become contaminated and unusable.

Backflow preventers are mechanical devices installed in plumbing system to prevent water from reversing its flow. A properly installed, tested and maintained backflow preventer at your water service entrance can reliably help keep your water contaminant free.

The typical causes of backflow are a sudden drop in water pressure brought about by above-normal usage, firefighters using extreme quantities of water in your neighborhood, and a break in the water main.

Backflow also can originate inside your home through a “cross connection” where non-drinkable water (perhaps form your toilet or run-off from your shower) backs up into your drinking water supply, thus contaminating it, through a cross connection.

A backflow preventer, very simply, prevents contaminated water from entering your drinking water supply.  It needs to be professionally installed by a licensed plumber and inspected once a year to ensure it continues to work properly for your family’s protection.

Is your home equipped with a backflow prevention valve?  If not, or even if you’re not sure, contact Connor Plumbing today so we can to locate and test your valve for you.  If you don’t already have one, we’ll give you a guaranteed upfront price to install a backflow preventer in your home, and then set up an annual maintenance schedule.

         
 

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