How to Choose the Right Water Heater Size

Running out of hot water is a major inconvenience, whether it happens during your morning shower or when you’re getting ready to do a load of laundry. When several people in the household need hot water at roughly the same time, the problem is compounded. If you need a new hot water tank, it’s important that you select a unit with a big enough tank to accommodate everybody’s needs. Here are some guidelines to help you choose the right water heater size for your home. 

First hour rating (FHR). This is how many gallons of hot water the tank can supply each hour starting when the tank is full. To get a handle on that number, determine what time of day has the highest demand for hot water. 

For example: In the morning, three people take showers and water is also needed for making breakfast, coffee, etc., then rinsing/washing dishes afterward. 

The U.S. Department of Energy has provided estimates for the duration of use as follows:

Shower = 20 gallons

Rinsing/washing dishes; food prep = 2 gallons/minute

Shaving/handwashing/face washing = 0.5 gallons/minute

Running the dishwasher = 7 gallons per use

Three showers = 60 gallons, 1 shave = 2 gallons, meals/rinsing dishes = 10 minutes, running the dishwasher = 7 gallons 

TOTAL peak hour use = 79 gallons; round this up to 80 gallons

So, when researching water heaters, look for one with a minimum FHR of 80 gallons. The EnergyGuide label will include the FHR, listed as “capacity.” This water heater size should easily meet the needs of your family during peak use times. If you are in the market for a new water heater, contact Atlas Butler at 614-681-2183. One of our licensed plumbers will be happy to meet with you to discuss your hot water needs and make the best recommendations based on utilization by your household.

2023-03-21T12:52:10-04:00March 27th, 2023|Around the House, Hot Water Tanks, Installation|

How a Sewer Video Inspection Works

If you are experiencing sluggish plumbing, such as slow drains or frequent backups and find that plunging, chemical drain cleaners, or snaking doesn’t help, you may benefit from a sewer video inspection. In these cases, the problem could lie in your sewer line. Sewer lines can be clogged by debris, infiltrated by tree roots, or cracked, damaged, or worn out. One way to diagnose the problem is through a video inspection. A sewer inspection can be conducted by a licensed plumber in order to minimize damage to your home, yard, and plumbing system.

The way a sewer video inspection works is that a line will be inserted down one of the drains in your house and threaded through the pipes into the sewer line. A small camera and transmitter are at one end of the line and will transmit footage in real-time back to the plumber. Once the blockage is located, the transmitter will help the plumber locate the precise area of the clog, which will be marked on your lawn. This will denote the area for trenching and repair. One important note to keep in mind is that the cost of a sewer video inspection is borne by the homeowner and not your municipality. One tip is that if you’re planning on planting trees or shrubbery, a sewer video inspection can locate the laterals for you, so you eliminate the risk of tree roots compromising your sewer line.

If a sewer video inspection makes sense to you, give Atlas Butler a call at 614-681-2183. We’ll send one of our licensed plumbers to your home to conduct the inspection. It will pay off in the long run, as you will save money on repeat service calls, and prevent further damage and inconvenience in your household.

2023-03-21T12:52:21-04:00March 19th, 2023|Maintenance|

3 Reasons For Using a Drain Vent

When you think of plumbing problems, the first things that come to mind usually are clogged drains or toilets that won’t shut off; however, plumbing vents can also cause problems. If you don’t know what a plumbing vent is, it’s a pipe that extends from the roof that regulates air pressure in your plumbing system as well as dispelling unpleasant odors and sewer gas. Every drain in your home has a plumbing vent and signs that the vent is blocked or needs attention include slow drains, gurgling sounds from the pipes, or standing water in the bathtub. Here are three reasons for using a plumbing vent:

Keeps drains open.

Plumbing vents work in tandem with your pipe system. Drainage pipes remove wastewater from your house and transfer it to your municipal water department for processing. The plumbing vent allows air to enter and exit the pipes to keep waste flowing along smoothly and improper ventilation can cause blockages, clogs, and odors.

Ensures proper ventilation.

Plumbing vents eliminate unpleasant odors and also remove sewer gases, which in concentrated form, can be highly flammable.

Municipal requirement.

And, perhaps the most important reason to have a properly functioning sewer vent, is that most municipalities require them and mandates are becoming much more strict.

If you suspect you may have a problem with your sewer vent or don’t have one, contact a licensed plumber to address the situation. The plumbers at Atlas Butler can help you with inspecting, repairing, or installing a sewer vent. Reach out at 614-681-2183 or online to schedule an appointment.

2023-03-21T12:51:26-04:00March 10th, 2023|Installation|

When to Replace Your Garbage Disposal

Homeowners often expect a lot from their garbage disposal and with good reason. It makes kitchen chores a lot easier when you can get rid of leftover food bits after meals, which aids other plumbing fixtures, such as your dishwasher, in operating more efficiently. These days, a garbage disposal is standard in practically every household or new build, and it takes a beating on a daily basis, even when recommended guidelines for use are followed to the letter. With proper use, a residential disposal can last about 10-15 years. There are some warning signs that your garbage disposal is about to go out, and you should recognize them so you don’t end up with a non-functioning unit or leaky mess.

Frequent resets. It’s not uncommon to need to reset your unit. The motor will automatically shut off. This is triggered when objects put down the disposal are too large to grind up properly and a means of preventing the motor from burning out.

Leaking. If your garbage disposal is leaking, there could be several reasons why. One cause could be a loose connection from the garbage disposal to the dishwasher or drainpipe, which are fairly easy fixes. Internal cracks can cause leaking and are a more serious problem.

Backed up sink. If your sink frequently backs up after running the garbage disposal, there could be an issue with the drainpipe. Either the drainpipe was improperly installed or it’s clogged.

Foul odor. Garbage disposals aren’t known for smelling like roses, but if you’ve tried to deodorize yours and it still stinks, there’s probably a problem. Most likely, food isn’t getting thoroughly ground up and flushed away.

Since they aren’t expensive, most plumbers will recommend just replacing the unit instead of trying to fix it. If you are experiencing problems with your garbage disposal, call Atlas Butler at 614-681-2183. Our phones are answered 24/7 by a live person. Schedule an appointment with one of our licensed plumbers to assess the situation. If you need a new installation, Atlas Butler is happy to make recommendations to help you select the best unit for your household.

2023-03-21T12:50:46-04:00February 26th, 2023|Around the House, Garbage Disposal, Kitchen Drains, Maintenance|

How a Water Softener Works

Water Softeners 101

You’ve heard of hard water and soft water, but do you know the difference? Hard water is the water that flows through the faucets, plumbing fixtures, and appliances in your home (sinks, garbage disposal, washing machine, etc.). That water, usually provided by a municipal source, is treated with chemicals to remove debris, harmful bacteria, and other pathogens, to render the water suitable for drinking, bathing, and household use. Some trace minerals remain, such as calcium, iron, and magnesium, which aren’t harmful for consumption. They can, however, cause mineral deposits to build up in your pipes, appliances, and water heaters, which can lead to diminished water flow and clogged pipes.

Soft water is water where these minerals are removed via ion exchange. A water softener is hooked up to your household water lines and conditions the hard water before it enters your home. The water that comes from your city’s water supply passes through a tank filled with salt pellets. These beads have a negative charge and attract the positive ions from the minerals in the hard water. This allows softened water to pass through and flow into your home. The second component of the water softening system is a brine tank that is filled with potassium chloride or salt pellets and water. After the resin beads in the other tank have reached their cleaning capacity, it’s time to regenerate the water softener.

The water softener is programmed to regenerate after a pre-determined number of gallons of water have passed through it. At this stage, the salty water from the brine tank flushes the resin beads, washing away all of the entrapped minerals. Then, the cycle repeats and you will have clean, soft water again.

You can buy water testing kits to determine if you have hard water and there are plenty of DIY methods you can find online. If you want to learn more about hard water, or water quality in general, Atlas Butler at 614-681-2183 or use our online contact form. A licensed plumber will schedule an appointment to come to your home and discuss the pros and cons of hard versus soft water with you.

2023-02-27T16:25:06-05:00February 15th, 2023|Around the House, Maintenance|

What to do When a Pipe Bursts

Dealing with a burst pipe

Burst pipes can happen any time of the year, but are common occurrences during the winter when the temperature plunges into the sub-zeroes. Other causes of burst pipes include corrosion, ground shifting, other problems within the plumbing system such as clogs, and age of the pipes. Contrary to what you’ve seen, heard, read, or imagined, rarely does a pipe just explode and release torrents of water to every corner of your home. Most pipe leaks are stealthy, and it may be a long time before you realize there’s a problem. Here are some signs that you have a burst pipe.

  • Leaking water (obvious)
  • Hearing gurgling or water rushing within the walls
  • Reduced water pressure
  • Increased water bills
  • Water stains on the walls or ceilings
  • Damp, musty odor

The first thing to do is to shut off the water and drain the taps, this latter step is especially important in the winter if you suspect frozen pipes so any remaining water in the line doesn’t refreeze. Next, remove any furnishings and valuables from the area to prevent further damage. Clean up any standing water and if you’re able, located the leak. Most importantly, call a plumber as they can locate the leak and repair the pipe before any more damage occurs.

If you suspect a burst pipe, call Atlas Butler ASAP at 614-681-2183. We are here for your everyday plumbing emergencies. Our phone is answered 24/7 by a live person and in most instances, we can get someone out to you the same day. It’s important to take quick action on a burst pipe. Not only will it prevent further damage to your home, but it also will reduce the risk of harmful mold growth, which is a whole other (expensive) problem to deal with. Did you know that most home insurance policies cover water damage from burst pipes? After you’ve called Atlas Butler, get in touch with your insurance agent to begin the claims process.

2023-02-27T16:15:15-05:00February 3rd, 2023|Around the House, Maintenance|

Using a Plumber for Small or Large Leaks

When you have a plumbing leak in your home, it’s tempting to try to fix it yourself. After all, you can get schooled in Plumbing 101 by watching YouTube videos or any number of home improvement shows on TV. The DIY approach may work if it’s a simple problem like changing a worn-out washer in the kitchen sink but in many cases, a leak is the symptom of a more in-depth problem that requires the expertise of a licensed plumber to repair. Oftentimes, a leak may indicate damage to pipes inside the walls or in the water or sewer lines outside your home, which the average layman doesn’t have the knowledge or tools to address. In addition, tinkering around with your plumbing when you’re not sure what you’re doing can cause more damage resulting in an even bigger (and more expensive) mess to clean up. The skilled plumbers at Atlas Butler can come to your home, determine the source of the leak, then make recommendations on how to fix it.

Here are some reasons why you should call a plumber when you find a water leak in your home.

  1. Plumbers have the necessary parts and tools to find the leak. They have cameras and listening devices that will pinpoint the leak. In some situations, it may be necessary to tear out the walls, and plumbers are trained to accomplish this in a manner that will cause the least damage to your home.
  2. Plumbers are familiar with local codes and regulations. Depending on what’s going on, it may be necessary to get a permit to fix damage caused by leaks. A plumber will know how to secure permits or fulfill other requirements needed for your repair job.
  3. Plumbers have experience in dealing with complicated problems. A leak that is not properly repaired can cause major water damage to your home, which can lead to foundation problems, electrical issues, flooding, and growth of mold and mildew. In more extreme cases, raw sewage could seep into your house. A plumber is equipped to deal with and remediate all of these problems, which will keep you and your family safe.

While it may seem expensive to call a plumber for what seems like a minor leak, it is money well spent. Ignoring the problem or trying to fix it yourself can lead to even more costs in the long run. If you notice a leak, call Atlas Butler Plumbing at 614-681-2183. Our phones are answered 24/7 by a live person. In most cases, we can send one of our licensed Central Ohio plumbers out the same day and there are never any extra costs for after-hours or overtime calls.

2023-02-27T16:09:10-05:00January 27th, 2023|Around the House, Maintenance|

How to Deal with a Main Drain Clog

As a homeowner, you probably know your way around a plunger, plumber’s snake, and liquid drain cleaners to deal with a clogged sink or toilet. Those a common and relatively simple repairs and seldom need the expertise of a licensed plumber. However, if you find yourself plunging your toilets and sinks more frequently, you may have a blocked main sewer line. Simply put, the main line is the line that runs beneath your yard and carries wastewater from your house, and dumps it into your septic tank or the municipal sewer system. A blocked main line is a major plumbing problem and not a job for even the most skilled DIYer to attempt. Listed below are some indicators that you may have a clogged main line. If you experience any of these, contact Atlas Butler Plumbing at 614-681-2183, ASAP!

Gurgling. If you hear gurgling from your sink or toilet, that’s a sign that something is amiss with your main line. As clogs build within the line, as the water is trying to drain, it can cause bubbling or gurgling sounds.

Drains run slowly. Oftentimes, your drain may run slowly because of a small clog such as hair in the bathtub, and are easy to remove. However, if several of the drains in your home are running slowly, that’s a symptom of a clogged main line.

Foul odor. If your drains smell bad and you haven’t put anything particularly odorous down the sink or garbage disposal, that could signal a clogged main line.

The primary causes of a clogged main sewer line are flushing inappropriate items down the toilet (e.g., feminine hygiene products and disposable diapers), tree root infiltration, and age and conditions of the pipes. The plumber will repair your clogged main line by locating the clog and determining what caused it. They will use rooters, hydro-jetting, and even commercial-grade chemicals to dislodge the clog. In cases where tree roots have grown into the pipes, it may be necessary to excavate your yard to repair the pipes and if necessary, remove the tree.

If you suspect you may have a clogged main sewer line, get in touch with Atlas Butler Plumbing right away at 614-681-2183. The longer you wait, the worse the clog will get, and the more expensive it can be to repair. Our phones are answered 24/7 and in most cases, we can come to your home the same day you call. There are never extra charges for after-hours or overtime calls.

2023-02-27T16:08:29-05:00January 17th, 2023|Around the House, Kitchen Drains, Maintenance|

Maintaining Your Water Heater

It’s easy to take hot water for granted until you don’t have it. Once the hot water heater is acting up, you realize that you can’t bathe or shower, cook, wash dishes, do laundry, and many more routine activities are sidelined. A hot water tank isn’t an “install it and forget it” appliance; to get the most out of your water heater, routine maintenance is important. Many homeowners don’t realize this but there are steps you can take to ensure that your water heater is on the ready when you need it and taking care of it will extend its life. If you have questions about the status of your water heater or think it might need replacing, give Atlas Butler Plumbing a call at 614-681-2183. One of our licensed plumbers will come to your home, inspect your water heater, and then you can go from there.

Benefits of water heater maintenance:

  1. Removes calcium and other hard water deposits. Calcium and other minerals found in hard water can build up inside the water heater tank. This scale can reduce the water volume inside the tank and also cause off-color or funny-tasting water. Flushing out the tank once a year or every six months will get rid of mineral scale.
  2. Improves energy efficiency. If your water heater doesn’t have to work overtime to heat the water, it will expend less energy, which in turn, saves you money on your energy bills. With costs for natural gas and electricity on the upswing, every little bit of savings helps.
  3. Ensures safety. The plumber will examine the temperature and electrical components of the water heater to make sure everything is operating properly. They will also check the gas line connections for any issues and make sure the tank isn’t leaking.

Routine maintenance on your water heater will extend its life and your family will have peace of mind that they won’t run out of hot water in the middle of a load of laundry or with a head full of shampoo. Contact Atlas Butler Plumbing to schedule a water heater tune-up. Our Central Ohio plumbers have 24-hour access to a full inventory of parts to get your water heater up and running as soon as possible. Or, if it’s time to replace or upgrade your tank, we can help you select the best water heater to suit your family’s lifestyle.

2023-01-19T12:35:11-05:00January 2nd, 2023|Around the House, Hot Water Tanks, Maintenance|

Signs Your Water Line Needs Replaced

Water lines that are damaged or deteriorating are costly. First, you pay for it with increased water bills and water damage to your house or yard can be expensive to repair. (Think: foundation issues, sinkholes in the yard, or yellowing, dying vegetation.) It’s difficult to know if you have water line issues since the line are buried underground. However, there are some warning signs you need to be aware of, especially if you own an older home. Here are a few.

Discolored, cloudy water. Water flowing out of the faucets in your home should always be clear. Water that’s brownish and murky signals that you either have an issue with your water heater or your water line is broken or damaged.

Rust and corrosion. If your water is reddish-brown, tastes “off” or metallic, and/or you have low water pressure, you could have a water line problem. This is often the case in older homes with iron pipes. Copper pipes are less prone to rust, corrosion, or wearing out.

Excessive water bills. As previously stated, you will be paying for all of the water that is seeping out of the damaged water line, whether it’s inside your home or in the yard.

Soggy patches in the yard. If you find damp patches in your yard, especially during a dry spell and you haven’t watered the lawn, you could have a leaking water line.

Wet spots on the floor. If you discover water or damp spots on your floors, under a sink, or in the basement and have ruled out other causes, it could be a broken water line.

If you suspect you have a damaged or broken water line, don’t wait to see what happens as the problem will only get worse. Call the pros at Atlas Butler Plumbing. You can reach us 24/7 at 614-681-2183 and our phones are answered by a live person, even after hours. We’ll come to your residence, assess the situation, and lay out the next steps to addressing your water line issues. You can depend on Atlas Butler for prompt, reliable service for all your plumbing needs.

2023-01-19T12:02:39-05:00December 28th, 2022|Around the House, Maintenance|
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