Signs you’re having sewer line problems and what to do about them

While your home sewage line might not be something that crosses your mind daily, it’ll certainly be top-of-mind when you have sewer line problems. Dealing with sewage problems can be very unpleasant and is best left to experienced hands.

In this blog, we’re going to review the top-3 signs of major sewer line problems. If you believe you’re seeing any of these signs, don’t wait to contact Reimer Home Services here in Buffalo and Western New York.

Here are the 3 major signs you’re having sewer line issues

#1. Mold inside your home

Mold. Just hearing the word can make anyone feel uncomfortable. When found within the walls of your own home, mold can feel like a violation of your personal space. Mold becomes a problem most often in damp or humid places.

If you discover mold growing on surfaces of your home such as ceilings, floors, or walls, you may be seeing the effects of a broken or damage sewer line. Treating mold quickly and resolving the problem at its core are the best ways to prevent the health effects that mold can cause for pets and residents alike.

#2. Regular drain clogs

While drain clogs are commonplace for most homeowners, reoccurring clogs may be a symptom for more serious concern. After applying your common drain cleaning solution or plunging repeatedly to no avail, it may be time to have a professional take a closer look.

  • Probable sewage line problems may include:
  • Damaged pipes or broken sewer line
  • Sagging lines known as “bellies”
  • Obstructed pipelines from underground root overgrowth

#3. Foul-smelling drains

Drains can often become bogged down with smelly debris over time. More serious sewage problems can lead to a lingering foul odor. If a gaseous smell is wafting from the drains inside or around your home it is best to call our plumbers for a proper diagnosis.

When sealed properly, your pipelines should not give off strong enough odors—or at least strong enough  for you to pick up regularly. A strong and frequent smell, especially above ground around your sewer line, may be an indicator that there is a crack or full break along your current sewage pipe line.

Call Reimer for help with your sewer line problems

When you’re in need of sewer line repair, the Reimer team has the knowledge and experience to do the job right. Contact us to make an appointment at your earliest convenience. We’re your trusted team for plumbing repair here in Buffalo and Western New York.

Why you should work with an HVAC company that values its employees

For many HVAC employees, working for a company that treats its personnel well is just as important as working for a company that pays well. Reimer is proud to be one of the top HVAC, plumbing, and home services companies in Buffalo and Western New York.

In this blog, we’ll review just some of the reasons our team loves working at Reimer—and why you should never settle for less than an HVAC company that values its employees.

Pictured: Reimer is a great HVAC company with fantastic employees!Why work with Reimer Home Services?

#1. Greater sense of fulfillment in your work

Employees who are treated well generally have a greater sense of fulfillment in their work. If you want to feel like what you do really matters, choose to work for an that appreciates your efforts and rewards you well.

#2. Improved opportunities for advancement

Employee-centric companies love to offer opportunities for advancement. They emphasize upward movement and reward top performers by giving them the ability to move up the ladder and experience even greater levels of success.

#3. Attractive workplace culture

Who wants to work in an environment marred by poor morale and bad attitudes? Unsurprisingly, the answer is no one. A company that values its employees works hard to create an attractive workplace culture that inspires employees to willingly perform at their best.

As a natural result of such an environment, morale generally remains high and good teamwork becomes more achievable.

#4. Work with top talent

It’s no secret that top industry talent tends to flock to companies that value their employees. If you want to work with other professionals who are just as committed to quality as you are, apply to work at a company that treats their HVAC technicians and plumbers well.

Work with an HVAC company that cares about its employees

At Reimer Home Services, we take pride in treating our employees like the indispensable assets they are. Happy employees generally outperform unhappy employees and find more fulfillment in their work.

So, whether you’re a customer looking for a great HVAC company, or you’re a HVAC / plumbing professional looking to take the next step in your career, call Reimer. We’ve been serving Buffalo and Western New York since 1921.

Here’s how to clean your kitchen’s in-sink garbage disposal

Your garbage disposal is a great way to get rid of unwanted food items when you do dishes. While this is true, your garage disposal may actually start to smell like garbage after a little bit, making you long for the days of having a clean garbage disposal. In this blog, we’re going to tackle just a few of the ways to clean your kitchen’s in-sink garbage disposal unit.

For help dealing with sink clogs and other drain cleaning problems, call us at Reimer Home Services.

Pictured: Citrus is a great means for cleaning your kitchen's in-sink garbage disposal.

Use the power of citrus fruit to clean your in-sink garbage disposal.

Use the power of citrus

Citrus fruits, like grapefruit, lemon, and lime, are natural deodorizers. Not only that, but they can also help with cleaning. For both of these reasons, that leftover orange peel or lemon from your tree are excellent tools to clear food waste from the wall and blades of your disposal.

To use this disposal cleaning method, put a few slices of citrus fruit down into your disposal. Hit the “on” button and let the fruit grind around for a minute before switching the system off.

Give your in-sink garbage disposal a wash

To give your garbage disposal a good cleaning, you don’t need to do anything special! All you need is some dish soap and a strong-bristled scrubbing brush. Take the scrub brush and apply some soap to it. Then, scrub down all the parts of your garbage disposal that you can see.

This cleaning methods eliminates food stuck in your disposal while also preventing mold from taking over as time passes. Mold most often develops in the joint between the rim of the disposal and the sink, so it’s a good idea to clean it every once in a while.

Mix baking soda and vinegar

This tried-and-true combination is a great way to clean your garbage disposal! Plus, you probably already have both baking soda and vinegar in your kitchen. Simply fill our disposal with some baking soda, add some vinegar, and then let the solution sit for a few minutes before rinsing the drain with water.

Let our plumbers help

If you still can’t get your garbage disposal to smell better, or your disposal isn’t working at all, give us a call at Reimer Home Services. We offer expert plumbing services throughout Buffalo and Western New York. We’re always happy to help, and we look forward to hearing from you!

Here’s the complete picture of what a tankless water heater costs

By now, you’ve probably heard about tankless water heaters. Also known as “demand-type” systems, these water heaters are capable of providing your home with limitless hot water, greater energy-efficiency, and even space savings. However, homeowners most want to know what a new tankless water heater costs.

In this blog, we’re going to dive into both the short-term and long-term pictures of what a tankless water heater costs relative to a standard water heater. Our goal is to paint a complete picture of what getting a demand-type system will entail.

For a quote on a new tankless water heater here in Buffalo and Western New York, contact the team at Reimer.

Pictured: Two tankless water heaters. In this blog, we break down what a tankless water heater costs.Higher upfront costs, but savings for years to come

A tankless water heater costs typically more than a standard water heater. Just how much more can greatly depend on the brand or type (gas / electric) being compared, but—on average—it’s not unusual for a tankless unit to cost twice or three times as much as a “tanked” water heater.

Yet, just looking at these upfront costs doesn’t tell the complete story. In many cases, upgrading to a tankless water heater means you’ll come out ahead. Let’s explain:

Energy-Efficiency

Tankless heaters are about 30% more efficient at heating water for your home than a standard unit. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that switching from standard to tankless can save homeowners, on average, about $100 a year. That number increases as you use more hot water; larger families with large hot water needs will likely see more savings.

“$100 a year,” you might say. “That doesn’t seem like all that much.” Sure, but consider this: your tankless water heater will likely last about 20-25 years before needing to be replaced. That’s $2,000 – $2,500 in savings over the lifespan of the system. In many cases, that’s more than the initial difference in price between a standard and an upgraded system.

Of course, that long system life has another advantage for your bottom-line:

Longevity

Tanked water heaters just aren’t made to last. That’s not a knock on manufacturers: it’s just that the constant combination of heat, metal, pressure, and water is inevitably headed for system failure at one point or another.

If you want to get down to what a tankless water heater costs, think about lifespan. A tanked system may last anywhere from 8-12 years (possibly longer than that, but efficiency might take a huge dip in the back-half of the system’s life). A tankless system typically lasts between 20 and 25 years.

Realistically, that means you could be in the position of buying two regular water heaters in the period of time you’d buy one tankless. At that point, you’re not saving all that much money with your initial decision to choose the cheaper of the two systems.

Avoiding disaster

Most homeowners don’t like to think about this, but—with a standard water heater—the potential for a tank burst always exists. Especially as they age and the anode rod corrodes fully, that combination of pressure, water, and heat on the metal can lead to hairline fractures that, left unchecked, develop into a fissure, requiring plumbing repair.

In contrast, tankless units don’t have tanks that can burst.

The difference in costs between these two types of water heaters is probably far, far less than your home insurance deductible—or the hit to your home’s market value—if you have to clean up flooding or damage from a burst tank.

Sure, there’s no price on peace of mind, but there is an actual cost-benefit to choosing a demand-type system here.

Your comfort matters, too

In this blog, we’ve made the case that tankless water heater costs aren’t always what they seem at the “sticker price” level. However, you should also consider the other benefits of a tankless system, including the main one: limitless hot water.

If you have a large family with a busy house, and you’re constantly running out of hot water in the mornings, a tankless system will make your home more comfortable and less stressful. You just can’t put a price on that.

For a detailed breakdown of tankless water heater costs, call Reimer

Interested in learning more about whether or not a demand-type system is right for your home? Contact us here at Reimer! We’re always happy to give plumbing advice to homeowners here in Buffalo and Western New York.

Signs of water heater issues, and when to call Reimer for plumbing repair

No one wants to step into what they think is a hot shower, only to be greeted with lukewarm or cold water. Understanding how your water heater works and knowing the signs of water heater issues can prevent this scenario by allowing you to get problems fixed in advance.

For emergency plumbing services here in Buffalo and Western New York, contact us at Reimer.

The inner workings of your water heater

Pictured: A shower that no longer has hot water refreshed is one of the signs of water heater issues.Most standard water heaters are fairly simple, consisting of a large metal drum filled with water and a heating apparatus inside or at the bottom. While some homes have tankless water heaters, they are less common than those with tanks.

Cold water travels from your home’s water lines into the cold water intake at the bottom of the tank, where it’s heated and delivered to the sinks and showers on demand. The heating mechanism turns on automatically when you request hot water and switches off when you’ve reached the desired temperature.

Here are some signs of water heater issues:

Water heater repair signs are easy to spot if you’re aware of them. Some of the most common symptoms that could signify a problem with the heater include:

  • Lack of sufficient hot water, which could be caused by mineral deposit buildup in the tank or by failure of the heating element
  • Popping or banging noises caused by overheating
  • Leaking from the tank, which occurs when overheating causes the metal to fail
  • Hot water that looks cloudy or has an unpleasant odor, similar to the smell of rotten eggs
  • Leaky or rusted connections caused by depletion of the anode rod, an element that prevents corrosion
  • Leaking temperature or pressure release valve

Call Reimer for emergency plumbing repair in Buffalo

Left untreated, water heater issues can cause expensive, dangerous problems, including a water tank failure if the pressure release valve fails.

Here in Buffalo and Western New York, consider scheduling regular water heater service with Reimer Home Services. If you are noticing any of the signs of water heater issues listed above and want to have your water heater checked by our experienced professionals, contact us!

Stop hard water from damaging your home’s plumbing

Western New York State’s unique geologic formations account for the area containing areas with water that includes an overabundance of calcium and magnesium. This condition, known as hard water, may eventually cause damage to your home’s plumbing system if not dealt with appropriately with water softening.

Pictured: Do you know what's in your home's water? Here in Buffalo, many homes have hard water, and need water softening solutions installed.

If you have hard water, not only the pipes running in-and-out of your home, but also anything connected to those pipes may be harmed by the resulting mineral buildup. Appliances such as water heaters, washing machines, and dishwashers are especially at risk.

Homeowners can solve most hard water problems with the professional installation of a water softener. These devices use charged ions to remove alkaline minerals from the water supply. Solving hard water problems early, before any damage occurs, is the most cost-effective way to deal with the issue.

How to spot hard water in your home

Your local water company should be able to provide you with a water hardness report, but several signs can also alert you to a potential problem.

  • Washing machine issues When you start noticing that it takes longer for your washing machine to fill up, it could mean hard water deposits are beginning to clog the supply line.
  • Water heater problems Mineral buildup inside your water heater tank can cause you to have less available hot water and frequently burned out heating elements in electric models. This is one the main reasons homeowners need water heater replacement.
  • Dishwasher difficulties Spots on dishes and glassware are the visible signs of hard water, but minerals may also partially clog your dishwasher supply lines.
  • Low water pressureThe pipes in your home that supply water throughout your home are susceptible to blockage caused by hard water.
  • Water leaks In severe hard water situations where the homeowner delays taking action, water leaks and even burst pipes may occur.

What to do if you suspect you have hard water

Like most problems in the home, early detection and correction can save you money in the end. If you notice water leaking from pipes or around appliances, it is time to contact a qualified plumbing repair company like Reimer before your home incurs any more damage.

If you need water softening in your home, contact us at Reimer, and we will gladly discuss your options on correcting this common plumbing problem.

Here’s what backflow is, and how you can prevent it from happening in your home

Preventing backflow is important to protecting your home’s drinking and potable water. But, just what is backflow, anyway? In this blog, we’ll break down how backflow works, why it’s an issue for homeowners here in Buffalo and Western New York, and when you should call in the plumbers at Reimer Home Services.

Need Reimer to solve a backflow issue or install a check valve for your home? Contact us online, or give us a call at (716) 694-8524 to get started.

What is backflow?

In plumbing, “backflow” is the word that refers to water moving into the direction it shouldn’t. All water in the home has a set path and direction: for example, your garden hose is meant to distribute water, not take it back into the hose.

However, when backflow happens, that exact situation is possible. When there are problems with pressure, that water from your garden hose can flow back into your potable water supply.

Why is this a problem?

There are many instances in which backflow can be dangerous. For example, you don’t want wastewater backflowing into your potable water supply. This could foul the water and make you and your family very sick.

There are different levels of contamination when it comes to backflow. Because of the way modern homes and bathrooms are designed, most homeowners probably won’t have to deal with foul water. However, there are instances in which check valves—the pressure regulators preventing backflow—fail, or need to be installed in other points of your home.

Where do homeowners often need check valves?

Most homes already have check valves in place to prevent the serious or dangerous contamination of their home’s drinking water. However, even if these are good, your home might still need additional check valves.

Let’s return to our gardening hose example from earlier. Without backflow prevention, excess water from the hose could return to the primary water supply. In most cases, this is going to negatively impact the taste and quality of that water. It’s been sitting in the sun, in a rubber hose.

Take control of your indoor water quality

Just like indoor air quality, indoor water quality matters. You can’t control everything about the water that’s sent to your tap, but—by preventing backflow—you can ensure that your home’s water is at least in the right pathway once it’s in your home’s pipes.

If you suspect that your home is having backflow issues, it’s time to call in the experts at Reimer for backflow testing. We offer a wide variety of plumbing solutions here in Buffalo and Western New York. Contact us online, or give us a call at (716) 694-8524.

What are the signs you need a new water heater?

There are many warning signs when your water heater is on the verge of death. In this blog, we’ll run through the signs that you need a new water heater, and when you should give our team a call for service.

#1. Your water heater is no longer keeping up with demand

As a water heater gets up there in age, sediment and rust can collect at the bottom of the tank. At first, this damage is not really noticeable. But, left unchecked, this can start to limit the space that water has in the tank, limiting the amount of hot water available to you and your family.

If you’ve started running out of hot water recently whereas you didn’t before when the system was new, it might be time to consider contacting Reimer for water heater replacement. At the same time, you can consider having us install a new tankless system that provides you and your family with endless hot water.

#2. The water isn’t as hot as it once was

Over time, water heaters are less and less effective at heating water, which results in lukewarm water where there was once steaming-hot water.

This causes a number of impacts throughout your home. Your laundry will be less effective at cleaning your clothes. Your dishwasher will be less effective at cleaning your dishes. And, finally, those winter showers are about to get chillier and chillier.

If you’ve noticed a discernible drop in your water temperature over the years, it’s a sign that your water heater might need to be replaced in the near future.

#3. There’s rust-colored water coming out of the faucet

Your water heater contains a sacrificial anode rod. This rod attracts all the rust in the system, preventing the tank walls from rusting. However, after this rod is completely rusted and spent, the rust will begin to impact the tank walls and collect at the bottom of the tank. You may first see rust-colored water coming out of your tap.

Older homes with pipes can also rust, but there’s an easy way to determine where the problem is: run both the cold and hot tap in sequence. If both are rust-colored, it’s either your pipes or something else. If only the hot tap is rust-colored, it’s most likely your water heater, and it’s time to call Reimer.

If it’s early in your system’s lifespan and the damage is limited (see information below), Reimer can replace the sacrificial anode rod in your system. However, by the time that rod is typically used up and the homeowner notices, it’s often too late for the tank itself.

#4. Your tank is either leaking or has fractures

If this is the case, contact Reimer immediately. A water heater is an compromised tank is a water heater at risk of bursting, which could send water flooding into your home. It’s not a good situation.

Over time, after the anode rod is spent, rust gets through the glass liner inside the tank to the tank’s exterior. As this rusts, it weakens the overall structure of the system.

The problems typically manifest first in the tiniest of cracks—little fractures in the tank shell. Eventually, if left untreated, you may then see water pooling at the base of the unit, or beading on the outside. This is a sure sign that your water heater is done. It’s one of the most pressing signs you need a new water heater.

If you’re seeing signs you need a new water heater, give Reimer a call

If you’ve noticed any of the four signs listed above, it’s time to contact Reimer for water heater services. Give us a call at (716) 694-8524.

Prevent a sewer line blockage in your home

A sewer backup is a major problem for homeowners, and it results from a sewer line blockage. If you find yourself with a clogged sewer line, you should call Reimer for sewer line cleaning.

In this blog, we’ll review some of the ways you can help your line avoid these problems.

Pictured: A sewer camera inspection can help you avoid the need for major sewer line work.

Pictured: A plumber having to dig up and fix a ceramic sewage pipe that clogged. A sewer inspection can help you avoid this outcome.

#1. Divert grease to the trash

Homeowners who have had sewer line issues in the past tend to be very outspoken about this. Pouring cooking grease down the sink seems like an easy way to dispose of it, but taking that shortcut today can lead to big problems tomorrow.

As grease cools, it turns from a liquid into a solid. When dumped down the disposal, this process often happens by the time the liquid, solidifying, gets to your home’s sewer line.

In most cases, this grease is washed away. But, over time, that grease begins to take a stand. Grease is stubborn: it sticks to the line’s interior walls and collects other bits of grease and food.

Eventually, this blockage grows to the point where it starts to prevent other wastewater from going down, causing the sewer line blockage.

Grease, on a larger scale

City sanitation workers know how dangerous cooking grease can be. In London in 2017, sanitation workers in London had to remove a 130-ton block of grease known as “the fatberg” from the municipal sewers. Hardened to the point of concrete, it cost millions of dollars to remove.

If this phenomenon can happen in a large municipal sewer, it can happen in your home’s sewer line, too.

Dispose of grease properly

The best way to dispose of grease is to place the hot liquid into a disposable, heat-proof container. Typically, used glass jars or aluminum cans work well for this. Put the grease in the jar or can and seal. Then, once the grease has cooled and solidified, put it out with the trash.

#2. Avoid putting trash down your pipes

Your toilet, kitchen sink, and bathroom sinks are not trash cans.

Bathroom trash

Avoid putting bathroom trash down toilets and bathroom sinks. This includes everything from Q-tips to plastic wrappers—anything that’s not toilet paper. Also, be sure to watch out for “disposable wipes” that aren’t actually disposable.

Kitchen trash

Some people use their garbage disposal as a kind of trash can. Really, you should only use your disposal for the last bits of food coming off the plate. Fruit rinds, vegetable trash, and more should all just go straight into the trash can—or into your compost bin.

Call Reimer for help removing a sewer line blockage

If you do find that you have a sewer line blockage, turn off your water and contact the team at Reimer. We’ll send out an experienced plumber to take a look at your line and determine the scope of the problem.

Don’t do it yourself: the dangers of DIY plumbing repair

The Internet has profoundly changed our lives. Of its many impacts, one of the most significant is that millions of people now have instant access to tutorials, videos, and instructions on how to do or build things themselves.

Don’t pour boiling water on your pipes to unfreeze them.

From building your own coffee table to “lifehacks” that turn old bike handles into in-style wall decor, “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) is more popular than ever. Here’s where you should draw a line, though: unlike bottles recycled into planters, DIY plumbing repair is never a good idea.

In this blog, we’ll go over why you should only trust your plumbing repair needs to a professional plumber who has the right equipment, training, and more to get the job done.

Situation #1: Frozen pipes

Every winter here in Buffalo, frozen pipes pop up all across the city. And, every winter, homeowners decide that they want to take matters into their own hands. In one of our previous posts, we addressed why this is bad idea. Put down the hairdryer or—especially—the blowtorch and call Reimer, instead.

Seriously: no blowtorches.

Any kind of “hack” for unfreezing your pipes could make the situation a lot worse. Frozen pipes are very volatile: the expanding ice has placed the pipe material under immense pressure.

A professional plumber has the equipment and finesse to gently thaw the ice and relieve this pressure with no further damage to the structure. Other methods, however, risk the pressure building further and the pipe bursting. Not good!

Situation #2: Drain cleaning

As plumbers, we believe that it’s important to know what you’re getting into before each and every project. Drain cleaning is a good example: we use equipment to figure out what is down the drain before we attempt to remove it.

Many homeowners resort to using store-bought chemicals. Here’s the thing, though. If these chemicals are harsh enough to eat through whatever’s down there, aren’t they harsh enough to also damage your pipes? The answer is yes, which is why we think drain cleaning chemicals should be rarely used, and only as a last resort.

Instead, call Reimer. Our plumbers have a variety of professional snake tools that we use to clear drains, depending on what the obstruction is.

Situation #3: Re-piping

The popularity of home renovation shows on TV has prompted a number of homeowners to try to give their own property a makeover. That’s great: as long as you enlist the help of some professionals, opening up that kitchen will really bring your home up-to-date.

However, there’s two areas where you should really call in a specialist: plumbing and electrical. Reimer can help with the former. Moving pipes, sealing pipes, and any kind of re-piping should really be left to the experts.

The last thing you want is to get everything the way you want it, go to turn on the water supply to your home again, and disaster strikes. It’s just going to ruin everything you worked so hard for, and it can be prevented by calling in an expert.

DIY some things, call experts for others

Sure, there are some things that homeowners should try taking on themselves. However, we recommend calling Reimer if you get in over your head, or if you’re tackling something big, potentially dangerous, or technically complex.

To schedule service, contact us online, or give us a call at (716) 694-8524.