How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

On average, water heaters last roughly 8 to 15 years. Depending on the brand and type, some last up to 25 years! Their lifespan varies greatly based on several factors including hot water heater brand, type of water heater, adherence to a routine maintenance schedule, temperature settings, and more.

Factors Influencing How Long Water Heaters Last

Hardness of Water

Hard water is attributed to calcium and magnesium dissolved into a water supply. While these minerals make water taste unpleasant, they are safe to drink and bathe in. However, hard water leads to mineral deposits in your water heater causing clogged pipes, burnout of the water heater bottom, or scale formation in tankless heaters.

For this reason, hard water is notorious for destroying plumbing systems, causing water heater functionality issues and decreasing the service life of your unit. Check out EcoPure’s study on hard water levels to see if your local area has a hard water problem.

Frequency of Use & Temperature Settings

It should go without saying but the more you use it, the faster you lose it. Water heaters last longer when temperatures are set to the minimum level bearable. If your shower is scalding and unbearable when turned to the hottest setting, you can extend your water heater’s life by lowering its temperature threshold.

Likewise, if you and your family take frequent and/or long showers or if your commercial plumbing system uses hot water for an extended period of time, you may see a decline in its lifespan. Use your hot water as needed but note that the more it’s used and the hotter it is, the earlier you may need a replacement.

Location of the Unit

Crawl spaces and garages are convenient and are common places for plumbers to install hot water heaters. However, these common locations force the heating element to work harder to regulate the water temperature compared to the outdoor temperature during colder months.

Forcing it to work harder by installing a heater in a garage or crawl space will decrease the life of your unit. When Kiddco Plumbing clients install a new water heater, we suggest opting for an indoor location like a utility closet or a basement to extend its lifespan. Nonetheless, some water heater brands and types tend to last longer than others.

Type of Water Heater & How Long They Last

Tankless (or On-Demand)

Tankless water heaters, both electric and gas, are more energy-efficient than traditional storage tank heaters. Additionally, these units last longer than other types of water heaters coming in at an average of 20 years.

Storage Tank Heaters

This is the most common type of water heater with units powered by both natural gas and electricity and models varying greatly. Nonetheless, storage water heaters last an average of 8 to 12 years.

Heat Pump (or Hybrid)

Heat pump water heaters capture hot air surrounding the unit and transfer it heat to the water inside. Using 60% less energy than a traditional unit, this type of water heater boasts an average lifespan of 13 to 15 years.

Solar

Solar-powered water heaters attach to the roof of a home or business to capture energy from the sun which heats water naturally and efficiently. These units can be expensive and typically last an average of 10 to 20 years.

Condensing Water Heaters

Like others, this type of water heater is extremely energy-efficient and up to 95% more effective at heating water than other types. However, they don’t tend to last quite as long with an average lifespan or 10 to 15 years.

Water Heater Brands & How Long They Last

Depending on model design and the manufacturing process, water heater life expectancy is variable. Additionally, the type of water heater along with the factors previously discussed all affect lifespan. Below you will find how long water heaters last based on popular brands.

A.O. Smith

Warranties on A.O. Smith water heaters last roughly 6 to 12 years meaning this brand may persevere up to 24 years with regular maintenance and checkups.

General Electric

On average, GE gas heaters last an average of 8 to 12 years and electric heaters last anywhere from 10 to 15 years.

Kenmore

In our experience, the common cause for a Kenmore water heater replacement is due to a leak in the tank. However, this brand is known to last anywhere from 18 to 30 years with regular maintenance. On average, Kenmore brand heaters last 10 to 12 years.

Rheem

Rheem water heaters typically last anywhere from 5 to 10 years but on a 5-year maintenance and cleaning schedule, they may last up to 15 years. Do you have a Rheem unit that hasn’t been serviced recently? Contact Kiddco Plumbing for an estimate.

Signs That it’s Time to Replace Your Unit

  1. Weird Sounds

    Those rumbling, rattling and gurgling sounds coming from your basement or utility closet aren’t a monster, it’s your water heater. If your unit is producing strange sounds, it may be time to schedule a licensed and insured plumber to inspect.

  2. Funky Smells & Colors

    Hot water that tastes metallic or has a reddish or yellow tint indicates that the inside of your unit is likely rusted. Likewise, when tanks are exposed to the air via a leak they are susceptible to bacteria. As a general rule, when hot water is discolored or smells unpleasant, it’s time to call a plumber.

  3. Water Pooling

    Water pooling at the base of your unit is a clear sign that a water heater repair or replacement is imminent.

  4. Limited Hot Water

    Does your water get cold mid-shower? If so, you may need to reach out to a certified plumber to discuss your options. Oftentimes, limited hot water can be fixed with a repair and new water heater replacement parts. However, if the source of the problem is ignored, you may end up needing a replacement.

Water Heater Replacement Service Tips

When you spot the warning signs of a water heater nearing the end of its life, here are a few things you should know about getting a replacement unit.

  • Explore options – With endless brands, models and types of units, finding the right water heater can be a chore. Consider your hot water usage needs, the location of the unit, and how your unit will be powered (electric, solar or natural gas). Need help making an informed decision? Kiddco Plumbing is happy to help!
  • Lead times – Always consider how long it will take a water heater to arrive after placing an order. Calling the manufacturer is a great way to find out lead times but a qualified water heater plumber should be happy to do this for you.
  • Size – Finding a properly sized water heater requires consideration of the residence or commercial building’s needs. Check out this article by the U.S. Department of Energy for more information on sizing your new water heater.

Water Heater Repairs in Sterling, Virginia

Our plumbers are licensed, insured and certified to handle all things water heaters. From routine maintenance to repairs, replacements and upgrades, our work speaks for itself. Check out our client testimonials and request a service appointment to receive a prompt response from our friendly neighborhood water heater plumbers.

Water Service Lines: Everything You Need to Know

Introduction to Water Service Lines

All thriving communities need a clean, reliable water supply. In some instances – such as in more rural areas – that comes from well water. But it’s more likely that your home’s or business’s water supply comes via water service lines underground.

From the inner workings and cost of water line repair and replacement to how to identify a lead pipe, we’re going to lead you through everything that you need to know about water service lines.

What is a Water Service Line?

Water service lines are the piping that carries water from the city’s public water supply in the underground water mains outside of your property directly to the plumbing fixtures inside of your property.

Who is Responsible for the Water Line From the Street to Your House?

Water service lines within the bounds of your property are considered your personal responsibility to maintain, while public water pipes outside of private property lines are the city’s responsibility. This means that the homeowner is responsible for all of the water lines running from their property to the street.

What is a Water Main?

The water main is a large underground pipe that serves as the main pipe for a city or town’s water distribution system. Smaller distribution lines are connected to the water main that carry water directly to people’s homes and businesses.

What Do Lead Pipes Look Like?

Rusted led pipes in a junk pile
Lead pipes are the single biggest threat when it comes to public lead consumption. When water transfers through lead pipes, particles of lead seep into the water supply. Lead is entirely unsafe to drink, making this a serious hazard.

While lead pipes have been phased out in many places, there are still some locations that use older lead pipes, putting the people there at risk.

Lead pipes have a dark gray color. An easy way to find out if your water pipes are lead is to take a coin and scrape it against the surface of the pipe. If the surface underneath is a shiny silver color, your pipe is lead.

When Were Lead Pipes Banned?

The 1986 Safe Water Act Lead Ban made it against regulations to use lead piping in the construction of any residential or non-residential plumbing system in which the water was meant for public consumption. In 1998, it became illegal to sell plumbing fixtures that were not “lead-free” (defined as having less than 8% lead)

If your plumbing fixtures have not been replaced or repaired since 1986, there is a chance that you have lead pipes, which could pose a danger to you, your family, and/or your business.

What Does a Water Service Line Replacement Entail?

If you have water leaking from your pipes, you’re experiencing low water pressure, your water bill has gotten unexplainably more expensive, or if your pipes are made from lead, it’s time to get your water service lines replaced.

Here’s what you can expect during a water service line replacement:

NOTE: Since digging is involved in this process, we highly recommend you call a trained professional so you do not destroy your plumbing fixtures or your property in the process.

  1. Locate & Mark

    Since this process involves digging, it’s crucial that we’re able to locate where all of the important points are before we begin that process. This includes locating the water main and where it connects to your personal water lines (also known as the curb stop), as well as locating the existing water lines themselves.

    We’ll also need to mark any other underground utilities such as fiber optic cable lines, as well as other underground masses we’ll need to account for.

  2. Shut Off Water

    The next thing we’ll do during a water line replacement is shut off the water supply. This is an obvious step taken before any plumbing repair or replacement service to reduce mess.

  3. Dig

    At this stage we’ll carve out a hole near the spot where the main connects to your personal water line. We’ll need to repeat this process for any piece of the water line that we’re attempting to replace.

  4. Replace

    We’ll remove your old pipes and replace them with new ones. During this process, we’ll also insulate your new piping to protect it against freezing in the future.

  5. Finish

    Once the old piping has been removed and the new pipes have been properly installed and connected, we’ll fill in the holes that we’ve dug on your property and turn the water supply back on so you can use your plumbing fixtures once again.

How Much Does Water Service Line Replacement Cost?

In the state of Virginia, the average water service line replacement runs around $3,000, assuming you’re replacing all of your pipes at once. If you’re just getting a repair to one section for a leak or otherwise, it will obviously be less than that. A number of factors can impact that average, making it cost more or less than what the statewide average is for service.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Service Line Repairs?

Some homeowners insurance policies cover leaks, bursts, and other types of water line issues. But most likely, your insurance policy will only cover those issues that occur suddenly or due to an accident – they rarely cover replacements that are needed due to general wear and tear or age.

Check your personal homeowners insurance policy to see what types of water line repairs and replacements you’re covered for.

Replacing a Water Service Pipe in Loudoun County, VA

In Loudoun County, the homeowner is responsible for all of the water lines and plumbing fixtures inside of their own property line. This includes fixtures inside of your home such as the main shutoff valve, hot water heaters, and drains as well as fixtures outside of your home like grinder pumps, meter crocks, and piping.

Remember to always call VA811 at least three days before you dig in your yard, if you plan to do any digging personally.

Line Repairs in Fairfax, VA

In Fairfax, the water meter and its settings are the responsibility of Fairfax Water. Everything from that point to the inside of your property is the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain.

Remember to take proper care of your pipes for the good of yourself and your neighbors. This means being wary of what you’re flushing down the toilet and the drain as well as how you maintain the piping in your property.

Water Service Line Experts in Northern Virginia

Kiddco Plumbing is a full service plumbing repair and replacement company that helps homes and businesses all throughout Northern Virginia including Loudoun County, Fairfax County, and the City of Fairfax, VA. We offer 24/7 emergency services as well. Give us a call to schedule a service today.

How to Unclog a Garbage Disposal

Is Your Garbage Disposal Clogged? Here’s What You Need to Do

Garbage disposals are an excellent tool to have in your home. They can break down food waste which reduces odors. Not only that, but they help the environment by slimming down the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.

A Consumer Reports finding from 2020 showed that nearly half of all Americans have garbage disposals in their sink drains. A clogged drain can lead to the formation of mold and other harmful germs that could cause health issues for your family down the line.

My Garbage Disposal Is Not Draining!

If your garbage disposal is full of water, there are a few things you can do to try to fix it. A few important reminders:

  • Make sure you turn off the breaker that connects to the garbage disposal. You do not want to be electrocuted while trying to fix it.
  • Wear gloves to prevent any damage to your hand from whatever is stuck in the drain. Even if it’s just food waste, you can never be too safe.
  • Don’t stick your hand down the garbage disposal. You’ll be using tools to remove objects if necessary.

How to Unclog a Garbage Disposal

1. Disconnect the Power

Turn off power to the garbage disposal. Every one is different but a licensed plumber should be able to help you find the correct connection if you cannot. If you don’t turn off the correct switch on your breaker you risk electrocution which is a lot worse than a jammed garbage disposal!

2. Remove Water

You can plunge the drain by using a flat plunger to get any standing water out of your sink. Failing that, you could also try scooping the water into a cup or bucket. If you have a lot of water clogging up the drain, Kiddco Plumbing has devices that can remove large quantities of water without causing a mess or damaging your kitchen.

3. Unclog

Wield a flashlight with one hand and shine it into the garbage disposal. Use pliers or tongs to try to remove whatever is causing the blockage. Remember not to stick your hand inside of the drain! You’d rather get a tool stuck in there than risk injury to your fingers. Once the blockage is removed, you can turn the power back on and try running it again.

4. Reset

Still jammed? Try turning the power off to the garbage disposal again and then look under your sink to find the reset button. The reset button is a small red button near the underside of the unit. Turn the power back on and try running it again.

5. Unjam From Underneath

If the unit is still stuck, turn the power off to it once more. You can attempt to unjam the impellers inside of the garbage disposal by getting an allen wrench and inserting it into the hex socket at the underside of the garbage disposal unit. Twist the bolt in both directions to manually move the impellers and free them up. Be careful that you don’t take apart your garbage disposal unit! Otherwise your floor could be covered with water which will lead to more damages.

If you’re still unable to fix your problem or if you’re apprehensive about going through these steps, give Kiddco Plumbing a call. Our experts have decades of experience unclogging garbage disposals throughout the Northern Virginia area. We’ll make sure that the problem doesn’t get worse before it gets better.

How Do I Avoid a Clogged Garbage Disposal?

Ensure that you never encounter this problem in the first place by taking good care of your garbage disposal unit. Here are some things you can remember that will keep your drain line clean in the future.

1. Cold Water

Always run cold water when using your garbage disposal. Hot water can release fats and acids from the food in your disposal. Those fats can clog the drain pipe and release foul odors into your home.

Make sure you don’t run the garbage disposal without running water! That’s even worse than running it with hot water as the water is necessary for the steady flow of food particles through your plumbing system.

2. Routinely Use Your Garbage Disposal

Make sure you don’t let food sit in your garbage disposal for too long without running the unit. First of all, letting food sit in the disposal will attract pests and bugs over time. It could also cause your kitchen to smell like rotting food.

But even if there’s no food in the garbage disposal, make sure to turn on the water and run the unit every couple of days. Your unit will rust or freeze over time if it isn’t used regularly, so just stay in the habit of maintaining it and making sure it’s still working.

3. Avoid Putting These Items In Your Garbage Disposal

Not every bit of food waste is safe for the garbage disposal. Egg shells, potato peels, banana peels, coffee grounds, and other greasy foods can lead to future clogs and should not go in your garbage disposal. You should obviously avoid putting non-food items in there as well. Glass, plastic wrapping, and other materials can’t be ground up properly and will cause major damage to your pipes.

Kiddco Plumbing has decades of experience providing plumbing solutions to families all throughout the Northern Virginia area. We can provide 24/7 emergency services for homes and businesses no matter how difficult your problem may be.

When to Replace a Toilet?

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Toilet

As the use of mobile devices skyrockets, so does the amount of time people spend on their toilets. And there’s nothing worse than an uncomfortable, or even faulty, social media throne! Toilet problems can vary and knowing when it’s time to replace your toilet might be confusing. From plumbing problems to improving comfort, we’ll share our expertise so you know when to replace your toilet.

Know when to replace a toilet & learn the common reasons for toilet replacements: clogs, leaks, and the toilet’s age.

Depending on the user, the reason to replace one’s toilet varies. However, there are a few key signs that you’re ready for a new toilet. Common reasons to replace a toilet include regular clogs, leaks, discomfort, saving water, and the toilet’s age.

Replace Your Toilet if it Clogs Often

It is not normal for a toilet to experience regular clogging. In fact, it’s likely a sign that you either need a replacement or need a professional to diagnose the issue. A toilet clogging daily or even weekly could be a sign of a bigger problem.

Ignoring a clogging problem might mean risking an even more expensive problem down the line. However, don’t worry about the rare clog. If you can attribute it to a clear source, then the occasional clog is nothing to stress about.

The Toilet is Leaking

If you have any kind of water damage to your walls or the floors around your toilet, you definitely need a toilet replacement. There are endless reasons why a toilet might be leaking water. Many of which you should not attempt to fix yourself. It’s best to call a professional plumber immediately if you see water leaking from your commode.

You Can’t Flush the Toilet

Whether your toilet is always running or not running at all, a toilet that doesn’t flush is useless. The ability to flush is basically the sole reason the toilet was invented. Usually, flushing issues come on slowly and gradually get worse.

When you can catch them early, you can often find a DIY fix. However, you should reach out to a professional for advice if you’ve never heard of a toilet flange, wax ring, or supply line.

The Toilet Bowl is Cracked

Replace a toilet if it has any cracks in the fixture because they will lead to water leaks in the wall and on the floor.A cracked toilet bowl, tank, or floor seal is the most painfully obvious sign that you need a toilet replacement. Although obvious that it needs fixing, the cracks themselves are not always obvious. Both invisible hairline cracks and discernable cracks will cause water to pool where your toilet meets the floor.

It may not be much at first but be sure to call a professional at the first sight of pooling water. If appropriate, a trained and certified plumber might provide a short-term solution; but eventually, you will need to get a full toilet replacement.

Your Toilet is Old

Toilets are extremely durable and the fixture itself does not need a routine replacement very often. Nevertheless, the inner parts of the toilet wear out more quickly and do require regular maintenance and replacements. The rule of thumb is to replace your porcelain throne every 20 years or so. Nonetheless, depending on how often the toilet is used and its current state, you may need a replacement sooner.

It’s Uncomfortable

Your toilet may not have any of these danger signs and be in perfect working order. But, you still might consider a toilet replacement if you are uncomfortable using it. When a toilet isn’t the right size, it can inhibit blood flow, produce unhealthy habits, or be generally displeasing. You deserve the best.

So, consider a toilet replacement if you’re not happy with your current toilet. Wondering what toilet is the best? We can help you find the best throne for your needs.

Saving Water and Money is Important

When to replace a toilet is often reliant on how much saving money in energy costs. Call Kiddco Plumbing to see how.Some toilets, especially those installed before 1994, are notorious water guzzlers. The vast amount of water that they use is not only bad for the environment but also for your wallet. If you’re thinking your toilet might be a water guzzler, you should consider upgrading to an energy-efficient model.

The EPA estimates that installing WaterSense toilets will save an average family of four approximately $90 per year in water bills. This is one way to conserve the environment and save money with Green Plumbing.

Do You Need a Plumber to Replace a Toilet? Or Can I Do it Myself?

Many home improvement jobs are simple and straightforward. Watch a few YouTube videos, try it out, and it ends fairly well. However, there are some jobs that should be left to a trained and certified professional. A full toilet replacement requires specialized tools, equipment, and above all, knowledge and expertise.

In the best-case scenario, it will probably take you quite a long time. In the worst-case scenario, you might cause long-term damage to your home and its plumbing system. Definitely call a plumber for toilet replacements.

Leesburg Toilet Repair Plumbers

Still not sure if you need a toilet replacement? Our honest plumbers come to your home or business to assess the problem. Together we devise a toilet replacement plan that includes removal, installation, securing, and disposing of your toilet. Call or schedule an appointment today with your neighborhood plumbers at Kiddco Plumbing!

What is Backflow Testing?

As a home or business owner, you may have heard of backflow testing before. Many Northern Virginia localities require annual testing and regular servicing of your backflow preventer device. You may receive a notice to submit your testing results to your local government or water company. But as you’re reading the notice, you’re becoming more and more unsure about what it is and what you need to do to get it done. Luckily, we’re here to answer the questions you might be asking yourself. What is backflow testing and why do you need it?

Backflow testing is a plumbing service that checks your backflow preventer device by assessing its pressure levels. When backflow is present, untreated or contaminated water can be back-siphoned into your clean water. For this reason, testing guarantees the water you use for drinking and showering is safe and sterile. Notably, as mandated by the state of Virginia, you must conduct annual testing by a certified backflow testing company.

First, What is Backflow?

All water systems use specific pipes that bring clean drinking water in, and other pipes that carry waste out of the home. Backflow occurs when decreased pressure levels cause a disruption in the normal flow of this water system. As a result, this decrease in water pressure results in contaminated wastewater (from a toilet or hose) flowing out through the clean water pipes instead of through the waste pipes as it should.

In general, several situations can trigger a backflow event:

  • Heavy water usage from a local public source (i.e. fire hydrant used during a fire event)
  • Damage to water supply lines
  • Pump failures

Specifically, you need to know that an individual backflow event might impact you, your neighborhood, and conceivably, the entire county-wide water system. Thus, your backflow problems could lead to problems for many people. However, there are backflow prevention devices and procedures which will safeguard against contamination of the water system.

What is a Backflow Preventer?

A backflow preventer is a check valve unit installed on your pipes that allows water to only flow in one direction. Mechanically powered backflow preventers open and close valves automatically. As a result, this mechanism completely eliminates the possibility of your wastewater entering the drinking water system. In the event of a backflow preventer failure, serious complications arise.

To demonstrate, Aquestia explains how backflow preventers work here:

Additionally, having irrigation or sprinkler systems, in both residential and commercial settings, requires annual testing. Leesburg, VA, Fairfax, VA, and many other Northern Virginia communities require annual testing of your device.

Backflow Preventer Testing: How it Works

The purpose of backflow preventer testing is to see if you have a backflow problem then determine what is causing it. Usually, proper testing requires you to temporarily disconnect your water service. This is one reason why backflow testing needs to be done by a certified company like Kiddco Plumbing Inc. We will handle your disconnection so you don’t have to. It’s important to realize that by failing to conduct a backflow test, you may be at risk of having your water permanently disconnected.

On your backflow testing day, your neighborhood plumber will make arrangements to have your water service stopped temporarily. Then, your technician will open and close the valves on your backflow device. At the same time, the plumber watches for pressure changes while taking pressure measurements. Finally, the tester will make sure the system activates properly. When finished, your Kiddco plumber will reinitiate your water service, fill out the necessary paperwork, and submit your results directly.

Where to Get Backflow Testing Done in Northern Virginia

Backflow Testing in Leesburg, VA

Leesburg, VA requires annual testing performed by a certified backflow tester. Inspection of a backflow prevention system demands the examination of many working parts. Annual backflow testing in Leesburg requires PSI readings for both check valves and gate valves among other practices that ensure your water is safe. Kiddco Plumbing will manage everything from shutting off your water to submitting the proper paperwork to the city. Your only job is to get the ball rolling by giving us a call today.

Backflow Testing in Fairfax, VA

Fairfax instructs that backflow inspections occur on an annual basis. It is necessary to obtain a Fairfax County permit before conducting testing which is why you need to hire a backflow testing company with the proper certifications. Once completed, our plumbers will submit the test results directly to the county for you.

Kiddco Plumbing Inc. follows the Fairfax County backflow prevention program guidelines to ensure clean drinking water throughout the county. In the event of a backflow problem, we will work closely with Fairfax Water to isolate, minimize, and control it within 24 hours because we offer emergency plumbing services.

Backflow Testing in Loudoun, VA

Loudoun expects testing as part of the installation of a new backflow preventer device. From there, Loudoun requests testing results annually. If your device happens to fail its testing, Loudoun Water allows you 15 days to fix the issue and retest. Only a certified plumber can test, diagnose, and fix backflow preventer problems. Avoid the headache that comes with backflow preventer problems and schedule your backflow inspection today!

Backflow Testing Near Me

Kiddco Plumbing Inc. services residential and commercial clients near you and all across the Northern Virginia area. We provide comprehensive backflow testing and backflow prevention services in, Ashburn, Chantilly, Fairfax, Loudoun, Reston, and many other Northern Virginia regions. Using our 30+ years of expertise, we will provide the most accurate test results that we will promptly submit to the right local organization for you.

To schedule backflow testing, call Kiddco Plumbing today at (703) 435-4441 or contact us online.