Toilet Problems You Can Fix Yourself

How far do you have to travel to find the nearest toilet? Probably no more than 20 – 30 feet from where you’re currently sitting. That’s because pretty much wherever you might be, there’s ALWAYS one close by. And for obvious reasons.

Well, it should be equally obvious that the more your bathroom gets used, the more likely it is that problems will occur, especially with your toilet. If, for example, yours is a family of four, your household toilets get flushed an average of 20 times per day. Multiply that over six months to year, and what you come up with is a whole lot flushing going on. It’s no wonder things go wrong from time to time.

Well, for the sake of helping you conserve some plumbing repair dollars, here are two common toilet repairs most people can and often do fix on their own.

Changing or adjusting the seat and lid

Replacing or adjusting a lid or seat is a relatively simple process. First, locate the two hinges where the seat screws into the fixture. If they’re covered by a plastic cap, simply pry it open and save it for later. Next, unscrew the nuts and plastic washers. To replace the seat, remove the nuts, washers, and bolts, then follow the process in reverse to attach a new lid or seat. To repair a loose toilet seat, adjust it the spot you’d like it to be and then re-tighten the nuts.

Fixing a running toilet

Another easy toilet repair is replacing the flapper valve: the flexible rubber valve attached to the flush lever. It’s made of rubber which means, over time, it can degrade and become incapable of still forming a tight seal as it attempts to shut off the flow of water. The flapper also can close tightly over the chain, which also prevents it from sealing. Adjusting the chain can fix that problem while replacing the flapper itself is also a simple affair. First, turn off the water supply valve to your toilet. Then flush the toilet to remove the remaining water in the tank. Remove the flapper and bring it to a hardware store where you can find the closest possible match. Later, follow the instructions on the package to install the flapper. Yes, it should be just that simple.

What happens when encountering a toilet problem beyond your ability to repair it? That’s easy, too: simply contact the professional plumbers at Eagle Service Company and we’ll get the job done to your complete satisfaction. And that includes a guaranteed upfront price quote.  Eagle Service Company – for all your home plumbing needs.

Conserve More Water with a Dual-Flush Toilet

As technology evolves, you continue to have a greater number of green living options made available to you.  And we’re all better off for it.

Here’s a very good example: not exactly the newest kid on the block, but one not yet widely known. It’s called a dual-flush toilet, and it has two built-in flushing options.: half flush for liquid waste which consumes only 1.3 gallons of water, and the full flush mode for solid waste disposal consuming 1.6 gallons of water per flush.

If the toilet you’re replacing is an older model, it currently uses 3-5 gallons per flush. How much water can you save by switching from your older toilet to a dual-flush model? According to the Sierra Club, a family of four will save an average of 7,000 gallons per year.

One more thing about dual-flush toilets to keep in mind: less water does not mean more toilet blockages.  Quite the opposite, in fact, since dual-flush toilets have greater flushing power and in-bowl traps about twice the size of older style toilets, thus virtually eliminating the potential for clogged toilets.

Have questions before you buy?  At Eagle Service Company, we’ll be happy to answer them so you can be sure you’re making the right decision for your home and budget. And that goes for any of our residential or commercial plumbing services. So, for new toilet installation or whatever your current plumbing need might be, contact Eagle Service Company today.

Toilet Tank Problems & How to Fix Them

When it comes to toilet troubles, the dreaded clogged and overflowing toilet bowl is one that can send most homeowners into a temporary state of panic. And yet things can go wrong with your tank, too, but usually they’re a lot easier and less stressful to resolve.

Let’s have a look.

Toilet won’t stop running.

A continuously running toilet is more than annoying – it can be quite wasteful and costly as it constantly sends clean water down the drain.

  • First, check the handle to see if it’s loose or broken.
  • If the handle seems intact, remove the tank lid and check to see if the chain that connects the flushing handle to the ball valve is loose, tangled, or broken, as it could be preventing the ball valve from closing completely.
  • Also check the ball valve for damage. Does it close on its own, or is it stuck?

Toilet doesn’t fill with enough water.

When this happens, too little water is being sent into the bowl following a flush, and that could result in your toilet clogging.

  • Is the toilet water supply valve in the open position? Turn it to the right, then to the left, and see if the tank starts filling up with water.
  • If the water supply valve is fully open, you could have a problem with the float level. In an older toilet, you can adjust the float level by bending the metal arm upward. Newer toilets either have a small clip that you can pinch and slide the float up along the rod, or a screw that you turn, one that’s located on top of the float.
  • The fill valve could be clogged. The fill valve is what moves water into the tank over time, it can become clogged with mineral deposits or debris. Shut off the water to the toilet, remove the fill valve cap, and let the water run for a few seconds to flush out the debris. If this doesn’t work, you may need to replace the fill valve.

Cracks in your toilet tank are pretty easy to locate and repair, especially those above the water line.  Whatever the specific problem might be, you can count on Eagle Service Company to repair or replace your toilet if you don’t have the time, tools, or inclination to go it alone. Think of us as your personal plumbers for every reason and every season, and always with a guaranteed upfront price quote and your satisfaction guaranteed.

How to Buy a New Water Heater

“I’d like the white one, please!”

If only it were that simple to buy a new or replacement water heater. If anything, the process has become more challenging ever since new federal energy conservation measures took effect in 2015.

On the flip side, you have more options than ever. And that means more ways to enjoy all the hot water your family needs while cutting your utility costs.

At Eagle Service Company, we’ll start by explaining water heater options that weren’t included even just a few years ago. Gas water heaters of 55 gallons or greater capacity, for example, have been replaced by gas condensing water heaters. Conventional electric water heaters in that same size category also have ceased to exist. But what took its place is much more energy efficient and environmentally friendly:  electric hybrid heat pump water heaters.

Conversely, let’s say you have a smallish home or live in a condo with a 40-gallon water heater and you’re looking for a replacement unit, gas or electric. Well, if your current water heater fits the space it’s in with no room to spare, we have a challenge on our hands. Newer water heaters are bigger to accommodate the added insulation required for them to meet stricter energy efficiency standards.

And then there are tankless water heaters. That’s right – no storage tank but, with the right size system, all the hot water you need. Plus, they can be installed almost anywhere, including inside a closet.

All of which suggests that you would do well to partner up with Eagle Service Company before venturing too far into “new water heater land”. We’ll help you determine just how much hot water your family relies on every day, and go from there. Ultimately, we’ll recommend what we consider best for you home, family, and budget. Because at Eagle, nothing else matters.

How to Detect Home Plumbing Problems

Plumbing problems usually happen without warning, and often at the worst possible time. Not that there’s ever a good time for a problem to occur, but some are definitely worse than others.

What can you do to cut back on plumbing problems and catch others at the earliest possible stages of development? Here are several useful home DIY tips:

Clean behind your fridge

What does cleaning behind your fridge have to do with your plumbing? Plenty, assuming you have one that makes ice by itself and produces cold water on demand. And that’s reason to at least look behind your refrigerator once a month or so to inspect for signs of water on the floor or baseboard. If you do spot water, chances are there’s a leak where the water line from your kitchen faucet connects with your water and ice maker. The sooner you get that fixed, the better. 

Don’t ignore low water pressure

If water pressure is low at just one faucet, chances are you have an isolated problem. But if you’re experiencing low water pressure at multiple water sources, you should investigate the cause. It could be something as simple as the water department doing routine repair or maintenance work…one phone call can solve that little mystery. Low water pressure also can be caused by internal pipe corrosion. If that’s the case, it’s better to incur a repair bill than wait until your pipes have to be replaced.    

Remove hair from sink and tub drains

If anyone in your family has long hair, you have clogged drain problems waiting to happen.  To prevent them, clear out the stoppers in your shower, tub, or wherever else hair is washed at least once a week. In addition, use an organic drain cleaning compound like Bio-Clean to help keep your drain lines open while and hair-free. Bio-Clean is not available in retail stores, but you can obtain a supply by calling Eagle Service Company.    

Keep an eye on your hot water

The older your water heater, the more important it is to keep a close watch on your hot water supply. If, for example, it appears to be brown or rust-colored, that’s a clear indication of internal storage tank corrosion and means your water heater most likely must be replaced.

Here’s another great way to prevent plumbing problems in the first place or, at the very least, spot them in the early stages of development: start scheduling annual whole-house plumbing inspections. That’s a signature service of ours here at Eagle Service Company precisely because our inspections lead to lower repair costs and longer-lasting plumbing. If it’s been a year or longer since your last whole-house plumbing inspection, why not contact us to schedule service today.

When Should I Replace My AC System?

In a perfect world, the answer would be “never.”  Never, because your current system would run problem-free for all time.

So much for that perfect world scenario.

Still, as imperfect as they might be, today’s better-made and well-maintained AC systems have an estimated shelf life of 15-20 years.  Can yours last that long, and perhaps longer still. It’s possible, but the fact remains that if you live in your house long enough, eventually you’re going to have to replace it.

Some people do so proactively when their energy bills start reaching uncomfortable new heights. They want to pay less and come to realize the amount they save will be enough to cover the cost of a high-efficiency replacement AC system over time.

Other people tolerate the higher energy costs but know that some action needs to be taken when one or more of the following symptoms start to manifest themselves:

  • Frequent and increasingly more costly repairs. What you pay $200 to have your system repaired if you had reason to believe it would run “just fine” after that?  Of course you would.  But how about $500, $1,000, or even $1,500?  In other words, what’s the point when you say “enough is enough,” and finally decide your money is better spent on a replacement AC system?
  • Noisy operation. Remember the good ol’ days when your current system was first installed, and how quietly it operated (assuming it was properly installed)?  Well, the older a system gets, the more prone it becomes make unpleasant and persistent noises, like popping, banging, whirring, and the like.  Noisy operation doesn’t necessarily indicate the need for a new system, but it is something you want to get checked out.
  • Hot and cold spots throughout your home. A well-designed AC system should provide equal amounts of cool air from one room to the next.  If that how it used to be, but no longer is, then you have another reason to have the cause thoroughly investigated.
  • You want to contribute to a cleaner environment. Older AC systems use Freon as a refrigerant, while newer systems are equipped with the more eco-friendly r-410A which is not ozone depleting.  Plus, the longer you hang onto your older system, the more expensive Freon charges are going to become.

If you’re AC system isn’t performing up to par, contact Eagle Service Company today so we can get determine the root cause. After that, we’ll present you with repair and new system options as appropriate, and help you decide on the course of action most in keeping with your family’s indoor comfort needs.

How to Hire the Right Drain Cleaning Company

Lou Holtz, the former head coach of the University of Notre Dame Football team, once commented that even the person who graduates last from his or her medical school class gets called “doctor.”  His point:  just because you have a designation doesn’t mean you’re at the top of your game.

Well, the same goes for plumbers and drain cleaning companies. Here at Eagle Service Company, are we at the top of our game?  That’s not for us to say, but for you to decide.  Here’s what we can tell you:  we’re well trained, broadly experienced, our technicians take part in continuing training and development, and we offer our customers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

And yet, when it comes to something as potentially messy, tricky, and inconvenient (for you) as a clogged sewer or drain, being highly trained and skilled isn’t enough.  Lots of local plumbers are.  But only a small group of us have the advanced tools that enable us to tackle even the most difficult jobs from start to finish.  How does that benefit you?  Because when you hire a drain cleaning company that can do it all, you won’t be required to hire two or more companies to complete the same task.

So before you hire someone to clear, repair, or replace your problem sewer or drain, make sure they are fully capable AND equipped to get the job done with these advanced drain cleaning tools:

  • In-line video drain inspection camera. Our cameras enable us to pinpoint the exact location, extent, and cause of the blockage. If, for example, we discover an underground sewer pipe crushed by a tree root, we know instantly that no amount of drain cleaning will solve the problem. That pipe will have to be repaired or replaced as needed, and the tree roots near or inside the sewer pipe removed. No matter what’s going on in a sewer or drain pipe, video inspection facilitates faster problem diagnosis, and that frequently leads to lower-cost solutions.

  • High-pressure water jetter. Our water jetters blast the inside of drain pipe with a high pressure spray of water that can cut through just about anything. At the same time, water is sprayed backwards to help propel the jetter through the pipe. It’s a highly efficient and effective process. And one that helps ensure the blockage is removed completely.

Not all drain jobs require the use of a video inspection camera or high-pressure water jetter.  But what if yours does? To ensure you call the company that can handle any drain cleaning or repair job from start to finish, contact Eagle Service Company today. It’s a smart and confident choice.

How to Protect Your Pet from Heat Stroke

For pets that are heat sensitive, the steamy summer months not only make their lives more uncomfortable, pets are risk of heatstroke – a potentially fatal condition.

Here are some tried and true techniques to help keep your pets from harm:

  • First, make sure they have plenty of shade all day long. Just because they’re in a shady spot in the morning doesn’t mean the same spot will be shady later in the afternoon. Pets also need a cool surface to stand, sit and lay on.  Asphalt, for example, can quickly burn the pads of their feet.
  • Next, provide plenty of cool, fresh water several times a day. Make sure they can reach the water, and secure the water bowl so it can’t be overturned. Avoid ice water, though, as it causes problems for some pets.
  • NEVER leave your pet in a parked car. The temperature on dark, leather seats exposed to the sun can reach 180 degrees Fahrenheit and hotter.

Still, how would you know if your pet is in the throes of heatstroke. In the early stages you’ll notice heavy panting, rapid breathing and a bright tongue and gums.  Try to cool your pet down to prevent the condition from growing worse.

Symptoms of more advanced and dangerous levels of heatstroke include unwillingness to move, noisy breathing, and uncontrollable body functions.

To help your pet recover, the AKC advises you to apply ice packs to the groin area, douse it with water and allow it to lick ice cubes. If it can’t be cooled down and begins to show signs of advanced heatstroke, take the dog to an animal hospital as quickly as possible.

How about inside your home?  Are conditions cool and comfortable for pets and humans alike? Eagle Service Company can help keep it that way with annual preventive maintenance, which features our multi-point cleaning and inspection service.  If it’s been a year or longer since your last such service, why not call today to avoid problems later on.

Common Water Heater Problems

Not that water heaters have a great deal to do with your daily mood – except, that is, when something goes wrong with it and you’re staring at two to three loads of dirty clothes that aren’t going to clean themselves.

Has something suddenly gone wrong with yours?  Here are the most likely causes in and around Birmingham:

Common Water Heater Problems

  • Leaking water. If you find water around the base of your water heater storage tank, check that the drain valve at the bottom of the tank is completely closed. If it’s even slightly open, it could be dripping water out of your tank. The leak also could be coming from the unit’s pressure relief valve if the temperature is set too high.  It’s best to keep that setting right around 120 degrees.
  • Water isn’t hot enough. If your water isn’t as hot as you would like it, there’s likely a build of sediment inside the tank. Try draining and refilling your tank. If the water still isn’t hot enough, there could be a crack in your water heater’s dip tube. This tube sends water to the bottom of the tank where it’s heated.  Even a small crack could be allowing cold and hot water to mix, thus reducing water temperature.
  • Water is too hot. A couple of possible causes, here. If it’s only a momentary spike in hot water temperature, chances are someone else at home is using a cold-water fixture while you’re in the shower.  But if the water stays too hot for an extended amount of time, the problem is likely with the temperature and pressure relief valve which will take a licensed plumber to correct.
  • Water heater is noisy. If your water heater is making popping or banging noises, the likely cause, once again, is sediment build-up at the bottom of the tank. Or perhaps you’re hearing a hissing sound, which indicates your system is overheating.

If the simple fixes mentioned above don’t solve the problem, Eagle Service Company can and will. Contact us today for water heater service or any other plumbing, heating, or cooling need you might have.

The Benefits of a Variable Speed AC System

Okay, so you’re thinking about replacing your AC system and are in the process of coming up with a wish list to discuss with your chosen HVAC company. The problem is, you’ve been at this for a while and you’re still staring at a blank sheet of paper of computer screen.

We get it.  An AC system is something you buy roughly once every 15 years, so how do you know what you want when you’re not even sure what’s available? All the more reason to hire the RIGHT heating and cooling company, but we’ll get back to that in a bit.

For now, we’d like to steer in you in one particular direction, and that’s to be sure to insist on a variable speed replacement system. Think about your current system for just a minute.  What’s one thing you hate about it?  Well, if you’re like most people, you hate that your house can be overly warm one minute when all of a sudden the AC system comes back to life and starts pumping out fresh amounts of cool air.  Even more annoying is that the process repeats itself numerous times during the day.

Well, that’s exactly what a variable speed system puts an end to.  That’s because once it’s on, it stays on until you manually shut it off.  But instead of running at one constant speed like your current system, the speed varies to deliver just the right amount of cool air to reach and maintain your thermostat temperature setting.

Here’s why that’s better for you:

  • More energy efficient. Even though the system air handler (the indoor component) is constantly running, most of the time it’s doing so at a low level. That conserves energy by preventing the system from having to constantly turn itself on and off.
  • Less noise. You can’t help but hear an AC system when it turns itself back on.  But without the frequent on and off again action, your variable speed replacement system will just go quietly about its business, all day and night long.
  • Improved air quality. With the fan running non-stop, air constantly running through your system’s air filter and dehumidifier to keep you comfortable and breathing cleaner, less humid air.
  • Improved comfort control. Constant fan operation allows your system to maintain ideal temperatures throughout the day minus the big fluctuations you’re probably now experiencing.

Here at Eagle Service Company, we want each customer to enjoy the very best in affordable indoor comfort, and you can count on exactly that. Contact us today for a free in-home comfort analysis and new system proposal.