Plumbing, Leak Location, Water Heaters and Cast Iron Sewer Pipe Replacement in Round Rock, Georgetown, Hutto, and Austin
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Meet Master Plumber and Owner: Mickey Womack - December 16, 2019
I am a Master Plumber with 25 years of experience in plumbing new houses and repairing old houses, specializing in water and sewer leak detection and repair. This combination of experience is unique in the plumbing world. I can see the pipes three-dimensionally in my head and turn them 360 degrees, like a mental CAD program, to see through your walls and diagnose problems other plumbers can't. Remember, fixing plumbing is not like fixing a refrigerator: Plumbing is a system, not a set of discrete units. There is no set order of tasks for every job that anyone can do - it takes a plumber with skill, experience, and knowledge to figure out exactly what's happening with your system, how each part is interacting with each other part, and what's going wrong. Often, water comes up in a totally different spot from the actual leaking pipe. That's why you call me after other plumbers have already tried and failed to figure out your plumbing mystery. When a 'general practitioner' plumber can't get the job done, even they call me in as a specialist. I'll pinpoint the leak and perform minimally invasive "keyhole surgery" to protect your yard, walls, and floors.
I started this small, family-owned and run company in 2009, offering plumbing in Round Rock, Georgetown, Hutto, Cedar Park, Pflugerville, Jarrell, and Austin. We believe in old-fashioned service and are LGBTQ allies, so you can always feel safe and taken care of with us in your home. You will receive personal service from me, my son Tim or another plumber on our team. Call us with your plumbing woes, and let us worry about it, you have enough on your plate.
Need a New Water Heater? They Start at $1,300 Installed, Now at The Plumbinator Round Rock! - April 30, 2019
Water heater leaving you out in the cold? The Plumbinator Round Rock installs Lochinvar brand 40 and 50-gallon electric and natural gas water heaters!
Water heater in a closet in the garage? $1,300 includes:
Exceptions and Add-Ons:
Permit we secure from your city/county will add $50-$300 and will be added to your bill at actual cost, no markup.
You may need a new pan line to bring your heater up to code, we'll let you know when we see it. Add $150-$300
Is your heater not on the ground floor of your home? Add $100.
Call The Plumbinator today! 512-786-1771.
Thinking about a tankless water heater instead? We are Navien tankless experts. Read more here and give us a call.
March 18, 2019 - New Apprentice and New Team Photo
Our little family business is growing and getting better!
Welcome to our newest apprentice, Victor! Check out our new team photo.
Mickey - Owner and Master Plumber
Tim - Plumber and Mickey's son, with his wife Daisy
Victor - Apprentice and Daisy's Father
Jennifer - Apprentice
SteveO - Plumber
Shad - Plumber
Sandra - Office Manager and Mickey's Cousin
Not Pictured - Wendy, Marketing Manager and Mickey's Wife
March 2019 Newsletter
The Plumbinator could save you thousands!
Click the link if your Austin-area house was built 1950-1986 OR 1995-2008
February 12, 2019 - The Plumbinator Has a New Plumbing Apprentice!
The Plumbinator is happy to welcome our new apprentice! We just know she will be an amazing addition to the team. Welcome, Jennifer!
Update: 2/21/19Jennifer is doing an awesome job! She jumped right in and is getting her hands dirty fixing ceiling leaks and yard leaks, helping her Master Plumber do his job faster and better.
Considering becoming a plumber? You can own your own business for life in the time it takes to go to college and grad school, but instead of coming out with student loans, WE pay YOU to learn! Now that's a great deal. Check it out!
January 2019 Newsletter
Happy New Year from The Plumbinator!
Winterize your plumbing, spot a sewer leak and read natural gas tips.
Got Kitec Water Pipes in Austin? We Can REPAIR Them! - January 24, 2019
Found out your home has Kitec? Got a huge estimate for a total replacement and now you're freaking out? We can help!
Schedule a free estimate and we'll see if we can REPAIR instead of REPLACE your Kitec.
Why Was My Plumber's Estimate So High?
Because the piping is discontinued, it is very difficult to get parts. Plumbing supply stores don't carry them, and the parts are expensive if you can get them at all. For this reason, many plumbers don't want to deal with the effort involved in fixing your system and will automatically recommend an expensive total system replacement. Since it is a question of WHEN your Kitec will fail, not IF, they're not wrong, you WILL need a total replacement at some point. And when that happens, we're there for you. We're experts at total water piping replacement.
How Can The Plumbinator Help Me?
Until you're ready to replace (or your system fails) we may be able to help! The Plumbinator Round Rock has a source to get Kitec fittings inexpensively, and we can sometimes perform small fixes as a stopgap measure. Give us a call and we'll stop by to look at your situation for free and chat about your options for Kitec repair. Spending hundreds sure sounds better than tens of thousands when you only have a small leak! Call 512-786-1771 today.
November 2018 Newsletter
Huge Water Heater Sale Until Xmas at The Plumbinator
Offer: FREE Plumbing Inspection for Austin-Area Realtors! - October 17, 2018
The Plumbinator offers a FREE service to any realtor representing a buyer of an Austin-area house built 1950-1986.
A house of that age usually has deteriorating cast iron sewer pipes, since this material only lasts 50 years. Read more about that on our other post. We will camera the cast iron sewer lines in a house of this age for any Austin-area buyer's agent for FREE ($250 value) to see if they need to be replaced. This adds value to your service to the buyer. We just ask that we are allowed to discuss the results of the inspection with the buyers themselves.
Call 512-786-1771 for an appointment or read more at the link. Please also forward to any Austin area realtors you know - cast iron pipe inspections for houses built 1950-1986 are free to all buyer's agents.
October 2018 Newsletter
If you have an older Austin home, read this!
Was Your Austin-Area House Built 1950-1986? Then Your Sewer Pipes May Be In Big Trouble - October 08, 2018
If you have an older home in Austin, you may have a ticking time bomb under your slab in the form of cast iron sewer pipe.
All cast iron sewer pipe will need to be completely replaced before your house turns 50 years old.
If your house was built 1950-1969, it's already time to replace before your house is flooded with sewage! Houses built in the 1970s will need complete replacement in the next 10 years.
It's not a question of IF, it's a question of WHEN.
Why? Cast iron sewer pipes only last 50 years before they deteriorate beyond repair and start leaking raw sewage into your yard or living room. If you have an older house in Austin, call us to come out and do an inspection. We'll let you know if you can wait a few years, or if the pipes are already starting to leak sewage into your yard or house.
Why completely replace, not just repair the pipe as needed? Each repair causes the cast iron on either side of the break to turn into TWO new leaks later, as the weakened metal deteriorates from repeatedly coming into contact with the sewage running through it. The thousands you spend for fixes will be only stopgaps, and will actually make the situation worse. You'll end up paying over and over for fixes, until you finally have to completely replace the system anyway. Save money and get out ahead of the problem by replacing all of your cast iron sewer pipes at once, before they turn 50 years old.
Should I Try Trenchless Pipe Relining for Cast Iron Sewer Pipes?
NO. Too many things can go wrong with the process, and you could end up spending just as much money, or more, as a total replacement. In order to line your pipes with epoxy, installers must first clean and prepare the insides of your cast iron sewer pipes, including fixing any cracks, leaks or visible signs of corrosion, to ensure the epoxy has a smooth surface to adhere to. The sanding and cleaning process is very stressful for already decayed sewer pipes and sections can rupture and further erode, leading to more fixes needed before epoxy can even be applied. At best, these “blow-outs” require cutting holes and replacing sections of pipe before they can be lined. In worst-case scenarios, you'll need to stop the re-lining process and get a total replacement anyway, if your pipes are too far gone to be lined.
If the sanding/cleaning and pipe prep process is not done exactly right, corrosion can return and grow under the epoxy (between the lining and the pipe wall) pushing the epoxy back into the pipe, decreasing the diameter of the pipe and leading to restricted flow. Epoxy-lined pipes are not inspected by any governmental or third party agency. Unlike a total replacement that is inspected to adhere to Texas state plumbing code, there's no way to check the quality of the installation and buyers must simply trust that the specific technician the company sent had the skill to clean, repair and install the epoxy in their pipes properly, which has not been our experience when our licensed plumbers have had to come behind these techs to re-pipe what they could not fix.
Exterior pipe corrosion will not be solved by ANY available lining solution. Your cast iron sewer pipes must be totally replaced. Anything else is just a band-aid.
Luckily for you, The Plumbinator Round Rock plumbers are experts in cast iron sewer replacement! We partner with the best excavators in Austin who will quickly tunnel under the house, with minimal damage to your floors, and then we'll expertly replace your whole sewer system.
Call 512-786-1771 for a camera inspection and an estimate.
September 2018 Newsletter
Is your plumbing ready for holiday visitors?
How Do I Hire the Right Person for My Plumbing (or Water-Related) Problem in the Round Rock/Austin Area? - April 27, 2018
Not all plumbers are alike! Each plumber has different specialties and areas of expertise within plumbing, just like doctors, lawyers, and other professions. If you call a Round Rock plumber asking for a certain job to be done, they may refer you to another plumber or water professional, since we all know and refer to one another. It's not a dog eat dog competitive world in the Austin plumbing scene like you may imagine - we all want each other to be successful and to do our best work!
So who is the best person to call in Round Rock for each type of plumbing or water-related job? Here are our recommendations:
*Leak Location and Repair - The Plumbinator
Got a slab leak, yard leak, wall leak, or a mystery leak? The Plumbinator is your one-stop-shop for both expert leak location AND repair. You could call a company with "leak location" in the name, but they will only FIND the leak, not fix it. The Plumbinator specializes in both finding and fixing leaks, and we have four specialized, high tech machines to get the job done fast and right. Pinpoint leak location allows us to perform "keyhole surgery" on your leak, so we don't have to tear up your house or yard. Read more about leak location services by clicking leak location above.
*Swimming Pool Plumbing and Leaks - Lake Austin Pools
We specialize in finding and fixing yard, slab, wall, and mystery leaks, but if someone needs help locating and fixing a leak in their swimming pool, we call Michael at Lake Austin Pools - 512-474-8373.
*Water Extraction/Getting Water out of Carpets - All Nation Restoration
If you've had a bad leak and need help drying out before mold sets in, our good friend Ben will help you out. Call 512-934-8180.
*Water Heaters - Tankless and Tanked - The Plumbinator
If you're considering a tankless water heater, The Plumbinator is your local expert, certified through the Navien company to both install and repair Navien tankless water heaters. Call for a free consultation and our Master Plumber will sit down with you to explain what you need and how much it will cost. Read more about tankless water heaters. If you prefer a traditional tanked heater, The Plumbinator is also your go-to plumber. We install both Bradford-White and Lochinvar brand water heaters in the attic, garage, inside and outside closets, or anywhere else you need it to go. Call for a free, on-site estimate at your home. Read more about tanked water heaters by clicking water heaters above.
*Installation/Service for Rinnai Brand Tankless Heaters - Crystal Plumbing
The Plumbinator is certified to install and service Navien brand tankless water heaters. If you have a Rinnai brand, our colleague Lupe is certified to work on those - 512-970-9033.
*Sprinkler System Problems - Price Lawn and Landscape
We often get calls to work on sprinkler systems, and we give them our friend Jeffrey's number - 512-218-9198.
*Sewer Pipe Problems - Cast Iron Pipe Deterioration, Roots in the Lines, Breaks, Bellies, New Sewer Lines for Additions
- The Plumbinator
If your house was built 1950-1986 you likely have deteriorating cast iron sewer pipethat needs to be replaced. Read more here.Whether you need a new sewer line put in for a bathroom addition, have tree roots invading your old sewer lines or see sewage backing up into your house (Yikes!), we can help! Read more about tree roots in the sewer line problems and learn the signs of a sewer leak.
*Septic Systems - Pop A Lid
We can definitely work on your sewer pipe system, but if you're on a septic system and it's acting up, The Plumbinator recommends Alex at 512-844-6029.
*Commercial Plumbing (Plumbing Inside Businesses) - Custom Plumbing
The Plumbinator does residential plumbing, so if your business is backing up, call our friend Dennis at Custom Plumbing for commercial repair and installation - 512-837-0437.
*Gas Pipe Installation and Repair - The Plumbinator
Need a new gas line for a bigger water heater? Want to install an outdoor gas firepit? Our Master Plumber, Mickey Womack, is certified by the State's governing body, the Texas Railroad Commission, to work on LP (natural) gas, expertly and safely. Gas in dangerous! Make sure anyone who works on your gas lines is currently certified through the TRC. Think you might have a leak? Read more.
*Water Softener Problems - Squared Away Plumbing
When a call comes in for a water softener installation or service, we refer it to our colleague Chris Brooks - 512-264-4922.
*Generalized Kitchen and Bathroom Plumbing - The Plumbinator
We do it all, faucets, toilets, sinks, garbage disposals, unstopping lines, etc. Read more about general plumbing services we offer and get some DIY tips.
*Appliance Repair - Don's Appliance
The Plumbinator works on any lines to your appliances that are inside the walls, such as the gas lines to your stove, or the water lines to the washing machine. If your actual appliance needs repair, however, call Don at 512-801-5287.
*Cast Iron Bathtub Refinishing - All Surface Renew
If you need an old cast iron bathtub removed, The Plumbinator will take a hammer to it! But if you want it refinished, call Jose at 512-788-0025.
*Tile Setting - Pablo
If you need tile work in your kitchen or bathroom (or anywhere else) we highly recommend Pablo Vargas at 512-657-9432. Fast, fair and honest.
*Backflow Valve - Double S Plumbing
Got a broken backflow valve? Backflow takes a special certification. Call Jody Market at 512-227-5137.
Do I Need To Hire a Licensed Plumber? Your Common Questions Answered! - April 09, 2018
Help! I have a plumbing problem! Should I try to do it myself, hire a handyman or call a licensed plumber?
In Texas, there are only two legal options when you have a plumbing issue:
1) As the homeowner, you can fix your own plumbing, OR
2) You can hire a state-licensed, insured plumber who is working under a valid Master Plumber's number.
If you have your plumbing work done illegally, it could be a costly mistake. Read more below.
Question 1: Should I Try to Fix My Own Plumbing?
It depends. If the project involves natural or LP gas, NO you should not. Working with gas and gas piping can be very dangerous and anyone who works on gas must be licensed. As far as non-gas related plumbing, whether you should attempt a fix depends on how large and/or complicated the project is. In Texas, homeowners can legally do certain types of things to their plumbing without a permit, like replacing a toilet or changing out a faucet. If you feel confident giving a small project a shot, feel free, but call us if you get in over your head! More complicated projects may require a permit and an inspection, which you will have to get through your city. Contact your city permitting office to find out if the job you're attempting on your own will need to be permitted and inspected.
Question 2: Should I Hire a Handyman to Do My Plumbing?
ABSOLUTELY NOT. In the state of Texas, it is illegal for a handyman to touch ANY plumbing, including small projects like changing a faucet, that a homeowner can legally do. According to the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners (TSBPE) rules, if you don't do your own plumbing you must hire a currently licensed plumber. Here's the TSBPE definition of plumbing:
"Plumbing" means: (A) a fixture, appurtenance, appliance, or piping, including a disposal system, used to: (i) supply, distribute, circulate, or recirculate water, other liquid, or gas; or (ii) eliminate sewage for a personal or domestic purpose; (B) a fixture, appurtenance, appliance, or piping used outside a building to connect the building to: (i) a supply of water, other liquid, medical gases and vacuum, or other gas on the premises; or (ii) the main in the street or alley or at the curb; (C) a fixture, appurtenance, appliance, or piping, including a drain or waste pipe, used to carry wastewater or sewage from or within a building to: - 3 - (i) a sewer service lateral at the curb or in the street or alley; or (ii) a disposal or septic terminal that holds private or domestic sewage; or (D) the installation, repair, service, or maintenance of a fixture, appurtenance, appliance, or piping described by Paragraph (A), (B), or (C).
As you can see, their definition of plumbing includes everything and anything, including installing or repairing fixtures like faucets and toilets, and appliances like garbage disposals. There is no plumbing project a handyman is legally allowed to perform in Texas, according to the TSBPE. A handyman who’s caught performing plumbing work will be fined a penalty of at least $2,000. The names of these individuals are also published annually by the state of Texas so that consumers can steer clear of people who fail to earn or renew their license.
In addition to being illegal, it's also extremely dangerous to have a handyman work on your plumbing, and may be extremely expensive in the long run. Since they are unlicensed as plumbers, they are not up to date on plumbing codes and safety. Shoddy handyman work may flood your house, or worse, cause your gas lines to leak or explode! Since the work was done illegally, your homeowner's insurance will not cover the expensive damage, nor will whatever insurance the handyman may have. You'll be on your own.
Question 3: Should I Hire a Licensed Plumber Who Is Doing Side Work?
Maybe, after a bunch of research. Sometimes a homeowner will come across a currently licensed plumber on an app like Next Door who is offering his plumbing services separately from the company he works for, after hours or on the weekends. Be careful here and do your due diligence to protect yourself and your home. Only a licensed Tradesman, Journeyman or Master plumber may do sidework, and ONLY with the permission of the Master Plumber under whose number they work.
Every plumber in Texas must be, or be working under, a Master Plumber's number. For example, at The Plumbinator all of our plumbers work under the Master Plumber, Mickey Womack, whose Master number is M39038. If you hire a plumber who is doing your job as side work, be sure to first make a photocopy of his plumbing license and check that the date is current. Next, ask him what Master number he is working under, look it up on the TSBPE website, and call that license holder personally to make sure the plumber has permission to work under that number for side work. If he doesn't have the Master Plumber's permission, that will make the work illegal, so the plumber won't be insured, and neither will your job. If he floods your house or blows the roof off due to a gas explosion, it'll be your problem.
It's up to you to verify in advance that the plumber is doing sidework legally so that your job is insured and you have a warranty on the work. If you do decide to move forward with this plumber, have them give you a written estimate that you both sign, with his information and Master number, as well as your address, name and job description, plus date.
Question 4: So Should I Hire An Insured, Licensed Plumbing Company?
YES. It's the easiest and best option. If the project is too big or complicated for you, as a homeowner, to do by yourself, or if you just don't want the headache, by all means, give The Plumbinator a call! We'll be right over to fix it fast, legally and correctly. Our Master Plumber, as well as all of our licensed plumbers, must attend continuing education classes every year in order to keep their licenses current. This means they are on the cutting edge of what is legal, proper and safe for Texas homeowners. You've got enough on your plate, let us worry about your plumbing. Call The Plumbinator today. 512-786-1771
7 Trees That Cause the Most Plumbing Damage - Are Any in Your Yard?- March 21, 2018
What kinds of trees do you have in your yard? You need to find out! To protect your plumbing you must know what kind of trees you have and where they are planted in relation to your sewer lines since some trees are more trouble than others for your plumbing.
Tree roots can exploit tiny cracks or holes in your sewer pipes, and use them to invade! It's a very common problem in Central Texas to have tree roots clog, crack and even completely destroy parts of sewer lines. Did you know that tree roots can be 2-7 times as long as the tree is tall? These roots will travel long distances seeking water. Roots can actually sense water vapor and will follow the trail of leaking moisture straight back to small cracks, badly sealed joints, or pinholes in your pipes. Tree roots can't invade your water pipes since those are under pressure, but if a crack or hole exists in a water pipe, roots will find it and wrap around the pipe, possibly displacing the pipe and causing further damage.
Inside the sewer pipe, roots will invade with many hair-like masses at each hole or crack. The roots will grow quickly and catch toilet paper, debris and grease over time, adding to the blockage and slowing the passage to the main sewer. If left untreated, the roots will continue to get bigger and exert more pressure on the pipe, eventually cracking it open and causing the total failure of your pipe. The roots of some trees are more likely than others to send moisture seeking tendrils searching for the flaws in your pipes.
Was your home built 1950-1986? Then you likely have cast iron sewer pipes that are degrading and are especially susceptible to root invasion. Click to read more.
If your water pressure is low, your water bill is high, your house is older, or your toilets are gurgling, you may have roots in your pipes. Call The Plumbinator and we will run a special, high-tech camera down your line to see if you've been invaded. If you do have roots in your pipes, we'll pull them out, or re-route.
So which trees are the worst offenders? Here are the top 7 trees voted most likely to invade.
But if you are thinking of choosing a new tree for your yard, here are some trees that pose little or no threat to underground pipes:
* Mediterranean fan palms
* Many fruit tree species
* Certain cypress and cedars
* Wafer ash
* Sabal palmetto
Good Luck and call us if you need us!
DIY Plumbing Tips and Tricks for Sinks, Toilets, Disposals and More - March 09, 2018
If you've got a plumbing problem, don't hesitate to call The Plumbinator to come to fix it. But by using this guide to preventative plumbing maintenance, you might have to call us less often! Read on for DIY plumbing do's and don'ts.
DO flush your hot water heater through the drain valve at least once a year to remove sediment build up. The sediment could harden, which makes your heater run less efficiently. If sediment continues to accumulate it can permanently damage the water heater.
DON'T ask a handyman to work on your water heater or ANY of your plumbing. It is illegal for a handyman to touch any plumbing, according to the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners. Anyone touching your plumbing must be certified through the TSBPE as a Journeyman or Master Plumber, and be, or be working under, a Master Plumber in Charge. Allowing a non-professional to mess with your plumbing is extremely dangerous, especially with water heaters, which can leak gas, explode, or scald.
DO call us for a tankless water heater consultation if you have four or more people living in your house and often run out of hot water. Read more here.
DO Run cold water, not hot water, when the disposal is running. Cold water at full blast from the faucet helps grease to solidify and move with the water down the drain. Hot water will melt grease and could actually push it further down the drain and create a clog.
DON'T Grind ice or eggshells in your disposal to "keep the blades sharp". There are no blades in a disposal, only blunt impellers. Ice won't help, and egg membranes can get wrapped around the impellers and damage them.
DO Try a plunger on small clogs in the drainpipe. A standard cup plunger might give the clog the extra push it needs to get moving. Make sure to put a few inches of water in the sink, and block the overflow drain with a wet rag, then plunge the sink firmly but gently. But...
DON’T attempt to plunge the sink like this if you have already poured a chemical drain cleaner into the sink, as they can splash all over you during plunging! Also, while we're on the subject - DON'T ever use harsh chemicals in the first place, they can damage your pipes and YOU.
DON’T pour hot water into your toilet to attempt to dissolve clogs. Toilets are designed for cold water, not boiling hot water, and the sudden temperature change will cause your bowl to crack and you'll need to call us to get a whole new toilet! Warm water should be ok, however.
DON'T flush anything but human waste and toilet paper. Dental floss will wrap around things and tangle, bandaids have sticky plastic parts that can get gummed up with clogs, and q-tips get stuck in the flange and cause blockage right under your seat, at the floor drain. Other no no's we've pulled out of toilet pipes: tampons, diapers, kitty litter, "flushable" wipes and grease clogs. Also, never flush your leftover prescription medication, it breaks down in the sewer system and contaminates the water supply.
DO keep a trashcan in your bathroom and tell your kids to remember to throw all their garbage in there, except toilet paper. But don't keep the wastebasket under the sink - bumping the drain pipes can cause leaks.
DO pour two to three gallons of very hot water down shower/tub drains once per month to prevent excess build-up of hair and grease. Toilets are not made for very hot water, but tubs are.
DON'T rip apart the shower trying to install a new faucet or trying to remove a clog. If you go in without any prior knowledge, you risk causing extensive damage and then having to call us to fix it. Make sure to do preventative maintenance on your plumbing, but call a professional handle bigger tasks.
Help! I've Got a Mystery Leak! - March 2, 2018
There's a wet spot on your ceiling that keeps getting bigger and bigger! You've clearly got a water leak. But wait a minute...there's no bathroom, kitchen or other water sources above that spot. Hmmm, you've got a plumbing mystery on your hands. Time to call The Plumbinator, the expert in solving plumbing mysteries without tearing up your house.
When you've got a mystery leak, you need to find the leaking pipe and fix it, ASAP, before it starts to damage your house or form black mold that can harm your health. So, you call a discount plumber and he can't figure it out either, but wants to start hacking open your walls in different places, or digging holes all over your yard, or worse, busting out the concrete under your carpet on an exploratory mission that may result in nothing except an expensive, ruined house and yard!
We get called to houses all the time where the plumber charged an arm and a leg, ripped up the walls or ceiling and never even found the leak. Or maybe they did manage to find the leak but didn't want to mess with fixing it. Now you're left hanging, forcing you to do more research and make more phone calls to find a plumber who has time and expertise to come fix your leak quickly.
The Plumbinator Difference:
Advantage #1: We Find it AND Fix It! We are a one-stop shop for expert leak location and repair.
What should you do if you have a mystery leak?
Step 1: Make an appointment for us to bring our high-tech equipment out to pinpoint the source of the leak by calling 512-786-1771. Leak location costs $400 for the first 90 minutes and $150 per hour after that. We find 95% of leaks within the first 90 minutes.
Step 2: Our plumber will show you the exact location of the leak, discuss your options for repair or reroute of the pipes, and write you an estimate to fix the leak. The estimate will be a "per job" price, not an hourly rate. It is separate from the leak location hourly fee above.
Step 3: If you accept the price on the estimate, sometimes the leak can be fixed that day, other times we will set up an appointment with you to come back in a day or two to fix it. If you do not accept the price on the estimate, you will only pay for the leak detection, and we'll be on our way.
Advantage #2: High-Tech Leak Location Equipment
We are leak location specialists! So we have purchased expensive, specialized equipment and spent days in training with an instructor to learn to expertly pinpoint the source of your leak. Generalist plumbers don't have this training or equipment. This allows us to find the leak without hacking holes in your wall or ceiling or digging up your yard on a fact-finding mission.
How does the equipment work? The water flowing out of a leak in a pipe causes the pipe to vibrate. These vibrations are transmitted throughout the line and can be picked up, even at distant contact points such as toilets or fittings. The vibrations are also transmitted up through the ground to the surface, although the sound is very muted. Our sophisticated listening equipment makes the vibrations of the leak audible to the human ear through our specialized headphones. If the electro-acoustic equipment can't pinpoint the leak to a small enough area, we get out the big guns - the helium sniffer! At the hose bib, we inject helium, an inert gas, into the line and when the helium escapes through the leak, our high-tech helium "sniffer" will sniff out the exact location!
Advantage #3: Minimally Invasive "Keyhole Surgery"
Once we find the leak, we can then perform minimally invasive "keyhole surgery" on your plumbing to minimize damage to your house and yard. Recently, we performed keyhole surgery on a driveway to fix a yard leak and only needed to make a small hole in a floor to fix a sewage leak, all thanks to high-tech leak detection!
Four Kinds of Yard Leaks - How to Spot Them and What to Do - February 23, 2018
It hasn't rained for a while, but suddenly your dog comes in from the yard with wet, muddy paws. When you look outside you see a huge puddle on the lawn. You might have a yard water leak! Luckily, The Plumbinator specializes in pinpointing the source of yard leaks and fixing them right. But for now, let's learn more about yard leaks.
What kinds of pipes are running under your yard that may have sprung a leak? In the front yard, there are four kinds:
Signs of a Main Water Line Leak
Water travels into your home from the City's water main to your water meter in the yard, then underground through the main service line to your shutoff valve. If your water bill is suddenly sky high, and you see puddles of standing water in the front yard, you probably have a main water line leak. We can pinpoint exactly where along the pipe the leak is occurring, since it may not be where the water is coming up. Water from a leak can flow underground and come up in low spots, hiding the true location of the break. We have specialized high-tech listening equipment so we don't have to dig tons of holes in your yard on a blind fact-finding mission! We'll go right to it, dig it up and fix it correctly.
Signs of a Sewer Line Leak
What's that horrible smell? Is your home older? Might be a sewer leak. If you smell sewage and see a patch of unusually lush, green grass, it's a good bet. You may also see a bunch of rats hanging around suddenly in your yard. Yikes! Give us a call and we will perform a camera inspection of your line to confirm the leak, so we can get to fixing it before the entire neighborhood wonders why it smells like a sewer.
Signs of a Gas Line Leak
If you smell rotten eggs, hear hissing or whistling sounds from your gas line or notice dead grass in your yard, you might have a gas line yard leak. This is a scary situation because inhaling toxic fumes could seriously hurt your family and pets, or even cause an explosion. You need to act quickly. Call The Plumbinator and we will come right over. First, we'll test the whole house gas system with a pressure gauge to confirm the leak, then locate the spot of the leak and fix it for you.
Signs of an Irrigation System Leak
If you see water spurting out in the spaces between sprinklers, or if you have a high water bill or see wet spots around one specific sprinkler head, you may have an irrigation system leak. Before you call someone, turn on your sprinkler system and look for a "geyser" shooting up from a broken or missing sprinkler head. Check your drip system too, a missing head on one of the smaller tubes can also waste gallons of water. If you do end up finding a leak in your sprinkler system, The Plumbinator can recommend a sprinkler expert to fix it.
Meet our Plumbing Apprentices: Learn a Trade - Get Paid to Learn!- February 13, 2018
The trades are a great career for those who don't want to take out a bunch of loans for college. In plumbing, your Master Plumber pays YOU to learn, and you get cumulative licenses that will serve you for life. Plumbing is also an awesome career for those with college degrees who want to work with their hands and eventually become their own boss.
Welcome Shad, our newest plumbing apprentice!
When Shad makes it to Master Plumber, he can own his own business. But before then he'll spend years learning the whole system network of plumbing from the ground (literally) up! Shad comes to us fresh from a stint working at Skokomish Park in Washington state. Before that, he earned a Bachelor's degree and spent years in IT. He couldn't wait to get out from behind a desk and start working with his hands.
Meet Britanny - Apprentice for 1 year
When we met Bri, she was working as a manager at a storage facility, here in Round Rock. She was so hardworking, honest and mechanically minded, we were eventually able to convince her to apprentice with us. She's been doing an awesome job working with the Master Plumber, learning from the best. Before long, she'll get her Tradesman license, then her Journeyman license, and then her Master's!
Meet Steve - Apprentice for 2.5 years
Steve also came to us from the IT world. He has a Bachelor's degree as well and spent many years working for Dell and doing computer networking before deciding that he wanted to leave the desk chair behind and learn a new trade. He's been an invaluable asset to the team.
Thanks for reading, and let us know when you're ready to start your new career in plumbing!
Want Endless Hot Showers NOW? Five Signs a Tankless Water Heater is Right For You - February 02, 2018
Water heater leaving you out in the cold? A tankless might be the answer!
1) Do you have a large family and/or often run out of hot water?
If you've got four or more people who like to take showers or baths every day, then you've also got plenty of dishes and clothes to wash too, so you're using a ton of hot water and probably running out often. Large families need a tankless water heater because it heats water ON DEMAND. Regular water heaters heat a few dozen gallons of water and when it's gone, it takes a while to heat more, leaving you out in the cold. With a tankless, special coils heat the water at the time you need it, so you never run out! No more staggering showers for family members and scheduling when to run the washer.
2) Do you have a bulky heater in a small space?
Regular, tanked water heaters take up a lot of room in a small house, often squatting in a big chunk of the floor, closet, or attic space. Tankless heaters are smaller and last up to ten years longer than a conventional heater. Your tankless will be mounted on a wall, inside or outside, freeing up space for storage.
3) Do you want to save energy and money?
Tankless water heaters are more energy efficient than regular water heaters since you don't have to pay to keep the heated water constantly hot. You're also not losing heat that's idly sitting in a tank that, while insulated, is still going to lose heat and require constant reheating. There are also tax credits and rebates you can earn by going tankless. Check it out below. All of this will save you money every year!
4) Do you worry about your water heater leaking and destroying your flooring, walls, and ceiling, plus causing black mold?
That's a valid concern, tanked water heaters leak all the time, often causing mold and water damage issues for the homeowner. Since water isn't stored in the unit, but rather heated fresh on demand, there is little reason to worry about a tankless heater leaking and/or causing a mold issue. You can rest easy and breathe freely.
5) Are you tired of repairing or replacing your heater after your 6-year warranty runs out?
Navien tankless water heaters actually offer a 15 YEAR warranty on the heat exchangers. That's even more than the 12 years quoted in the infographic below. And for sure, that's a lot longer than a tanked water heater warranty, which hovers around six years. Tankless heaters do incur a higher up-front cost to install, but they save you money in gas heating every year, and last twice as long, with a longer warranty. Keep in mind that if you have hard water, you need to get a softener, as hard water is very bad for tankless heaters. And just like a tanked heater, you'll need to flush your tankless every year to keep it working nicely.
If you're still not sure if a tankless is right for you, read more here then call us for an estimate and to discuss - our Master Plumber will walk you through it! Call 512-786-1771. http://www.plumbinatoraustin.com/water-heaters.html
*A Note about Brands: Our Master Plumber is certified through the Navien company to install AND repair Navien gas tankless water heaters, so we install this brand exclusively and thus require your house to have a gas hookup. He is also certified through the company to repair Navien tankless heaters, so you will always know who to call in the unlikely event your Navien breaks down sometime in the future.
6 Signs You May Have an Active Slab Leak - January 22, 2018
Oh no! You just went to grab a soda from the fridge and splashed through a huge puddle on the way. Why is your home turning into a swimming pool??
Slab leaks can wreak havoc on your home and your wallet! Not only will your house be underwater, but you'll also be paying for the privilege through increased bills. The water pipes for your home run through the slab, and as they get old and corrode, or the house settles into its foundation, pipes may spring leaks or break. The older your home is, the more likely it is you'll have a slab leak. Check out the signs in this list, so you'll be ready if it happens to you.
1) There's a Puddle on the Floor, Inside or Outside
The most common sign of a slab leak is a puddle on the floor that can grow larger over time, as water bubbles up from underneath. You'll often find the puddle close to where plumbing is located, such as the bathroom, kitchen or laundry room. If you see a puddle, look around carefully to make sure the leak isn't actually coming from an appliance, then give us a call and tell us you have a slab leak!
2) Sky-High Water Bill or Heating Bill
You open your water bill and your jaw drops. How could you have used so much water? If there is no obvious reason your bill is sky high, and the change is sudden, you might have a slab leak on your hands.
A little-known sign of a leak is a high heating bill. Having a hot water leak in your slab is the same as leaving your hot water running around the clock, which means your hot water heater is also running 24/7.
3) Warped Wood Floors or Damp Carpet
Water bubbling up from a slab leak accumulates and often comes up under your carpeting or wood floors. Keep an eye out for warped wood flooring or dark and/or damp areas on your carpet.
4) Your Hardwood or Tile Floor is Suddenly Hot
Did you recently install heated floors? No? Well, then why are your floors suddenly so nice and toasty? If you read #2 above, then you know why. You've got a hot-side slab leak that is running 24/7 and heating up your floors from below. Unfortunately, those nice warm floors are costing you a bundle to heat all that water!
If you have carpeting, you probably won't detect the hot spot right away. If you have pets, you may notice them lying in a certain spot repeatedly on cold days, so check the floor there to see if its warmer than surrounding areas.
5) Low Water Pressure
With so much water flowing out of leaks or breaks in the pipes, that leaves less water to travel to your fixtures, resulting in sudden low water pressure. If you're not using water at the same time anywhere else in the house, like the washing machine or the shower, you could have a slab leak that's "stealing" your water pressure.
6) Bad or Musty Smells
If water from a slab leak bubbles up under your carpet, mold and mildew growth will soon follow. If the leak wicks up into the drywall, you could also develop mold in your walls. While these types of mold growth are usually not visible, you will definitely start to smell them! So if areas of your house suddenly smell musty, check this list for other signs of a slab leak. Mold is not good for your health or the health of your house.
If you think you have a slab leak or a yard leak in Georgetown, Round Rock, Cedar Park or Pflugerville, call The Plumbinator right away! 512-786-1771. We have specialized listening and sniffing equipment that other plumbers don't have! We will pinpoint the leak AND fix it, without tearing up your house or yard.