Why Do I Keep Running Out of Hot Water?

Hot water coming from a shower head

Need More Hot Water?

Is there anything worse than waking up and getting ready for work late and you run out of hot water in mid-shower? There definitely couldn’t be a worse time to find out you need water heater repair or replacement for sure! Are you thinking to yourself, “I just replaced that water heater!”, then you may be wondering just how long should a water heater last.

Some brands of water heaters are better made than others, and most brands have different levels of quality with their water heaters. They can range between six years up to 12 years for most, and on rare occasions, they can last up to 20 years.

During the time you have a water heater, the frequency of water heater repairs can affect the longevity of the unit too. The quality of your water will have an impact on the lifespan of a water heater. The harder the water, means the more sediment build-up, which shortens the lifespan. Routine maintenance though, like flushing the water heater, can help extend the lifespan.

What is the most common problem with water heaters?

There are four common problems that may require professional water heater repairs:

  1. Temperature issues:  One of the three issues could be and you may be able to do your own water heater repair:
    • Cold water can be either no power getting to the water heater, the thermostat or the heating element has quit working. You should check the circuit breaker first and if it is in the off position, flip it back on and wait 30 minutes for the water to heat up. If you have a gas-powered water heater, check the pilot light is on. If the circuit breaker or pilot light isn’t the problem, you’ll need a professional water heater repair service to inspect the heating element and thermostat.
    • Water is warm, but not hot could be your water heater is undersized for your household needs. It could be the water connection of cold and hot are switched. Or again, the heating element or thermostat could be going out. Check the water line connections and make sure hot is hot and cold is cold. If that isn’t the problem, you’ll need professional water heater repair.
    • Water is too hot is usually the thermostat needs to be adjusted.
  2. Water leaks: Why is there a leak under my water heater? There are multiple reasons why your water heater may be leaking, such as the following:
  • a faulty T&P (temperature and pressure relief valve
  • high water pressure
  • thermostat overheating
  • a stuck pressure valve
  • a water connection
  • loose heating element
  • a bad gasket
  • the water tank

Before you call for professional water heater repair, check all the plumbing connections and make sure they are tight, but not over-tightened. If you still have leaking, call a professional to check the water heater.

  1. Discolored water:  When the water is coming out rusty, this is usually caused by the tank inside being corroded and rusted, or it can be the anode rod. In either situation, it is recommended to have a professional plumber inspect the unit and make any possible water heater repairs. They may suggest you need to replace your water heater.
  2. Odd sounds: – Why is my water heater making sound? No matter where you live, the water will have some sediment build-up in a water heater which can cause odd sounds. You can flush the water heater and that is a water heater repair that will often stop the sounds. If you’ve waited too long though, you’ll need to replace the unit.

How do you clean sediment out of a hot water heater?

You can schedule an appointment for a plumber to do a water heater flush, or do it yourself with the following steps:

  1. Turn the power and water off to the water heater.
  2. After the water has cooled down, connect an outdoor water hose to the drain valve which is located on the side of the water tank.
  3. Run the garden hose outside or place the other end in a sink drain.
  4. Turn the faucets on inside the bathroom and kitchen.
  5. Turn the drain valve on and let the water drain from the water heater.
  6. Disconnect the outdoor water hose from the drain valve after the water has quit draining.
  7. Turn the power and water back on to the water heater and allow it to fill.

What maintenance do water heaters need?

In addition to flushing your water heater every two years, the pressure-relief valve should be tested every two years as well. You can do this yourself or hire a plumber to give your water heater an inspection and make any water heater repairs they find are needed.

How long does it take for a water heater to heat up?

The average time for a gas water heater to heat the water is between 30 minutes and 40 minutes for a full tank. The average for an electric water heater can be as long as one hour. These times will take longer when there is sediment building up in the tank and the age of the water heater can cause it to take longer too.

When do I need water heater replacement?

When water heater repairs are becoming more frequent, or they cost 25% of what a new water heater will cost, a replacement water heater is recommended.

water heater repair

Is It Time To Upgrade?

If you are at the point of having to replace your water heater, are tankless water heaters a good alternative? It will depend on the size of your household actually and the amount of hot water that is used every day.  If your home doesn’t use more than 41 gallons of hot water in one day, a tankless water heater is ideal. And while they are more expensive to install, you’ll recoup some of the expense in the 34% energy efficiency with a gas-powered water heater.

If you would like to upgrade your water heater, give our team a call today at 703-250-4200.

Can A Toilet Be Repaired?

toilet repair

Do You Have To Throw Out Damaged Toilets?

At some point, most of us have experienced a clogged toilet that starts overflowing. You grab the plunger and begin plunging in hopes of pushing the clog down before the waste and water overflow onto the floor. This is one of many common toilet issues, and some of those require more than basic toilet repair.

If you suspect you are in need of toilet repair, then make sure you call us at 703-250-4200 today!

When is an overflowing toilet an emergency?

Sometimes an overflowing toilet can’t be fixed right then by plunging. If you flush a toilet and the waste and water begin rising to the top and the plunging process isn’t working, you may need to take an emergency toilet repair step and turn the water off at the toilet. There should be a turn-off valve at the base of the tank near the floor.

When this happens, it is sometimes because of a clogged sewer line. How does the sewer line get clogged? Many times it is because of a foreign object or other materials being flushed down the toilet that shouldn’t be flushed. Some of the things that can clog a sewer line are:

  • Diapers or wipes
  • Cotton balls, cotton swabs
  • Feminine products
  • Condoms
  • Dental Floss
  • Paper towels, facial tissues. …
  • Medications
  • Tree roots

In many cases, these things can be just temporary issue that requires toilet repair, like removing the toilet and removing what object is stuck in the base of the toilet. But if you’re having a constant problem with clogged toilets, it could be because of something more permanent, like tree roots busted into the sewer lines underground.

This will require more intense work that is more than basic toilet repair. This type of problem will require the plumber to find where the tree roots have pushed through the sewer line, remove the broken part, and replace it with a new sewer line.

Other toilet repair examples aren’t as extreme. Fortunately, most toilet repairs are more common in day-to-day life. Such as a toilet with constant running water. Why is my toilet running nonstop? There are 3 common causes for a toilet to constantly keep running:

  • The flapper
  • The chain
  • The float
  • The overflow tube

These components are inside the tank and while they may not be considered an emergency toilet repair, the problem needs to be isolated and repaired as quickly as possible. A continually running toilet is wasting gallons of water in a day, as much as 1 gallon of water an hour! Depending on the water pressure, it could be even more. This isn’t just a waste of a natural resource; it also causes a higher water bill.

So, how can I know what’s wrong with my toilet?

First, you need to turn the water that is feeding the toilet. Most toilets should have a knob behind the toilet right under the tank. Then remove the tank lid so that you can examine the components we described above.

  • The Flapper Chain

Check the chain is connected to the flush lever and the rubber flapper. A possible quick toilet repair is if the chain is disconnected, reattach it. If it is too long or too short, adjust the chain length as needed.

  • The Flapper

The flapper is made of rubber and over time, that constant exposure to water can cause it to not seal the drain because it has broken or become dirty and warped. You can do your own toilet repair by replacing this fairly easily using a kit available at your local hardware store.

  • The Float

The float is a ball-type component inside the tank and is what controls the water level inside the tank. If the float is too low, your toilet will have a weak flush and if set too high, it causes water to overflow through the tube, resulting in a constantly running toilet.

Mark inside the tank one inch from the top and then turn the water back on and flush the toilet. Watch to see where the water stops filling up and if it is over the mark you made, the float is set too high. You can do a toilet repair by easily adjusting it up or down as needed.

 Okay, but what if the toilet isn’t flushing?

If your toilet isn’t making a complete flush on the first flush, check the following: flushing fully:

1. The WATER LEVEL inside the toilet tank




If none of those work, you should contact a plumber. They can inspect the functioning of the toilet and all the functions connected to the toilet. Once they have isolated the problem, they can make the toilet repair needed and get you back to business!

How often should I have my toilet maintenanced?

A toilet won’t need much maintenance, but what maintenance there is basically keeping it clean, inside the bowl and around the exterior. For deep cleaning the interior, follow these steps:

  • Overnight Soak: Pour one cup of white vinegar into the toilet bowl and let it sit overnight.
  • Tank Cleaning: Pour some toilet cleaning solution into the tank after you have done your routine cleaning then walk away. Each time the toilet is flushed, it will clean the toilet bowl, and kill bacteria and germs while eliminating residue and breaking down mineral deposits.
toilet repair

When do toilets need to be replaced?

The average life span of a toilet is a maximum of 15 years with regular use. This can vary in a bigger household and the quality of the toilet.  Some warning signs that you need to replace your toilet are:

Chronic Problems

If you’re having to call a plumber repeatedly for toilet repairs, it is time to replace the unit.


If you see the toilet bowl or tank has a crack, it is time to replace the unit.

Unstable Toilet

If the toilet rocks when you sit down, you should have a plumber inspect it for possible toilet repair or replacement.

How Do You Know You Need Drain Repair?

woman trying to unclog a drain

Watch Out for Drain Damage!

Well, the holidays have started, and here come the baking, cooking, and visitors taking showers and more. This is not the time for any of your drains to be stopping up! But alas, this is usually when it happens and your focus goes from baking, cooking, and entertaining to drain repairing.

How do you know you have a drain problem?

There are few, very few homes, that will not experience problems with the drains in the homes. From just a basic clog that can be plunged to something more severe that requires drain repairing. The most common signs that you have a drain problem are as follows:

Water Standing

This will be the first indication – water standing in the sink, tub, or worse, in the yard. In most cases, this is an easy fix, but sometimes, you may need the professional drain repair services of a plumber. 

Discolored Plumbing

Next, if you notice the plumbing pipes in your home are discolored, there is moisture somewhere, usually from a leaking incoming pipe or a drainpipe. This could be a DIY project to replace pipes, but you may have issues with the drain, repairs by a plumber may be needed.

Foundation Issues

You may need drain repair along with foundation repair if you’ve noticed your foundation is cracking or sinking. When a drain line or plumbing line is leaking, the moisture and your foundation are not going to get along.

Water Stains

If you find water stains in the basement along the floor and the wall near the floor, you probably need drain repairs, or, it could be your gutters are back up and the water is seeping ins from the ground level down the wall.

Strange Smell

Drain problems can be discovered by strange smells coming from the drains. This is usually caused by moisture buildup in the basement or under the house.  It usually starts as a mildew odor, and you may not find it right away.

How do drains become damaged?

Professional drain repair is often needed because of some things should never be put in a drain or flushed down a toilet. Those things include

  • Excess toilet tissue
  • Flush paper towels
  • Feminine products
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Small toys
  • Utensils

There are certain foods that should never be poured into the kitchen drain or garbage disposal. This includes FOG (fat, oil, grease), seed, egg shells, and more. When these things are put into a drain or flushed down a toilet, you can be sure abackup will follow. This can put pressure on the drainpipe and cause the pipe to crack, and you end up having a plumber do drain repair and possible pipe replacement.

Does frequent clogging require drain repair?

It is recommended to have your plumbing inspected by a professional plumber if you are constantly having to clear clogs in your drains. Repairs to the drain lines may be needed, or it could be a sewer line issue.

What are common drain problems?

If you’re experiencing any of the following and you’ve not had any success in getting the drain cleared, call a plumber before you do your own damage and require more than a drain repair job:

  • Slow Drains
  • Frequent Clogs
  • Unpleasant Smells
  • Strange Sounds
  • Flooding
  • Tree Root Infiltration
  • Poor Plumbing Installation

How do I identify a leaking drain pipe?

A few things that are an indication of drainpipe problems and the possible need for drain repairs include:

  1. Hear trickling water and no faucets are turned on.
  2. Damaged, stained, warped flooring.
  3. Bad odors coming from the drains.
  4. Cracks in the ceilings, foundation, or walls.
  5. Unusual healthy grass areas in the yard.
  6. Increased activity of insects and/or rodents.
  7. Mildew and mold on walls, under cabinets, in closets.
  8. Slow, sluggish drains.

When should I reach out to a professional for help with my drains?

When you have tried all the basic household efforts, including home remedies of drain cleaners and the plunger with no progress, or long-lasting progress. You may have some serious issues that need professional attention for pipe and drain repairs.

How can I prevent problems with my drains?

Three things you can do to minimize, possibly eliminate drain repair needs are:

1. Keep FOG and Greasy Foods Out

FOG will cause major issues with your drains, creating clogs and more.

2. Screen Catch the Hair

Keep the hair out of your shower, sink, and tub with screen hair catchers available at any hardware store, home improvement store, or even the grocery store.

3. Clean the Soap Scum

Soap scum is a huge cause for clogs and can result in needing drain repairs. Use home remedies on a weekly basis to clean the drain of soap scum and toothpaste gunk.

How long do most drain pipes last?

Most plumbing materials have a long lifespan, but keep in mind there is more than the pipes. There are pipe fittings and pipe joints, and several other components that are involved in plumbing.  The water quality will have an influence on these general lifespans:

Brass Plumbing: Between 40 and 70 years

Copper Plumbing: Fifty years or longer

Galvanized Steel Plumbing: Between 20 and 50 years

Cast Iron Plumbing: Between 75 and 100 years

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Plumbing: Indefinitely

Regardless of which material you decide on, you will still need to watch out for damages that can occur from regular use. Just because a material can naturally last for a certain period of time, doesn’t mean there won’t be damages that can occur based on abnormal wear and tear.


So When Do You Need Drain Repair?

If you ever start to notice a drain that gets clogged frequently, or a leak coming from under a drain, it may be time to call out a plumber. Leaving a damaged drain unchecked can lead to more problems down the line, and potentially a more expensive repair. At the first sign of damage, make a plan to have your drain inspected. And if you are in need of drain damage repair in Fairfax Station, VA, give a call at 703-250-4200 today!