Frequently Asked Questions

  • Replace older, less efficient toilets with 1.28 gallon High-Efficiency Toilets (HETs) to save up to 16,500 gallons of water per year.
  • Swap out your 2.75 gpm showerhead with a 1.75 water-conserving showerhead and you can save more than 7,700 gallons of water per year.
  • Fix leaky faucets and install faucets with water-saving aerators to effortlessly save hundreds of gallons of water per year.
  • Use the appropriate water level and load size on the washing machine when doing laundry.  Consider purchasing a front-end washing machine.
  • Use a broom rather than a hose to clean off driveways, steps and sidewalks.
  • Water your garden during the coolest part of the day, generally in the morning, and avoid watering on windy days.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving to keep excess water from going down the drain.
  • Landscape with native or low-water plants to significantly reduce water usage outside the home.
  • Use leftover water for houseplants, instead of pouring out a half-empty glass of drinking water.
  • Make sure the dishwasher is fully loaded to maximize the dishes cleaned in a cycle.

A tankless water is just that, a water heater that is absent of a storage tank. Water is immediately heated as is passes through the unit. Tankless water heaters are often referred to as “on-demand”, or “instantaneous”. Tankless, however, is the most accurate name. 

It depends on the existing piping size and distance from the water heater. This is the reason we call them tankless. Labeling the units as Instantaneous or on-demand can create the illusion that the hot water is immediately delivered. A Mapleservice plumber can help assess your Water heater location, or re-location.

A typical installation takes about a day.

While the Federal tax credit has expired (2009/2010), PG&E does offer rebates for tankless retro-fits.

Most tankless models can be installed at or near the location of an existing storage model. Most importantly, natural gas and domestic water must be evaluated for proper sizing. Tankless models have higher BTU ratings, and require certain water flow rates. Both can be assessed and properly evaluated by a Mapleservice plumber.

Both models have their advantages.

Storage models:

  • Are less expensive to install.
  • Do not require electricity.
  • Come in a large variety of sizes.
 

Generally, storage tank water heaters have a usable capacity of about 70%, meaning a typical 50-gallon model has available 35 gallons of truly hot water.  When there is high demand, like back to back showers in a large family, the hot water can be exhausted.  When it does, a family will need to wait for the water to get hot again.

Leaks are not a concern when properly installed.  With a life expectancy of over 100 years, Uponor PEX has with withstood the most extensive tests in the industry for over 30 years.  What’s more, all PEX is thoroughly inspected before it leaves the plant.  When installed by a trained PEX installer*, Uponor PEX has a 25 year guarantee.

YES!  Uponor has undergone 35 years of rigorous testing.  Under the supervision of an independent laboratory, Uponor PEX was subjected to 3 decades of testing at temperatures of over 239F, and at pressures 239 pounds per square inch (PSI).  When the 30-year life cycle was completed recently, not a single piece of Uponor PEX had experienced any breakdown or failure.

Uponor PEX has been used worldwide in plumbing and radiant systems for over 30 years, longer than any other flexible system on the market.

PEX (polyethylene cross-linked) tubing is a specially designed plastic tubing with distinctive properties that make it ideal for water distribution systems.  Uponor produces PEX-a, which is considered superior to all other PEX brands.

Two ways.  Natural gas is odorized and is meant to be sensed as a smell, so it is often obvious.  Or, P.G. & E will notify customers if they suspect a leak.  Any leak found on the house side of the meter is the property owner’s responsibility to remedy.

All corrugated/flexible manufacturers require certified installers* complete the installations.  Make sure your plumber is certified.

Flexible gas piping can save time and money when replacing an existing system.  Its much easier to service those “hard to reach” places under existing homes with a flexible pipe.  When room and space is sufficient, however, steel can be the best choice as it is less expensive.

Mapleservice is an exclusive installer of Insinkerator disposers.  Featuring the Insinkerator Evolution series of dipsosers.  All Evolution series come with multi-grind technology and are the quietest available.  All come with a warranty of at least 8 years.  A Mapleservice technician can assist in making the right choice for you application.

According to more than two dozen independent studies from around the world, food waste disposers do not harm municipal sewer systems. 

Food waste disposers use less than 1% of a household’s total water consumption (less than a gallon per person) and, on average, cost less than 50 cents a year in electricity to operate.

Trucking food waste to landfills and incinerating it generates emissions, and rotting food scraps emit methane, a greenhouse gas.  Composting food scraps make sense, but isn’t always practical.  Using a food waste disposer can play a convenient and environmentally beneficial role in helping manage waste.

Yes.  Environmental enthusiasts say the packaging and shipping associated with bottled water that uses fossil fuels has a negative environmental impact.   About 80% of water bottles end up in land fills.

In addition to style and convenience, a filtration system is also a cost-effective alternative to bottled water.  Existing instant hot water and cold water filters cost less than $100 per year.  The average household spends more than $400 per year on bottled water.  Each hot water dispenser uses less energy than a 40-watt light bulb. 

That depends. There are many factors that must be considered. These include:

  • The efficiency of the equipment
  • The size of your home
  • Is the ductwork installed and in good condition?

In most cases, replacing your whole system, including both indoor and outdoor components, will result in a more efficient, longer-lasting system, but will also cost a little more.

Rating numbers indicate the efficiency of heating and air conditioning equipment and are directly related to the amount of energy a specific model uses.  The higher the rating, the more efficient the product, and the lower your heating and cooling bills can be.  The federal government establishes rating guidelines and sets minimum levels.  For cooling, the rating is SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio).  For heat pumps, the rating is HSPF ( Heating Seasonal Performance Factor).  Gas furnaces are rated with AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency).

Think of your air conditioner and furnace a part of a total system.  That system will work better, long and more efficient if all it’s components are matched in capacity and efficiency.  By the same token, a mismatched system – one that mixes old technology with new – could decrease system performance and overall comfort.

If you are a homeowner who installed your own boiler and are not a professional heating contractor, you must contact the distributor/dealer who sold you the boiler for technical support and warranty action. 

Anti-freeze can be used with most boilers.  Recommended is an anti-freeze designed for hydronic systems and formulated with inhibited propylene glycol, a non-toxic antifreeze. A solution of up to 50% can be used.  No compounds containing petroleum should ever be used in your heating system.  Do not use automotive anit-freeze.

Please contact your local heating professional to troubleshoot your system.

The average setting for the aquastat (the temperature control device on a boiler) for a forced hot water system is 180 degreesF.  It can be raised as high as 210 degreesF if needed in severe weather.  For systems that use coils to heat domestic hot water, the high limit setting is 210 degreesF and the low limit setting 140 degreesF.

Your local heating professional should perform a heat-loss estimate based upon the size and construction of your home before recommending a boiler size and model.

A top-vented furnace must be vented vertically up through the roof.

A direct-vented furnace requires installation on an exterior (outside) wall.  The exhaust vent is direct from the unit to the outside.

A central heating furnace distributes heat throughout the living space through a duct system. Wall furnaces and space heating units are not connected to a ducts system.  The heat from a space heating units is directly from the unit into the immediate space. 

Gravity furnaces have no blower to move the air around the room.

No.  There is no paint on the market that will withstand the high temperatures.

Yes, our radiant heat system has no drafts, fans or blowers to circulate dust, dirt and other allergens throughout your home.  Warm radiant floors can eliminate the need for carpeting which is a breeding ground for dust mites, a very common cause of allergic respiratory disease.  The result is a clean, healthy environment –a must for people with allergies.

Absolutely.  Radiant heating floor systems are flexible, meaning you can heat the entire home or only those rooms you want to heat.  The bathroom is a popular area of the home to heat.

Unlike traditional heating systems that just warm the air, radiant heating warms the floor and the objects in contact with the floor.  The entire floor distributes a consistent, even and quite heating.  There are no drafts and radiant floor heating takes the chill out of cold tile, marble and wood floors.

A clean-out is just that, a point of entry that allows for easy periodic “cleaning out” and maintenance of your sewer line system.  Typically they are a riser pipe that travels to ground level from your main sewer line, and are located at or near the exit point of a property drainage line.  Without a clean-out, other means of cleaning access must be utilized.  These other means can be the removal of a fixture (toilet) within the property, and can prove to be a messy intrusion on the property.  Or, drilled penetrations are often performed on the actual sewer line allowing “one-time” cable cleaning access.  Drilled penetrations leave open the possibility of silt and earth intrusions.  So, all properties should have an accessible clean-out.

The shorter the length of replacement, the least likely a trenchless is to be cost effective.  A short replacement, around 20’, can be accomplished with minimal intrusion on landscape.  Usually, on the same day.

A sewer line is similar to your water main when determining responsibility.  If the problem is determined to be within an owner’s boundary, it becomes the owner’s responsibility to remedy.  A Mapleservice plumber can assist in determining responsibility.

If your home is older than 30 years, it is likely that your sewer line is insufficient to withstand root intrusion or other intrusions.  A Mapleservice plumber can quickly determine your type of sewer line.

Very often water leaks can be visible from a sink hole, or wet area in a yard located between the meter and the house.  If there is a shut-off at the house, any leak can be isolated between the meter and the house.  If the water meter “turns, after the house shut-off is turned to the off position, then there is a leak in the water service. 

Water pressure is standard between 30 and 60 pounds per square inch (psi).  It is considered low below 30 psi, and too high in excess of 80psi.  Anything in excess of 80 psi is recommended to have a pressure reducing valve installed (prv).  Water pressure too low can be caused by a severe leak, pipe corrosion or from delivery pipelines beyond your meter.  A Maplervice plumber can help you make an assessment of your water service.

The property owner is responsible for the all water distribution on the house side of the meter.

It depends.  Local water agencies require backflows be certified in annual increments.  Some require certification annually, some as seldom as every 5 years.  Mapleservice can help determine how often. 

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