Friday, December 5, 2014

Reducing Waste During the Holidays: Tips from Agoura Hills Choice Plumbing in Agoura Hills, CA

What’s the best way to celebrate this season of giving? Here at Agoura Hills Choice Plumbing in Agoura Hills, CA, we believe one of the best ways to celebrate is with a truly green, eco-friendly holiday. Recycling, eliminating food waste, and saving energy can make all the difference for future generations - and that’s the ultimate cause to celebrate.

Start with a commitment to recycle: wrapping paper, gift cards, and holiday cards can be easily set aside for the recycling bin, or saved for reuse. Sending electronic holiday cards can eliminate paper waste all together. And when it comes to wrapping paper choices, newspaper or eco-friendly reusable wrapping ,like scarves or carry-alls are great choices for your gifts. Forget using  ribbons and bows  - you can choose natural decorations like evergreens or dried flowers which can be easily recycled or composted later. The same goes for a live tree and wreath for decoration, be sure to recycle them when the holiday season is over. Or buy a live, potted tree and replant it after the holidays. One last recycling tip: when you go shopping, eliminate paper and plastic bags and choose reusable cloth instead.

When it comes to gift giving, choose something that doesn’t pollute. Think about charitable donations or choose an experience to share like a meal, travel, concert or sports tickets. Homemade gifts are great too, and when buying products, look at the item’s recycle potential, and if recycled materials are included in manufacture.

More batteries are sold around the holidays than any other time of year. So choose rechargeable! Rechargeable batteries reduce waste material, save money, and can even be operated on solar power. Save energy by unplugging holiday lights during the day, which will reduce cost and energy consumption as well as helping those lights last longer, too.

And then there’s food waste. Choosing reasonable rather than overly large amounts of treats mean healthier diets and better health for the planet. Leftovers can be distributed to charitable organizations or sent home with friends and family. And, be sure to dispose of used cooking oil carefully. It clogs drains, can harden in pipes and can cause sewage line back-ups and wastewater issues far beyond your home - in  an entire community. So instead, save oils in a container and dispose of it in the trash or, if there’s an oil recycling program in your community, check it out.

Wishing everyone an abundantly green holiday season!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tips on Kitchen and Bath Remodeling in Agoura Hills, CA from Agoura Hills Choice Plumbing

If you’re thinking about remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, you’ll have some choices to make before deciding on the best approach for these two important areas of your house.

With kitchen remodels, often homeowners start with a search for upgraded appliances. Others begin by formulating a plan for overall design choices from cabinets to lighting to faucets; or by finding the right professional help for electrical work, plumbing, and carpentry.

With bathrooms, homeowners may choose a complete overall or focus on basics like new shower head installation or a new bathroom sink installation. Most homeowners should start with the most basic needs: toilet, tub, and sink. From there, selecting faucets, shower heads, cabinets, mirrors and more will fall into place. Consider types of sinks and tubs available, for example fiberglass versus porcelain and tile, counter top sinks versus drop-in sinks. For limited space, a pedestal or wall-mounted sink can fit the bill if a counter or vanity are not necessary. As to toilets, it’s all about comfort, efficiency, and water-saving capabilities as well as style.

How about tubs? Homeowners may want to consider jets and tub depth. Standard length and depth is not the only choice in tubs in today’s marketplace. Options abound and can be quite cost-effective.

While remodeling can be a big step, at Agoura Hills Choice Plumbing in Agoura Hills, CA, we know that sometimes even consistent plumbing service and careful drain cleaning won’t prevent clogged toilet repair when a fixture is aging. And in the kitchen, garbage disposal repair shouldn’t become a regular occurrence; worn, stained, or leaking sinks mean it’s time for a kitchen sink replacement. Remodels were once-upon-a-time considered a time consuming headache, and while certainly time and cost are still factors, the benefits to be gained, as well as new and efficient replacement techniques, make this a more than viable option.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Agoura Hills Choice Plumbing Advice About Automatic Earthquake Shutoff Valves in Agoura Hills, CA

When an earthquake occurs, the shaking to a home can cause damage to both gas pipes and appliances, damage that can result in natural gas leaks, fires, and explosions.  Earthquakes can’t be prevented, but fires from broken gas lines certainly can be. The installation of a shutoff valve can put a help to lower the pervasive fire risk, one that is a major factor in one out of four fires following an earthquake. In Agoura Hills, CA, having an automatic earthquake shutoff valve for natural gas lines makes a lot of sense.

Of course, while we at Agoura Hills Choice Plumbing believe that earthquake and over-surge protection can be a real life-saver, it is also vitally important to reduce the possibility of a gas leak with regular gas line and appliance maintenance, as well as repair when necessary. Electronic gas line leak detection is yet another important safety tool.

Make sure your water heater and all appliances that use natural gas are anchored, and that they utilize flexible pipe connections. Flexible pipes are very important, as much gas line plumbing uses decidedly unflexible black iron piping. An earthquake can all too easily break the joints in these types of pipes, and flood a home with flammable gas. There are several kinds of shut off valves,  including valves that are earthquake-activated, excess flow valves, methane detectors, and manual shut-offs, as well as methane detectors. Both earthquake activated valves and excess flow valves should be state certified and installed on the house line that connects your meter to your actual gas.

Is it hard to install these valves? No. When an earthquake hits with a larger than 5.4 magnitude, a seismic actuator releases, and gas is prevented from entering your house. In short: a simple and effective way to reduce danger when an earthquake occurs.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Walking in Agoura Hills, CA: Four Reasons Agoura Hills Choice Plumbing Believes in the Benefits of Stepping Out

Walking is great for your health, and walking on your own home turf is even healthier. At Agoura Hills Choice Plumbing in Agoura Hills, CA, we believe there are many benefits to taking steps - yes, pun intended - that lead to social connections, neighborhood safety, and a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.    

Here are four main benefits:

First, walking the streets of your community will keep you fit. Averaging two miles a week results in a body weight of six to ten pounds less than a resident who doesn’t walk, according to health studies. Walking is a great way to exercise regardless of your age. It can help prevent or reduce the risk of diseases like diabetes, it counters the rising incidence of obesity, and lengthens the average person’s lifespan.

Second,  you won’t just be helping yourself, you’ll also be helping the environment. Using your feet as transportation reduces another kind of footprint - your carbon footprint. You aren’t burning fossil fuels when you’re walking, or wasting money on automobile expenses. You’ll be saving all sorts of “green.” After all, traveling on foot instead of by car means steps taken toward a reduction in both pollution and personal costs.

Third, you’ll also be helping to keep your neighborhood safe. Studies show that crime takes a dive when people are out walking, watching the neighborhood, and supporting local businesses.    Keeping an eye out means keeping your community safe from crimes of opportunity.

Fourth, you’ll make connections with other residents and local business owners. When you’re walking, chances greatly increase for casual conversations with the neighbors, or getting to know local shopkeepers. That support makes neighborhoods thrive. Locally run businesses succeed in communities where people walk to shops and restaurants, where neighbors know each other. Instead of driving to a big box store in another area, make a point to stroll a few blocks to the local hardware store or eatery.

So start stepping out! Walk by yourself, or form a group of neighbors or friends.  No matter how you walk,  only 30 minutes a day, five days a week can add an average  year and a half to your life.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Water Heater Maintenance and Replacement Tips for Agoura Hills, CA

Your water heater may be the last thing on your mind. At least, it is until there’s a leak or when you climb in the shower, only cold water comes out. At Agoura Hills Choice Plumbing in Agoura Hills, CA we know that  water heater service can be all too easily ignored. But service is key to increasing the lifespan of a water heater. That’s why water heater service from a certified contractor is so important. Whether you have a gas, electric, or tankless water heater, it’s smart to schedule regular maintenance –  before you need water heater repair or replacement.

After all, maintenance is just as important as installation. Making sure your water heater stays in good shape means that it will not need to be replaced for a much longer time, and it will work more efficiently. An efficient water heater will reduce your costs and energy consumption. Along with regular maintenance, water heaters should be insulated, to reduce heat loss - which will also reduce water-heating expenses.

Depending on the type of water heater you have, your maintenance needs will differ. Traditional hot water heaters, whether they’re gas or electric, should have the pressure relief valve inspected by discharging it several times, and examining it for any leaks. The water heater tank should also be drained to remove sediment if necessary, and the tank and connections both thoroughly examined to check for wear, rust, or corrosion. If necessary, worn anode rods should be replaced as well. Replacing a rod is much more cost efficient than replacing your water heater.

A tankless water heater utilizes different maintenance procedures, such as checking for debris in the in-line screen filter, and flushing the unit to remove any lime or scaling.

Here in Agoura Hills, CA how long can you expect your water heater to last? The average is about eight to twelve years. However, by following a regular maintenance schedule you can extend the life of your water heater well beyond that average.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Electrical Panel Contractor Service in Agoura HIlls, CA - Service Tips from Agoura Hills Choice Plumbing

                        Electrical Panel Installation and Home Re-Wiring Tips

Residential rewiring, installation, and the upkeep of electrical panels, and circuit breaker installation can require a residential wiring contractor in Agoura Hills, CA. At Agoura Hills Choice Plumbing, with that in mind, here are some house re-wiring and electrical panel inspection tips.

One of the most important considerations involving electrical panel installation and home wiring and re-wiring is that this type of work can be dangerous in untrained hands. You need to be aware of national and local electrical codes, power must be turned off, and you should use a non-contract voltage tester to be absolutely certain no hot wires are left in the circuit before work has begun. Sometimes electrical panel boxes are poorly marked, so double checking is always key, and one of the first things any professional does.

Basic house wiring starts at the main service panel. This is where the main breaker is located.
Installing a new panel is a large job, and while adding a circuit is less onerous, it still requires precautions and precision. For one thing, there are a variety of different types of circuits in the home, including 240 volt circuits which are used for large appliances like stoves, hot water tanks, and dryers. Basic house wiring uses copper wiring in all homes built recently. Houses constructed in the 1970's or earlier can have aluminum wire in them, which, due to fire hazard, should be replaced. Knowing what type and thickness of wire to use within the home depends on the circumstances in which it’s used - another reason to have a professional work on home wiring and panels.

Like wiring, circuit breaker types vary and depend on usage. Because circuit breakers are usually specifically tied to a panel manufacturer, it’s important to make sure that any replacements or additions are compatible.

For all these reasons, choosing a professional to handle your electrical panel installation and home rewiring can be the best choice for homeowners.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Using an Electronic Slab Leak Detection Inspection in Agoura HIlls, CA to Cut Costs and Prevent Damage to Your Home

Electronic leak detection is a plumbing technology that can help you uncover leaks without major disruption to your home or your wallet.  In fact,  at Agoura Hills Choice Plumbing in Agoura Hills, CA,  we’re skilled at using electronic slab leak detection service to uncover below-ground leaks before they result in high costs and property damage. Using a certified contractor with the proper equipment to detect leaks below ground can save you thousands of gallons of water, and thousands of dollars, too.

Electronic detection can reveal problems that are hidden beneath slabs, underground, and in walls. With so many homes built on slabs, leak problems have become more and more commonplace. If there’s a hot spot on the slab floor or in a wall, your water bill is increasing or your water meter running for no reason, you’re likely looking at a leak. But it doesn’t mean the end of the world. Even sewer and water service lines can also be inspected with a small amount of disruption, allowing trenchless repairs to take place easily. Electronic detection can also detect cracks in cement, dry wall, or plaster, to prevent problems with outside water leakage, too.

Routine inspection means prevention before problems get out of hand. With fast, easy detection, solutions to leaks are less costly and time consuming than in the past, with equipment capable of
pin-pointing a leak’s location without having to tear up foundations just to locate a problem.

And once a problem is located? Spot repair and re-piping or re-routing can rapidly and easily performed. Spot repair involves opening the slab exactly where the leak is located, and repairing that spot only. If plumbing systems are over ten years old, or more extensive leaking is taking place, re-piping or re-routing repair is the way to go, again with minimal invasion to the slab.

In short, we use quality equipment to detect hidden leaks wherever they occur, behind walls or underground. And that means simple repairs before major damage has a chance to occur.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Finding a Licensed Electrician in Agoura Hills

If you need help with installation, repair, or upgrading of the wiring in your home, where do you start? At Agoura Hills Choice Plumbing we believe that finding the best licensed electrician in Agoura Hills, CA is an important first step, whether you need to fix a faulty outlet or handle any electrical repair, house rewiring, or the installation of electrical panels.

The electrical contractor you choose should be skilled at major electrical tasks, such as wiring home upgrades, and be available for residential emergency services seven days a week, at any time in a 24 hour day. After all, electrical emergencies don’t just happen during business hours on weekdays.

Whatever type of electrical work you need, you need reliable service - electrical repairs and additions are not something to tackle on your own. However, it’s important to find an electrician that’s locally based so you’re not wasting time or spending money on travel charges. Ask questions to ascertain your electrician’s skills and comfort level with not only repairs but the installation of cost saving electrical fixtures such as motion detector switches, accent lighting, installation of major appliances, and if necessary, rewiring your home.

If you are thinking about rewiring, whether to update an older home or repair damaged wiring, the electrician you choose should be able to discuss material costs - copper wiring can be quite expensive - as well as the process of rewiring. Although rewiring isn’t something to be undertaken lightly, it’s often a necessity that will help your home operate more smoothly, and accommodate appliances, computers, home video systems and the like. Older wiring systems are often not built to handle today’s conveniences, and just using them can tax your system to the breaking point.

Finding the right professional to work with  you on any project - whether it’s a major task such as upgrading the wiring in your home, or a quick solution to a broken fixture, or trouble-shooting an outage in your residence - means peace of mind when it comes to the type of project that it’s best not to do yourself!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Using a Video Camera Inspection in Agoura Hills for Sewer and Drain Lines

Getting a regular sewer line inspection, and drain lines examined is an easy form of preventive maintenance and trouble shooting. Using electronic leak detection will help you watch for plumbing problems of all kinds. Early detection is key to home maintenance. Preventing problems or addressing them quickly means putting a stop to damage to your home and finances.

Using a video camera inspection in Agoura Hills is a sound plan to examine your sewer and drain lines. An inspection provides an accurate view of the condition of your plumbing. Even small issues can be seen, such as rusted patches or waste build up. How are such detailed images possible? Video inspection uses a very small and unobtrusive camera. It’s inserted down your branch lines - the pipes leading from your bathtubs and faucets to your home’s sewer line; or down your home’s sewer line, leading from your home to the sewer line on the street. Video cameras are waterproof, suspended on a flexible rod, and able to fit pipes in a variety of sizes from two inches to thirty six inches. Images can be saved, too. Comparing past and current images can be important.

Video inspection provides accurate pinpointing of trouble spots, which means a fast solution to your plumbing problems. The camera inspection can reveal issues such as tree root intrusion and pipe breakage, cracks, corrosion, or identify the exact location of leaks and clogs. Whether used to address specific problems or for preventive maintenance, inspections are thorough and fast. And speed is of the essence: if you find a needed repair early, options are available to handle even major issues, such as trenchless sewer line repairs. Let the camera travel where you can’t - and use the technology of a skilled video inspection, today.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Agoura Hills Sewer Line Maintenance

Sewer lines can cause a world of headaches if they crack, break, or burst. While sometimes problems can occur no matter what you do, it’s relatively easy to minimize the extent of the problem and prevent damage to your home.

How? Maintenance! Just as you wouldn’t wait until you lost a tooth to schedule a teeth cleaning, you shouldn’t wait until there’s signs of trouble before have routine maintenance performed on your sewer line in Agoura Hills.

Simple, regular maintenance through sewer line cleaning, and line observation by using unobtrusive plumbing cameras can mean the difference between a smoothly operating sewer line and a major plumbing issues.

Viewing any problems before they become enormous is key to providing an fast, cost-saving, and efficient to solution. For example, if you have trees on or near your property, roots will edge their way into any small crack in a sewer line and create the need for major repairs. If you spot that leak or crack early, this can be prevented. Knowledge about deteriorating pipes, rusted sections, or build ups of debris means you’ll be able to find a fast solution. Today, many sewer line repairs caught early enough, can be handled without using conventional, intrusive digging. Pipe lining and pipe bursting, both handled in a trenchless fashion are quick and economical solutions.

Non-invasive plumbing cameras provide your “insider’s look” at the sewer line, and regular maintenance - cleaning the line - prevents a host of problems. After all, if no cleaning or checking takes place, you won’t even know there’s a sign of trouble until trouble arrives. Smelly, soggy spot in the lawn? Backed up or slow moving toilets, sinks or drains? Don’t wait until one of these major issues occurs. A little look around and cleaning of that sewer line can save you time and money.

Friday, May 30, 2014

How to Stay Cool this Summer in Agoura Hills

Worried about how to stay cool this summer in Agoura Hills without spending a fortune on air conditioning? Don’t want to come home after a long day at work to heat and humidity? The easy solution of course is to turn on the air conditioning, but that uses up money and energy. It’s just not sound anymore for your wallet or for the environment. In fact, in many locations, the electric company offers discounts for people willing to allow their a/c to be turned off on certain days when energy is at a premium.

With this in mind, what is the alternative to using that air conditioning? Here are some tips.

Use fans whenever you can. Ceiling fans save energy and are proven to reduce temperature by around six degrees. And if you’re going out - turn them off, because they use power, too.

Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher and leave it there - but if you’re away at work all day, set it even five degrees higher.

Get a programmable thermostat. Inexpensive and easy to install,  you can program your home’s temperature to fit your schedule.

Clean or change your air conditioner’s filter yearly to make sure your unit is working well. Dirty filters mean less air flow and less efficiency.

At dinner time, don’t use the oven! Use the range or the microwave, or make a salad  - or cook several meals at once, preferably in the evening, when things have cooled down for the day.

Consider doing dishes by hand so that you can avoid that heat setting on your dishwasher’s drying cycle. Wait until you’ve filled the dishwasher before you run it to save energy.

Try to use dishwasher, dryer, and stove after the sun goes down or early in the morning - that way you won’t be adding more heat to your home when it’s hot outside.

Even your lighting can help you keep things cool - compact fluorescent light bulbs use 75% less energy and generate 75% less heat than standard bulbs!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Agoura Hills Plumbing Service

Drains, drains - they won’t go away. You wouldn’t want them to - you need them - in your bathroom, in your kitchen sink. You use them all the time, and like anything that receives heavy use, problems can occur. With kitchen drains, grease and food waste can stick and make drains run slowly or clog and back up - and you won’t want to be washing dishes until the issue is resolved!

In the bathroom, hair, soap, and grime are the build up culprits. Keep an eye on your shower and tub - before a drain becomes completely clogged it may simply run slowly. That’s not normal - water should drain right away when you shower, and rapidly post-bath.

Toilets can also be problematic. Whether it’s an excess of toilet paper or accidentally flushing baby wipes or facial tissue which dissolves less easily than toilet paper, clogs do happen. A plumbers’ snake is usually the easiest way to cut through the clog and clean the drain at the same time.

Then there are the drains you may not usually even consider - ground level drains such as drains on patios, in driveways, or laundry rooms. These drains usually contain a trap that can get clogged, causing back up.

Using drains everyday means that over time, almost inevitably, there’s going to be a clog or two. You can try to prevent this by using a drain filter in the bathroom to catch hair, running hot water anytime you put anything down a drain, pouring boiling water into a mildly clogged drain and being patient, adding more and more hot water until the clog - whatever it may be - dissolves.

But none of these measures help all the time. Sometimes you need to bring in a pro to do the cleaning. And you want to make sure you’re working with someone who knows what they are doing. Find an expert Agoura Hills plumbing service and  get rid of that clog fast and efficiently, or prevent it from happening in the first place with professional cleaning before a problem arises.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Summer in Agoura Hills

What are you doing to make summer special? Commencing the summer season is all about longer days and warmer evenings, meaning you can spread out your fun

Of course, there’s the outdoor bar-b-q. Make yours healthy with grilled veggies or fish. Or try a veggie burger!

Beach going, or heading pool side? Stock up on that sunscreen, and don’t forget a hat. The sun is fun - and a great source of Vitamin D, but overexposure and sunburn can be painful later. There’s a whole new easy era of sun protection out there - check out the new beach umbrellas that allow you to twist them easily into the sand, no more digging and hoping the wind won’t carry your handiwork away. By the pool, portable umbrellas can be clipped to loungers or tables to get any needed shade.

And don’t forget exercise! Get outdoors when you can. Take a swim or an evening run instead of staying on that treadmill at the gym. This is the time to take on a new activity, whether it’s early morning tennis or weekend golf. Or maybe just a game of Frisbee in your backyard or local park.

Home is where the heart and the summertime fun is - so get your house ready for the season. Maybe you need a new ceiling fan to cool your halls, or you have an air conditioner that needs servicing. With all the summer entertaining you’re sure to do, check your drains - sun screen or sand can clog your shower; grease from your grill become a hazard for your sink.

And what about vacation time? Are you traveling or staying at home? Whichever you have in mind, whether you’re taking a trip to an exotic beach front or a family drive to Yosemite, map out some time for just plain relaxing. And if you’re staying in town, don’t be shy - check out community classes, art galleries, the local music scene right here in Agoura Hills.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Agoura Hills Plumbing Service

Just as it’s important to have a primary physician for your body, and a mechanic you can trust to maintain your car, your home’s health requires the use of professional services. Like plumbing. You may very well need to have a professional available to repair your roof, or repave your driveway, but let’s face it, how many times over the course of your residency will you need either of those services to take place?

But plumbing - plumbing assistance is just a fact of life with home ownership. Sure, you can minimize the need for this assistance by regularly maintaining your drains, being careful what you put down them, using filters and the like. But pipes wear and sometimes break, toilets sometimes overflow or clog.

And when you need to bring in a professional Agoura Hills plumbing service, you need to find the right service. Talking to neighbors and friends is one simple way to get a recommendation. Reading online recommendation sites is another. And referring to a plumbers website is another. However you narrow your plumbing choices, do spend some time looking at the services a plumber can offer. Does the plumber perform repair work only, or can he or she provide installation? After all, sometimes a leaky tub means you’d prefer to get a new one installed to replace it, and why not utilize the same provider, and keep things simple.  Also, check the plumber’s location. Local orientation means faster and more efficient service - whether it’s a routine visit or a middle of the night emergency.

And, check the plumber’s hours. Can you count on help if an emergency does occur, or does the provider work only 8-5 on weekdays? Also, how long has the plumber been in business? Experience does count.

Assessing all this information is key to finding the best plumber for you: local, skilled, and experienced.