• What’s the Best Water Heater Temperature?

    Water heating accounts for about 18 percent of your utility bills, so reducing the water heater temperature can lead to significant savings. Use this guide to help you determine the best water heater temperature for your situation.

    Determining the Right Temperature

    The standard temperature for a storage water heater is 140 degrees, but the US Department of Energy recommends lowering it to 120 degrees. This slows mineral buildup, reduces scalding at the tap and saves 4 to 22 percent on your annual water heating costs.

    Be aware that setting your water heater lower than 120 degrees increases the risk of legionellae bacteria growth in the tank. Therefore, 120 degrees is as low as you should go on a daily basis. Still, you can lower the water heater temperature temporarily to save energy while you’re out of town for a few days.

    Factors that Affect the Best Water Heater Temperature

    The ideal temperature setting could be different for you compared to your neighbor. Here are the variables that affect how you should set your water heater:

    • Dishwasher features: Most modern dishwashers come with a booster heater to help the appliance work more effectively. However, if you have an older dishwasher, you may need to keep your water heater at 140 degrees to ensure your dishes come clean.
    • Health problems: The risk of bacterial growth in your water heater increases the lower you set the temperature. If you have a compromised immune system, you should consider keeping the temperature at 140 degrees.
    • Number of people in your home: A higher water heater temperature means you have more hot water to go around. If only one or two people live in your home, 120-degree water should be just fine. However, the extra 20 degrees could be useful if you have a family of six or more.
    • Children or older adults in your home: Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees can keep younger or older family members safe from scalding at the tap.

    How to Adjust the Water Heater Temperature

    If you want to set your water heater to a different temperature, follow these tips to make an accurate adjustment:

    • Find the current temperature: Many water heater knobs lack temperature readouts. This means you’ll need to measure the temperature yourself. Run the hot water at full blast and place a thermometer under the stream to find out the current temperature.
    • Check and adjust the thermostat dial: Mark the starting temperature on the dial with a marker, and then twist the knob slightly.
    • Measure the temperature again: Wait a couple of hours, and then measure the water temperature with a thermometer again. If it still isn’t quite right, adjust the dial and re-measure the hot water until you’re satisfied.
    • Mark the knob: Mark the new preferred setting on the temperature knob so you can make future adjustments easily.

    For water heater services in Monroe Township – including installation, replacement and repair – please contact Bob Hoegler Plumbing at 732-521-0133.

     

  • What You Should Never Flush Down the Toilet

    There are some things you know shouldn’t go down the toilet – like the toys and jewelry your kids are occasionally guilty of throwing in – but some no-nos aren’t as obvious. Here’s an incomplete list of the items you should never flush down the toilet.

    Baby Wipes

    Even if the packaging says they’re “flushable,” it’s best to toss baby wipes in the trash. Some manufacturers claim their products are safe to flush, but all this means is that the item will disappear when you depress the handle – it doesn’t mean the wipes will disintegrate the way toilet paper does.

    Facial Tissues and Paper Towels

    These products may seem very similar to toilet paper, but a different manufacturing process makes them hold up better in water. If you ever use tissues or paper towels in place of toilet paper, toss them in the trash when you’re done.

    Cotton Balls and Swabs

    These fluffy products may seem harmless, but when dunked in water, they enlarge and clump together. This could spell disaster for your pipes, especially if you flush several at once.

    Feminine Hygiene Products

    You should never flush tampons or pads down the toilet. After all, these are designed to absorb liquid, not break down in it. The need to sift out feminine hygiene products at the sewer treatment plant increases water sanitation costs for everyone.

    Diapers

    They may be designed to collect numbers one and two, but diapers belong in the trash once they have done their duty. As with feminine hygiene products, diapers absorb liquids, so they won’t break down in your plumbing. In fact, they’re so large that they may not even be flushable.

    Dental Floss

    The stringy nature of dental floss makes it a genuine hazard for your pipes. If it catches on something in your plumbing, other debris can latch onto it, gradually increasing the size of the blockage until you have a major clog to deal with.

    Expired Medicine

    When you find bottles of expired pills in your medicine cabinet, don’t flush them. The US Food and Drug Administration recommends pursuing a medicine take-back program if available. A suitable backup plan is to dispose of expired medicine in the household trash.

    Mix medicines with unpleasant substances, such as dirt, used coffee grounds or kitty litter, and place them in a sealed plastic bag. Then, throw the bag in the trash. Also, scratch out all personal information on prescription pill bottles before disposing of them.

    Cooking Grease

    The toilet may seem like a tidy way to get rid of grease, but it congeals in the plumbing just like it does when you pour it down the sink. To prevent a nasty clog, always discard cooking grease in the trash.

    As you might have gathered, the toilet should be off-limits to everything except toilet paper and human waste. If someone in your family didn’t get the memo, and now you have a clogged toilet on your hands, contact Bob Hoegler Plumbing at 732-521-0133 for help.

     

  • Tips to Reduce Water Use Around Your Home

    Are you searching for ways to save money on your utility bills each month? Conserving water can help lower your costs, and it’s good for the environment, too. Follow these tips to reduce water use around your home.

    Save Water by Installing the Right Faucets and Fixtures

    • Install aerated faucets that consume one gallon per minute or less.
    • Install low-flow showerheads that consume 2.5 gallons per minute or less.
    • Install water-efficient, dual-flush toilets that use 1.6 gallons per flush or less.
    • Install a high-efficiency, front-loading washer and
    • Install an on-demand water heater near the kitchen sink so you don’t waste water while waiting for it to heat up.

    Conserve Water in the Bathroom

    • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth, shaving your face and lathering soap on your hands.
    • Don’t use the toilet as a trashcan or ashtray. Not only does this waste water, but it can lead to plumbing clogs and other problems.
    • Take short showers instead of deep baths. Limit your time in the shower to five minutes.

    Use Less Water in the Kitchen

    • Wash fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running the faucet.
    • Fill a pitcher and keep it in the refrigerator so you always have a cool drink available without pouring water down the drain.
    • Use the dishwasher rather than washing dishes by hand.
    • When you do wash by hand, use washing and rinsing basins rather than leaving the tap open.
    • Scrape off dishes, preferably into the trash, rather than rinsing them before loading the dishwasher.
    • Wait until the dishwasher is full to run it.

    Reduce Water Use in the Laundry Room

    • Run full batches of laundry.
    • When you need to do a small load, adjust the water level accordingly.
    • Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible to save on water heating costs.

    Limit Water Waste Outside

    • Water your lawn in the early morning hours.
    • Don’t water your grass when it’s windy or raining.
    • Consider landscaping with drought-tolerant plants.
    • Avoid spraying the sidewalks and driveway with a hose. Instead, clear away debris with a broom.
    • Wash your car at a commercial car wash instead of with a garden hose. Both self-serve and full-service car washes are good at conserving water.
    • If you prefer to wash your car at home, use a bucket of water and a sponge or an adjustable spray nozzle with a shut-off feature.

    Save Water in Other Ways

    • Keep a lookout for higher-than-usual water bills that could indicate a leak.
    • Repair plumbing leaks as soon as you notice them. You can do this yourself in most cases, or you can hire a plumber.
    • Get the whole family involved in these tips to have the most significant impact on your water bills!

    For more water conservation tips, or to schedule plumbing services in Monroe Township, please contact Bob Hoegler Plumbing at 732-521-0133.

     

  • Signs You Need a New Garbage Disposal

    If you take good care of your garbage disposal, it should last 10 to 12 years. However, just like any appliance, there will come a time when you need to replace it. Here are the signs your garbage disposal is nearing the end of its lifespan.

    It clogs frequently.

    This is a sign that the blades are getting dull. When this happens, the disposal can’t grind food as effectively, so clogs either form in the disposal itself or further down the plumbing.

    If your disposal has clogged frequently since day one, it could be undersized, meaning the horsepower isn’t sufficient for your needs. When you go to replace it, consider getting one with a more powerful motor.

    It jams or overheats often.

    Jams can occur if you put in something too tough for the blades to break up, such as a fruit pit or animal bone. The unit can also overheat if you keep it on while it’s jammed or if you operate it without running water. However, if your disposal jams or overheats under normal conditions, the motor could be weakening and nearing the end of its lifespan.

    Food takes too long to grind up.

    After years of using your garbage disposal, you have an idea of how long it takes to grind up an orange peel or a bag of rotten lettuce. If you find yourself running the unit much longer than usual to break up the same amount of food, this could mean the blades are getting dull or the motor is wearing out. Either way, the disposal can no longer handle the workload you have for it, so you should replace it soon.

    The disposal hums but doesn’t turn on.

    Sometimes, if the motor doesn’t start, all you need to do is push the red reset button on the bottom of the unit. If the disposal has overheated, you’ll also need to wait five minutes for it to cool down.

    If the humming continues, but the unit still doesn’t turn on, schedule garbage disposal repair. It could be that the motor has died. Since a new motor often costs as much as a new unit, it’s usually best to replace the entire disposal.

    The unit is leaking.

    Regularly check under your kitchen sink for puddles that indicate a plumbing leak. If you notice any water, track down the source. A pipe joint could be loose, or the faucet could be leaking. If the water is dripping from the garbage disposal, it may have cracked. The only remedy for this problem is to replace the unit.

    Bob Hoegler Plumbing provides comprehensive kitchen plumbing services in Monroe Township, including garbage disposal repair and replacement. We’ll fix your disposal quickly, safely and effectively if we can. And if the unit is beyond repair, we’ll install a new, top-of-the-line disposal in its place. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at 732-521-0133.

     

  • How to Find a Reliable Plumber in Monroe Township

    When you require drain cleaning, toilet repair or emergency plumbing services, you need to find a plumber in your area you can trust. Here are the qualities to look for in a Monroe Township plumber.

    Neat and Clean

    The last thing you want is for a plumber to leave muddy footprints on your carpet or grimy handprints on the walls. A plumber who’s neat and clean will arrive in a professional uniform and wear shoe coverings so you don’t have to tidy up after them once they leave.

    Owner-Operated

    You may prefer working with a small owner-operated business over a large franchise plumber because the service can be more personal and the plumbers more friendly. These companies focus on satisfying local customers and don’t pay franchise fees, helping to keep costs down for you.

    Prompt and Reliable

    The best way to find out how reliable a plumber is before hiring them is to read reviews online or talk to friends and neighbors. Be sure to ask if the plumber arrived within the allotted timeframe. Once there, did the plumber get right to work diagnosing and fixing the problem? These are the indicators of a prompt, reliable plumber.

    Licensed, Bonded and Insured

    For your peace of mind, only work with a contractor that is licensed, bonded and insured. A New Jersey plumbing license is required for a plumber to operate in Monroe Township. Bonding protects you, the property owner, against a plumber who fails to complete a job as expected. It provides compensation for any damages or costs caused by partially or inaccurately completed work.

    Finally, liability and worker’s compensation insurance protects you in case a plumber is injured on your property. It ensures you’re not responsible for medical costs or lost wages incurred by an accident on the job.

    100% Guaranteed Work

    The biggest fear homeowners have when hiring a plumber is that the results won’t last or the contractor will do something wrong. An upfront 100% quality guarantee gives you the peace of mind you need to trust your plumber, even if you have never worked with that company before.

    A+ Rating with the BBB

    The Better Business Bureau holds companies accountable for their work, and customers can leave reviews and file complaints for anyone to view. A BBB rating is based on the business’s complaint history, licensing status, time in business and other factors. Choosing a plumber with an A+ rating is a good clue that you’ll have a positive experience.

    In Business for Several Years

    The longer a plumbing business is around, the more the owners and plumbers learn. It’s a risk to work with a new company that hasn’t established itself yet. It’s much better to put your trust in a company that has decades of experience.

    Bob Hoegler Plumbing has served Monroe Township since 1985. We exhibit all the characteristics of a reliable plumber to ensure a job well done every time. To schedule quality plumbing services in New Jersey, please contact us at 732-521-0133.

  • Cold Winter Temperatures can Cause Frozen Pipes

    Winter is approaching. Have you taken the necessary precautions against frozen pipes? Temperatures in Monroe Township are sure to drop below the danger threshold for frozen pipes this year, so learn now what you must do to be ready.

    Why Do Frozen Pipes Matter?

    It’s easy to think that frozen pipes are no big deal. After all, the pipes will thaw when temperatures warm up, and then everything goes back to normal, right?

    In reality, frozen pipes are a major concern because, not only do they restrict water flow, but the expanding pressure of ice in your pipes can cause them to burst. Then, when the pipes thaw, your home is at risk of substantial water damage.

    Where are Frozen Pipes Most Common?

    Of course, sub-freezing temperatures in northern regions, including New Jersey, are more likely to cause frozen pipes than warmer weather in southern states. However, occasional cold snaps in places that don’t usually experience frosty weather can make homes in these regions uniquely susceptible to frozen pipes.

    The location of your plumbing also affects its vulnerability. If you have pipes running along exterior walls or through unheated interior spaces, such as the attic or garage, these exposed sections are more likely to encounter freezing conditions when the temperature drops outside.

    At What Temperature Do Pipes Freeze?

    It’s possible for uninsulated pipes to freeze any time the temperature drops below freezing, but the official temperature alert threshold is 20 degrees F. When bitter conditions are in the forecast, keep an eye out for low water pressure and frost on exposed plumbing, which are the first signs of frozen pipes.

    How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

    In an ideal world, all plumbing would be located in heated and insulated areas of the home. If rerouting your pipes isn’t practical, prevent frozen pipes with these tips:

    • Seal air leaks in the attic, garage, unfinished basement or other unconditioned spaces where plumbing is present.
    • Set up a space heater near exposed pipes on extra cold nights to keep the temperature just above freezing.
    • Install heat tape, insulation or both on exposed pipes.
    • Leave the water trickling from a faucet on cold nights to prevent pressure buildup inside your plumbing.
    • Set the thermostat to 55 degrees or higher at all times, even when you’re on vacation.

    How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

    If you think your pipes have frozen, call Bob Hoegler Plumbing right away. While you wait for one of our experienced plumbers to arrive, complete these tasks:

    • Shut off the main water line.
    • Open a faucet to reduce pressure.
    • Apply heat to the pipe with a portable space heater, electric heating pad, blow dryer or infrared light. Avoid using open flames to thaw frozen pipes.
    • If you can’t access the frozen pipe, let a plumber perform the thawing process.

    For help preparing your pipes for winter, or for help thawing frozen pipes, contact Bob Hoegler Plumbing at 732-521-0133 and schedule services in Monroe Township.

     

  • Drain Cleaning: Calling a Plumber vs. Chemical Drain Cleaners

    Got clogged drains? It can happen to anyone, even if you don’t do anything wrong. After all, much more than just water flows down your sink, shower and tub drains – it’s the grease, oil, hair, dead skin, soap, detergent and other gunk that build up on the inside of your pipes. Over time, this can cause a slow drain or a complete blockage.

    The question is this: should you use a chemical drain cleaner or call a plumber to clear the clog? We’ll explore the pros and cons of these options, as well as a few other drain-cleaning methods you might try.

    Chemical Drain Cleaners

    Unfortunately, the easiest option – pouring a few cups of chemical cleaner down the drain – is also the most harmful. Many of these products contain bleach, lye, acid or other harsh substances that generate heat and break away the gunk in your pipes. It may sound effective, but caustic chemicals can eat away at your pipes if used frequently. They also contaminate the municipal water supply.

    If you go the route of drain cleaning products, opt for a natural biological version that uses bacteria to eat through gunk in your drains. The results aren’t as immediate, but when used as a preventative measure, bio drain cleaners can stop clogs before they start.

    Other DIY Drain Cleaning Methods

    If you’re not ready to call a plumber just yet, there are other chemical-free methods you can use to clear your backed up drains.

    First, try pulling the blockage out. One option is to straighten a metal coat hanger with pliers and bend the tip into a small hook.  Insert this into the drain and fish out debris lodged as far down as the trap, the U-shaped pipe located right below the sink.

    If the blockage is out of reach of your coat hanger, try a plumber’s auger next. You can find this tool, also known as a plumbing snake, at a local hardware store.

    Another option is to plunge the drain – but don’t grab the toilet plunger to unclog other drains. Hardware stores sell small plungers designed for use in sinks, showers and bathtubs.

    Calling a Plumber

    If your do-it-yourself methods aren’t enough to clear your clogged drain, it’s time to call in the professionals. Plumbers have a whole arsenal of tools at their disposal to help get your pipes back in shape.

    Motorized plumbing snakes with extra-long cables can reach clogs located deep within the pipe. That’s a good start, but hydro-jetting is even more effective. This involves inserting a special plumber’s snake with a camera on the end into the drain. When a blockage is spotted, the plumber blasts it away with a high-pressure stream of water. The toughest blockages – even those caused by tree roots – don’t stand a chance against hydro-jetting!

    If you need professional drain cleaning services in the Monroe Township, NJ area, please contact Bob Hoegler Plumbing today at 732-521-0133.

     

  • How to Prevent Plumbing Leaks

    Every system in your home degrades as it ages, including the plumbing. Unfortunately, this can result in leaks, which can cause water damage and affect the structural integrity of your home. Help your pipes age gracefully with these tips on how to prevent plumbing leaks.

    Decrease the Water Pressure

    While water pressure below 40 psi results in trickling faucets and pitiful showers, high water pressure can be even worse for your plumbing. If the pressure within the pipes exceeds 85 psi, the joints, valves and fixtures may suffer.

    To determine your water pressure, call a plumber to come take a look, or purchase a hose bib gauge to measure the pressure yourself. It’s possible to lower the psi by installing a pressure regulator. Remember, low-flow faucets and showerheads don’t reduce water pressure – they simply adjust how much flows out of the fixture.

    Use a Water Softener

    Hard water contains magnesium and calcium that can leave sediment buildup within your pipes. Not only does this restrict water pressure, but it can corrode joints and fittings over time. White, chalky buildup on plumbing fixtures is a telltale sign of hard water. The most effective way to counteract hard water is to install a water softener.

    Insulate Pipes to Prevent Them from Freezing

    When pipes freeze, the expanding ice inside can cause them to burst, resulting in a plumbing leak when the pipe thaws. One of the best ways to prevent frozen pipes in the attic, garage, basement or crawlspace is by insulating them with foam, rubber or fiberglass sleeves. Electric heating tape is even more effective at protecting particularly vulnerable pipes.

    Upgrade Plumbing Supply Lines

    One of the most common places for leaks to develop is between the wall and a plumbing fixture or appliance. Check the supply lines located behind your sinks, toilets, washing machine, dishwasher and freezer. If you find standard rubber hoses, consider upgrading them to steel braided versions. These are much more durable and will never rot or crack over time the way rubber hoses can.

    Perform Routine Plumbing Maintenance

    It’s easy to overlook your plumbing, but if you’re serious about preventing leaks, you should inspect and maintain your pipes and fixtures regularly. Here’s what to do:

    • Tighten all exposed pipe and supply line connections.
    • Regularly check under kitchen and bathroom sinks for signs of water damage.
    • Make sure the toilet is securely mounted to the floor and doesn’t rock back and forth.
    • Inspect tub and shower tiles for signs of leaks (and resulting mold growth) behind the walls.
    • Inspect and flush the water heater to remove sediment buildup.
    • Turn off the water at the main shut-off valve when you leave town so a leak doesn’t occur while you’re gone.

    If you need help implementing these tips to prevent plumbing leaks, or you’ve just discovered a leak somewhere, don’t hesitate to call Bob Hoegler Plumbing today at 732-521-0133. We’re a reliable emergency plumber in Monroe Township, NJ.

     

  • Common Plumbing Noises and When to Call Your Plumber

    Squeaky floors, popping ductwork and creaking framework – these are ordinary household sounds that result from the expansion and contraction of different building materials as they warm and cool throughout the day. If these are the type of noises you’re hearing, there’s nothing to get worked up about.

    However, your plumbing can make certain sounds that indicate something’s wrong. Listen for these problematic plumbing noises and know when to call your plumber.

    Slamming

    If you hear a loud slam or bang when you turn on a faucet, you have a water hammer issue. This is when a shockwave transmits through the water in your pipes. The problem occurs when a closed valve abruptly stops the flow of water. This can happen if air chambers in your pipe valves become clogged.

    Water hammer is a problem that demands your attention because it can damage pipes and loosen their fittings. To correct the issue, call a plumber to come clear the clogged pipe valve chambers and replace any damaged parts.

    Shaking

    The force of water rushing through your pipes causes them to shake, which is completely normal. However, if the shaking is loud enough to notice, the plumbing probably isn’t as secure as it should be. Loose mounting straps are the most likely culprit.

    You can fix this problem yourself by tightening or replacing the straps that have deteriorated or pulled away from the pipes. If you don’t feel comfortable performing these repairs yourself, call a plumber for help.

    Screeching

    When you turn on your faucet, you may hear a high-pitched squealing sound before the water comes rushing out. This most likely indicates a defective or loose part within the fixture itself.

    You may be able to repair your faucet if the problem relates to a loose washer or worn-out stem. If simple repairs don’t work, consider replacing your screeching faucet. You can do this yourself or leave it to a qualified plumber.

    Gurgling

    A gurgling, bubbling sound is the result of a partial blockage that slows the water as it flows down the drain. Cleaning the drain should resolve the issue.

    However, if all of the drains in your house gurgle, there’s probably an issue with the drain vents. The purpose of these plumbing components is to prevent air bubbles from entering the system. Replacing the drain vents is a job best left to a professional plumber.

    Call Your Monroe Township Plumber

    These are just a few of the common plumbing noises you might hear. If you notice more than just the ordinary squeaking, creaking and rubbing sounds of different building materials in your home, it’s reasonable for you to be concerned. If you think the plumbing is to blame, give Bob Hoegler Plumbing a call today at 732-521-0133. We serve residents in the Monroe Township, NJ area.

  • Common Causes of Toilet Clogs

    Everyone knows what usually clogs a toilet. Fortunately, most cases can be cleared up with a minute or two of vigorous plunging. However, to remedy more difficult situations, you may need a professional to help you out. Here are the most common reasons why customers call a plumber for help unclogging the toilet.

    Foreign Objects

    Toilets are designed to carry away human waste and toilet paper. If you flush anything else, you increase the chance of something getting caught in the U-shaped trap or further down the drain line. Seemingly innocent objects such as cotton balls, facial tissues, paper towels, dental floss and feminine products don’t readily dissolve the way toilet paper does. To keep your plumbing running smoothly, dispose of these items in the trash, not the toilet.

    It’s also common for curious children to place toys and other small objects in the toilet – and then flush it. If your child does this unbeknownst to you, the toilet may suddenly start clogging frequently because a foreign object is wedged in the trap. Make sure your children understand the toilet is not a toy.

    Weak Flush

    Ample water and power are needed to clear the contents of a toilet bowl. If the flapper in the toilet tank doesn’t open all the way, the resulting weak flush could result in frequent clogs. Adjusting the chain or replacing the flapper should solve the problem.

    First-generation low-flow toilets from the mid-90s are also prone to clogging. Newer versions are much more powerful while still conserving water. Consider replacing your toilet if it’s from this era.

    Hard Water

    Water with high mineral content can calcify, leaving deposits that eventually narrow the gap through which waste can pass. A quick fix is to flush out the toilet system with a solution that removes the mineral buildup. The long-term solution is to install a water softener.

    Blocked Drain Vents

    Plumbing fixtures usually vent to the roof so fresh air can replace the vacuum that forms when water drains. If bird nests, leaves or other debris block the vent, it can cause the toilet to flush in a slow, gurgling manner. The solution is to clear the vent opening on the roof.

    Tree Roots

    Sometimes, the blockage is located further down the sewer line. Tree roots are a common culprit. If they rupture your sewer line, none of your drains will flow smoothly, and the toilet may back up often. You’ll need to repair or replace your sewer line to restore proper function.

    Call a Plumber to Fix Your Clogged Toilet

    When you’re fed up with plunging the toilet only to have it clog again, a plumber can help you get to the bottom of it. At Bob Hoegler Plumbing, we’ll eliminate the clog and diagnose what caused it in the first place. Only then can we offer a more permanent solution to your toilet troubles.

    To schedule toilet repair or other plumbing services in Monroe Township, NJ, please contact us today at 732-521-0133.