Wagner’s plumbers are standing by to help you with your home plumbing needs! We’re proud to be Albuquerque’s premier source for local plumbing experts. Whether you’re having water heater problems or you need help locating a tough-to-find leak, we’re the team to call. Don’t wait to call us for service!

Here’s what you should do to care for your home’s sewer line

Chances are that you don’t spend much time at home thinking about your sewer line. Most of the time, the sewer line is out-of-sight and out-of-mind. However, sewer line problems can result in expensive headaches for homeowners. In this article, we’ll review what you can do to care for and protect your home’s sewer line, including preventing clogs and guarding the line against tree roots.

Watch what you put down the sink

Unfortunately, many homeowners have gotten into the habit of treating their kitchen sink like a trash can. After all, the garbage disposal makes this a convenient way to get rid of waste. However, not everything should go down the sink. In fact, certain food waste has a propensity for getting trapped deep in the sewer line, where it can start to form a clog.

Sewer line clogs are bad news. As the clog begins to impede the flow of wastewater to the municipal sewer, all your home’s drains begin draining more slowly. When the clog reaches the point where it constricts the entire line, there’s the potential for a sewer backup event. When this happens, wastewater can no longer exit the home ecosystem. What goes down, unfortunately, must come back up. The result can be a disgusting and devastating flooded home, costing thousands in potential repairs and mold remediation work.

You can do your part to avoid a sewer line clog by disposing of these particular items in the trash, not down the sink:

  • Oils
  • Grease
  • Eggshells
  • Rice
  • Produce Stickers
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Flour
  • Potato Peels

Clear out the shade trees

Your front yard trees and bushes might look nice, but they could pose an imminent threat to your home’s sewer line. First, figure out where the line runs from your home to the municipal sewer underneath the street. You can typically do this by tracing a line from the sewer line drainout to the street. Next, determine if there are any trees within the immediate vicinity. As a general rule of thumb, you want to have ten feet clear on each side of the line to prevent tree roots from getting close to it. However, every tree and bush is different: some with faster-growing, more aggressive roots may need to be relocated even if they’re more than ten feet away.

The consequences of having trees close to the line could be severe. Here in Albuquerque, tree roots are ever-thirsty for valuable water and nutrients. Even the smallest leak in the line will begin to attract nearby roots to grow toward this life-sustaining source. Eventually, the roots—looking to absorb the most-possible liquid—grow either around or into the line. This can either exacerbate an existing leak or lead to a clogged sewer line.

When it comes to nearby trees, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By preemptively relocating nearby trees to other parts of your yard, you may save yourself and your home from a sewer line nightmare down the road.

Schedule a sewer line inspection

The plumbers here at Wagner have professional-grade tools we use to inspect and assess the state of local sewer lines. Arguably, the most useful of these tools is the endoscopic camera. Essentially, this is a tiny camera attached to a snake tool. During a sewer line inspection, we feed this snake down one of your drains and into the sewer line. As the snake is pushed further into the line, we can watch through video to visually inspect for any cracks, clogs, or other problems.

A sewer line inspection doesn’t always have to be something that gets scheduled once you know you have a problem. In fact, it’s a great preventative maintenance step. Since many clogs—whether caused by grease or tree roots—form slowly over time, a camera inspection can determine if there is a growing problem that needs to be preemptively dealt with. Our plumbers can then use specialized tools to clear the forming clog before it completely blocks the line and causes a sewer line backup.

Why you should hire a professional for drain cleaning and clearing clogs

Clogged drains and toilets are a regular part of life in your home. Before you reach for that drain cleaner, however, you should know that there are benefits to bringing in an expert to clear your sink, shower, or toilet clog. When you hire a professional for drain cleaning, you’re getting access to their expertise, drain-safe tools, and the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your drain was cleaned successfully.

Hire a professional for drain cleaning here in Albuquerque.

Have a clog? Have a professional plumber out to inspect the issue and clear the blockage.

For fast and reliable drain cleaning services here in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, call our team at Wagner. We’re your local drain cleaning specialists. Be sure to check out our specials for ways to save money on our clog clearing services.

Why hire a professional for drain cleaning?

Drain cleaning and clog clearing is a job best left to a professional. Here are five reasons why you should hire a professional for drain cleaning projects in your home:

#1. Home remedies can’t clear the toughest clogs

Some people may swear by them, but most home remedies to clear clogs just don’t work. Many clogs are tougher than they initially appear. Here are some common home drain cleaning tactics and their shortcomings:

Hot water and dish soap

The problem here is that PVC pipes are often not built to handle boiling water. In fact, PVC and the glue at the joints near the sink trap can be damaged by temperatures above 140 degrees. This means that you effectively need to heat water—but not too much—and then hope that it retains enough heat by the time it reaches the clog to re-liquefy trapped grease. It’s a long shot, and this remedy also assumes that grease is the problem.

Coat hanger

Many people use a wire coat hanger to reach into the shower drain and pull out trapped hair. Two issues: first, the coat hanger wire may not be long enough to reach the clog. Second, this may clear some of the hair, but is unlikely to remove all of it. You’ll be right back at square one soon.

Baking soda and vinegar

Again, this home remedy calls for boiling water to be poured down first, which is not recommended for homes with PVC piping. The combination of baking soda and vinegar may clear a mild, weak clog, but it’s unlikely to really impact a deeper, stronger one.

#2. Plumbers have the right tools to get the job done

Outside of a small plunger and a wrench, most homeowners do not have access to the wide assortment of clog-clearing tools that a professional plumber does. Here are some of the tools of our trade and how they help clear a wide variety of drain and pipe blockages:


Every American homeowner has a toilet plunger in their home. Professional plumbers often carry several, with different-sized and -shaped plungers playing different roles in drain cleaning projects. The typical plunger, for instance, is highly effective on sinks and drains, but toilets often require a ball plunger that creates better pressure.

A Wagner plumber feeds an auger line into a sewer line.

Sink Auger

Commonly known as a “drum auger,” this is a specialized tool plumbers use to clear sink and shower drain clogs. The auger contains a steel cord. The plumber positions the cord inside of the drain and then turns the auger’s handle to extend it out. As the cord snakes into the drain and around bends, it pushes into and through clogs, clearing them.

Snake Tools

Our plumbers carry a wide range of different snake tools for clearing clogs. The type of clog often dictates the type of snake tool that gets used for a particular job. For example, snake tools with barbs and hooks are better at clearing out shower drains because they can catch amassed hair for the plumber to then pull out of the pipe.

Endoscopic “Snake” Camera

We’ll review more about this in a minute, but this is essentially a specialized snake tool that features a tiny digital camera with a light at the end. Plumbers use this to see into the pipes, typically by feeding the snake into the drain and then watching its travel with the homeowner on a small screen.

Water Jets

While not needed on every job, high-pressure water jets can be used to blast through deep, stubborn clogs. This is preferable to using chemical solutions since the water jet does not harm the pipes or plumbing. Our plumbers will often use water jets to clear significant sewer line blockages.

#3. Store-bought chemicals don’t always work

Take a trip to your local hardware store, and you’ll find a wide variety of drain cleaners available. Many homeowners decide to use these chemicals instead of bringing in a professional plumber, but there are drawbacks:

  • Ineffectiveness: Many of these drain cleaning chemicals are not powerful enough to clear a stubborn clog deep in your pipes. Even when they break through the clog, they rarely clear it out completely, which sets the stage for future clogs in the very near future.
  • Pipe Damage: Avoid drain cleaning products that contain hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid. These strong acids may work against the clog, but they can also damage your pipes, sink, garbage disposal, and everything else they touch. According to The New York Times, even the drain cleaning products that say they won’t damage pipes will do some damage to them.
  • Storage: For good reason, many homeowners are understandably nervous about keeping drain cleaning products around their homes. These products are dangerous, especially if accidentally consumed by children or pets. If you do have drain cleaning products, keep them elevated and out of the way in a cool, dark place.
  • Safety: If you are going to use these chemical drain cleaners, you need to clear the area around the drain. Wear protective eyewear and plastic gloves—preferably ones that cover your wrists. Make sure you properly dispose of the plastic bottle in a way consistent with hazardous waste disposal in your area.

For these reasons, our professionals only use chemicals as a last resort to clear a clog. In a vast majority of cases, we can clear the clog with a plunger, our snake tools, or other non-chemical methods.

#4. You don’t know what’s down there

Every clog is different. Many shower clogs, for instance, are caused by the buildup of hair deep within the drain, whereas kitchen sink clogs can be caused by stuck food waste or solidified grease. What the clog is made of often determines how it should be handled. For example, our plumbers may use a plunger to attempt to clear a toilet or sink clog, but that is far less effective on shower drain clogs, where a specialized snake tool should be used to snag, and then remove, the trapped hair.

In other cases, you may know what’s down your drain—and want it back. Jewelry, such as earrings and wedding bands, often is accidentally flushed or sent down the drain. You’ll want the assistance of a professional plumber for this: our team has specialized drain endoscopes—basically, cameras attached to a snake tool—that allow us to look down into the drain and find lost items. We can then use other snake tools to retrieve the item without damaging it or pushing it further into the pipe.

#5. Clogged drains could indicate other problems

A clogged sink, shower, or toilet drain might be just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Your home could be experiencing the start of a sewer line clog. Some of the warning signs of a blocked sewer line include:

  • All the drains in your home have clogged simultaneously.
  • The physically lowest drains in the home—typically, the bathtub or shower drain—are backing up.

At this point, you need to stop running the water, turn off the water supply to your home, and call our team for 24/7 emergency service. A sewer line blockage is a serious issue for any home and could lead to a sewer backup.

Clearing just one pipe will not do anything to remove the clog. Sewer line clogs are much deeper in the system. In fact, it’s often the process of attempting to clear the clog—which may include adding more water, continuing to flush the toilet, or adding liquid drain cleaner—that exacerbates the problem.

At Wagner, we’re your locally trusted plumbing team

Since 1928, Wagner has been Albuquerque’s trusted name in plumbing services. When you need to hire a professional for drain cleaning in your home, call us. We offer 24/7 emergency service, and one of our experienced and friendly plumbers can quickly be at your home to clear the clog and get your kitchen or bathroom back to normal.

Fall is the perfect time of year for a water heater flush

All water heater tanks require a regular “flush out” to remove accumulated (and trapped) sediment, mineral deposits, and other forms of buildup at the bottom of the tank. Ideally, as a homeowner, you should flush your water heater tank twice per-year. However, at the bare minimum, an annual water heater flush is an absolute must.

A water heater that goes too long between flushes will:

  • Become less energy-efficient, as accumulated sediment and minerals block the heating element from warming the water as effectively.
  • Live a shorter life, as corrosive elements will be allowed to build up inside the tank with uninterrupted regularity.

As an Albuquerque homeowner, you should perform or schedule a water heater flush at least once per year.In other words, taking care of regular maintenance for your water heater can end up costing you money, both in the present and in the future. The good news is that a water heater flush is easy for most homeowners to perform themselves and only takes a few minutes.

However, if you need assistance with this or any other water heater maintenance project, be sure to call our team of experienced plumbers here in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Since 1928, the team at Wagner has built our reputation on helping local homeowners with their home maintenance needs.

Performing a water heater flush

Step #1: Turn off the system and cut the power

Start by turning your water heater’s thermostat to off and then—depending on the type of system you have:

  • Gas Water Heaters: Shut off the gas line to the water heater.
  • Electric Water Heaters: At your home’s breaker box, turn off the power to the circuit the water heater is on. If you’re not sure what circuit the water heater is on specifically, you may want to turn off power to the entire home for this process.

Step #2: Turn off the cold water supply and run hot water

Your water heater has a cold water intake supply line with an adjustable knob near the top of the water heater. You’ll want to shut this off so that no new water is entering the tank. Then, at your kitchen sink or in a bathtub, run the hot water running. This latter step is critical to preventing issues with the lines while draining.

Step #3: Position a bucket (or connect a hose)

Near the bottom of the water heater tank is a spigot that controls the outflow of water for drainage purposes. You have two options here:

  • You can position a large bucket underneath the spigot and drain directly into the bucket. As you can probably imagine, there’s more water in the tank than your bucket can hold, so you may need to empty the bucket once or twice while draining. As we’ll discuss below, it’s not always necessary to drain the water heater entirely, however.
  • You can connect a garden hose to the drainage spigot and run the hose to a bucket. This is especially useful if the placement of your water heater makes positioning a bucket directly beneath difficult.

Either way, the bucket is crucial. As the water drains out of the water heater, you’ll be able to see it in the bucket, which will provide you with a visual key as to when to stop.

Step #4: Start the drainage process

Turn that drainage spigot to open. At first, the water coming out of the water heater and into the bucket will most likely be brown or rust-colored. As you continue draining, this water will eventually start to run clear. If it’s been a while since your last water heater drain, you may need to drain the entire tank to remove all the accumulated sediment.

Step #5: Flush out the remainder

Once you either have clear water or have drained the entire tank of all its water, it’s time to flush. With the bucket and hose still positioned as before, open that cold water supply valve you closed in Step 2. This will allow cold water to run through the tank and into the bucket, carrying any remaining sediment or buildup along with it. Again, keep an eye on your bucket: as soon as its water is clear, you’re done. You can empty the bucket, detach the hose, close the drainage valve, and turn your water heater back on.

Call Wagner for all your water heater maintenance needs

The team at Wagner is here to help with all your water heater maintenance and upkeep needs, including your annual flush. If you need assistance with the flush process—or have reason to believe that your water heater isn’t working properly—you’ll want to call our team for service. We maintain, repair, and replace water heaters here in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Keep your garbage disposal in top condition with these tips

Ask any homeowner who has previously lived in an apartment, condo, or house without one: you don’t realize just how important and convenient a garbage disposal is until it’s missing. If your home has a garbage disposal, you might not give it much thought, but there’s actually a few easy steps that homeowners can do to keep their disposal’s blades sharp, smelling clean, and running great. In this article, we’ll review our top upkeep tips and outline a few of the warning signs that may indicate that your disposal needs to be replaced soon.

Your garbage disposal is an essential part of your kitchen. With the right upkeep, you can keep it running right for years to come.

Your garbage disposal is an essential part of your kitchen. With the right upkeep, you can keep it running right for years to come.

Make a habit of caring for your garbage disposal

If you want to keep your disposal unit operating effectively and smelling great, here are a few of our top maintenance and upkeep tips:

Watch what goes down the sink!

Yes, it’s called a garbage disposal, but that doesn’t mean you should treat it the same as you do your trash can. Here are some do’s-and-don’ts when it comes to disposing of things in the sink:

  • Do: Dispose of small pieces of organic food waste, such as that left on a plate or pan after scraping into the trash.
  • Don’t: Use the disposal to get rid of non-organic trash, such as plastic milk rings or produce stickers.
  • Don’t: Put oils or grease down the drain. Grease is particularly dangerous, since it solidifies as it cools, and can do so deep in your pipes.
  • Don’t: Dispose of food waste that expands in contact with water, such as rice or pasta. Also avoid putting hard organic materials down the sink, such as eggshells, hard-shell seeds, popcorn kernels, and more.

If you put any of the items from the latter three bullets down your drain, you may be putting your home at an increased risk of a sewer line blockage.

Sanitize the blades

Over time, you will start to notice that your garbage disposal, well, is starting to smell like garbage. As you disposal of food waste, some of that waste gets caught on the blades. This promotes the growth of odor-causing bacteria, which can lead to your sink smelling not-so-great.

One of the best ways to clean up your disposal is with citrus. Cut up a lemon into several smaller pieces. Running cold water from the tap, feed them into the disposal, rind and all. As the disposal grinds through the lemon peel and interior, the acidity of the citrus will help to clean the blades, while releasing a pleasant, fresh lemon scent throughout your kitchen.

If you’re finding that the DIY lemon trick above isn’t doing enough to clear odors from your disposal, check your local supermarket or hardware store for commercially available cleaning products that are specially formulated to sanitize your disposal. Either way, cleaning your disposal once per-month should make a major difference in how your kitchen smells!

Keep things sharp

You can also sharpen the blades of your disposal. This is important: dull disposal blades have difficulty tearing food waste into smaller pieces, which means the disposal is limited in how much waste it can dispose of at once. It may send larger bits of food waste down the pipes, which is far from ideal because of the sewer line blockage risk outlined above.

To sharpen the blades, run cold water. Take a cup of ice and dump it into the disposal along with some rock salt. As the disposal cuts through the ice and salt, it will sharpen the dull blades. By the way, some other DIY guides advocate for using egg shells to do the same thing, but you should avoid putting shells down your drain, as bits of shell can become lodged deep within the sewer line. The benefit of using ice, of course, is that any remaining at the end of this process will just melt away.

Watch out for signs of impending trouble

If you care for your garbage disposal, it should last you about a decade of regular use in your home. Near the end of that decade, you should be on the lookout for signs of a dying disposal, including:

  • Slowing Motor: If the disposal sounds like it’s moving at half-speed, its motor could be going out. This typically occurs near the end of the lifespan of the system, and it most often means that the disposal unit needs to be replaced.
  • Leaks: If your disposal is leaking water under your kitchen sink, that’s a sign that something has cracked or broken. The unit will need to be either repaired or replaced by a professional plumber. Don’t ignore small leaks—these tend to get worse as the disposal continues to be used.

Call Wagner for disposal service

At Wagner, we’re Albuquerque’s garbage disposal repair and replacement experts. If your disposal has stopped working, give us a call. Our plumbers can diagnose the problem and provide you with the next steps needed to return your kitchen back to normal.

How do bathroom sink traps work, and why are they important?

If you’re a homeowner or have been around plumbing long enough, you’ve probably heard the word “trap” or “p-trap” used. A plumbing trap is a small device that plays a big role in keeping you and your family safe, clean, and comfortable. They’re most used in a home’s bathroom, but these traps can be found anywhere plumbing is in use. Today, we’ll go over what a bathroom sink trap is, how they work, and how they prevent harmful odors and pests from getting into your home.

How sink traps work

A basic plumbing trap is used to keep gases from leaking back into your home. This trap and its seal also prevents mice or other pests from getting into your home through the sewage system. In your sewage system, harmful gases like methane, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen are produced. To protect yourself from these gases and their associated risks, a barrier is used to place a buffer between the sewage system and your plumbing fixtures.

In a bathroom sink, the plumbing trap is most commonly found under the sink and is usually made of PVC pipe or steel. If you’ve ever smelled something similar to rotten eggs near your sinks or laundry machines, this could be a sink trap malfunction or issue with harmful gases leaking back up into your home. If you think you have a plumbing issue, however big or small, give the team at Wagner a call today.

The importance of regular plumbing maintenance

You should be receiving regular maintenance visits to ensure your home is running smoothly. Even if your bathroom fixtures seem to be working fine, you could have a small, hidden leak or a break in your pipes. The last thing you need is for a middle-of-the-night home flood or emergency. Regular maintenance prevents these problems from happening.

Wagner’s certified plumbers can come out to your home and take care of your sinks, disposals, toilets, showers, and more. They can also repair or replace your sink traps to eliminate those harmful odors from getting inside your home. If it’s been a year or more since you’ve had a plumbing visit, it’s time to call today!

Caring for your home

Many homeowners prefer a DIY approach because it’s sometimes more affordable and easier than picking up the phone. However, many DIY projects soon turn into disasters. More money is spent trying to fix the issue, troubleshooting can take hours, and the mess just isn’t worth it. Why not make one phone call and rest easy knowing that a professional can handle the job? Before you try to change out a sink trap, call Wagner first. We’re certified to handle plumbing equipment and professionally care for your home.

If your drain gets clogged easily or you notice strange smells coming from your sink or bathroom area, be sure to call a plumber immediately. The longer you wait, the more buildup your sink could experience, leading to a larger problem altogether. A sink trap is meant to protect your home from harm and pests, and if it isn’t working properly, you and your family will be the first to know (and smell it). For fast and friendly work, call Wagner today or visit our website to learn more about the services we offer.

Why you should leave the plumbing repairs to the professionals

After a long Saturday of chores and yard work, you need to shower. When you turn the shower on, the showerhead is leaking water and not providing enough water pressure. You don’t want to jump into bed smelling bad. You have two options:

  1. Grab your toolbox and fix the problem yourself, or;
  2. Call a professional plumbing team to fix it for you.

Option 2 seems like too much time and money wasted, so you find the rusty toolbox in the garage and pull up a DIY YouTube video. Three hours later, your showerhead is broken, the leaking won’t stop, and you still haven’t had your shower. If you had called a professional in the first place, you would’ve been clean and fresh by now!

Don’t be that one DIY homeowner who naively believes they can solve any home issue. There are times when you should rely on a certified, experienced team of professionals, especially when plumbing is involved. In this article, we’ll review the plumbing projects you can take on yourself versus those you should call Wagner for help with.

If you have a clogged sink, don’t risk further problems by trying to tackle the drain cleaning yourself. Call Wagner for fast, reliable service here in Albuquerque.

Common DIY solutions

You may be pretty handy with a hammer or drill. Or, you may know someone in the neighborhood who can handle plumbing issues. But is a DIY approach really the best solution? We recommend going straight to the professionals to avoid extra headache and lost time. Here are just a few DIY plumbing solutions that often end up losing you money:

  • Snaking your own drain: Many homeowners believe a wire hanger or a DIY home-snaking tool will solve your drainage problem. However, you should not put any foreign object down your drain without consulting a professional. Avoid pouring drain cleaner down your drain as well—many over-the-counter chemicals will do more harm than good to your pipes.
  • Unclogging your toilet: You may think the average, everyday clogged toilet is a breeze to fix. But what if the problem is something bigger? Before grabbing the plunger and risking a toilet overflow, call a professional. If you’ve already tried to unclog your toilet and nothing seems to be working, take a step back and give the team at Wagner a call.
  • Tightening or loosening pipes: If something has fallen down a drain and you want to loosen a pipe underneath the sink, think again. Just because you own a wrench or pliers does not mean you should use them on your plumbing. Many times, DIY plumbing solutions turn into a larger problem, costing you more money down the road.
  • Replacing faucets, showerheads, or handles: The best way to replace an old showerhead or faucet is to call a professional plumber, who can install it in no time. Too often, homeowners overlook crucial steps, forget to install an important part and get stuck, or install a new handle just plain wrong. Why spend twice or three times as long making the upgrade when a professional can get it done quickly and with no-hassle?

What a professional plumber can offer

Not only does a professional plumber have years of experience, but they are certified, trained, and friendly. The old stereotype surrounding plumbers is that they are rude, overbearing men or women, who storm into your home and make a big mess before overcharging you.

The TRUTH is this: Wagner plumbers are friendly, courteous, and true professionals who are able to solve any plumbing issue you may face. They carefully explain the situation to you and offer helpful tips and solutions. Our upfront pricing and guarantees ensures you’ll be left smiling after every job.

With a DIY approach, you’re left flying by the seat of your pants or relying on a YouTube 4-minute clip to give you careful instructions about the intricate plumbing systems of your home. Next time you reach for your own tools, remember this: A DIY approach is not always easier or cheaper than calling a plumber.

Regular maintenance makes all the difference

Even if your pipes aren’t broken and your showerhead isn’t leaking, you should still receive regular maintenance from a certified plumbing team. This maintenance can make all the difference between future breakdowns and a properly working home. Waiting for your plumbing to break down is like waiting for your car to break down on the side of the road before changing the oil and refilling the gas. Why wait for a problem to hit when you can be scheduling annual maintenance? The peace of mind you’ll receive is worth every affordable penny.

For excellent service, choose Wagner

Wagner offers plumbing services to the Albuquerque metro area and beyond. We know how it feels as a homeowner to face down a leaky faucet, clogged drain, or faulty water heater. Your plumbing problem will be treated as our number one priority. Give us a call today to schedule an inspection or repair. You’ll be glad you did!

Here are the causes and warning signs of a blocked sewer line

Although you probably rarely think about it, your home’s sewer line is one of the most important aspects of your house. This is the pipe that carries waste and water away from your home to the municipal sewer, and 80% of American homes have one (the rest have a septic system). The sewer line is often out-of-sight and out-of-mind until something goes wrong. A sewer blockage is a serious issue for you and your home when the waste and water no longer has a way to leave your home. So essentially, what goes down, must come back up. Not only is this very disgusting to have happen, but it is very destructive to your home as well.

In this article, we’ll discuss exactly what sewer blockages are, how they can form, and signs that may point to your home having a sewer block. If you do suspect that you may have a blockage, call the team at Wagner for 24/7 emergency plumbing repair.

Early warning signs of a blocked sewer line include drains simultaneously clogging throughout your home.

One of the early warning signs of a blocked sewer line includes drains simultaneously clogging throughout your home.

What is a sewer blockage?

All of the drains in your home lead to the same place—your sewer line. This is the pipe that runs from your home to the municipal sewer, usually located underneath the street. When this line is partially or fully blocked, meaning nothing can pass through it, a sewer blockage is only a matter of time.

Here are a few things that commonly obstruct sewer lines:

Waste, grease, and trash

Pouring grease down the drain is one­ of—if not the worst—things you can do to your home’s plumbing. Like an artery clogged with fat, grease will clog the inside of your sewer line the same way. Again, just like your blood vessels, this can cause a dangerous clot to form over time, until eventually it completely blocks the flow of water. This only worsens when non-biodegradable trash is added to the sewer line.

Tree roots

When your sewer line has a small leak, you probably won’t notice. The trees surrounding your home, however, will notice even the smallest leak. Their thirsty roots will start to inch closer and closer to the line, eventually strangling the physical pipe and breaking the line altogether. It is an important fact to keep in mind if your home has many trees in the yard near the line.

What are the signs of a blocked sewer line?

One of the first telltale ways to notice you have a sewer blockage is if your sink is not draining correctly. You can take your initial investigation a step further and look at the rest of the drains in your home—including tubs and shower drains—to see if they are not draining properly as well. If you have a sewer line blockage, all of the drains in your home will simultaneously clog. This is a very serious issue, and if you notice this is happening, immediately turn off the water supply to your home and call our team at Wagner. If you are able to put a stop to this, you can catch the block before too much damage is done.

A more serious sign you may notice is water starting to come up and out of the drains. This will start with the lower drains like showers and tubs, but could potentially impact the rest of your home. By turning off the water quickly, you should be able to put a stop to the rising water before too much damage is done.

What should you do if you have a sewer blockage?

A sewer obstruction is a major issue that will involve a professional plumbing company. Our team will need to come out, dig up the sewer line, clear the blockage, and replace the part of the line—all without compromising the structural integrity of the rest of your line. Needless to say, this is no DIY project, and you don’t want to work with a non-professional on this project.

If you suspect that you have a sewer line blockage, or plumbing issues of any kind, call Wagner as soon as possible. We offer 24/7 emergency repair; have friendly, trusted plumbers; and provide upfront, honest pricing.

How does hard water in Albuquerque impact your home?

You’ve no doubt heard your friends, neighbors, and family members all talk about the water quality here in Albuquerque. One of the most common subjects that gets brought up is the relative hardness of the water here in Duke City. In this article, we’ll review some of the impacts of hard water in Albuquerque and what you can do to soften the water in your home and protect your pipes and appliances.

What is hard water?

Hard water is water with a higher mineral content—calcium and magnesium are the two most common minerals—than other sources of water. Water hardness is measured in parts-per-million—even the mineral content of hard water is relatively low.

The hard water in Albuquerque can cause water deposit buildup on your faucets, fixtures, and shower heads.Measuring hard water

Most homeowners tend to think of “soft water” and “hard water” as two absolutes: in other words, water is either one or the other. This isn’t actually the case. Water hardness is actually a sliding scale, with a majority of American homes falling somewhere on the spectrum between “soft” and “very hard.”

Sources of hard water

Generally, cities and areas that draw water from groundwater tend to have more problems with hard water than those that get their water from surface sources, such as rivers and lakes. This is because groundwater—which constantly moves through rocks deep underground—has a higher mineral content than surface water.

Hard water and your health

Contrary to myths and urban legends, hard water is not bad for your health. In fact, as a minor source of calcium and magnesium—two nutrients your body needs—hard water is a net benefit. Many homeowners in blind taste-tests also prefer the taste of hard water.

Hard water in Albuquerque

According to data from USGS, the water in the Albuquerque metro area is rated as “hard.” Our groundwater sources are rated as “very hard.”

Hard water and your appliances

It’s when hard water and heat meet that things start to go wrong for your home. Heating hot water can lead to the formation of calcium carbonate, a solid, chalky buildup also known as “scaling.” Scaling is a big threat to your appliances since it has the potential to clog water lines and add additional wear-and-tear to the appliance. Let’s review the impact of hard water on three common home appliances:

  • Dishwasher: Hard water can be rough on your dishwasher, as the additional mineral content wears down the inside, interior components, and racks of the dishwasher. Hard water also leads to spotting and film buildup on glasses.
  • Washing Machine: Just like in your dishwasher, hard water is rough on the interior tub itself. However, there’s an additional effect: the minerals in hard water can more quickly leech the texture and color out of your clothes, causing them to fade faster and become worn thin faster.
  • Water Heater: This is where homeowners most often experience problems with hard water. The constant combination of hard water and heat in your water heater tank means calcium carbonate can build up through the years, even to the point where it reduces the tank capacity.

Hard water and your pipes

Everything that’s true for your home’s appliances also applies to your pipes. Here, the scaling effect caused by hard water flowing through your pipes day-after-day, month-after-month, and year-after-year can cause major problems. Calcium carbonate that forms on the interior of the pipes begins to restrict the flow of water through the pipe, which in turn increases the water pressure. This added pressure put additional stress on the rest of your home’s pipes, appliances, faucets, and shower heads.

If the pipes can’t handle the pressure, you’re looking at the potential for a pipe burst. The alternative isn’t much better: if the scaling builds up enough, it’ll block water from moving through the pipe altogether. At this juncture, you’re looking at a re-piping project for your home.

Consider a water softener

The water that comes out of the tap might be hard here in Albuquerque, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about hard water in your home. By having the plumbers at Wagner install a whole-home water softener, you can remove the hardness from your home’s water supply. The benefits of this include:

  • Reduced damage to your pipes and appliances
  • Reduced damage to your dishes and clothes
  • Less soap and detergent use
  • Better water heater efficiency

If you’re concerned about the impact of hard water on your home, give us a call here at Wagner and ask about our lineup of effective water softeners from Krystal Klear. These are some of the best residential water softeners available, and we’re proud to install them in Albuquerque homes. Call us to learn more!

What you need to know about keeping your water heater in great shape

Most homeowners rely on their water heater for everyday life, from those hot morning showers to doing the dishes late into the night. However, most of those same homeowners don’t give much thought to water heater maintenance. That’s right: as with any home appliance you rely on, there are things you should be doing to keep your water heater in good working order. In this article, we’re going to review the items on your maintenance checklist and when you need to call in the experts for further help.

A Wagner plumber helps a local homeowner with their water heater maintenance here in Albuquerque.Here in Albuquerque, Wagner is proud to be your top provider of plumbing services from experienced, friendly plumbers. To schedule your water heater service, call us today!

Our top-3 tips for water heater maintenance

Follow these three tips for maximizing the lifespan of your appliance and avoiding common problems that can occur due to insufficient maintenance:

Have your water heater flushed regularly

If you have hard water, most experts recommend you flush your water heater at least once per year. Otherwise, the minerals in your water can accumulate in your water heater.

If you are no longer able to get as much hot water from your appliance as it used to provide, sediment may have accumulated in the tank. Flushing the sediment out regularly can prevent hard water corrosion of your water heater’s components and ensure that it continues to perform efficiently.

Inspect anode rods frequently

Anode rods protect the metal inside and outside your tank by absorbing corrosion that would otherwise attack the inside of the tank wall. By their nature, anode rods are not designed to last forever—there’s a point where they become “used up”—so it’s important to have them inspected every few years. When they deteriorate, it’s important to replace them with a new sacrificial anode rod. This can greatly extend the lifespan of your system.

If you decide to inspect your own anode rods, take steps to prevent scalding (including wearing protective gloves and/or clothing). If you’re uncomfortable checking your own anode rods—which is perfectly normal!—please call us and have one of our plumbers check your anode rod. We can then advise you on whether or not the rod has been spent and needs to be replaced.

Check for drips

Most water heater leaks occur because of faulty or damaged water supply connections. Make it a habit to check around your water heater for leaks and water damage every few weeks. Even a minor leak should be quickly repaired. Just one drip per-minute can equate to a loss of 34 gallons each year!

Rely on the water heater experts at Wagner

The experts at Wagner are here to help you keep your water heater in good working order. Whether the tank is leaking or the system just isn’t working properly, we’ll be able to address your water heater maintenance or repair needs. Call us for service here in Albuquerque.