Posts

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:

Plungers

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.

Our favorite tips for cleaning your in-sink garbage disposal

Your in-sink garbage disposal handles a pretty dirty job, and it might not always get the kind of cleaning it really needs. It can be easy to forget about this invaluable little appliance that lives under your sink, but when those musty odors start creeping up into the kitchen, you know it’s time for action.

When you need plumbing or drain cleaning services here in Albuquerque, call Wagner. We offer emergency services from trusted, local plumbers.

Our favorite in-sink garbage disposal cleaning tips

Try out these three handy tips to keep a clean garbage disposal and keep your home smelling fresh every day.

Pictured: Kitchen with an in-sink garbage disposal unit.Start with the basics

All you need to give your disposal a good once-over is probably sitting on your sink at this very moment.

Simply apply a healthy amount of dish soap to a handled scrubbing brush and get to work on all the parts you can reach, removing debris and food remnants that water can’t get on its own.

For convenience, consider keeping a specific brush for garbage disposal cleaning, separate from your regular dish scrubber.

Apply some cabinet chemistry

A simple mixture of vinegar and baking soda makes for a potent alternative to harsh household cleansers, and disposal cleaning is a great way to put it to use. To get started, try pouring a 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed slowly by a 1/2 cup of vinegar (cleaning vinegar works well, too). Allow the mixture to do its work for about an hour, then rinse thoroughly with cold running water.

Keep it citrus fresh

Looking to clear the air after you’re done applying all that elbow grease? Many household cleaners these days utilize citrus extract for its natural deodorizing capability, and you can derive this same benefit from the actual fruits.

Simply slice up an orange, lemon, lime, or even a grapefruit, drop the pieces down your sink drain (a few at a time to avoid overloading), then activate the disposal for an instant hit of citrusy freshness.

Call Wagner for professional in-sink garbage disposal cleaning

When you run into those pesky drain issues that can’t be solved by cleaning alone, call on Wagner for a fast and professional response.

We’re trusted experts when it comes to resolving plumbing problems, and there’s no drain too stubborn for us to unclog. Contact us today and let us get your garbage disposal running right again.

Here are several major signs that you need summer AC repair

When summer temperatures begin to soar, you need to know you can count on your air conditioning. Heat causes discomfort and impacts the health of people and pets alike, so it’s important to recognize any red flags in your home’s cooling system. Here are the major signs you need summer AC repair here in Albuquerque.

Pictured: Here in Albuquerque, you need to know the signs you need summer AC repair.

Here in Albuquerque, you need to know the signs you need summer AC repair.

Warm air is coming out of your system

The last thing you want during summertime is more heat in the house, but a problematic air conditioning system can lead to this very situation. There are actually a number of potential causes of this issue, including:

  • A failing AC compressor, which is unable to transfer refrigerant as needed
  • Cracked or damaged coils that are allowing refrigerant to leak
  • Problems with the actual thermostat controls

It’s advisable to get input from an experienced service provider (like those here at Wagner!) if you notice any of the above, so as to quickly pinpoint problems and minimize potential downtime.

Rough performance

Two of the most common signs you need summer AC repair include outdoor units that start or run harder than usual. Shaking, rattling, and rumbling are some of the readily observable warnings; they usually indicate a problem with the fan or condenser.

It’s not recommended that you switch on your air conditioning when any of these issues exist, as additional use can make things worse. Instead, call Wagner for 24/7 emergency AC repair here in Albuquerque.

Electrical issues

Circuit breakers are designed to protect against electrical overloading, a dangerous condition that’s capable of damaging your air conditioning system or even causing a house fire.

If using your AC regularly trips breakers and shuts the system off, it may point to excess power being drawn by an overheating compressor. Play it smart and have a Wagner tech inspect your system as soon as possible.

We’re here for your summer AC repair needs

Summer AC repair problems can be a big headache, but Wagner is always ready to deliver for you. We provide a full slate of residential air conditioning services, from new installations to professional repairs and replacements.

Give us a call today and let us know how we can help make your home the place you want to be all season long.

Here are some ways you can protect your home plumbing

In the course of your day-to-day life, don’t forget to carve out a few minutes here and there to protect your home plumbing. In this blog, we’ll review 5 ways that homeowners here in Albuquerque can protect their pipes, appliances, fixtures, and more from damage.

For emergency plumbing repair services here in Albuquerque, contact the pros at Wagner!

5 ways to protect your home plumbing:

#1. Watch what you put down the drain

Before pouring grease or coffee grounds down the drain, even if you plan on running the garbage disposal, think twice.

Some liquids and solids can easily clog up your drains or cause issues later on down the line if they aren’t flushed out from your pipes.

Pictured: By watching what you put down the garbage disposal, you can protect your home plumbing for years to come.#2. Invest in a water softener

Depending on where you live, your area might have hard water that contains an abundance of minerals that can not only deteriorate your pipes over time, but cause skin problems when you shower and bathe and leave water spots on your dishes.

A water softener can solve these issues and protect your home plumbing from scaling inside of pipes.

#3. Don’t use chemical drain-cleaning products

If you ever have a clog in your drain, you’ll probably first reach for a drain-cleaning product. While such liquids can certainly eat away the clog, they issue is that some of them can go on to eat away at your pipes as well. This can be especially problematic if you have several clogs over the years.

As an alternative to drain cleaners, call Wagner to schedule our drain cleaning service. Our expert plumbers use tools quickly and effectively clear clogs.

#4. Know how to use your garbage disposal

Instead of just tossing items into the garbage disposal and flicking the switch, take a moment to do things the right way. Specifically, you’ll want to let hot water run down the drain before putting anything down the disposal, and you’ll want to let the water continue to flow for a few seconds while the disposal is running.

You’ll also want to avoid using your garbage disposal as a substitute for a trash can. Throw larger items into the trash instead of putting them down the sink, and you’ll help protect your home plumbing for years to come!

#5. Use screens

Another key component of protecting your pipes is investing in drain screens in your bathroom and kitchen. Screens are designed to catch anything that shouldn’t go down your drain, such as hair and food particles.

For more help and advice on how to protect your home plumbing, call us!

When disaster does strike in your home’s plumbing system, or you’d like more tips, help is never far away. Contact Wagner for professional, dependable service here in Albuquerque.

Here are the five major benefits of scheduling an AC checkup

Can you remember the last time you had your air conditioner serviced by a professional? There are many benefits of scheduling an AC checkup! In this blog, we’ll make the case why you should have Wagner inspect and maintain your air conditioner this summer.

To book your checkup, contact us today!

The 5 benefits of scheduling an AC checkup:

#1. Get the most out of your air conditioner

By sticking to a regular maintenance schedule, you’re helping your air conditioning unit last as long as possible. A poorly operating unit works harder than necessary to do its job, which puts both unnecessary stress on its parts and unnecessary stress on your wallet.

Pictured: There are many benefits of scheduling an AC checkup. Here, a technician checks the system to make sure it's ready for the summer ahead.#2. Better energy-efficiency

Also included on the list of AC checkup benefits is the fact that your unit and your home will both become more energy-efficient. During maintenance, components like the cooling coils and blades are cleaned, which allow for greater efficiency.

#3. Improved interior air quality

The quality of the air inside your home is improved when you take proper care of your AC unit. This means your allergies aren’t unnecessarily irritated, there’s less chance of you getting sick from breathing the compromised air inside your home, and anyone who suffers from asthma has less of a chance of suffering an attack inside your residence.

#4. Control your humidity

You won’t have to worry as much about an abundance of humidity building up in your home when your air conditioner is properly maintained. Air conditioners have a dehumidifying effect in your home, and a properly tuned up and operating air conditioner will remove humidity.

#5. Save money now and in the long run

While you may not like the idea of having to pay for maintenance when your air conditioner seems to be operating just fine, doing so goes a long way in saving you money in the long run.

Minor problems left unaddressed can turn into major problems, ones that require a major cost to address. Plus, AC maintenance can help extend the lifespan of your system!

Learn more about the benefits of scheduling an AC checkup

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of scheduling an AC checkup, Wagner is here to answer your questions and take care of you and your system. Contact us to schedule service.

Tips for diagnosing swamp cooler problems this summer

To keep your cooling and energy costs as low as possible during the warmer months of the year, you might have invested in a swamp cooler. Swamp coolers are a great way to stay cool! However, homeowners can encounter swamp cooler problems from time-to-time. Here’s a guide on diagnosing any issues you might have with them. Contact us for service!

Your swamp cooler won’t start

If you suddenly discover that your cooler won’t start, start by checking the breaker or fuse to see if that might be the problem. Replacing the fuse or resetting the breaker might help take care of the issue, but the cooler’s wiring might be the problem if that doesn’t help.

Remember: you should never work with electrical systems directly. Instead, you should call the professional electricians at Wagner for help.

It’s not producing enough cold air

Maybe it’s that you’re getting plenty of airflow from your cooler, but for some reason, it doesn’t seem to be cooling you down. It might be that there’s a clog triggering your evaporative cooler problems. Are the cooling pads dry? If so, wet them a bit before using your cooler again to see if that helps take care of the issue.

Water is pooling under the system

Should you ever discover a small pool underneath your swamp cooler, it might be that you didn’t store it correctly during the cooler months of the year. Swamp cooler shutdown is an important task that, if done wrong, can lead to further swamp cooler problems.

For example, failing to drain the cooler before storing it or not clearing it out thoroughly can result in such a leak. Additionally, the cooling pads should be removed and the system should be covered throughout the winter season.

Odd odors are coming from the system

A swamp cooler shouldn’t smell like its namesake. Water or mildew on the pads might be the culprit behind the smell. Again, it’s important to properly maintain and care for the unit so it’s always fresh and clean. This is one of the many reasons we recommend scheduling a swamp cooler startup at the start of every season.

The system has poor airflow

It could be that your cooler cools, but that it doesn’t churn out enough air to make the room comfortable. The unit might not have the exhaust it needs to do its job properly, but if your model doesn’t use exhaust ducts, try opening doors and windows to see if that boosts the airflow.

Call Wagner for help diagnosing swamp cooler problems

For professional HVAC help with your swamp cooler problems, contact us here at Wagner.

Here are four signs it’s time for a replacement water heater

You and your family rely on a functioning water heater for, well, just about everything: laundry, showers, and dishes. However, how do you know it’s time for a new water heater? If your water heater is getting up there in age, keep an eye out for these four signs that it’s time for a replacement water heater.

#1. Your anode rod is spent

Standard water heaters contain a key element called the “anode rod.” This is a metal rod designed to attract all the rust and corrosion in the water heater tank. It “sacrifices” itself to prevent rust and corrosion from attacking the tank walls.

However, at a certain age, your anode rod is most likely spent. This means that it’s completely corroded, and unable to take more of the rust burden away from the tank itself. It’s that point at which it might be a good idea to replace your water heater.

(You should also note that the hard water here in Albuquerque can mean that your water heater will probably go through the sacrificial anode rod all that much faster!)

It’s also possible, at a certain point, to have the professional plumbers at Wagner replace your anode rod. To learn more about whether or not this is an option for your unit, contact us!

#2. Your water heater tank is showing its age

After years and years of being subjected to extreme temperatures, water, and corrosion, you may notice that your water heater tank is beginning to show its age. Inspect the outside of the unit: if there are even tiny, hairline fractures, it’s time to replace the unit.

After all, these tiny cracks can eventually lead to a tank burst and a flooded home. That’s certainly a scenario you’ll want to avoid.

#3. Your water heater isn’t heating water like it used to

After time, the heating element in your water heater—the device that quite literally makes the system work—can experience problems. This can be related to the buildup of sediment or corrosion at the bottom of your water heater tank. Either way, the results are the same:

  • Reduced available hot water supply
  • Reduced overall heat in the water

If you’ve been experiencing either of these symptoms of an old water heater, it’s time to call Wagner and talk to our team about a replacement water heater.

For a replacement water heater, call Wagner

Wagner is Albuquerque’s professional plumbing company. From water heater replacement and repair to our award-winning HVAC and electrical services, our team is here for you and your home.

To schedule service, contact us online, or give us a call at (505) 884-2822.

Here are 4 signs you need AC replacement

If your air conditioner is getting up there in age, the day is coming when you’ll need to replace it with a new system. However, there are many reasons why you might want to consider replacing your air conditioner ahead of the hottest weather this summer. In this blog, we’ll review four of the signs that you need professional AC replacement and installation.

To schedule your free in-home estimate, contact Wagner today, or give us a call at (505) 884-2822.

#1. Your AC no longer provides effective cooling for your home

If your air conditioner is no longer cooling your home effectively, it’s time to make a change. After all, this is the entire reason you have an air conditioner. If you and your family need comfort, AC replacement might be just what you need.

#2. Your energy bills have been on the rise

Energy-efficiency matters. If your air conditioner has been using more and more energy each and every summer, that means that your energy bills are also on the rise. Not only that, but your system is probably experiencing greater wear-and-tear from your air conditioner running constantly.

One of the best ways to get more energy-efficiency out of your older air conditioner each summer is to schedule an AC checkup from Wagner.

However, there is a point where an older AC really just needs to be replaced. After all, even a checkup can’t completely roll back the years on your system, or change the fact that modern, new air conditioners have passed your old system by.

#3. You’ve needed AC repair for multiple summers

If your air conditioner has consistently needed repairs over the past few summers, that’s a good sign that it’s time for AC replacement. After all, add up those repair costs: wouldn’t that money be better spent on a new AC that is going to be not only more energy-efficient, but provide your home with better comfort?

The next time your AC needs repairs, ask your trusted Wagner technician about the expected lifespan of your unit, and when you need to consider replacing it.

#4. Your AC is getting up there in age

Nothing lasts forever. Sure, with the right maintenance, your air conditioner—much like your car—is going to last a lot longer. At the same time, consistently running, summer-after-summer, will eventually wear down even the best-maintained system.

If you’ve been putting off the day of your AC replacement, this might be the season to finally make the switch.

For more on AC replacement, call the Wagner team!

If you’re ready to replace your old air conditioner, give Wagner a call to schedule a free in-home estimate. Since 1928, we’ve been your trusted, local source for HVAC, plumbing, and electrical services.

To get started on your AC replacement, contact us online, or give us a call at (505) 884-2822.

This Earth Day, make plans to save energy this summer

April 22 is Earth Day, and there are a lot of great events happening here in Albuquerque. What’s more, many organizations around town will be planting trees and doing trash pickups in parks.

It’s this time of year where many homeowners wonder how they can improve their own energy-efficiency, both to save money and to use less energy. In this blog, we’ll run through four ways your air conditioner can save you energy and money.

The best ways to save energy this summer

There are many ways to save energy in your home this summer. Here are a few of the ways you can get more out of your air conditioner this summer:

#1. Schedule an AC checkup with Wagner

Spring is the best time to schedule your air conditioning checkup from the team at Wagner. By having one of our professional techs inspect your system this season, we can not only make sure your system is less likely to break down in the summer, but also increase your energy-efficiency.

An unmaintained air conditioner is an inefficient one. Over the course of summer, fall, winter, and early spring, your air conditioner gathers dust and debris that keep it from running at peak capacity. Our checkup tightens parts, checks systems, and ensures that your unit is ready for the hot weather ahead.

SCHEDULE YOUR AC CHECKUP

#2. Replace your old, struggling air conditioner

If your air conditioner is old, it probably isn’t as efficient as it once was—and is far from as efficient as new systems are. Even with an AC checkup, there’s only so efficient that a 15-year-old air conditioner can be.

Most homeowners replace their old air conditioner when it dies for the final time, or when the repair costs finally outweigh the system’s value. However, during your checkup, ask your Wagner tech about the state of your system. Here are just a few signs that it’s time to replace your old system:

  • Reduced energy-efficiency, and higher bills
  • More frequent breakdowns and repair needs
  • Less comfort in your home

LEARN MORE ABOUT A NEW AC SYSTEM

#3. Consider investing in a programmable thermostat

You may have seen programmable thermostats for sale in your local hardware store. These systems offer homeowners greater control over their comfort and home energy use, even when they’re not at home.

These thermostats, true to their name, can be programmed to cool and heat at certain times on certain days of the week. Most models can also be connected to WiFi, which allows you to adjust or check the temperature of your home on-the-go or while you’re at work.

By allowing for this level of consistent control, programmable thermostats can help make your home more energy-efficient. For example, if you only need your home colder when you’re falling asleep, you can set your thermostat to turn down the AC after 10 p.m.

WE INSTALL PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTATS

#4. Keep your home consistent

Many homeowners believe the best way to save energy is to turn off their air conditioner during the day while they’re at home, and then turn it back on at night.

However, contrary to popular belief, this practice actually ends up using more energy. When your AC has to play catch up and cool your home down after a long, hot day, it uses more electricity than it would have needed to just maintain a temperature throughout the day.

Instead, using either your regular thermostat or a programmable model, set a consistent, slightly higher temperature for your air conditioner to stay at during the day. Then, you can make small, 1-3 degree adjustments when you get home at night.

Call Wagner for an AC checkup this Earth Day

Your air conditioner is one of the primary users of energy in your home. By making it more efficient—along with some other common-sense changes in your home like switching to more efficient light bulbs—you can cut back on your energy use, saving you money and lessening your home’s footprint.

To schedule your AC checkup, contact Wagner today!