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Are Galvanized or Copper Pipes Better for Plumbing?

Most homeowners in the Plainfield, IL, area will face a time when they need to have plumbing work done. You may have to choose between copper and galvanized pipes. Both are designed to reduce the use of lead in plumbing systems. Copper and galvanized pipes have advantages, but there are also some key aspects to consider when choosing between these two types of pipes. Here are the primary differences between galvanized and copper pipes that the experts at TR Miller Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing share with our customers.

Material

Steel is a durable material, but it is prone to corrosion. For plumbing applications, the steel pipes are coated with zinc to create galvanized pipes. The process ensures that the pipes withstand the effects of water exposure and weathering. Copper pipes are primarily made with copper, but some other metals may be added. In some cases, manufacturers use scrap copper that introduces impurities. This practice often results in copper pipes that are not as durable or as long-lasting.

Longevity

When you invest in a plumbing project, large or small, you want to know that your investment will provide years of worry-free enjoyment of your home. Galvanized pipes may last up to 40 years, and copper pipes can last longer.

Lead Content

Believe it or not, galvanized pipes do contain a small amount of lead, even though the material was introduced to eliminate lead from residential and commercial plumbing applications. The lead in galvanized steel pipes is considered a safe level, even if it leaches into your water. For homeowners in Plainfield who want to completely eliminate any type of lead from their plumbing, copper is the way to go.

Sizing

If your Plainfield home is designed with several tight spaces for your plumbing, the professionals at TR Miller Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing may recommend copper pipes. Galvanized pipes are not available in smaller diameters, so they may not fit in your home.

Bacteria

Water contains bacteria that can grow inside your plumbing pipes. Galvanized pipes don’t inhibit bacterial growth. Copper pipes have certain natural properties that prevent bacteria from growing inside your pipes.

Hard Water Deposits

The water in the Plainfield, IL, area is hard, meaning that it contains a high level of minerals. Deposits develop inside your pipes over time, and this can lead to costly repairs. Mineral deposits are common in galvanized pipes, and copper pipes are less prone to these deposits. Unless you have a hard water softener, copper pipes may be your best investment.

Freezing

The winters in Illinois can be hard on plumbing. If your pipes tend to freeze, choose copper pipes. The material has the ability to expand and contract with changing ground and outdoor temperatures. As a result, copper pipes rarely burst due to freezing. Galvanized steel pipes cannot expand, and they often burst during the winter if they are not properly insulated and protected. On the other hand, water tends to condense inside copper pipes, and the condensation may freeze during the winter. Although the pipe may not burst, the ice can slow water flow.

Heat Resistance

One area where galvanized pipes outshine copper is applications that require very hot water. Copper pipes will fail if they carry water that is hotter than 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot water heaters should be set around 120 to 140 degrees so excessive heat is not a concern for most homes in the Plainfield, IL area. If you do have a special application for your plumbing that requires water that is 180 degrees or higher, we may recommend galvanized pipes.

Material Cost

Thus far, it seems that copper pipes are the best choice for homes in the Plainfield area, but we also advise our customers about the difference in cost. Copper pipes are more expensive. If you are working with a budget, galvanized pipes are the best choice. The pipes will last for several decades, and they are very durable and safe.

Repair Costs

Galvanized pipes are very affordable to install and repair, so, even if they don’t last as long as copper, this is still a very affordable option. Copper pipes are costly to repair. Fortunately, they rarely break, burst, or leak when they are properly installed by the experts at TR Miller Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing.

Taste

If you enjoy drinking tap water, galvanized pipes are the better option. Copper pipes leach materials that cause a metallic taste in drinking water, including ice cubes.

Property Value

Copper pipes add more value to your home than galvanized pipes. In fact, having a copper plumbing system may give your home an advantage over comparable properties in your neighborhood. Even if you aren’t planning to stay in your home, you will see a return on your investment in copper pipes when it’s time to sell.

Warranty

Like any other product in your home, plumbing pipes may come with a warranty from the manufacturer. For galvanized pipes that are warranted, the term is between 10 and 25 years. Copper pipes, though, come with an amazing 50-year warranty against manufacturer defects.

Should You Replace Galvanized Pipes With Copper Pipes?

For new construction in Plainfield, most plumbing systems are designed with copper pipes. For older homes, it may be worth considering replacing your galvanized pipes with copper. If your plumbing system is working well, there is no need to replace the entire system just to change materials. When you start having issues with your galvanized pipes, the professionals at TR Miller Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing may recommend an upgrade to copper pipes. Now might be the best time, though, if you are concerned with lead leaching into your drinking water from older galvanized pipes.

Can You Combine Galvanized and Copper Pipes?

Joining galvanized and copper pipes causes a specific type of corrosion that damages the pipes. The rust builds up inside a galvanized pipe and creates a clog. A better approach would be to evaluate your home to see if subsystems can be plumbed with different materials. If you want to stay within a budget and only update part of your plumbing with copper pipes, we may recommend using galvanized or copper pipes only on the wastewater part of your pipes.

How Are Plumbing Pipes Replaced?

In addition to upgrading the materials for your plumbing system, there are other reasons why you may need to change out your pipes. One of the most common times that we recommend replacing the pipes is when you have frequent repairs. If you are remodeling, changing to copper pipes adds even more value to your property. When it’s time to change out the pipes, expect the water to be off for part of the day. In more advanced plumbing projects, the water may need to be off at night, as well. We will need to cut holes in the drywall to access some of the pipes. We will patch the holes and repaint the walls once the work is complete.

Expert Plumbing Professionals

When you decide to change out the pipes of your home, you want a company that you can trust to do the job right. TR Miller Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing is a top-rated plumbing company that serves homes in the Plainfield area. We can also help with installation, repairs, and maintenance of your HVAC system. Give us a call today to find out how we can make your home more functional and comfortable.

Possible Reasons Why Your AC Makes Your House Humid

The summers in the Chicago area can be extremely hot and muggy, and this can make it extremely difficult to manage the humidity level inside your home. If everything is working correctly, your air conditioning system should be able to effectively control the humidity inside your home since the system removes both moisture and heat from the building. However, there are a number of potential issues that can cause your home to still feel damp and humid even when the AC is running all the time. If you're currently experiencing this issue, here are some of the possible causes and what you can do about them.

AC Isn't Working Properly

If your home feels overly humid when your air conditioning is running, there is a good chance that your AC system isn't working properly and either needs to be repaired or replaced. This is especially true if your air conditioner seems to be running constantly or has issues keeping your home at the desired temperature. It may be that your system is low on refrigerant due to a leak in the evaporator coil, condenser coil or refrigerant lines. In this situation, you will need to have an HVAC technician inspect your system to find and repair the leak and then top the system up with more refrigerant.

The problem could also be that you don't have sufficient airflow coming into the system. This could be because your air filter is clogged and needs to be replaced. Insufficient airflow can also occur if your supply or return air vents are clogged or obstructed or because of leaks or other issues with your ductwork. It may also be that the motor on the blower fan is beginning to wear out and can no longer circulate enough volume of air for the cooling system to work properly.

In most cases, these and other AC issues will lead to both higher indoor temperatures and increased indoor humidity. The easiest way to avoid these issues is to have your cooling system inspected and professionally maintained every spring. That being said, problems can still arise at any time and especially if your AC unit is more than 10 years old. If you suspect you're having any air conditioning issues, the NATE-certified HVAC technicians at TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing are always on hand to diagnose and repair whatever issue you’re facing.

AC Isn't Running Often Enough

If your air conditioning system is running properly and you're still having issues with high indoor humidity, it might be that you're simply not running your air conditioner often enough. If you're like many people, you might shut your AC off when you go to bed at night in order to save energy. You might also be one of those people who sleeps with the window open every night. In either case, this could be a major part of the reason why your home is constantly humid.

If you turn off your air conditioning at night, even if the temperature inside your home doesn't rise, the humidity level still can. This can make it nearly impossible for your AC to keep up with the humidity during the day since it will still shut off when it reaches the set temperature no matter what the humidity level is.

The problem can become even worse if you keep your windows open at night since it will allow the humid outdoor air to penetrate into the home. When this happens, the moisture doesn't just stay in the air. Instead, it soaks into your floors, walls and furnishings, and this can result in the humidity level inside the house staying much higher no matter how long your air conditioner runs.

Studies have shown that in humid areas, keeping your AC off and windows open at night will usually negate any energy savings from the AC not running at night. This is because the system will need to work harder when it comes back on in the morning due to all of the moisture that got into the house at night. For this reason, it is always best to keep your AC turned on and your windows and doors closed throughout the summer except for on much milder, drier days.

Condensate Drain System Is Clogged

Your AC system is designed to trap moisture from the air, and this moisture then exits the building through the condensate drain system. However, if the condensate drain system is clogged or not draining properly, the moisture will be trapped inside the house and eventually evaporate back into the air. When this happens, your AC won't have an effect on the humidity level inside the home no matter how long it runs. Luckily, issues with the condensate drain system are usually fairly easy to spot and to fix. If the drain pan inside the air handler unit has standing water in it, this indicates that the drain system isn't working properly. In this case, you can either attempt to unclog the drain line yourself or enlist the help of an HVAC technician.

Insufficient Insulation in Your Attic

Your indoor humidity issues may also be a sign that your attic isn't properly insulated and sealed. If the attic has air leaks or insufficient insulation, it will allow the heat and humidity from outside to seep into the building. As with many of the other issues, this can make it impossible for your air conditioning system to ever properly manage the humidity level inside the building. In this situation, you will need to have your attic air sealed or add additional insulation to overcome the issue.

Ways to Better Control Your Home's Humidity Level

If you're dealing with high indoor humidity levels in your home, there are several things you can do to make it easier for your AC to keep up. The most obvious one is to always keep your house sealed up tightly whenever the humidity level outside is higher. You should also make sure to use the exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom every time you cook or bathe since both of these things can create a lot of steam and quickly increase the humidity level.

While these things can definitely help, by far the best way to better control your home's humidity level is to install a whole-home dehumidifier. These units work to remove much of the moisture from the air inside your HVAC system before it reaches the evaporator coils. This not only reduces the humidity level in the air but also lessens the strain on your air conditioner. The more humid the air is, the hotter it is as well. As a result, your air conditioner will have to work much harder to keep your home cool. This is why, in many cases, installing a whole-home dehumidifier leads to lower energy bills as it can allow your air conditioner to run less frequently and for shorter periods.

If you're experiencing any issues with high humidity or insufficient cooling, the technicians at TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing can help to ensure your home stays cool and comfortable. We work on all makes, models and types of heating and cooling systems, and we also offer a full range of plumbing services. With locations in Plainfield and New Lenox, we serve customers throughout most of the Chicago metro area. Stop struggling with high heat and humidity and instead give us a call to see what we can do to improve your home comfort.

The Dangers of Flushable Wipes

Flushable wipes have become a bathroom staple for many modern families. They're comfortable and sturdy, built to withstand more wear and tear than traditional toilet paper. These damp wipes are also often infused with soothing ingredients like aloe that make the skin feel nourished.

Flushable wipes are known for their limitless comfort benefits, but many people aren't yet aware of their potential dangers. Frequently using flushable wipes could cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home's plumbing. It's not too late to find safer ways to dispose of your wipes. Here's why you should avoid putting flushable wipes in your toilet.

Break Down Slowly

Flushable wipes are marketed as "septic-safe" because they will likely eventually break down. However, several factors can affect how slowly they fall apart and the damage they cause as they accumulate. Both toilet paper and flushable wipes are often made from wood pulp, which disintegrates quickly when left in water. However, flushable wipes are strengthened with synthetic polymers to give them additional strength and sturdiness.

While toilet paper will begin breaking down in a matter of hours, flushable wipes can take days, if not longer. This increases your chances of dealing with clogs and other septic issues that only get worse. Most residential toilets are only designed to handle toilet paper and human waste.

Cause Major Clogs

Flushing a few wipes every now and then likely won't cause huge problems to your plumbing. However, the more wipes you use, the more problems you'll face. Flushable wipes accumulate over time, making it harder for toilet paper, water, and waste to move through the pipes. The use of flushable wipes has actually increased how often homes and businesses deal with fatbergs.

Fatbergs are solid masses of waste created from grease, oil, and wet wipes. These masses develop in your pipes and grow in weight and size over time. Removing fatbergs from your pipes can cost a lot and may impact all of the plumbing in your home. Minimize your risk of fatbergs by always being aware of what you're flushing down your sinks and toilets.

Damage Septic System

Your septic system handles all of the wastewater from your home. Septic tanks are airtight and keep the waste and scum from your home from leaking into the environment. If you've ever had septic problems before, you know how unpleasant it can be to deal with backed-up wastewater. In many cases, contaminated water can make its way back into your home and into your sinks and tubs. More extensive damage can lead to wastewater leaking into your yard and crossing over into others' properties.

Flushable wipes do massive damage to septic systems. They accumulate in your septic lines and stop waste from exiting the home. They can also cause issues further down the line, backing up neighboring houses or even your local sewage treatment plant. A damaged septic system can put your family's health and comfort at risk. You'll likely also lose a lot of belongings when your wastewater overflows.

Hazardous to Older Homes

Older homes are at the highest risk of serious damage due to flushable wipes. The plumbing in these homes is often fragile, outdated, and severely compromised. It's more prone to cracks, clogs, and other expensive damages. Flushable wipes will easily catch on to other debris stuck in the plumbing, leading to burst pipes or fatbergs. An older home's plumbing can be so brittle that any issue can lead to system-wide damage.

You have to be extra careful if you live in an older home that's been divided into separate units. All of the plumbing likely leads to one main exit line, which can become compromised if anyone in the building is flushing wipes. Do your part for your neighbors and your property by never disposing of flushable wipes in your toilet.

Not Environmentally-Friendly

Flushable wipes are treated with polymers that slowly leak out into your environment. As these wipes interact with water, they're more likely to let out microplastics that affect local plants and animals. Your flushable wipes may be negatively interacting with life forms in the sewers and lakes around your home. Keeping these wipes out of your plumbing will significantly lower your impact on the environment around you.

Massive Costs

Flushable wipes are a homeowner's worst nightmare. You're already responsible for covering the cost of regular plumbing maintenance and repairs over the years. Flushable wipes can skyrocket your bills by hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Common clogs are one of the cheapest issues but still require plumbers to repeatedly snake your plumbing lines to remove every wipe stuck inside.

If you've been using flushable wipes for years, your issues are likely more invasive and costly. Septic repairs and replacements can cost thousands. Fatbergs can also be very time-consuming and expensive to remove. Practicing responsible plumbing habits will limit your maintenance and repair needs in the future.

Disposal Alternatives

Everyone deserves to have a comfortable bathroom experience. Flushable wipes are popular because they make you feel cleaner and more refreshed. There are plenty of ways to safely dispose of your favorite flushable wipes without impacting your plumbing. Instead of flushing them, throw them away in a sealed trash can. Bathroom cans are often foot-operated, letting you drop your used wipes in without having to worry about the sight or smell. You can also find compostable wipe options that are safer for the environment.

If you want to stop using wipes altogether, consider installing a bidet. These systems can be easily added to any toilet in your home. They connect right to your water line and don't require any power source. Bidets only require water to keep you clean, meaning they have no negative impact on your pipes or plumbing.

Protect your home from future plumbing emergencies by finding safe ways to dispose of your flushable wipes.

Expert and Reliable Plumbing Services

TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is your best choice for indoor comfort services in Plainfield, IL and the surrounding areas. We're a family-owned company with more than three decades of experience helping people just like you. Our licensed and experienced staff uses the best tools and materials to ensure every job is done right the first time. We're also straightforward about our prices and don't hide any surprise fees or costs. Our professional team guarantees seamless service that addresses all of your concerns and restores your home's comfort.

Rely on our technicians to maintain, repair, and install your heating or cooling systems. We also carry a variety of indoor air quality solutions. Our plumbers are ready to clean your drains, repair your clogged toilets and check your sewer lines. We can even take care of bigger projects like installing a new water heater, repairing your water main line, and maintaining your gas piping. We know how important your plumbing is to your daily comfort. That's why we offer 24/7 emergency service when you need it most. Call TL Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today to schedule your first appointment with one of our exceptional staff members.

3 Tips for Avoiding a Clogged Drain

plumber plunging drain

Preventing a clogged drain may seem like a “pipe dream,” but you can do a few things to avoid the hassle of a clogged drain.

Whether it’s the shower, kitchen, or toilet here are three things you can do to keep clogs from happening.

1.    Don’t Flush It/Drain It

Many products on the market claim to be flushable, but this is not the case. There are also things you may think are okay to rinse down the drain, but they may not break down in water and will end up causing a back-up or clog in your system.

A few things to avoid flushing or rinsing down the drain include:

  • Baby Wipes
  • Paper Towels
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Facial Tissues
  • Paint
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Produce Stickers

If it isn’t toilet paper or something that will break down in water just skip flushing it and don’t rinse it down the drain.

2.    Implement Mesh Traps

Catching items before they can go down the drain is a great way to avoid clogging the system. Mesh traps, especially in the shower, will help catch hair clogs. It may be unpleasant cleaning out these traps but is much less unpleasant than a clogged drain and unexpected plumbing bill.

3.    Maintain the System

Most people don’t think of having their plumbing system checked. However, there are a lot of reasons to have a professional conduct a regular drain cleaning and system check. Drain cleaning will ensure your home’s pipes are in working condition. Additionally, drain cleaning will provide:

  • Longer drain lifespan.
  • Prevention of odors.
  • Ensuring quick drainage.
  • Elimination of unnecessary repairs and expenses.

Drain cleaning and inspection will also verify there are no other issues that can cause problems, like root intrusion or pipe erosion. Clogs can’t be predicted, but they can be caught before they become a major problem.

Call TR Miller When You Need a Plumber

We'll do all we can to get to you fast to carry out plumbing repairs to the highest standard. No matter what you need, or where you are in the area, we'll give you our best attention at all times. In addition to plumbing repairs and installation, we can also assist with plumbing maintenance. Call us if this is something we can assist with.

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