Is it Time to Break Up With That Old Water Heater?

Signs to Part Ways With the Old Water Heater 

Breaking up is never easy––especially when breaking up with the water heater. That’s why some homeowners keep their water heaters around long after they should. However, homeowners could experience a complete breakdown, higher-than-average water bills, cold showers, and many other inconveniences when that happens. 

Instead, homeowners should learn warning signs that indicate it’s time for a water heater replacement or repair so they don’t have to get stuck without hot water. Some signs include: 


corrosionMany plumbers recommend a total replacement if a water heater has corrosion on its tank. Homeowners can find corrosion visually or by a common sign of corrosion in the hot water tank: discolored water. Some reasons why a water heater may have corrosion include: 

  • Sediment build-up: Sentiment build-up inside the water heater can cause rust and corrosion. Sediment and minerals build up in the water heater but get flushed out during routine water heater maintenance.  
  • Lack of maintenance: Homeowners should routinely consult professionals for water heater maintenance. During maintenance, plumbers will flush the tank and replace the anode rod as needed. When these vital maintenance tasks are ignored, sediment and minerals will build up and cause corrosion. 
  • Chronic leaks: Water is supposed to be housed inside the water heater––not outside of it. When a water heater leaks, it can lead to corrosion, rust, and other issues. 

If the corrosion on a water heater tank is minor, a professional may remove it using a chemical solution or employ specialized equipment, like a rust vacuum, to remove it. However, once too much corrosion has occurred, a replacement is a must.

Hot Water Runs Out Quicker Than it Used To 

Some ask, “how long does it take for a water heater to run out of hot water?” It depends on the tank size—however, one thing is for sure. The hot water should last long enough for a shower. If the hot water only lasts a few minutes or runs out quicker than it used to, this indicates that a water heater needs replacement or repair. 

The water heater can be running out of hot water for several reasons. The heating element or another internal component may be faulty and need replacing. Or the water heater may just be too old. Water heaters generally last 10 to 15 years, but appliances naturally decrease in efficiency over time, affecting the water heater's performance. Sediment buildup also causes a decrease in efficiency that affects the unit's performance. 

Higher Energy Bills 

Unusually high energy bills often indicate a loss of efficiency in the water heater. This could mean it's time to consider replacing the unit, as inefficient water heating costs homeowners more money. With an inefficient water heater, homeowners are essentially throwing cash down the drain.

If homeowners notice any of these signs, they should contact a technician to inspect the unit as soon as possible. Doing so can help prevent further damage and ensure the home runs efficiently. A professional can also advise homeowners on choosing a new water heater that meets their needs and fits their budget. Replacing an old or inefficient water heater can save money in the long run and keep the home running smoothly.

About G.F. Bowman, Inc. 

G.F. Bowman, Inc. has more than 55 years of experience serving the Harrisburg, PA, community and the surrounding areas. They offer upfront pricing, on-time arrivals, and financing. Call them today for water heater maintenance, repair, and replacement services in Harrisburg, PA.

Add a Sump Pump to Your Home Wishlist

Why Installing a Sump Pump is the Best Gift

Does a sump pump make a good holiday gift? When people think of gifts for the holidays, sump pump installation may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, a new sump pump is a gift that just keeps giving. There are many benefits to installing a new sump pump, including increasing the home’s value for years to come. 

This blog post shares insight from plumbing industry experts on why homeowners should invest in a sump pump this winter. The winter season is a good time to install a sump pump to prepare the home for heavy precipitation in the spring. Homeowners will love receiving a new sump pump as a smart, practical gift to help take care of their home. 

What Do Sump Pumps Do?pump

A sump pump is a device designed to remove floodwater from a basement or crawl space. It is common for homes with an underground basement to experience different levels of flooding from precipitation runoff and groundwater. This water can pool on cement floors and attract bugs, mold, and foul smells. 

Sump pump basins in the ground collect the water, which can then be pumped out of the home to be disposed of outdoors. A sump pump is the best way to prevent basement flooding and the damage that accompanies it. A flooded basement can cause a lot of property damage, including the risk of fire if the water reaches electrical wiring.

Submersible Sump Pump or Pedestal Sump Pump?

pumpsThere are two main types of sump pumps that homeowners can choose from. Submersible sump pumps are submerged in the water in the sump pit, whereas pedestal sump pumps sit above the ground. Each has pros and cons, but submersible sump pumps are typically the most efficient and powerful. Being submerged in water helps reduce noise from submersible sump pumps and keeps their engines cool. 

Pedestal pumps are the easiest to install and maintain, but they may not be powerful enough to handle heavy flooding. Homeowners may also prefer pedestal pumps because they typically have a smaller price tag and last longer than submersible pumps. Pedestal pumps also take up more space than submersible pumps because they sit above the sump basin instead of inside it. 

Secondary and Backup Sump Pumps

If the sump pump runs on electricity, installing a secondary or backup battery sump pump may be needed to protect the home from flooding during disasters because it’s common for electricity to go out during storms. The basement could badly flood if the sump pump shuts off during a storm with heavy rain. Combination sump pumps are a great option because they have a built-in backup. 

Another reason why homeowners may need a secondary or backup sump pump is if their home experiences such heavy flooding that one sump pump alone can not get the job done effectively. Installing more than one sump pump in the basement may be necessary to keep the basement dry and clean during periods of heavy precipitation. 

About G.F. Bowman, Inc.

G.F. Bowman, Inc. is a family-owned and operated company serving Harrisburg, PA, and the surrounding areas since 1967. They provide upfront pricing, on-time arrivals, and clean-up after every project. Call them today for sump pump installation services in Harrisburg, PA.

Prevent the Horrors of Backflow With Backflow Testing

What Exactly is Backflow?

The public plumbing system has its own set of horrors, and it’s important that homeowners not only know about them and how to spot them but also when it’s time to call a professional. When it comes to public health, it’s crucial that any potential water contamination is stopped before entire communities and even cities become sick. 

That’s what can happen as a result of backflow. But what is backflow? Backflow is when contaminated water moves in the wrong direction and ends up in the freshwater supply inside homes. It can be detrimental to public health. Homeowners must be aware of the signs of backflow, but sometimes they are easy to miss. That is why homeowners must partake in semi-regular backflow testing by a certified plumber. Keep reading for all the information that homeowners need about backflow and backflow testing. 

What Are the Dangers of Backflow?

backflowBackflow is a public health issue because of all the health problems it causes when someone drinks or uses contaminated water to wash dishes, brush teeth, or shower. However, backflow is also a menace to the plumbing system and the home as a whole. 

Here are a few things that backflow can do to the home: 

  • It can cause an overflow of contaminated water through the plumbing fixtures, which creates water damage. 
  • It can create leaks and cracks
  • Corrodes or encourages corrosion of the pipes
  • Cause water to be discolored or smell bad

Backflow can pre-age the plumbing system, lead to dirty water damage in the home, and put family members in the hospital if they unknowingly ingest the contaminated water. If any of the above effects of backflow are noticed, homeowners should take it as an indication to call a plumber immediately. 

The 411 on Backflow Testing

testingThe only way to ensure that the home hasn’t fallen victim to backflow is to have it regularly tested for backflow. Sure, sometimes the contaminated water will look darker than normal and be pretty apparent that the water is dirty. However, this isn’t always the case! 

Professionals perform a backflow test to double-check that the backflow preventers are working properly. To do this, they first shut off the water valve and wait a few moments. Then, the pressure within the system gets tested via a test kit hose. During the test, the professional looks for areas where the pressure isn’t where it’s supposed to be.  

Why is Backflow Testing Important?

Of course, the main benefit of backflow testing and why it’s so important is preventing water contamination and protecting public health. But here are a few other reasons why every homeowner should have their home regularly tested for backflow: 

  • Backflow can be hard to detect
  • Regular tests can help preserve the plumbing system and the home
  • Testing can prevent water damage and repair bills
  • It could potentially lower the water bill if the house is prone to backflow

Overall, homeowners shouldn’t hesitate to have their homes checked for backflow and maintained to ensure all their plumbing fixtures and appliances work properly and safely. Be sure to call a professional for backflow testing before it’s too late!

G.F. Bowman, Inc. Are the Plumbers to Call!

G.F. Bowman, Inc. provides the residents of Harrisburg, PA, and the surrounding areas with solutions for all their plumbing, heating, and cooling needs. They offer upfront pricing, on-time arrival, and fast service. Call them today for backflow testing and certification services in Harrisburg, PA

Why Does the Home Have Low Water Pressure?

Common Causes of Reduced Water Pressure In Homes

One of the most frustrating plumbing issues homeowners can face is low water pressure - not because it’s terribly disruptive (although it certainly can be) but because it can be so difficult to identify what’s causing it.

Temporary reductions in water pressure might be explained by too many faucets and fixtures being in use at one time, but when the problem persists, it can leave homeowners scratching their heads. But every plumbing problem has its cause, and it’s just a matter of tracking it down. This article will discuss three of the most common causes of low water pressure - and what to do about them.

Water Leaks

leaksOne of the most insidious low water pressure causes is a pipe leak. Since the water in a home’s supply lines is constantly under pressure for rapid delivery to fixtures, some pressure will escape through any opening it can get. This means there will be less pressure (and less water) when it reaches the fixtures. A slow leak due to corrosion or a loose pipe fitting can go undetected for months, especially if it’s hidden underground or behind a wall, making this both a nuisance and a potentially costly problem.

The good news, in this case, is that the low water pressure may be the clue that alerts homeowners to the leak, allowing them to fix it before it causes more damage. The solution here is to schedule professional leak detection to find and fix the source of a leak.

Mineral Buildup and Clogs

Another common cause of decreased water pressure is a pipe clog or obstruction. Bits of rust or other debris can build up over time and form a blockage inside the pipes, restricting water flow. This is particularly common in older homes with aging or corroded pipes.

Another form of this is when mineral deposits from hard water collect on the pipe's walls, effectively reducing its diameter and constricting the water’s movement. This is a fairly common problem in Pennsylvania and other regions with hard water. One telltale sign of a clogged or mineral-coated pipe is if the water pressure is normal when the faucet is first opened, but the flow gets weaker as water continues to come out.

Fixing buildup or clogs in the water supply lines is best left to a professional plumber. In some cases, the pipes can be flushed (which is no small undertaking), but in the case of severe mineral deposits or pipe corrosion, lines may need to be replaced.

Closed Valves and Faulty Fixtures

valveIn some cases, low water pressure throughout the home may simply result from a valve being fully or partially closed. This often occurs after a repair technician or utility company representative shuts off the home's water. Two common culprits are the water meter valve (located in or near the water meter box) and the home’s main shutoff valve (typically found in a basement, garage, or exterior wall where the water main enters the house). Homeowners can simply turn these to the fully opened position and see if that has any effect.

A faulty water pressure regulator (usually located just downstream of the water meter or main shutoff valve) may also cause low water pressure in the entire home. But if only one fixture has low pressure, the fixture itself is likely faulty or clogged with mineral deposits (fairly common with older fixtures). For instance, if there’s the low water pressure in the shower, but the bathroom sink has normal pressure, it’s probably time to replace that showerhead.

Homeowners may be able to tackle a showerhead or faucet replacement themselves, but replacing the home’s pressure regulator will require a professional. Even if the fixture replacement is a DIY fix, it’s still a good idea to schedule a professional inspection to determine if a larger issue like hard water deposits or corrosion was to blame for the fixture’s failure to ensure the underlying cause is being addressed.

About G.F. Bowman, Inc.

G.F. Bowman, Inc. is a family-owned and operated business with over 55 years of experience serving Harrisburg, PA, and the surrounding areas. They provide upfront pricing, on-time arrival, and fast service. Call them today for plumbing services in Harrisburg, PA.

Happy National HVAC Tech Day!

Today is National HVAC Tech Day!

HVAC systems are a vital part of any home or office, especially during the summer when the heat can be unbearable. That's why National HVAC Tech Day is celebrated every year on the 22nd of June. On this day, we celebrate the hardworking HVAC technicians who keep our homes and businesses cool and comfortable.

HVAC technicians are trained in installing, repairing, and maintaining heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems. They work long hours in hot weather to ensure that our HVAC systems are running properly. So if you see a technician on National HVAC Tech Day, be sure to thank them for their hard work!

Maintain Your HVAC System

As the summer heat picks up, it's a good time to think about your HVAC system, and what better time than National HVAC Tech Day! HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and it's vital to keeping your home comfortable all year round. Not only do they keep the house cool, but they also help to circulate air and remove humidity.

HVAC systems can be complex, so it's important to have a trained technician perform maintenance on them regularly. Otherwise, the system may not work properly when it’s needed most. During the peak of summer, the last thing anyone wants is their air conditioner to break down.

By having a reliable HVAC system in place, you can avoid the discomfort of excessive heat and maintain a comfortable environment in your home. HVAC maintenance should be performed by a qualified technician twice a year, once for the air conditioning and once for the heater. However, one crucial part of maintenance that homeowners can do themselves is change the air filters. Air filters should be replaced at least every three months or more often if the home has pets or allergy sufferers.

About G.F. Bowman, Inc.

G.F. Bowman, Inc. is a family-owned and operated business with over 50 years of experience serving its neighbors in Harrisburg, PA, and the surrounding areas. They provide flat-rate pricing, on-time arrival, and permanent solutions. Call them today for heating and air conditioning services in Harrisburg, PA.