Frequently Asked HVAC & Plumbing Questions 

Welcome to the FAQ page of James Plumbing & Heating, your trusted Santa Fe Plumbing and HVAC experts. As a company committed to providing exceptional plumbing, heating, and cooling services, we understand that you may have questions about our services, products, and maintenance. This page is designed to address some of the most common inquiries we receive from our valued customers. Whether you require assistance with installing a new HVAC system, repairing a leaking pipe, or maintaining your existing equipment, our team of highly skilled technicians is here to help.

Our FAQ page is intended to serve as a resource to help you make informed decisions regarding your plumbing and HVAC systems. We aim to provide expert answers to your questions, offering valuable insights and guidance based on our extensive experience in the industry. Please browse through the frequently asked questions below, and if you don’t find the information you’re seeking, don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly. 

An AC tune-up is a preventive maintenance service that ensures your air conditioning system is functioning at its best. It typically includes several key tasks performed by a professional HVAC technician. 

  • Firstly, the technician will inspect the entire system, checking for any signs of wear, leaks, or damage. 
  • They will clean the condenser and evaporator coils, as well as the blower components, to remove dirt and debris that can hinder efficiency. 
  • The technician will also lubricate moving parts, such as motors and fans, to reduce friction and improve performance. 
  • They will inspect and clean the air filters or replace them if necessary, ensuring proper airflow and indoor air quality. 
  • Additionally, the technician will check refrigerant levels and recharge the system if needed, as well as test the thermostat for accuracy. 

By completing these tasks, an AC tune-up helps optimize energy efficiency, extend the lifespan of your AC unit, and reduce the risk of breakdowns, ensuring your home remains cool and comfortable during the hot summer months.

When faced with the decision of whether to repair or replace your AC unit, several factors should be considered. Firstly, the age of your AC system plays a significant role. If your unit is approaching or exceeding its average lifespan (around 10-15 years), it may be more cost-effective to invest in a new one, as older units tend to require frequent repairs and may be less energy efficient. 

Additionally, the extent of the repair needed and its cost should be evaluated. If the repair cost is substantial, it might make more financial sense to replace the unit, especially if it has a history of breakdowns. 

Energy efficiency is another crucial factor to consider. Newer AC models are designed to be more energy efficient, which can result in long-term savings on your energy bills. 

It’s important to consult with a qualified HVAC professional who can assess the condition of your AC unit, provide an accurate cost estimate for repairs, and offer recommendations based on your specific circumstances.

If your AC is running but not cooling, several potential causes could be responsible for the issue. Firstly, check the thermostat settings to ensure it is set to a temperature below the current room temperature and in cooling mode. If the thermostat settings are correct, the problem may lie with the air filters. 

Dirty or clogged filters can restrict airflow, leading to reduced cooling performance. Clean or replace the filters as necessary. Another common cause is a malfunctioning condenser unit. Check if the outdoor unit is running and if the condenser coils are clean. Dirty coils can hinder heat transfer and cooling efficiency. 

Low refrigerant levels or leaks can also result in inadequate cooling. It is recommended to contact a professional HVAC technician to diagnose and resolve the issue, as they have the expertise and tools to identify the underlying problem and perform the necessary repairs or refrigerant recharge.

Regular servicing of an AC system is essential to ensure optimal performance and longevity. It is generally recommended to have your AC system serviced at least once a year. The ideal time for this maintenance is typically in the spring, before the cooling season begins. 

Depending on your usage and environmental factors, you may consider more frequent servicing. For instance, if you live in a region with hot and humid summers, or if you use your AC system extensively, bi-annual servicing may be beneficial. Regular servicing includes tasks such as cleaning or replacing air filters, inspecting and cleaning coils, checking refrigerant levels, lubricating moving parts, and examining electrical connections. 

These services help improve energy efficiency, prevent breakdowns, and extend the lifespan of your AC system. It’s worth noting that some manufacturers may also specify recommended service intervals for their specific models, so it’s a good idea to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or consult with a professional HVAC technician for personalized recommendations.

Failing to change your air conditioner filter regularly can have several negative consequences. Over time, the filter accumulates dirt, dust, pollen, and other airborne particles, leading to clogging and reduced airflow. As a result, your AC system has to work harder to pull air through the filter, which puts additional strain on the blower motor and decreases energy efficiency. The restricted airflow can also lead to uneven cooling, hot spots in your home, or an overall decrease in cooling capacity.

A dirty filter fails to effectively trap and remove allergens and pollutants from the air, which can negatively impact indoor air quality and potentially aggravate respiratory issues or allergies. Moreover, a clogged filter may cause the evaporator coil to freeze, hindering the cooling process and potentially causing damage to the AC unit. 

To avoid these problems, it is recommended to change your air conditioner filter according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, typically every 1 to 3 months, or more frequently if you have pets or live in a dusty environment.

While ductless AC systems offer numerous advantages, they also have a few disadvantages to consider. One major drawback is the upfront cost. Ductless AC systems tend to be more expensive to purchase and install compared to traditional central air conditioning systems. The initial investment may be higher, especially if you require multiple indoor units to cool multiple rooms.

The aesthetics of the indoor units can be a disadvantage for some homeowners. While they are sleek and compact, they are still visible on the walls or ceilings and may not blend seamlessly with the existing decor. Another limitation is that ductless AC systems are typically designed to cool individual zones or rooms rather than the entire house. If you have a large home or need whole-house cooling, you may need to install multiple indoor units, which can further increase the cost.

Maintenance and repair of ductless AC systems can be more complex and may require specialized technicians. Overall, while ductless AC systems have their advantages, these potential drawbacks should be carefully considered when deciding on the most suitable cooling solution for your home.

Installing a mini-split air conditioner by yourself is possible, but it is not recommended for the average homeowner unless they have experience and knowledge in HVAC systems. Mini-split installations require a solid understanding of electrical wiring, refrigerant handling, and proper sizing and placement of indoor and outdoor units. The process involves several steps, including mounting the indoor and outdoor units, running refrigerant lines, connecting electrical wiring, and ensuring proper insulation and sealing. Improper installation can lead to performance issues, inefficiency, or even damage to the system.

It is highly advisable to consult a professional HVAC technician or contractor for mini-split installations. They have the expertise, tools, and training to correctly install the unit, ensure compliance with building codes, and provide warranty coverage. Professional installation not only guarantees proper functioning but also ensures the safety and longevity of your mini-split air conditioner.

While mini-split air conditioners offer several advantages, they also have a few disadvantages to consider. One drawback is the upfront cost. Mini-split systems can be more expensive to purchase and install compared to traditional window or central air conditioning units. The cost increases if you require multiple indoor units to cool multiple rooms. Another disadvantage is the aesthetic impact. While the indoor units of mini-split systems are sleek and compact, they still need to be mounted on walls or ceilings, which can be visually unappealing for some homeowners. 

Mini-split systems require professional installation and maintenance. Improper installation can result in performance issues or inefficiency. Maintenance and repairs may also require specialized technicians. Another limitation is that mini-split systems typically provide cooling and not heating, unless a separate heat pump is installed. Finally, mini-split systems may not be suitable for larger spaces or whole-house cooling. If you have a large home, you may need multiple units, increasing the overall cost. Considering these disadvantages alongside the advantages will help you make an informed decision regarding the suitability of mini-split systems for your specific needs.

The installation of a boiler typically requires the expertise of a trained and licensed professional. It is recommended to hire a qualified HVAC technician or a plumbing and heating contractor with experience in boiler installations. These professionals have the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to install the boiler safely and according to local building codes and regulations. They can assess your specific heating needs, determine the appropriate boiler size and type, and ensure proper installation and connection to the existing heating system. 

Professional installers can handle tasks such as piping, venting, electrical connections, and testing for leaks and proper functioning. Hiring a professional for boiler installation offers several benefits, including assurance of correct installation, warranty coverage, and compliance with safety standards. Attempting to install a boiler yourself, without the necessary expertise, can lead to safety hazards, improper functioning, and potential damage to the equipment.

While radiant heat systems offer many benefits, there are a few downsides to consider. One major drawback is the high upfront cost of installation. Radiant heat systems typically require extensive labor and material costs, as they involve installing pipes or electric heating elements beneath the flooring or within the walls. The installation process can be time-consuming and disruptive, especially in existing structures. 


Another downside is the slow response time of radiant heat systems. Unlike forced-air systems, which provide immediate heat when turned on, radiant heat systems take longer to warm up a space. This slower response time may not be ideal for situations where quick heating is required. Additionally, radiant heat systems are typically more difficult to retrofit into existing homes compared to other heating systems. They often require access to the subfloor or wall cavities, which can be challenging and costly to modify. 


If there is a problem with the system, such as a leak in the piping, repairs can be complex and require professional expertise. Overall, while radiant heat systems offer efficient and comfortable heating, the initial cost, slower response time, and potential installation challenges are factors to consider when evaluating their suitability for your home.

The effectiveness of a swamp cooler (also known as an evaporative cooler) compared to an air conditioner depends on various factors and the specific climate in which it is being used. Swamp coolers are most effective in hot and dry climates, where the air is relatively low in humidity. In such conditions, swamp coolers can provide efficient and cost-effective cooling by evaporating water to lower the temperature of the air. They also provide the added benefit of increasing humidity, which can be beneficial in dry climates.

On the other hand, traditional air conditioners are better suited for hot and humid climates, as they cool the air by removing heat and moisture through refrigeration. Air conditioners are generally more effective in reducing indoor temperature and can maintain a consistent level of cooling regardless of the humidity level.

It’s important to note that swamp coolers require a constant supply of water and regular maintenance to prevent mineral buildup or bacterial growth. Additionally, they are less effective in humid environments and can actually increase humidity levels, leading to discomfort and potential damage to the indoor environment.

In summary, while swamp coolers can be effective in the right climate, air conditioners are generally more versatile and better suited for a wider range of environments and humidity levels.

Determining the appropriate size of a furnace for a 1500 sq ft house requires considering several factors beyond just square footage. The insulation of the house, climate, number of windows, and ceiling height all play a role in heat loss and gain. However, as a general guideline, a rough estimate is to allocate around 25-30 BTUs (British Thermal Units) per square foot for heating.

For a 1500 sq ft house, this would result in a furnace size of approximately 37,500-45,000 BTUs. Keep in mind that this is a rough estimate and other factors may influence the final size requirement.

To get a more accurate sizing, it is recommended to consult with a professional HVAC technician or contractor who can perform a heat load calculation. They will assess various factors specific to your home and provide a more precise recommendation to ensure proper heating capacity and energy efficiency.

Choosing the correct furnace size is crucial for optimal comfort and efficiency, so consulting with a professional is highly recommended.

The cost of a new HVAC system can vary significantly depending on various factors such as the size of the system, the type of equipment, energy efficiency ratings, brand, and additional features. On average, the cost of a new HVAC system, including installation, can range from $3,000 to $10,000 or more.

For smaller homes or apartments, the cost may be towards the lower end of the range, while larger homes or those with complex ductwork or zoning requirements may result in higher costs. Additionally, factors such as geographic location, labor costs, and any necessary modifications to existing infrastructure can also influence the overall price.

It’s important to note that this cost estimate is a general range, and it’s recommended to obtain multiple quotes from reputable HVAC contractors to get a more accurate estimate tailored to your specific needs.

Considering the long-term benefits of energy efficiency, it’s worth considering investing in higher-quality, more efficient HVAC systems, as they can lead to energy savings and lower utility bills over time.

Commercial buildings typically utilize different types of HVAC systems based on their size, layout, and specific requirements. Here are some common types of HVAC systems used in commercial buildings:

  • Rooftop Units (RTUs): RTUs are self-contained HVAC systems placed on the roof. They contain all the necessary components, including the air conditioning unit, heating unit, and ventilation system. RTUs are popular for their space-saving design and ease of maintenance.
  • Variable Air Volume (VAV) Systems: VAV systems allow for individual control of airflow and temperature in different zones of a building. They use variable speed fans and dampers to regulate airflow and achieve energy efficiency by adjusting the amount of conditioned air based on demand.
  • Chilled Water Systems: Chilled water systems use a central chiller to cool water, which is then circulated to air handling units or fan coil units throughout the building to provide cooling. These systems are commonly found in larger commercial buildings with high cooling loads.
  • Heat Pump Systems: Heat pump systems can provide both heating and cooling by transferring heat between indoor and outdoor environments. They are efficient in moderate climates and can be used in various commercial building types.
  • Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems (DOAS): DOAS systems focus on providing ventilation by conditioning outdoor air separately from the main HVAC system. They ensure a supply of fresh air while improving energy efficiency.

These are just a few examples of HVAC systems used in commercial buildings. The selection depends on factors such as building size, occupancy, climate, energy efficiency goals, and budget constraints. Consulting with HVAC professionals or engineers is recommended to determine the most suitable system for a specific commercial building.

While the terms “service contract” and “maintenance contract” are sometimes used interchangeably, there are subtle differences between the two.

A service contract typically refers to an agreement between a customer and a service provider, such as an HVAC company, where the provider agrees to perform specific services as needed. This can include repairs, emergency services, and troubleshooting. Service contracts often cover unexpected breakdowns or malfunctions and may provide priority service or discounted rates for repairs.

On the other hand, a maintenance contract specifically focuses on regular maintenance and preventive care for an equipment or system. It typically outlines scheduled maintenance tasks that the service provider will perform at predetermined intervals, such as annual or semi-annual inspections, cleaning, lubrication, and adjustments. Maintenance contracts are aimed at maximizing the efficiency and longevity of the equipment, reducing the likelihood of breakdowns, and ensuring optimal performance.

While a service contract is more comprehensive and covers repairs and troubleshooting, a maintenance contract focuses specifically on regular upkeep and preventive maintenance to keep the equipment in good working condition.

An emergency drain, also known as a secondary drain or overflow drain, is a component of HVAC systems that serves as a backup in case the primary condensate drain becomes clogged or fails to remove water effectively. The primary purpose of the emergency drain is to prevent water damage or flooding that can occur if the primary drain becomes blocked.

In an air conditioning system, the primary condensate drain carries the condensed water, which is a byproduct of the cooling process, away from the indoor unit to a suitable drainage point. However, if the primary drain line becomes obstructed, such as due to algae growth, debris, or mechanical failure, water can accumulate and potentially overflow.

The emergency drain provides an alternative pathway for the water to escape. It is typically connected to the primary drain pan and leads to a visible location, such as an exterior wall or a conspicuous area, where water can be easily noticed, alerting the homeowner or technician of a drainage issue.

Having an emergency drain helps safeguard against potential water damage and acts as a safety measure to protect the HVAC system and the surrounding area from the effects of condensate drain blockages.

Commercial plumbing plays a crucial role in ensuring the proper functioning and operation of businesses and commercial properties. Here are some reasons why commercial plumbing is important:

  • Sanitation and hygiene: Effective plumbing systems are essential for maintaining clean and hygienic conditions in commercial buildings. Proper drainage and waste disposal systems prevent the accumulation of waste, which can lead to health hazards and unpleasant odors.
  • Water supply: Commercial plumbing systems provide a reliable and consistent water supply for various purposes, including drinking, sanitation, cleaning, and manufacturing processes. A well-functioning plumbing system ensures that businesses have access to the water they need to operate efficiently.
  • Compliance with regulations: Commercial plumbing must adhere to local building codes and regulations. Compliance is necessary to ensure the safety of occupants, prevent contamination of water sources, and avoid legal issues or penalties.
  • Customer and employee satisfaction: A well-maintained plumbing system enhances the overall experience of customers, clients, and employees. Properly functioning toilets, sinks, and other facilities contribute to a clean and comfortable environment.
  • Property value: Adequate commercial plumbing infrastructure increases the value of a property and its marketability. Potential buyers or tenants consider the quality and reliability of plumbing systems when making decisions about commercial spaces.


Commercial plumbing is essential for maintaining hygiene, providing water supply, complying with regulations, ensuring customer and employee satisfaction, and preserving property value. It is a vital aspect of running a successful commercial operation.

Plumbing services can be classified into several categories based on the types of tasks they involve and the specific areas of expertise. Here are some common classifications of plumbing services:

  • Residential Plumbing: This category focuses on plumbing services for homes and residential properties. It includes tasks such as installing, repairing, and maintaining plumbing fixtures, pipes, drains, toilets, showers, sinks, and water heaters in residential settings.
  • Commercial Plumbing: Commercial plumbing services are tailored to the needs of businesses and commercial properties. They involve plumbing installations and repairs for large-scale systems, such as those found in office buildings, hotels, retail spaces, hospitals, and industrial facilities.
  • Emergency Plumbing: Emergency plumbing services address urgent and critical plumbing issues that require immediate attention. This includes tasks such as repairing burst pipes, fixing water leaks, clearing clogged drains, and resolving plumbing emergencies outside regular business hours.
  • Drainage and Sewer Services: This category focuses on tasks related to the drainage and sewer systems. It includes services such as drain cleaning, sewer line repairs, sewer pipe replacements, and addressing sewer backups or blockages.
  • Plumbing Installations and Upgrades: These services involve the installation, replacement, or upgrade of plumbing fixtures, appliances, and systems. This can include installing new pipes, water heaters, water filtration systems, bathroom fixtures, or kitchen appliances.
  • Plumbing Maintenance: Plumbing maintenance services focus on preventive measures to keep plumbing systems in good working order. It includes tasks such as regular inspections, cleaning, maintenance of water heaters, and identifying potential issues before they become major problems.

These classifications help differentiate the various areas of expertise within the plumbing industry and allow service providers to specialize in specific types of plumbing services.

Choosing the best hot water heater for a house depends on various factors, including the household’s hot water needs, energy efficiency preferences, budget, available space, and fuel sources. Here are some popular options to consider:

  • Tankless Water Heater: Tankless, or on-demand, water heaters provide hot water only when needed, making them energy-efficient and space-saving. They are ideal for households with lower hot water demand and a preference for energy efficiency.
  • Conventional Storage Tank Water Heater: These water heaters store and continuously heat a specific amount of water in a tank. They are cost-effective and suitable for households with higher hot water demands. Tank options include gas, electric, or hybrid models.
  • Heat Pump Water Heater: Heat pump water heaters use electricity to transfer heat from the air or ground to heat the water. They are highly energy-efficient and can significantly reduce energy costs over time, making them a good choice for households prioritizing energy savings.
  • Solar Water Heater: Solar water heaters use energy from the sun to heat the water. They are eco-friendly and can provide substantial energy savings in sunny regions.
  • Hybrid Water Heater: Hybrid water heaters combine the benefits of a conventional storage tank with a heat pump. They offer improved energy efficiency and are suitable for households seeking a balance between performance and energy savings.

The best hot water heater for a house depends on the specific needs and priorities of the household. Consulting with a professional plumber or HVAC technician can help determine the most suitable option based on individual circumstances.

There are several signs that may indicate a collapsed sewer line. If you notice any of the following issues, it is recommended to seek professional assistance from a plumber or sewer line specialist:

  • Persistent sewer backups: If you experience frequent or recurring sewer backups in multiple drains or fixtures throughout your home, it could be a sign of a collapsed sewer line obstructing the flow.
  • Foul odors: A strong, persistent sewage smell in or around your property could indicate a damaged or collapsed sewer line that is leaking waste.
  • Slow drains: If multiple drains in your home are draining slowly or if water takes longer to flush down the toilet, it may indicate a blockage or collapse in the sewer line.
  • Sinkholes or depressions in the yard: A collapsed sewer line can cause soil erosion, leading to sinkholes, depressions, or areas of uneven ground in your yard.
  • Lush patches or greener grass: A damaged sewer line can release water and waste into the surrounding soil, causing patches of grass or vegetation to appear healthier and greener than the surrounding area.

If you suspect a collapsed sewer line, it is important to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage and potential health hazards. Contacting a professional plumber or sewer line specialist for an inspection and repair is recommended.

The choice of the best pipe for a sewer line depends on several factors, including local building codes, soil conditions, budget, and personal preferences. However, two commonly used materials for sewer lines are PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and HDPE (high-density polyethylene):

  • PVC: PVC pipes are a popular choice for sewer lines due to their durability, resistance to corrosion, and smooth interior that prevents clogs. They are lightweight, easy to install, and have a long lifespan. PVC pipes are available in various sizes and are cost-effective.
  • HDPE: HDPE pipes are known for their strength, flexibility, and resistance to chemicals and abrasion. They have excellent leak resistance and can withstand high-pressure conditions. HDPE pipes are commonly used in areas with unstable soil conditions or where ground movement is a concern. They have a long lifespan and require minimal maintenance.

It’s essential to consult with local plumbing professionals or adhere to local building codes to determine the most suitable pipe material for your specific sewer line needs. They can provide guidance based on the unique characteristics of your area and help you select the appropriate pipe material for your sewer system.

Diagnosing the source of a leak can be a process of elimination and careful observation. Here are some steps to help identify where a leak is coming from:

  • Check for visible signs: Inspect the area where the leak is occurring and look for any visible signs of water, dampness, or staining. This can give you a clue about the general location of the leak.
  • Trace the water: Follow the water trail or dampness back to its source. Start from the visible signs of the leak and work your way upstream or downhill to identify the point of origin.
  • Turn off water supply: Temporarily shut off the water supply to the affected area, such as the fixture or appliance associated with the leak. If the water stops flowing or the leak subsides, it suggests that the issue lies within that particular area.
  • Use tools for detection: If the leak is not readily visible, you can employ tools like a moisture meter, thermal imaging camera, or water leak detection equipment to help pinpoint the source. These tools can detect moisture levels or temperature differences that indicate the presence of a leak.
  • Professional assistance: If you’re unable to locate the source of the leak or if it involves hidden plumbing lines, it’s advisable to seek the expertise of a plumber or leak detection specialist. They have specialized equipment and knowledge to identify and repair leaks in challenging situations.

Remember, detecting the source of a leak may require patience, careful observation, and, if necessary, professional assistance to ensure accurate identification and effective repairs.

When replacing a 40-gallon tank water heater with an electric tankless water heater, it’s essential to consider the specific hot water needs of your household. The size of the tankless water heater you’ll need depends on factors such as the number of occupants, simultaneous hot water usage, and desired flow rate.

As a general guideline, a tankless water heater with an output capacity of around 3-4 gallons per minute (GPM) should be sufficient to replace a 40-gallon tank heater in most residential applications. This capacity can typically accommodate a moderate to high-demand household.

However, it’s crucial to consult with a professional plumber or a tankless water heater specialist for a more accurate assessment. They can evaluate your specific requirements, conduct a proper sizing calculation, and consider any additional factors such as incoming water temperature and desired hot water temperature to recommend the appropriate size of a tankless unit for your needs.

Choosing the right size ensures that your electric tankless water heater can provide an adequate supply of hot water without overloading the system or compromising performance.

The average cost to install a new shower can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the installation, the type of shower system chosen, and the region where you live. Generally, the cost range for installing a new shower can fall between $1,500 and $5,000.

Basic shower installations, such as replacing an existing shower with a similar model, tend to be on the lower end of the cost spectrum. On the other hand, more complex installations that involve custom features, extensive plumbing work, or luxury shower systems can drive up the cost.

Some factors that can impact the installation cost include:

  • Plumbing modifications: If significant plumbing changes are required, such as relocating pipes or installing new water lines, the cost will be higher.
  • Tile and materials: The cost of tiles, fixtures, shower doors, and other materials can vary widely, affecting the overall cost.
  • Custom features: Adding custom features like multiple shower heads, built-in seating, or steam capabilities will increase the cost.

It’s important to obtain multiple quotes from reputable contractors to get a more accurate estimate based on your specific project requirements.

When it comes to water filters, different types and models excel at removing specific contaminants. However, one of the most effective and comprehensive options is a reverse osmosis (RO) water filter system.

Reverse osmosis systems use a multi-stage filtration process that removes a wide range of contaminants, including but not limited to:

  • Sediments and particles: RO systems have a sediment pre-filter that removes larger particles like sand, silt, and rust.
  • Chlorine and other chemicals: The carbon filters in RO systems effectively remove chlorine, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, and other chemicals that can affect water taste and smell.
  • Heavy metals: Reverse osmosis systems can reduce the concentration of heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, mercury, and chromium.
  • Microorganisms: RO membranes have a fine pore size that can filter out bacteria, viruses, and some parasites.

However, it’s important to note that not all RO systems are equal, and the effectiveness may vary depending on the specific brand, model, and maintenance. It’s recommended to choose a reputable RO system, check for proper certification, and ensure regular filter replacements to maintain optimal performance. Consulting with water treatment professionals or conducting water quality tests can help determine the specific contaminants in your water and guide you in selecting the most suitable water filter for your needs.

Yes, it is generally safe to drink water from a water softener system. Water softeners primarily remove hardness minerals like calcium and magnesium from the water through a process called ion exchange. This process replaces the hardness minerals with sodium or potassium ions, resulting in softened water.

The softened water from a water softener is safe for drinking and poses no immediate health risks. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

  • Sodium content: Water softeners that use salt-based regeneration can increase the sodium content in the water. If you are on a sodium-restricted diet or have specific health conditions, it’s advisable to monitor your sodium intake and consider alternative water sources.
  • Potassium chloride option: Instead of using salt, some water softeners can use potassium chloride, which is a viable alternative for those concerned about sodium intake.
  • Drinking water bypass: Many water softeners have a bypass valve that allows you to bypass the water softener for specific taps or faucets. This provides the option to have unsoftened water for drinking if desired.

If you have concerns about the sodium content in your drinking water, consider having your water tested or exploring alternative water treatment options such as reverse osmosis filtration systems. Consulting with a water treatment specialist can help you determine the best solution for your specific needs and preferences.

To unclog a badly clogged toilet, you can try the following steps:

  • Stop flushing: If you notice the water level rising when you flush, don’t flush again as it may cause an overflow.
  • Use a plunger: Place a plunger over the drain hole at the bottom of the toilet bowl. Press down firmly and then pull up rapidly, creating a suction force. Repeat this motion several times to dislodge the clog.
  • Add hot water and dish soap: Pour a few cups of hot (but not boiling) water into the toilet bowl, along with a generous amount of liquid dish soap. The heat and lubrication from the soap may help break up the clog.
  • Use a toilet auger: If the plunger doesn’t work, you can try using a toilet auger or plumber’s snake. Insert it into the toilet drain and crank the handle to break up or retrieve the clog.
  • Call a plumber: If none of the above methods work or if you’re uncomfortable performing the unclogging yourself, it’s best to call a professional plumber to handle the situation.

Remember to use caution and follow proper safety measures when attempting to unclog a toilet. If you’re unsure or unable to resolve the issue, it’s always advisable to seek professional assistance.

Fixing a leaking gas line in your house should be done by a licensed professional due to the potential dangers associated with gas leaks. However, if you suspect a gas leak, you can take immediate safety measures while waiting for professional assistance:

  • Evacuate the area: If you smell gas or suspect a leak, evacuate everyone from the premises, including pets, and move to a safe location outside the house.
  • Open windows and doors: Open windows and doors to ventilate the area and allow any gas to disperse.
  • Avoid open flames and sparks: Do not operate electrical switches, lighters, or any device that may create a spark or flame.
  • Do not touch or operate equipment: Avoid touching or operating any gas appliances or electrical switches, as they can potentially ignite the gas.
  • Call the gas company and a professional plumber: Contact your gas company’s emergency line to report the leak and then call a licensed plumber or gas line specialist to repair the gas line.

Remember, gas leaks are serious and potentially hazardous. It’s crucial to prioritize safety and leave the repair work to trained professionals who have the knowledge, experience, and proper equipment to handle gas line repairs.

Detecting a slab leak, which is a water leak beneath the concrete foundation of a building, can be challenging. However, several signs may indicate a leaking pipe in the slab:

  • Water damage or dampness: Look for unexplained water stains, discoloration, or damp areas on the floor, walls, or baseboards near the slab.
  • Warm spots: If you notice warm areas on the floor, it could indicate a hot water pipe leak within the slab.
  • Water meter movement: Turn off all water fixtures and appliances, then check your water meter. If the meter continues to move, it suggests a hidden water leak.
  • Unusual sounds: Listen for the sound of running water when no faucets or fixtures are in use. It may indicate a leak beneath the slab.
  • High water bills: A sudden increase in water bills without an apparent cause could be a result of a hidden water leak.
  • Foundation issues: If you notice cracks in the foundation, shifting or settling of the structure, or uneven floors, it may be a sign of long-term water damage caused by a slab leak.

If you suspect a slab leak, it’s crucial to seek professional help from a plumber or a leak detection specialist who can use specialized equipment, such as electronic leak detectors or thermal imaging, to pinpoint the exact location of the leak and recommend the necessary repairs.

While it is not an absolute requirement for every basement to have a sump pump, there are several situations where it is highly recommended:

  • High water table: If your basement is located in an area with a high water table, where the groundwater level is close to or above the basement floor, a sump pump can help prevent water from seeping into the basement during heavy rain or flooding.
  • Frequent basement flooding: If your basement has a history of flooding or excessive moisture issues, a sump pump can be an effective solution to remove water and prevent future damage.
  • Sloping landscape: If your property has a slope that directs water towards the foundation, a sump pump can mitigate potential water accumulation in the basement.
  • Home located in a flood-prone area: If your home is in an area prone to flooding or heavy rainfall, a sump pump can provide an extra layer of protection against water damage.

It is essential to consult with a professional basement waterproofing contractor or a plumber to assess your specific circumstances and determine whether a sump pump is necessary. They can evaluate factors like local building codes, groundwater conditions, and the layout of your property to make an informed recommendation.

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    I recently had the pleasure of experiencing Isaac's outstanding service from James Plumbing and Heating during a particularly challenging time. His arrival coincided with a personal tragedy, as our beloved dog had just passed away just minutes before. Isaac, aware of the situation, displayed remarkable sensitivity and professionalism. He respectfully offered to postpone the work, but I assured him we needed his service. proceed. The task at hand was to address issues a leaking water supply line and a furnace producing concerning noises. Isaac's approach to diagnosing and resolving the problems was nothing short of impressive. He displayed a level of expertise and understanding akin to an engineer or a doctor, quickly identifying the root causes within our complex system, which included two incoming water supplies, a furnace, water heater, and a hydronic baseboard heater system with its intricate network of valves, switches, and pumps. What set Isaac apart was not just his ability to fix the issues but also his methodical and thorough approach. He systematically replaced and repaired several components, always testing the system after each step. His attention to detail was evident when he noticed an unusual rise in pressure, leading him to identify and replace a faulty holding tank. His ability to explain the interconnected components of the system was educational, providing me with invaluable knowledge about my own home's infrastructure. Moreover, Isaac's commitment to safety was clear when he tested our furnace for carbon monoxide emissions before considering his job complete. This level of diligence and care is rare and deeply appreciated. In conclusion, Isaac's tact, poise, and technical proficiency are unparalleled. I received much more than just a repair service; it was a comprehensive clinic on home heating and plumbing systems. I wholeheartedly recommend Isaac and James Plumbing and Heating for their exceptional service and profound expertise.

    Santa FeNM87507 35.67-105.9925

    Craftsmanship and customer service at the highest level.

    Review of James' Plumbing and Heating

    Isaac and Thomas did a complete boiler/water heater refit. Removing existing system and installing a combination boiler/domestic water heater. Their work met the highest level of professional craftsmanship and attention to detail. This included a complex piping arrangement to meet the needs of a large residence. These men take pride in their work. I strongly recommend James Plumbing for all of your plumbing heating and cooling needs. Simply superb!

    Santa FeNM87508 35.5225-106.04


    Review of James' Plumbing and Heating

    Used Isaac of James Plumbing for the second time. He is extremely professional and explains everything clearly, so you understand what he is doing. So glad to have him as my regular plumber.

    Santa FeNM87506 35.72-105.94

    Excellent Service. It looks so shiny and new!!! And clean And sooooo great!

    Review of James' Plumbing and Heating

    James plumbing was great!!! They worked on one of my rental properties which I included two buildings. A complicated job. They were wonderful and courteous to my tenants. Everybody happy there! On time , all the good!!

    Santa FeNM87507 35.67-105.9925

    Blown away by the customer service

    Review of James' Plumbing and Heating

    I got quotes from a few different companies for a tankless hot water heater. I ended up going with James’ Plumbing and Heating and I cannot rave enough about how professional the service was. The technicians were very prompt and wonderful workers. They cleaned up after they were done and were extremely courteous. Isaac in particular was so kind and went above and beyond to check the next day about how we were doing with our hot water heater. Could not recommend this experience enough. Will definitely be using this company for any future plumbing needs.

    Santa FeNM87501 35.6825-105.9725

    Isaac M.

    Isaac M.

    Repair shower valve in Santa Fe

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    Isaac M.

    Isaac M.

    Install shower valve Santa Fe

    Near Tanoan Dr NE, Albuquerque, NM 87111
    Dominic M.

    Dominic M.

    Did boiler work and instead new prv on main line

    Near Vuelta Roble, Santa Fe, NM 87501
    Isaac M.

    Isaac M.

    Repair fireplace in Santa Fe

    Near Chapelle St, Santa Fe, NM 87501
    Thomas M.

    Thomas M.

    Installing kitchen faucet in Santa fe

    Near Griffin St, Santa Fe, NM 87501

    Have a plumbing or HVAC issue?
    Call us now! (505) 473-7148

    About Us

    James Plumbing & Heating has been solving Santa Fe’s plumbing, heating, and cooling needs for over 30 years. With the best service technicians in town, it’s no wonder why we have some of the highest online reviews in the area! Call today to learn more.

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