A refrigerant leak is a major problem and can leave you wondering whether to repair or replace your leaking AC. You’ll need an AC repair professional to help you decide. Refrigerant is a fluid that enables your air conditioner to cool down your home. Any AC unit can develop a leak, regardless of its age, due to corrosion, temperature extremes, and damage to coils. A leak should be considered an emergency; AC refrigerant is toxic and a loss of coolant can damage the system.
We’ll look at the following factors to help decide if a refrigerant leak warrants an AC repair or replacement:
Refrigerant leaks are more common in air conditioners that are five years old or more. Repair the issue if the system is relatively young. It probably has a fair amount of life left, especially if it’s less than 10 years old, so repairing a leak should be worthwhile. However, if you have an older AC, finding replacement parts may be prohibitively costly.
A refrigerant leak can cause a considerable amount of damage. If it’s been occurring for a while, a lack of refrigerant has probably strained the system to the point major components like the compressor can fail. A compressor can be replaced. However, if your system is old and no longer under warranty, this approach is expensive.
Repairing a refrigerant leak can cost under $200 if the fix is simple. More complex jobs can cost $1,000 or more. If the job is complex and labor-intensive enough, it can cost nearly as much as replacing the entire system. As a general rule, choose a replacement if a repair estimate exceeds 50% of the price of a new unit. Or, multiply the repair cost by the unit’s age; if the result is $5,000+, replacement is more cost-effective.
If your air conditioner is over 10 years old, it may use R-22 refrigerant. This product can no longer be produced legally in the U.S. Finding R-22 is extremely costly and most technicians won’t consider doing so. A more environmentally friendly refrigerant, R-410A, is readily available but can only be used in new ACs. You’re better off replacing an old AC that’s leaking.
How much do you spend on energy each month? Older ACs are generally less efficient than new units and even less so if there’s a leak. A technician can evaluate your system’s general efficiency rating and whether it’s properly sized for your home. If not, and several parts are worn out, and your energy bills keep going up, investing in a new AC can save you over time.
Efficiency ratings have changed over the years. Older units have lower SEER ratings, but modern ones must be rated at least 14 SEER in the North and 15 SEER in the South (as of 2023). High-efficiency models are rated at 20 SEER or higher.
If an AC repair to fix a leak isn’t prohibitively expensive, and you plan on moving within the next few years, you may not want to invest in a replacement. However, think of the condition of the system. If it’s been poorly maintained and in disrepair, not replacing it can reduce the sale price of your home. Even if you’re not planning on leaving, replacing it can provide peace of mind and avoid dealing with the hassle later.
Indoor and outdoor AC units should be the same brand and model, but this isn’t always the case. If one component was replaced after the other, they may be incompatible, causing the system to run less smoothly and efficiently. And, if there’s a refrigerant leak, paying for a costly repair isn’t worth it. Installing a new, high-efficiency, perfectly matched system will save you energy and maintenance costs for many years.
If the system is still under warranty, most repairs are worth it. But if the warranty has expired or is invalid, repairing a leak can be very expensive. Plus, if it’s out-of-warranty, chances are the unit has either been neglected or is too old to consider repairing. However, if you have an extended warranty and have properly maintained the system, that can delay your decision to replace it.
NexGen provides AC repairs involving refrigerant leaks, condensate line clogs, and any other problems that arise. We also specialize in plumbing leak detection and repair. Our technicians are fully licensed and insured and available 24/7 for emergencies. They can diagnose and fix any problem and advise you on whether to replace an aging system. For high-quality AC repairs and free estimates in Southern California, call (805) 301-6788 today.
Installing a sewer line cleanout has many benefits when it comes to unclogging or maintaining sewer pipes. You need one if it’s not already installed. Sewer line clogs are often hard to locate and can be too deep for a plumbing snake to reach or for the force of a plunger to have any effect.
The cleanout is usually a 3-, 4-, or 6-inch pipe covered with a white, black, or gold plastic cap. It provides access to the sewer line at a connecting point between your house and the municipal sewer system. Usually found outside the home, it’s often near a basement window, in the yard, along a sidewalk, or where the pavement and lawn meet. An older home may have a cleanout inside.
You should have a sewer line cleanout for these reasons:
A blockage or broken pipe can cause sewage to back up and flow into your home. The longer this takes to resolve, the more expensive repairs will be. A cleanout provides a plumber with immediate access to the sewer line and a closer point where they can reach and remove a blockage. They won’t have to excavate your yard to access the pipe.
If you often deal with clogged drains, a sewer line cleanout enables a plumber to quickly detect where the problem is and address it more quickly. They can perform a better assessment and provide advice on how to prevent future drainage issues.
Sewer gas is toxic and can be extremely harmful. The cap on a cleanout prevents gases from building up and entering your home. Otherwise, they could seep through pipes, floors, and baseboards. Aside from smelling unpleasant, gases such as ammonia, methane, and sulfur dioxide can cause headaches, dizziness, eye irritation, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, and difficulty breathing; if the concentrations are high enough, you could quickly be rendered unconscious.
Multiple slow or clogged drains point to a sewer line clog. If this is the case, sinks and toilets will be affected. Even if they’re draining slowly, a sewer line cleanout can enable a plumber to act quickly and avoid a complete blockage.
A clogged toilet or shower will prevent water from draining from one location. But issues such as water appearing in a downstairs shower when you flush an upstairs toilet mean water is moving but not going as far as it’s supposed to. The backup is originating further down the line. The easiest place to determine where is from the cleanout.
Running a sink or flushing a toilet may not cause trouble. But if you run multiple fixtures or a large washing machine load, and a backup occurs, don’t ignore the issue. You may just be tempted to reduce the load on the system. A sewer line clog will only get worse, and installing a cleanout can help manage it.
The pressure from a blockage can cause the main sewer line to break. Water will then emerge outside. If this happens, your yard may appear damp even if it doesn’t rain. Lush patches of greenery can also mean sewage is leaking. The closer a plumber can get to the problem, the more quickly they can resolve it.
Water can back up into your home and not cause plumbing problems. However, excess moisture can allow mold and mildew to grow. If left unchecked, they can do extensive damage, including the foundation, and cause health issues. When you see mold growing, call a plumber to find out why.
A single flood, even if the water doesn’t get that high, can ruin furniture, carpets, flooring, and building materials. The small blockage growing in your sewer line can be a precursor to a flood. With a sewer cleanout, a professional can reach the affected area and fix the problem before it becomes a disaster.
Aside from dealing with emergencies, a sewer line cleanout makes it easier for a plumber to perform an annual sewer cleaning. They don’t even have to enter your home. Plumbing maintenance can address issues and prevent future clogs.
Installing a sewer line cleanout makes plumbing repairs and maintenance faster and more convenient. We can use this access point to conduct camera inspections, snake a sewer line, or perform hydrojetting. At NexGen, our technicians are trained in various methods of unclogging and cleaning sewer lines and can address tree root infiltration and other issues. To schedule drain and sewer line cleaning and other services, book your appointment online or call (833) 729-9735.
When there’s a drainage problem, it may be deeper than you think. A clogged sewer drain can cause wastewater to back up and overflow from any plumbing fixture. Fortunately, NexGen provides a sewer drain cleaning service to resolve or prevent messy, hazardous, or damaging situations. But you must know when to call so we can get there in time.
Here are seven signs you need a sewer drain cleaned now:
A common sign of a clogged sewer drain is when more than one toilet clogs up. Toilets provide the most direct path to the sewer system. Thus, they’re the most reliable indicators of a sewer problem. Also, since shower and bathtub drains are lower than, for example, sinks, they’re more likely to be affected by clogged sewer lines.
If several drains are gradually getting slower, or the problem starts in one drain and spreads to others, it’s time to call a sewer drain cleaning service. As your main sewer line blocks off, water will take longer to go down. The sooner you call a professional, the more likely you can avoid a complete blockage or backup.
The occasional kitchen or bathroom drain clog isn’t something to panic about. It’s usually easy to fix. But if you find yourself using plungers and drain cleaners more frequently, a sewer line clog or other problem may be the cause.
A clogged sewer drain can cause a tub or shower drain to overflow when you flush the toilet. The water from the toilet can’t drain, so it’ll back up at the lowest point. Or, the toilet may overflow when you run the washing machine. Another indication of trouble is when water in the toilet starts bubbling when you use the bathroom sink. It means air is trapped in the plumbing system, most likely due to a clogged sewer drain.
Stronger and more persistent odors than usual from your toilet mean your sewer line needs to be serviced, especially if these smells are also emanating from your sink or shower drain. Exposure to sewer gas can cause eye irritation, coughing, and difficulty breathing. It can also lead to headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and trouble concentrating. Even a small amount of sewer gas can be hazardous. High levels can be fatal; if methane is present, sewer gas can also be explosive. Call for help!
A wet yard isn’t usually a concern after it rains. But if there are wet spots during dry weather and all these spots align with the path of your sewer pipe, suspect a leak and call a plumber. A leak is possible whether there are sewage odors or not.
Check the main line clean-out if you suspect a sewer line clog. Water should not flow to the top or spill out when you open the cap. If it has reached the top or you can see standing water inside, call a professional to address the clog.
No matter what’s clogging a sewer or other drain, our experienced plumbers can remove it and get your drainage system working again. We can use advanced snake equipment or a hydro jet machine at your sewer clean-out to resolve the issue. If the source is unknown, we’ll use a specialized fiber optic camera to identify it. To request 24/7 drain cleaning or other emergency plumbing services in Southern California, call (805) 301-6788.
Trees can add shade and beauty to your property. They’re also good at boosting curb appeal. But they’re often not a benefit for your sewer pipes. Tree root intrusion is a more common problem than many people realize. When a customer learns their plumbing woes are caused by tree roots, they often ask, “How do tree roots get into sewer lines?”
To answer that question, let’s first look at how tree roots work. Any tree requires enough water to survive. Water contains the moisture, nutrients, and oxygen needed for a tree to grow and sustain itself (roots naturally grow toward water sources). Sewer lines contain all of these. And just like tree roots, they’re contained underground.
How do roots find the sewer line in the first place? We’ll now explain this in more detail:
A pipe can develop holes or crack due to corrosion. Ground movement and settling can cause damage as well. No matter how minute an opening is, it can release enough water to attract roots. And the roots can use this entry point to grow into the pipe, fill it up, and catch grease, oil, fats, dirt, and other materials that contribute to a blockage.
But the sewer line doesn’t have to be leaking or broken to attract tree roots.
As water flows through a pipe, moisture-, oxygen-, and nutrient-filled vapors can escape into the soil, even if there isn’t a true leak, and reach nearby roots. Sensing the direction these vapors came from, roots grow toward the sewer pipe. Tree roots are strong and persistent. They can sometimes break into or crush a pipe; or, if there’s a loose joint or connection, push it apart and begin to grow inside.
If tree roots have reached or gotten into a sewer line, the pipe must be repaired by a professional plumber. Only they have the experience, knowledge, and tools to resolve the problem. Avoid using chemical solutions. They can poison the tree and contaminate the environment. Plus, depending on what the pipe is made of, chemicals can do more damage. If a pipe is already weakened, chemicals can cause it to break down and fail.
However, there are safer ways to prevent tree roots from affecting sewer lines, including:
Aside from a plumbing camera inspection, there are other ways to suspect a tree root problem. Common signs of tree roots in a sewer line include backed-up toilets or plumbing fixtures, soggy areas on your lawn, and frequent drain clogs. The smell of sewage in your home means a sewer line has been compromised. Other signs of damage can range from as subtle as a gurgling toilet to visible water damage along your home’s foundation.
At NexGen, we provide safe and effective tree root removal services in Southern California. We can use a drain snake with a rotating cable, a rooter machine, or hydro jetting to break up tree roots. Our licensed, insured technicians also fully repair affected sewer lines and take preventative measures to inhibit future intrusions. To learn more or schedule professional tree root removal on your property, contact us online or call (833) 729-9735.
A drain or sewer camera inspection can save you a great deal of money. It helps find localized issues, that if not fixed, can lead to thousands of dollars in repairs. The cost of drain camera service is nowhere near as costly.
According to Forbes, the average cost of a sewer camera inspection in 2022 was $280. On the low end, it could cost as little as $70. While the average price range was between $125 and $500, some inspections cost up to $900 depending on rates, the scope of services provided, and the state or city.
The cost of service can vary considerably. A drain camera inspection, according to Angi, averages $685 nationally but can cost as high as $1,175. If repairs are needed the cost will be higher. For example, the cost of materials and labor will increase the price if a toy was accidentally flushed by a child, a drainage or sewer pipe is leaking, or tree roots have gotten in. Plumbers can charge between $45 and $150 per hour so this is something to consider.
As we’ve said, location will impact the cost of a pipe camera inspection. In Orlando, FL, the average was about $315 while in New York City it was $510. Meanwhile, customers in Los Angeles may pay $1,600 and those in Seattle paid an average of $1,535. However, in Pittsburgh, PA, the average price of a camera inspection was a whopping $2,315.
A drain camera inspection requires dedicated equipment. Technically, most people can perform an inspection. But this means having to purchase the equipment yourself, which can cost up to $15,000, plus the cost of a video monitor, output, and lighting equipment (rentals are available but cost around $200 per day). There are more affordable camera inspection systems. However, video resolution, reach length, and options for retrieval devices will be limited.
When a plumbing company sets its prices for inspecting drains and sewers, here are some other considerations in deciding what to charge:
At NexGen, we use the most state-of-the-art drain and sewer inspection equipment. Fiber optic cameras on long, flexible cables provide crisp views of the interior of pipes so we can quickly identify any problems deep in a drain or sewer line. This avoids digging and lets us make quick repairs at reasonable prices. To schedule a drain and sewer camera inspection in your Southern California home, book a date/time online or call NexGen at 805-301-6788 today.
Sewer pipes are buried underground and thus hidden out of sight. Before video camera inspection, the only way to assess their condition was to excavate the ground around them. But now, whether a plumbing issue must be investigated or it’s time for maintenance, you can rely on sewer camera inspection services. A high-resolution camera, attached to a flexible cable, provides a view deep into the sewer system, in real-time.
The benefits of this process include:
A sewer line can be inspected without invasively digging trenches across yards and landscaping. Equipment is placed in the line via a cleanout or other access point. Once the camera begins transmitting video to a handheld monitor, the technician can immediately start assessing the condition of a pipe. Therefore, sewer camera inspection eliminates a lot of labor and saves a great deal of time.
Issues such as leaks, clogs, and cracked, corroded, or collapsed pipes can be identified wherever in the line they may be. Crushed, bellied, or disconnected pipes can be found as well. And if tree roots have intruded into a sewer line, they’ll be seen right away so a plumbing contractor can get started in removing them. Whatever the situation, your plumber will be able to diagnose it immediately and determine a solution to resolve it.
A sewer backup can flood your home with contaminated and even toxic water. Your yard or landscaping can be flooded as well. In addition to being a major health hazard, wastewater can seriously damage floors, walls, ceilings, furnishings, foundations, or anything else that’s in the way. It can introduce bacteria and harmful chemicals as well as cause mold. In extreme cases, water damage can compromise the structural integrity of your home.
A visual look at the issue allows a plumber to decide how to fix it. For example, they can tell whether inserting a pipe liner will restore the sewer line. Perhaps hydro jetting can be used to remove clogs and buildup. Trenchless methods save time and money while eliminating any further concerns over potential impacts on your home plumbing system.
The costs of digging, property repair, and extensive labor are removed. Since trenches don’t need to be dug or filled, the process is relatively quick. And because camera inspection spots issues fast, more serious issues and potential sewer line failures can be avoided. That can mean preventing future problems such as slow drains, sewage backups, water damage, and home cleanup and restoration.
Sewer pipes can develop many kinds of blockages. Soap scum, cooking grease, trash, food items, and many other compounds can build up on pipe walls over time. Camera inspection helps spot accumulated gunk and grime so a plumber knows when to clean the pipe and avoid a major blockage. They can also determine whether it’s time to repair or replace a sewer pipe.
We use state-of-the-art technology to inspect sewer lines. Fiber optic cameras provide high-resolution, real-time views from inside, while the fiber optic cables we use extend for hundreds of feet. Our process is fast, accurate, and effective in helping us determine how to fix the problem, whether there’s a leak, clog, or mineral buildup. We can find its exact location and also accurately map your drainage and sewer lines.