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RYCO Plumbing likes to connect with you the customer. We want you to be plumbing knowledgeable so you know what we're talking about. An educated consumer is our best customer.

Planning A Kitchen Remodel

When is it time to get your plumber involved?

ugly kitchen.jpg

The kitchen is one of the most used areas of the house. Even if you don’t typically have guests over for dinner or to watch sporting events, you’re still running in and out of that area multiple times a day.

Both a kitchen’s functionality and how it looks is important, which is why many homeowners attempt a kitchen remodel at least once during their home’s lifetime.

Before picking up a wrench to start the job, read through these remodeling tips and some basic kitchen piping information to know what to expect during the project.

Kitchen Tips From The Pros

1) Have A Plan

Kitchen remodels are notorious for going over budget and for not turning out as expected. Without knowing what you want to do and how you’re going to do it, you don’t stand much of a chance at coming in under budget.


Take a day to assess your situation and to determine what you want out of your remodel. Do you want more storage space? Bigger appliances? More surface area to prepare meals?

Then determine how you can accomplish those things. Your local plumber is a good resource to utilize for this how portion of your plan.  

2) Congregate Water Fixtures

Sure, moving your sink onto an island would look nice and open up other counter space, but the plumbing is not going to be easy, and it’s not going to be cheap, especially if you have a dishwasher to go with it.

If you’re on a tight budget, avoid moving these water fixtures. Keep them as close together as possible. Besides being practical, having a dishwasher directly next to the sink makes figuring out the plumbing much easier.

When you’re moving these fixtures around, consider how it will affect the pipes underneath.

3) Consider Your Fridge Placement

These days, most refrigerators have filtered water and ice machines, which means they have to be hooked up to a water source. This is easy to forget about.

If you’re purchasing a new fridge any time soon, make sure you can run a pipe to it. Otherwise, you may have to plan for an extra renovation that involves moving the fridge location to a more practical place.

Piping Information

Even if you hire a plumber, it’s good to have a basic understanding of the types of pipes and traps found in the kitchen. Here is a run-down of what you need to know for your next renovation.

Pipe Size  

Kitchen drainpipes have a minimum size of 1 ½ inches and can be made up to 2 inches. The pipe size runs the diameter of the pipe opening, and local plumbing codes will typically determine which you should use.

Pipe Composition

Newer kitchen pipes are usually made from white PVC pipes, while older homes may still have copper. PVC is now the pipe of choice because it doesn’t deteriorate like copper, it’s easier to handle during installation, and it’s easier to be taken apart and cleaned.


Kitchen sinks will use either a P-trap or an S-trap. Both are curved pieces of pipe that are located beneath your sink. They prevent solid items from flowing through your entire piping system, and they also hold a pool of water that seals out gases rising from the sewer. The P-trap can also come in handy if you drop something down the drain like an earring or your wedding ring.

Elbow Pipes

Elbow pipes are fitted between two pipes and are used when you need a change in direction. They usually bend at either 45- or 90-degree angles and have either short (one inch) or long (1 ½ inches) radiuses.

Center Joints

Center joints connect two lengths of pipe. They’re found beneath your sink and above the trap. They’re used to funnel two pipes into one for sinks that have two tubs.

Final Thoughts  


Don’t let your kitchen remodel get out of hand. Take the necessary steps to be prepared so you don’t end up spending a fortune. Consider contacting your local plumber to assess your kitchen plumbing situation. Not every home is the same, and sometimes your plumbing will determine the feasibility of your remodeling endeavors.

What is your experience with kitchen remodels?

Share your stories in the comments.

Does Your Water Stink? Time To Replace The Water Heater


Few odors are more distinct and more annoying than the smell of sulfur. It's that rotten egg, spoiled food, something died in the drain smell. Or is it?

When the smell of rotten eggs starts radiating from the water fixtures, many homeowners will assume it has something to do with the drainpipes. They will spend time and money on home remedies trying to clean the drains without realizing the issue actually has to do with their hot water heater.

Water heaters don’t last forever. Below we describe the warning signs you should look for in a broken water heater, and then we’ll take you through Water Heater 101 to give you everything you need to know to make a smart purchase.

The Warning Signs

First of all, why rotten eggs? That sulfur smell originates because of two reasons:

  1. The warm environment creates a perfect environment for sulfur bacteria.
  2. A reaction between the anode rod in your hot water heater and the sulfate in the water. Basically, your anode rod is worn out.

Replacing an older rod with a new one usually gets rid of the smell, but sometimes it doesn’t.
Here are a few other warning signs that indicate a new water heater is necessary:
Rusty or discolored water from your faucet

  • Muddy or increased sediment in hot water tank
  • Water develops metallic taste and/or smell
  • Loud cracks or pops coming from water heater
  • Leaking water around the water heater where none has been before (take immediate action on this one!)

Water Heater 101


A quality water heater will last anywhere from 10 to 15 years depending on how well you maintain it.
When you’re purchasing a new hot water heater, two main criteria should be considered: fuel type and storage type.

Fuel Type

Water heaters are no longer limited to electric or gas options. Plenty of energy efficient models are now available. Read through the criteria for each fuel type to determine which best fits your needs.

Electric: uses one or two heating elements to heat the water and is typically less expensive than other types. High efficiency options are available and sizes range from 2.5 to 70+ gallons.

Gas: uses a burner to heat the water. It can’t be stored near combustible material and needs air circulating around it. It’s typically more expensive than electric water heaters, but it’s also more efficient. Sizes range from 30 to 70+ gallons.

Heat Pump (Hybrid): uses energy from the air to heat the water. It’s typically larger than standard electric water heaters and more expensive up front, but it’ll save you money over the long run. Sizes range from 40 to 70+ gallons.

Solar: uses energy from the sun to heat the water. You will need a backup system for cloudy days, and like the hybrid, there’s more cost up front, but you’ll save more long-term. Sizes range from 34 to 70+ gallons.

Storage Type

The type of storage will largely depend on the size of your household. Below are two common storage types you can choose from.

Storage Tank: by far the most common, these tanks are designed to heat and store water for future use. Consider the tank size you need for your household and the recovery rate (the amount of water it can heat in an hour). Look at the energy efficiency of the model and the yearly operating costs on the EnergyGuide label before buying.

Tankless (on-demand): these tanks don’t store water, they heat it as it passes through. The amount of water pressure is limited. Most can produce about 3.5 heated gallons of water per minute.

Final Thoughts

Not all water heaters are created equal, and even the best water heaters need to eventually be replaced. It’s important to know the warning signs and to understand when a new water heater is necessary.

Do your research before heading to the nearest hardware store to develop a general idea of what kind of fuel type and storage type best fits your needs. It will make the process of buying go a lot more smoothly.

What are your experiences with hot water heaters? Have you ever been fooled by that sulfur smell and thought it was something else?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

You've Read The Blog, Now See The Video

A few weeks ago I posted a blog titled "Is Water Softening A Scam?". While many people on social media enjoyed reading the post, we thought a video might further drive home our point. 

Not having a water softener does not clog your pipes. Watch the video and see for yourself.

Is Water Softening A Scam?

The Real Truth About Hard Water

Many water softening sales people sell you based on fear. They want you to believe that over time, a home without proper water conditioning will have restrictive buildup in the pipes that will lead to eventual failure. They want you to believe this because it's easy to sell someone who's afraid. See the calcified pipe below? That is what they want you to believe is happening in your pipes if you  don't have a water softener installed. We're about to bust that myth with hard evidence.

What they want you to believe.

What they want you to believe.

What is hard water? What is soft water? And why the heck does it matter?

These are the most common questions homeowners ask themselves when the topic of water softening gets brought up, and you’d think the answers would be simple enough to find, but they’re not.

Advertisers will tell you one thing about hard water. Plumbers will tell you another. And your neighbor will disagree with them both.

Plenty of misconceptions about hard water have developed, making the truth difficult to come by.

Here are a few common misconceptions of hard water you don’t have to be fooled by anymore.

Hard Water Clogs Pipes

This is the one advertisers really stress. They claim that the minerals in your water like calcium and magnesium can build up over time and clog your pipes. Without softening your water, you’re damaging your entire piping system.

This just isn’t true . . . at least not anymore. Between the 1940s and 1970s most homes used steel (galvanized) pipes. Minerals can stick to steel pipes, causing blockage.

If your home was built after 1975, or if your home has been re-piped, you’re good to go. The copper pipes used today don’t accumulate minerals like steel pipes.

Just the other day, we removed a 40-year-old copper pipe to fix a pinhole leak and found the line completely free of corrosion.

This 40 year old pipe was removed from a home with a slab leak. The home had no water softening system. Compared to a brand new pipe, you can't see much of a difference.

This 40 year old pipe was removed from a home with a slab leak. The home had no water softening system. Compared to a brand new pipe, you can't see much of a difference.

Minerals Are Contaminants

Many homeowners are being tricked into thinking that the minerals in water are endangering the health of their families.

In reality, minerals aren’t contaminants at all. They’re nutrients. They’re natural, and they’re okay to consume.

Sometimes we forget there was life before in-home water purifiers that get rid of all these minerals. Anyone who has ever drank from a well can back me up in saying how much better it tastes than the even purest tap water—minerals and all.

A study by the World Health Organization shows that consuming hard water nutrients like calcium and magnesium can be good for your health.

Water Softener Filters Water

Similar to the last point, water softeners don’t filter your water.

Dirty, chlorinated tap water goes into your water softener, and it comes out as dirty, chlorinated, salty water. It may taste a little better to you, but it’s still dirty, and there still needs to be a filtration process to make the water safe.

Don’t be convinced that your water softener is a multi-use piece of equipment. It removes the magnesium and calcium ions. That’s it.

High quality water filters are still to thank for removing those nasty chemicals and contaminants in your drinking water.

Hard Water Ruins Clothing

When you wash your clothing, calcium and mineral deposits do stay in the fabric and may cause them to wear a little faster, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Hard water is not the only culprit. You’ve got an entire team working against your to fade your clothing.

Chlorine does plenty of damage too, and as we just discussed, water softeners don’t filter chlorine. They don’t filter dirt either, which can also get trapped in the fabric.

Combating these issues can be as easy as choosing detergent-based products for your laundry rather than soap-based products. Detergent-based products work much better in hard water.

If you’re still worried, you can also add water softener to your laundry to get rid of those minerals. Just remember that the minerals aren’t the only problem.

Final Thoughts

Be careful when researching information on water softening and always consider the source. Plenty of businesses have agendas and will twist facts to make you believe that their products are more necessary than they really are.

Knowing the truth about hard water can help you sift through all the misconceptions and make sound decisions about softening your water.

What other misconceptions have you heard about hard water?

Share them with us in the comments!