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Empire Plumbing & Gas News

Empire Plumbing & Gas News

Leaking Water Heaters make for expensive repairs and damaged relationships

Continental Management recently contacted our office about one of the properties they manage on  South Beach.   Many of the water heaters installed ,when the property was built about 20 years ago, are beginning to deteriorate and leak.  This is a big concern in condos because a leak in one unit can and usually will  impact other Owners as well as hallways and other  common elements.  We visited the site and walked the property with the building engineer in order to understand the configuration  and the hot water demands of each typical unit.   Once we had good information in hand we contacted the Rheem Area Representative  and discussed the water heater options available to Sunset Harbour South for both tank and tankless water heaters.  We prepared a comprehensive proposal based on the hot water demands/number of bathrooms and type of fixtures for each of the typical units. In the case of owners that want to convert to tankless water heaters, we have a joint venture with a respected electrician to make the necessary upgrades to the electrical panels to meet the electrical needs of the tankless heater.    As part of our proposal, we have offered to meet with the unit owners for an information session where we will provide the Rheem water heater specifications and explain the process of the new installation.

We compliment Continental Management for their pro active approach to  addressing their leaking water heaters and thank  Sunset Harbour South Towers for the trust and opportunity extended to Empire Plumbing .

If you are  a condo owner, it is critical that you stay vigilant to the integrity of your hot water heater tank in order to make replacement decisions before you end up with a water leak that will flood your downstairs neighbor and the adjoining hallways to your unit.    This was the situation experienced by Mrs. P one of our clients who owns a condo on Collins Avenue.  Mrs. P is a Snow Bird and uses her condo only during the winter months.  The building management contacted her in her New York home after   her neighbor across the hall stepped out one morning and found the carpet drenched in water.  The water leak was traced to Mrs. P’s unit where the water heater housed in the closet by the front door, was leaking and flooding her  unit, the adjacent hallway as well as the unit downstairs.

This led to animosity between Owners as a result of the damages from the leak and insurance claims for Mrs. P, the downstairs owner and the condo board.

Empire Plumbing will be happy to assist you in evaluating the condition of your water heater  and the expected life span as well as replacement options and costs.

Don’t incur damage and the repair costs that can be avoided with adequate planning of when to replace your heater.

Empire has many heater options for your peace of mind and happy neighbors.

Plumbing services are expensive!!


The expense of plumbing is the general concern that I hear when I speak with people in our community. Let’s address this concern. First of all, Empire Plumbing gives every customer the opportunity to approve the cost of the work before the service is provided. Every plumbing service has a specific cost determined by the labor and material required to carry out the work. Be aware of service providers who charge you by the hour since they have an added incentive of running up the time that it takes to complete a project.

Let me tell you about my call today from Mr. A, an elderly gentleman who owns a small rental apartment building in BayHarbor. Mr. A asked us to come by one of his units and repair a “running” toilet. After getting the unit number, I research our records and found that we last serviced this unit’s toilet in 2006. I mentioned this to Mr. A and asked him if this was the same toilet that he wanted us to service. He said yes and that all he wanted us to do was to change the guts of the toilet. He gave me the number of the tenant who would provide us access. I followed up with a call to the tenant and asked him for specifics of the toilet. Tenant J advised that he has lived in that unit since before 2006 and that he believes the toilet has been there for many years before that. He further advised that the toilet had been recently serviced by a “handy man” and that after a few weeks it started to leak again. As you can see, Mr. A is so focused on dollars and cents that he is ending up paying at least twice for a service. I also asked Tenant J how well the toilet flushed solids and he said that indeed the toilet did not seem to have the proper water pressure and that he had to flush several times for solids. Now note that Mr. A. pays for the building’s water consumption. Toilets manufactured before 1994 consume 3.5 gallons of water per flush vs. 1.3 gallons for today’s toilets. The life expectancy of a toilet is between 10 to 15 years if properly serviced/maintained and dependent on quality of the water reaching the toilet. Calcium deposits form impacting the amount of water reaching the bowl So you see, there is more to this problem than what Mr. A was focused on.

With this information in hand, I contacted Mr. A and gave him a quote for the service he was requesting but also offered him the cost to replace the toilet as well as the cost of the fittings if these needed replacement once the existing toilet was removed.

Now Mr. A was an educated consumer and wisely he made the decision to replace the toilet and fittings if necessary for the agreed upon price.

As you can see when a customer communicates with us and gives us relevant information, we can give him a clear understanding of the costs of his plumbing issue .

The assumption that plumbing is expensive is because many times clients want to diagnose their own plumbing problems and withhold important information. As a result, when the service provider arrives at the site the work that was initially requested is not the proper or most cost effective service . Once we arrive at the home our technician finds that there are other issues impacting the work needed which cannot be provided for the cost of the work requested and quoted. This is why we at Empire Plumbing will research your history with our firm and ask questions that will allow us to diagnose the service needed and give you a quote that once the service is completed will give you the satisfaction of a job well done; that is priceless!!!!!

Dental Floss and Happy Toilet Drains

We recently shared with a client the basics of a happy toilet drain: only flush body waste and toilet paper.  What about dental floss? , she asked.  Certainly not dental floss!!!!   She could not understand how something as thin and insignificant as a strand of floss could not be flushed down  the toilet.  Our master plumber, Albert Elbaz explains that with time, pipes build up scale where the floss gets caught and acts like a hook swimming in the stream of water catching hairs and before you know it; you have an unhappy toilet that does not flush.    The HGTV Pro agrees with Albert in his  response to a frustrated wife whose husband insisted in flushing Floss.

‘ I’m always amazed at what people assume they can throw into a toilet, from q-tips to tea bags and everything in between. I have spent my entire working career pulling things out of toilets that should have never been thrown in there in the first place! As you can tell by now, you hit a nerve with this question. First, tell your husband that toilets do have traps. Second, even if the floss makes it past the toilet trap and flange, a bigger problem is eventually having dental floss stuck in your main drains. Hair clogs happen over time from single strands of hair getting all stuck together inside the drains. I can only imagine what might be pulled from your drain, and I’m not surprised you’re having flushing problems.’  (click the link HGTV Pro  to read the full interchange).

This is specially true in the areas serviced by Empire Plumbing where the pipes in the older homes are made of cast iron.  If it is too late for you and you are already feeling the impact of flushing floss; Empire Plumbing is here to assist you and make your toilet drains happy again.

Please call us at 305-531-7017 , for questions on keeping your drains happy!!!

Banging pipes … Listen to the warning they are sending you!

Mr. G  who lives in a Miami Beach high rise, called us because his pipes were banging and keeping him awake.  Little did he know that the banging was a warning of wasted water and possibly more serious problems to come; including the possible water leak resulting in  flooding of his Miami Beach unit and those below him.

Mr. G. said in his email to us when we completed the work : “Thank you for the detailed information. I appreciate the line of communication extended to me. Also, Jose was a pleasure to work with as well” Note:  Jose is  16 year seasoned member of the   Empire Plumbing staff  of experienced plumbers.  Mr. G.  further recognized our excellent service to our customers in Miami Beach and other service areas “Thanks, again for all of your help and communication. I have never received such attention from a vendor.”

Mr. G.’s Miami Beach apartment is receiving extremely high water pressure; well over 60 lbs.

Watts Regulator Co., the manufacturer of high quality and reliable water pressure reducing valves that we supply and install, explains it well.   ”What is wrong with high water pressure? High water pressure, which is generally considered anything above 60 lbs., has some advantage, such as in firefighting systems. However, in the home plumbing system, it can be damaging because water, with a strong “push” behind it, can erode or wear away many materials and cause water heaters to leak, banging water pipes, dripping faucets, excessive dishwasher and clothes washer noise and breakdown, and leaking water pipes.

When we arrived at Mr. G’s Miami Beach condo we found that the existing water pressure reducing valve, installed by the developer, was inadequate  (10 to 35 PSI). Also, due to lack of maintenance, it was full of debris and lime deposits, creating  the perfect scenario for a serious water leak in his luxury Miami Beach condo.  Since Mr. G travels extensively outside of Miami Beach and for extended periods of time,  a water leak would go undetected until water leaked to the other units and  the results would have been catastrophic!

Empire Plumbing staff replaced the the existing water pressure reducing valve with a Watts 25- 75 PSI water reducing valve,  factory preset at 50 PSI.   We also instructed Mr. G. on proper maintenance of the water reducing valve  to avoid damage to his appliances, fixtures and possible future leaks. Good maintenance also has the added bonus of extending the life of the regulator.

Learn more by reading Empire Plumbing’s /Watts Educational on water pressure reducing valves  and their importance in avoiding water leaks and damage to appliances and fixtures. You will also learn about the importance of these valves in saving money and conserving water.

If you have questions about water pressure reducing valves, or are concerned by banging pipes in your home, please call us at Empire Plumbing,  305-531-7017. We know we can help.

Miami $900.00 water bill

Just received a call from Mrs. C who lives in South Miami.  Her water bill has jumped from less than $100 to $900.  The utility company,  Miami Dade Water and Sewer,  explained to her that it is her responsibility to find the leak. Obviously,  she was concerned about incurring plumbing costs and asked if she could do something to help identify the source of the leak.   I  referred her to the utility company’s web site where she could review their publication leak detector guide that helps Miami and adjacent areas consumers to identify the source of  leaks.     I was happy to walk her through the process so that she could do some of the investigative work herself. As a smart South Miami consumer, she had called other local companies and none  offered her any do it yourself leak detection options.

I have a plumber scheduled to come out to her South Miami home this afternoon and in the meantime she will attempt to have enough information to reduce the costs of the leak detection investigative work.

If the leak is underground/concealed she will be eligible for a retroactive credit to her water bill by using the Leak Credit Form which we will execute for her with the necessary back up documents to ensure that she receives the appropriate money credit from her utility company.

Our plumbers are Miami leak detection and repair specialists  and working with the information that she provides, as well as our own research once we come to her South Miami home, we will be able to give her a comprehensive analysis and cost estimate of the items that need to be repaired/replaced.

We pride ourselves in assisting our clients with cost savings practices and honest, professional, plumbing services.  It is for this reason that we have a portfolio of long standing, satisfied clients as part of the Empire Plumbing Family.

Mrs. C, welcome  to the Empire Plumbing Family and to a normal water bill.

Meet our Miami plumbing staff

Empire Plumbing fleet and plumbing Staff at our Miami Beach Office

Empire Plumbing fleet and Plumbing Staff outside our Miami Beach office and warehouse

Empire Plumbing is so fortunate to have a staff who come in every day with a desire to give our Miami plumbing clients excellent service.

As part of our established procedures, we contact all clients the day after we complete the work to ensure that they are indeed satisfied with all aspects of our service.  Without exception, our customers tell us that they are completely satisfied with the quality and timeliness of our services.  As a matter of fact, our clients actually stop in to the office/warehouse  to say hello.  Yesterday, we were treated to bagels and coffee by Jessica R.  one of our long time clients. She came by to say thank you for the work that we did installing a tankless water heater in her Miami Beach  home.

Yesterday was quite the day!! When I made the follow up calls, Mr. P, onether  Miami Beach client who had a broken angle stop in his water closet , said that he wanted to tell the world about our work and excellent service.  So I invited him to rate our service using our web site link that is used for clients to rate us.    This morning, he sent me an email with his comments that will shortly be posted on our site.

In the past, we were hesitant to bother our clients asking for reviews. However, we have had an unprecedented  demand from clients who want so much to tell others about our great service that we now have the ability for our clients to request a review link. If you are an Empire Plumbing customer and would like to send us a message about the job our Miami plumbing staff have done, you can click the following link to Rate our Service

Have a great day and be sure to call us on 305-531-7017 if you have any plumbing questions.

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