What color should the flame be on my natural gas water heater?

What color should the flame be on my natural gas water heater?

Know what the color your flame is telling you means:

Blue – Gas burners burn blue if the ratio of fuel to air is correct.

Orange – Orange flame is usually dust or dirt being burnt.

Yellow – Air is not getting to the flame, this needs to be inspected immediately.

An adequate supply of combustion and ventilating air must be available without obstructions. If there is an insufficient amount of air, the products of combustion will re-circulate, which will contaminate the surrounding air causing possible health risks.

Soot is a black powdery or flaky substance consisting mainly of amorphous carbon, produced by the incomplete burning of organic matter.” Sooting is caused by the water heater not burning properly.

If you have checked the flame color yourself and need a second set of eyes, feel free to send us a picture of the flame. And please remember to always have a licensed plumber service your water heater.

Answering the age-old question: Can I put eggshells down my garbage disposal?

dyed easter eggs.jpg

It’s the day after Easter and you’re making egg salad with the bounty of eggs your children found during the hunt. >>Please for the love of all things right, do not put those shells down the garbage disposal.<<

We have heard people say that eggshells will sharpen your disposal blades, but that simply is not true. Eggshells, especially put in the disposal in the quantity that calls for a proper egg salad can clog your pipes. The shells' stringy membrane layers can wrap around the shredder ring, and the shell itself will be ground to a sand-like consistency causing a clog. This clog is made WORSE by ANY presence of grease or sludge in the pipes. Save yourself a bit of hassle (and possibly some money calling a plumber out) and forgo putting the shells down the disposal altogether. If you’re like my wife, Bianca and like to run water as you peel eggs in the sink, try a strainer like this one on your drain to catch the egg debris. You can get a strainer like this at any home improvement store for a few dollars.


6 Kitchen Trends to Watch in 2019

6 Kitchen Trends to Watch in 2019


It’s a new year and another opportunity to add a few upgrades to refresh your space.  Let’s focus our attention on the kitchen along with trending elements to watch that will instantly boost the appearance, mood, and overall aesthetic of your place.  The kitchen is indeed the gathering spot and is the focal point of your home. With the addition of a few of the below ideas, your kitchen will look and feel brand new.

Smart Technology

Kitchen faucets, lighting, refrigeration, and much more can all be maintained by a control panel or through memory or sensory features. These automation features make everyday tasks easier, add value, and will instantly make your space more modern and functional.

Courtesy of Delta Faucet Company

Courtesy of Delta Faucet Company

Gold, Copper and Brass Fixture Finishes

Metallic finishes add stylish charm and appeal to varied color palettes. Whether the idea is to add an elegant pop of color to classic white décor or to make a bold statement by pairing them with vibrant hues live navy and hunter green, these finishes complement numerous shades, tones, and elements.

Courtesy of Kallista

Courtesy of Kallista

Matte Lighting

Matte selections paired with brass and copper fixtures are on trend and are making an elegant statement in the home.  The same is true for matte lighting pieces. They are striking, charming, and the perfect complement to a stylish space. Such elements would be perfect in your casual dining setting.

Sea Gull Lighting

Sea Gull Lighting

Quartz vs. Granite

As mentioned in the HGTV article, Quartz vs. Granite: Is One Really Better Than the Other, quartz has become a popular option among homeowners who don’t want to have to maintain the sealing and upkeep of granite or marble. This option has the following attributes – it’s easier to clean and doesn’t hold much bacteria since it’s non-porous, is virtually indestructible, and looks fantastic. Granite, is a little less costly, is unique in that no two slabs are the same, and is highly resistant to heat. Both can be cleaned with a little soap and water or a mild household cleaner. Either option will be a beautiful addition in your space.


Matte Appliances

Matte appliances in black, white, gold, and blue are on trend this year and will add a sleek, modern appearance to your space. Gone are the days of only having black, stainless steel, or white appliances that stick out. You can now blend and mask the look of your devices to go with the look of your cabinetry and overall design aesthetic.  The appliances can take the background, allowing your beautiful kitchen aesthetic to be the star of the show!


Kitchen Cabinetry in Jewel Tones

When it comes to adding stylish trends to your kitchen, don’t forget to show your cabinetry a little love. Jewel tones are prevalent. Consider these gorgeous ideas:


Cobalt blue is a pleasant surprise in the kitchen and makes for an eclectic and unique appearance that is sure to garner attention. Matte black and hunter green paired with copper hardware add style, sophistication, and elegance to both spaces.

We hope this article provides you with a wealth of ideas to consider for your space. Book a consultation with one of our knowledgeable consultants today at 770.963.9231 and leave the details to us. We would love to hear from you. Also, don’t forget to visit us on the web at relyonpdi.com and follow our blog at relyonpdiblog.com.

Written by Joi Albright

Why a Rinnai Tankless Water Heater System?

Why a Rinnai Tankless Water Heater System?

We get asked often why we install Rinnai tankless water heaters exclusively. The truth is because we think Rinnai tankless water heaters are far better than their competition in regards to the product, warranty, and customer service, but best of all, they’re made in America, right here in Georgia at their North American Headquarters.

Why Choose Rinnai?

Everyday, the lives of millions of people across the US and Canada are enhanced by Rinnai's products. Rinnai aims to be the best company you have ever worked for or partnered with.

Make a difference: Their products provide society with a more comfortable way of life. They enhance people’s lives with their products and with their involvement in their communities.

Be a part of something big: Their culture and philosophy has enabled them to become the leading trusted brand as well as a very desirable employer. 

Customers First

Customers are at the center of their culture and belief system. Nearly a century of innovation in residential and commercial water heating with a focus on "enhancing lives by changing the way water is heated" for everyone. They are committed to continuing their long tradition of providing the best quality that made them the number one selling brand of tankless water heater systems. Dedicated to a smarter kind of comfort, our value-added products continue to provide breakthrough technology by staying ahead of the demands of an ever advancing world.

Rinnai America Quality Policy-

"We are committed to exceeding customers' expectations by providing safe products and excellent services through unwavering organizational focus on our Cultural Beliefs and Continuous Improvement."

Unwavering Quality Standards

Throughout the world, their standards for quality remain unsurpassed. All factories are ISO 9001 and/or ISO 14001 certified. All products distributed in North America have been approved by the Canada Standards Association (CSA) and adhere to the strict standards of American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

  • Advanced automation and precision assembly processes have made our manufacturing facilities an industry model for efficiency

  • Every product undergoes a rigorous series of live tests before ever shipping out of our manufacturing location or distribution centers

  • Rinnai America is one of the few tankless water heater providers with its own state-of-the-art Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Certified Testing Laboratory, including CSA accredited lab technicians

  • All products distributed in North America have been approved by the CSA and adhere to the strict standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)


Only Rinnai offers the quality and reliability that is built on a history of industry leading advancements. Rinnai controls quality through in-house design, engineering and manufacturing, and ensures your satisfaction with in-house support 24/7/365. Just as important is support before and after the product is installed. That’s why we’re here 24/7/365 with industry-leading warranties and a network of independent dealers trained on everything from product selection to installation and repair.


Good news! Rinnai and its installation partners offer valuable rebates to make your instant water heater purchase even more affordable. Click here to use the convenient rebate finder tool to locate the best deals in your area.

How to Clean an Ice Machine

How to Clean an Ice Machine


How to Clean an Ice Machine from our friends at the Webstaurant Store.

Ice is essential in every type of foodservice establishment, and you can even find ice machines in other settings, such as nursing homes, hotels, healthcare facilities, and more. Even though ice makers are an important piece of equipment, many restaurant owners and operators neglect to clean them regularly. This article will take you through a detailed, step-by-step explanation of how to clean an ice machine, ensuring your equipment is safe for your customers.

Why It’s Important to Clean an Ice Maker

The FDA defines ice as a food, which means it must be handled and cared for in the same manner as other food products. No matter what type of ice machine your establishment operates, it’s imperative that you clean, sanitize, and maintain it. Any part of the unit that has contact with water can develop scale, slime, or mold at any time, which will contaminate your ice and potentially harm your customers.

How Often Should You Clean Your Ice Machine

Your ice machine should be cleaned and sanitized at least once every six months for efficient operation. This maintenance process requires you to first perform a cleaning procedure to remove lime, scale, and mineral deposits, followed by a sanitizing procedure to disinfect the unit and remove algae and slime.

If you don’t keep up on maintenance, scale buildup can cause ice to stick to the evaporator plates, which can impede heat transfer and result in freeze-ups, longer harvest times, reduction in capacity, and costly repairs. Not cleaning your machine can also lead to the formation of dangerous slime and mold.

Signs You Need to Clean Your Ice Maker

If you experience some of the following issues, it may be time to clean your ice machine:

  • Ice machine does not release ice or is slow to harvest

  • Ice machine does not cycle into harvest mode

  • Ice quality is poor (soft or not clear)

  • Ice produces an odor.

  • Ice machine produces shallow or incomplete cubes

  • Low ice capacity

Now we’ll get into the proper ice machine cleaning and sanitizing procedures, but first, let’s go over a few guidelines and tips.

  • Your ice machine should be cleaned every 6 months.

  • If you notice it’s requiring more frequent cleaning and sanitizing, consult a qualified service company to test your establishment’s water quality. Water treatment or a new water cartridge may be necessary.

  • Be sure to follow the proper instructions written out in your ice machine’s manual.

  • Some manufacturers require specific or approved cleaner and sanitizer solutions to be used with their machines.

  • All ice produced during the cleaning and sanitizing procedures must be discarded. It’s also highly suggested to throw out the first batch of ice made after cleaning.

  • Do not mix cleaner and sanitizer solutions together.

  • Wear rubber gloves and protective safety glasses when handling cleaner and sanitizer solutions. Read and follow any instructions and cautions listed on the solution bottles.

  • To prevent damage to the water pump, do not leave the control switch in a service position for an extended period of time when the water tank is empty during cleaning.

  • Know your equipment. Nugget and flake machines typically have more moving parts that require additional attention. Also, know your machine’s material construction so you don’t use chemicals that will harm it.

  1. How to Clean an Ice Machine

    Ice makers from various vendors will have their own special maintenance requirements, but most ice machines follow a basic overall process. As a result, you can follow these steps to clean your ice maker, whether your have a Manitowoc, Hoshizaki, Scotsman, or other type of commercial ice machine.

    1. Open the front door to access the evaporator compartment. All ice must be removed from the evaporator during the cleaning and sanitizing cycles.

    2. Remove all ice from the bin or dispenser. To remove the ice, follow one of the methods below:

    3. Either press the power switch at the end of the a harvest cycle after ice falls from the evaporators, or press the power switch and allow the ice to completely melt.

    4. Press the “clean” or “wash” button, depending on your machine's labeling. Water will flow through the water dump valve and down the drain. Wait until the water trough refills and the display indicates to add chemicals. This typically takes at least 1 minute. Then add the proper amount of ice machine cleaner per your manual. Wait until the clean cycle is complete. This will typically take at least 20 minutes. After the cycle is complete, disconnect power to the ice machine and the dispenser.

    5. Remove internal ice machine components for cleaning. For safe and proper removal, refer to your machine's manual. Once all parts have been removed, continue to the next step.

    6. Mix a solution of cleaner and lukewarm water. Refer to your machine's manual for an appropriate amount of solution. It should provide a chart that has the correct ratio for each product line. A general water to cleaner ratio is 1 gallon of water to 16 ounces of cleaner. Depending on the amount of mineral buildup, you may need to use more cleaner.

    7. Use half of the water and cleaner mixture to clean all components and parts you've removed. Most solutions will start to foam once they come in contact with lime, scale, and mineral deposits. Once the foaming stops, use a soft-bristle nylon brush, sponge, or cloth to carefully clean all parts. You can soak all of the components except for the ice thickness probe if they're heavily scaled. After removing all of the scale, rinse all components with clean water.

    8. Use the other half of the water and cleaner mixture to clean all foodzone surfaces of the ice machine, bin, and dispenser. Use a nylon brush or cloth to thoroughly clean the following ice machine areas: side walls, base (area above the trough), evaporator plastic parts (top, bottom, sides), and the bin or dispenser.

    9. Rinse all areas with clean water. This will help remove chemicals to prevent ice from becoming contaminated.

Hot Water For All

There's a lot of talk about tankless water heaters in the last decade, but how do you know if it is right for you? We at Hometown Plumbing are always available to answer any further questions you may have or  to come by for a free, in home tankless consultation to answer any questions. Give us a call at (678) 598-6528 and let us know how we can help you.

The 411 on Water Heaters

Many homeowners have had the unfortunate task of having to replace their water heater when they weren’t planning to do so. As with any unplanned home appliance replacement, there isn't much time for research when it’s your hot water. With that in mind, we at Hometown Plumbing would like to give an unbiased rundown of the most common residential water heater options available.

Typically, in a residential application, there are five different types of water heaters you may have in your home;  standard electric, standard gas, direct-vent gas, power-vent gas, and tankless. We will go through each of these and give some basic differences to aid in your decision making should you find yourself needing a new water heater.

  • The first water heater we will discuss is the standard electric water heater. This heater runs off of 240V AC and will have no vent at the top of the unit. They will have two removable panels on the side of the unit held on by screws. These panels allow access to thermostats for adjustment and replacement. The typical energy factor of a standard electric water heater is around 92%. When comparing this rating to a gas water heater, it can be a bit misleading simply because the method of heating water is different. Electric water heaters have significantly higher energy factor ratings than gas tank water heaters, but to compare the two solely on this rating is not an accurate comparison criteria. While electric water heaters have a 92% energy factor, the annual energy cost to heat your water is around $300. As opposed to $150 with a gas water heater.
  • The second type of water heater we will discuss is a standard gas water heater. This type of water heater is what the majority of homes will have in the northern suburbs of Atlanta. Most commonly they come in 40 or 50-gallon sizes. They will have a gas line connected to the water heater at the bottom of the unit and they will have a 3” or 4” metallic vent pipe at the top extending through the roof or to a connection with your furnace vent. The most common type of vent on a gas water heater is an atmospheric vent, but there are other types that we will discuss next. The typical energy factor of a gas water heater is around 60%, but as discussed earlier this is not an accurate comparison point with an electric water heater.
  • The third type of water heater to compare is also gas but has a different type of venting. A direct-vent gas water heater will have a metallic vent that comes off of the top of the water heater into a 90-degree elbow and immediately out of the side of your house. This heater will have a similar energy factor rating as the atmospheric vent heater but will cost approximately three times that of an atmospheric vent unit.
  • The last type of tank water heater discussed is also gas, but again has a different type of venting. The power vent water heater will have a blower fan at the type with PVC piping for the vent and will usually run long distances before exiting your house. Again, energy factor rating is similar to atmospheric, but cost is 4-5 times more. Also, this unit will use 120v power to run the blower fan which will add to the operating costs.

Although it may be hard to understand why a builder installs one type of water heater and not another, in most cases, you will have to replace it with the same type. The only exception is if you choose to install the last type of water heater we will compare, the tankless water heater. As I said before, I will attempt to be as unbiased as possible while comparing. In this blog, we will only discuss gas tankless water heaters.

  • Tankless water heaters have grown significantly in popularity over the last decade, but there are still many skeptics that aren’t buying the hype. As with the energy factor comparison between gas and electric, comparing tank-type to tankless isn’t truly an accurate comparison because they are so different from each other. Tank water heaters have a reserve of hot water waiting to be used; the burner will come on periodically throughout the day to ensure the water in the tank is at the desired temperature. Once you begin to use your hot water, that reserve is depleted until either you stop using it or you use it all. As you use the hot water, the burner will come on and attempt to reheat the water as you use it. It is impossible for a standard tank type water heater to keep up with the demand as it is depleted though. Once your hot water is gone, you have to wait for the water in the tank to be reheated, which could take up to 45 minutes to an hour. With tankless water heaters, there is no reserve. Instead, water passes through heat exchangers that heat the water as you use it. This is similar to the heat exchanger in your furnace that air passes through when you call for heat. Returning to energy factors, the typical energy factor of a tankless water heater will be 82% with a non condensing tankless and 95% with a condensing tankless. Although this is still not an accurate comparison with electric tank water heaters, it is an accurate comparison with gas tank water heaters. The expected annual cost to operate a tankless water heater is $50-$100. The cost of a tankless water heater is similar to that of the power vent water heater, but installation can vary. The typical life expectancy of a tankless water heater is 20-25 years, compared to 8-10 years with tank water heaters.

As you can see, there are definite differences in water heater options, but one thing that’s the same no matter which option you need/want is that Hometown Plumbing can help you with any. We can also help with discussing the options more in-depth to help you make the best decision for your situation. Call us anytime (678) 598-6528.

High Water Pressure: Friend or Foe?

As a service plumber, one of the common objections I get from homeowners is to not mess with their water pressure. Or more specifically, don’t make my water pressure lower. Most plumbers will be quick to tell you that high water pressure is not healthy for your plumbing, but is this true?

I will tell you that although it may feel great in the shower or rinsing your dishes, high water pressure is a danger to your plumbing. All the plumbing code books I've seen say that any house with water pressure over 80 pounds per square inch (psi), must have a pressure regulator valve (PRV) to reduce water pressure to below 80 psi. You'll be happy to know that a vast majority of houses in Gwinnett County that have public water will have a PRV already installed. So if your pressure is over 80 psi your PRV has become defective and needs to be replaced.

How does a PRV work? The major component of a PRV is a large spring, and as that spring loses elasticity over time, it stops regulating the pressure and must be replaced. The next question, most often, is how long does a PRV last? Typically, you could expect to get 10-15 years out of one, but there are factors that can limit that, such as specific model and street pressure from your county/city.

How do I know if I have high water pressure you might ask? Well, the sure fire way is to purchase a $10 pressure gauge like the one in the picture above that will screw onto your outside spigot and check the pressure. If you don’t have access to a pressure gauge, there are some common plumbing issues that may be symptoms of high water pressure.

  • Toilets that constantly “run” are typically the first sign because these components are fairly inexpensive and degrade quickly from high water pressure.
  • Faucets and/or showers that drip are typically the next sign.

  • Temperature & Pressure relief valve (T&P) on water heater leaking is almost always a definite indication that you have high water pressure.

  • Water heater developing a leak or even blowing out the seams of the jacket on the water heater is also typically a definite sign.

Things to know: As we approach Summer, most counties and cities in metro-Atlanta will increase the water pressure to your house in an effort to meet the higher demand for water. The higher demand comes from people watering their yards, washing their cars, filling pools, etc. This increase at your water meter will make your PRV work harder to regulate the pressure when it enters your house. For this reason, we see an increase in water pressure issues not just inside your house, but also outside during the summer.

All of this makes it important to be aware of your plumbing throughout your house. Fixing “small” issues when you first notice them, could avoid larger and more destructive plumbing issues later. It is important to have your water pressure tested yearly or anytime you see any of these signs. The quicker you correct it, the less damage it will cause. Hometown Plumbing is always prepared to check your water pressure so ask us to do so if we don’t mention it first.

Let us know how we can serve you today (678) 598-6528.

Spring Plumbing Tips

The official start of Spring is less than a week away and with that comes working in the yard, washing the car in the driveway, and other things you may need a hose for. Most people have had their outside spigots off for the winter and will be turning them on for the first time in months. Let your trusted Hometown Plumber inspect your spigots for proper operation and if there happens to be a leak , we'll be prepared to fix it. 

The start of spring is also a great time to flush your water heater to remove mineral buildup and other sediment that collects over time. This can steal heating power and efficiency from your water heater. Flushing your water heater can extend it's life and improve efficiency if done regularly. 

Have questions? Give us a call at 678-598-6528.