How to Winterize Your Hot Water Heater: Simple 5-Step Guide

A simple 5 step guide on how to winterize your hot water heater.

Preventing your water heater from freezing can protect your Pasadena, MD home from expensive damage. Follow these 5 simple steps before leaving home for an extended period.

Your water heater is one of the most essential appliances in your house, especially during the cooler months. Nobody enjoys waking up and being forced to take a cold shower because your home’s water heater isn’t working.

Fortunately, you can influence your water heater’s health and longevity when you take the necessary actions to take care of it. One of these actions includes winterizing your water heater when temperatures drop below freezing, which happens almost every winter in Pasadena.

If you’re a new homeowner or it’s your first time owning a property that experiences a cold winter, you’ll want to find out how to winterize your water heater to keep it running smoothly for years to come.

When Do You Need to Winterize Your Water Heater?

If your home or investment property will be sitting empty during the winter months when the temperatures drop below freezing, you should winterize your water heater.

This is important for those who go somewhere warmer during the winter months and let their house sit empty. It’s also important for landlords who have a vacancy during the winter and find it difficult to fill.

Why Should You Winterize Your Water Heater?

Most people never know they have to winterize their water heater because you stay in their homes during the winter. It’s only until you have a property that will be empty during the winter that you’ll become aware of needing to prevent your hot water from freezing.

But why is this good practice?

Following the steps on winterizing your home will prevent frozen pipes.

First of all, it helps to prevent your pipes from freezing during the coldest temperatures of the year. Frozen pipes aren’t just a hassle to take care of, but they can cause expensive damages to your home if a pipe breaks.

Secondly, winterizing your water heater is a way to keep up its maintenance, therefore making it last longer. Unexpected water heater repairs aren’t fun for anyone’s wallet, so taking preventative measures to keep it in tip-top shape can help you avoid this.

Steps to Winterize Your Water Heater

Now that you know when and why you should winterize your water heater in Pasadena, let’s dive into the steps to actually do it.

Step 1: Shut Off the Power Source

The first step to winterize your water heater is to shut off the power source. It’s important to identify which type of water heater you have and find the switch or valve necessary to cut the power.

For example, gas water heaters have a valve you’ll have to turn to shut it off. This valve must be perpendicular to the gas line, so you’ll usually have to turn it about halfway. 

For electric water heaters, there is usually a control panel with an on/off switch. Simply flip this switch to shut off the power.

Step 2: Close Incoming Water Valve

Once you’ve cut the power source to the water heater, it’s time to close the valve for the incoming water line. This will keep water from entering the water heater while it isn’t in use and freezing in the cold Maryland winter.

Remember, the water valve may be located outside or somewhere in your basement. There will most likely be a wheel-shaped gear on the valve that you’ll twist to close it.

Step 3: Drain the Tank

The goal of winterizing your water heater is to ensure water doesn’t freeze inside of it or the pipes connected to it. Therefore, you must drain any water that may be inside the heater already.

To do this, you’ll have to locate the drain on the bottom of the water heater. Usually, there is a notch where you can attach a water hose to drain the water into your yard. If you don’t have a garden hose, simply place a large bucket under the drain to catch the water.

Once you’re set up, turn the handle and let the water drain. This can take up to half an hour to drain fully.

Opening all faucets is a critical step in winterizing your home.

Step 4: Open Faucets

While the water is draining from the water heater, go throughout the house and open all of the faucets. There should only be a small amount of water that comes out.

This step is to ensure there is no water left sitting in the pipes for months that could potentially freeze and cause issues.

Step 5: Insulate the Tank and Pipes

If you know you’re going to be away from home for most of the winter, you may want to insulate the tank and pipes to prevent them from freezing.

You can purchase a water heater blanket to put over the tank from your local hardware store. Use blankets and duct tape to wrap around the pipes and keep them insulated.

De-Winterizing Your Water Heater 

When the flowers and plants start to bloom and the freezing temperatures are long gone, it’s time to de-winterize your water heater and get it back up and running.

It’s a fairly simple process. You’ll turn on the water heater’s power source and turn on the incoming water valve. It could take some time to get warm water running throughout the house, especially if there is some frozen water in the tank.

Keep Your Water Heater in Tip-Top Shape with Chesapeake Plumbing Inc.

Taking care of the plumbing system in your home is no easy task, especially when you try to do it on your own. That’s why you need the professionals at Chesapeake Plumbing Inc to help you take care of your Pasadena home.

From installing and renovating bathrooms to replacing gas lines for fireplaces to winterizing your water heater, we can take care of every plumbing need you have. As the #1 Pasadena plumbing company, our team of trained experts works quickly and effectively to make repairs and provide a place where you’ll always feel comfortable.

Contact us to see how we can help you with all of your plumbing needs today!

6 Green Plumbing Ideas That Can Save You Money (+ Save the Planet)

Pasadena plumber holding a lightbulb with energy saving icons swirling around it

Being more conscious of our effect on the environment is becoming more important and prevalent in almost every aspect of our lives. From reducing our single-plastic use to using renewable energy sources, it seems everyone is taking steps to be more environmentally friendly.

Your plumbing isn’t excluded from this movement. There are plenty of ways you can create an eco-friendlier plumbing system and habits in your Pasadena home.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with six different ways to save money and help the environment simply through changes you can make with your plumbing.

Why Switch to Green Plumbing?

You probably hear phrases like “go green” and “reduce carbon footprint” a lot nowadays. But, what do they mean exactly?

To put it simply, it’s taking extra steps to leave less of an impact on the environment when we do everyday tasks—for example, using energy-efficient appliances in the household to do laundry or take a shower.

When you switch to green plumbing, not only will you be saving money on your water and energy bill each month, but you’ll be conserving fresh and clean water. It may feel like we have an endless supply of this water, but that just isn’t true.

Through water conservation, energy-efficient products, and eco-friendly materials, you can create a more sustainable plumbing system in your home.

How to Make Your Plumbing Eco-Friendly

When you decide to make your residential plumbing green, you’ll want to focus on three areas: bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room. If you have a yard, you could create an irrigation system to collect rainwater for your plants, but we’re focusing on the things you can do indoors for now.

Whether you’re building a new home, remodeling a bathroom, or simply want to start making small changes, you’ll find that it’s easier than ever to install eco-friendly plumbing.

1. Choose Low-Flow Appliances

Every time you use your toilet, sink, or shower, you’re using a continuous flow of water. While many of us long a long, hot shower at the end of a hard day, you may not be aware of just how much water you’re using during those 15 minutes.

One way to be more conscious and conservative with your water use is to upgrade to low-flow appliances. The EPA estimates that you can save 13,000 gallons of water per year simply by installing a low-flow toilet. That’s an annual monetary savings of $140.

2. Tankless Water Heater

You likely have a large water heater sitting in your basement, right? While this appliance is incredibly convenient, it can also be wasteful when it comes to water and energy.

Instead of using a water heater with a tank, choose a tankless water heater. These will heat your water on-demand, which means only the water you’re using will be warm.

 Just imagine the money you’ll save when you aren’t constantly heating water you may nor may not use.

3. Opt for a Heat Pump

Since we’re on the topic of water heaters, if you don’t want to use an on-demand, you can opt for a heat pump. This type of heater uses electricity to heat the water and can save two to three times on your energy costs.

The heat pump works best if kept in a warmer environment, such as a furnace room. While the installation and setup may seem expensive and intimidating, just think of how much you’ll save each year and your positive impact on the environment.

energy efficient refrigerator/freezer, washer, portable heater are recommended by plumbing companies in pasadena md

4. Upgrade Appliances

As we discussed earlier, older appliances tend to use excessive amounts of water. Even if you don’t want to switch to low-flow appliances, there are still other options for you.

If your washer, dishwasher, or water heater are more than ten years old, it’s time to upgrade them. With so many new advancements and environmental research in the last few years, newer appliances are considerably more eco-friendly.

With a quick replacement of everyday appliances, you can save plenty of water, energy, and money on your monthly utility bills.

5. Heat Water with Solar Power

Who knew there were so many different green ways to heat the water in your Pasadena home? If you don’t prefer a tankless heater or heat pump, there is another option for you. Now you can heat your water with solar power.

Not only will solar panels on your house save energy costs heating your water, but you’ll save on almost every aspect of your home that uses electricity. This renewable energy source is one of the best methods of going green in your household.

6. Look for Leaks

There are numerous reasons your plumbing could have a leak. When you have a leak, you’re wasting water and money each month. One of the most dangerous parts of having a leak is when you aren’t aware of it. This can lead to damage to your home and increased utility bills.

So, the best way to avoid this from happening is to search for and identify leaks routinely. Understand your pipes and where they’re located, keep your eye out for water stains on walls or ceilings, and check for running toilets throughout the house.

If you do find a leak, patch it up as quickly as possible. Better yet, get a professional plumber to take a look and find a solution that will take care of the problem once and for all.

Go Green with Chesapeake Plumbing Inc.

Plumbing requires a professional and special touch; otherwise, it can get messy pretty quickly. That’s why you need Chesapeake Plumbing Inc. for all of your plumbing needs in Pasadena, Maryland.

As the area’s leading plumbing service, we are dedicated to helping our customers fix their plumbing problems and upgrade to more eco-friendly plumping practices.

Are you ready to reduce your carbon footprint on this planet with some simple changes to your plumbing?

Then contact us today to see how we can not only help make your Pasadena plumbing system greener but also put more green in your wallet!

Bathroom Remodel Plumbing in Pasadena, MD: Everything You Need to Know

complex plumbing while remodeling bathroom in Pasadena

If you’re thinking about remodeling your Pasadena bathroom, you must understand the complexity behind such a project. From faucets to pipes and lighting fixtures to shower types, there’s a lot that goes into a major bathroom remodel. Yet many people fail to think about the scope of their bathroom remodel before jumping in.

When you’re ready to hire a professional plumbing contractor in Pasadena and turn your bathroom into nothing short of a relaxing spa, check out this handy homeowner’s guide first. We’ve collected everything you need to know about bathroom remodel plumbing, whether you’re a homeowner, builder, or contractor.

How to Start a Bathroom Remodel Plumbing Project

1. Assess Your Needs and Budget

The first thing you want to do before you jump headfirst into a bathroom remodeling project is to assess your bathroom needs. In other words, you need to know what you want to change so that when you do your research and hire your plumbing contractor in Pasadena, you have a plan to follow.

Some of the things you might want to do include:

  • Change faucets
  • Add new cabinets
  • Replace or add an exhaust fan
  • Improve the bathtub or shower
  • Move the toilet to a new location
  • Change the lighting fixtures

In addition, you need to know how much money you’re willing to spend on the project. It doesn’t matter what you want in your bathroom remodel if you don’t have the money. Even if you use an affordable bathroom contractor, bathroom remodels can be expensive.

Not sure how much it will cost? Let’s crunch some numbers.

According to Fixr, the national average plumbing cost for a bathroom remodel is $5,302. That said, the cost of a remodel can range from $2,000-$10,000 with a minimum cost of $751 and a maximum cost of $15,914.

Of course, your situation will be unique. The size of your bathroom, your specific needs, and your budget will all play a role in how much your remodel will cost.

2. Get the Right Building Permits and Inspections

Whenever you perform a major project like bathroom remodel plumbing, you must follow all the code regulations. This means getting a building permit for the plumbing work, as well as an overall construction permit for general remodeling work in Pasadena.

You’ll also need to have the bathroom inspected by the city inspector. This will usually happen twice. The first is when the plumbing pipes have been installed and are still visible. The second is when the project is finished to make sure everything is in working order. 

Luckily, if you use the right Pasadena, MD plumbing contractor this will all be taken care of for you.

3. Determine If You Need to Relocate Plumbing Fixtures

If you need to relocate any plumbing fixtures, such as the toilet, you’re going to need to add extra time and money to your project. This is because when you relocate plumbing fixtures, you’ll likely need to refit the existing pipes. In addition to this, when you refit pipes, you’ll need to make sure the foundation of your home isn’t being altered. This could lead to costly repairs in the future that no one wants to deal with.

Lastly, depending on the fixtures you’re moving, you might need to move or change the vents. This may require your bathroom contractor to remove walls to properly position the vent in your newly renovated bathroom.

homeowner checking to see if you need to replace old pipes when remodeling bathroom in Pasadena

4. Check on Pipe Replacements

At the beginning of your project, it’s a good idea to check and see whether you need to replace any old pipes. Old water supply and drain pipes may be worn and need new materials. For example, pipes made from galvanized steel or cast iron tend to corrode over time and might need to be exchanged.

If you happen to have copper piping in your bathroom, you might need to replace those too. Over time, copper pipes develop pinhole leaks, making them a common plumbing problem that needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

It is advisable that you test your copper piping for leaks before deciding to keep them. This is to prevent costly repairs in the future. One of the best things you can use as a piping replacement is PEX tubing. It’s flexible, easy to install, and much less expensive than copper piping.

5. Think About Overall Design

Of course, there are a lot of accessories that go into a bathroom remodel. However, there are also design considerations to make when you’re doing a bathroom plumbing remodel in your Pasadena home. For example, the pipes behind the sink and fixtures can either be exposed or hidden in your bathroom.

When it comes to deciding on the layout of your pipes, it’s also crucial you decide whether you’re going to replace the sink or not. Keep in mind, sinks have the potential to be very expensive. And if you want the plumbing to be hidden, your contractor may have to cut, remove, and replace drywall. This will also likely require new pipes, whether you need them or not.

Hiding the pipes will make your bathroom look cleaner and more modern. And if you use a reliable contractor, hiding them shouldn’t be a problem. That said, this will be an added cost to your project that isn’t a necessity.

6. Pick Out a Bathtub or Shower

Bathtubs tend to make bathrooms look luxurious and spa-like. Showers ooze a modern feel and can be very classy. No matter which option you choose, should changing the tub or shower be on your to-do list, you’re going to need to do some research.


If you want to add a bathtub to your bathroom, remember that you’ll have to front the money for the tub itself as well as the bath drain and vents. If you’re not sure about where to place the bathtub, consult your plumbing expert. They will be able to identify the perfect place for your tub and help you determine the costs related to installing it.


If you decide to go with a shower in your bathroom remodel, know that you have two options:

  1. Stand-Alone Shower. Stand-alone showers are a great option for any bathroom. However, if you want to have a curbless one, make sure to add a little more to the timeline and budget of your project. Because they need a sloped shower base, your bathroom’s flooring will need to be removed so the shower can be attached to it. If you don’t hire a good contractor to do this for you, you will end up with water all over your bathroom floor when someone takes a shower.
  2. Shower/Tub Combo. If you want to opt for a shower/tub combination, there are endless options. To start, you can choose between pedestal, rectangular, or oval tubs. You can even go the extra mile and add extra showerheads, a ceiling showerhead, heated flooring, or beautifully designed faucets and handles. You might even want to add a tile backsplash or specialty lighting to make your new shower/tub combo stand out.

7. Consider Updating Plumbing Fixtures

If your budget is on the smaller side, you can still get a great bathroom remodel by focusing on the little things. For instance, you can change out outdated faucets, showerheads, toilets, and lighting fixtures.

In addition, you can go the eco-friendly route and save on both your water usage and bill with fixtures such as:

  • Dual flushing toilet
  • LED lighting
  • Low flow showerheads and faucets

Final Thoughts

Are you in need of an experienced Pasadena, MD plumbing contractor? Then contact us today and see how we can help you with your bathroom plumbing remodel.

At Chesapeake Plumbing, Inc., we employ friendly, experienced, and licensed technicians that are ready to help you with all your residential and commercial plumbing needs.

Whether you’re just looking to spruce up an existing bathroom to make it look fresher and more modern, or want to do an entire bathroom plumbing makeover, we have what you need to get the job done on time and for the right price. We even offer free estimates on all plumbing projects so we can discuss your needs, budget, and overall design goals.

The Best (& Worst) Toilet Paper Alternatives for Your Plumbing

some toilet paper options cause major plumbing problems

Since the emergence of the novel coronavirus, more of us have found ourselves in need of toilet paper than ever before. What was once a product that was taken for granted, toilet paper has become one of the most sought-after commodities. This is still true today, despite the supply leveling out in stores.

 If you’re worried about the next toilet paper shortage, or just want to make sure you’re prepared in case you “gotta go” and have no toilet paper to use, keep reading. Today we’ve listed the best (and worst) toilet paper alternatives for your Pasadena plumbing.

Worst Toilet Paper Alternatives for Your Plumbing

There’s a lot of debate as to whether popular toilet paper alternatives sold in stores are safe for plumbing systems in Pasadena, MD. However, it’s not likely many of them are good for your plumbing. This is especially true when you use them for a long time.

Let’s take a look at common toilet paper alternatives people like to use, but shouldn’t if they want to keep the plumber away.

1. Baby Wipes

Baby wipes are a popular choice among those with sensitive skin. This is because they do not cause any irritation or leave behind any lint. After all, they are used on baby bottoms! Even the wipes that are labeled for adults are similar to the ones used on babies.

That said, the 2019 Defining Flushability for Sewer Use Final Report claims that even wipes that are labeled as “flushable” do not break apart in sewer systems. This is because these products are made of woven cotton or synthetic fibers. In other words, they are considered cloth, not paper, and do not break down in Pasadena plumbing systems like toilet paper.

Lastly, The Guidelines for Assessing the Flushability of Disposable Nonwoven Products does not recommend anyone flush wipes for any reason.

2. Sanitary Pads

Sanitary pads or napkins are very soft and super absorbent, making them seem like the perfect toilet paper alternative. Not to mention, if you use a sanitary pad to take care of business, you likely won’t have to use very many of them.

But when it comes to using these, you should definitely think twice. Because they are so thick and absorbent, they just don’t break down. This can lead to clogs in the toilet and surrounding pipes and end up costing you a lot of money to fix.

3. Napkins and Tissue

Of all the toilet paper alternatives, napkins and tissue are probably the best options. Most napkins and tissues have the same thickness as toilet paper. In other words, they could possibly dissolve once flushed. However, you just never know. In fact, while toilet paper is meant to dissolve in water after being used, tissue is not. It is instead meant to withstand you blowing your nose into it without dissolving right away.

Another reason tissue is not recommended as a toilet paper alternative is that it often has menthol or other minty fragrances in it to help with congestion. This can irritate your skin and cause a lot of irritation. If you’re really in need of something, and all you have on hand is a tissue, try your best to make sure it’s a fragrance-free type.

4. Paper Towels

One step up in terms of roughness is the paper towel. Sure, the word “paper” is in the name, making many think it’s okay to use it as a flushable toilet paper alternative. But the truth is, paper towels just don’t dissolve in water that quickly because of their built-in scrubbing ability. This means flushing paper towels down the toilet could lead to a major clog in the pipes and cause a major toilet backup.

5. Coffee Filters

One unusual suggestion as a viable toilet paper alternative is coffee filters. They seem harmless enough. After all, they are relatively thin and soft. However, the entire reason you use coffee filters is to come into contact with wetness and not dissolve or break down. So, unless you are brewing coffee over your toilet bowl, forget the idea that coffee filters can be used as a toilet paper alternative that can be flushed without worry.

Best Toilet Paper Alternatives for Your Pasadena Plumbing

Toilet paper is always going to be the best thing to use for your plumbing system. It tends to dissolve more quickly than any alternatives and does not cause problems in sewer systems.

While there are not many alternatives to using toilet paper, there are some tips and tricks you can use to test a possible alternative when you’re in a pinch:

  • Place four sheets of the toilet paper alternative in a plastic container with a lid
  • Fill the container a little over halfway with water
  • Shake the container for about 10 seconds and wait for the water to settle

If the toilet paper alternative begins to dissolve, it is safe to flush down your toilet.

Other toilet paper alternatives include:

1. Toilet Seat Covers

Another option to think about are toilet seat covers. Designed to be flushed down the toilet, these thin sheets of paper can serve as a toilet paper alternative in a pinch. That said, it’s important you make sure they are approved for use with septic and traditional tanks and that you don’t try to flush too many at once.

2. Bidet

Though not a flushable product, it’s good to know that a bidet is a handy plumbing fixture that can serve as the perfect alternative to toilet paper whether you’re short on supply or not.

Used primarily around the world for keeping clean after using the restroom, the bidet is still not super popular in the United States yet – though it should be. They spray a targeted stream of water in the exact right spot every time for a fresh and clean feeling. And the best part is, you never have to worry about handling any plumbing issues when you use one.

Final Thoughts

Are you in need of an emergency toilet fix in your Pasadena home? Then contact us today and see how we can help unclog your plumbing after using a toilet paper alternative that isn’t recommended.

At Chesapeake Plumbing, Inc., we have a team of licensed plumbers that care about our customers and are on hand to help you with all your plumbing needs. In fact, we offer free estimates for every plumbing project, from emergencies to bathroom renovations and everything in between.

So, if you’re looking for the most qualified and experienced plumber in Pasadena, MD, look no further and rest easy that whatever you need handled will be taken care of in a timely, affordable, and friendly way.