Reasons for the City of San Diego and its Residents to Shake Up Their Plumbing Systems

At the beginning of July, California experienced two back-to-back high-intensity earthquakes. The magnitude 6.4 and 7.1 quakes caused over $100 million in damage, leaving homes destroyed, families in financial troubles, and California residents in fear of a larger, more destructive one on the horizon. Even San Diegans, living over 200 miles from the July quakes’ epicenters felt the effects of those earthquakes and the larger of the countless aftershocks. Even more shocking is that these quakes were not even close to the San Andreas Fault that stretches from Cape Mendocino to the Mexican border, past San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

Although San Diego escaped the brunt of the damage, we are still not out of the water yet – and we mean that literally. At Carini, we perform leading plumbing and air conditioner replacements in San Diego County, and our main concern is with the pipes. Above-ground destruction aside, city, commercial, and residential pipes are always at risk of damage and staggering costs for repairs and replacements. During an earthquake, shifting earth can crack and break underground pipes, potentially stripping cities and towns of drinking water. Los Angeles and San Francisco took heed about 50 years ago, taking on strict building, bridge, and water system regulations in preparation for potential structural and plumbing issues after an earthquake. Additionally, in 2015, Los Angeles replaced all its plumbing with Japanese-manufactured seismic-safe pipes.

Unfortunately, San Diego was not required to adhere to those high standards due to a perceived lower risk of quakes and resulting damage. Although this assessment is admittedly correct, we still felt those high-magnitude quakes and some of the aftershocks this month, making more than a few people regret the lax regulations of the 70s and 80s. To make things more alarming, there are smaller (relatively active) faults like the Rose Canyon Fault around San Diego, and the San Andreas Fault stretches to the Salton Sea, directly below San Bernandino and only half the distance between the City of San Diego and the most recent earthquakes.

So, what happens now? How can we prevent critical plumbing damage if the quakes start hitting closer to home?

At the moment, San Diego is not nearly as prepared as the two largest cities to our north. If we were hit with a “big one” tomorrow, the structural damage to ill-equipped, unreinforced buildings alone would be overwhelming. However, following Los Angeles’s lead and retrofitting city pipes with the seismic variety would cause our residents to pay out a fair amount in their water bills.

No one knows what is going to happen, but steps need to be made soon in our city because the risk of earthquake damage is ever-looming, and our homes are at risk. Just because the city isn’t doing anything, doesn’t mean that homeowners in San Diego County can’t take their own precautions and have their pipes retrofitted by plumbing professionals.

Here are a few reasons why repiping your home could be beneficial for you and your family:

At Carini, we provide the top plumbing and air conditioning repairs in El Cajon and all of San Diego County. To learn more about our plumbing services or to schedule a home consultation, give us a call now.

What Should You Plant to Protect Your Plumbing and Sewer Pipes in San Diego

San Diego homeowners don’t have to worry about freezing temperatures that can cause damage to underground drain and sewer pipes.  But local natural disasters like earthquakes, wildfire damage and flooding can move pipes around in the earth, causing pipe movement and breakage.  Pipes are often joined together with a variety of different fittings and connectors. When fittings break or slowly lose connection to each other, tree and plant roots have a remarkable tendency to squeeze into even the tiniest gaps, causing extensive (and expensive) damage and blockages that often require total pipe or partial repipe procedures.

Carini recently performed a repipe at a vintage home in this Mission Hills neighborhood. (Click here to see the whole story:

The Carini drain and sewer technicians removed a large covering of ivy from over the damaged sewer pipe where there was a major intrusion of ivy roots in multiple sections of the galvanized piping. After removing the old cast iron sewer pipe and replacing it with new ABS pipe, we advised the homeowner NOT to allow the ivy to grow back over the new pipe, because the ivy roots are highly intrusive and difficult to keep under control.  We researched various ground cover alternative to the ivy, and found some to recommend that have very shallow roots and would be much less likely to damage the pipes in the future.

Examples of Groundcovers with Shallow Roots

While plants like ivy, bamboo and trees can have aggressive root systems and are not recommended around sewer pipes, certain kinds of wildflowers, succulents like ice plant, and ornamental grasses are good alternatives in these areas. Some of these plants are actually beneficial because they help stabilize the soil and make it less likely for underground pipe movement. And since ice plant roots are shallow, they actually act as kind of a living mulch, effectively cooling the roots of surrounding plants while not competing for their water supply and nutrient diet. 

San Diego County is in the USDA Hardiness zones 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a and 10b. Use this information when you visit your local nursery, making sure to mention what kind of soil and whether or not the pipes are on a hill or flat ground. Some trees you definitely DON’T want to plant near sewer pipes include:  maples, ash, sycamore, various kinds of oak, willows, basswood,  figs, large eucalyptus and beeches.

For more information about sewer pipe repair or replacement in San Diego, contact Carini Heating, Air and Plumbing, at 619-843-0997; or visit

Ice plant is a good option for planting near underground pipes in San Diego
Bamboo has deep and aggressive root systems that should not be planted near pipes
Imagine what ivy roots will do to your plumbing! Don’t plant ivy near underground pipes

Sewer Lateral Repipe Repair in San Diego’s Mission Hills

A Mission Hills homeowner called us to perform a video sewer line inspection, and provide a detailed estimate on a drain and sewer issue that had been causing problems for a number of years. Different plumbers had worked on this 96 year old main house drain and sewer over the years, patching the old galvanized cast iron pipes with plastic ABS. The sewer line runs under the house and then down a steep hill, before emptying into the City of San Diego lateral that runs through the canyon in back of the many adjacent homes.  After performing a video camera pipe inspection, it was determined that there were roots growing into the sewer in multiple spots, and we were hired to remove the old pipes, replacing them with all new ABS material, performing what is referred to as a Repipe.

While examining the pipes with our video camera, we also uncovered an area at the bottom of the hill where the house’s sewer lateral empties into the city main sewer line. Previous plumbers had used concrete to cover the area over a space between the bottom of the house’s sewer line, to where it connects to the City main. After digging a deep hole to inspect and locate the connection of the home’s sewer lateral, we removed the concrete and securely attached the new ABS into the City lines.

Carini plumbing techs doing video sewer inspection

Video of roots growing into san diego sewer












Roots that grew into sewer pipe










Old Mission Hills sewer pipes going down hill into canyon

Removed galvanized pipe from Mission Hills sewer

Performing sewer pipe repair calculations












Carini Installs New Sewer in Mission Hills, San Diego vintage home

After the sewer repipe in Mission Hills, San Diego, the ABS is repaired and covered.

ABS versus PVC – What’s the best choice for San Diego plumbing repairs?

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) and Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) pipes are both plastic, but other differences can determine which to use for the average San Diego homeowner. 

Plastic pipes are used in all kinds of plumbing applications. They are inexpensive, lightweight and will almost never corrode under normal conditions. They maintain temperatures of water, keeping hot water hot. And they prevent condensation build-up from cold water, unlike what happens with many kinds of metal pipe. But there are differences between the two main kinds of leading types of plastic pipes — ABS and PVC.  

When Would You See ABS and PVC in the Same Plumbing System?

A prime example of when you might need to connect ABS to PVS is when ABS is used for the drain inside of a home or business, connecting to a PVC drain system outside the building  Or it might be reversed, with the PVC drain inside and the ABS outside. 

Both PVC and ABS pipes have characteristics that safeguard them from most kinds of acids, alkalis and salt-based materials. Both of these plastics, however, are not impenetrable to aromatic and chlorinated hydrocarbons. Either of these kinds of piping can be specified above or below ground, but ABS is more susceptible to deformation damage when exposed to the sun. Since this can occur, some local regulators require ABS pipes to include pigments to guard it from UV radiation, or to be coated with latex paint.

ABS piping can be easier for installation than PVC pipes, since PVC pipes require a purple primer where each joint is glued together.  The joints must then be joined together for 5 to 10 seconds before the glue can do its work. 

ABS and PVC Use in Construction and Other Applications Beyond Plumbing

The often larger diameter ABS is used most commonly in drain/waste and venting systems; and sewers. ABS is also employed for electrical insulation. PVC is similarly used for drain/waste and venting systems; and for other electrical applications such as insulation on electrical lines.

Legos are made of ABS

Legos are made of ABS plastic

Outside of plumbing and electrical applications, ABS is also found in toys, sporting goods and musical instruments. The popular Legos building blocks are also made of ABS, as are automotive bumpers, heads on golf clubs, and a variety of other applications.

PVC is also found in non-plumbing products, including toys and clothes –  in particular for leather-like or waterproofing capabilities; automotive interiors, flooring, and many other consumer oriented plastic applications.

Which one is Stronger, ABS or PVC?

At lower temperatures, ABS is rated higher for impact strength than PVC. But ABS can deform under sun exposure, which is why it is more commonly found in underground applications.

PVC is less durable, since it was created to be more flexible and softer than most other plastics. but ABS is stronger and more shock resistant. PVC is considered more effective at muffling the sound of running water, a potentially important consideration if pipes are going to be in walls close to sleeping areas.

How to Connect a PVC Pipe to ABS Pipe

When presented with joining PVC to ABS piping, don’t make the assumption that you can simply glue them together. The proper way to connect PVC to ABS plastic pipes is by using special transition fittings, properly specified for the size of the pipes. These fittings ensure a solid joint and are in line with standard plumbing codes.

The right and wrong kinds of ABS to PVC connectors







What about ABS to PVC Cement?

There are different types of specialty glues and cements for pipe connections. Experienced plumbing techs know that ABS to PVC specialty cement is only made for connecting an ABS system to a PVC system. 


$79 San Diego Eco-Friendly Drain Cleaning

Carini Heating, Air and Plumbing is excited to offer our best $79 drain cleaning deal throughout San Diego! We use only eco-friendly drain cleaning methods – and don’t flush harmful chemicals into the environment to clear a clog. Services include drain cleaning for tubs, showers, sinks, and toilets. Free drain video camera inspection if required. Call today, 619-843-0997 or make an appointment online for drain cleaning services in San Diego County.

drain cleaning service

$79 drain cleaning special using eco-friendly techniques!

Whole House Water Filtration in San Diego – Carini Plumbing Services

Top 8 Plumbing Repairs in San Diego

“We’ve found that the most common reasons customers call us, fall into one of eight main categories,” according to Carini President and Founder Gabriel Carini. “A lot of homeowners can identify their plumbing issue, but not always the underlying cause of the problem. For example, uneven water pressure can be the main cause of all kinds of plumbing problems, including leaky faucets and problems keeping pressure in one room when plumbing appliances are being used simultaneously in another.”

Top 8 plumbing repairs in San Diego

1. Water Pressure Problems

Water pressure regulators can sometimes solve mysterious plumbing problems

One of the most severe and possibly expensive underlying causes for low water pressure is when old plumbing pipes  become too corroded over the years.  The scale and build-up in the pipes inhibits the free flow of water. Home water pressure regulators turn down the water pressure that comes into houses from the public water main. The water pressure is adjusted to a pressure that is usable by the homeowner and in line with normal household plumbing,  fixtures and appliances. It also aids in preventing pressure surges from coming into household plumbing from the public water main. Hard San Diego water is a recurring theme for plumbing problems, whether for water pressure problems or stoppages in pipes and water heaters.

2. Water Heaters and Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters provide hot water on demand, heating cold water directly without using a storage tank. When someone turns on the hot water at a sink or shower, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. The water is heated by either an electric or gas burner. Tankless water heaters deliver a continuous supply of hot water. Unlike tank type water heaters, there is no need to wait for a storage tank to fill with enough hot water. Top tankless water heater brands include Noritz, Navien, Rheem and Rinnai

Water heater repairs include

  • Build up of Minerals

tankless water san diego

Faucet with hard water damage

The hard water in San Diego homes is one of the main culprits behind tank and tankless water heater repairs. The calcium and magnesium in hard water, inside a tankless water heater can cause a ton damage if not dealt with. Experts say to perform a water flush once a year to provide protection against damage.


3. Quality of Water (Whole Home Water Filtration Systems)

Whole house filtration systems connect directly to the main water line coming into your home. That ensures that all  the water dispensers in your home – kitchen and bath faucets, toilets, showers, and washing machines – provided treated water that is purified of a variety of potentially harmful chemicals and minerals. The whole house water filter connects to the main water line prior to splitting into the hot water heater

4. Drains and Sewers (Including Sewer Camera Inspections)

A stopped-up drain can be the result of a simple problem, or the first indication of a more serious issue with sewer pipes.  A sewer camera video inspection may not the the first course of action taken by your plumber, but it could the the way to save you time and money by showing the underlying causes of the problems up close and personal

What is a sewer camera video inspection? It’s a process where your plumbing company  runs a video line through your sewer pipes. The video can view all the way down your branch lines or down the house’s sewer line. A camera is at the end of the line that lets you see the line in real time.

5. Gas Line Repair

Gas fire pit or gas fireplaces may require gas line repairs in San Diego homes









The indicators that you might have a gas leak and require gas line repairs or replacement are pretty standard, no matter if you live in San Diego or Miami. Following are the most common gas line repair and installation applications:

Gas Leak Repair for Outdoor Appliances and Fixtures:

  1. Gas BBQ grills, fire pits and fireplaces, courtyard patio heaters
  2. Pool or Spa Equipment
  3. Gas Line relocation for Tankless or tank-type water heaters

Gas Line Repair for Indoor Appliances and Fixtures:

1. Boilers, Furnaces, Space Heater, clothes dryers, kitchen remodels

2. Main Gas Line from your home to the street

6. Shower, Tub and Sink Faucet Repair

San Diego Plumber

Shower, tub and faucet repairs common due to hard water in San Diego


San Diego’s hard water affects faucets throughout the home, similar to how it affects hot water heaters. It’s not uncommon to see the familiar white calcium or limescale build-up on faucets. One popular solution for hard water is to combine a whole home water filtration system with an anti-scale system.

7. Toilet Repair and Replacement

Toilets come in different shapes and sizes for San Diego residential application

Depending on age, wear and quality of installation, toilets can be repaired or sometimes require replacement. Low-flow or low flush toilets use a lot less water than full-flush toilets, saving consumers on water bills and energy usage. Low-flow toilets typically use 1.3  gallons or less per flush, compared to 1.6 gallons per flush or more.

8. Re-Piping

Finally, re-piping is a plumbing application that is fairly common but one that we all hope to avoid. Pipe technologies have evolved dramatically over the years, and many older homes still have original plumbing that will need to be replaced at some point in the future.



How to Select the Right Size Tankless Water Heater for San Diego

Average water temperatures coming into San Diego homes









How to Select the Right Size Tankless Water Heater

There’s no question that tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand water heaters, are gaining in popularity with smart homeowners. A tankless water heater only heats water that is needed and does so very rapidly.

So how do you choose the right size tankless water heater for your San Diego home?

Step One

First, start by estimating the flow rate and temperature rise you’ll need for the application – a whole home vs. just a bathroom for example.

Determine the maximum number of appliances and fixtures you want to run and their total flow rate.

Then, using gallons per minute, add up their flow rates (gallons per minute). This is the desired flow rate you’ll want for the demand water heater.

Tankless Water Heater Flow Rates

How much hot water do you require at any one time? It’s probably unlikely that you will be running two showers at the same time. Maybe a shower and a couple sinks simultaneously would be more realistic. The chart below shows the range of water usage and average water temperatures for various fixtures. We suggest using 2.5 gpm for a shower and 1.0 gpm for a bathroom as a reference point in determining your total simultaneous water needs.

Tub 4.0 GPM 102°F
Shower 2.5 – 3.0 GPM 104°F
Washing Machine 2.0 GPM 120°F
Dishwasher 1.5 GPM 110°F
Kitchen Sink 1.5 GPM 110°F

Here are some other scenarios, where you might have guests using showers simultaneously or a vacation rental where people don’t care how much water they use. For example, if you are running 2 showers at the same time, you will need 5 gallons of hot water per minute from the tankless water heater. If you were running a shower and the washing machine at the same time, you would need 4.5 gallons per minute from the water heater. In either of these situations, you will want to size the unit that meets or exceeds how much hot water you need at the same time.

Step Two

Calculate required temperature rise. To quantify temperature rise, subtract the incoming water temperature from the desired temperature you want from the fixtures. Let’s say your average incoming water temperature is 50°F. Even though your incoming water temperature could be higher, some experts recommend using a lower temperature assumption, thereby ensuring you will not undersize your tankless unit.

For the majority of users, you’ll want your water heated to around 105–115°. On the low end of this example, you’ll need a tankless water heater that produces a temperature rise of 55°.

Here’s another scenario: Average shower temperatures will be between 104–106° and uses 2.6 gpm’s of water. If you assume your water temperature is 50° coming into your home, and you want to ensure enough hot water to run two showers at the same time, what temperature rise would be required?

Here’s the answer: The water temperature coming into your house has to be raised from 40 to 105 degrees. You’ll want to heat at least 5.2 gallons of water per minute.  With this information, spec out a tankless water heater that can produce at least a 60 degree rise in temperature at 5.2 gallons per minute.





Top Installation and Repair Examples for Tankless Water Heaters in San Diego

Image of tankless water heater used in San Diego

Tankless Water Heater Installation in San Diego

Tankless water heaters from companies like Noritz, Navien, Rheem and Rinnai dominate the market for gas and electric tankless water heater installation for residential and commercial spaces throughout San Diego County, according to Gabriel Carini, President of Carini Heating, Air and Plumbing. These leading brands account for much of the tankless water heater repair industry throughout the country. Each target different segments of the market based on pricing and technical features. Many models from these leading vendors qualify for PACE funding based on their energy efficient qualities and specifications. Companies offering PACE funding to homeowners in California include Ygrene and the HERO Program. Carini Heating, Air and Plumbing is an approved plumbing contractor for both of these funding programs.

Top electric tankless water heater installation applications

“Tankless heaters are sometimes referred to as demand type water heaters,” said Carini. “Since they provide hot water only as it is needed, home and business owners can realize large savings in their utility bills compared to conventional ‘tank’ type water heaters.”

There are a variety of scenarios where tankless water heaters help homeowners save money. Depending on the size of the home, it’s possible that multiple units might be required to handle different appliances – like washers and dryers; or if you are needing hot water at the same time in different parts of the house.

Carini explains that some of the typical residential and commercial applications for tankless water heaters include single family whole house water heating, multi-family residential, point-of-use water heating, retail, restaurants, beauty salons and offices.

Top 5 tankless water heater repairs

Some of the most common repairs on tankless water heaters include:

  • Build up of Minerals

tankless water san diego

Faucet with hard water damage

San Diego has hard water – similar to 85% of U.S homes. The two main components that cause hard water are calcium and magnesium, and their presence inside a tankless water heater can cause lots of damage if not properly addressed. A once-per-year water flush is recommended to protect against damage.


  • Too many users – an overloaded system

There are things you can do – reduce water usage, reset the unit periodically, or consider upgrading to a larger capacity unit. And don’t forget about adding recirculating pumps

  • Error messages about air supply or exhaust blockage

Your tankless hot water heater could be experiencing problems related to combustion air or improper venting

  • No Ignition Message

For some reason, the hot water heater is attempting to ignite, but it’s not happening. This kind of problem is often related to a gas supply or venting issue.

  • Error message about flame failure

This could be a problem with gas pressure; your gas line could be too small; the regulator could be failing; or it could be caused by combustion problems or venting.

Interesting info on tankless water heater brands in San Diego

Rheem Tankless, tank and hybrid (heat pump) Water Heaters

Carini Hybrid Water Heater San Diego from Rheem

Rheem has a broad line of both gas and electric tankless water heaters. Gas models are recommended for endless hot water in homes with luxury bathrooms and vacation homes.

For on demand hot water for a single faucet or shower, Rheem provides its line of electric tankless products. Programmable timers and wireless controls are available.

Click here for how to read your Rheem water heater warranty label and find the age of your Rheem tank, tankless or heat pump / hybrid water heater.

Navien Tankless Water Heaters

tankless heaters

How Navien Tankless Water Heaters work

Click here for a useful article that describes the way to tell the age of a Navien tankless unit.


Noritz Tankless Water Heaters

Click here for the simple way to learn the age of your Noritz tankless system.

For more information about electric tankless water heater repair and installation in San Diego, please contact Carini Heating, Air and Plumbing at 619-843-0997;

Are Tankless Water Heaters the Spotify of the Appliance Industry? We Examine Five Main Similarities and Benefits

Spotify and Noritz tankless water heatersClick here to learn more tankless water heaters.

Spotify announced last month that it will begin offering political coverage and news to expand on its already dominant market share in the music streaming market.

Similarly, the market for tankless water heaters is expected to experience more growth in North America than all other global markets in the next six years.

As big fans of both of these products, we at Carini got to asking: just how similar are these two industry innovators?

1) Limitless Hot Water

Tank-based water heaters offer a finite amount of hot water. Just like Spotify’s endless streaming, tankless water heaters provide limitless hot water by heating only the water that flows through them from pipes they’re connected to. Say goodbye to cold showers because another family member used all the hot water!

2) Tankless Water Heater Installation Increases Efficiency and Reduces Costs

In a traditional tank-based water heater, the tank heats water all the time. With a tankless unit, the water is only heated when you need it, which means you save money and energy. We love being as efficient and cost effective with our water usage as we are in our music streaming and discovery!

3) Twice the Life Expectancy of Storage Water Heaters

Most tankless units last about 20 years, which is double the life expectancy for tank-based units. Tankless water heaters are already the norm in Europe and Japan – only time will tell if they make traditional heaters obsolete in the US like Spotify has done to CD sales.

4) Tankless Design Saves You Space

Traditional water heaters’ large storage tanks make them inconvenient and cumbersome to place in your home. Because tankless units don’t have tanks, they’re much smaller. They’ll save you space just like Spotify’s cloud saves you space on your hard drive!

5) Recirculation Pumps Give Instant Hot Water

We love how Spotify Discover adapts to our music taste. With new technologies like smart recirculation systems, now our water heaters can learn our preferences, too!

These systems learn your peak water usage times and begin heating the water just before you need to use it. This way, there’s no wait time for hot water.

The top manufacturers of tankless water heaters include Navien, Noritz, Rinnai, and Rheem.

drain cleaning service San Diego

Don’t Do It Yourself, San Diego! 5 Mess-Ups That Show Why You Need a Drain Cleaning Service

Many residents of America’s finest city think they can save money on drain cleaning by renting a snake or using drain cleaner instead of consulting a San Diego drain cleaning service. However, using an experienced drain cleaning company means you’ll get vital expertise to evaluate many factors and make sure your repair is properly executed.

The age, material, and length of your pipes, as well as clog type and possibility of sewer inspection camera, are all intricately interrelated and therefore best interpreted by an expert. So-called quick fix solutions like Drano and other drain cleaners are less effective and acidic and harmful to the environment.

Avoid These Scenarios By Calling a San Diego Drain Cleaning Company!

1) Sewer Snake in the Pipes

Our plumbing team helped a client who had rented a sewer snake from home depot to unclog their drain. Due to improper use, 100 feet of cable became stuck underneath asphalt. Two days of downtime were necessary to dig up the ground, remove the cable and put the pipes back together. 

2) Blown Pipe from Botched Clogged Drain Remedy

Another Carini client rented a jetting machine and used it on extremely old pipes in an attempt to remedy a persistent clog. “The client blew up a sewer line underneath concrete,”  “They didn’t know for two months that it was broken until water began seeping up from it.” Total repair cost: $8000

3) Wrong Sewer Snake

Choosing the wrong snake for a job can also lead to costly repairs. “I helped a gentlemen who had used too powerful of a snake and destroyed the drain fittings under his home,” said Ron. “We had to replace numerous damaged fittings and it was a real headache for everyone.” Total repair cost: $2000

4) Clogged Toilet Catastrophe!

Even using the right size snake can be an issue if it’s not right for particular fixture. “I can still remember the disappointment on this homeowner’s face when she saw that her husband had turned the inside of their toilet black by pushing a sewer snake down it. The porcelain was severely damaged and they had to purchase a new toilet.” Total replacement cost: $700

5) Possible Danger

“An electric drain snake can also be super dangerous if it catches your arm, hand or clothing,” he said. “The last thing I would want is a customer to hurt themselves doing something that would be quick and affordable to contact a drain cleaning company for.”