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Kost's Korner

Home Improvements To Tackle This Summer

ocala house sidingSummer is the perfect time for grilling out, taking a dip in a cool refreshing swimming pool, and (of course) home improvement projects. If you’re wondering where to start on that last issue, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Pressure Washing: In all of its glorious splendor of the sunshine and refreshing dips in the pool, Summer also brings with it the downside of moisture, mildew and a stark reminder that it’s time to pressure wash. A good pressure washing at the beginning of summer eliminates months of buildup, residue, dirt, and grime that find their way into the exterior walls, ground surfaces, roof, and paint. Professional pressure washing addresses these issues at their source - preventing lots of potential future issues.
  • Siding Replacement: Even with regular pressure washing, sealing, and maintenance, your home’s siding can break down and needs replacement. Weather, wear and tear, and just general use understandably take their toll on your home’s siding, and there’s no better time than Summer to take a good look at your siding and determine what needs to be replaced.
  • Drain your Water Heater: Regularly draining your water heater not only prolongs the life of your tank but also increases the ability of your water heater to heat up water to the right level. Draining your water heater gets rid of built-up sediment and decreases the amount of heat transfer needed to reach the heat exchanger.
  • Prepare for Winter: Preparing your plumbing, walls, roof and any other home improvement project for winter is best done in Summer. Regardless of where you live, the damage caused by winter freezes wreak havoc not only on your plumbing, wiring or structures but also on your bank account - in the form of repair costs that you could have prevented by performing Summer maintenance.

Break ground on your home improvement projects this summer and enjoy your peace of mind for the rest of the year! 

When Drano just doesn’t work on that clogged drain

plumber snake ocala floridaLiquid-Plumr and Drano contain caustic ingredients that eat away at your pipes and irritate your lungs. They’re also terrible for the environment. The chemical smell drifting from your drain is a dead giveaway that tells your plumber you’ve been using these products. So, what’s the solution when Drano just doesn’t do the trick for clearing your clogged drain?

The most effective and long term solution for unclogging drains and pipes is snaking. This physically breaks up the clog and gets the water to properly flow through. A plumber's snake is a slender, flexible auger used to dislodge clogs in plumbing. The plumber's snake is often reserved for difficult clogs that cannot be loosened with a plunger. It is also sometimes called a toilet jack.

The most powerful form of snaking is performed by a drum auger. A drum auger is a motorized auger with modular blades designed for various gauges of pipe. A drum auger is powerful enough to cut through tree roots. Used unskillfully, they can also damage plastic pipework and even copper tubing. Plumbing snakes with the capacity of a drum auger should always be left in the hands of a professional plumber.

Please contact Kost Plumbing today for all your plumbing needs!

How to tell if that foundation crack is a minor or major deal

foundation crack concreteAny leak is a bad leak when it comes to plumbing, so when in doubt, it’s safe to assume that if you find a foundation crack, there may be a slab leak behind it. While the best route is  always to assume a crack should be addressedorder to prevent a bigger problem, here are some tell-tale signs that your foundation crack is the sign of a slab leak:

  • Hissing, splashing noises with no open taps:  If you hear water is running somewhere, check your house thoroughly inside and out to see if someone left a tap dripping. If all taps are tightly closed, and youre still hear the sound, try to find the exact location of the sound and call a plumber to come to perform a slab leak video inspection.
  • Your floor is warm without a floor heater: this could indicate that a warm water line is leaking beneath your slab - which can mean there is a much bigger problem. A warm spot on the floor usually means that water has started to gather. This water causes moisture, mildew and dangerous mold to form beneath your carpets.
  • If you notice cracks in your tile floors or bubbles in your linoleum floors: these may indicate a leaking pipe.
  • Ruptures in the walls: a slab leak can trigger the entire wall to move. If the wall moves, your entire house is affected, including walls and floors nowhere near the leak.
  • Swimming pool consistently losing water - there may be a leak.
  • If your water pressure suddenly drops to low, could be an indicator of a slab leak. It is common for slab leaks to occur where the water enters your home from the outside. Even a tiny leak in your water line can significantly lower your water pressure.
  • Sudden increase in water bill  - Small holes from slab leaks are capable of leaking more than 10,000 gallons of water in just one month, causing your water bill to rise significantly. .Check to be sure that all of your taps (as well as your washing machine and toilet) are tightly shut off and take a look at your water meter. If the dial is still moving, you most likely have a leak.

Easy Kitchen remodeling hacks without breaking the bank

kitchen remodelKitchen renovations are high on the list of most expensive home-improvement projects, but it is entirely possible to give your tired kitchen new life without breaking the bank. At the most basic, new paint and cabinet hardware freshen the look; while at the high end, upgraded cabinets and appliances within the original framework save the expense and hassle of moving plumbing and electrical lines. So, if changing trends or normal wear and tear means it’s time for a “kitchen -lift," here are a few simple and affordable upgrade ideas from thisoldhouse.com:


Sturdy wood cabinets are often worth saving. To change the look:

  • Change hardware: Replacing knobs, pulls, and hinges cost as little as a few dollars per door. Make sure the new hardware matches the existing hole locations.
  • Paint: A coat of paint can brighten up old cabinets and cheer up the whole room. (Metal cabinets can be sent out to an autobody shop for a durable refinishing.) The cost of a professional paint job: about $35 to $85 per linear foot.
  • Reface: Refacing can make cabinets look brand new. First, doors and drawer fronts are removed, and all exterior surfaces are covered with a veneer of prefinished wood in whatever species and finish you prefer. Then new doors and drawer fronts are made to match. Make sure to hire a reputable company, and only after you've seen examples of its work. Cost: approximately $125 to $325 per linear foot, depending on the type of veneer and the method of installation.
  • Change doors: It's possible to replace just the panels on cabinet doors. Decorative filler panel options include glass (clear, etched, tinted, patterned, stained) and metal (stainless steel or punched or patterned tin). Simply use a router to cut away the existing panel and rout a lip on the back of the door to hold the new panel. Replacement panels typically cost from $100 to $250 per door. Other options include removing the doors altogether (free!) for an open-shelf look or replacing them with new doors ($100 to $400 per door).
  • Add moldings: Wood moldings and trim add character to plain cabinet fronts. If your old cabinets don't go to the ceiling, adding a crown molding or soffit around the top will make a room look more elegant. Cost: about $15 per linear foot, unfinished.
  • Upgrade interiors: Slide-out shelves, tilt-trays, lazy Susans, drawer dividers, and full-extension drawer glides can be retrofitted to your old boxes. Cost: $1,000 to $3,000 for a full kitchen.


For good appliances in need of rejuvenation, choices include:

  • Reface: Some refrigerators and dishwashers are designed with frames to hold face panels — typically a stainless steel sheet or a wood panel. Replacement panels cost from $100 to $800, depending on the size of the appliance and the material. Even if the appliance doesn't have a frame, panel kits (including frames, panels, and handles) can be custom-ordered for just about any make and model of appliance, in a variety of materials (www.frigodesign.com). Cost: $175 to $1,000 per appliance. Replacements for worn-out stove knobs, burner plates, and glass cooktops can also be ordered from the manufacturer.
  • Paint: If you have a high-end appliance or an antique that's lost its luster, metal surfaces can be painted by an appliance refinisher or an autobody shop for about $100 (for an oven door or dishwasher panel) to $300 (for a whole fridge). Porcelain stoves can be porcelainized by an appliance or bathtub refinisher for about $100 for a single oven door and roughly $1,200 for an entire range.                   


To givean an old floor new life, you can:

  • Resurface: Refinish an existing wood floor and stain it a different color or add stenciled borders ($550 to $700 for refinishing a 200-square-foot kitchen; a simple border might cost an additional $200 to $1,000). Stone flooring can be professionally polished to bring back its original luster.
  • Cover: If the floor is sound and flat, you may be able to cover linoleum or wood with a coat of flooring primer and paint, or a layer of stick-down vinyl tiles or sheet flooring. Cost: about $200 for paint, $500 for vinyl.


Nothing changes the look of a kitchen quicker than sprucing up countertops. Here's how:

  • Resurface: Stripping an old laminate countertop off the plywood deck is fairly simple; installing new laminate costs about $30 to $40 per linear foot. Ceramic tiles can also be installed over existing plywood. And if your solid surface or stone countertop is showing its age, the surface can be professionally polished to remove the marks.
  • Add moldings: To dress up a laminate countertop, add molding around the front edge for about $5 per linear foot.
  • Replace just a section: If you don't want to rip out the whole countertop, consider recessing a different material, such as a chopping block, into part of an existing counter.
  • Add a backsplash: If you're not replacing countertops, you can change the backsplash. Good choices: laminates, ceramic or glass tile, beadboard, even metal ceiling squares.

Is Ocala's water safe to drink?

ocala drinking waterYou turn on your faucet and crystal clear water flows freely from it’s home (groundwater from the Floridan Aquifer) to its final destination: your shower, sink or drinking glass. But, before it makes it that far, it goes through a rigorous and well-regulated, multi-step process to assure that the water you’re drinking is truly as clean and pure as it appears.

Jeff Halcomb has been the director of the Water and Sewer Department for the City of Ocala since 2008. He explains that our drinking water in Marion County is all groundwater from the Floridan Aquifer. The City of Ocala has five primary wells that go down approximately 250 feet into the upper aquifer, with only two or three used in any one day. When the water, known as “raw water,” is pumped, it goes to the lime softening plant. Jeff explains that lime kills any bacteria found in the raw water. It also coats the pipes the water runs through, which helps deter corrosion that can happen over time, and helps soften the water.

“The raw water has about a 320 to 340 parts per million (ppm) ion concentration. Lime reduces that to about 120 ppm,” explains Jeff. “You’ll know your water is ‘hard’ if your soap just doesn’t seem to get soapy,” he says, noting that those on private wells without water softening systems experience “hard water.”

Once the water is softened, it goes through a filtering system to remove any floating particles, then makes its way to storage tanks where it is treated with chlorine, which acts as a disinfectant. The final step, which is one that some people may find controversial, is a fluoride treatment.

“You can read online forever about the pros and cons of fluoride treatments,” says Jeff. “But fluoride is found to be one of the top 10 accomplishments of mankind according to the CDC,” he says. He notes that in some parts of the world, the water is full of fluoride, which isn’t healthy, but in Florida, that isn’t an issue. Fluoride is used in items such as toothpaste and mouthwashes to help prevent tooth decay. The fluoridation of water is the controlled addition of fluoride to public water and can also reduce tooth decay.

“We work hard to make the water as safe for our citizens as we can,” he says. “The City of Ocala keeps its water at a fluoride level of 0.7 milligrams per liter, which is the ‘optimum level’ according to the CDC.”

Citizens can always access the water reports for any county, online. The Marion County water report can be read here.


What Others Say About Kost Plumbing

Thank you so much for all the help and support you provided when we had that leak! I couldn't have asked for a better job or price and the fact that you got it fixed so quickly that we were able to keep up our busy schedules without hardly missing a beat was AWESOME!!! Thanks again.

John D., Citra, FL

Thomas has done numerous jobs for me, and his work is always exceptional. He is very dependable and is willing to go out of his way to make sure the job is done right. In my opinion you could not hire a more professional or honest person.

Barbara A., Ocala, FL

We had Kost Plumbing come out on weeknight when we had no water and he fixed the problem THAT NIGHT! We were amazed at his great work ethic and honest prices that he will be our Plumber for Life!!

Susan J., Ocala, FL

I do now know where to start, your prices and plumbing expertise are exceptional. I also appreciate your deck building and carpenter skills, not to mention that outstanding kitchen remodel. With your card I do not need anybody's "List" or any "Referral Program". Keep up the good work!

Chuck F., Reddick, FL

Kost's Korner

Home Improvements To Tackle This Summer

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Summer is the perfect time for grilling out, taking a dip in a cool refreshing swimming pool, and (of course) home improvement projects. If you’re wondering where to start on that last issue, here are a few ideas to get you started:


When Drano just doesn’t work on that clogged drain

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Liquid-Plumr and Drano contain caustic ingredients that eat away at your pipes and irritate your lungs. They’re also terrible for the environment. The chemical smell drifting from your drain is a dead giveaway that tells your plumber you’ve been using these products. So, what’s the solution when Drano just doesn’t do the trick for clearing your clogged drain?