January 2016

The Plumber, With The Lead Pipe, In The Basement: How Plumbing Services Can Remove Deadly Lead Pipes From Your Home

Some really old homes still have lead pipes in them. While lead pipes are still allowed for wastewater usage in some states, they are not allowed for incoming water. The lead from these pipes can leach into your drinking, washing and bathing water, and after a time, accumulates in your body and poisons you. If you find that your home still has lead pipes, regardless of where and what type they are (incoming, outgoing), and you want them replaced or removed, here is how plumbers ply their plumbing services to get you safer water.

Suiting Up and Isolating the Area

The first thing your chosen plumber will do is suit up in protective gear to keep him- or herself free of potential lead contamination. Then the areas in your basement will be sectioned off. The plumber may use plastic tarps underfoot and around the areas on which the work will be done. This limits the amount of lead-contaminated water that may leak out, as well as any metal shavings in the event that the plumber has to cut through the pipes to remove them. Either a saw or a blowtorch will be used if any cutting needs to be done.

Turning the Water off and Unscrewing the Pipes

Next, the plumber will turn off the main water supply lines. He or she may even “bleed” the pipes to make sure all the water that recently passed through the lead pipes is not headed into your home’s plumbing. Then he or she will unscrew and detach all of the lead pipes you want and need removed, cutting free any stubborn pipes that refuse to be unscrewed. If there are some pipes submerged under your basement’s concrete floor, these may have to stay put unless you are willing to have a concrete contractor come in and rip up your basement floor, too. Then all of your home’s drains will be attached and connected to replacement pipes — typically those made of PVC (plastic), copper or another metal alloy. 

Bagging up and Removing the Lead Pipes

Lead pipes have to be destroyed and/or disposed of according to specific regulations. Your plumbing contractor will probably have a small dumpster at the ready to hold your old lead pipes, unless they can be bagged and easily fit inside the work truck. The price of the services provided when lead pipes are removed often includes the price of their disposal as well, so once your plumber has completed the job, there should be no additional fees connected to getting rid of the lead pipes because the plumbing contractor will do it for you.

To learn more about lead pipe removal, contact a plumbing company like R Acres Plumbing Company LLC.

New Homeowner’s Guide: How To Replace A Rusted Out Gas-Fired Hot Water Heater

If you are new to home ownership, and you’ve recently bought an old home, you should check your hot water heater to make sure the tank is still in good shape. Most hot water heaters will only last for about 10 years before they start to fall apart and need to be replaced. One sign of a hot water heater that is about to fail is the presence of rust in your hot water and around the bottom of the tank. You can save a bit of money doing this job yourself as you learn how to take care of a home. Here is how you can replace your old gas-fired hot water heater.

Remove Old Water Heater

The first thing you should do is remove the old water heater. Here is how you can remove the old water heater.

Unplug the water heater from its electrical source. The next step is to remove the gas line if the heater uses gas to heat the water. The gas line is connected to the heater using a coupler with a large nut on it. Unscrew the nut and remove the gas line.

Connect a hose to the drain valve and put the other end of the hose next to a floor drain. Open the valve and drain the water from the tank. 

You also need to disconnect the water lines going to and from the water heater. Turn off the cold water supply. Cut the copper pipes carrying cold water to the heater and hot water away from the heater with a pipe cutter. Make the cuts between the top of the hot water heater and the shutoff valves on both pipes.

Remove the tank and set it aside.

Installing New Heater

You should place the hot water heater on bricks or concrete blocks to avoid putting the heater directly onto a cement basement floor. Cement floors retain a certain amount of moisture, and the moisture can cause the metal bottom of the heater to rot out faster than normal.

Place the flue in position on the top of the exhaust pipe on the water heater. A byproduct of the burning gas used to heat the water is carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a lethal gas that can harm people and pets. The flue directs the carbon dioxide up and out of the house.

Solder the copper water pipes to the pipes sticking out of the top of the hot water heater.

Open the cold water supply and fill the tank with water.

Connect the gas line to the tank, and turn the pilot light on. The hot water heater is now ready to be turned on to heat the cold water inside the tank.

For more information, contact a plumber in your area.