December 2016

Hard Water Questions And Concerns

While many people assume that plumbing problems always originate with the pipes of the home, it is also possible for the water to contribute to these issues. This can be particularly true for homes with hard water. In order to be prepared to protect your home against the effects of hard water, you should understand the causes of this problem, the treatment options as well as the problems it can pose.

Where Do The Minerals In Hard Water Come From?

Hard water contains a much higher mineral content than soft water. Typically, municipal water sources remove excess minerals from the water before pumping it through the distribution network. However, it’s possible for homes that utilize this source of water to develop hard water due to these minerals leaching from the lining of the pipes. If your home has a water well, it’s possible for the minerals to be a natural feature of the water source.

What Are The Options For Testing Your Home For Hard Water?

Luckily, the process of testing your home’s water is fairly simple. One effective way of conducting a preliminary test is to partially fill a clear bottle with water and put a few drops of dish soap into the bottle. After vigorously shaking the bottle, you should inspect the water. When the water is hard, it will appear milky after shaking the bottle, but if the water is soft, there should be ample bubbles on the Surface of the water.

Based on the results of this test, you may want to contact a professional plumber to test the quality of your water. These individuals will measure the mineral contents from samples of water from each outlet. If your home uses a water well, they will also take a sample from the source.

Will Hard Water Pose Any Risks?

You may be concerned about the health hazards that are posed by hard water. Luckily, this is a relatively harmless problem. However, it can contribute to dry irritated skin. Also, some individuals may find that hard water can make their hair more difficult to manage. This arises because the hard water compromises the effectiveness of the shampoo, which can make the hair difficult to clean.

While hard water will not pose significant health hazards, it can pose serious threats to your plumbing and appliances. These hazards arise from the mineral forming deposits on the interior of the pipes and appliances, which can restrict the supply of water. Contact your plumber, someone from a place like Rooter Pro Plumbing, for more information. 

Drain Pipe Leak Troubleshooting Guide

A burst pipe can cause major damage inside your home, especially if you don’t notice it right away. Ruined wall boards, water damaged cabinetry, or prolific mold growth are just some of the issues. The following guide can help you recognize some of the common threats to your pipe, as well as how to recognize a break and what you should do if you find one.

Why do pipes break?

Fortunately, most plumbing pipes are of high enough quality that a random break isn’t usually a concern. There are usually some warning signs that a break could occur, as detailed below:

  • Frequent clogging: If your pipes clog frequently, they could be more prone to corrosion that could give way when pressure builds up from a clog.

  • Old pipes: Older homes typically have metal pipes in the wall and under the sink, which are more prone to leaks compared to modern PVC and poly pipes.

  • Cold weather: Pipes on exposed walls are more likely to burst in freezing weather, especially if they aren’t heated or properly insulated.

How can one recognize a break?

Recognizing a break in a drain pipe requires being aware at all times. The following are signs to look for on a regular basis:

  • Water or damp in the cabinets beneath a sink.

  • Dark stains or bubbling paint on wall board or on the ceiling below an upstairs plumbing fixture.

  • Condensation buildup on walls that have pipes behind them.

  • A dripping sound that you can’t quite locate when there is no water turned on.

  • Musty odors with no known source.

What should one do if they suspect a leak?

If you suspect a leak, there are steps you can take to try and determine the location.

  1. Shut off water to the sink that feeds the drain pipe. There should be a water shut-off valve near the sink that you can turn to the off position.

  2. Check the exposed pipes for leaks. In the case of sinks, the leak is often in the curved trap pipe assembly that is directly below the sink drain.

  3. If accessible, use a pipe wrench to remove the pipe. Place a bucket beneath the area first to catch any water still in the pipe.

  4. Replace the pipe if it is damaged. If the leak is from the joint between pipes, wrap plumbers tape around the joint before screwing the pipes back together. This will tighten the seal to protect against leaks.

  5. For leaks that continue, can’t be located, or are within the wall, leave the water turned off and contact a plumber.

A plumbing service can find the exact location of a hidden leak so it can be repaired before the damage becomes too severe. Contact a company like Assured Plumbing & Heating to learn more.

Important Things To Know About Your New Water Well

Have you recently moved to a home that has a well? Is this the first time that you’ve lived in a house that wasn’t connected to a city water supply? Being able to drink well water can be great. It can taste much cleaner and fresher than the water that you’ve been consuming in the city. But in order to make sure that it stays that way, there are a few things that you’ll need to do to take care of your well. Fortunately, these things aren’t difficult. A few things to remember include:

Test your water annually: Although your water may be clean and near perfect right now, the same may not hold true in the future. Heavy rains and flooding can cause bacteria-laden water to be washed into wells, where it can be picked up by well pumps and sent into homes. In order to make sure that your water is still free of bacteria and chemicals, you should have your water tested at least every spring. If your area gets heavy summer rains instead, however, you should have your well water tested at that time instead of just after spring.

Don’t mess with your well: For the untrained amateur, trying to fix problems with your well or well pumps can be dangerous. If you don’t follow proper procedures, you could inadvertently introduce contamination into your well. This could be bacterial or you could knock something into the well shaft accidentally. In addition, since water and electricity don’t mix, you’re also running the risk of accidental electrocution if you try to service your own well pumps. Leave the repairs and maintenance to qualified professionals in order to avoid accidentally causing even more problems than what you originally had. 

Get regular maintenance: It can be difficult to decide to call out your local well pump repair technician just to fix a “little” problem, but it’s something that needs to be done. Without paying for relatively inconsequential repairs now, the issues could build up to the point where the entire well pump breaks down. If you’ve gone long enough without proper maintenance, you could wind up spending money that you don’t really have in order to replace a well pump that should have lasted for a longer period of time. As with testing the well water itself, have a professional check over the well pump on at least an annual basis just to confirm that everything is working as it should.

For more information, contact local professionals like County Pump & Supply Co.

How to Locate, Remove, and Replace the Lower Thermostat in a Water Heater

The lower thermostat on a water heater is a sensor that ensures the bulk of the water in the tank reaches the optimal warmth for your usage and safety. If the lower thermostat stops working, you could end up with chilly water next time you want to take a shower or bath.

Replacing the lower thermostat isn’t difficult to do, but you first need to know for certain that the thermostat is the issue behind your water heating woes. If you’re not sure, call in a water heating professional for plumbing assistance.

Step 1: Locate the Old Lower Thermostat

Turn off the power to your water heater using the circuit breaker or shut-off switch or by simply unplugging the unit.

Locate the lower access panel door, which will look like an upended rectangle near the bottom of your tank. Use the screwdriver to loosen the screw holding the panel in place then remove the panel and set aside with the screw.

You should now see a piece of foam that is partly attached to other insulation within the unit so it doesn’t remove fully. The foam does have a door cut out that you can lift up to get the piece out of your way. Lift the bottom edge of that foam door until it extends up and over onto the unit’s exterior wall. Secure the foam door in place with electrical tape.

Now you have to contend with the plastic cover over the thermostat. Insert the edge of your screwdriver into the notch at the top of the cover then press up firmly. The tab should pop and release the cover, which you can set aside for now.

Step 2: Remove the Old Thermostat and Install the New

Examine the wires attached to the lower thermostat and make a note of the orientation using pen and paper or a digital camera. Use your screwdriver to loosen each screw at a time then pull the wires free of the thermostat. Note that the wires will simply dangle inside the unit until you install the new thermostat. Press on each mounting bracket on the sides of the thermostat, pull out on the thermostat, then discard the old part.

Slide the new thermostat into place on the mounting brackets and press backwards to snap into place. Hook up the wires, one at a time, to the correct terminals. Tighten the screws to fasten the wires in place. Snap the plastic cover firmly back over the thermostat.

Remove the tape from the foam door then press the door back in place. Secure the access panel door with its mounting screw. Restore the power at the circuit breaker or shut-off valve, or plug the unit back in. Conduct a test run to see if the heating problem has corrected. If the water heater is still experiencing problems or if you need assistance, talk to a professional like those at Brother’s Plumbing.

Systems In Rural Homes That Need Specific Care And Maintenance

When you move to a rural area, there are a lot of things that are different from urban and suburban areas. You may find that the culture or way of life is a little different or that some of the services you are used to are not available at your new rural home. This also includes everyday utilities like water and sewer services, which means your home has to have special systems. Here are some of the things that you should know about systems and maintenance that a rural home will need:

1. Water Well Systems to Bring Potable Water to Your Home

The most important system that you need for a rural home is a well. In many areas, there is no water service, so you will need to have a well drilled. Water from wells can be high in mineral content or even be acidic, which is why a water softener or purification system may be needed. In addition, you need to have the well serviced regularly and repairs done to ensure you always have running water for your home.

2. Septic Systems to Help with Waste Water and Plumbing Needs

Waste from the plumbing in your home needs to have a septic system because rural areas and even some suburban areas lack municipal sewers. The septic system will need to meet certain requirements, such as a soil test. In some areas, an alternative septic system may be needed due to soil that does not filter waste water effectively or because the water table is too close to the surface. Common alternatives include mound and aerobatic septic systems.

3. Communications and Electrical Systems in Areas with Outdated Infrastructure

Infrastructure in some rural areas can be outdated or even non-existent. For internet and telephone, satellite can be a good solution to keep your home connected to the outside world. You may also want to consider a cellular solution if you are within distance of cellphone towers. Electrical systems may also have problems in rural areas, which are often unreliable due to outdated power grids. To solve this problem, you may want to have a backup generator installed. Renewable energy systems like solar panels and wind turbines can also be used to provide power to your home.

Keep these tips in mind when it comes to the mechanical systems when you move to a rural area. Some of the special needs may be an extra cost you want to account for. You can contact a plumber to help with the installation of filtration systems for water treatment of your well. For more information, contact local professionals like Water Tec.

Staying Cool, Calm And Completely Dry While You Troubleshoot And Fix Your Leaking Faucet

Life is complicated enough as it is without having enter you home and find that your faucet is leaking and won’t stop no matter how hard you turn the knob. Leaks happen, but calling a plumbing service right away is not always the proper solution. You aren’t required to know much about plumbing systems or even have a large collection of tools in order to get a leaking faucet to stop once and for all. These tips will aid you in fixing a leaking faucet, without frustration or major complications.

Pinpointing The Source Of Your Leak

You might physically see water dripping out of the faucet in your bathroom or kitchen, but that doesn’t necessarily indicate that it is the original source of the leak. Additionally, although faucets appear to be a single, collection piece of hardware, there are actually several parts that come together to make faucets function the way that they are intended.

A faucet can have a faulty gasket that is causing the leak, or you may need to replace its washer. If the aerator on the end of your kitchen or bathroom faucet constantly drips, it may be cracked, chipped or just plain dirty.

Plumbing Repair Tools And Replacement Parts

Your hands are the primary tool you will need to repair a leaking faucet, so forget about preserving your manicure if you want to get things done. Otherwise, a screwdriver, a few towels and an adjustable wrench are the basic tools that you should have on hand to fix your faulty plumbing.

Until you take your faucet apart you won’t know which replacement parts you may need. If you find that a main component of your faucet is broken, an entire new faucet might need to be purchased.

Fixing a Leaking Faucet for Good

More than anything, you will have to spend sufficient time carefully examining each part of your faucet, testing it each time you make an adjustment. The entire repair job may be as simple as tightening a nut, but you will need to take your faucet apart in order to definitively get an answer.

If you are not successful in your attempt to fix your leaking faucet after a couple of hours, you can call a plumbing service and have your faucet repaired soon after. Don’t worry, your plumber has already walked into plenty of jobs where the customer has attempted to make their own repairs before. Just be glad it was just your faucet that was leaking instead of the commode.

4 Things To Consider With New Toilet Installation

At some point, you may want to replace your outdated toilet. This way, you can be sure that you have a toilet that meets your needs and saves on water since newer toilets are made to be less wasteful. Here are four things you need to consider when purchasing a new toilet:

  1. Bowl Height: The standard height of the toilet bowl is becoming less popular, especially for those with limited mobility. You may appreciate a higher bowl height, which is especially ideal for seniors or those who have a disability. A higher bowl is also ideal for those who are taller than the average person. 
  2. Flush Power:  You may want more flush power for your toilet if your home has a number of occupants. With all the toilet paper and waste that goes down the toilet, a higher flush power will ensure that clogs are less likely to occur. A pressure-assisted toilet is best if this is something that you want. This uses air pressure to force the water to flush away waste. The only downside is that these toilets can be loud, so it’s best to only consider a higher flush power if you really need it. If you live alone or have a small family, then it may not be necessary. 
  3. Water Efficiency:  Although almost all new toilets are made to be more efficient, you can always purchase one that has more efficiency over another. Low flow toilets are best if you are concerned about water waste. Keep in mind that a low flow toilet will not have a high flush power because it won’t use as much water to get rid of the waste. This is definitely ideal if you live alone, since a high power flush is likely not necessary. 
  4. Seat Options: Finally, you may want to consider personalizing the seat type based on your needs. For example, you can have a heated seat, which is helpful if you live in a cold climate and use the bathroom often in the middle of the night. You may also consider a seat that has an included bidet, which will help keep you clean. This is ideal especially for seniors who tend to suffer from infections more often. Keeping clean will help keep infections at bay. You should also consider a seat that does not slam shut. These seats slowly close, which reduces the amount of noise that is created when using the bathroom. 

When you consider these four things, you can be sure that you install a new toilet that is perfect for your home and your needs. Contact a company like Ken Rentmeister Plumbing for more info about your options.

No More Hot Water: When It’s Time To Have Your Water Heater Repaired Or Replaced

While you can try to problem solve your water heater on your own, if you go down to the basement and can’t figure out what’s wrong with your water heater, it’s time to call a professional. If your water heater is gas, the issue can be as simple as a pilot light going out. If it’s electric, make sure that the circuit hasn’t tripped to ensure the heater has a power source. If you have no hot water, your tank is leaking, or your hot water heater produces water with a weird color, you probably need some help from a place like Albert’s Plumbing & Drain Service

When Strange Noises Come From Your Water Heater

Over time, sediment can build up in your water heater. The small particles start to move around as the water inside the heater is warmed up. The sediment can hit the sides of your tank, making a banging noise. If there’s too much sediment, this can cause problems with how your hot water heater functions. You can have your water heater drained and cleaned out, if this is the only problem with your water heater at this time.

If Your Hot Water is Discolored

If the hot water coming from your tank is discolored, your tank is corroding from the inside. This is a sign that it’s time to replace your water heater because eventually the tank is going to corrode completely through, causing a big leak in your home. Discolored water from the corrosion isn’t useful and potentially hazardous to you and your family.

When the Tank is Leaking

A hot water tank can leak for a number of reasons. If the problem is a rusted out tank, you need to get a new one. If the problem is because a fitting has come loose, then your tank only needs to be repaired. Check the color of the water coming from the leak. If it’s clear, you may not need to replace your tank.

If Your Water Isn’t Hot Enough

If your water is no longer getting hot enough, the first thing you should do is check the water temperature dial on your tank. Turn up the temperature, and see if that works. There could be a problem with your tank, or your spouse could have turned down the temperature without your knowledge. When your water still isn’t getting hot enough, contact a technician who can help diagnose and fix the problem. You don’t want to be left without hot water in your home for too long.

About A Dirty Plumbing System

Does your house smell like sewage all of the time? If you are unable to get rid of the foul odor no matter what you do, it is possible that you simply need to get the plumbing system cleaned. There might be a little sewage sitting inside of the plumbing system due to debris creating a blockage. Below, you will learn more about dirty plumbing systems.

How Can a Plumbing System Make a House Smell Bad?

There are numerous things that can cause the plumbing system to develop a foul odor. The odor can become strong enough to come out of plumbing fixture drains, which is what you are likely experiencing. Letting food go down drains can eventually lead to the development of a foul odor. However, cooking oil is one of the most common food products that can accumulate inside of pipes and cause a strong odor. Human waste can also get trapped inside of the plumbing system and make a house smell foul.

What Are Signs That Sewage Sits in the Pipes?

Other than smelling a foul odor coming out of plumbing fixture drains, there are several other signs that sewage sits in the plumbing system. For example, you might not be able to quickly drain water out sinks as you were able to in the past. The water pressure from faucets can also become greatly decreased when there is sewage sitting in pipes, which will sometimes cause water to trickle out. Flushing toilets is not a smooth task with sewage in pipes, as you end up having to flush more than one time to make waste go down. In the worst case scenario, you will not be able to use a plumbing fixture at all if too much sewage sits inside of the plumbing system.

How Can a Plumber Clean Out a Plumbing System?

Several cleaning techniques are used for cleaning out plumbing systems. A plumber will likely base the technique used on the specific condition of your home plumbing system. For example, if he or she detects large amounts of sewage and debris in the pipes, a pump might be used to push everything out. For a minor case of sewage accumulating, a snake might be used as a cleaning tool. The most thorough technique used for cleaning out a plumbing system is via jetting, which can break up tough debris and release high-pressured water into the pipes.

For more information, contact local professionals like Brad’s Plumbing.

Removing Hair Clogs From Your Bathtub Drain

If you have a bathtub drain that is currently clogged and only allowing a small trickle of water through, then this is a telltale sign that you have a large accumulation of hair in the drain. Hair is difficult to remove, but you can try to get rid of it before calling in a plumbing professional. Keep reading to learn how.

Dissolve The Hair

Hair is made up of a protein called keratin and long bands of the cells make up a hair shaft. Keratin cells divide in the scalp just underneath each follicle. Within each hair bulb, the cells attach to one another. The blood nourishes the protein and hormones cause the hair to grow. When this happens, the shaft lengthens and protrudes out the follicle. The follicle will go through a phase where it shrinks and the hair will then fall out. 

Hairs are most likely to fall out when the shrinking follicle is stressed in some way. Washing your hair in the shower is one way the hair becomes stressed. When hair falls out, the proteins do not degrade like the skin cells. They stay strong and resilient, and this is why the hair can easily clog your drains. This hair can be dissolved though, and this can happen when different chemicals are poured down your drain.

Both bleach and sulfuric acid can dissolve the protein in your hair. However, you cannot mix these two chemicals together. Choose one or the other and pour a generous amount down the clogged drain. Allow the chemical to sit for several hours. You will typically see water moving more consistently through the drain as the hair melts away.

Grab The Hair

If you are not successful in dissolving the hair, then you can try to grab it and pull it out of the drain as well. If the clog is close to the surface, then this may be as easy as bending a wire clothes hanger, reaching it through the drain opening, and pulling the ball of hair out. Try this first. If this does not work, then you will need a drain snake. You can but the short, flexible, and manual snakes at your local home store. 

If you can find a snake with a hook end, then this tool will work well for your needs. The hook will grab the clog so it can be pulled up and out of the drain. If you use a snake with just a spear end, then this can force the hair clog down further into the drainage pipe. For assistance, talk to a professional like Rolling Bay Plumbing.