If you own a home, you are used to the little home maintenance items that occur non-stop both inside and out. While certain problems can be ignored or put off for months at a time, other things require immediate attention. If you turn on your shower and only find cold water, you soon realize how important your water heater truly is. Here are some water heater troubleshooting tips to help you recognize when you can repair your water heater, and when its better to invest in a new one.
It seems to take forever for the water to heat up
Especially when you are in a hurry, waiting for the water to heat up can seem to take forever. If you’ve used a lot of hot water at one time, it could simply be a matter of supply and demand; the water heater can’t keep up with the amount you are demanding. Another thing you may decide on is to invest in a hot water circulation system. A recirculating pump sends hot water where you want it, while sending the cooled water sitting in your pipes back into the system to be reheated, giving you an instant supply of hot water anytime.
The water smells like rotten eggs
If you live in an older home or a home that uses well water, you may turn on your water and discover a strong rotten eggs smell. This smell is produced when hydrogen combines with sulfur and bacteria in the water supply, and is usually caused by a hydrogen anode rod within your water heater. The easiest way to solve the problem is to replace the hydrogen rod with an aluminum rod. Or add a chlorination system to counter the bacteria.
The water heater is leaking
If you find water puddling around the water heater, it may be caused by a couple of different things. If the leak is from the pressure valve, the valve can be replaced by draining the tank, removing the valve from the pipe attached to the tank, and replacing the valve. If the leak is caused by a crack in the tank, its time for a new water heater, as you cannot fix a cracked tank. A plumber will quickly be able to tell you the cause of the leak, and the best course of action.
Insufficient amount of hot water
An insufficient amount of hot water can be caused from a variety of things. Check to make sure the pilot light didn’t go out from severe winds, or from improper venting. If it’s a newer water heater, is the tank the proper size for your home and your needs? Also check what temperature its set for; bumping it up a degree or two could give you the hot water you need. On an older tank, you could be experiencing a buildup of sediment within the tank. As little as a half inch of sediment could require as much as 70 percent more fuel to heat the water, so routine cleaning should be a part of your seasonal process.
Have any more questions about your water heater? Our friendly staff of plumbers are here for all of your water heater troubleshooting needs.
It may be 100 degrees right now, but the snow will be flying soon enough here in Colorado.
The winter season is possibly the most stressful time of the year for a home’s plumbing. Between cold temperatures, snow, and ice, and an influx of family and friends during the holiday season, pipes and drains are put to the test for weeks on end. It is important to know a few tricks and tips before the beginning of the season, and to have a trusted plumber to work with.
To avoid clogs, most plumbers will give you easily usable advice for general use and for when company is in town. For one, a water heater should be turned up somewhat, and showers should be taken throughout the day instead of back-to-back to conserve hot water. Never put items down a drain that should not be there. It almost goes without saying, but items like cotton in toilets or skins, peels, or cooking oils in a kitchen disposer lead to clogs more often than not. These tips will save headaches and allow for a peaceful season.
The biggest threat to plumbing in the winter is pipes freezing. To lessen this threat, it is important to insulate water pipes as a cautionary measure. For pipes in areas where they will be at the hands of the weather this is crucial and necessary, and if there are pipes that will sit unused, all water should be drained from them to neutralize any threat. Keeping pipes somewhat exposed inside a house by opening doors or cabinets to allow heat to reach them is also a simple prevention tip.
Local, trustworthy plumbers are now easy to find with the help of the internet, and it is always a good idea to have one do a walk-through before the winter begins to go over precautionary measures and make sure that important steps have been taken to keep pipes flowing through the season.
Natural gas is something that may be in use in a variety of ways throughout your home. You use it to heat your home, you may use it outside for your grill or fire pit, and you may use it indoors for your stove or clothes dryer.
Natural gas is an odorless, shapeless, colorless gas that contains no liquid or mass. Because you can’t detect it until it’s too late, gas companies add a rotten egg odor so that it’s more easily detected.
Natural gas itself is not always the killer; instead, its carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a gas leak. Carbon monoxide kills over 500 people in America every year, and sends over 15,000 people to the emergency room. As we enter the winter months when we close up our homes, its more important than ever to use a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home. And it’s also important to know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, and seek safety and medical advice if you ever suspect a gas leak.
Carbon monoxide poisoning will most likely start out with flu like symptoms. Headaches, dizziness, tiredness and nausea are all common signs. It can quickly progress to impaired judgment, poor memory and loss of coordination. If several people within your home suddenly have the same or similar symptoms, and improve when they leave your home, it may also be a sign your home should be checked for carbon monoxide.
Though carbon monoxide is one of the deadliest components of natural gas, natural gas can also be a hazard if it leaks. A rotten egg smell, puddling or dirt blowing away from your home, or a hissing sound could all be signs of a gas leak. Never turn on lights, or continue to stay in your home; a professional should assess the situation, make corrections, and ensure your safety before you return home.
As a homeowner, you probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about your hot water heater. As long as your water is hot when you need it, it’s the last thing on your mind.
But if you know your water heater is getting old, and have started looking at your options, you know there are many different choices. Start out by assessing your needs.
- How large is your family?
- How large is your home?
- What is the demand of hot water in your home?
- Is conserving and green technology important to you?
- Is having instant hot water important to you?
- How long do you plan on owning your home?
Then look at your options.
One of the newest options in the water heater arena is a hybrid water heater. A hybrid water heater provides you with the most energy efficient way of heating water within your home. It provides an endless supply of hot water on demand, and emits ultra low emissions, meaning it leaves almost no carbon footprint.
And because of its efficiency and energy star rating, a hybrid water heater qualifies for tax credits currently offered for making your home more energy friendly. A hybrid water heater provides:
- Consistent water pressure, even when multiple taps are used at the same time
- Faster hot water delivery than using a tankless water system
- Compatible with recirculation systems to deliver hot water immediately
- Provides a self-cleaning system that helps it remain efficient over time
- Ultra low emission leaving virtually no carbon footprint
Are you ready for a hybrid water heater?
Open up the newspaper and you’ll read a story or two on the latest technology that will help you “go green”. Solar water heaters. Efficient plumbing fixtures. Water saving technology. When you’re just trying to run a business, how do you know where to turn? Especially if you don’t have a problem with your plumbing – you just want to be as efficient as possible.
Here are 4 ways a commercial plumber can save your business money.
4. Audits and Analysis
Not sure where to begin? Why not hire a commercial plumber for an energy audit and water analysis. As a green plumber, we know where to look to identify leaks and offer assistance in finding ways to prevent water loss and conservation. Find out all of your options upfront, then slowly implement as you have the time, energy and revenue available.
3. Preventative Maintenance
Don’t wait for problems to happen, schedule regular routine checkups to make sure everything is running at its best. From sewer and water line cleaning, to fixing small drips within the bathroom or kitchen area, the easiest way to avoid problems is to prevent them before they happen.
2. Recommendations Before You Invest
Have a new project you are building? Thinking of expanding? Before you start, talk with your commercial plumber. He can offer advice on the best way to install new fixtures in the bathrooms, or create energy efficient water heating for the different needs of your project.
1. An Emergency Connection
While we never plan for an emergency, they happen anyway. You might walk into a burst pipe, a flooded room, or no hot water. In times like this, its nice to know you can pick up the phone and call a friend, instead of taking the time to find someone with the time to come over and help. Plan before the emergency happens, and you’ll be grateful in times like these.
The term “carbon footprint” refers to the amount of greenhouse gas that each of us emits into the environment, whether directly or indirectly. In an effort to go green, people have begun to realize how a large carbon footprint can affect the environment negatively, and are looking for ways to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Not only will reducing your carbon footprint give back to the earth, it will also allow you to become more energy efficient in the process. Just by doing these few things, you can start on the path to living greener.
Make your gardens greener
Use perennial plants and vegetables instead of annuals. Even in the tiniest of yards, you can plant trees, vines, bushes and plants that will give you a “farmers market” throughout the growing season. Cover the ground with wood chips to keep weeds out and moisture in. Compost throughout the year for a natural fertilizer. And water early morning and on a timed cycle. Invest in rain gauges to avoid watering when we do receive rain.
Start recycling all you can – paper, plastics, ink, and even larger items like appliances and computers. Buy reusable cloth bags and water bottles to do your daily shopping, and to avoid using disposable water bottles and cups throughout the day. As a green plumber, we make an effort to recycle as much as we can after fixing or replacing your household items.
Use less gas
Especially with the latest oil spill, oil and gas tends to be on everyone’s minds. While we’re enjoying our Colorado summer, take advantage of the nice weather and bike or walk to work, or over to mass transit. Mow your lawn less frequently, and reduce the amount of grass you have by xeriscaping.
Reduce your water usage
- Install a low-flow showerhead. Combine this with taking shorter showers, and you’ll double your savings. Even by reducing your average shower time by a minute, you’ll end up saving both water and energy.
- Run your dishwasher less frequently. Though dishwashers make things easier for us, they also use a lot of energy. By running it only when it’s full, you can reduce how much energy you use. Also consider doing small loads by hand in a small amount of water.
- Wash full loads of laundry. More loads mean more water usage. By filling the washer up, you’ll get the most usage for the least amount of energy. Also wash your clothes in cold to avoid using extra energy to heat the water.
- Install new appliances into your home. Older models simply aren’t as efficient as newer, more efficient models. And with many rebate options available today, now is the perfect time to do some updating.
Do you spend your weekends as a do-it-yourself handyman around the home? Some jobs are easier than others. While dipping a brush in the paint can may be fairly straight forward, other jobs can have serious implications if you make an error. Here are 7 mistakes a do it yourself plumber often makes.
1. Quickly get into overwhelm. Fixing a washer on a faucet may seem easy, until you’ve visited the hardware store five times, purchasing the wrong part each time. What should have been a one hour fix turns into an all day project.
2. Inaccuracy in measuring. When working with water, electricity or gas, even a fraction of an inch matters. Cut something short, and its not just a small error, it could have serious repercussions on the health of your family.
3. Not allowing yourself enough time. Trying to put in a new toilet before company arrives? Think again. People inexperienced to plumbing often misjudge how long a project can take, and something that you say, “Oh, it’ll only take five minutes” to may end up taking much longer.
4. Having the wrong part or tool. Head to your local hardware store, and you’ll find hundreds, maybe even thousands of parts to choose from. And half way through the job, you may find you don’t have the correct tool or right size wrench to finish the job. What started out as a quick job can quickly turn into an expensive one.
5. Create a mess. Working with water? Did you remember to shut off the main water valve before you begin? Soaking the carpet, furniture, drapes and floorboards can quickly escalate the time you’ll spend on your quick project.
6. Have to call in a plumber after hours of frustration. People choose do it yourself projects because they feel they will save money. But when a project extends into days or weeks, and you end up calling a plumber anyway, it will leave you feeling frustrated. Evaluate how much your time is worth, and consider hiring it out in the first place.
7. Don’t go beyond your limits. Never put in a new water heater before? Or converted a stove from electric to gas? Is now really the time to learn? Keep the do it yourself projects to things that are easy to research, and simple to do. If a project can go wrong and cause you or your family harm, it may be the best and simplest choice to call in a professional plumber.
Trying to get your house ready for sale? Sometimes it takes more than a few cosmetic changes. While making the property look good is important, it is even more important that the house functions properly. The last thing a new homeowner wants to do is replace a faucet, or put in a new water heater shortly after the move.
As you are repairing, updating or replacing, start up a notebook filled with notes for the new homeowner, letting them know about new fixtures. In some cases it may help to provide knowledge about warranties and service contracts, especially if they carry forward. Instead of trial and error, a new homeowner will appreciate a little good advice from the party who had the fixture replaced.
Install a new toilet, rain sensors and water efficient nozzles to the sprinkler system, or solar panels for energy efficiency. Right now there are rebates in place through a variety of sources that can help you save money on installation, and improve the efficiency of your home in the process. Installing a low flow toilet can save approximately 25 percent of water consumption on a daily basis. And because flushing the toilet accounts for roughly 38 percent of water used in the average home, replacing older models can mean significant savings. And can give you a boost in the selling process.
There are other practical steps to take regarding the plumbing before selling your home. First check for and replace all leaky faucets in the bathrooms, kitchen, and bathtubs. Leaks can be expensive to the homeowner and potential buyers readily observe dripping faucets and think worst-case scenario. Moreover, leaks send a subtle message that the home was not well cared for, and might possibly be a poor investment.
It is also prudent to check around the base of toilets for leaks and unpleasant odors. These are indicative of a broken or worn out seal that sits directly beneath the toilet. Broken seals should be replaced immediately as they can escalate into more serious problems if ignored.
Look for signs of discoloration in grout around tubs and showers. Slow leaks may start to fade the color, and eventually start to form mold. Any soft spots in the shower walls can also indicate a potential water pipe leak. A plumber can easily spot a potential problem, and repair it quickly.
Finally, if your home has mature trees and landscaping, consider a water main and sewer line inspection. Tree roots are attracted to water sources, especially in times of drought. The first place they will head is to a water source, which could be your water or sewer main. A final inspection report included in the potential buyers notebook could be the turning point for an offer. Knowing a house has a clean bill of health, and is ready to move into can mean all the difference.