May 2013

Signs Your Water Heater May Require Maintenance

by raleigh plumbers on May 24, 2013

Performing maintenance on your water heater is highly unlikely to be on the top of your weekend to-do list, but proper maintenance at critical junctures in the life of your water heater can often save the headache of complete replacement — not to mention spare you the task of some serious water cleanup.

water-heater-hand-on-facet
Signs your water heater is “under the weather”:

  1. Water coming from the heater that appears rusty or brown is typically an indicator of impending water heater failure. Similarly, if the water smells unusual or “metallic” it is another giveaway that your water heater has seen better days. Check the water emerging from your water heater and determine whether its quality has been affected in the aforementioned ways. If you’re wary of tasting the water, a sniff test should suffice.
  2. Sediment within your water heater’s water is another indicator your heater’s condition is rapidly deteriorating.  This often occurs from mineral build up over time on the bottom of the heater’s tank.
  3. Loud pops coming from your water heater are not normal. Also, be sure to monitor for any sounds that crop up that did not previously emanate from the device. Such sounds should be treated as anomalies and may be a symptom of the aforementioned mineral buildup. This buildup will usually lead to failure in the short-term.
  4. A symptom of internal water heater failures is leaking water. If water begins noticeably leaking from your heater, disconnect the unit and consider immediate replacement. Do not hesitate to replace your heater in the event of leaking water, as any delay will likely lead not only to a cessation in its operation but also a serious mess that can impact other aspects of your home’s interior, causing associated repair costs to spiral upward.

How to Drain a Water Heater

by raleigh plumbers on May 22, 2013

how-to-drain-a-water-heater

Proper maintenance and draining of your water heater can significantly extend its life and also help you avoid a damaging water leak that can affect the interior of your home. Additionally, in an emergency your water heater can offer gallons of fresh water, but such an emergency water supply will only be useful if the water in your tank has been previously attended to. When draining, you will want to:

  1. Consider your type of water heater. Switch the thermostat on a gas heater to the “pilot” setting to prepare for drainage, or simply turn the heater’s power off at the breaker box if you own an electric unit.  Remember to practice caution when tripping breakers, and bear in mind you may want to allow the water inside the heater to cool before proceeding to the drain valve next. This can take as long as two hours depending on your water heater model.
  2. Find the drain valve on your water heater and connect a hose to it. Switch off the cold water supply to the heater but refrain from opening the valve at this time.
  3. Prevent a vacuum from appearing in your lines by turning on the hot water in a tub or sink somewhere in your house before continuing.
  4. Open the drain valve on your water heater and allow all the water to drain from the tank. This will likely take thirty minutes to an hour.
  5. Turn the water supply to your water tank back on following the draining of its tank.  Wait until the water runs out of the drain valve’s hose that you connected earlier, then close the drain valve back up again. Check the instructions that come with your particular tank before acting further. Some water heaters will only need their tanks partially refilled with water before further troubleshooting, but others may require the tank to be completely full in order to avoid potential device damage.
  6. Turn the hot water faucet in your sink or tub back off, then restore power to your gas or electric water heater via the thermostat or breaker box, respectively.
  7. Test your water heater’s pressure relief valve after water temperature has been restored. This valve prevents overheating. Refer to your specific manufacturer instructions regarding the pressure relief valve in order to complete your repair.

 Other Resources

Flush a Water Heater Video

How to flush a water heater with pictures

 

Clogged Drains Top Causes

by raleigh plumbers on May 21, 2013

Clogged Drains
Whether on the interior or exterior of your house, keeping your drains free flowing and in excellent condition should always be a priority. Messy floor leaks, costly repairs, yard flooding and just plain general inconvenience are the prices to pay for negligence on this front, so check for the following immediately after any suspected drainage issues:

  1. It’s self-evident, but garbage disposals can be a messy business. Bones and large chunks of greasy food can prove troublesome for your garbage disposal and lead to a clogged drain. You’ll want to toss most of these aforementioned offenders into your garbage and not directly into your disposal.
  2. Your dishwasher is a life saver after a long day and a painstakingly cooked meal, but every once in a while it can actually create extra work for you. Repeated running of your dishwasher or failure to properly remove solid waste from its innards before running a cycle can cause backups in your drain.
  3. Your washing machine can pose problems in the same manner as your dishwasher, so be vigilant when taking care of those seemingly never-ending loads of laundry. Pay attention to when your clogs tend to happen — if they seem to occur on days you’re running your washing machine then you’ve probably located the source of the problem. Multiple large loads in quick succession can cause the synthetic fabrics of your clothing to gather in drains and foil even your best efforts at keeping your drains free flowing.
  4. Perhaps surprisingly, your main sewer line may be behind all your drainage woes, no matter whether the clog occurs in an area in the line right beside your house or near the edge of the street. Municipalities have different guidelines governing what is your responsibility and what is not regarding the sewer line and you may be on the hook for a repair before you can restore the health of your drains. Check with your municipality to determine how to handle a clogged sewer line.

Beware of heavy rains. The deluge following a storm can cause clogging in outside drains as dirt and debris wash in rapidly and collect. These drains are not often intended for large volumes of water in a short time period, and a summer storm may have you scrambling to prevent flooding to your property.