Q: How do I flush my water heater?
Most people never give their water heater a second thought-until it stops working. One thing you can do to extend the life of your water heater is to drain/flush the tank annually to remove any sediment that may have built up with the tank.
- If you have an electric water heater, turn off the power at the breaker box. If yours is gas heater, turn the thermostat to the “pilot” setting. Connect a hose to the drain valve located close to the thermostat, but don’t open the valve yet. Turn off the cold water supply that feeds the water heater.
- Inside your house, open up one of the hot water faucets in one of your sinks or tubs. This will prevent a vacuum from forming in the lines. Go back to the water heater and open the drain valve to drain the hot water out of the tank. Make sure the far end of the hose is draining somewhere that won’t be harmed by hot water. An outside driveway is ideal.
- Once the water stops flowing out of the far end of the hose, turn the water supply back on. This will flush out any remaining sediment left behind in the heater. Once the water runs clear from the end of the hose, close the drain valve. Don’t forget to turn the hot water faucet inside your home back on.
- Always make sure you have the tank completely refilled before restoring power to the water heater. This will prevent a “dry fire” of the water heater elements.
Q: How often should I have my septic tank pumped?
Septic systems should be inspected and pumped a minimum of once every three to five years. You may not be experiencing any problem now, but a septic tank may allow unwanted solids to flow into the drain field, which is a part of the system that consists of a distribution box, with a series of connected pipes. Each pipe allows water to flow into a bed of stone that drains into the ground. If paper and other solids flow into the drain field it becomes blocked and ineffective. A blocked drain field is costly to repair or replace, so regular maintenance is key.
Q: Why do I hear thumping and noises in my pipes when I turn a faucet on?
Often, water enters water-using appliances at fluctuating pressures, especially in remote locations, and industrial settings. This pressure often needs to be kept within a range to avoid damage to appliances, or accidents involving burst pipes/conduits. A single-stage pressure reducing regulator is used to control and maintain your homes incoming water pressure.
Q: How can I determine if I have an undetected leak in my home?
There are several possible sources of high water bills, etc.
- Check toilets for leaks. First, check the water level to ensure that water is not overflowing the tank by way of the overflow pipe. This is the pipe in the middle of the tank. It has small tubing connected to it. If water is running into the overflow, adjust the fill valve to stop the flow approximately one inch below the top of the overflow tube or to the water level mark stamped on the side of the tank.
- Second, put a few drops of food coloring into the tank to test the flush valve mechanism. If the water in the bowl changes color within 15 minutes, this is an indication that water is leaking into the toilet bowl and that the ball or flapper needs to be replaced.
- Your water meter contains a small triangle which can be checked for movement thus indicating a possible leak. After ruling out the obvious drippy faucets and running toilets, you may “walk” your property. Check at the water meter area and at the foundation where your main water line comes into your home. These areas are common “hot spots” and you may have a leak at the adapter areas of the line. Obviously if your home has a crawlspace and your plumbing is located under your home, you can check the piping from there.
Q: How do I winterize my home?
A faucet that won't allow water to flow is certainly a warning sign of frozen pipes. If severe weather arrives, you may prevent freezing and resulting bursting of pipes by following these easy suggestions:
- Be sure to keep a running drip or small stream of water running from interior faucets.
- Insulate your pipes. You may use insulating materials such as tape and foam.
- Keep bedroom and all interior doors open as well as under kitchen and lavatory cabinet doors open.
- Heat your exposed sections of pipe with a small heat source.
- Disconnect all garden hoses connected to the faucet to allow any water in the pipe to drain out.
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