A&A Plumbing

Month: October 2016

3 Problems That Lead To Pipe Replacement

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We all know pipes are integral to your plumbing. Without them, no water could enter or leave your home. Because they are such an important part of modern living, pipes are built to last. Copper pipes generally have a lifespan of 70-80 years, while brass and galvanized steel can last anywhere between 80-100 years.

However, there are several problems that could lead to early replacement. Below are the most common reasons for early pipe replacement.

Corrosion

Nowadays, the majority of pipes are made of copper because of its resistance to rust. While copper doesn’t degrade as easily as iron, it is still susceptible to the elements. Degradation of copper occurs when chlorine and formaldehyde particles in the air and soil react with the pipe.

The particles weaken the pipe by essentially eating through it. When chlorine is the cause of damage, it is referred to as pitted corrosion. When formaldehyde is the perpetrator, it is called formicary corrosion.

Lime Scale

Lime scale is a mineral buildup that is caused by using hard water in your plumbing. Because hard water has more minerals than filtered water, the buildup occurs faster. Lime scale buildup restricts the flow of water through the pipe, decreasing its efficiency. If not caught early on, the lime scale will harden and be nearly impossible to remove without ruining the pipe.

Tree Roots

Tree roots often grow into both the water and sewer mains of homes. Tree roots naturally seek out the nearest source of water, meaning that if you have trees in your yard, they’re almost guaranteed to eventually grow into one or both of your mains.

Tree roots can typically be cut out of the main. However, if left too long, the tree roots will become too entangled with the pipe to cut out. When this occurs, the only option left is to replace the pipes.

No one wants to hear that their pipes need to be replaced. It can be a costly, time-consuming endeavor. It makes much more sense to be aware of what leads to early replacement and attempt to prevent it from happening.
You should have your plumbing examined by a professional once a year. At those yearly visits, your plumber will check to ensure your pipes are working efficiently. Please contact us if you have any questions or need your pipes looked at!

3 Ways To Maintain Your Water Heater

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We don’t think we need to tell you just how important your water heater is to living comfortably. Let’s be realistic, no one likes taking a cold shower. That is why we believe you should know how to perform these three tasks to maintain your water heater. It is important to note the tasks below refer to traditional electric or gas heaters, not the newer tankless versions.

Checking Anode Rod

Every water heater has an anode rod. It is a long metal rod that is inserted into the water heater tank. The anode rod serves one function: to ensure no rust accumulates on the tank. Because the rod is attached to the tank, it collects all of the rust instead.

The anode rod will degrade over time, sometimes wearing down to the wire at its core. Once it reaches that point of degradation, it won’t be able to protect the tank anymore. The rule of thumb is to replace the anode rod once it’s less than ½ inch thick or is completely coated with calcium.

Checking Pressure Valve

Pressure valves are safety features. In the event the tank over pressurizes, the valve opens to relieve the pressure. If the valve is unable to function correctly, the overpressurization in the tank builds, sometimes resulting in an explosion.

Follow the steps below to ensure your pressure valve is functioning correctly:

  • Turn off the electricity or gas to your water heater, as well as the cold water inlet into the tank.
  • Then place a bucket under the pressure valve and pull the trip lever. You should hear a slight rush of air or see vapor escape the valve. If you do not hear or see anything, drain the tank and replace the pressure valve.
  • Don’t forget to turn back on the cold water inlet and the electricity or gas.

Flushing the Tank

It is normal for sediment to build in your water tank over time, especially if you use hard water in your plumbing. If the sediment is left undisturbed, it can completely insulate the bottom of your tank. The buildup affects your heater’s efficiency and can lead to clogs in your water line.

Follow the steps below to properly drain your water heater:

  • Turn off the electricity or gas to your water heater, and the cold water inlet into the tank.
  • Connect a garden hose to the tank’s drain valve and place the other end of the hose in an area where the hot water can drain without harming anything.
  • Ensuring the pressure relief valve is open, open the drain valve and allow the tank to drain completely.
  • Close the tank’s drain valve, disconnect the hose, and close the pressure relief valve. Then, proceed to open all of the hot water spigots in your home and turn back on the cold water inlet to the tank.
  • Close the spigots as water begins to flow to them. After all have been shut off, turn back on the electricity or gas to your water heater.

By mastering these three maintenance tasks, you should be able to keep your hot water heater functioning properly. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.