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Plumbing Problems and Fixes

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Each year, thousands of people are seriously burned from ordinary tap water. In most instances it occurs with children under the age of 5 and adults, 65 years and older.

It takes only one second for a third degree burn to occur on children in water of 140 degrees, and 10 seconds in water of 130 degrees. Most water heaters are set between 130 and 140 degrees. Prevent a tragedy:
Set water heater to 120 degrees
Check bath water temperature before bathing children or letting elders in the tub.
Never leave children unattended in the tub.
Install an anti-scalding device in the bathroom shower.

Toiletology 101
Toiletology 101 is a free online course on toilet repairs to help you save water and money. Learn how a toilet works, preventive maintenance, how to replace a flush valve, what to do in emergencies and how to really clean your toilet.

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Water Heater on th fritz--How To Replace a Water Heater

Toilet Overflow - At least once in life we all get to experience the toilet overflowing. We flush it and then stand there and watch it happen, believing all the time that the water really isn't going to go over the edge. Some quick action can prevent an overflow. When you sense it coming, quickly remove the tank lid and reach down and push the flush valve closed. It covers the tennis ball-sized opening in the bottom of the tank. Emergency over! Now all you have to do is unclog the toilet.

Stopped Drains - Most homeowners face stopped-up drains from time to time. If you immediately reach for the drain cleaner, consider the consequences. Drain cleaners are effective products, but they must be used appropriately. If the drain doesn't clear then you have to deal with a stopped drain full of caustic drain cleaner. Let the drain cleaner be the last choice. Try the plunger. If all efforts fail, call a plumber. Be sure to tell them you poured drain cleaner down the drain.

Plunging - The best plunger for clearing a sink drain is the kind with a neck on it.

Here is a step by step procedure for unglogging drains, toilets and sewers.

Stop Valves - Plumbing stop valves or cut-offs can be found in various locations about the house. the most important one is the main water cut-off. Know where it's located. Major damage from a plumbing mishap can be avoided if you can get the water shut off quickly. To insure that valves will work when needed, prime them once or twice a year by closing and opening them all the way.

Make your water heater last longer - Once a year, it is advisable to open the drain tap on your Hot Water Heater (domestic hot water) and drain the tank until the water is clear in order to flush the sediment that sits on the bottom of the tank. You should get brownish water for the 1st few seconds. Caution : the drain tap might drip after you shut it off. Get a 3/4 inches hose bib cap and screw it over the tap.

Twice yearly, open and close all shut valves main (at meter), at toilets, above hot water tank, under all faucets (if any). This will keep them free of sediment and will allow them to be closed if needed.

On dial of water meter, there are usually two needles, the smaller is very sensitive and if movement is detected, this indicates water is being wasted, assuming no water is being used at the time of checking.

Put a bit of food coloring in each toilet tank. Without flushing, watch for a few minutes to see if the color shows up in the bowl. It's not uncommon to lose up to 100 gallons a day from one of these otherwise invisible toilet leaks. And that's more than 30,000 gallons a year!

To prevent leaks, don't forget to wrap the threads (clockwise, no more than 2 layers and don't cover the first 2 threads.) of all threaded pipes with Teflon tape before you connect them.

Noise when you use a faucet? Install water hammering arresters. Find the source of the noise and install a tee with the branch going up near by. Add a piece of pipe capped off. When you fill the pipe with water air will get trapped. This will serve as a shock absorber, when the pressure goes up it compresses the air and eliminates the hammering sound of the water in the pipes.

How to Replace a Faucet

What you need to know about Septic Tanks and Drainfields

The following are links to Code related Websites:

Department Of Energy. Tips on buying a new water heater.

Federal Technology Alert. A very comprehensive report on heat pump water heaters.

Plumbing Code information Code Check the book is published by Taunton Press.

California Contractors State License Board

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