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Tips

Tips

Know your water heater

Your water heater is one appliance on which the entire family depends. You use it every day without fail. Therefore it becomes important that you choose a water heater that will be right for your home. The water heater should be able to provide you with adequate amount of hot water at the busiest time of the day. You have to make a rough calculation of the maximum amount of water that is required at a particular time of the day. Early morning will be the appropriate time when the family is getting ready for work and school. First add the number of members that take shower in the morning and how much time they take for each shower.

The most common issues of heaters are, running out of hot water, water looks rusty and smells bad; clothes fresh from the washer look dingy; water heater makes noises and water heater leaking. Any one of these symptoms could boil down to one thing – your water heater is in trouble.

Lower your toilet tanks water level

Did you know that more than ONE THIRD of an average home's water use goes into flushing toilets! Lowering your tank's water level will reduce the water used in each flush.

Main water shut-off valve

Everyone in the house should know where this is in case of an emergency. The valve should operate smoothly and should shut-off water completely. Many older valves fail to operate due to internal deterioration from lime and calcium buildup.

Check your water meter periodically

Generally in homes built before the year 2000, the water meter should be located outside usually near the street. Most often in homes built after the year 2000, the water meter will be housed inside the home; check inside closets located in the basement or on the first floor of the house. With no water running in the house, the dials on the meter should remain stationary. Any movement indicates a leak of some type which, at best, wastes water and costs money, and may be causing damage to your home and foundation.

Locate your angle-stops

These are the small shut-off valves at each toilet, and under each sink. Examine these for signs of corrosion, as they hold back water pressure. Corroded valves and connectors often become the source of leaks, ruptures, and resultant flooding.

Guest bathrooms

Turn on all faucets and tub/shower valves at least once weekly. Faucets in guest baths commonly seize up from mineral deposits when not used for a period of time. Also, running water into each fixture keeps the traps full, thereby preventing sewer gases from entering your home.

Check washing machine hoses

Check hoses and connections for corrosion and signs of “blow-out”, which is a bubble caused by reinforcement failure. We recommend stainless steel re-enforced hoses which are rated to withstand much higher water pressure. Ruptured washer hoses are a primary cause of flooding in residential homes.

Buying faucets and fixtures

Certain brands withstand water related issues better than others. Availability of repair parts is also an important consideration. Please feel free to call us if you have questions, or would like our recommendations.

Be aware of your water pressure

Every good doctor checks your blood pressure, and every good plumber checks your water pressure. Many homeowners describe high pressure as good pressure. Much like your blood-pressure, high water pressure can eventually cause great damage. Symptoms of high pressure may be running toilets, noisy or banging pipes, and water that comes out of the faucet strong at first, then slows down. A failed pressure regulator is usually the culprit and can be replaced at a reasonable cost.

Aerator build-up

Shower head and faucet aerators can get a white substance built-up around the area where the water comes out. The unsightly build-up is mineral deposits. To remove these deposits from the showerhead, take a plastic bag and pour a cup of vinegar in it. Place the bag over the showerhead and use a twist tie to hold it in place overnight. In the morning, remove the bag and use an old toothbrush to gently scrub off the deposits. You might be able to remove the aerators from the faucets and allow them to soak in the vinegar overnight.

Seasonal Tips

Fall & Winter - Getting ready for cold weather

  • Unhook all of the outdoor hoses from the faucets. When water in the hose freezes it can cause the whole pipe going into the house to freeze and burst. You can still use the hose during the fall months, but be sure to undo it after every use to prevent freezing overnight. It’s also wise to drain the hose to protect it from splitting
  • Check the outdoor faucets for leaks and drips. While you’re undoing the hoses, make sure the outdoor faucets – all of them – are in good working order. Even minor leaks and drips can lead to frozen pipes, so if a problem is detected better to call in a plumber to replace the damaged faucet before a real problem ensues
  • Cover the outside faucets using a Styrofoam cone cover, available in an inexpensive kit at most hardware and home improvement stores. They are easy to attach and secure and will protect the faucet throughout the winter
  • Have your sprinkler system blown out and shut down by a professional using an air compressor that can handle the job. You want to make sure there is no water in the lines. Also, turn off the water feeding the sprinkler system from the house (usually a valve in the basement or crawl space), and make sure to drain that water line (typically there is a valve near the shut-off valve that will do the trick
  • Cover your vacuum breaker valve with a recommended cover or a blanket. This valve system is usually on the back of the house where the water meets the sprinkler system; the breaker should be drained properly then covered for the duration of the cold months.
  • Check all of the exposed pipes in the basement, crawlspace and garage, and insulate them where necessary – wrap them in insulating tape if they are along or near outside walls or windows. While you’re at it, check that all of the windows in the basement are shut, caulk them to prevent air leaks, put the storm windows on them or at the very least cover the outside with insulating clear plastic (there are kits for this at hardware/home improvement stores).
  • Your water heater works harder during the winter months. A good flush of the system is probably in order, and adjust the temperature to 120 degrees F (plenty of heating capacity; it will save money). Check the water heater’s pressure relief valve – carefully, as the water is very hot. Lift up on the lever and let it snap back; there should be a burst of hot water into the drain pipe. If it appears to be not working properly, call a professional plumber to have a new valve installed. If the water heater is more than 5 years old and the pressure valve has never been tested, testing it could cause a leak if there is corrosion or a stuck valve. Check your water heater manufacturer's website for specific instructions concerning your make and model.
  • Clean out your gutters once the leaves have all fallen to remove all of the debris. This isn’t really a plumbing problem, but frozen or clogged gutters can cause a myriad of problems. Also, make sure to rake up all of the leaves on the grass areas; while they are good mulch in the garden, leaves left over the winter will damage the lawn.
  • If you have a sump pump and pit, inspect and clean it. Pumps exposed to cold temperatures can freeze and stop working properly.
  • If you leave home for an extended period in the winter months, shut off the main water valve and drain the system by opening faucets at the highest and lowest points of the house. Make sure the heat is left on and set no lower than 55°F.

Spring & Summer - Getting ready for warmer weather

  • Consider replacing a water heater more than 15 years old. (The first four numbers of the serial number represent the month and year it was made.) Newer water heaters are more energy efficient
  • Clean out washing machine lint trap, if equipped, and place a wire trap or a piece of pantyhose over the end of the hose that drains the washer.
  • Install a backflow valve in the floor drain if you live in an area where sewers sometimes backup into homes. This device will prevent future backups.
  • Install flood alarms. Like a smoke alarm, a flood alarm is a battery-operated device that sounds an alarm when it comes in contact with water. It alerts you to potential flooding or leaks.
  • Inspect for slow leaks in your home by taking a reading on your water meter before bedtime. The next morning, without using any water overnight, take another reading. If the reading has changed you have a leak that should be repaired.
  • Check for bird nests in plumbing vent pipes.
  • Check faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely. If an outdoor faucet drips or if there is leakage inside your home the first time the hose is turned on, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs to be replaced.

 

Tips for any season

  • Look under all of the sinks and check for leaks and drips. Check to see if sinks are draining at a proper speed.
  • Make sure the toilets a
  • Consider replacing a water heater more than 15 years old. (The first four numbers of the serial number represent the month and year it was made.) Newer water heaters are more energy efficient
  • Clean out washing machine lint trap, if equipped, and place a wire trap or a piece of pantyhose over the end of the hose that drains the washer.
  • Install a backflow valve in the floor drain if you live in an area where sewers sometimes backup into homes. This device will prevent future backups.
  • Install flood alarms. Like a smoke alarm, a flood alarm is a battery-operated device that sounds an alarm when it comes in contact with water. It alerts you to potential flooding or leaks.
  • Inspect for slow leaks in your home by taking a reading on your water meter before bedtime. The next morning, without using any water overnight, take another reading. If the reading has changed you have a leak that should be repaired.
  • Check for bird nests in plumbing vent pipes.
  • Check faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely. If an outdoor faucet drips or if there is leakage inside your home the first time the hose is turned on, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs to be replaced.
  • re operating properly; a slowly running toilet can waste an enormous amount of water and can usually be fixed for the cost of a new gasket.
  • Make sure all of the faucets in the kitchen, bathrooms and basement are not leaking or dripping – this includes the water spout and the hot/cold handles.
  • Check the connectors to the washing machine in the laundry – these are typically rubber hoses and they wear out from time to time.
  • Check under the kitchen sink to make sure there is no leakage of the disposer and its connection to the dishwasher.
  • Find your water main – just in case there is a major leak or a burst pipe, knowing how to shut the water off quickly will minimize any damage.

Holiday Tips

In the Kitchen:

  • Avoid pouring fats or cooking oils down the drain because liquid fats solidify in the pipes and create clogs. Wipe congealed grease from pots.
  • Never put hard-to-grind, stringy, fibrous waste into the garbage disposer (poultry skins, carrots, celery, pumpkin pulp or banana peels). The disposer can't sufficiently grind these items and they will clog your sink drain.
  • Run cold water down the drain for about 15 seconds before and after using the garbage disposer to flush waste down the main line.
  • Turn on the disposer before adding food debris.
  • Run the dishwasher and washing machine at night or at off times to conserve hot water and maintain adequate water pressure for your guests.

In the Bathroom:

  • Plan ahead, spread showers throughout the day; wait 10 minutes between showers rather than taking one right after the other.
  • Turn up the water heater slightly to retain hot water. To avoid scalding, do not exceed 125°F.
  • If shower pressure is weak, pour a cup of vinegar into a plastic bag, place it over the shower head, and soak. Use a twist tie to hold it in place overnight. In the morning, remove the bag and use an old toothbrush to gently scrub off the mineral deposits to help restore water flow.

We had used other plumbing companies in the past, but Mallick has been the best by far.

- Mike C.

Tips for any season.

Consider replacing a water heater more than 15 years old. (The first four numbers of the serial number represent the month and year it was made.) Newer water heaters are more energy efficient and Make sure all of the faucets in the kitchen, bathrooms and basement are not leaking or dripping – this includes the water spout and the hot/cold handles.

1-Year warranty on new installations.

30-days warranty on repairs.

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