Plumbing FAQS
Owner, Mark Weilhammer, Answers Common Plumbing Questions:
~ Why Do Some Water Heaters Only Last a Few Years, While Others Last a Lifetime?
~ How Can I Extend the Life of My Hot Water Heater?
~ How Can I Eliminate Hard Water Problems?
~ Can a Home Electrical System Compromise My Plumbing?
Water pressure that reads above 80psi, (pounds per square inch), is high and can be damaging to a hot water heater. You see, homes that run on well-water typically have water pressure that measures around 50psi or pounds per square inch. These homes commonly exhibit increased longevity and performance value in their hot water heaters. To potentially double the lifespan of your water heater, consider installing a thermal expansion tank and a pressure reducing valve to lower your water pressure closer to 50 or 60psi.
Hard Water contains mineral ions, like calcium and iron, which can be damaging to home appliances; in particular, hot water heaters. The buildup and accumulation of these hard minerals can cause several other issues as well, ranging from minor inconveniences (spots on dishes, white scum on faucet heads, reduced water pressure, etc.) to major complications like appliance failure and pipe damage. Be sure to flush your water heater every few months from the bottom in order to reduce sediment buildup. By installing a water softener, you can reduce the level of hard minerals in your home water supply, as well as, improve the feel of your skin, appearance of dishes, and well-being of plumbing pipes. You can also install an anode rod to increase the life of your hot water heater.
A loose or broken ground rod in your breaker box can cause plumbing complications. This is because a bad ground at your breaker box can result in the copper piping taking on the obligation and becoming the principle “backup ground” for your home. For homeowners with a plastic in-coming water service, backup ground doesn’t really exist so there is none. This means the power has to find another way to ground itself; usually through a home’s copper piping and water heater. Overtime, copper piping will begin to atrophy and the condition of a water heater will diminish as well. There are also phone and cable grounds that are connected directly to a home’s plumbing system. These grounds can also attack a plumbing system if poor ground exists in a home.
Additional Plumbing Questions and Answers:
~ How Can I Avoid Burst Pipes During Polar Vortexes?
~ How Do I Prevent My Pipes from Freezing in Extreme Cold Weather?
~ Is it Possible to Thaw Frozen Plastic Pex Piping?
~ Should I Have Flood Insurance?
This may sound strange and it may seem like it is wasting money, but leaving your faucets slightly on and dripping during bitter snow storms or freezing cold nights can greatly reduce the chances of your pipes freezing over. This costs no more than 50 cents a day to do; which is a lot cheaper than the potential damages that could occur otherwise. If you know outdoor temperatures are going to drop near or below zero, drip your faucets and rest easy. You can also keep sink cabinets open to allow warm air to the piping system. If they seem frozen, simply use a hair dryer on low heat to thaw them out.
Be sure to insulate piping in unheated areas of a home as well for further protection against freezing pipes. Use pink insulation, Styrofoam spray, or blankets, cardboard, or plastic tarps to seal any open or vulnerable areas on the exterior of your home. Check windows for cracks and openings, as well as, open vents, crawl spaces, attics, foundations, and more. Another little trick to keep pipes from bursting and potentially save thousands of dollars, is to pile up snow against the side of your home. This strangely blocks cold air and wind from entering through openings in the exterior.
Plastic Pex piping is virtually impossible to thaw unless you breakthrough the drywall and directly heat them with a strong heating device. For this reason, it is critical to prevent Pex pipes from freezing up in the winter. If they do freeze over, your only option aside from total piping replacement is to simply “wait it out” while they thaw naturally, all the while keeping your fingers crossed that they are not broken or busted.

If you own a home in a known flood zone, then it is mandatory by state law to have active flood insurance. For homes that are not in known flood zones, insurance is not necessary. If you choose to purchase flood insurance, be sure to ask about the policies in detail. Some policies do not offered sufficient coverage, costing homeowners thousands of dollars in repairs. In case of a flood, be sure to immediately shut your water off with the main shut off valve. Be sure to visibly tag this valve and show members of family how to use it in case of a flooding emergency. Also, be sure to shut your water off anytime you go on vacation or leave town.