What to Do About a Clogged Drains, Leaking Faucets, and Broken Water Heaters
January 4, 2019
Nobody wants to face reality and call a plumber. Who wants to deal with clogs, leaks, and sewage backups? But plumbing, and its associated maintenance and repairs, are a big part of owning a home.
Luckily, most of the plumbing problems we encounter can be prevented, or at least minimized.
On our latest episode of Home Services TV, Kerry Adkins gives homeowners valuable information for warding off plumbing problems.
1. Clogged Toilet
It’s not pretty, but it’s reality that your toilet you only need to flush what comes out of your body and toilet paper. If you stick with that, your toilet should work just fine.
If you have a weak toilet or septic system, you may want to stick with thin paper and not use too much.
2. Clogged Drains
Try to avoid pouring grease down the drain.
There is a product now that you can pour in your drains with beneficial bacteria that will eat away at the goo that builds up in your drains.
3. Leaking Faucets
One of the big things we see with leaky faucets is high water pressure. When you have too much water pressure, it will strain the faucets and gaskets, causing them to leak.
A licensed plumber can put a pressure gauge on the system to tell you if you have adequate water pressure. If the water pressure is too high or too low, your plumber will be able to fix it.
4. Broken and Inefficient Water Heaters
Replacing the water heater is a significant expense. You can extend the life of your water heater by flushing it at least once a year and inspecting the anode rod every 3 years or so.
How to flush your water heater (traditional tank water heaters):
- Locate the spigot at the bottom of your water heater.
- Connect your hose pipe to it.
- Run the other end of the hose outside to a nearby drain.
- Open the faucet up (you may need a flathead screwdriver) and let water flow through the hose to a drain outdoors.
This will help flush out all the sediment that gathers in the bottom of your tank. Flush it out for at least 20 minutes or until you see clear water flowing out of the hose.
If you have a tankless water heater, those need to be flushed once a year as well, but it’s a bit more complicated. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
How to inspect your anode rod:
If you are experiencing gritty or sandy water, you may want to inspect and replace the anode rod. If it’s been 3 years since the last time you checked the anode rod, now’s the time to inspect it again. A healthy anode rod also helps prevent sediment buildup.
- Turn off the water and fuel supply lines.
- Drain about 10% of the water in the tank (follow the instructions for draining a water heater).
- Locate the anode rod. Find the hex head on top of the water heater. It should be 1-1/16”(27mm).
- You will need a special 1 1/16-inch deep socket. This is a worthwhile investment if you will be checking your own anode rod every 3 years. Otherwise, a plumber can do this for you.
- Loosen the hex head, which takes a lot of torque and leverage. If the anode rod won’t budge, contact a professional plumber.
- Once the hex head has been loosened, you can pull the anode rod out. If your ceiling is too low, you may need to replace it with a flexible/collapsible anode rod.
- Use plumber’s tape to wrap the threads of the new anode rod before replacing it.
- Tighten the new anode rod by hand. Then use your socket wrench to tighten it about ½ turn more. Be careful not to over-tighten it.
If you don’t replace your anode rode every 3-5 years, don’t expect your water heater to last much longer than that. It takes about 3-6 years to completely corrode, which is why many homeowners may complain of the short lifespan of their water heaters. Your water heater will quickly start to corrode if your anode rod is shot.
Homeowners can take care of these preventative plumbing maintenance, but of course, you can always reach out to professional plumbers.
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