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Plumbing Tips
Plumbing Tips

Plumbing Tips (20)


Wednesday, 19 March 2014 18:46

Do You Need A Water Heater Expansion Tank?

Written by Administrator
Because water will expand when heated, the excess pressure inside the water heater tank needs to be released. In the past, the expanding water in the tank would simply drain back out into the municipal water supply where it came from. Today, the water main is designed to prevent the backwards release of pressure, known as backflow, by employing a check valve. The check valve prevents waste water from inside the house returning to the water supply where it can contaminate the supply of fresh water.

A water heater expansion tank is another small tank that is attached to the water supply pipe of the water heater. The expansion tank is designed to handle the thermal expansion of water as it heats up in the water heater, preventing excessive water pressure. If water pressure gets to high it can damage valves in plumbing fixtures, joints in supply pipes and the water heater itself. Expanding water from the water heater flows into the expansion tank, relieving water pressure in the system.

What if my water heater doesn't have an expansion tank?

Most homes that have a check valve on the water main do not have an expansion tank, since it wasn't required until recently. This may or may not cause excessive pressure buildup, depending on the specific design of the plumbing in the house.

If you are noticing that washers in plumbing fixtures are deteriorating rapidly, or water is dripping from the relief valve on the water heater, it may be wise to add an expansion tank. It can be low cost insurance against more costly damage to your home's plumbing system.

Many people purchase a conventional tank water heater and simply forget about it until it stops working and it's time to replace it.

However, with a few simple water heater maintenance steps you can increase the lifespan of the unit while also making it work more efficiently.

1. Flush the water heater tank annually

Almost all water heater manufacturers will recommend flushing the water heater tank annually. Draining the tank will remove the sediment that has collected at the bottom of the tank which will allow the burner to work more efficiently.

Check the manufacturer's instructions for the correct procedure for draining your model of water heater.

2. Check the anode rod and replace it if needed

The anode rod hangs in the tank to help prevent its inside from rusting out. It should be checked annually when the tank is drained. Replacing a badly corroded rod is far cheaper than replacing the water heater.
Without a good anode rod, hot water will rapidly corrode the inside of the tank, shortening its life.

3. Insulate the water heater tank

This is a step you only have to do once. Wrapping your water heater in a blanket of insulation can improve it's efficiency up to 40 percent.

Is Your Sump Pump Ready For Winter Thaw and Spring Rains?

Many homes in the Colorado mountains experience some amount of below ground water seepage. Even a small amount of water entering the home can cause damage if left unchecked. Excessive moisture can also create an environment for mold and mildew to grow, causing health concerns.

A sump pump is an electric pump that is installed in the basement or crawlspace of a home to keep water from accumulating. A sump pump is typically placed in a sump pump pit designed to allow water to drain below the floor and allow the pump to remove the water.  As the pit fills with water, the pump turns on automatically, moving the water out of the pit through a drain pipe that exits the home and releases the water awy from the house. The pipe also has a check valve near the pump to keep the water from flowing backwards.


Testing Your Sump Pump

With the winter snowpack thawing and the spring rains just around the corner, spring is a good time to ensure your sump pump is working properly. Because sump pumps are usually hidden out of sight, we often don't think about them until a problem arises. To test your sump pump slowly pour a bucket of water into the sump pump pit. The pump should turn on a begin removing the water. If it does not turn on, ensure power is reaching the pump. If the pump still doesn't work, call Grand Lake Plumbing to have the unit tested and repaired if necessary.
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 14:39

Tips For Maintaining a Tankless Water Heater

Written by Administrator

Tips For Maintaining a Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters have dramatically changed how water heaters work by heating water on demand to save energy and ensure an endless supply of hot water for bathing, cooking, laundry and more. They are also one of the most technologically advanced plumbing devices available, and require routine maintenance to ensure that the operate reliably and at peak efficiency.


Flush the system to remove mineral build up

Over time, tankless water heaters will accumulate minerals on the inside of the tank's heating chamber. To remove the mineral build up the unit should be flushed regularly, usually one a year, to remove these accumulated mineral deposits. The steps involved will vary by manufacturer, but the procedure usually involves attaching a hose and flushing the tank with vinegar.


Clean the line screen filter

The second tankless water heater maintenance task involves cleaning the in-line screen filter to remove any accumulated debris.  Turn off the incoming water supply. The filter is located on inlet fixture on the cabinet. Unscrew the plug to remove the filter. Rinse the filter off and reinstall it on the unit. Always read your water heater owner's manual before attempting any maintenance.

Have questions about maintaining your tankless water heater? Call Grand Lake Plumbing. Our expert plumbers are here to help.

3 Tips to Make Your Water Heater Last Longer and Work More Efficiently

Most homeowners purchase a water heater and just forget about it until it stops working and it's time to replace it. But with a few simple water heater maintenance steps you can increase the lifespan of the unit while also making it work more efficiently.

1. Flush the water heater tank annually

Almost all water heater manufacturers will recommend flushing the water heater tank annually. Draining the tank will remove the sediment that has collected at the bottom of the tank which will allow the burner to work more efficiently.

Check the manufacturer's instructions for the correct procedure for draining your model of water heater.

2. Check the anode rod and replace it if needed

The anode rod hangs in the tank to help prevent its inside from rusting out. It should be checked annually when the tank is drained. Replacing a badly corroded rod is far cheaper than replacing the water heater.
Without a good anode rod, hot water will rapidly corrode the inside of the tank, shortening its life.

3. Insulate the water heater tank

This is a step you only have to do once. Wrapping your water heater in a blanket of insulation can improve it's efficiency up to 40 percent.

The Hazards of Household Chemical Drain Cleaning Products

Chemical drain cleaners are some of the most hazardous chemicals found in homes today. They are not only a potential health hazard, but can also damage your plumbing system and home furnishings.

Chemical drain cleaners are typically found in several forms. The alkaline kind contains sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide. The acidic kind contain concentrated sulphuric acid. Other chemicals often found in home drain cleaners include bleach and lye.

 Drain cleaners can be effective at removing organic matter in the area immediately below the drain opening, but they are usually ineffective on tougher clogs that form further down the drain pipe, particularly toilet and sewer line clogs.

Because chemical drain cleaners work by causing a chemical reaction with the organic matter clogging the drain, it's important that they be poured slowly and that you protect yourself any potential contact with the chemicals. Read the instructions carefully as contact with some of these chemicals can cause burns, blindness and inflammation to your respiratory system.

Chemical drain cleaners can also corrode metal pipes and damage the finishes in your kitchen or bathroom, such as wood, paint, aluminum and fiberglass.

The Advantages of Calling a Professional Plumber For Drain Cleaning

The safest and most effective way to clear clogged drains is to call a professional plumber. A plumber will use mechanical means to remove the toughest clogs that chemical drain cleaners either cannot reach, or are unable to fully dissolve.

You'll eliminate the need to store hazardous chemicals in your home, which can harm your family's health and potentially damage your plumbing system. So the next time you have a clogged drain emergency, call Grand Lake Plumbing & Heating. We'll arive in minutes, not hours to unglog your drains, FAST.




Saturday, 28 December 2013 13:35

Preventing Frozen Pipes In Your Home This Winter

Written by Administrator

Preventing Frozen Pipes In Your Home This Winter

When a pipe freezes and bursts during a cold snap it can cause extensive damage to your home and property. Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and exterior walls are most likely to freeze, particularly if there are cracks that allow outside air to blow in and over the pipes. For pipes installed in unheated spaces, freezing usually happens when the outside temperature falls to 20°F or below.

If you have access to pipes on exterior walls, attics or crawl spaces you can fit insulation sleeves or wrapping to slow the transfer of heat. Also ensure that there are no gaps that could expose the pipes to freezing air by using caulk or spray foam to seal and holes or gaps.

Kitchen and bathroom cabinets often prevent heat from reaching water pipes under sinks that are adjacent to outside walls. Simply keeping cabinet doors open during cold spells allows warm indoor air to circulate around the pipes. During extreme cold spells, running faucets slowly can reduce the likelihood of a burst pipe. The water in the pipe might still freeze, but the pressure inside the pipe can escape more easily, preventing a rupture. If your're going to be away from home for an extended period, consider draining the water from your homes plumbing. Also, remember not to leave your thermostat set too low.

What to do when your pipes freeze

If you open a faucet and the water isn't flowing, don't take chances, call Grand Lake Plumbing. If a water pipe bursts, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve. Leave the affected faucet(s) open until a plumber has inspected the pipes to ensure there is no damage. Never attempt to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame like a candle or propane torch – as this can damage the pipe and cause a fire.
Thursday, 10 October 2013 07:06

Four Common Myths About Water Softeners

Written by Administrator

Four Common Myths About Water Softeners

In the Colorado mountain environment hard water is a fact of life. The minerals in the water cause water spots, clogged plumbing fixtures and can damage your water heater and other appliances.

A water softener is used to remove the calcium and magnesium that cause hard water. There are many misconceptions about softened water. Here are some of the most common you may have heard:

Water Softener Myth One - Using a water softener removes calcium and magnesium, important nutrients our bodies need.

While a water softener will remove these minerals from the water, the fact is, minerals found in drinking water are in an inorganic form that can not be absorbed by our bodies in the same way that nutrients are delivered through food and dietary supplements.

Water Softener Myth Two - Water softeners cause a reaction in the water that leaves residue on your skin.


Your skin often feels silkier after a shower with softened water because your skin's natural oils are able to more readily absorb into your skin’s surface. Softened water also helps soaps and shampoos lather up faster. So showering in softened water actually leaves your much cleaner than when you shower in hard water.

Water Softener Myth Three - Water softeners add salt to your water, which can increase your sodium intake.

The salt used in a water softener facilitates the ion-exchange system that removes the salts binding the calcium and magnesium and replaces them with other salts. So the total salt level in the water is not increased to any significant degree. For comparison, a can of Coca-Cola has about 39 milligrams of sodium while a 12 ounce glass of softened water contains less than half this amount sodium.

Water Softener Myth Four - Drinking treated water removes the essential minerals from your body.

Nothing is removed from your body by drinking filtered or distilled water, The EPA actually recommends using reverse osmosis water treatment to remove harmful substances from drinking water.
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 20:04

Identifying and Fixing Water Leaks Around The Home

Written by Administrator
Undetected water leaks can cost you money not only on your water bill, but in unseen damage to your building.

The most common types of leaks we find are worn out toilet flappers, dripping faucets, leaking valves and pipes. Repairing these leaks can pay for itself in water savings alone.

Checking for Water Leaks

When checking for leaks around your building, you first need to determine whether you're wasting any water, and then identify the source of the leak.

Have a look at your water meter before and after a couple hour period when water is not being used. If the meter shows any increase at all, you probably have a leak.

Leaking Toilets

You can identify toilet leaks by placing a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after 15 minutes, you have a leak.

The most common reason toilets leak is an old or worn out toilet flapper, also called a valve seal. Flappers are inexpensive rubber parts that can build up minerals or decay over time. Replacing them can be a quick and easy fix for your water loss.

Also examine the toilet gaskets and  fittings for any water leaks on the outside of the toilet.

Leaking Faucets

The most common cause of leaking faucets are old, worn faucet washers and gaskets.

Leaking Water Heaters

Old water heater tanks can rust and develop leaks over time. Inspect the area around the water heater tank for signs of water leaks or stains.

If you are still experiencing water loss after checking the plumbing fixtures around your home, call Grand Lake Plumbing. We can help you solve the more difficult water leak problems.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013 19:47

Frequently Asked Questions About Home Sewer Lines

Written by Administrator
Many homeowners only think about their sewer line when there's a major problem. When problems occur, there are many questions to consider. Here are some of the most common questions we receive from homeowners about their sewer lines.

How long will my sewer line last?

How long a sewer will last depends on a number of factors including the pipe material, proximity to trees, etc. If your sewer line is more than 40 years old, it may need replacing.

Even if the home is newer, its plumbing may be connected to an older sewer pipe.

If the sewer line is damaged, who's responsible for fixing it?

In most municipalities, homeowners are responsible for maintaining the sewer line from the home to the sewer main.

Does homeowner's insurance cover sewer line damage and repair?

Most insurance policies exclude repairs to sewer lines caused by gradual wear and tear. Before problems occur, check your homeowner's insurance policy to see if it covers sewer pipe repair or replacement.

Some insurance companies will add a sewer and drain endorsement to your policy to cover losses related to a sewer line backup, to cover damage to your home.

What causes sewer line damage?

The most common problem with older homes built prior to 1980 is damage from tree roots that have invaded the joints of the pipes. Other causes include acts of nature, accidental damage from digging to close to the pipe, and inevitable deterioration to the pipes over time.

How can I prevent damage to my sewer line?

Even if your home is newer, regular video sewer line inspections are good insurance. By inspecting the pipes for bulges, joint failures, cracks and tree root intrusion, you can prevent a costly sewer line backup and extensive repairs.

My sewer line is damaged, what are my options?

In the past, your only option was to dig a trench in your yard to gain access to the damaged section of the pipe. With newer trenchless sewer line repair technology, we can often repair a damaged sewer line from inside the line itself by cleared and the damage section and relining the damage section of the pipe.
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Grand Lake Plumbing & Heating
P.O. Box 529
Grand County, CO 80447
Grand Lake Plumbing & Heating
1900 Bridge Lane
Steamboat Springs, CO 80477
Grand Lake Plumbing & Heating
12208 US Highway 34
Grand lake, CO 80447