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Plumbing Tips

Plumbing Tips (42)


Many of the plumbing problems we see could have been avoided if homeowners had followed some simple maintenance tasks. Here are some maintenance procedures that are best performed at least once a year to keep your plumbing system working smoothly.

1. Repair leaks. That leaking shower head or faucet is more than just an annoyance. It could be costing you lots of money every year on your water bill. Replacing worn out washers is simple and inexpensive.

2. Clear out slow drains. Eventually that slow sink, shower or tub drain is going to clog, leading to a major clog that will require professional help to clear.

3. Clean faucet aerators and shower heads. If you're experiencing low water pressure the culprit may be mineral deposits that have built up in the fixture, reducing water flow. Remove aerators and soak them overnight in vinegar to remove mineral build up.

4. Have your sewer line inspected. One of the most costly and disruptive plumbing problems a homeowner can experience is a backed up sewer main. A video sewer line inspection will find any potential problems, including breaks, misalign pipes, and tree root intrusion that can lead to sewer line failure.

5. Flush your water heater tank. Flushing your water heater tank will prevent rust and sediment from building up at the bottom of the tank where it can reduce heating efficiency and shorten the life of the water heater.

6. Fix that flapper. A running toilet can waste a lot of water. Replacing the flapper is inexpensive and simple to do.

Have a tankless water heater? Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning the line filter.

Have questions about maintaining your home's plumbing system? Call Grand Lake Plumbing & Heating, we're here to help.
When water heater problem arise they usually present a few symptoms, these include:

No Hot Water

With a gas water heater, this is usually caused by a faulty pilot light, thermocouple or pilot control valve.

Hot water is running out too fast

Sometimes the tank is simply too small to meet the demands of the household for hot water. Other reasons could be a broken dip tube that is allowing cold and hot water to mix or a gas supply issue that is preventing the burner from reaching the preset temperature.

Discoloration of water

Rust colored water is usually an indication that corrosion is happing inside the tank. If the anode rod has failed corrosion can start attacking the inside glass lined tank, discoloring the water.

Water odors

Rotton egg smells could mean there is bacteria growing in the tank. Sediment fed by the corrosion of the tank anode tube is usually the cause. Flushing the tank can remove the sediment and the odors.

Unusual noises such as rumbling, popping or whining
When excessive sediment builds up at the bottom of the tank it can cause the water to boil and make noises as it percolates upwards. The tank should be flushed to remove the sediment.

Water leaks near base of the water heater

If the water tank is getting up in years it could be a leaking tank caused by excessive corrosion. If this is the case the water heater will need to be replaced.

Have questions about your water heater? Give Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating a call, we can help.


Tankless water heaters will all make some noise when starting up and heating water, but the noise levels are usually reasonable and not cause for concern. When the noise occurs when there is no hot water being used, it's likely there is a vacuum that's siphoning water away from the unit and causing loud noise and vibration. In most cases the solution is to have a plumber install a check valve in the water line to prevent other plumbing fixtures from interfering with the flow of water to the water heater.

Another common problem that can create noise in tankless water heaters is a dirty flow sensor which controls how much gas is sent to the unit. Other sources of noise include blocked or inadequate ventilation or a defective or improperly set pressure valve.

Because there can be many causes of the noise, it's best to have your plumber diagnose the problem and fix the unit if needed.

Have questions about your tankless water heater or other plumbing systems? Call Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating, we're here to help.
While every home is required to have a shutoff valve inside to turn off water when plumbing work is being performed or in the case of an emergency, the location can vary. Knowing where your shutoff valve is important, so here is how to locate the valve.

Basement Shutoff Valve

Basement shut-off valves are usually located near the front foundation wall. The main water supply will come through the concrete floor or the wall. The valve is typically within 3-5 feet of where the main water enters. In other cases, the main water may enter somewhere else, like a utility room, up through the floor, or near the water heater.

Crawl-space and a Basement

The shut-off valve may be where the water enters the basement or in some older homes, the shut-off may be inside the crawl space.

Crawl-space with no basement

The shut off valve will usually be located near the water heater or under the kitchen sink, but may be in another location. It may be inside the crawl-space; in which case, you may want to consider a secondary valve located up in the living space (near the water heater or under a sink).

Slab-on-grade construction

The shut-off valve will typically be located near the water heater or under the kitchen sink.

Have questions about locating your home's water shutoff valve? Give Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating a call, we would be happy to help.
The average tank-style water heater will last approximately 10 years. But the reality is it can last much longer with regular maintenance. By following these simple tips you can increase the lifespan of your water heater while also improving its efficiency. 

1. Flush the water heater tank annually

Flushing the tank will remove sediment that can cause corrosion and reduce the heating efficiency of the burner, which in turn will make it run more often, shortening its lifespan. Accumulated sediment can also cause premature rusting of the bottom of the tank. 

2. Inspect the Anode Rod

Because most water heater tanks are made of steel coated with a thin layer of glass, the lining will eventually crack and begin to rust. To head off corrosion a metal "anode rod" is used to increase the life of the tank. The anode rod is a magnesium or aluminum rod that encapsulates a steel core. The rod is screwed into the top of the tank and suspended in the water. An electrochemical process causes the exposed steel of the rod to react with the corrosive elements in the water. By causing a primary corrosive reaction inside the tank the rod sacrifices itself to help protect the steel tank from corrosion, greatly extending it's life.

One of the most important plumbing maintenance task is to ensure the anode rod is still working inside the tank. The rod can be accessed from the top of the water heater by unscrewing it and sliding it out. If the rod has significantly eroded away it should be replaced with a new rod. Replacing a worn out rod is far less expensive then replacing an entire rusted out water heater!

3. Use a Water Heater Blanket

This isn't a maintenance task, and you only have to do it once. Wrapping the water heater tank in an insulated blanket will reduce heat loss and reduce the time the burners are running, increasing the lifespan of the unit.

Need help maintaining your water heater? Call Grand Lake Plumbing. We're here to help.
Wednesday, 23 September 2015 23:15

Should Your Water Be Tested?

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For many Colorado homeowners with wells living near old mines knowing the safety and quality of drinking water is important.

But there are other reasons you may want to test your home's water, even if you don't have a well. These include:
  • Your home has lead pipes, or lead soldered joints
  • The water in your home has a strange taste or smell
  • You have soap soap scum on bathroom fixtures.
  • You're buying a home with a water treatment system and want to ensure it is working properly
  • You're installing a water treatment system and want to measure it's effectiveness
  • There are recurring gastrointestinal problems with occupants drinking water in the home
  • You are pregnant, or there is a child under six months old living in the home
  • You have a well that is near a septic tank or agricultural land
If problems are found with your drinking water, there are a number of water treatment solutions available to treat hard water and contamination. Have questions about water quality in your home? Give Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating a call, we can help test your water and offer solutions for most water quality problems.
Universal Design is a concept that aims to make living spaces accessible for the elderly, people with disabilities and everyone else. The goal is to create an environment that is accessible and does not create barriers to persons with physical limitations.

Universal design features isn't just for older individuals or the disabled — it's a sensible approach that makes living spaces better and safer for everyone. If you’re remodeling your kitchen or bathroom, adding Universal Design features will ensure that your home can adapt to your families needs down the road.

Accessible Kitchens and Bathrooms

The goal of designing an accessible kitchen or bathroom is to make it serve the broad needs and activities of families as they grow and change. These features include: curbless showers, space for seating under sinks, hand-held showers, comfort height toilets, wider doors, slip resistant surface and more. In addition, many plumbing fixtures are ADA compliant and offer features like motion detectors or wider handles for easier operation.

Have questions about making your kitchen and bathroom more accessible? Give Grand Lake Plumbing & Heating call, we're here to help.

If your old disposal is no longer working, or your updating your kitchen and want to have a more effective disposal, here are a few features to consider.

Disposal Power and Size

It's important to consider the size of the unit when replacing an existing disposal under your sink. While it makes some sense to look for a unit that fits the same space, a larger capacity unit will be able to handle a larger amount of waste more quickly. For best results we recommend at least 1/3 horsepower. For busy kitchens, some models are available with up to 1 horsepower.

Disposal Feeds and Grinders

There are two main types of feed designed to improve efficiency: batch or continuous. With a batch feed you just fill the machine, then turn it on. With a continuous feed you turn the unit on, run the water and put waste in. The main advantage of batch disposals is safety; it's difficult to break the blades by accidentally dropping cutlery into the unit. We recommend continuous feed models for their flexibility and greater convenience.

Features and Functions

Other features to look for include a cover, auto-reverse (for clearing jams) and a standard electrical cable so it can be plugged into an outlet rather than hard wired.

Need a new disposal for your kitchen. Give Grand Lake Plumbing & Heating a call, we're here to help.

Sewer line problems used to be hard to diagnose and fix. The first sign of trouble was often a slow drain or a backed up sewer line. Locating obstructions in the lateral line (the pipe that runs from the house to the main sewer line) used to involve having a specialist dig holes to locate the source of the problem and perform repairs.

Thankfully, diagnosing sewer and drain problems is a lot easier today with the help of video camera sewer line inspections. The process involves having a technician run a video cable through the branch lines that lead from from drains into the home's sewer line. A camera can also be snaked directly down the home's sewer line.

When Should You Have Video Sewer Line Inspection?

The best time to have a sewer line inspection is before there's a problem. If your home is more than 10 years old a sewer and drain line inspection can locate problems like tree root intrusion, fractures and misaligned joints that could cause problems down the road.

If you're planning on remodeling or adding a new bathroom a video inspection will help determine if your current sewer and drain lines will be able to handle the additional volume of waste. When buying a new home it's a good idea to have a video camera inspection performed to check the condition of the drain and sewer lines.

Have questions about sewer and drain line inspections? Call Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating. We're here to help.

Hot water that's lost through leaks or inefficiency doesn't just waste hundreds of gallons of water, it can also run up your utility bill. Here are some ways you can conserve hot water.

Fix Those Water Leaks

Even minor leaks from faucets, shower heads and pipes can waste large amounts of hot water over time. Even a small leak of one drip per second could cost $12 a year. Replacing worn washers and seals on plumbing fixtures will pay for itself in a short period of time. If your water heater's tank is leaking it should be replaced.

Install Low-Flow Plumbing Fixtures

Low-flow shower heads and faucets can be purchased for $10-20. For the best efficiency, select a shower head with a flow rate of less than 2.5 gpm (gallons per minute). The EPA mandates that new shower heads cannot exceed 2.5 gpm at a water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch (psi).

Upgrade to Energy Efficient Appliances

One of the biggest expenses of cleaning dishes and clothes comes from the energy used to heat the water. Before purchasing a new appliance check the EnergyGuide label to see how much energy it will use annually.

Use Cold Water Whenever Possible

When doing laundry choose the cold water clean cycle when possible. Many soaps and detergents will work fine with cold water.

Have questions about conserving water around the home. Give Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating a call. We're here to help.
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12208 US Highway 34
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