The temperature of my hot water seems to be higher than what I think it needs to be.
The new standard temperature that manufacturers use when pre-setting your hot water heater at the factory is typically 110°F. This is a sufficient temperature for most households. If you have an older model, you can set the thermostat at medium. Gas models usually have a dial on the front of the gas valve. Electric models have thermostats (there may be two) that are concealed behind the two panels on the side of the tank. You can adjust the temperature to meet your needs. Keep in mind that hot water also helps in minimizing the growth of bacteria. Consult your Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® professional for the recommended temperatures for your particular needs. NOTE: Turn off the electricity to the water heater before performing any personal maintenance. There can be exposed wires behind the panels that may result in extreme shock.
What does it mean when I hear a rumbling sound coming from the water heater?
Rumbling sounds can be an indication that sediment has built up on the bottom of the water heater. Water can become trapped in this sediment and begin to boil. This means the water heater is not operating efficiently and the sediment isn’t allowing the heat to transfer to the water in the tank. You may try draining a few gallons of water off the bottom of the water heater tank. Leave water flowing into the water heater, then open the drain valve at the bottom and drain the water for about 10 minutes. For safety turn off power to electric water heater while flushing. Many newer models of water heaters have a new feature that prohibits the buildup of sediment in the tank. If your heater is an older model, it may be cost-effective to replace the water heater if the buildup is severe.
Contact Benjamin Franklin Plumbing for membership opportunities in our Ben Franklin SocietyTM, for year-round maintenance of your water heater. WARNING: Hot water is dangerous. Discharge the water into a floor drain, laundry tub or bathtub. Hot water will kill your grass if allowed to run on your lawn and will also crack a toilet bowl if discharged into the toilet. Turn off power to the water heater prior to draining.
Is there any maintenance for a water heater that I can do?
Yes, you should test the pressure relief valve regularly. This is very dangerous work, so we recommend hiring a Benjamin Franklin Plumbing professional to conduct this testing.
What happens when roots get inside drain lines?
If left undisturbed, roots from shrubs and trees will completely fill a pipe with multiple hair-like root masses at each point of entry. These root masses quickly become clogged with toilet tissue, grease and other debris flowing from your home to the main sewer, resulting in reduced flow, slow running drains and in most cases a complete blockage. Once roots have entered the pipe, they continue to grow and expand, exerting considerable pressure at the crack or joint. This increased pressure often breaks the pipe and may result in total collapse, which requires repair or replacement. Some pipe materials are more susceptible to root intrusion than others. Clay tile pipe is easily penetrated and damaged by tree roots. Concrete pipe and PVC pipe may also allow root intrusion, but to a lesser extent than clay pipe. PVC pipe usually has fewer joints and the tightly fitted joints are less likely to leak as a result of settlement around the pipe. Allow Benjamin Franklin Plumbing to use state-of-the-art inline drain cameras to view and record your drain problems with roots.
What is the white substance around my shower head and faucet?
The unsightly buildup 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. Your Benjamin Franklin Plumbing professional can explain to you all about the water softening and conditioning options available to you.
How do I eliminate the foul odor coming from my garbage disposal?
This is a common plumbing troubleshooting question. Foul odors occur from a buildup of food debris within the disposal. To eliminate odors, place ice cubes in the disposal, and run for 30 seconds. Next, squirt a little liquid dish detergent into the disposer while it is still running. Finally, run cold water for about 30 seconds to rinse all the debris away.
What is the recommendation for replacing a toilet in my home?
When considering any new fixture for your home, we recommend that you choose a fixture made by one of the major manufacturers. If cracks or fissures are present in the tank or bowl, this can impede the operation of the fixture. Poor mounting and deteriorating rings and seals can affect the operation as well. Keep in mind that many of the new toilets conform to government standards that require they use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. If you are replacing an older model, this may take getting used to.
What could be the cause of my recent high water bills?
You may want to check to see if a toilet is leaking. Check the water level in the tank to see if water is overflowing into the overflow pipe. This is the pipe in the middle of the tank which has a small tube connected to it. In the event water is running into the overflow pipe, adjust the fill valve to stop the flow approximately one inch below the top of the overflow tube or to the water level mark stamped on the side of the tank. Periodic maintenance by a plumbing professional will ensure proper operation.
I have a problem with the plumbing in my house making groaning and honking noises.
Those sounds could signal a number of issues with your plumbing. It's important to contact a Benjamin Franklin Plumbing expert immediately to diagnose the problem.
I think my kitchen drains are partially clogged because the sink drains slowly. What do you recommend?
First, try using a plunger. Second, you can remove the trap and remove any debris. Third, if the clog is beyond the trap, there are drain augers that extend from about 15 feet to about 50 feet. Once your drains are cleared, talk to a Benjamin Franklin Plumbing professional about BioBen, which helps prevent buildup in your plumbing systems.