Spring and Fall are the best times to consider plumbing maintenance. Drain cleaning, in particular, is most important during these times. This is when tree root intrusion is the most common because the soil is so moist and roots become a huge problem. Doing preventive maintenance such as semi-annual drain cleaning can really help prevent costly and time consuming services. Most of the time people just want to wait until there is a problem before doing anything about it. However, there is usually a problem lurking that is unseen until it's too late. By then it has become an emergency that may have landed on a night, weekend, or a holiday and everyone's at your house. It is best to keep your plumbing working smoothly and properly to avoid such an emergency. If you find yourself in an emergency there are options to getting the problem resolved efficiently. We have state-of-the-art equipment for detecting and resolving plumbing issues such as augers, jetters, sewer cameras, and leak detection equipment. Call us to schedule semi-annual drain cleaning or if it has become an emergency, we offer 24-emergency service. We'll come right out and get your plumbing working great again. Call 801-546-0522. For more information visit
Plumbing Tips & Information
Robert W. Speirs Plumbing, Inc.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Water Heater Popping & Crackling
When the bottom of the water heater tank has hard water build-up, water gets trapped between the minerals and the tank. The water heats to the point of boiling and begins making rumbling and popping noises. Those noises are tiny explosions of superheated water bursting through the hard water minerals and coming into contact with the cooler water. When this happens the heat exchange rate from your burners to the water is obviously becoming very poor. To put it into perspective; For every 1/2" of sediment sitting in the bottom of the water heater tank it is using 70% more gas to heat that water. Your tank will not produce as much hot water as quickly which leads to colder showers and the bottom of your water heater tank is being overheated which is shortening its' lifespan. A common complaint when this is happening is that there is not enough hot water so you end up turning the water heater temperature up. It is now costing more and more to heat the water and a burn/scald risk is created.
Most of the time nobody wants to even think about spending money to repair or replace a water heater but they don't think about what it may cost them to do nothing. If your water heater caused a flood you may have up to $25,000 or more in damage when a simple repair or replacement may have only costed around $100-$700.
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Monday, January 10, 2011
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Natural Disasters & Plumbing
There are a few things to consider in preparing for natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornados, freezing temperatures, etc.
~Where is the gas shut-off?
The first thing to do after a natural disaster is to SHUT OFF THE GAS! This is something you and all members of the residence need to learn how to do before it's too late. Disasters, such as earthquakes, can cause gas lines to break and leak. This poses a fire threat if it isn't shut off quickly. Contact a local professional to check your system before turning it back on.
To shut off the gas: Turn the valve clockwise until the holes line up.
~Where is the water main shut-off?
If you are facing a water emergency (i.e. leaking pipes, frozen water lines, water heater failure, etc.) You'll need to know where and how to shut off the water main. Most homes have a shut-off inside of the home but some older homes only have a water meter, near the street, to shut off the water supply. Make sure you and your family know how to turn off the water supply in any emergency. This will help prevent a flooded home while you wait for the plumber to arrive.
Turn the valve clockwise to shut the water off.
~Is the water heater strapped properly?
Code requires a water heater to be strapped with approved straps on the top and bottom thirds of the water heater. This is to help prevent the water heater from tipping or breaking away during an earthquake which could cause the water and gas lines to break leading to extensive property damage or loss of life.
PREVENTION IS KEY!
It is easy to feel like there isn't money to take certain precautions but it is certainly cheaper to prevent damage than it is to repair it. Take some time and spend a little money to be prepared. It'll give you peace of mind and it may pay off someday.
For more information and helpful plumbing tips visit our website
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Kitchen Sink Mistakes
Most homes have plastic drainage systems and most people don't realize the damage they can do to those pipes. Kitchen drains are especially vulnerable to wearing out because of what we put down them. When you dump hot water down your kitchen sink it causes the drain pipe to expand. When it cools down it contracts. The more this is done it causes the drainage pipe to wear out and start leaking.
Since the kitchen is the most common area for this type of damage, keep in mind what you are putting down the sink. If you are draining boiling water then turn on the faucet to cold and let the water run down the drain at the same time. If you are putting food down the disposal then be sure to run plenty of water down behind it. This will also help your drains to stay clog-free and keep all components working properly.
If you find that you are having issues with your plumbing,
give us a call at 801-546-0522.
We'll come right out and fix it right.
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Before the cold winter months it is important to do preventive maintenance to keep your plumbing working properly and also to avoid costly repairs.
Remove all attached hoses from any hose bibs on your home. Your hose bib is probably freezeless but it can, and probably will, freeze if a hose is left attached during freezing temperatures. You most likely will not find out that it froze until you go to use it in the Spring.
Many homes are built with water lines in the outside walls of the home. Those water lines are the most susceptible to freezing, especially if they don't have adequate insulation. Add extra insulation in these areas. It will probably be cheaper to open up a wall or cabinet to add insulation than it would be to pay professionals to clean up and repair a flood in your home. It is also a good idea to leave a faucet dripping slowly, keeping the water flowing to help
prevent a freeze in the water lines.
Taking a few small preventive steps can really save you a lot of money in future repairs.
For more information and tips please visit our website.
Monday, March 29, 2010
These are just a few of the questions you might have about expansion tanks. They serve a great purpose. They are installed at your water heater location to allow for expansion of the heated water. Most homes have a dual check valve at the meter shut-off that will not allow water to re-enter the city's water supply once it has passed by your water meter. So if there is a pressure spike or thermal expansion, the expansion tank is able to absorb the expansion. If not, the Temperature and Pressure relief valve (T&P) located on the water heater will open up and relieve the excess pressure.
If the expansion tank is leaking, it needs to be replaced. It should be replaced by a professional plumber to ensure that it is pumped up to the proper pressure. Otherwise, it will not be able to perform properly. Be sure to inspect it periodically. Check for rust and leaks. If it is full of water, it needs to be replaced. Knock on the tank and if it sounds hollow, it is still functional.
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Thursday, August 13, 2009
PRESSURE REDUCING VALVE (PRV)
Do you ever wonder what that brass thing is by the main water shut-off? That is one of the most important plumbing parts in your home. It is called a Pressure Reducing Valve, also known as a PRV. Without it, your home is more susceptible to water pressure spikes. This can cause severe damage to your home as it may rupture pipes, water heaters, water softeners, faucets etc.
Water main pressure can exceed 200psi. Municipal and private water supply companies use pumps and pumping stations to boost water supply pressures. This allows them to maintain adequate water pressure for fire fighting, high-rise buildings to overcome loss of pressure and to maintain water supply in water towers and supply tanks. Water pressure reducing valves, on domestic systems where the municipal water main’s pressure exceeds 80psi, are required. Also, in reference to our blog post on water heater explosions, keeping your PRV in proper working order will help keep the water pressure at or around 50 psi. While there are more factors that go into water heater explosions, a working PRV will help prevent water heaters from exploding.
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Friday, August 7, 2009
Hot Water Burns
For every 1/2" of sediment build-up in a water heater, it uses 70% more energy to heat up the water. It is most likely costing more to keep an old water heater running than it would to replace it with a more energy efficient model. A common mistake when running out of hot water is to turn the thermostat to the highest setting on the water heater. Children and the elderly are the most susceptible to burns because their reaction time to scalding water is slower. Small children don't know how to remove themselves from the threat of scalding water either.
Third degree burn at 160F Degree water = less than 1 second
Third degree burn at 150F Degree water = 2 seconds
Third degree burn at 140F Degree water = 6 seconds
Third degree burn at 125F Degree water = 2 minutes
Third degree burn at 120F Degree water = 10 minutes
Even though it is relatively safe, exposure to 110 F degree water is painful. The human threshold for pain is around 106F degrees to 108F degrees. It is best to set your water heater at 120F degrees to 125F degrees for best effieciency and to help prevent burns. Still take proper precautions, especially with children. If you find that you run out of hot water before everyone is done showering; consider upgrading your water heater to a larger, more efficient model or add a second water heater to your existing one. The additional cost is minimal compared to a trip to the emergency room.
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Thursday, August 6, 2009
Water Heater Explosion Prevention
Water heaters can blow up! In the picture above is a home that was destroyed by a water heater that malfunctioned and exploded. While this is rare, it can and has happened. There are some precautions that you can take to prevent this from happening. Either on the top or side of your water heater there is a Temperature & Pressure relief valve. It detects if there is too much pressure building within the water heater and it will relieve the pressure as it becomes too great. It's important to know that water turns to steam at approximately 200 F degrees depending on pressure and steam expands to 1600 times it's original water volume. That's what actually creates the explosion.
Here's what you can do to test your T&P relief valve:
There is a small handle that lifts a pin in the center of the valve. Before testing make sure you are in a safe position where you will not be struck by the hot water discharge and that you know how to shut off the water supply to the water heater. You don’t have to turn it off but you need to know how to do it as the valve, when tested, may not reseat properly causing water to leak. If this occurs you will need to be able to shut off the water until the valve can be replaced. All you need to do for the test is lift the handle so the valve opens then release it so it closes. If the valve is frozen (it does not open or close), it should be replaced ASAP. Sometimes the valve may not set properly after testing. Open it and allow it to slam shut several times. If this works the valve is okay. If it doesn’t it needs to be replaced. This test does not ruin a valve. If the valve fails the test it was already bad and was not offering the protection you need. Regular testing may actually increase the life of the valve. Test the valve a minimum of once a year.
Note: The T&P valve should never leak on its' own. If you notice water coming out of it, it is a sign of something wrong within the plumbing system. Too much pressure is building up within the water heater or the T&P valve is broken. Contact a plumbing professional to address the problem.
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