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Clearing Heavy Blockage In The Main Drain

Here are some tips from Salina Plumbing Co. Inc., in Salina, Kansas:
A major block may be caused by large items falling into the drains, or tree roots breaking into the drain system. For any of the major types of clogs in the main system, a heavy duty sewer snake should be used. The two types of large snakes are a hand operated or electrically powered snake. These items can be rented or purchased. Often, this is a job for a plumber. You do not want to damage the line running out of the house.
There are three ways to access a major clog:
  1. Lifting the toilet will access most of the system.
  2. In many homes, there is an outside or inside clean-out plug to access most of the system.
  3. Access can be found through the main roof vent for the entire system. This is the hardest to access and power tools can be a problem depending on the roof incline.
7 Causes Of Water Pressure Loss
  1. There could be a general fall in pressure while the utility company is working on their infrastructure.
  2. There could be a leak in the system and water is being diverted from your main inlet.
  3. In a hard water area, the pipes could just be furred up with calcium reducing the diameter of the pipes and allowing less water to flow through them.
  4. You might have accidentally partially closed the main inlet control valve.
  5. The demand in the local area could have spiked as many people tried to draw water at the same time.
  6. You might have forgotten to turn off a faucet so water is running to waste somewhere in the house or garden.
  7. There is always the risk that a fall in water pressure could indicate a leak in the house or the service line, so check to see if you can see your water meter spinning even if you have all water in the house shut off.
Hot Water Heater Repair

A water heater is the kind of home appliance most of us take for granted, but when you jump into the shower and are met with a blast of cold water, you know it’s time for hot water heater repair. This obviously isn’t a very pleasant experience, but it can be avoided if you are savvy with basic water heater maintenance. Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a water heater, how each part functions, and how they should be maintained and repaired.
The Anatomy of a Water Heater
A water heater consists of hot water supply line, gas vent, and cold water input line.
A hot water heater is basically a storage tank that heats and then holds water. For a water tank to work, it needs:
  •   Heat source (most commonly a gas fire, but they can be electrically heated)
  •   Thermostat to regulate the temperature of the water
  •   Cold water supply source
  •   Hot water outlet to supply the home
It also has some other very necessary components.
  • For safety, it has a vent for combustion gasses, and a pressure relief valve (also known as a TPR valve, temperature pressure relief valve, or just relief valve)
  • Safety device that releases pressure from the tank if either the internal temperature or pressure gets too high.
  • Anode - a metal rod that prevents corrosion and helps eliminate smells from the water
  • Dip tube, which directs cold unheated water to the bottom of the tank
  • Drain valve near the bottom of the tank so it can be emptied
The repair work you can do on your hot water heater depends on how comfortable you are working with tools. At a minimum, any homeowner can drain and flush a water heater.
Water Heater Maintenance
Draining the water heater will help eliminate any build up of sediment inside the tank. To drain the tank, first turn off the heat source and run hot water from a faucet until the water from the tank  runs cool. Turn off the cold water supply and attach one end of a hose to the bottom drain valve and run the hose to a drain or outside the house. Open a hot water faucet in the house to let air into the top of the tank, and then open the drain valve on the water tank. When all the water has drained from the tank, turn the cold water supply valve off and on a few times, essentially flushing any sediment out of the tank. When the water coming out the drain valve runs clear, disconnect the hose from the drain valve, close the valve and refill the tank. Turn a hot water faucet on and purge all air from the tank, turn each hot water faucet in the house off and on, eliminating any air in the hot water system. When the tank is full of water, and all air has been purged from system, turn on the heat source.
Basic Hot Water Heater Repair
Problem: There's no hot water. Solution: Either the flame has gone out or the thermostat is not functioning.
  • Check to see if the pilot light is on. If it has gone out, it needs to be relit. This is something you can do yourself (follow the water heater manufacturer's directions explicitly).
  • Check the thermostat. Turn on a hot water tap and leave it running for a few minutes. The burner should light automatically as the thermostat recognizes the need to heat water. If it doesn't, the thermostat is likely defective and will need to be replaced.
Problem: There's not enough hot water. Solution: The obvious first step is to check that your thermostat is set properly. If it is, have you flushed out the tank recently? A build up of deposits inside the tank could reduce its capacity, meaning you won't have enough water for a long shower.
Another possibility is that the dip tube is broken. The dip tube is made of plastic and its job is to direct the incoming cold water to the bottom of the tank where it will be warmed before it mixes with the hot water already in the tank. If the dip tube has broken, incoming cold water may be mixing with the hot water in the upper part of the tank, lowering the overall water temperature. You can access the dip tube by removing the cold water supply plumbing and then gently lifting the dip tube out of the tank. Replacements are available.
Performing water heater maintenance as suggested above will help keep your tank working. Basic hot water heater repair is also well within the skill of most homeowners. However, moving beyond basic maintenance and repair can put your plumbing skills to the test, as well as bring you into contact with combustible gas or electricity and water; possible dangerous combinations. If you feel uncomfortable with any aspects of hot water heater repair or maintenance, don't do it. Instead, contact a professional plumber.

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