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Dec
21
2013

Water System Check-Up

Posted in What's New by Kate Whittemore
water system

Having a major plumbing problem sucks!

Sorry to be so crude, but losing the ability to wash yourself or your miserable spouse can wreak havoc on an otherwise peaceful home!

For this reason, regular maintenance to your residential water system is a must. But do we all make our water heater, pump or pressure tank a priority? No…

What does my pressure tank do and why do I care?

Do you like adequate water pressure? Do you want to spend hundreds of dollars on a new pump? Do you like the sound of water hammer reverberating through your home? Do you like paying a lot to the electric company?

Well, a pressure tank is what keeps water flowing to all of your faucets, even at the furthest points in your home, and it prevents your pump from cycling on and off constantly, thus reducing wear and tear, plus lowering utilities. If you are hearing water hammer, chances are you have a problem with your pressure tank.

Many people believe they have a bad pressure switch, when in actuality their pressure tank has become waterlogged. Sometimes being a little low in pressure or high can be fixed quickly and easily by adding or removing some air from the tank and other times it means finding the source of the problem, a bad bladder or a more major air leak in the line.

Tap your fingers on the side of your pressure tank, you should hear a ping in the top part of the tank and a dead pong sound toward the bottom of the tank. If you hear a ‘pong’ sound all of the way up the tank then it is waterlogged, which may be the result of too much sediment/minerals or excess chlorine ruining the bladder. Corrosion can also be a direct result of low pressure for a long time, which allows more and more water to sit in the bladder. If you end up replacing your pressure tank, be sure to evaluate whether you need to treat your water to reduce it’s corrosive nature, otherwise the same problem may re-occur over time.

Checking the expansion tank pressure.

Even if you aren’t noticing pressure problems or your pump cycling on and off, it is still a good idea to periodically check the pressure on your tank. Turn power off to your pump, open a nearby faucet and allow the water line to drain. Using a pressure guage at the pressure relief valve on the top of your tank, check to make sure the pressure is 2lbs below your cut-in pressure set on your pressure switch. Likewise check to make sure the switch is set to the cut-in pressure you think it is. Most switches have directions under the plastic lid, just be sure to turn off power to the switch before you make any adjustments.

Add or remove air at the pressure relief valve to get to the desired level of 2lbs less than the cut-in pressure. Then you are set to restart the pump and test the system. If the pressure drops again, then there is probably a leak in the bladder and it’s time to replace it.

If your pump doesn’t shut off or shuts off well after the cut-off pressure has been reached, make sure your switch is set correctly, if it is, then your switch may be faulty.

Remember to show your family how to reset the pressure switch, an overload of usage can cause the switch to be triggered or power outages can require you to do a reset before the pump can run. Save yourself the hassle of a frantic phonecall from your teenager, by showing them how to simply flip the lever on the side of the switch.

Keep your water heater working efficiently

If our water is hot we don’t pay any attention to water heater maintenance, but ignoring this valuable home appliance can lead to its early demise.

Once a year you should drain your water heater to help remove sediment. Turn the water and power or gas off and drain the water heater at least partially to remove sediment. If you can easily access the anode, use a deep socket wrench to unscrew the anode. If there is a cover on the top of the heater that may have to be removed and often a vent may prevent you from being able to access the anode easily. In this case it is probably wise to call a professional.

It may require more leverage to unscrew a highly coroded anode, so you can try slipping a piece of metal pipe over the wrench handle to give you some added ooommmff.

The anode acts to attract the sediment to this rod instead of collecting on your tank and corroding the walls. Removing a coated anode and replacing with a new one can improve the longevity of the water heater and possibly improve the quality of your water and reduce your power consumption. When you are replacing an anode be sure to wrap the threads with teflon tape before tightening.

 

 

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