How much can I expect to save on my monthly water bill by installing a low-flow toilet?A:
Your savings will vary depending on the amount of flushes but on average a typical household will see savings of between $50 and $100 annually.
Why does my water heater run out of hot water so quickly?A:
There may be nothing wrong with your water heater. It may actually be that your faucets and shower heads are the culprits. Some older shower heads put out up to 5 gallons per minute. Newer shower heads only allow around 2.5 gallons of volume per minute. Switching to lower volume shower heads and faucets can sometimes solve the problem. It could also be that your water heaters' dip tube needs to be replaced.
What's causing water to leak from my water heater?A:
The most serious cause of water leaks from water heaters is a rusted out tank, which requires you to replace the entire water heater. If your water heater is not near the end of the manufacturer's life estimate, it could be a much simpler and less costly problem. The pressure relief valve, usually located at the top of the unit, could be leaking. The cause could be a defective or worn out valve, or one that simply needs tightening. Your owner manual should have detailed information about repairing or replacing the valve.
Why does my toilet keep refilling?A:
There are a number of possible causes for this problem. It could be that the flapper isn't seating properly. The flapper can accumulate a thin layer of scale or a slippery film over time, which can cause the water seal to fail. Cleaning or replacing the flapper will correct this problem. Another cause can be a kinked or tangled lift chain, which is easily fixed as well. If neither of these is the problem, it could be a worn out flush valve. There are a number of different kinds of assemblies available at any hardware store, plumbing supply company and most discount centers. Installation is fairly straightforward.
Why is my electric water heater not heating?A:
In many cases, the cause is a tripped high-temperature cutoff, which can be fixed by simply pressing "Reset." If that doesn't work, it could be a faulty heating element. If that is the case, you will have to replace the element.
How do I choose the right size water heater for my home?A:
The answer depends on a number of factors, including the number of people in your household, number of bathtubs and/or showers, whether your home has a dishwasher, washing machine or whirlpool bathtub and whether your water heater is a natural gas or electric unit. Typically, for a family of 4, a 40 gallon gas water heater will be sufficient for your needs. If your water heater is electric, you will want to consider a 50 to 60 gallon unit. Consult your plumbing contractor or water heater dealer to ensure the unit you choose will serve your needs.
What is meant by the terms "hard water" and "soft water?"A:
"Hard water" is water that contains high levels of calcium and/or magnesium. The presence of these minerals in large amounts can result in deposits, called scale, on appliances and fixtures and can adversely affect their performance over time. Hard water can also decrease the cleansing action of soaps and detergents we use in cleaning our dishes, clothing and in bathing by creating pasty films on surfaces instead of dissipating the soaps and detergents for optimal effectiveness. Depending on the level of minerals present in your water, you may want to consider installing a water softening system in your home. Water softeners essentially eliminate calcium and magnesium through interaction with sodium through a process called ion exchange.
Why do my water pipes rattle?A:
The problem may be water lines that are not properly isolated from the structural elements of your home. If this is the case, the motion of water moving through the pipes may be transferring to beams, joists or studs in or beneath your flooring or in the walls. If the pipes are accessible, the solution may be as simple as inserting an insulating material between the pipes and the structural elements they are touching. If your pipes only rattle when the water is turned on or off, it may be that you need to install a water hammer arrester, which will eliminate the jolt caused by quick closing water valves. This problem can be somewhat tricky to diagnose, and you may want to consult a professional plumber.