Charlotte Plumber: Do You Need to Perform Maintenance on Your Water Heater?

Charlotte Plumber: Do You Need to Perform Maintenance on Your Water Heater?

If your hot water heater is exhibiting signs of damage or failure, it’s best to call a professional as soon as possible. However, in the interim, to have a well-functioning heater requires regular maintenance just like your car does. So, once a year, it’s best to check out your heater and perform the following small maintenance tasks. Before doing anything with your heater though, you must turn off the breaker or gas powering the heater.

Anode Rod

The anode rod in your hot water heater is there to protect the metal of the heater from rusting. It receives the preferential corrosion as described in the process of galvanic corrosion (two metals, add water – something’s gotta give), thereby saving the other metal, that of your tank.

The rod should be replaced fairly regularly – most last up to five years but depending on your pipes and water, it can be much less. Best practice is to replace annually, or biannually. To access your anode rod, drain some water from your heater (using the drain cock) and loosen the hex bolt on top of the heater to expose the rod. Observe the rod to see how corroded it is or if there is any of the steel cable exposed. Replace as needed.

TPR Valve

This is an easy task, as you are simply testing the efficacy of an emergency valve (called the “Temperature Pressure Release”). Place a bucket underneath the valve on the side of the tank and open it for a few moments. Once you close it again, the water should cease immediately. If it keeps running, replace the valve.

Drain n’ Wash

Over time, gunk and sediment will accumulate in your tank. To combat this, you must drain and rinse (with cold water) once or twice in order to clear out most of the mess. Simply attach a hose to the drain cock and make sure the other end is somewhere that water of varying temperatures and cleanliness can go, and let it rip. After it’s drained, use the cold water supply valve to fill and drain again, until the water comes clean. Then refill all the way and power up!

You should also ensure that the temperature is set to a cozy 120 degrees.

Need a Charlotte Plumber?

If you don’t feel capable of performing this maintenance, it’s best to call a professional. At ER Plumbing Services, we are highly skilled in all things water heater related – you can call anytime, day or night at 704-269-1066 or use our online contact form.

Charlotte emergency plumber dealing with water damage and neglect

Looks like we've got some serious water damage here!

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Is It Okay to Flush Prescription Drugs Down the Toilet?

Is It Okay to Flush Prescription Drugs Down the Toilet?

No. It is not.

Here’s why: when you flush prescription medication down the toilet or drains, it stays with the water all the way to the water treatment plant. It will most likely dissolve on the way there, contaminating the water with the medication. Most plants filter and treat for common water contaminants like basic chemical imbalances or waste. Pharmaceuticals are not screened for or cleaned from the water and therefore remain after the plant begins sending out the “cleaned” water to homes or releasing it into the environment.

As a result, trace amounts of pharmaceuticals have been found in natural bodies of water. They’ve even been present in tap water testing. This is obviously an undesirable scenario. So what can you do to get rid of leftover or unwanted pills?

Proper Prescription Drug Disposal 101

Similar to how we think about managing kitchen drains (IE: the less waste that goes in, the better) is how you should be thinking about medication disposal. Trashing it is always the first option, though you should never simply toss an unwanted bottle into the garbage.

First, scratch off any personal information from the label. Then, fill the bottle with water so the medication will dissolve and no longer be in pill form. You should also add an animal deterrent like cat litter, cayenne pepper or charcoal to ensure no animals are harmed if your bottle somehow opens. Once you’ve sealed it, wrap the whole thing with duct tape so it is nearly impossible to reopen. After that, put it in a paper bag or other disguising container before trashing it as close as possible to pickup time.

If that is too labor intensive or risky for you, many pharmacies have medication disposal programs. CVS, Walgreens and most big name companies offer free disposal if you bring the prescription back to the store. There are also Hazardous Waste Collection facilities in almost every municipality. It may be more of a trek, but they will also properly dispose of your medication.

Need a Charlotte Plumber?

Call 704-269-1066 for Charlotte plumbing services. Learn more about plumbing issues at www.erplumbing.com or use our online contact form to get advice or plumbing assistance.

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Worried About Water Heater In Attic?

What is the Ideal Location for a Water Heater?

Many homes have bulky, tank hot water heaters. These typically take up a large amount of space and they’re not something you want out in the open. In many homes across the country, you can find the hot water heater in the basement. However, in North Carolina we are at a slight disadvantage due to our thick, red clay based soil. Very few homes in the Charlotte and surrounding areas have basements due to the labor involved in digging that deep through the clay. If homes have a basement floor, it’s usually a walkout because of the grading of the land.

That being said, many homes are built using a slab foundation. This makes it difficult to run plumbing through the first floor. In that case, hot water heaters are usually found in attics, sometimes near the HVAC system. This is a risky placement for many reasons. Attics are the most rarely visited spaces in a home. If an aging hot water heater is up there, chances are it can break, leak and cause thousands of dollars in damage before you even notice.

So what’s the solution to this outdated placement?

Change It Up

You have a few options, and doing nothing isn’t one of them.

Firstly, you could (and probably should) move the hot water heater downstairs to a first floor interior closet or the garage. This will be expensive and require professional work but will be worth the heater’s weight in gold if it should one day spring a leak and you are spared massive multi-floor interior water damage.

You can also opt to replace your tanked heater in the attic with a tankless heater. Though they can be a bit pricey, tankless heaters are exponentially smaller than their tanked counterparts and far less likely to cause water damage. They do not store heated water; they simply heat it as it’s called for around the home. In this way, a tankless water heater will save you money on your energy bill as well as give you peace of mind.

If neither of those options appeal and you are determined to leave your aging tanked heater in the attic, you should seriously consider investing in Water Cops. Water Cops are tiny sensors placed in potential problem sites around the home (like near your hot water heater!). They detect water if it should appear and alert the Water Cop system to shut off the water immediately to prevent damage.

Charlotte Plumber to the Rescue!

At ER Plumbing Services, we are experts in finding and creating the best solution for your plumbing needs. So if you’re concerned about that attic heater, give us a call day or night at 704-269-1066. Learn more about our Charlotte plumbing services at www.erplumbing.com or use our online contact form for advice or service.

Charlotte emergency plumber dealing with water damage and neglect

Looks like we've got some serious water damage here!

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Which is More Cost Effective: Tankless or Traditional Water Heater?

Charlotte Plumber Answers Question: Which is More Cost Effective – Tankless or Traditional Water Heater?

So you’ve made the decision to buy a new hot water heater and now you are wondering which to choose – tank or tankless. There are several important aspects of the decision to consider before making your choice and you should first assess your existing infrastructure and hot water needs.

Tankless Water Heaters

When contemplating a tankless water heater, there are certainly some immediate benefits. The fact that you will never run out of hot water is at the top of the list. This is especially meaningful if you live in a household with many people or if you love filling up your oversized bathtub. The way tankless heaters work is by pumping water past burners at a variable flow rate (the rate depends on the initial water temperature). As much water as you need is as much as will be heated.

Another benefit to this method of water heating is that it’s more energy efficient – tanked heaters constantly heat and store water, which also constantly uses energy. Tankless heaters only use energy when you need the hot water. This will decrease your utility costs and save you money in the long run.

We use the phrase “long run” because installing and purchasing a tankless heater is a substantial investment. They are not standard hardware and can be a bit pricey. However, they do pay for themselves in the long run, both through energy savings (40% per year) and longevity (they last twice as long as tank water heaters).

Tank Water Heaters

There are several options these days within the “tank” category of hot water heaters. You can choose from a conventional gas heater, to a condensing gas heater, or even to a hybrid pump. All of the options are large, tank based heaters, but they differ in the methods by which they heat the water.

No matter which option you choose in the tanked category of heaters, know that they will definitely take up space. They probably won’t save you much money on your utility bills either, though they are typically cheaper to purchase and install. They also won’t provide endless hot water – they have to refill in between uses. But if you live alone and don’t use much hot water, a tanked heater could be for you.

Need a New Charlotte Water Heater?

If you live in the Charlotte area, ER Plumbing Services can help. Call us at 704-269-1066 or use our online contact form for assistance choosing the right water heater for your home.

We’ve been installing water heaters for two decades, so we can quickly help you determine what is the best model for you. If you need a Charlotte plumber, we’re here to help!

Need more information? Watch our video comparison of tank and tankless water heaters!


 

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Charlotte Plumber Answers Question: How Old is Your Water Heater

Charlotte Plumber Answers Question: How Old is Your Water Heater


To determine how old your water heater is, you will need to two do things.

1. Find the label on the water heater.

2. Determine the brand of your water heater.

3. Decode the label by finding out (chart below) how that brand of water heater documents the manufacturing date within the serial number on the label.

Water heater manufacturers document the month and year or year and week of manufacturing as part of the serial numbers on the water heater. Check the chart below to find the brand water heater you have. Then use the description to decode the serial number.

Determine the Age of Your Water Heater By Decoding the Serial Number

Manufacturer

Brand

Serial # Ex.

Key

American

(Prior to 2001, American was owned by GSW Corporation and manufactured water heaters for nearly 50 different brands. American was acquired by A.O. Smith in 2001 and currently only manufactures American, American-Pro-line, Premium Plus, U.S. Craftmaster and Whirlpool brand water heaters.)

 

 

 

 

 

American 9746******

(46th week of 1997)

 

 

American uses a 2-digit year followed by a 2-digit week

 

 

 

 

Craftmaster
Mor-Flo/American
SABH (U.S.)
U.S. Craftmaster
Ace
American Hardware
Best
Best Deluxe
Apex
Aqua Temp
Agua Therm
Aquamatic
Champion
De-Limier
Deluxe
Eagle
Earl’s Energy Saver
Environtemp
Four Most
Hotmaster
Hotstream
King-Cleen
King-line
Master Plumber
Nationaline
Neptune
Penquin
Premier
Prestige
Proline
Proline-Plus
Quaker
Quick-Flo
Raywall
Revere
Riveria
Sands
Sentinel
Service-Star
Shamrock
Special Deluxe
Standard
Super Eagle
Sure-Fire
Thoro-clean
Tru-Test
Tru Value
U.S. Supply
Whirlpool
XCL-Energy Saver

 

 

 

 

 

Manufacturer

Brand

Serial # Ex.

Key

A.O. Smith
A.O. Smith Before 2008

*H06******

 

Since about 2008

0805AXXXXXX

Prior to 2008, the 2nd letter in the series is  the month followed by the 2-digit year. A thru N = Jan thru Dec (excludes I).

 

Since 2008, they  use an 11-digit alpha-numeric serial number. The first two positions are the year followed by a two digit week.

Glascote
PermaGlas
Bradford-White
Bradford White  

D*******F

(June 1967)

 

CJ*******

(Sept 1986)

B-W uses a 20-year letter code cycle to designate the year.

The first letter is the year and the second is the month.

Letter A = 1964, 1984 and 2004

A thru N = Jan thru Dec

(Excludes I, O, Q, R, U & V)

Jetglas
Lochinvar
Lochinvar
Energy Saver
Golden Knight
Knight
Rheem
Rheem  

0794******

(July 1994)

 

or

 

0794F*****

(July 1994)

 

Rheem uses a  2-digit month followed by a 2-digit year

Ruud
Rheem/Ruud
Richmond
Vista Therm
Citation
Aqua Therm
Energy Master
Vanguard
Cimarrom
Coast to Coast
Lowe’s
Servi-Star
True Value
ABS
Intertherm & Miller
Mainstream
Montgomery Ward
General Electric
Professional
State Industries

(State industries was acquired by A.O. Smith in 2008.  A.O. Smith now uses this code.)

 

State/Kenmore

0904*******

(April 2009)

 

 

 

 

C05*******

(March 2005)

 

Prior to 2008, State used a 1-letter month followed by a 2-digit year

A thru N = Jan thru Dec

(Excludes the letter I)

 

Beginning 2008, State uses an 11-digit alpha-numeric serial number. The first two positions are the year followed by a two digit week. Position 5 is a letter followed by 6 numbers.

 

 

Reliance
Ace
Ambassador
Barnett
Century
Crosley
Energy Stretcher
Freedom
Freedome/Nipsco
Hardware House
Master Plumber/True5
Mission
Nationaline
Patriot
Penfield
President
Regency
Century
The Plumbery
Thermo-King
TopLine

Not Sure if You Need a New Water Heater Yet?

Most tank water heaters start losing efficiency around ten years old and last between 10-12 years. Most tankless water heaters last 15-20 years.

If your water heater is on the older side, you’ll want to start watching for signs that it is time to replace the water heater. For example, it may take longer for the water heater to produce hot water, or you may find you are running out of hot water more quickly than before. Learn more about tank water heaters and tankless water heaters here.

Live in Charlotte? Need a New Water Heater?

ER Plumbing Services has been serving the Charlotte area for over two decades, repairing and replacing Charlotte water heaters. Give us a call at 704-269-1066 or use our online contact form to request a quote on a new water heater.

Commercial Tankless water heater Charlotte nc

Want to learn more about commercial tankless water heater rebates?

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Charlotte Plumber: Where do I turn off the water to my house?

Do you know how many times we hear this question in Charlotte, NC? Don’t wait until a plumbing disaster occurs. Everyone in your home should know how to turn off the water in your house, beyond turning off the faucet. Follow these simple tips and you and your family can assured if a plumbing disaster strikes.

1. Every sink and toilet in your home should have its own water shut-off valve.

Look in the cabinet under the sink or behind the toilet. Follow the piping until you find a handle attached to it. Turning this handle will shut the water off and on, but only to that particular water source. This is important to know if a pipe is leaking under the sink, or if water is seeping out from under the toilet.

2. Most homes have water shut-off valves under the home, in the garage, basement, or outside the home adjacent to the main water pipe. The water shut-off valve can actually be located in any room of the home, along whichever wall that’s closest to where the water supply enters the home. Just look for a panel box, shelving, or any opening in the sheetrock to locate it.

3. You will find one of two different types of valve heads.

Older valves look similar to an outdoor faucet with a hose bib as the valve and maybe a circular handles to turn the valve on and off. If there is no handle, simply use a pair of pliers to turn it on and off. Newer models of the water shut-off valve are plastic or metal switches that can be flipped from side to side to turn it on and off.

4. If you cannot find your water shut-off valve, I recommend having a professional come out and help you locate it. It’s better to be prepared now, than sorry later.

5. If there is an emergency and you cannot find your water shut-off valve or if the only water shut-off valve is the one provided by the water company, I would recommend calling a professional immediately before attempting to use the public works shut-off valve, because those can be tricky and you don’t want to be responsible for any mishaps.

In the end, being prepared is always the best option. Call us today (704.269.1066) if you need a Charlotte plumber and we’ll help you become more knowledgeable about your water system.

Matthews NC Plumbers

Charlotte Plumber

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Posted in NC, Plumbing | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Charlotte Plumber Advice: New Toilet Seal – Part 2

New Toilet Seal – Part 2

What do you need to do first to replace the toilet seal?

First, you need to make sure there is no water in the toilet or going to the toilet. Shut off the water supply by turning the valve clockwise (the valve will be behind the toilet or in the basement directly beneath the toilet). Then, remove the lid of toilet tank and flush the toilet a few times to empty the tank and bowl. Scoop up water in the toilet tank with a cup and use a sponge to soak up any existing water. Lastly, disconnect the water supply line with a wrench or pliers to turn the compression nut on the water supply valve counterclockwise.

How do you remove the caps, nuts, and washers from the toilet?

After removing all the water in the toilet and tank, you need to remove the toilet off the floor. By doing so, first you need to remove the caps and nuts on the base of the toilet that is connected to the floor. With a flat head screwdriver, take off the caps from the washers. Afterwards, remove the nuts and washers from the bolts with a wrench. (Penetrating oil and pliers might be needed if the bolt spins as the nut is turned. Simply hold the bolt with the pliers with non-dominant hand.) Make sure you place the caps, nuts, and washers in a place you will remember when you have to assemble them back on.

What do you do next?

Gently rock the toilet under the bowl to break the old seal. (Be sure not to hold at the tank because it could cause damage and break it.) Carefully lift and place the toilet on the blanket or cardboard. Lastly, remove the old seal from the floor and toilet base.

How do you replace the new seal?

After the toilet and old seal is removed, you can now replace and apply the new was seal. With the round side up and exactly centered over the opening, set the new seal over the flange on the floor. Check that both bolts are placed and use them as a guide when you place the toilet. Lift the toilet and place it on top of the flange, make sure it is parallel to the wall and as level as possible. Then, sit on the toilet to get the new seal actual sealing.

How do you replace the caps, nuts, and washers?

First, place the washers over the bolts and then thread the nuts onto the bolts. Tighten the nuts until toilet is secure, and then press the toilet down harder to tighten the nuts more. Do this until it is tightly fastened on the flange, but be sure not to over-tighten or you can crack the toilet base.

Once the toilet is assembled, how do you get water the water back on?

Simply turn the water supply valve on to have the tank fill up. Then flush the toilet several times and check for leaks. If there are leaks, press the toilet down and tighten the nuts more. If no leaks, then you are good to go!

Need a Charlotte Plumber?

ER Plumbing Services can help. Call 704-269-1066 or use our online contact form for Charlotte plumbing services 24/7, 365 days a year.

Emergency Plumbing Monroe NC

Need a Charlotte plumber to fix your toilet?

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Charlotte Plumber Advice: New Toilet Seal – Part 1

New Toilet Seal – Part 1

What exactly is a toilet seal?
A toilet seal is a gasket made of a ring of wax and is on the bottom of the toilet, where the toilet is set on the floor.

Why are they important?
A toilet seal helps prevent damage to the floor. Without it, the toilet could create scratches and damages on the floor as well as on the toilet.

Where can you get a new toilet seal?
A new seal can be bought at a hardware store for an inexpensive price.

What type of toilet seal should you buy?
The recommend seal should have a core of soft urethane foam because it does a superior job of conforming to the toilet and the flange.

When do you need a new toilet seal?
A new toilet seal is needed if you notice damage or wearing on the seal or if the seal begins to leak. When replacing the seal, make sure it is at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit so the wax will be workable.

What do you do before starting the process?
Wear rubber gloves and get a blanket or piece of large cardboard ready for when the toilet is removed. You could also purchase silicone caulk in case you want something additional to strengthen the connection between the toilet base and floor for support.

How do you replace the toilet seal?
First, you must remove the toilet from the floor. Replace the seal, and then assemble the toilet again. Although it may seem a little daunting or overwhelming, it is pretty simple with these simple steps.

Check out Part II to the Do-It-Yourself article to learn how to fix a toilet seal.

Need a Charlotte Plumber?
ER Plumbing Services can help. Call 704-269-1066 or use our online contact form for Charlotte plumbing services 24/7, 365 days a year.

emergency plumber Rock Hill SC

Need a plumber in Rock Hill SC ?

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Charlotte Plumber Interviewed for North Carolina Homes Magazine

I was recently interviewed for an article for North Carolina Homes Magazine!
Dave Parker Charlotte plumber

Dave Parker, Owner of ER Plumbing Services of Charlotte


You can check it out here:

Check out my interview, How to Repair a Toilet on North Carolina Homes, one of the top sites for North Carolina real estate, including Youngsville, NC real estate. North Carolina Homes also services South Carolina real estate and Georgia real estate.

 

 

 

 

 

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Charlotte Plumber Advice: How to Fix a Broken Drain Trap

Charlotte Plumber Advice: How to Fix a Broken Drain Trap

Sometimes the problem is simply that the slip nuts holding the drain trap assembly to the drain and the drainpipe have loosened. Tightening them may solve the problem. But if the metal has corroded through, if the slip-nut threads are damaged, or if other damage has occurred, the only solution is replacement.

Drain trap assemblies and parts to fit just about any possible installation requirement are readily available at most hardware and all plumbing supply stores. Chrome-plated thinwall brass traps are popular, especially where appearance is important.

Polypropylene (PP) plastic traps, notable for their ruggedness and longevity, will outperform all other types. ABS plastic traps are also in use, but they become deformed and eventually fail when forced to handle frequent passage of boiling water and caustic household chemicals. In addition, they may not be allowed by your local plumbing code. Ask the plumbing clerk at your local building materials retailer for recommendations.

Whatever the material, there are typically two trap diameters: 11/2-inch traps for kitchen sinks and 11/4-inch traps for lavatories. Take the old trap with you when you buy the new one; if possible, also take the old tailpiece and drain extension. In most cases, trap replacement is simple. Here’s how:

Step 1: If trap is equipped with cleanout plug on bottom of curved section, remove plug with wrench and let water in trap drain into bucket. Otherwise, unscrew slip nuts and slide them out of the way.

Step 2: If trap is a swivel type, curved trap section(s) will come free. However, keep trap upright as you remove it, and pour water out after part is free. If trap is fixed and does not swivel, remove tailpiece slip nut at drain flange and slip nut at top of trap. Shove tailpiece down into trap itself, then twist trap clockwise until you can drain water in trap. Pull tailpiece free, and unscrew trap from drain extension or drainpipe.

Step 3: Buy drain trap of proper diameter, new tailpiece, drain extension, or other fittings, as necessary. A swivel trap is the easiest to work with because it can be easily adjusted for angled or misaligned drainpipe/fixture installations. A clean-out plug on a trap is handy so trap can be cleaned out without removing it.

Step 4: Replace parts in appropriate order, making sure you have slip nuts and compression seals, or large washers, lined up on the proper pipe sections. Couple parts together loosely with slip nuts, make final adjustments for correct pipe alignment, and tighten nuts snugly but not too tight. Plumbers’ joint tape or compound is not usually necessary, but you can use either.

Step 5: Run water into new trap immediately, both to check for leaks and to fill trap with water to provide that all-important barrier against sewer gases.

Whatever type of drain repair is needed, it’s best to address it as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you may wind up with a big problem on your hands — and all over your floors.

Need a Charlotte Plumber? ER Plumbing Services Can Help

Give us a call at 704-269-1066 or use our online contact form and we’ll replace that old drain trap for you. We’re open 24/7, 365 days a year.

Emergency Plumbing Stanley NC

Emergency Plumbing Charlotte NC

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