Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Water Heaters

Water heaters are essential to many of our day-to-day domestic functions, such as bathing, washing dishes, doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, and even washing our hands. However, you've probably never thought twice about how they work and other important maintenance information.

The Parts of a Water Heater

Water heaters utilize a heating element—often a burner of sorts—to raise the temperature of the water before it ever even reaches your faucet or shower head.

A water heater is comprised of multiple elements:

  • The Tank is the inner shell of the water heater, with a capacity of somewhere between 40 to 60 gallons of hot water at about 50 to 100 lbs per square inch.
  • The Dip Tube allows water to travel into the tank and down towards the heating element.
  • A Shut-Off Valve, as its name implies, is a separate component that stops all water flow into the water heater.
  • A Thermostat not only measures the temperature of the water, but allows you to set the maximum heat to somewhere between the range of 120-180 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The Heating Element is a mechanism that electrically raises the temperature of the water. Gas water heaters, on the other hand, utilize a burner and chimney in place of electricity to raise the temperature.
  • A Drain Valve is located near the bottom of an exterior casing, allowing the tank to empty sediment and easily replace elements.
  • A Pressure Relief Valve is a safety device that keeps water pressure within a safe operating limit.
  • A Sacrificial Anode Rod is constructed of aluminum and magnesium with a steel core. It is suspended within the water heater to prevent corrosion.

Additional Water Heater Facts

  • The general lifespan of a water heater is 8 to 12 years. However, some situations may warrant a sooner replacement. Even if your water heater is in good condition towards the end of its lifespan, it is still recommended to replace it, to be on the safe side.
  • A professional should inspect your water heater once every 6 to 12 months.
  • A water heater consumes about a quarter of the energy used within your home.
  • The first water heater was conceptualized by a painter in London in 1868.
  • Exploding water heaters are a myth, as it almost never happens. However, it can still happen, technically. As long as you follow through with regular maintenance and replace your water heater every decade or so, you shouldn't have to worry.
  • The average person will use between 6 and 8 gallons of water while showering. Those who bathe, on the other hand, will use about 15-20 gallons of water.

For more plumbing tips, head on over to our blog. If you are interested in learning more information about The Polite Plumber, our team of experts, as well as our services, please contact us.

Friday, November 2, 2018

How to Fix a Running Toilet in 5 Simple Steps

Do you have a toilet that is running constantly? This plumbing problem is more than just a nuisance for the ears; it’s also an indication that your toilet's functions aren't operating properly. Fortunately, by taking several simple steps, you can get your toilet back to flushing and flowing as it should. If you’re someone who would like to try and resolve the issue on your own before giving us a call, the following tips will help you out. However, please never hesitate to contact us about a plumbing issue that you’re facing – we’re here to help, and we’ll never ask how it happened!

1. Turn Off the Water

To start, flush the toilet to let the water drain and switch off the water supply. You can do so by turning the valve located either behind or next to the toilet on the wall. By turning off the water, you can remove the tank lid without getting sprayed by any leaks!

2. Check the Chain

Often, toilets run because the chain is not properly attached to the flapper. You may also notice a knot or break in the chain. For older toilets especially, there could be some rusting causing the chain to break or weaken. If this is the case, the chain will need to be replaced.

3. Adjust the Flapper

When a toilet flushes correctly, the flapper opens and closes fully. This allows the tank to fill and drain without leaks. But when the flapper isn't able to close, your toilet can run. Check whether the flapper is out of place and adjust accordingly.

4. Inspect the Fill Valve

Leaky fill valves can also be a culprit of running toilets. Turn the water supply back on and flush the toilet. If you see the valve spray or leak, water isn't flowing through your tank properly. The valve will likely need to be repaired or replaced.

5. Call a Professional

After checking the above components and making any temporary adjustments, it's important to call a plumbing professional to address the root problem. A plumber can fully inspect your toilet, pinpoint the cause of the running, and offer a complete solution.

For a running toilet and all other plumbing needs, The Polite Plumber is here to serve you. We strive to provide exemplary customer service and results that last. Contact us today to learn more about our services!

Monday, September 24, 2018

3 Reasons why you’re Always Running out of Hot Water

Your water heater probably doesn't cross your mind very often, at least not until the water runs cold in the middle of your nice hot shower. Do you find that you're running out of hot water more quickly than you used to? If so, here are some possible causes.

Simple overuse of hot water.

There is a limit to how much hot water your water heater can supply at a time. If you are running multiple appliances while you take a shower, or if multiple people shower at the same time, you will run out of hot water fairly quickly.

Your water heater isn’t the right size for your home.

If several people live in your household, it's possible that your water heater is too small for your needs. This is especially likely if you have a tankless on-demand water heater. Some electric tankless water heaters are only adequate for households of one or two people. Gas-powered models often handle larger households better. If you're considering a tankless water heater, ask your plumber to recommend the best one for your home.

There is sediment buildup in the hot water tank.

In areas with hard water, mineral deposits build up in your water heater tank. The sediment accumulates in the tank if it's not cleaned out on a regular basis. After several years, the buildup can even occupy several gallons, leaving less space for hot water. If you hear cracking or popping sounds coming from your water heater tank, it's an indication of sediment buildup. Hard water doesn't only affect your water heater. The mineral deposits left by hard water can damage your pipes. If your home has hard water, consider installing a water softener to address the issue.        
The Polite Plumber is here to help if you find yourself running out of hot water. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Did Someone Say ‘Plumbing Permit’?

One of the best ways to tell if a plumbing technician is a legitimate expert in their field is to inquire about any permits that are required to perform the work on your home. Granted, the regulations that require prior permitted approval vary from one municipality to the next; however, a legitimate contractor should always be aware of what permits are required to perform work on the plumbing system in your home.

Some homeowners see the permitting process as a nuisance, an added expense, or even an infringement on personal privacy. After all, why should your bathroom remodel be of higher concern?

Think of the permitting process as a system of checks and balances. Yes, they can be a costly nuisance, and city code enforcers can be seen as intrusive at times, however the process is designed to protect and benefit residents, contractors, and the city.

Ways the Permitting Process May Protect & Benefit You

The requirement to obtain proper permits for plumbing projects helps to ensure that only licensed contractors, who have a full understanding of their craft, are overseeing the work done on you home. This protects you from being taken to the cleaners by someone who really does not understand the intricacies of a residential plumbing system.

The requirement to obtain proper permits for plumbing projects also protects you, as the consumer, because it requires that any work performed will be inspected by a city code inspector. This extra set of eyes may prove to be an invaluable resource, should an error be made.

Furthermore, this requirement may help protect your family's health, without you ever realizing it. Years ago, it was common to use lead solder when connecting water lines. Over time, lead that was being leached into the drinking water began to affect the health of the general public. Plumbing permits now require the use of lead-free solder.

A great plumbing contractor will always know exactly what permits to pull for your project, and how to get those permits approved quickly so that your work can be completed in a reasonable period of time.

For more information about the permitting process, or to request plumbing service, please contact us at The Polite Plumber!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Be Sure to Check the Plumbing System within a Vacant Rental Property

Although you might want to get a tenant in your rental home as quickly as possible, you should understand how important preventive maintenance is when it comes to avoiding having to deal with problems once you have a tenant living inside the residence. For instance, you should most certainly get the plumbing system checked out! Some issues might not be apparent enough to detect them with a quick inspection and using each appliance and fixture.

Mark an Item Off of Your Checklist
When a rental property goes vacant, you should have a full checklist of things to do. A plumbing inspection should be at the top of your list, and getting your system checked out will help you mark off an important item.

Check for Profitable Upgrades
Although your main goal should be finding out if the plumbing system has any problems, you can also have your plumber provide you with details regarding profitable upgrades. For example, something as simple as updating the fixtures can help you increase the value of the rental property.

Determine the Condition
Eventually, a plumbing system, or at least part of the system, will need to be replaced. Instead of waiting until the entire system is having routine problems, before considering replacement, you should learn about its overall condition. Learning about the overall condition will provide insight as to when it should be replaced in order to avoid costly problems.

It is not extremely uncommon to deal with minor leaking issues with a tenant living in your home; however, you’ll want to avoid substantial problems such as a burst pipe, for example, which can cause all sorts of damage!

Feel free to contact us at The Polite Plumber if you have any questions about plumbing or our services.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Your Local Plumbing Service Explains Low-Water Pressure Culprits

Have you noticed that it is taking a bit longer for your washing machine to fill up? Are showers taking longer because the water is more of a trickle than a spray? If so, you may have a problem with low water pressure. Low pressure can certainly put a crimp on daily chores or hygiene routines, but have no fear, we are here to help!

Below, we’ll take a look at a few reasons why your water pressure is less than ideal, and how you can rectify the situation.

Pipe Buildup

Water pipes are smooth and made to allow water to pass through them, but there are a number of reasons why buildup can occur in your pipes and significantly slow down passage of water. You may live in an area where there is mineral-laden or hard water, and if so, that can create deposits inside the pipes that build up over time. A water softener is a great solution to reduce the water’s mineral content.

Leaky Pipes

There could be an undetected leak in your home and you should be thankful for the hint. Allowing the slow leak to build up over time could hit you hard in the water bill department, promote mildew and mold growth, and compromise the structural integrity of your home. Check the water meter for unusually-high consumption levels, and look for discoloration in your floors, ceilings and walls. A plumbing service can repair the leak before major damage occurs.

Check with Your Municipality

It’s possible that the origin of low water pressure comes from your municipality and not your home. For example, there could be a leak somewhere in the main water line that is preventing the water to enter your home at full pressure. If you are certain that there’s nothing in your home that could be the cause of low water pressure, your local water department may be able to provide you with information.

As always, we encourage you to contact us here at The Polite Plumber.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Professional Drain Cleaning After a Tenant Moves Out of your Rental Home

A rental property is an excellent investment, but it does require that you invest in routine maintenance and occasional repairs to keep the home in sufficient condition for tenants to live comfortably.

After a tenant moves out of the home, be sure to get professional drain cleaning, which will provide you with substantial benefits, such as the ones listed below, and it will ultimately help you rent your home.

Prevent Future Emergencies
If you decide to skip drain cleaning because you do not notice any substantial issue at hand, you are taking a major risk because you do not actually know the condition of the drains. It is better to know that you have clean drains than to save a bit of money and be at risk for emergency problems in the future.

Stop the Clogging Process

In some cases, you might have drains becoming clogged, which would cause future tenant problems, but you can stop this from happening by getting drain cleaning and putting an end to partial clogging.

Avoid Clogged Drains

It is possible that you may have clearly clogged drains in your home, and this kind of problem should be handled immediately. Showing the home to a potential tenant with a clogged drain will not lead to a positive impression, so it is important to get this work done before listing and showing the property.

Eliminate Odors

In some cases, a clogged drain can bring a bad odor into the area. It is essential to eliminate all poor odors in your home, which means you must get drain cleaning as the odors could come from the drains.

us today at The Polite Plumber if you would like to learn more about draining cleaning services; we’re here to help!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Plumbing Solutions You May Have Never Heard Of

Whether you are planning an entire bathroom remodel, or are just looking to perform a few small upgrades in what is often considered to be the most important room in the house, learning as much as you can about modern fixtures and new plumbing products can help you get the most return on your investment. Today, we would like to bring to your attention a few products that you may have never heard of, and point out why each product would be an asset in your bathroom.

Pressure-balancing Valves

No one likes having their nice, warm shower interrupted. Should one member of your family be enjoying a nice, steamy shower, and another member of your family flush a toilet, the cold water flowing to the shower head may become diverted to help flush the toilet. Not only could this present an inconvenience to the one enjoying the shower, but serious burns could occur. Pressure-balancing valves can prevent this from happening. These valves are often installed into a shower to help maintain a constant water temperature. These valves do not measure water temperature, but rather track the ratio of water coming from the hot and cold supply lines.

The Skirted Toilet
A skirted toilet is one that is designed with a smooth porcelain base that effectively hides the toilet's trap, and many times, the nuts and bolts that hold the toilet in place. Not only are these toilets aesthetically pleasing with their modern lines and understated elegance, but the base of these toilets is easier to clean than a standard, builder grade toilet. No longer will you find yourself on hands and knees, trying to work your cleaning rag into all the nooks and crannies of your commode. With just a swish of your brush in the bowl, and a swipe of your rag around the base of the toilet, your commode will be sparkling and ready for your family to enjoy.

The Vent Fan
Because an abundance of moisture tends to build up in a bathroom, many modern homes are built with either a vent fan, or a window. Windows are great for removing moisture from your bathroom, if they are opened routinely. Furthermore, if your home is in a naturally humid climate, or if it is oriented in a way that prevents naturally occurring breezes from blowing through that window, your window may not be able to do the job for which it was intended. If your bathroom does contain a vent fan, be sure that it does more than merely circulate the air within the bathroom. If you want to get serious about preventing the buildup of mold and mildew in your damp bathroom, be sure that your vent fan actually vents the air to the outside of your residence, and run that fan every time you shower or bathe.  

Have questions? We encourage you to contact us here at The Polite Plumber with any questions and service needs you may have.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Plumbing Problems to be Inspected During Spring

If you are looking to have a more efficient home, you will need to find ways to help make your home a much greener one. There are various ways you can turn your home into a green home, and one of the easy ways to do this is by making sure you are using the least amount of energy as possible.

When it comes to having a greener home and your home's plumbing, what can you do to conserve energy? You can try to conserve as much water as you can to help with your home's efficiency.

Water Heater. If you are not using a tankless water heater right now, you should strongly consider purchasing one. Why? The water heater you are using now is heating your water at all times. When you need the water, the water heater will provide you with it. On the other hand, a tankless water heater is a bit different. This water heater will only heat water when you need it. It does a great job of conserving energy and water because the heater will only be in use when you actually need the water.

Faucets. If you are like many people, you constantly have to deal with leaky faucets. It can certainly be annoying to hear that "drip, drip" noise throughout the day and night. You need to get this issue fixed because as long as the faucet leaks, you will spend more money on your water bill. When you have your leaky faucet inspected and fixed, you will definitely appreciate how much money you will save on your next bill.

Toilet. If one or multiple toilets need a little assistance when it comes to flushing, then you will want to have it checked by a plumber. If you have to hold the handle or jiggle the handle, then this could be a problem. What if someone forgets to jiggle the handle or hold it down? The toilet will constantly run until the next person goes into the bathroom. If you have it inspected as soon as possible, your water bill will look much better.

These are just some of the ways that you can conserve energy and water so that you can reduce your water bill. For more information on tips that can be helpful and/or more information on plumbing repairs, contact us today.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Spring Plumbing Maintenance Checklist

Now that the weather is starting to warm up, it is time to tackle that home maintenance to-do list. This includes inspecting your home plumbing to identify potential problems that can easily turn into costly repairs if not addressed.

Inside Your Home:

You should start by checking for hidden water leaks. Even a small drip or leak can add hundreds of dollars to your water bill over the course of a year. This is a simple process that does not require any specialized equipment.
  • Inspect all indoor faucets and readily accessible pipes. Be sure to remove items from your under-the-sink cabinets to check for signs of mold, dampness, puddles, or watermarks.
  • Add a couple of drops of food coloring to the tank of each toilet. Check the bowl in about 30 minutes. If you see color in the water, your toilet is leaking.
  • Read your water meter and then avoid using any water for at least two hours. At the end of that time, take a second meter reading. If the numbers have changed, you have a leak.

Outside of Your Home:

Winter weather can take a toll on outdoor plumbing fixtures, so they should be inspected to ensure that they are ready for the spring and summer gardening season.
  • Test all of your outdoor spigots to make sure that they function properly and are free of leaks.
  • Check any plumbing vents to make sure that they are free of leaves and other debris.
  • If you have a lawn irrigation system, inspect the sprinkler heads to ensure that they work properly.

General Maintenance:
  • Check your washing machine, dishwasher, and other water-using appliances for any hoses that are worn, cracked, or bulging.
  • Flush your water heater, replace the anode rod, and test the pressure relief valve. Since this involves dealing with extremely hot water, this job is best left to a professional.
  • Clean your faucet aerators and shower-heads by soaking them in a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to remove the mineral buildup.
  • Replace any dried out or missing caulking around tubs, showers, and sinks.

Have questions? We encourage you to contact us here at The Polite Plumber with any questions and service needs you may have.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Tips on How to Handle a Plumbing Emergency

Plumbing emergencies are bound to happen. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the damage caused by a burst or leaking pipe. Staying calm and following the steps provided below will help you take control of an out-of-control situation.

What Every Homeowner Needs To Know

As a homeowner, you should always know where the main water shut-off is located. When a plumbing emergency hits, this information can save your home and your bank account from serious damage.

Turn Off The Water

Even the smallest of leaks can lead to large repair bills when they aren't taken care of in a timely manner. If your toilet or sink is leaking, shutting off the water line that runs to the fixtures should alleviate the problem while you wait for a plumber to arrive. However, if you spot a puddle of water in the middle of your dining room, and you have no clue where the leak is coming from, you'll need to head to your home's main water supply and turn that off. While this may seem like an easy step, it's one of most crucial actions you can take when you're dealing with a serious leak.

Evaluate The Damage

Before making any phone calls take a minute to assess the situation. Having a general idea of where the leak is located and the damage it has caused will help you clearly deliver important information to your emergency plumber in Ledgewood NJ.

Call A Plumber

Getting a plumber to your house as soon as possible is crucial to minimizing the damage. Describing the situation as best as you can over the phone will help the plumber determine whether or not they need to bring any special equipment to repair the problem. You should also ask for a quote, however, some plumbers won't supply one without evaluating the issue in person.

We encourage you to make the smart decision and give The Polite Plumber a call. We’re always happy to help and/or answer any question you may have!