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What is the Difference Between Conventional and Tankless Water Heaters?

What is the Difference Between Conventional and Tankless Water Heaters?

While the conventional, tank-based water heater has been popular in residential houses for decades, a new type of water heater is on the rise. These are called “tankless” heaters, and they’re focused on saving money, conserving energy, and delivering faster hot water. Let’s dig in deeper and look at what separates conventional and tankless heaters. Conventional Water Heaters Conventional water heaters use large tanks to store and heat water so that it is available at any time, which is why they are often called storage water heaters. The water in the tank is heated to a specific temperature, typically through a gas burner or heating element. Sensors detect when the water is the proper temperature (with some variation in settings), and the water heater holds that temperature throughout the day. When you turn the hot water on, the water is siphoned from the top of the tank. Most tanks tend to have a capacity between 20 and 120 gallons, but only a portion of that is typically available as hot water. This option has been a popular choice because it works. The tanks have enough room to store plenty of hot water, and that water is always available, particularly for larger projects (or long hot showers). However, there are also some downsides. If a family is too large for a hot water tank and has already cut back on water use, the only solution is to upgrade to a larger tank size. Also, remember that storage water heaters need to continually use energy to keep the water in the tank at a high temperature. Over time, that can waste...
Why is My Water Heater Making Noise?

Why is My Water Heater Making Noise?

Your water heater typically sits quietly in an unused corner of the house, doing its job. However, sometimes those water tanks can get noisy. It’s no surprise that homeowners start to worry when water heaters start banging, popping, and thumping like they are about to jump free! Usually, this is caused by an issue with sediment buildup. Here’s what that means for you. Common Causes — Sediment Buildup Sediment refers to small mineral particles that can accumulate in your hot water tank, but that doesn’t mean your water is dirty. A certain amount of mineral particles are typically bonded to household water, usually harmless calcium and lime. A high amount of these particles means that water is “hard,” which affects things like how it tastes and how it interacts with surfactants (soap), etc. A low amount of particles means that water is “soft.” If the water in your region tends to be hard, you may be more at risk for problems like a loud, banging water heater. The reason sediment builds up in the tank is because of the heat. As the water heats up, the bonds that hold the mineral particles in place loosen, and they drift down to the bottom of the tank. Over time, this can build up into a thick layer. As water is heated and rises in the tank, it needs to push past that layer of sediment. As a result, water bubbles will eventually explode through the sediment layer to freedom; this is what causes the loud noise. Problems and Solutions These little water explosions aren’t immediately dangerous, but they can cause serious problems over...
The Benefits of a Hydro Jetter

The Benefits of a Hydro Jetter

Fall is officially here! Now is the perfect time to check some items off your fall to-do list. Instead of tackling these chores the traditional way, why not use a hydro jetter to make the job easier? Here’s what you need to know. What is a Hydro Jetter? A hydro jetter is similar to a power washer, but packs four times as much power. This power makes it easy to remove clogs from drains as well as debris from your gutters and downspouts. How Does a Hydrojetting Work? Hydrojetting is a fairly simple concept. The hose is placed at the beginning of your drain or gutter system and the pressure is turned on. This pressure will blast any debris out of its way, cleaning the pipe or gutter as it goes. It has enough power to remove the buildup, but not enough to cause any damage. For long lasting results, hydrojetting is the way to go. When to Use a Hydro Jetter Are you experiencing clogs in your gutters or downspouts? Before using a hydro jetter, there are some things you can try first. Depending on the last time you cleaned out your gutters, the pressure of a garden hose may be able to do the trick. If this option doesn’t work, the next step is to try a drain snake. Still not working? It’s time to bring in a hydro jetter. Because this option has 4 times as much pressure as your typical pressure washer, it can easily remove gunk from your downspouts. Gutters and downspouts lead water away from your home. If clogged gutters are ignored, this...
5 Common Washing Machine Problems

5 Common Washing Machine Problems

A broken washing machine can put a wrinkle in your laundry routine. The average U.S. family does around seven loads of laundry per week, and any problems with your washer will cause everyone in your home headaches. Stay on the lookout for these common washing machine problems to keep one of your hardest working appliances working. A Burst Washer Hose Burst washer hoses are a primary cause of home floods. You can help reduce the chance of an expensive leak by routinely checking your washer’s hose for any drying, cracking or rodent damage. If you notice any signs of damage, it is time to replace it. You may want to consider switching from a rubber hose to a more durable braided steel hose to lower the chance of leaking. An Outer Drum Leak The outer drum, which houses the inner drum (the one which spins), is usually made from a heavy-duty plastic in newer machines. This makes them lighter, but less sturdy than older metal outer drums. These newer drums tend to crack on occasion, especially if someone forgot to check pants’ pockets for loose change. A cracked outer drum leads to a leak and the need for a repair or replacement depending on the amount of damage. Trouble With Draining Standing water in your washing machine can be messy, especially if you have a side-loading machine. There are several reasons why your machine may fail to drain properly. When this happens, most of the time, there is something stuck or blocking the drain hose, or the pump needs replacing. Trouble With Filling When a washer refuses to fill completely...
The Importance of Sump Pump Maintenance

The Importance of Sump Pump Maintenance

You may not realize it, but you have a two-way agreement with your sump pump. You depend on it to keep your basement free of water, and it depends on you to keep it clean and running well.  Your sump pump needs regular maintenance, and this is true whether it’s recently been called upon to do its job during a rainy stretch, or sitting idle through days and days of sunshine and scant rain. Sump Pump Maintenance Most plumbing professionals recommend doing a simple maintenance every three or four months, then a more comprehensive one yearly. But whichever you are about to do, first make sure it’s working. Remove the covering to the sump pit and clear it of any accumulated debris. Then to make sure it’s running, pour enough water into the pit so it rises to a level of nine inches or so. At this point, the float should rise, the motor should kick in, and you should see water flowing out the exit pipe or hose. If not, make sure the power is on. If this is not the problem, you need to call your plumber to take a look. But let’s assume everything is working so you can start your maintenance. Quarterly Maintenance Before you do anything, disconnect the power supply. Remove the pump inlet screen and thoroughly clean it. Some pumps have an inlet opening instead. Reconnect the power cord to the power supply. That’s it. That wasn’t so bad, was it? But before you go, check the sump pit basin. If all the water drained out while you were cleaning it, fill the pit with water before you turn the power back on so...
Why a Sump Pump is a Necessity in Your Home

Why a Sump Pump is a Necessity in Your Home

Contrary to what some people think, the need for sump pumps is not limited to homes in flood zones or extremely rainy climates. Water can saturate the ground and build up under and around the perimeter of your home’s foundation, and from there, can migrate into your basement or crawlspace. This is especially true if you have a high water table. Have you thought about installing one to keep your basement flood free?  What You Risk by Not Having a Sump Pump The accumulation of water can result in any or all of a homeowner’s worst fears, some of which include: Flood. If torrential rains occur, the ground becomes quickly saturated, and with nowhere else to go, the accumulating rain flows into the basement, where it can ruin everything stored in the basement, or it can cause structural damage. Fire. If the rising water reaches basement appliances like the washer, dryer, water heater, furnace or even worse the panel box, it can short them. Short circuits can easily lead to an electrical fire. Mold and Mildew. Even if flooding does not occur, constant dampness provides optimal conditions for mold and mildew. Not only does this result in a musty odor that permeates everything in the basement, but it can also lead to health problems like asthma and skin conditions. Installing a sump pump to remove water minimizes these risks. It also relieves hydrostatic pressure which can cause cracks in the foundation. Sump Pits To effectively rid your home of accumulated water, the sump pump should be installed below floor level. Therefore, step number one is to dig a hole called a sump pit and line it with gravel. Being the lowest point in the basement, the pit will serve as a reservoir for any excess...
How to Prevent and Remove Limescale from Your Plumbing Fixtures

How to Prevent and Remove Limescale from Your Plumbing Fixtures

When you live in a home with hard water, it can be frustrating to deal with the limescale buildups that occur around every faucet, sink and bathtub. This unsightly scum does more than make your bathrooms and kitchen look messy; it can also corrode away at your plumbing. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent limescale from forming. What is Limescale? Limescale is a deposit of a chemical compound called calcium carbonate. This is a mineral that is naturally found in some water sources. If you get your water from a natural source, you may be more at risk for limescale deposits. While these minerals are usually in such small amounts that they won’t affect your health, as spilled water evaporates, the buildup of this chemical can form an off-white layer of grime that can be hard to remove. Also, these chemicals can make your water taste bad and make it difficult to wash off soap. Preventing Limescale The problem with limescale is that the chemicals that cause the problem are usually dissolved in the water that comes into the home. To prevent it from building up around your plumbing fixtures, you will need to invest in a water softening system. These systems are about the size of a water heater and filter out the minerals in your tap water. Installing a water softening system not only eliminates the problem of limescale, but it also will improve several other problems. Once minerals are removed from the water, many people report that its taste improves. Laundry and bathing also become much more efficient, since soap can rinse away more cleanly. How to Remove Limescale In the meantime, if you have hard...
Hard Water Signs to Look for in Your Home or Business

Hard Water Signs to Look for in Your Home or Business

In the United States, almost 90 percent of residences have hard water. While most people have heard the term “hard water,” many Americans don’t know which signs they should be on the look out for in their homes. Homes which have hard water can treat the water to prevent the need to have costly repairs to their plumbing.  What is Hard Water? Hard water is water that has high levels of dissolved minerals. Some of the most common minerals found in hard water are calcium and magnesium carbonates. Water picks up these minerals when it passes through limestone and chalk deposits. While hard water is not harmful to people, in fact, some people believe it may have health benefits; these additional minerals aren’t good for machinery in a home or business. Five Signs of You May Have Hard Water If you notice any of these five signs, you should test your water to see if it is hard: Reduced water pressure or water flow rate. In as little as 18 months, lime scale can clog the shower faucets in your home enough to reduce the flow of water to just one-quarter of the original rate. Look at the holes on your shower head for any indication they are blocked. You may also run your finger around the inside of your water faucet to check for a white grit which is caused by limescale. Dry, scratchy skin and clothing. If you recently moved and you notice your skin feels rougher or itch more often, it may be due to hard water. The high levels of minerals in hard water are difficult to thoroughly rinse away. These minerals can remain on your clothes or skin and cause irritation. Low level of soap suds. Hard water...
How Drain Cleaning Can Prevent Plumbing Problems

How Drain Cleaning Can Prevent Plumbing Problems

Your plumbing system undergoes a significant amount of activity throughout the day. From washing clothes and dishes to taking showers, a lot of water finds its way down the plumbing drain. But water is not the only thing. Food, chemicals and contaminants all go down the drain with the water. Over time, these substances build up and cause blockage and deterioration inside the pipes. Regular drain cleanings are the solution to help avoid any unwanted blockage or backup in your plumbing. Caring for Your Plumbing System Like all other components in your home, your plumbing system requires ongoing maintenance and care to operate at peak performance year after year. The best action you can take is to hire a professional plumbing technician to come in and perform a comprehensive inspection of all parts. A plumber can make the necessary repairs and have your plumbing system up and running like new. Preventative Maintenance: Cleaning Your Drain Plumbing repairs can be expensive, which is why preventative maintenance is essential. Caring for the pipes and all other components begins by keeping the drain line clean and clear of blockage and debris. Below is a list of common items that can get caught inside your drain (whether it’s inside or outside your home) and need to be removed on a regular basis. Lime Scale. Lime scale occurs as a result of hard water exposure over a long period. Hard water contains significant levels of calcium and magnesium. The particles from these two substances build up over time and inhibit water flow. Once hardened, it is difficult to remove lime scale from a pipe....
4 Signs Your Commercial Drain Needs Repaired

4 Signs Your Commercial Drain Needs Repaired

As a company owner, you rely on all the systems in your commercial property to operate properly so that you can conduct your business. One of the most important systems in your building is the plumbing. When the system backs up, it can affect your employees and your clients. Below are four signs that your commercial drain may need to be repaired or unblocked. If you experience any of these symptoms, then contact a Crawford Mechanical Services plumbing specialist today. Bellying Bellies are low spots within your sewer line. When this occurs, paper and solids can settle in the low spot and cause what is known as a “soft blockage.” This is a common problem with sewer lines that use PVC pipe, but it can be easily fixed by a plumber. The Drain is Backed Up The most obvious sign that there is something wrong with the drain is that the water is backed up and won’t flush. There could be numerous reasons for this that range from tree root penetration to substance buildup. In a commercial building, drain backup can lead to flooding quickly since multiple people are using the plumbing system throughout the day. Flooding If you own a building that has multiple floors, and you notice water spots or worse, running water anywhere in the building, then it’s a safe bet that there is damage somewhere in the drain lines. The damage can be caused by pipes that are corroded, punctured or have loose connections. If you notice that water is present in areas where it shouldn’t be, then you need to hire a certified plumber to fix the problem immediately. Leaky drains...