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Plumbing FAQ in Denton, TX

Why do my water pipes rattle?

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.

What is meant by the terms “hard water” and “soft water”?

“Hard water” is water that contains high levels of calcium and/or magnesium. The presence of these minerals in high 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 the soaps and detergents we use in cleaning our dishes and 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.

How do I choose the correct size water heater for my home?

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 four, a 40-gallon gas water heater will be sufficient for your needs. If your water heater is electric, you would want to consider a 50-60–gallon unit. Consult your plumbing contractor or water heater dealer to ensure the unit you choose will serve your needs.

Why is my electric water heater not heating?

In many cases, the cause is a tripped high-temperature cutoff which can be fixed by simply pressing the reset button. If that doesn’t work, it could be a faulty heating element. If that is the case, you will have to replace the element.

Why does my toilet keep refilling?

There are a number of possible causes for this problem. It could be that the flapper isn’t sealing 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 flush valve. A number of different kinds of assemblies are available at any hardware store, plumbing supply company, and most discount centers, and installation is fairly straightforward.

How much can I expect to save on my monthly water bill by installing a low-flow toilet?

Your savings will vary depending on the number of flushes, but on average a typical household will see savings of between $50 and $100 annually.

How long should my water heater last?

The answer is not simple. While the average life of a residential heater has been said to be 10 to 12 years, many factors can affect the life of a water heater. Water softeners, minerals, and other contaminants can all contribute to shorter life expectancy, and some heaters may last much longer.

Should I flush my water heater?

Flushing your residential water heater is something that should be done on a regular basis. Depending on the water conditions in your area the water heater may need to be flushed more frequently (anywhere from every six months to once a year).

Written by BCI Mechanical