Lower Heating Costs – 20 Less Common Ways – Part 1

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HomeProPlumber 

Home Pro Plumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near near your home in Wylie, TX; Murphy, TX and Rowlette, TX.  We service all homes in southern Collin County TX and Denton County, TX with no travel charges.

Call Home Pro Plumber today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.

NOTE: If You Need Repairs Or Replacement Of Your HVAC System, Please Call (972) 362-1645

 two central air conditioner outdoor units

Image Source: ShutterStock

Many homes in DFW have an electric furnace and natural gas is not connected to the house.   If you have electric heat, you can reduce heating bills by up to 40% by replacing your electric furnace with a Heat Pump HVAC System.    A heat pump is a central a/c that runs in reverse to make heat.   In cooling mode, a heat pump works just like an air conditioner.  It removes heat from indoor air and moves it outdoors.    In heating mode, the  heat pump extracts heat from outdoor air and moves that heat into the house.   Moving heat is less expensive that creating heat with an electric furnace.

25 Less Common Ways To Lower Heating Costs

Heating-Costs Comparison — A 2,000 Square Foot DFW Home With 4 Occupants

Heating Costs In DFW:

  • 80% GAS Furnace: 60.2 MCF of Natural Gas X $9.71 per MCF:           $585.00 Annual Heating Cost 
  • 97%  GAS Furnace:  51.2 MCF X $9.71 per MCF:                                      $497.00 Annual Heating Cost
  • Standard Efficiency Heat Pump 7,450 kWh X 0.1098 per kWh:    $810.00 Annual Heating Cost (around 35% less expensive than electric furnace)
  • Electric Furnace: 11,775 kWh X 0.1098 per kWh:                              $1,295.00 Annual Heating Cost 

** Source: https://www.eia.gov/consumption/residential/reports/2009/state_briefs/pdf/tx.pdf

*** Source: https://www.centerpointenergy.com/en-us/Services/Pages/natural-gas-electricity-cost-comparison.aspx?sa=mn&au=bus

 

This Article Provides Ways To Lower Heating (and Cooling) Costs

Without Replacing HVAC System

This Article Is About Modest Costs Energy -Saving Home Upgrades.  It describes ways to reduce heating costs with:

  • Low to modestly priced energy-saving products
  • Lifestyle Changes that cost nothing

Ways To Notably Lower Heating Costs With Little Or Modest Cost

1. Compare your electricity retailers price per kWh to other providers. 

Log into PowerToChoose.org

To see electric kWh rates from many electricity retailers.  Plans can be ranked (for cost per kWh).

  • There are 3 rates per kWh:  500 kWh  /  1,000 kWh  /  2,000 kWh
  • Check your previous bills to determine your average kWh per monthly usage.  This will guide you in determining which rate is most important to you.
  • Plans are for 3, 6 or 12 months.  For a fair comparison, filter “Contract Length” so all results are for the same period of time.
  • Check the Monthly Base Charge. **  For low electricity use consumers, the base fee, added to a great kWh charge may not be a value.
  • ** Some plans have a minimum charge which covers a specified number of kWH.  If you use less, you still pay the minimum charge.

Comparing Prices Made Simple

NOTE: When Comparing Prices, All You Need To Compare Both The ENERGY CHARGE For Each Retailer + The Base Charge

  • All of DFW is serviced by ONCOR, our electricity Transmission & Distribution provider. 
  • So, The Transmission & Distribution Charge will be nearly identical.
  • What differs is the Energy Charge rate for each Retailer.
  • Compare Rates For Identical Plans: 1. Contract Length &  2. The Number Of kWh You Typically Use Per Month (your past bills will tell you).

 

At the time this article was written, research on the website showed the lowest priced rate was about 2/3 of the highest priced rate.

Results:

  •  LOWEST Rate =  8.7 cents per kWh (based on 2000 kWh per month).

Plan Information (as stated by the provider):

  • 12 Month Contract
  • Energy Charge =               8.7 cents per kWh

In addition to the Energy Charge, these charges will be added to your monthly bill:

  • Electricity Transmission and Distribution (TDU) Charge  = $0.0368 per kWh
  • Base Charge = $3.49 per month
  • Energy Charge For 2,000 kWh = $ 174.00 + $3.49 (base charge) = $177.49

— TO —

  • HIGHEST Rate = 12.9 cents per KWH (based on 2000 kWh per month).

Plan Information (as stated by the provider):

  • 12 Month Contract
  • Energy Charge =               12.9 cents per kWh
  • Energy Charge For 2,000 kWh = $258.00 + $9.95 (base charge) = $267.95.   
  • This retailer is +$90.46 more expensive for the same amount of electricity usage. 

In addition to the Energy Charge, these charges will be added to your monthly bill:

  • Electricity Transmission and Distribution (TDU) Charge = $0.03827 per kWh
  • Base Charge = $9.95 per month

Based on how much electricity you use, choosing a lowest cost plan can save you a lot of money.  All electricity is distributed by the same provider (ONCOR).  All the differs is the Electricity Retailer’s per kWh charge & base charge.

2. Seal Air Leaks 

The single most effective measure in reducing heating and cooling costs is to weatherize your home.  Sealing air leaks can reduce energy costs by up to 30%.   The older the home is, the more air it leaks.

Air leaks are unsealed openings through a building’s “envelope” (its walls, foundation, and roof).  These air leaks are typically responsible for a large portion of a home’s energy use and can also create indoor air quality problems.

According to the U.S. Dept. Of Energy (DOE) — Air-Leaks Account For Up To 30% Of Total Cooling & Heating Loss *1

Cold air will always move toward warm air because cold air is more dense.  Air leaks work in reverse based on the season:

  • You lose cooled air in summer as cooler indoor air moves outside through air leaks closer to the floor.
  • You lose heated air during winter as heated air rises and exits the home through air leaks close to or in the ceiling.  Then cold air replaces the escaping warm air at leaks near the floor.
  • The older the home is, the more air it leaks.   All the air leaks in a typical 1970’s built DFW combined would be the equivalent to having one window open all the time. *2

*1 Source: U.S. Department Of Energy (DOE)

*2 Source: https://www.nrdc.org

 

DIY efforts to close up air leaks can have a dramatic impact on both heating & cooling costs, plus improve the comfort-level inside the home.  We have gone in to some detail to help you identify where the leaks are located (often times they are somewhat hidden) and how much heat & a/c is lost by categories of air leaks.

The Following Areas Are Where Homes Leak Air:

  • 31% Floors, Walls & Ceilings
  • 15% Ductwork (heat & a/c going into your attic)
  • 14% Fireplace (if damper is left open when fireplace not being used)
  • 13% Plumbing Penetrations
  • 11% Doors
  • 10% Windows
  •   4% Bath & Kitchen Venting
  •   2% Outlets & Switches

Source: U.S. DOE

3. Seal Leaks In The Ceilings

You might think “How can a ceiling leak air?”  The leaks are at the openings in the ceiling.   Most older homes have gaps around electrical boxes.  Because these leaks are in the ceiling (heat rises), they present a great opportunity to lower heating costs.

To seal the gaps, use caulk or spray-foam (for gaps too large for caulk).

  • Most DFW homes have HVAC Vents in the ceiling.  Older homes will have gaps around the vents — and not visible due to the vent cover.

Click Here To See Gaps Around Ceiling HVAC Vent: Gaps Around Ceiling Vent

Click Here To See An Example: Gap Around Ceiling Light Box

 

4. REPLACE OLD RECESSED LIGHTS

  • One Of The Worst Offenders On Heating Costs Are Old, Vented Recessed Lights.
  • Older fixtures have vent holes to allow heat from the light bulb to escape.  They are simply open holes to the attic.
  • Most existing can lights have an open gap around them.

Click Here To See An Older Recessed Can Light With Vent Openings (to the attic): Old Recessed Light With Vent Holes

Click Here To See A Common Installation Of A Can Light: Recessed Can Light With Gap In The Ceiling Around It

Today’s new can light fixtures don’t have vent holes.

 

These Are An Easy DIY Retrofit LED Update To Existing Can Lights.  No Wiring Is Required.

 

  • The new fixture simply screws into the socket of the existing fixture.  No wiring is required.
  • These new fixtures come with an LED bulb available in cool or warm white light.  The fixture shown below produces the equivalent of 100 watts of light — using 12 watts.
  • LED bulbs produce very little heat (that your a/c must remove).   90% of the electricity used by LED produces light.    90% of the electricity used by incandescent lights produces heat.
  • Once sealed to the ceiling, these fixtures won’t allow heat to rise into the attic in winter, or push heat (from attic) into the living space during summer.
  • Note: Because most DFW homes have “Popcorn” Textured Ceilings, you will need to add caulk to seal the new fixture to the ceiling.  Put the caulk around the hole in the ceiling – not- at the edge of the new fixture’s lip.***  Also ensure the new fixture will cover the caulk.
  • Note: *** Caulking as instructed ensures that if the fixture ever must be removed, the damage to the popcorn texture will be covered by the lip of the fixture when reinstalled.

  Click On Photo To: View Product, See Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com

 

5. Seal Leaks In The Walls

photo of electrical outlet

Image Source: ShutterStock

SHOWN: Outlet with large gap between outlet & face plate

6. OUTLETS & SWITCHES

Just like with the ceilings, the primary locations where walls leak air are at openings.  Note: Sealing air leaks is not limited to outside walls, air gets into the house from interior walls too.

Air Leaks Into The Home:

  • around the outlet / switch electrical box
  • around the actual outlet or switch (2%).  There are Foam Gaskets To Seal That Gap.

Click Here To See A Common Installation Of An Outlet Box In Older Homes:  Gap Around Outlet Box In Wall.

Click Here To See A Common Installation Of An Light Switch Box In Older Homes:  Gap Around Light Switch Box

 

There are two steps to sealing air leaks at light switches and outlet.

Click On Photo To: View Product, See Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com

Shown: Gaskets Are Available For Both Outlets & Switches

 

7. SEAL WHERE PLUMBING COMES THROUGH THE WALLS

photo of water and sewer pipes under kitchen sink

Image Source: CanStockPhoto

SHOWN: A Noticeable Gap Exists Around The Black Pipe Where It Enters Into The Wall.

In older homes, it’s common for large gaps to exist where plumbing comes through walls.  These gaps are low in the walls, so cold air enters through the gaps in winter and cold air exits through these gapsduring summer.

Click  To See Huge Gaps Around Plumbing Coming Through The Walls: Gaps Around Plumbing Coming Through Wall

 

home pro plumber logo

HomeProPlumber 

Home Pro Plumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near near your home in Plano, TX; Allen, TX and Frisco, TX.  We service all homes in southern Collin County TX and Denton County, TX with no travel charges.

Call Home Pro Plumber today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.

 

NOTE: If You Need Repairs Or Replacement Of Your HVAC System, Please Call (972) 362-1645

Power Surges can Damage Everything Electrical

home pro plumber logo

HomeProPlumber 

Home Pro Plumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near near your home in Plano, TX; Allen, TX and Frisco, TX.  We service all homes in southern Collin County TX and Denton County, TX with no travel charges.

Call Home Pro Plumber today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.

Power Surges Have The Capacity To Damage Or Destroy 

Home Wiring, HVAC, Appliances, Electronics & Electrical Devices 

Lightning strike

Image Source: pixabay.com

Shown: Lighting Strike

EXTERNAL POWER SURGES ENTER YOUR HOME FROM THE POWER LINES

INTERNAL POWER SURGES COME FROM INSIDE THE HOME  

Homes use 120-volt power — with voltage ranging from -169 volts (low) TO +169 volts (high).   A power surge spikes the voltage over 170 volts.   During a Power Surge, damage to; Home Wiring,  HVAC Systems, Appliances and Electronics can occur.

External Power Surges come into your home from the outside power line.   External Power surges can damage both your home’s wiring and every electrical device connected to it.

A Lightning Strike power surge is what most people think of causing a power surge.   This is one of the most damaging types of power surge.   There are over 20 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in the 48 contiguous U.S. states each year.    A power surge occurs if the voltage in the electricity rises above 170 volts.  A lightning bolt has 40,000 — 120,000 volts. *

In addition to lightening, there are many other ways power surges are created.  We will discuss some of the most common sources of power surges in this article. 

* Source: https://www.windpowerengineering.com/business-news-projects/how-much-power-in-a-bolt-of-lightning/

 

THE U.S. POWER GRID: FROM END TO END

A Power Surge can be created any place in the power grid from the power plant to the neighborhood transformer near your home.   Just below we detail the individual components of the U.S. Power Grid,  We describe what each component does, how they are interconnected, and how they relate to each other during the creation and transmission of electricity from Power Plant to your home.

1. Electricity is generated in the power plant.  There are typically multiple generators that produce electricity within each power plant.

In Most Power Plants:

  • A fuel is used to heat water until it’s steam.  (It can also be moving water in a hydroelectric plant).
  • The steam turns the blades of the generator’s turbine.
  • The turbine provides the power to spin the generator.
  • Once the steam has been used to spin the turbine, the steam is cooled back into water inside a cooling tower (see a cooling tower in 2nd pic  below).
  • Once the cooling tower cools the steam back into water,  the water is returned and  reheated until it’s steam again.

power plant electricity generator

Shown: Electricity Generator Inside A Power Plant

Image Source: ShutterStock

One typical power plant generator produces 345,000 volts, and can produce as much as 765,000 volts.   Power plants step up the electricity’s voltage before it leaves the power plant.  This is because less electricity is lost (while in the power lines) when the voltage is high.

electricity generating power plant

Shown: Power Plant (in background).  Cooling Tower (in Foreground).

Image Source: Pixabay

2. Electricity Transmission Lines carry electricity long distances.  They are huge lines connected to tall towers.  The lines are also interconnected.  If one line fails, another transmission takes over the failed line’s load.  Transmission lines deliver electricity to electrical sub stations.

large power transmission lines on power towers

Shown: Power Transmission Lines On Tall Towers

Image by Nicole Köhler from Pixabay

 

3. Electrical Substations use step-down transformers to reduce the voltage to 12,000 volts.  Substations are small, fenced in areas that contain switches, transformers, and other electrical equipment.

electricity substation

Shown: Electrical Substation

Image by Michael Gaida from Pixabay

 

4. Upon leaving the substation, the electricity enters the Power Distribution lines.  These can be overhead or underground.  Overhead distribution lines are often seen along busy streets.  In areas developed after 1960, residential areas are typically served by underground distribution lines that bring the electricity to your home.

local overhead power transmission lines

Shown: Electricity Distribution Lines

Image by René Schué from Pixabay

 

5. Before electricity enters your house, the voltage is reduced again by a (step down) Transformer.  These are the round gray cans on power poles OR a box (typically painted green) that sits on the ground (in areas with underground electricity distribution lines).

The neighborhood transformer reduces the electricity voltage to 120 and 240 volts.  120 voltage runs small electricity users, such as a refrigerator, computer, or a portable electric heater.  240 voltage is for large users of electricity such as; central air conditioning, a large window air conditioner, electric clothes dryer, electric kitchen range / cooktop / wall oven, and electric furnaces.

 

electricity transformer on pole

Shown: Electricity Transformer For Overhead Power Transmission Lines

Image by Nature Blossom from Pixabay

 

electricity transformer for underground utilities

Shown: Electricity Transformer For Under Ground Power Transmission Lines

Image by Vince Alvino from Pixabay

 

6. Once the local transformer steps the voltage down to 120 or 240 volts, it comes into your home and is ready to use.

photo of electrical outlet

Shown: 120 Volt Electrical Outlet

Image Source: ShutterStock

240 volt electrical outlet

Shown: 240 Volt Electrical Outlet

Image Source: ShutterStock

 

POWER SURGES CAN OCCUR DUE TO ANY CHANGE WITH THE FLOW OF ELECTRICITY 

THE CHANGE CAN OCCUR AT ANY LOCATION WITHIN THE POWER GRID

Once common source of power surges occurs during increasing electricity demand.   Adding additional power generators or additional power plants causes more electricity to flow into the lines and can create a line voltage surge.

Problems with electrical distribution equipment, such as overheated transformers or broken power lines that fail and stop carrying electricity can also cause power surges. These kinds of surges are impossible to predict.  When an electrical line fails, the electricity it was carrying can create a brief power surge in nearby electrical lines.

A Short Circuit Within The Electricity Distribution Network is another common cause of a power surge. A short circuit is defined as electricity taking a different path than the correct path.   If an electrical path with less resistance (than the correct path) occurs, electricity will flow through that path instead because shorter paths have less resistance.  This is what the term “short circuit” means.

A Common Short Circuit Is Occurs When Tree Limbs touch power distribution wires.  If the power wire touches a tree, the tree provides a direct path for electricity to flow into the ground (the earth).  This is why you see trees trimmed away from power lines.

photo of tree trimmed away from electrical distribution lines

Image Source: Photo by Ibrahim Boran from Pexels

Shown: Tree On Left Trimmed Away From Electrical Line

 

Click In The White Arrow (In Center Of Image Below) To See What Happens When A Tree Touches A Power Line And A Short Circuit Occurs

Power Blinks Occur Because:

  • Something goes wrong within the power distribution network.
  • A protective device reacted to the problem and disconnected the affected power line(s).
  • If a Fuse exists in the affected power line, the fuse blows and must be replaced by power-restoration crews.
  • If a Circuit breaker exists in the power line, it will retest the line to check if the problem has cleared.  It will reconnect the line and disconnect again if the problem still exists.  It may do this several times.  If the short-circuit continues, the breaker will shut off until power-restoration crews correct the problem.  During the testing by the circuit-breaker, power surges can repeatedly come into your home.
  • When a default causes a power line to disconnect, the electricity flowing through that line briefly reroutes to nearby lines, until the ground wire(s) carry the excess electricity away.  During the reroute, the power in your home may blink.

 

Surge Protectors Stop Power Surges From Getting To Your Devices 

A Power Surge Occurs When A Power Outage Is Restored 

At one moment power line is carrying no electricity due to a power outage.   When power is restored, a surge of electricity races into and through the line.

photo of circuit breaker panel

Shown: Circuit Breakers Panel

Image Source: CanStockPhoto

The Best Way To Protect Your Home And Contents From The Power Surge That Occurs After A Power Outage

Is To Turn Off The Main Breaker In Your Home’s Circuit Breaker Panel.

Wait 5 minutes after power is restored before turning the Main Breaker back on.

 

FOR EXTERNAL POWER SURGES — WHOLE HOUSE SURGE PROTECTORS

Whole House Surge Protectors can protect your home’s electrical wiring + every electrical device from damage caused by an EXTERNAL Power Surge.

 

A Comprehensive Power Surge Protection Strategy Incorporates:

First-Tier Surge Protection at the power meter. — This is called a TYPE 1 Surge Protector.

Second-Tier Surge Protection at the circuit breaker panel. —  This is called a TYPE 2 Surge Protector.

Third-Tier Surge Protection where devices plug into an outlet. — This is called TYPE 3 Plug-In Surge Protector.  These protectors are for internal power surges. 

Shown: Electric Meter-Socket Surge Arrestor

Image Source: Amazon Embedded Link

NOTE: Dangerous Levels Of Electricity Exist At The Electric Meter & Inside Circuit Breaker Panels.

NOTE: First-Tier & Second Tier Surge Protection Devices Must Be Installed By A Licensed Electrician.

The arrestor shown sits between the electric meter and the house.   It stops External Power Surges before they can enter the circuit breaker panel.    The manufacturer of the unit shown states that it provides protection of up to 50,000 peak Amps of surge.  A Whole-House surge protector guards the home’s wiring + all electrical devices from a power surge (up to the capacity of the protector).

Copy The Link Below Into Your Browser To Read Details On The Electric Meter-Socket Surge Arrestor Shown Above:

https://www.leviton.com/en/docs/Meter_Socket_Surge_Arrester_Product_Bulletin_Q-565.pdf

** NOTE: The Surge Protector shown above is rated at 50,000 amps.   This Old House says “whole-house systems should be rated to stop a 40,000-amp surge, at minimum”.  **

Click Here To See A Meter-Socket Surge Arrestor Installed:  Meter-Socket Surge Arrestor Installed

 

Shown below is a modestly priced, Whole House, Surge Protector that installs inside the Circuit Breaker Panel.   Near its top is the location of the indicator light that glows green indicating the protector is working properly.  **

** NOTE: This Surge Protector is rated at 20,000 amps.   This Old House says “whole-house systems should be rated to stop a 40,000-amp surge, at minimum”.  **

**Source: https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/surge-protection

 

Whole Home Surge Protective Devices are for higher-level External power surges.  External surges are to large to be stopped by plug-in power surge protectors.   Whole House SPD’s provide surge suppression for items that can’t be plugged into plug-in surge protectors, such as HVAC, electric dryer, electric stove / cooktop / wall oven, and lighting.  Surge Protectors redirect excess current safely to ground (earth).  This reroutes the surge before it has the chance to enter your homes wiring.

 

 SHOWN: General Electric Model THQLSURGE. 

Click On Photo To: View, See Details, or Purchase This Item From Amazon.com

 

Note: We Not Sell Or Install Whole House Surge Protectors.

 

CLICK THE WHITE ARROW (IN THE CENTER OF THE IMAGE BELOW) TO SEE A WHOLE-HOUSE SURGE PROTECTOR 

PROTECTING AN AIR CONDITIONER FROM A (MAN-MADE) EXTERNAL POWER SURGE OF 10,000 VOLTS.

Internal Power Surges

Up to 3/4 of power surges come from inside the home.   Internal Power Surges occur several times each day when high electricity-demand devices turn off.   Hair dryers, electric portable heaters, and window air conditioners are three of the biggest creators of internal power surges.  Since heaters and a/c are controlled by a thermostat, they can cycle on & off many times in a single day.  Power surges may also created by older refrigerators and freezers.

If you have seen a light bulb get brighter for a moment, you have witnessed a power surge.  When a high-demand electrical device (such as a portable electric heater) shuts off, there is a brief surplus of electricity in the homes electrical wiring.  The excess electricity moves into the ground wire, which takes it back to the circuit breaker panel and then into the earth.  All this happens very fast, as the electrical wiring is designed to carry excess electricity away.

During that brief moment when excess electricity exists in the home’s electrical wiring, a power surge occurs to every outlet on that circuit (and possibly into other circuits).  Today’s HVAC Systems and appliances have sensitive electronics just like computers do.  These appliances are subject to tiny amounts of damage each time an internal power surge occurs.  Over time, repeated internal power surges shorten the life of electronics & appliances.

 

Click On The White Arrow (in the center of the image) Below To See A Video About A Washer Damaged By A Power Surge: Washer Damaged By Power Surge

 

Guarding Against All Power Surges Requires Two Levels Of Defense:

  • A Whole-House Surge Suppressor(s) — to stop external power spikes.
  • Individual “Plug-In” Surge Suppressors — to stop small, internal power surges.

Without surge protectors, the only way to protect your: HVAC System, Appliances & Electronics is to disconnect power to them.  This is most easily accomplished by turning the circuit breaker off.  The problem is, power surges cannot be predicted.  Other than disconnecting power, the only way to protect your home’s expensive electronics is to have power surge protectors operating 24/7.

Plug-In Surge Protectors For Internal Power Surges 

3/4 of power surges originate inside the home, they are called Internal Power Surges.   The Whole-House Surge Protector does not protect your home from surges originating inside the home.

Using Plug-In Surge Protector will guard sensitive appliances and electrical devices from internal power surges.   Any device with a digital readout has electronics inside.  Today’s appliances typically have sensitive electronics too.  If you are in doubt whether an appliance or device needs a surge protector, add one to be sure.

All plug-in surge protectors stop the power surge itself.  Additionally, some surge protectors will block the electricity from going past them until the current is stabilized.  This style of surge protector will light up to let you know it has power, but will delay allowing electricity through the surge protector until the surge protector is satisfied with the stability of incoming current.

Some brands of surge protectors have an “Delay” Indicator.  We show once such brand below.  This indicator light is typically yellow, and is lighted while the surge protector monitors the electrical current for stability.   Other brands may delay the power, but not indicate that.  Check your owner’s manual to how to know if a surge protector has a delay mode, and when it is in delay mode.

Shown: Surge Protector With Delay Light.   Products shown do not constitute endorsements by Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C.

PLUG-IN POWER SURGE PROTECTORS ARE NOT ALL CREATED EQUAL

SHOWN: Tripp Lite Model TLP1008TE:

Click On Photo To: View Item, See Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com

How Does A Plug In Surge Protector Work?   When electrical voltage rises above a safe level, the surge protector has internal components (called varistors) that absorb the excess voltage and divert it to the Surge Protector’s ground wire.  The home’s wiring then carries the excess voltage away.  This prevents a power surge from from reaching the devices plugged into the surge protector.

Note: Plug In Power Surge protectors Do Not Have The Capacity To Protect Against External Power Surges.  The plug in devices are designed to protect against small, internal surges.

 

One of the biggest concerns with Plug In surge protectors is if they disconnect power (to the items plugged into them) if they become compromised.  The only way to be sure is to read the marketing verbiage provided.  If they don’t say they disconnect power, the safest route is to assume they don’t.

Tripp Lite Is A Brand Of Plug In Power Surge Protector That Disconnects Power When Compromised.  This brand also comes with insurance to replace protected items if the Trip Lite power surge protector fails to protect them.   This verbiage came from Tripp Lite’s website (www.tripplite.com) under the heading “Premium Safety Features”.  “Automatic shut off cuts power to all outlets when protection has been compromised.”   Tripp Lite Sells Surge Protectors In A Multitude  Of Different Configurations, From 1 Outlet To Serving Many Devices.

Note:  Al’s does not endorse any brand of Surge Protectors only because we don’t have first-hand knowledge of all devices.  There may be other brands that also disconnect power.

 

Power Surges Often Damage HVAC System Components

As shown in the video within this article, power surges can damage HVAC Systems.   A central a/c or furnace often stops running after a large power surge.  The two most common surges that damage HVAC are lightning strikes or when electricity is restored after an outage.

If the surge is large (like lighting or a short-circuit in the electricity distribution system) — there are other components that are subject to failure in addition to the outside a/c unit or furnace control board.  If the power surge is quite large the cost to repair the a/c outside unit may not be justified unless it’s nearly new.  In that case, the system must be replaced.

 

COMMON PROBLEMS A CENTRAL A/C MAY INCUR FOLLOWING A POWER SURGE

  • Damaged Control Board:  The control board is the “brain” for the outdoor unit + there is a second control board in the furnace.  Control boards tell the outside unit or furnace which functions to perform, and in what order.  Being a sensitive electronic control-board, it is highly subject to damage from a power surge / spike.

Image Source: Amazon embedded link

SHOWN: HVAC System Control Board.  There is a specific unit required for each: brand, model and size HVAC System.

  • Damaged Capacitor:   Capacitors are a battery that sends a extra jolt of electricity to start a motor running.  There is typically one for the outside unit’s fan and another for the outside unit’s compressor.  Another once exists inside the furnace to start the blower motor.
  • Electrical components that use large amounts of electricity typically need an extra jolt of electricity to start running. Capacitors are the battery that provides the jolt.  In a central air conditioner, capacitors serve: the outside unit compressor, the outside unit fan, & the furnace blower fan.
  • A capacitor is the most common air conditioning part to fail due to a power surge, as a relatively weak power surge can damage a capacitor.   Over time a damaged capacitor can damage the a/c’s compressor, as the compressor depends on the extra jolt of electricity from the capacitor to start running.   If the compressor does not get that jolt, it may start running anyway.  But without the capacitor, the start is extremely hard on the compressor.  “Hard starting” is when an AC struggles to turn on and then shuts off in a short time.   A compressor can fail due to damage from hard starting.

Image Source: Amazon embedded link

SHOWN: HVAC System Capacitor.   There is a specific unit required for each: brand, model and size HVAC System.

 

  • Damaged Contactor Relay Switch:  This is a low-voltage switch controlled that is controlled by the thermostat inside the house.  This low-voltage relay then operates the high-voltage relay switches for the: outside unit compressor, the outside unit fan, & the furnace blower fan.  The high-voltage relays turn on 120V electrical power (to fans) or 240V electrical power to the compressor in the outdoor unit.

 

Image Source: Amazon embedded link

SHOWN: Contact Relay Switch.  There is a specific unit required for each: brand, model and size HVAC System.

  • Damaged Compressor:  The compressor moves the refrigerant though the outside unit & the cooling-coil inside the furnace or duct work.   Being an electrical device with a lot of wiring, the compressor can be damaged by a large power surge.   A small power surge that damages a capacitor can also damage a compressor over time
  • The cost to replace a central a/c compressor typically exceeds the value of the outdoor unit unless it’s quite new.   In most cases, the outdoor unit must be replaced if the compressor is damaged due to a power surge.   When looking inside the outdoor unit, the largest component is the compressor.

There are many HVAC components that can be damaged by a power surge.   In summer, a power surge can damage the control board in the outside unit + the furnace’s board if the central a/c is running at the time of the surge.   A surge caused by a restoration of electricity can damage HVAC — if the thermostat setting is calling for cooling when the power is restored.  The HVAC System will start up the moment power is available, and that could be accompanied by the power surge.

 

Symptoms Of A Central A/C That Is Not Working Correctly

These symptoms tell you something is wrong with your central a/c — regardless of what caused the problem:

  • Nothing working (thermostat turned off, failed thermostat).
  • Outside unit suddenly not running  (tripped circuit breaker, thermostat changed from “cooling”).
  • Tripping Circuit Breaker.  A/C starts tripping the circuit breaker (overloading the circuit due to malfunction in HVAC system).
  • Furnace blower suddenly not running (tripped circuit beaker — furnace on separate breaker as outside unit, thermostat changed from “cooling”).
  • Fan is in the outside unit is not running (capacitor has failed, relay switch has failed, other).
  • Air coming from the outside unit is not warm (compressor not running).
  • No air coming from the ducts (furnace blower fan not running, cooling coil inside furnace has iced up due to low refrigerant or failed control switches).
  • Less air coming from ducts than in the past (dirty air filter needs replaced, dirty cooling-coil — above or inside the furnace).
  • Output air not as cool as in the past (low refrigerant and / or dirty outside unit).
  • Refrigerant just recharged, now blowing much colder than in the past (refrigerant overcharged — to much refrigerant).
  • Warm air blowing inside (compressor not running).
  • Outside unit is making new noises you have not heard before.
  • Outside unit shakes when it turns on (compressor is likely hard starting).
  • Ice is forming on the outside a/c unit (low refrigerant or failed control switches).
  • “Burned” smell (wiring is burning out).
  • A/C is running constantly during extremely hot weather.  This may not be a problem — the system is trying to keep up.
  • A/C is running constantly during only warm weather (low refrigerant, dirty outside unit, dirty air filter).
  • Electricity bill has spiked upward (low refrigerant, dirty outside unit, dirty air filter).

Note: Frost will form on the outside unit of a Heat Pump in winter.  It will defrost itself as needed.

Catch HVAC System Problems Before The System Stops Working

Due to its complexity, there are many things that can go wrong with a central a/c system.  The Best Defense Is An Annual Maintenance & Cleaning Of components (as needed).   The system will be checked for refrigerant level and components that have failed, or are near failing.   The system’s operation will be tested to ensure it is working at its maximum cooling ability and energy efficiency.

Your a/c is most likely to stop working when you need it most (because that’s when it is running the most).  A failing component (such as a capacitor) may be able to function when the a/c is not cycling a lot, but then fails when heavy demand is placed on it during hot DFW summers.

Discovering upcoming problems will save: being miserable with heat, being inconvenienced, and possibly after-hours repair charges (they are often higher than during normal office hours).   It may also catch the need for an inexpensive repair (such as capacitor) from causing very expensive repairs (such as a burned out compressor due to failed capacitor).

 

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HomeProPlumber 

Home Pro Plumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near near your home in Richardson, TX; Garland, TX;and northeastern Dallas, TX.  We service all homes in southern Collin County TX and Denton County, TX with no travel charges.

Call Home Pro Plumber today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.

 

Gas Pressure Testing – Residential

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HomeProPlumber 

This Article Discusses Residential Natural Gas Pressure Testing.  HomeProPlumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home. We sell & install Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near your home in Plano, Allen, Frisco, and McKinney Texas.  Homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties incur no additional travel-charges.

HomeProPlumber in Plano, Texas also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Call us today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.  

Residential Gas Pressure Testing

Gas pressure testing ensures the gas coming it into the home is at the right pressure.  Gas pressure testing requires the temporary installation of a gas pressure gauge.   Gas pressure testing requires a permit from your City.  Once the testing is completed, an inspection will be performed by the city to ensure everything is correctly restored & safe. 

What Natural Gas Is, And How It’s Delivered To Your Home

Methane / Natural gas is a byproduct of decomposing organic matter.   Natural gas is predominately methane. Natural gas is colorless, tasteless and (in its natural state) odorless. Utility companies add a distinctive odorant to identify natural gas leaks.

Natural gas delivers to your home by pipeline. Compressor stations move the gas through major pipelines at 750 psi (pounds per square inch). The major gas pipelines deliver the gas to your local utility’s gas-supply grid.  There, the gas pressure is regulated down and fed into the gas distribution system.  Next, individual service lines deliver gas to the structures.  As gas enters your home, its pressure is typically around .25 psi (1/4 of 1 pound).

There is a regulator beside the gas meter to control the gas pressure coming into your home.  The regulator is typically round.  The Gas-Pressure Regulator is designed to shut off the gas flow (coming into the house) when no gas is being used.  When gas is needed, the regulator opens just enough to allow that amount of gas through.  

The regulator can adjust to any level of gas demand at any given time.  The regulator can be adjusted to allow more or less gas into the house, based on the number of gas burning devices.   Since any home can have one or more gas-fired devices (furnace, water heater, fireplace, clothes dryer, & gas cooking appliances) the gas pressure is adjusted to accommodate all devices that exist.

residential natural gas meter

Image Source: CanStockPhoto

SHOWN: Residential Natural Gas Meter.  The Gas-Pressure Regulator Is The Round Component On The Left

Once the gas is inside your home, the nozzles inside gas burning devices are designed to permit a specific gas flow at a specific gas pressure.  Too much gas pressure means too much gas flow.  Too much gas flowing into your furnace causes more heat to be generated than the furnace is designed for.   If your furnace fan and exhaust flue cannot carry the heat away fast enough, the furnace will overheat and shut down to protect itself and you. 

There is a risk of fire from any gas-fired device overheating due to too much gas flowing into it.  For this reason, gas burning devices have their own gas regulator.  If the gas pressure is too high, the regulator shuts off all gas coming into the device, such as a furnace (as a safety feature).   Though the furnace’s regulator stops the risk of overheating, it also shuts the furnace down.

Gas Pressure Testing

A Gas Pressure Test Requires A Permit From Your City.  A city official perform an inspection to ensure everything is up to code and safe. Once inspected & approved, the temporary meter is removed and the gas can be turned back on.

WARNING: Improper Inspection & Testing Methods Involving Gas Pressure Create Dangerous Conditions And The Risk Of A Gas Explosion.  A trained technician must perform all gas pressure testing. The purpose of the city permit is to ensure the technician doing the test is qualified.  Additionally, their work is inspected by a city inspector.

We Do Not Provide DIY Instructions For Gas Pressure Testing.

We Do Not Advise Nor Encourage You To Do Gas Pressure Testing Yourself. 

Gas pressure determines how fast gas can flow into a gas-burning device.  While gas devices have the ability to regulate if gas pressure coming in is too high, they often don’t have the ability to deal with gas pressure that’s too low.  If the gas pressure is too low, it may affect the ability of gas burning device to operate correctly.  In that case, the devices will shut down to protect themselves and your home.

It’s very important the gas pressure entering the home and each gas device is correct.   Gas pressure testing ensures the right pressure coming into the home or a specific gas-burning device.   Once testing is completed, a city official will perform an inspection to ensure everything is up to code and safe. Once inspected & approved, the gas can be turned back on.


gas pressure gauges
Image Source: www.canstockphoto.com (c) Can Stock Photo / scanrail
SHOWN: Industrial Gas Pressure Gauges
 

CLICK BELOW SEE HOW A GAS-PRESSURE REGULATOR WORKS

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF GAS PRESSURE IS TOO HIGH

The nozzles in the gas fired devices in your home are sized to permit a specific gas flow at a specific gas pressureToo much gas pressure means too much gas flow.  Too much gas flowing into your furnace causes more heat to be generated than the furnace is designed for.   
 
If a furnace overheats, it shuts down to protect itself.  This is also true of your gas water heater and gas clothes dryer. There is a risk of fire from any gas-fired device overheating due to too much gas flowing into it.  For this reason, these products almost always have their own gas regulator (in addition to the one for the house by the gas meter).  
 
If the gas pressure is too high, the regulator can adjust the pressure downward to what’s needed.  A furnace’s gas-pressure regulator can fail, and too much gas pressure would cause the furnace to overheat.  As mentioned earlier, the furnace will shut down to protect itself and your home.

WHAT HAPPENS IF GAS PRESSURE IS TOO LOW

If gas pressure is too low, the gas-fired device can’t work properly and will shut down.  There are many safety devices to protect gas burning devices in the event gas pressure is too high or too low.  Gas furnaces all have a “Flame Sensor”.  If the Flame Sensor cannot determine that a proper flame exists when gas is flowing, it shuts the gas off to the burners.  If gas pressure is too low, the flame will be too small for the Flame Sensor’s requirements and the furnace will shut down to protect itself, you & your home.
 

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HomeProPlumber 

This Article Discusses The Causes Of Common Water Pipes Noises.  HomeProPlumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home. We sell & install Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near your home in Plano, Allen, Frisco, and McKinney Texas.  Homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties incur no additional travel-charges.

HomeProPlumber in Plano, Texas also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Call us today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.  

 

Water Pipes Noises – What Causes Them

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HomeProPlumber 

This Article Discusses The Causes Of Common Water Pipes Noises.  HomeProPlumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home. We sell & install Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near your home in Plano, Allen, Frisco, and McKinney Texas.  Homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties incur no additional travel-charges. HomeProPlumber in Plano, Texas also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Call us today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.  

 

NOTE:  The Plumbing Components Shown In This Article Are Typical Of What Is Installed In Home Across The U.S. 

This Article Is Written For Homes In The Dallas / Ft. Worth Area. 

The Locations Of Some Components Varies In Other Areas Of the U.S.  

 

Whistling, Squealing or Banging Water Pipes Noises — Causes & Cures

Plus Other Common Water Pipes Noises

The normal sound of water running through a pipe can’t be prevented.  However, other noises (whistling, rattling, creaks, tapping, or loud banging noises) the water flow has been affected by one of several factors. 

 

Common Water Pipes Noises And How To Fix Them

Whistling or squealing water pipe noises often result from water being forced through a smaller opening than the plumbing components were designed for.

This is often due to:

  • water pressure too high
  • wear & tear on plumbing components
  • water mineral build-up resulting in smaller openings 
  • other types of degradation

SQUEALING / WHISTLING

Water Pipes Noises Are Typically Related To Water Pressure And / Or Flow Velocity.   

The higher the water water pressure or velocity (speed of water flow) the more likely the pipes are to whistle or squeal.  The noise can sometimes be reduced or eliminated by reducing water pressure OR water flow rate.  Normal water pressure coming into a home is 45- 55 Pounds Per Square Inch (psi).  Water pressure should not exceed 60 psi. Your home’s water supply lines were designed to work best at around 50 psi water pressure at the location where water enters the house (the water-main line).  Beyond that, individual lines have lower water pressure.  The water main-line pressure is high enough to ensure several water sources can be flowing at the same time with adequate pressure for each.

You Can Do A Simple Test To See If Water Pressure Is Contributing To Squeals or Whistles : If the noise is at a faucet or toilet where a wall shut-off valve exists, partially close the wall shut-off valve to see if the noise goes away.

NOTE:  You may not be able to turn the handle, over time, water-shut offs can corrode.  Forcing them can damage the shut-off and cause it to leak.   If the shut-off does not turn under normal pressure from your hand,don’t force it.

photo of toilet with shut off valve showing Image Source: Flicker

Shown: Toilet Shut Off Valve Shown On The Left Side Of Toilet  

 

Test Water Pressure With A Gauge That Screws Onto An Outside Faucet

Click Here To See A YouTube Video Discussing Screw-On Water Pressure Gauge: YouTube Screw-On Water Pressure Gauge

Shown: Water Pressure Gauge That Screws Onto Outside Faucet

 Click On Photo To: See, View Details, or Purchase It From Amazon.com.  

 

Water Pressure Reducing Valve

It’s Preset To 50 Pounds Per Inch (PSI) — It Can Be Adjusted From 25 – 75 PSI By Turning The Screw

Click Here To See A YoutTube Video About Water Pressure Reducing Valve: YouTube.com Water Pressure Reducing Valve  

NOTE: New residential plumbing codes typically require a pressure reducing valve be installed when the home is built.  Depending on your home’s age, a water pressure reducing valve may or may not exist.  Because of its distinctive “up-side-down ice cream cone” appearance, a water pressure reducing valve is easily identified.   

 

Where To Find The Water Pressure Reducing-Valve In DFW Homes (If One Is Installed)

Click On Photo To: See, View Details, or Purchase It Valve From Amazon.com.

The Water Pressure Reducing-Valve is located on the homeowner’s side of the water meter. 

It may be located inside the (underground) box:

  • Where the water meter is.
  • Where the home’s main water is. 
  • These boxes almost always have a green , removable lid.

In DFW slab homes, there is no access to the water inlet from inside the house — the water shut-off is outside.  If there is no pressure reducing valve in either box, the home likely does not have one.  Pressure-reducing valves were not always required by Building Code. 

Shown: Typical Underground Box Where Water Meter & The Home’s Main Water Shut Off Is Located.  

Click On Photo To: See, View Details, or Purchase It From Amazon.com.

 

An Older Pressure Reducing Valve May No Longer Work

An older Pressure Reducing Valve may have failed due to wear & tear, or mineral deposits build-up (from the water).  If you see mineral deposits on your shower heads and faucets,  you likely have mineral deposit build ups inside other areas of your plumbing.

photo of shower head clogged with mineral deposits Image Source: Dreamstime ID 113255050

Shown: Shower Head Clogged With Mineral Deposits

 

Other Factors That Contribute To Whistling / Squealing Water Pipes Noises

If the water pressure in your home is normal (around 50 psi) and you have squealing pipes, there are likely other factors causing the squeal.   In faucets and valves, squealing can be caused by a worn out washer in a shut off valve.   

  • Squealing may be due to wear & tear of a shut off valve’s rubber washers, or the valve’s seat may be worn  (area just below the black rubber washer / seal)  This can be at the wall shut off valve or the faucet itself. 
  • It could also be due to mineral build up.  Any of these problems can create reduced water-flow below what the faucet was designed for — resulting in a squeal.

NOTE: Over the years, Building Code was changed to require lever shut off valves instead of round handle versions.  This is because the round handle shut off valves are more prone to failure.  Their design requires them to move downward as they close.  Mineral deposits often build up, rendering the valve unable to close.

 

OLD STYLE (ROUND HANDLE) WATER SHUT OFF VALVE

photo of round handle water shut off valve

Image Source: Dreamstime ID 118503423

Shown: Old Style (Round) Water Shut Off Valve Below

 

CURRENT STYLE (LEVER HANDLE) BALL VALVE WITH 1/4-TURN OPERATION

photo of ball valve with lever shut off

 

 Image Source: Dreamstime ID 61174911

Shown: Today’s Current Lever-Style Water Ball alve With 1/4-Turn Operation

Today’s lever valves turn to the right or left when opening / closing.  This allows them to deal with mineral deposits much better, often they can clear small amounts of mineral deposits as they are turned on or off. 

NOTE: Many Municipalities Require An Old Style Style Shut Off Valve Be Replaced With Lever-Style When New Work Is Done On Plumbing (such as water heater replacement).  

 

SQUEALING Can Also Be Caused By A Clogged Faucet Aerator

photo of clogged faucet aerator Image Source:  Dreamstime ID 94737840

Shown: Faucet Aerator Clogged With Mineral Deposits  

 

WATER HAMMER Water Pipes Noises 

Water pipe noises that sound like a bang when you turn off a faucet are Water Hammer.  It’s caused when water is rushing through the pipe and the faucet is turned off, bringing the water flow to an abrupt halt.  This can rattle the water pipes, or make a loud band.

Typically there air chambers (water hammer arresters) connected to the pipe (inside the wall) behind faucets.  These air chambers allow a place for water to go when the faucet is turned off.  The water will briefly push up into the air chamber where it hits a cushion of air.  This prevents the water force from causing the pipes to rattle or bang.  Over the years, hammering may develop due to water hammer arrester failure.

BUILT-IN (SOLDERED IN PLACE) WATER HAMMER ARRESTER (INSIDE WALL)

When new homes are built, water hammer arresters are added to the plumbing inside the walls near each water outlet (faucets, toilets,etc.).  Over the years, some arresters may fail and lose the air inside them.  These devices are inside the walls and cannot be seen.  Some screw into a fitting, others are soldered in.

Click On Photo To: See, View Details, or Purchase It From Amazon.com.  

 

Water Hammer At Toilet

Another common water pipes noises is from toilet(s).  If you hear a bang or rattle at the end of the tank’s fill cycle, it is likely a worn Fill Valve (also called ballcock assembly). This component is responsible for refilling the tank after each flush.

YOU CAN STOP WATER HAMMER FROM TOILET  WITH A DEDICATED HAMMER ARRESTOR FOR TOILET

 

Click On Photo To: See, View Details, or Purchase It From Amazon.com.

Fedicated water hammer arrester for a toilet can be installed DIY.  Many are designed to screw onto the threads from the wall shut off valve.  The other end is designed so the water line (for the toilet) to connect to it.   This eliminates modifying the existing plumbing, and the arrester is mostly out of sight from above.  

 

TAPPING / TICKING Water Pipes Noises

These sounds are typically due to expansion & contraction of the water pipes.  Hot water heats the pipe causing it to expand. Once the water stops flowing, the pipe cools and the metal contracts.  During water pipe expansion or contraction, you may hear tapping or ticking.  The source is often where the hot water pipe runs through wood IF the pipe is going through a hole where it fits tightly.

If The Noisy Pipe Is Running Through Wood (Inside A Tightly Fitting Hole)

This is often the location of the noise.   If you can enlarge the size of the hole, that may stop the ticking (if that is the location of the problem).   If you are not able to enlarge the hole,  you may be able to reduce or eliminate the noise by spraying around the hole with Food-Grade Machine Oil Spray. 

 

Click On Photo To: See, View Details, or Purchase This Food Grade Machine Oil Spray From Amazon.com.

While first application(s) may soak into the wood, several applications may eventually get enough product on the wood to saturate it.  We recommend food-grade oil to minimize or eliminate toxic products sprayed inside your home.  This product is described as “NSF H1 registered for incidental food contact”.

 

MINIMIZE WATER PIPES NOISES With Foam Pipe Insulation

If you can’t find the exact location of the tapping / ticking, perhaps the next best way to minimize the ticking / tapping noise it is to put foam insulation around the pipe.  This noise typically comes from hot water pipes expanding & contracting.  Insulating them will allow them to cool off more slowly, minimizing the rapid noise once water is turned off.   Unless that water pipe is used quite frequently, you will still hear the noise as the pipes heat up — though the noise may be quieter due to the insulation. 

Click On Image To: View Product, See Details, or Purchase From Amazon. com 

NOTES:

  • Water pipes and foam insulation come in different diameters.  Measure the width of the pipe to get the correct size foam insulation.  
  • Foam insulation is pre-cut. All you need to do is push it into place with the pipe aligning to the slit in the insulation. 
  • The insulation will open up a bit and then wrap itself around the pipe.

Pipe Rattling While Water Is Running

This type of water pipes noises is caused by rattling comes of a loosely attached pipe.  This allows a water pipe to vibrate or rattle while water is running. When a loose pipe vibrates against something solid you, will hear a rattle while water is flowing.   This is mostly with metal water pipes.  Most newer homes have PEX (vinyl) water pipes.

  1. Secure The Pipe Tightly At The Location Of The Rattle.
  2. If You Can’t Find The Location Of The Rattle, Add Foam Pipe Insulation Where Pipes Are Exposed.  This will reduce the noise because the foam absorbs both noise and some of the movement causing the rattling.

NOTE: If you add water pipe fastening devices, check to be sure they are compatible with the type of water pipes your home has.  Many different types of pipes require special types of fasteners.    

Click On Photo To: See Product, View Details, or Purchase It From Amazon.com.  

This Fastener Is For Copper Pipes.     Click On Photo To: See Product, View Details, or Purchase This Product From Amazon.com.  

This Fastener Is For Many Types Of Flexible Plastic Water Lines.

To stop pipe rattling put some foam water pipe insulation cushioning around the pipe OR fasten the strapping more securely. NOTE: If you add water pipe fastening devices, check to be sure they are compatible with the type of water pipes your home has.  Many different types of pipes require special types of fasteners.  

 

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HomeProPlumber 

This Article Discussed What Causes Common Water Pipe Noises.   HomeProPlumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home. We sell & install Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near your home in Richardson, Garland, and northeast Dallas, Texas.  Homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties incur no additional travel-charges.

HomeProPlumber in Plano, Texas also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Call us today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.

Water Heater Failure – 10 Signs

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HomeProPlumber 

This Article Discusses The Top 10 Signs That A Water Heater Is About To Fail.  

HomeProPlumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home. We sell & install Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near your home in Plano, Allen, Frisco, and McKinney Texas.  Homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties incur no additional travel-charges. HomeProPlumber in Plano, Texas also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Call us today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.

How Long Can You Expect A Water Heater To Last

Click Here To See A Water Heater Diagram For Both Gas and Electric Water Heater: Water Heater Diagram

How To Determine The Age Of A Water Heater.  The first 3 digits of the serial number tell you the month and year it was made. The months are A = January and going up from there.  The next two numbers represent the year the water heater was built.

If you are researching signs that your water heater is failing, you will likely have a new one in the near future.   This seems a good time to advise how to extend the new water heater’s lifespan.  Water heaters don’t need a lot of care, and simply flushing it annually will have a notable effect on how long it lasts.  Just below, we give details about the 2 things you can do to ensure your new water heater lasts as long as possible.

How Long A Water Heater Lasts Depends On:

build up in water heater

Image Source: ShutterStock

SHOWN:  Water Heater Build-Up Resulting From Minerals In The Water

Water heaters typically last 8-12 years.  How long yours will last depends on:

  • If It’s Maintained:  Annual Flushes & Anode Rod(s) Replacement
  • How hot the water heater is set.  The hotter it’s set, the more it runs, leading to earlier failure. 
  • How “Hard” your water is (explained below)
  • How many people live in the home

The Most Important Thing That You Can Do To

Extend The Life Of Your Water Heater Is To Flush It Annually 

During heating, naturally-occurring minerals, such as calcium & magnesium, form into sediment particles that settle to the bottom of the tank (known as sediment build-up).  Depending on the source of the water, some water has higher levels of minerals. 

GAS WATER HEATERSgas water heater

Image Source: ShutterStock

Shown: Gas Water Heater

Sediment Build Up causes a GAS water heater to run longer & hotter.  This is because the sediment at the bottom of the tank must be heated before heat can reach the water.  Build up also causes “hot spots” in the bottom of the tank.  A Hot Spot is an area where there is little or no build-up present.  Because the water heater must run longer and hotter (due to build-up)  some areas of the bottom of the tank become hotter than other areas.

Metal expands when heated and contracts as it cools.  This causes stress on the metal that eventually causes the metal to crack, and the water heater starts leaking.  Once the tank is cracked, the water heater must be replaced.  The #1 reason water heaters must be replaced is because their tank cracks, or rusts through, and starts leaking.

Minimizing build-up allows a gas water heater to operate as designed to.  It heats for shorter periods of time which causes less expansion / contraction of the bottom of the tank.  The bottom also heats more evenly, minimizing hot spots that expand / contract more that other ares of the tank’s bottom.  

ELECTRIC WATER HEATERS 

electric water heater

Shown: Electric Water Heater

ELECTRIC water heaters have 2 heating elements inside the tank.  One is near the top and the other is near the bottom of the tank. As build up occurs, it often covers the lower heating element, causing it to fail.  Heating elements can be replaced, thus extending the life of the water heater.  ddepending on the age of the water heater, the cost of replacing an element may not be justified.

Because electric water heaters generate heat inside the tank (versus under the tank in gas water heaters) there is notably less expansion / contraction at the bottom of the tank.  Over time, however, the tank will crack or rust through and start leaking.   

If A Water Heater Gets Annual Flushes From When It’s New, It Will Last Longer.  

NOTE: Flushing A Older Water Heater, After Years Of Neglect, Often Causes It to Start Leaking.  

 

The 2nd Most Important Thing You Can Do To Extend The Life Of Your Water Heater Is To

Replace The Anode Rod(s) When They Wear Out.   

The Anode Rod attracts the corrosive elements in water that lead to rusting of the metal water tank.   

The two top reasons for water tank failure are stress-cracks that form from metal expanding & contracting AND rust-through of the steel water tank.  Once the water tank starts leaking, the water heater must be replaced. 

Anode Rods are typically made of magnesium, which is an easily corroded metal.  Because the anode rod is made of “softer” metal, it attracts the corrosive elements in water to it, versus them corroding the steel water tank.

Anode rods wear out long before the water heater does.  Once they are worn out (they actually disintegrate) — the corrosive elements in the water become attracted to the only other metal, the steel water tank.   Replacing worn out Anode Rods ensures that they are always present to attract corrosive properties in the water.  If anode rods are present, the steel water tank’s lifespan is maximize.

Click Here To See A New Anode Rod & A Worn Out Rod Side By Side:  New & Worn Out Anode Rod

NOTE: Replacing anode rods is not easy, as they are installed very tight.   If you are unsure of what you are doing, attempting to remove Anode Rods can damage the water heater or break the water pipes attached to it.  Unless you are incredibly handy, this is a job best left to professionals. 

 

SHOWN: Multi-Section Anode Rod. 

These are easier to install than one-piece anode rods because often there is not enough room overhead to replace a one-piece anode rod.  That would require the water heater to be disconnected, pulled out and the anode rod(s) replaced.  Then the water heater must be reinstalled.  Removing and reinstalling the water heater would cost more than the value the new anode rod presents (in the form of longer water heater lifespan).

10 Signs Of Water Heater Failure In The Near Future

You Are Starting To Run Out Of Hot Water

WITH A GAS WATER HEATER: This is typically a sign that a tremendous amount of sediment has built up at the bottom  of the water tank.  Because the burner is under the water tank, it must first heat all the sediment before it can heat the water.   During heating, a gas water heater with extensive sediment will “pop”.  We describe the noise in detail later in this article.
 

photo of electric water heater heating element Photo Source: CanStockPhoto
SHOWN: Electric Water Heater Heating Element
 
WITH AN ELECTRIC WATER HEATER:  This may mean THAT 1 OF THE 2 heating elements has failed.  It may also mean the lower element is covered with sediment (that typically burns the element out).  If an electric water heater needs a heating element, this is a replaceable part.  If an element is tested and determined to have failed, replace only the heating element if the water heater is newer.   With an older unit, the cost to replace the element may not be justified. 
 
Because the heat for the water is generated inside the tank (electric water heater) versus below the tank (gas water heater)  — the water tank is subject to less expansion and contraction in an electric water heater.   In general, this means an electric water heater’s water tank will last longer.  If a heating element has failed, you may get several more years of service by replacing the failed heating element.

Water Leaking At Its Base

You Are Increasingly Likely To See This As The Water Heater Gets Older. This typically means the water heater’s tank has either cracked or rusted through, and the water heater must be replaced.  
Click Here To See A Water Heater That Is Leaking At Its Base:  Leaking Water Heater  
 
Why A Water Heater Starts Leaking: Cracks in the tank are caused by expansion & contraction of the metal water tank during each heating cycle. While heating, the tank expands.  Once heating stops, the tank contracts.  Eventually this will cause a fracture in the metal water tank leading to leak.
 
When new, the water tank has a porcelain lining (also known as a glass liner).  Over the years the lining fails, allowing water to get to the steel water tank.  Once the glass liner fails, the steel water tank starts rusting.  Over time, the steel tank will likely rust all the way through.  You can reduce the rusting by replacing the Anode Rods as needed.

Click Below To See Inside A New Water Heater’s Tank

The Blue Liner Is The Porcelain On The Steel Tank.  Often referred to as the “glass liner”.

See Inside A New Water Heater’s Tank (Scroll To 3rd Row)

 

Click Blow To See Inside A Rusted Water Heater Tank:

See Inside A Rusted Water Heater Water Tank  

 

NOTE: One Exception To Water At The Bottom Of The Water Heater May Be If

The Water Is Under The Pipe Running Down The Side Of The Water Heater Toward The Floor.  

If the water is there, it may be due to the water having gotten too hot and the safety-valve opened to release pressure and / or water.  A single occasion of this is not likely a problem.  BUT if it’s happening repeatedly, the water heater is showing signs of a dangerous pattern of overheating the water.  The water heater must be inspected right away.

photo of water heaterPhoto Source: Can Stock Photo 
SHOWN: See The White pipe coming across the water heater’s top & down the side. 

Rumbling Or Popping

The noise is harmless, but excessive sediment leads to early water heater failure:

  • Eventually causes a leak–Sediment slows heat transfer to the water. This causes the water heater’s water tank to become hotter than it was designed to be.  This will damage the inner glass lining and weaken the steel water tank.  Eventually the tank begins to leak.
  • Damages the electric heating element—  If enough sediment covers the electric heating element, it will burn out.

Sediment from the water builds up on the bottom of the tank. If the water heater is not flushed annually, sediment eventually becomes hard.  When this happens, you often hear rumbling or popping sounds while the heater is heating.  Once you hear those sounds, you will typically have water heater failure within a year or two.  You can continue to safely use it until water heater failure occurs.

 Click Here To Hear The Popping Sound A Water Heater With Sediment Build-Up Makes: YouTube Popping Water Heater  

Hot Water Starts To Look Rusty

This means the water tank now has so much rust that the water coming from the water heater has rust within it.   This is a clear sign that water heater failure is near.  Water tanks are never replaced, the water heater is replaced.

Click Here To See Rusty Water Coming From Water Heater:  Rusty Water Coming From Water Heater

Hot Water Is Cloudy Or Has A Metallic Smell & Taste

The water heater’s steel water tank is corroded.  Grit & flakes from the water tank are combining with the water supply.  This requires a water heater replacement.  If the water heater has not started leaking, it will soon.  Water heater failure will occur in the near future.

 

Signs A Water Heater Needs Serviced Or Repaired

Water Leaking At The Top Of Water Heater 

Click Here To See Corroded Water Pipes At Top Of A Water Heater: Corroded Water Pipes At Top Of Water Heater

Depending On The Amount Of Corrosion:

  • It may be possible to minimize the corrosion and stop it from continuing.
  • If water is leaking where the water pipe connects to the water heater’s nipples / connectors, it’s too late.  The connectors have corroded through, and the water heater will have to be replaced.
  • If there is a plastic ring (a dielectric union) where the two pipes meet, it is there to prevent two dissimilar metals from touching (and corroding as a result).  This is a correctwater heater installation.

 

What causes the corrosion?  Two dissimilar metals are reacting with each other.  Typically a copper water line is connected to galvanized-steel water heater nipples / connectors (on the water heater) without the plastic ring (dielectric union) installed to keep the two metals from touching.

Click Here To See A Water Heater With A White Plastic Dielectric Union Installed:  Correct Water Heater Installation With Dielectric Union

NOTE: The water line may be able to be disconnected.  If it can, then as much corrosion as possible removed with with the wire-brush.  Then install the plastic (dielectric union) insert, and reattach the water pipe.  This will prevent further corrosion.  There there is nothing more you can do about existing corrosion beyond removing as much as possible).

NOTE: If there is a leak, the corrosion is rusted all the way through and there is nothing more that can be done.  The water heater must be replaced.

NOTE: Attempting to unhook the water line from the water heater can result in starting a leak.  When too much corrosion is present, forcing the water line connector with high pressure can break the corrosion loose and start a leak.  Unless you are extremely handy, this task is best left to a plumber who can determine if the corrosion is too extensive.

NOTE: A spinning wire-brush on a drill will speed this process tremendously and ensure as much corrosion is removed as possible.

The Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve Has Failed (stuck shut)

This Presents A Strong Danger Of The Water Heater EXPLODING!

All water heaters have a safety relief valve to release excess pressure and / or water if the water heater fails and continues to heat.  If this valve fails the tank can explodewith the force of a small bomb.  This often damages or destroys the home and can injure or kill occupants.

The Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve Must Be Tested Once A Year To Ensure It’s Working Properly. 

This Valve Is There Entirely For Your Safety.  If It Has Failed, It Must Be Replaced Immediately!  The T & P Valve Is A Replaceable Part.  

Click Here To See The Effects Of An Exploding Water Heater In Arizona: 

 Home Destroyed By Exploding Water Heater

To Test The Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve:

  • Put a bucket under the discharge pipe coming from the T& P Valve.  Don’t skip this step — very hot water will discharge during the test.
  • Pull the lever outward / away from the water heater for 5 seconds.  During this time hot water will discharge into the bucket if the valve is working properly

 

Burn Marks On Outside Of GAS Water Heater

Click Here To See Burn Marks On A Water Heater: Burns Marks On A GAS Water Heater

Burn marks may indicate improper venting is causing back-drafting.  This is a venting problem, and does not necessarily mean the water heater must be replaced.

Backdrafting Indicates That Carbon Monoxide Is Not Existing Your Home Properly.  

The exhaust is coming into your home’s living space (if that is where the water heater is located).   If the water heater is in the garage or attic, exhaust gases can still enter through air leaks in your home.  This condition must be repaired to ensure your safety. Problem # 2: Burn marks may indicate the flue pipes located inside the water heater are blocked or damaged.  This is also an unsafe condition which can cause improper venting of exhaust gases.  If this is the problem, a new gas water heater is needed immediately.

 

Yellow Flame At Burner Of A GAS Water Heater 

photo of gas burner with yellow flames Photo Source: Can Stock Photo

SHOWN: Yellow Flames From A Gas Burner  

When your water heater is running, there should be an even blue flame.   This is typically a correctable problem that does not require a new water heater. If The Flame Is Yellow Or Orange:

  • There is not enough air coming into the water heater’s combustion-area (where the burner is located).
  • Or, it can also mean a venting problem exists. This condition means the burner or the venting needs to be serviced to ensure your safety.  If the venting is not correct, it’s possible carbon monoxide is coming into your home.
  • Or, it could mean the burner is failing, but this is rare.

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HomeProPlumber 

HomeProPlumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home. We sell & install Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near your home in Plano, Allen, Frisco, and McKinney Texas.  Homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties incur no additional travel-charges. HomeProPlumber in Plano, Texas also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Call us today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.



 

Sewer Clean Out – What & Where

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HomeProPlumber 

This Article Discusses What A Sewer Clean Out Is, And Where It’s Located For DFW Homes.  

NOTE: IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE THE DALLAS / FT. WORTH, TX AREA,

ONLY THE FINAL SECTION OF THIS ARTICLE IS OF VALUE TO YOU  (SEWER LINES MAINTENANCE).

HomeProPlumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home. We sell & install Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near your home in Plano, Allen, Frisco, and McKinney Texas.  Homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties incur no additional travel-charges. HomeProPlumber in Plano, Texas also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Call us today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.  

What & Where Is A Sewer Clean Out?

sewer clean out in lawn

Shown: Lawn Sewer Clean Out

Image Source: ShutterStock

A Sewer Clean Out Is Where A Home’s Sewer Main Line

Can Be Accessed For The Purpose Of Clearing Clogs. 

Additionally, Sinks On Exterior Walls Have Exterior Clean Outs.

Newer DFW homes, and home with newer replacement sewer lines, typically have a clean out in the lawn.  Lawn clean out are now required by Building Codes.  In Texas & Municipality Plumbing Codes generally match the International Plumbing Code (IPC).  From at least 2012, the International Plumbing Code (IPC) requires “two way”  sewer clean outs in the lawn (allows access under the house & in the lawn toward the city sewer main).   

  • The clean out will be located quite close to the edge of the house. 
  • It will be located on the side of the house (front or rear) based on the location of the City’s Sewer Mains.
  • Often the clean out may be covered with mulch or debris.   

Unless The Sewer Lines In The Lawn Has Been Replaced,

Many Older DFW Homes Do Not Have A Clean Out In The Lawn.   

If the home does not have a clean out in the lawn, access to the sewer is through a plumbing vent pipe on the roof.

sewer clean out on roof

Shown: Access To Sewer Lines Is Through The Sewer Vent Pipes (the white pipes near the middle of the left side of photo)

Image Source: DreamsTime

 

What A Lawn Sewer Line Clean Out Looks Like

Clean outs typically have a white, screw-off, removable cap.  From that access point, sewer line clearing machines can go both under the house and into the lawn (toward the city sewer line) to find and clear the clog.

In DFW newer homes have a sewer main clean out access located in the lawn.

SHOWN: Sewer Line Clean Out With Screw Top.

Click On The Photo To View, See Details, Or Purchase This Item From Amazon.com.

 

In newer DFW homes, the Sewer Clean Out may be inside a plastic box with a removable green lid.   Due to its location, it is possible the clean out may be covered with rock or mulch — as it’s typically located within planting-beds close to the house.

SHOWN: Lawn Connection Box With Cover.

Click On The Photo To View, See Details, Or Purchase This Item From Amazon.com.

 

 

Clean Outs For Smaller Drain Lines Are Often Accessed Through Smaller Clean Outs In Exterior Walls.

When kitchen or bath sinks are located on an outside wall, there is a small clean out (for only that sink’s drain line) built into the wall, and accessed from outside through a removable cap. 

 

SHOWN:  2″ Sewer Clean Out With Cap.  

Click On The Photo To View, See Details, Or Purchase This Item From Amazon.com.  

 

In DFW homes, there are typically clean outs in exterior walls near sinks.    They are accessed from outside.  Only the removable plug (and connection it screws into)  are visible from outside.   Depending on the age of the home, the exterior wall clean outs may be: White Plastic, Metal, or ABS / black plastic.  

Click Here To See A Drain Clean Out In An Exterior Wall (warm weather climate homes only): Exterior Wall Drain Clean Out (warm climate homes only).  

 

Sewer Lines Maintenance

Drain Lines Accumulate Build-Up (often called sludge) On Their Interior Surfaces. 

The Most Common Build-Ups Are Due To Fats, Oils, & Grease Poured Into Drains. 

 

The Environmental Protection Agency Estimates That Nearly Half Of All Sewer Backups Are Related To Grease Poured Into Drains.  Here is what happens when grease is poured into a drain.  As it moves down the sewer line, grease starts to cool and becomes a semi-solid and sticks to the walls of the sewer pipe.  Fats, Oils, & Grease mix with chemicals & solids in the sewers and form masses that build up and eventually block sewer pipes.

Of particular problem is FOG mixing with “flushable” Baby Wipes.   These wipes do not degrade like toilet paper.  Instead, they move down the sewer line or a short distance and settle to the bottom of the pipe.  This Happens:  Under Your Home, In Your Lawn, and In The City’s Sewer lines.

Click Here For A Video Demonstrating That Wipes Don’t Disintegrate: YouTube “Flushable” Wipes Do Not Dissolve & Clog Sewers

In This Test, Toilet Paper Took 2-1/2 Minutes To Disintegrate.   After 20 hours, 3 different brands of wipes were the same as when flushed.  

2018 News Reports Detailed A Manufacturer Of White King Brand “Flushable” Wipes Was Fined $700,000  The wipes were advertised as “just like toilet paper” though they do not disintegrate in the sewer system.   A Federal Court found the wipes manufacturer, Pental Products, guilty of false & misleading representations.  In particular, Pental claimed that the wipes would break down in the sewerage system like toilet paper does.

Future Sewer Clogs Can Often Be Prevented

Once A Build-Up Starts Accumulating, It Will Eventually Clog Your Home’s Sewer

Sewer Lines Maintenance /Cleaning

To Avoid Build Up — Use An Enzymatic Drain Cleaner On A Regular Basis

  • Enzyme drain cleaners do not have chemicals.   
  • Enzyme drain cleaners contain bacteria cultures  & enzymes that respond to the presence of organic substances.
  • This type of drain cleaner is for maintenance of pipes, it’s not for clogs.

Enzymatic drain cleaners are a much safer alternative to chemical drain cleaners. There are many brands of Enzymatic Drain Cleaners.  Enzyme drain cleaners are used mostly for sewer pipe maintenance.  Possibly the best enzyme drain cleaner brand is BIO-CLEAN.   It is sold and recommended by Al’s Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning.  If the drain is already clogged, try a plunger or drain-snake.

 

SHOWN:  BIO-Clean   

Click On The Photo To View, See Details, Or Purchase This Item From Amazon.com.  

Description From Manufacturer: BIO-CLEAN is a special combination of natural bacteria & enzymes that DIGESTS organic waste located in your plumbing system such as: grease, hair, soap scum, food particles & other organic wastes.  Monthly BIO-CLEAN treatments are likely keep your drain lines clean and trouble-free In nature, all organic matter is broken down and recycled by enzymes and bacteria. 

BIO-CLEAN uses this same principal to biodegrade organic waste that accumulates in your plumbing system.   The enzymes are very fast and start breaking down waste. BIO-CLEAN contains billions of bacteria, and they double in number every 30 minutes!  Unrestricted by gravity, they spread through the entire plumbing system devouring organic waste. BIO-CLEAN has no effect on inorganic materials such as sewer lines.  

BIO-CLEAN does not product heat, fumes or bubbling like many chemical drain cleaners. BIO-CLEAN is safe for plumbing and the environment. BIO-CLEAN is approved by the U.S.D.A for use in Meat and Poultry Plants. Enzymatic drain cleaners have an added advantage for homes with a septic system (where no city sewer is available).   Enzymatic drain cleaners were originally designed and used to help maintain septic tanks.   A common product sold for septic tanks is Rid-X.   The bacteria & enzymes can’t eat non-organic items such as sewer pipes and the interiors of septic tanks.

Click On The Photo To View, See Details, Or Purchase This Item From Amazon.com.

SHOWN:  Rid-X Was Designed As A Septic Tank Treatment.  It Uses Enzymes & Bacterial To Help Clear Septic Tanks.  

 

If You Have Already Used Chemical Drain Cleaners (That Did Not Clear The Clog)

Don’t Use A Plunger Or Drain-Snake After A Chemical Drain Cleaner Was Used.

You Risk Getting Chemical Drain Cleaner On Your Skin Or Into Your Eyes.

 

Plunger

Before Using A Chemical Drain Cleaner

Attempt To Clear The Clog With A Plunger Or Drain Snake

 

SHOWN ABOVE: Toilet Plunger.  

Click On The Photo To View, See Details, Or Purchase This Item From Amazon.com.

 

A Toilet Plunger And A Sink Plunger Are Not The Same. 

A Toilet plunger is designed to fit down into the area just below the bowl.  This maximizes its effectiveness.  

A sink plunger has a flat rubber.  It’s designed to stay in contact with the sink to maximize its effectiveness.

  

SHOWN Just Above: Sink Plunger.  

Click On The Photo To View, See Details, Or Purchase This Item From Amazon.com.  

 

Drain Snake

SHOWN: A Drain-Snake Moves Into The Pipes To Clear Clogs. 

Use This Next If A Plunger Does Not Work. 

Click On The Photo To View, See Details, Or Purchase This Item From Amazon.com.  

 

SUMMARY: This article describes what & where a drain line is for homes in the Dallas, Texas area.  This information does not apply to homes with basements or slab homes in other locations within the U.S. . Also discussed is sewer lines maintenance which notably reduces the chances of a clog in the future.  We suggested how to easily provide drain maintenance with enzymatic drain cleaners.  Monthly maintenance (bi-monthly for households of 1-2) will introduce organic-waste eating bacteria & enzymes into your drain lines.  These bacteria will eat away at the build-up in the sewer lines until it’s gone.  Once there is nothing to left eat, the bacteria will move on (into the city’s sewer main).

Will Chemical Drain Cleaners Harm Pipes?

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HomeProPlumber 

This Article Discusses The Risks Of Using Chemical Drain Cleaners.   Additionally, we provide less risky ways to clear clogs.  HomeProPlumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home. We sell & install Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near your home in Plano, Allen, Frisco, and McKinney Texas.  Homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties incur no additional travel-charges.

HomeProPlumber in Plano, Texas also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Call us today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service

Will Chemical Drain Cleaners Harm Pipes?

drain pipes under sink

Photo Source: ShutterStock

Many people have concerns that liquid drain cleaners may harm pipes.  If you read 10 articles on the internet, you will see 10 different answers.  One article states “Drano can reach over 200 degrees & boil while working”.   PVC (plastic) pipes have a maximum operating temperature of 140 degrees.  It stands to reason that if Drano had the ability to melt PVC pipes, when used as directed on the label,  the company would have been subject to Class-Action lawsuits.   We describe why it sometimes appears to be “boiling” + provide a video within this article.  

This Article’s Summary Answers Are Just Below.  The “why” behind these answers can be found throughout the article. This article’s goal is to set the record straight about chemical drain cleaners, and to put a spotlight on any danger they present.  We document the sources for what we say — versus you just having to accept our word.

  • It is unlikely that proper use of chemical drain cleaners will damage pipes.
  • Misuse of chemical drain cleaners might damage pipes (ABS-black & PVC-white).
  • While Using Chemical Drain Cleaners, Your Risk Of Physical Injury Is Ever-Present. Serious injury can result from something as simple as dropping an open bottle that splashes drain cleaner onto you.   Within this article is a link to a devastating story of such an injury resulting from 2 drops of chemical drain cleaner getting on a man’s hand.  After 27 surgeries, he had the hand amputated.
  • While many people want to know if a chemical drain cleaner will harm their pipes.  By far, the larger concern is the potential harm to themselves.

What Type Of Pipes Does Your Home Have?

With the exception of copper drain-lines (which are rare) when used as directed, chemical drain cleaners don’t have a history of harming any of the sewer pipes materials used in homes over the years.   Below is background about what type of pipes your home likely has (based on its age).

Over The Years, Various Materials Were Used For Residential Sewer Pipes

  • Cast Iron (typically gray or black)

Most homes built before 1960 have cast-iron (vertical) sewer pipes.  Vertical pipes are usually cast-iron, and horizontal pipes may be cast-iron too. Cast-iron is prone to rusting (from inside to outside) over time.

  • Galvanized Steel  (typically gray)

Most homes built before 1960 also have galvanized steel (horizontal) sewer pipes.  Galvanized pipes are were dipped into molten zinc to make them last longer.  Over time, the zinc wears off and the steel starts rusting.    Galvanized steel seldom lasts longer than 50 years (it rusts through).  Like cast-iron, galvanized steel pipes rust from inside to outside.

  • ABS (Black Plastic)  Also Known As “Black Pipe”. 

ABS (black) plastic pipes were installed in new homes starting around 1972. ABS was a first-generation plastic pipe, that can’t rust.  Between the years 1985 and 1998, some ABS pipe contained plastic resin that could cause the pipe to crack and ultimately leak.  A Class Action litigation involved 5 of the 6 ABS pipe manufacturer’s brands: Centaur, Phoenix, Polaris, Gable, and Apache. (Spartan was excluded).   The attorney David Birke-White indicated (paraphrased) Defective ABS piping failures are a progressive problem.  Piping that had not already failed will do so in the future.

Sec. C-109. – The International Plumbing Code (IPC) Says: “ABS pipe and fittings are not approved materials for use.” *9  Most local municipality codes match the IPC.  Even if a local municipality allows ABS, the IPC says it should not be used. *9 Source: https://westutx.gov/DocumentCenter/View/200/InternationalPlumbingCode-PDF

  • PVC (White Plastic)

PVC (white) plastic pipes started being used by the mid 1970’s.  By the late 1980’s PVC became the only sewer pipe used in most new homes. According to the Charlotte Pipe Company, PVC is the most widely used pipe in the world today.   PVC is a white or light-colored, highly durable plastic that has shown a history of outlasting all other pipe materials.

Sewer Lines Maintenance

drain pipe clogged with hair

Drain Pipe Clogged With Hair

Image Source:  ShutterStock

Drain lines slowly accumulate build-up on their interior surfaces.  Sewer sludge, as it relates to your home’s pipes, is a build up of any or all of the individual sources below: 

  1. Hair is particularly good at collecting other sewer sludge, such as shampoo & soaps residue.  
  2. Shampoo & Soap leave behind residue.  The same residue you can see accumulating on your bathtub or shower also accumulates on the sewer lines
  3. Food Waste particularly; grease, egg shells, coffee grounds, expandable foods (like pasta & rice), flour, 
  4. Objects small enough to flush down a toilet. They can settle at the bottom of the sewer lines and provide something to catch other items flushed over time.
  5. Baby Wipes & all “flushable” paper products, other than toilet paper.  Wipes & other paper products do not degrade like toilet paper.  This causes them to settle at the bottom of main sewer pipes and create clogs.  
  6. Tree Roots.  This is a problem with homes that have clay sewer pipes near trees.  Clay pipes leak a little at their connections, and this attracts tree roots.  Over time, the root will grow into the pipes at the connections, and continue to grow until it clogs and / or damage the pipes.   Today’s PVC sewer pipes do not leak at their connections and won’t attract tree roots.

If The Build-Up In Your Home’s Sewer Pipes Is Routinely Cleaned Away, Clogs Are Less Likely To Occur.

As the build-up increases, the drain slows.  In time, the build up can clog the drain completely.  The drain-trap (shown in the photo at the top of this article) is designed to always have liquid it it, to stop sewer-gas from coming into the home.  This makes the drain-trap highly susceptible to clogs, as waste particles settle in the trap.

Sewer Lines Require Maintenance.  An Enzyme Drain Cleaner Is the Best Solution. 

What Is An Enzyme Drain Cleaner?

Enzyme  of drain cleaners does not have chemicals.  They are designed for maintenance of the sewer lines, not to clear clogged lines.   Enzymatic drain cleaners are a safer alternative to chemical drain cleaners. 

Enzymatic drain cleaners contain bacteria-cultures + concentrated enzymes that break down the organic substances that cling to pipes (discussed above). These tiny living organisms digest the broken-down organic waste.  They bacteria reproduce and increase in numbers as they work. In ideal conditions, they will double in number every 25-30 minutes.  Once the first area of the pipe has been cleaned, the bacteria & enzymes moves further down the pipes in search of additional food.   They break down the waste and run it out of your system.  

Because an enzymatic drain cleaner isn’t restricted by gravity (like chemical drain openers) the bacteria can clean the entire inside of the pipe.   Enzymatic drain cleaners were originally used for septic tanks (where city sewer is not available).  The bacteria & enzymes won’t eat non-organic items like sewer pipes.

 Rid-X

Shown: RID-X Septic-Tank Treatment.  It can also be used to maintain your home’s sewer pipes. 

Click On Image To; View Product, See Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com

 

THE BUBBLING YOU MAY SEE WHILE USING CHEMICAL DRAIN CLEANERS

Chemical drain cleaners consist of variations of lye and bleach, sodium nitrate, sodium chloride (salt) and aluminum. **  When a lye-based cleaner is used, the Lye decomposes most organic matter. The lye is often mixed with small shards of aluminum, creating a reaction that generates heat to speed up the decomposition process.  Aluminum reacts with lye in water to produce hydrogen gas. *4  The bubbles of hydrogen gas agitate the mixture to help dislodge the clog.  It is easy to think the water is “boiling”.  Water boils at 212 degrees — PVC sewer pipes melt at 176 degrees.

Shown: Chemical Drain Cleaner Creating Hydrogen Gas Bubbles 

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video

*1 https://www.pvcfittingsonline.com/resource-center/can-i-use-pvc-for-hot-water

*2 https://www.hunker.com/12597145/what-chemicals-cause-pvc-sink-drain-pipes-to-melt-or-soften

*3 http://www.heritageplastics.com/technical-bulletins/effects-temperature-pvc-pipe/

*4 Source: http://science.jrank.org/pages/6242/Sodium-Hydroxide.html  

 

USE CHEMICAL DRAIN CLEANERS EXACTLY AS DIRECTED ON THEIR LABEL

If you choose to use a chemical drain cleaner, use it with the correct concentration & timing as described on its label.  Larger concentrations and / or longer times violate “When Used As Directed”.  That message is always part of all literature for chemical drain cleaners.  If not used as directed, there may be increased risk of damaged pipes. 

Drano’s Website Says: 

ARE DRANO® PRODUCTS SAFE FOR PLASTIC PIPES?

“All Drano® products are safe and can be used with plastic pipes or metal pipes. Just follow the label directions so you can clear that clog safely.”
 

Drano’s Website Shows These Directions:

  • For use on clogged or slow-running drains, pour half of the bottle (32 oz. size) slowly over drain. For extremely slow-running drains or complete clogs, pour in entire contents of 32 oz. bottle.
  • Allow to work for 15 minutes. For tough problems, allow 30 minutes. 
  • Flush with hot water. Repeat steps two, three, and four if necessary.
The temptation to leave a chemical drain cleaner in longer certainly exists.  Never Do It! 
There is a reason why Drano states “Allow to work for 15 Minutes. For tough problems, allow 30 minutes.”
Chemical drain cleaners generate heat and are made of corrosive chemicals. 

CAN LYE DRAIN CLEANERS HARM SOME METALS?

Yes.  Below is a list of metals lye will damage or destroy. Lye Will Attack & Can Dissolve These Metals:

  • zinc
  • Note: Glavanized Steel or Cast-Iron Pipe has a thin layer of zinc to keep it from rusting.  The zinc eventually wears off and rust begins.
  • Existing cast-iron or galvanized-steel metal pipes in older homes likely no longer have any zinc coating remaining.
  • copper

Though copper water supply-lines are common in homes, copper drain lines ares rare.  Copper is too expensive for large sewer-main lines, and only rarely does a home may have copper drain lines.  This is likely to be a very old home and / or a very expensive home. You can tell if your home has copper drain lines by looking at the pipes.  You can easily identify copper drain lines or water-supply pipes.  Copper exposed to high humidity often turns green. Note: The 2018 International Plumbing Code does not allow copper drain lines.

Metals That Lye Won’t Affect

  • Lye will not react with steel.
  • There are articles on the internet discussing cleaning stainless-steel using lye.
  • We do not offer directions nor links about how to do this due to the dangers of being exposed to lye.
  • Lye will not react with cast-iron.
  • There are DIY cast-iron skillet cleaning methods using lye on the intenet.
  • We do not offer directions nor links about how to do this due to the dangers of being exposed to lye.
  • chrome plating

What Incorrect Use Of Chemical Drain Cleaners Might Do

  • PVC is a thermoplastic, and can begin to degrade and break down if it gets too hot. *4   A maximum temperature restriction of 140 F means that any temperature above 140 degrees may compromise the integrity of the pipe.   
  • PVC expands with increasing temperatures & contracts with decreasing temperatures.  This expansion / contraction movement has the capacity to break the glue used at the joints where the plastic pipes are attached to each other. *1
  • Broken glue-bonds are possible with frequent misuse of chemical drain cleaners.
  • High temperatures have important effects on glued PVC pipe joints.  *7
  • High temperatures can possibly increase the softening effects of the solvents used to connect PVC piping.
  • This can also possibly soften or damage the piping.

*7 https://inspectapedia.com/plumbing/PVC_Pipe_Cement_Set_Cure_Tables.php  

Health Risks While Using Chemical Drain Cleaners

THE U.S. DEPT. OF HEATH & HUMAN SERVICES’ WEBSITE

SAYS THIS ABOUT LIQUID DRANO:

Warnings: May be corrosive to metals. Causes severe skin burns and eye damage.Precautionary statements: Call for medical advice if needed.  Have product container close by when calling. Keep out of reach of children. Immediately call 911 if you suspect someone has ingested a chemical drain cleaner.  IF SWALLOWED: Rinse mouth. Do NOT induce vomiting. IF INHALED: Get fresh air and stay in a position comfortable for breathing. IF ON SKIN (or hair): Remove product immediately.  Remove any contaminated clothing. Rinse skin with water/ shower. IF IN EYES: Call 911.  Remove & discard contact lenses. Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes.

Source: https://hpd.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/household/brands?tbl=brands&id=19001557&query=drano+&searchas=TblBrands

A Simple Mistake While Handling A Chemical Drain Cleaner

Can Cause Catastrophic Effects

The link below is to an article (written by his wife) about a man who ended up having 27 surgeries in attempt to remedy the on-going issues of his injury from 2 drops of chemical drain cleaner.  He eventually had the hand amputated.  Even that did not solve the problem… Click Here To Read An Article About A First-Hand Experience Of An Injury A Man Suffered As A Result Of 2 Drops Of Chemical Drain Cleaner.  Severe Injury From 2 Drops Of Chemical Drain Cleaner.

The Final Answers

Will Chemical Drain Cleaners Harm Pipes:

  • Not Likely — when used as directed.
  • Possibly — if not used as directed.  Typical examples would be using too much, or leaving it in the drain too long.

What About Glued Joints?

  • PVC expands & contracts with changing temperature.
  • Since chemical drain cleaners typically create heat, the misuse of chemical drain cleaners may create the risk of breaking the glue bonds.

Can Chemical Drain Cleaners Harm You?

  • Absolutely!  There is no disagreement about this.
  • Making a simple mistake while using chemical drain cleaners and you could severely injury yourself.
  • If a chemical drain cleaner does not clear the clog — the standing water is now highly toxic.
  • If you have used a chemical drain cleaner, don’t attempt to clear the drain with a plunger, drain-snake or any other method that could splash or expose you to the standing water.
  • At this point, call for drain cleaning.  ADVISE the technician that you have used chemical drain cleaners. 

Safer Ways To Remove Clogs

CAUTION:  Use the products listed below only before A Chemical Drain Cleaner Only.  If You Have Already Used A Chemical Drain CleanerDo Not Use Any Of These products. You can flip drain cleaner onto your skin or into your eyes.

  • Use a plunger first.  It often clears clogs quickly and safely.
  • Use a drain-snake.  Professionals who clear clogs use large, motorized versions of drain-snakes.
  • Often a plunger doesn’t work on a hair clog
  • Use a Zip-It for hair removal.
  • Zip-It is designed to remove hair.  It has “teeth” along its sides to snag hair.

zip it drain cleaning tool for removing hair

Shown: Photo Shows “Teeth” Along Sides Of A Zip-It

SUMMARY:  One of the world’s greatest mystery’s seems to be if chemical drain cleaners will harm sewer pipes.  There are assorted views on this subject, and ours is: Will Chemical Drain Cleaners Harm Pipes

  • It is not likely — when used as directed.
  • It is possible — if not used as directed.

There are much safer alternatives of plungers, drain-snakes, and  Zip-It hair removers.  We also gave information on how to prevent clogs with regular maintenance-cleaning of pipes with Enzyme & Bacteria natural drain cleaners (that do not contain chemicals).

Dropping an open bottle of chemical drain cleaner, or other accidents, can result in catastrophic injury from splashed chemical drain cleaners.  This alone should be a viable reason to avoid them.

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HomeProPlumber 

HomeProPlumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home. We sell & install Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near your home in Murphy, Rowlette, and Wylie, Texas.  Homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties incur no additional travel-charges.

HomeProPlumber in Plano, Texas also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Home Pro Plumber sells and installs new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Call us today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service

Water Heater Timer Savings

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HomeProPlumber 

This Article Discusses The Savings A Water Heater Timer Presents For An Electric Water Heater In DFW.    Additionally, we provide less expensive and more effective ways to lower water heating costs.

HomeProPlumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home. We sell & install Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near your home in Plano, Allen, Frisco, and McKinney Texas.  Homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties incur no additional travel-charges. HomeProPlumber in Plano, Texas also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Call us today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service

Electric Water Heater Timer — How Much Money Will It Save?

A Water Heater Timer on an Electric Water Heater likely won’t save much money.  Water heaters built after 1997 only run about 3 hours per day and High-E  water heaters run only 1.3 hours.  The only way a water heater timer will save money is if it prevents the water heater from reheating water during standby periods (when no hot water being used).

Cost To Run An Electric Water Heater:

  • Per Day:  5500 Watts x 3 hours = 16,500 watts or 16.5 KwH per day.   At 10 cents per KwH * = $1.65 per Day.
  • Per Month: $1.65 / day  x 31 days = $51 per Month.

Standby Heat Loss

If A Timer Shuts The Water Heater Off, The Only Savings That Would Occur Is IF

The Water Heater Would Have Cycled (heated) During The Standby Period. 

Standby Heat Loss (heat lost while water heat is idle) is low for electric water heaters built since 1997.  If your electric water heater is in the garage or attic, standby losses are minimal during summer months, and a little higher during winter.    

A Water Heater Jacket Minimizes Standby Heat Loss 24 / 7

R-10 Water Heater Jacket With Foil Exterior

Click On Image To: View Product, See Details, or Purchase This From Amazon.com

 

Water Heater Jackets Have Different Insulating Values

Water Heater Jackets provide different amounts of insulating ability.   Opt for the one with the highest R-Value if your water heater is in the garage or attic.   If the water heater is inside the living space, a water heater jacket provides little benefit.

The Foil-Face Water Heater Blanket provides a Radiant-Heat Barrier.  A Radiant-Heat Barrier reduces heat radiating outward from the water heater.  The foil is worth the money if your water heater is in the garage or attic.  The Water Heater Blanket shown above had the highest R-Value (R-10) Plus It Has The Foil Wrap, of all water heater blankets offered on Amazon at the time this article was written.

To Lower Water Heating Costs,  Lower The Thermostat To 120 Degrees

Most water heaters are preset at 140 degrees when new.  For every 10 degrees lower, you can save 3-5% on your bill.   

In DFW Daily Cost (electric) = $1.65.  A 10% daily savings = 16.5 cents per day, or $60 per year.

The U.S. DOE (Department of Energy) recommends most households lower their water heater to 120 degrees.  If you have a large family which all bathe at the same time of day, a higher setting my be required.

Click On The White Arrow In The Center Of Image Below For A Video Showing How To Adjust The Thermostats (there are 2) On An Electric Water Heater. 

 

SUMMARY:  This article advises that a Water Heater Timer for an electric water heater has little capacity to save money on an Electric Water Heater built since 1997.  Today’s electric water heaters run only 3 hours each day, and Hi-Efficiency water heaters run about 1.5 hours per day.  The article gives two suggestions which can save on water heating costs for electric or gas water heaters.

  • Add a Water Heater Blanket
  • Lower Thermostat To 120 Degrees

Both of these task require little time and minimal cost for a water heater blanket.  These two recommendations are also endorsed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).   home pro plumber logo

HomeProPlumber 

This article discusses Water Heater Timer effects on water heating costs.  We also provide less expensive and more effective ways to lower water heating costs.

HomeProPlumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home. We sell & install Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near your home in Murphy, Wylie, and Rowlette,  Texas.  Homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties incur no additional travel-charges. HomeProPlumber in Plano, Texas also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Call us today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service

Water Heater Installation Codes For Texas Part-2

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HomeProPlumber 

This article details the Plumbing Codes for a new water heater installation in Texas.  HomeProPlumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home. We sell & install Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near your home in Plano, Allen, Frisco, and McKinney Texas.  We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no additional travel-charges. HomeProPlumber in Plano, Texas also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Call us today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service

Texas Water Heater Installation Codes — Part 2 of 2

water heater being serviced

Image Source: ShutterStock

Click Here to see the 2015 Texas Plumbing Codes: IBC Codes 2018 Chapter 5 – Water Heaters

Note: Texas Code Is Based On The 2018 International Building Codes (IBC).

 

GAS WATER HEATER INSTALLATION CODE

(continued from Part 1)

Air-Intake Ducts:

Water Heater Code requires a water heater installation inside a closet (inside living space) must include two outside-air intake ducts installed inside the water heater equipment closet:

  • one duct near the ceiling — this duct mostly provides air for the exhaust gases to vent out safely.
  • one duct near the floor — this duct provides air for gas combustion while the water heater is heating.
  • Building Codes allow combustion air to be provided from the attic, so vents can be installed in the water heater closet’s ceiling.  These vents are pipes that drop down from the attic into the closet. One pipe is near the ceiling and one pipe drops low into the closet.  **
  • The last step is weather stripping the door.
  • The weather stripping keeps venting devices (such as bath vents, & dryer) from taking air from the closet.
  • The weather stripping also keeps heated or cooled air from escaping through the air-intake vents that serve the water heater.
  • Once the water heater closet door has a tight seal (when latched closed) the gas-combustion appliance is considered outside of the building-envelope.
  • building envelope is the physical separator between conditioned (heated & cooled) air and the outdoor environment.

** Source: https://www.squarehouse.net/blog/2012/6/24/water-heaterfurnace-closet.html *** Souce: https://www.drenergysaver.com/about-dr-energy-saver/news-and-events/27082-my-attic-and-upstairs-are-too-coldtoo-hot.html  

Why 2 Ducts? Carbon Monoxide Risk.  If sufficient combustion-air & exhaust-air supply is not available, the exhaust won’t rise up the flue and out of the house.  Without sufficient air, the gas combustion will draw air down the flue — that air has carbon monoxide in it.

Click Here To See A Photo Of Code-Compliant Gas Water Heater Installation: Gas Water Heater Installation – Texas Code Compliant

 

Gas Water Heater Installation Location:

Texas Plumbing Code regulates where a water heater installation can be located.  Gas water heaters cannot be installed in bedrooms or converted garages.  If installed in a closet, the closet must have a weatherstripped door.  The water heater cannot be installed in any room with a furnace.  In a newly built home in DFW, there are only 3 places for a gas water heater: garage, attic or a sealed water heater closet inside the living space.   This plumbing code prevents human contact with trace amounts of Carbon Monoxide (CO) released from a gas water heater.  

 

Flue Exhaust-Pipe:  Double-Wall Metal Vent Pipe

A gas water heater installation must be equipped with a double-wall vent pipe that is located at least 1″ from combustibles.  The vent must slant upward at all points, with no more than 1 offset (change in pipes direction) of more than 60 degrees.  All other offsets must be 45 degrees or less. The vent must be at least five feet long and terminate in an approved vent cap. Why? The exhaust gases must always be moving upward toward the roof.  If the vent pipe is level, the gases won’t rise.  This is why there are limits on how much of an angle the vent pipe must always be.

  • Double-Wall (Type B) Metal Vent Pipe For Exhaust. The rise-length of the metal pipe (above the roof) may vary by municipality.  It’s often 5 feet between the water heater’s vent hood (attached to top of water heater) and vent cap (on the roof outside the home).

Click On Image To: View Product, See Details, Or Order From Amazon.com

SHOWN: Double-Wall Vent Pipe

 

Water Pipe Insulation:

Water Pipe Insulation: Code requires the first 5 feet of hot & cold water pipes be insulated when the water heater is in unconditioned (not cooled or heated) space.  In Texas, water heaters installed to code are always in unconditioned space.

Click On Image To: View Product, See Details, Or Order From Amazon.com

SHOWN: Foam Water Pipe Insulation

 

ELECTRIC WATER HEATER INSTALLATION CODE

Electricity Disconnect:

Building Code requires a Means Of Disconnecting Electrical Appliances (Rated Up to 300 Amps) When They Are Permanently Connected.  photo of circuit breaker panel

Image Source: CanStockPhoto

Residential water heaters are typically 4,500 – 5,500 watts.  AMPS = WATTS divided by VOLTS.       4,500 / 240 = 18.75 AMPS

 

When Electric Water Heaters Can Be Disconnected Using Their Circuit Breaker  

Water Heater Code Requires An Electric Water Heater H

A Separate Disconnect (quite near the water heater) unless:

  • The water heater’s circuit breaker is within view from the water heater (within 50 feet & with an unobstructed view)

          OR

  • There is a proper locking device present present on its circuit breaker (if circuit breaker panel is not within view of the water heater)

WHY?  If electricity were turned on during water heater service, an electrical shock or electrocution could occur. 

 

LockOut Devices That Can Be Used On A Water Heater’s Circuit Breaker If Required By Code

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Shown: Circuit Breaker Lock-Out Device

  Note:  The lockout device will not interfere with the operation of the circuit breaker.  If the circuit breaker trips, the power is shut off regardless of whether the breaker’s handle is allowed to move or not.

Click On Image To: View Product, See Details, Or Order From Amazon.com

Note:  A padlock is required, but code does not require the label as shown above.  The label is to clarify why the padlock and locking-device are present.

 

Codes That Apply To ALL Water Heaters

Temperature & Pressure (T&P) Relief Valve

Water heater code requires a Temperature & Pressure (T&P) Relieve Valve Be installed On Every Water Heater. The T & P Valve will open at a predetermined pressure (150 PSI in most cases) and/or a predetermined temperature (210F in most cases).  The valve allows pressurized hot water to escape from the tank until the pressure and/or temperature drops below the valve’s pre-set levels.  Then the valve recloses. WHY?   Without a properly functioning T& P Valve, a water heater will explode if it malfuctions and continues to heat.

Click Here To See A Home Destroyed By An Exploding Water Heater:  Arizona Home Destroyed By Exploding Water Heater

photo of water heater

Shown: T&P Discharge Pipe Runs From The Valve (on top) To The Side Of The Water Heater And Downward

Water Heater Code requires the discharge piping serving a T & P valve shall be one size larger than the size of the T&P valve outlet, where the relief valve discharge piping is installed. The outlet end of such tubing shall be fastened in place.

WHY?  The discharge pipe routes the hot water toward the floor.  Without the discharge pipe, the hot water would spew (in all directions) from near the top of the tank.

 

Drainage Pan – For All Water Heaters Located Where Water Causes Risks

Many DFW homes have a water heater(s) in their attic.  Since most water heaters start leaking water when their water storage tank cracks, the water released can cause scalding of anyone walking below the water heater once it’s leaking.  Additionally, ceilings can become water damaged.

  • GAS

Code for GAS Water Heater requires a metal drain-pan under the water heater if it is installed in an area where water can cause damage. Where a GAS water heater is installed in a location where water leakage from the tank will cause water-damage, the tank shall be installed in a galvanized steel pan having a material thickness of not less than 0.0236 inch WHY? Water Can Cause Scalding Risk or damage to the home.

Click On Image To: View Product, See Details, Or Order From Amazon.com

Shown: Metal Water Heater Drain Pan.  Can be used for gas or electric — metal required for gas.

 

  • ELECTRIC

Code for an ELECTRIC water heater can a plastic drain pan (not less than 0.036 inch in thickness).  A plastic pan shall NOT be installed beneath a gas-fired water heater.

Click On Image To: View Product, See Details, Or Order From Amazon.com

Shown: Plastic Water Heater Drain Pan (for electric water heaters only)

 

Thermal Expansion Tank 

photo of water heater with expansion tank shown

Image Source: ShutterStock

Shown: Thermal Expansion Tank Installed For Water Heater

Water Heater Code requires a Thermal Expansion Tank be installed where the water heater is supplied with cold water that passes through:

  • a check valve
  • pressure-reducing valve
  • backflow-preventer

In these 3 cases, a thermal expansion tank shall be connected to the water heater’s cold water supply pipe in a location beyond these devices.  Thermal expansion tanks shall be sized in accordance with the tank manufacturer’s instructions and shall be sized correctly for the water pressure. A water heater can stress plumbing due to the normal thermal expansion of water when it’s heated.  It’s estimated that 50 gallons of cold water expands to 52 gallons when heated to 120°F. The water heater creates extra water-volume each time it heats the water.  The extra water volume can create excess pressure in the plumbing system, possibly causing damage to the water heater and the water pipes. The water heater thermal expansion tank provides a place for excess water volume.  When the water (inside the water heater) heats up and expands, the additional water moves into the thermal expansion tank.  When the water (inside the water heater) cools,  the water is moved from the thermal expansion tank back into the water heater’s storage tank.

WHY? The Thermal Expansion Tank eliminates pressure (from water expanding as it’s heated) from putting stress on the water heater and the water pipes connected to it. 

 

Electrical Bonding Of The Water Heater’s Water & Gas Pipes

Click Here To See A Photo Of Water Heater Bonding: Photo Of Water Heater Bonding

Note: This Same Wire Can Also Bond The Gas Pipe To A Gas Water Heater.

The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires that a metal underground water pipe that is in direct contact with the earth for 10 feet or more is to be used as one of the grounding electrodes for the building’s electrical service.  A metal water piping system must be bonded back to the electrical service ground wire. The Electrical Service Panel (Breaker Panel) has a wire that carries electricity into the ground (the earth) to eliminate the risk of shock or electrocution in the event of a short circuit.   A ground connection is a bare copper wire that connects inside the Breaker Panel to a ground-rod driven into the earth (near the service panel) or to metal rebar in the home’s foundation.  This final ground connection (with the earth) allows stray electrical current (such as a surge created by lightning) to pass safely into the soil surrounding the house.  

Why Electrical Bonding & Grounding Are Required For Your Safety

A short-circuit occurs when electricity starts going somewhere it’s not intended to go. Electricity will always take the shortest path.  If a short-circuit occurs, the electricity uses that path instead of the path it’s intended to travel. Avoiding short-circuits is why trees are cut away from overhead electrical wires. If any part of the tree touches an overhead electrical wire, it creates a short-circuit occurs and the tree becomes energized with electricity (electricity is flowing through the tree and then into the earth).   This short-circuit will continue until the tree no longer touches the wires.  Often the tree will catch on fire.

Click on the white arrow in the center of the image below to see a short-circuit caused by a tree and power line touching each other.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAteBqMYYZ4   Without Grounding, YOU Can Become Energized With Electricity if you become part of a short circuit!   This is why you should never break off the 3rd prong on a grounded electrical cord. It’s there to safely carry electricity away and into the ground (the earth).  The ground plug was installed to ensure you don’t get shocked or electrocuted should you  become part of a short-circuit. electrical cord with grounded plug third-prong

Shown: A Grounded Electrical Cord Has The Rounded 3rd Prong.

 

Electrical Bonding Of Water & Gas Pipes — Continued

Water Heater Code Requires Bonding Of Hot & Cold Water Pipes AND The Gas Piping With 6 AWG Wire + Clamps.

American Wire Gauge (AWG) = The Wire’s Diameter Size)

Bonded is not the same as grounded.  Bonding is connecting different systems together.   This is done to reduce the chance of arcing caused by a sudden surge of electricity from a nearby lightning strike, or other unexpected cause, such as a damaged electrical wire. **

Bonding Prevents Electrical Energy (from lightning or degraded electrical wires) From Energizing (metal) Water Pipes.

  • Metal water pipes are required by code to be electrically bonded.
  • Bonding of water pipes is usually accomplished by connecting metal water pipes to the grounded neutral at the Electrical Service Panel (circuit breaker panel).   The grounded neutral is a wire that routes electricity into the earth if an electrical short-circuit occurs.
  • Bonding between the cold & hot water pipes is located at the water heater.  The wire (often called a jumper wire) completes the electrical bonding between the hot & cold water pipes.
  • Electrical arcs can easily start fires.  Additionally, an electrical arch between water pipe and Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST) Gas Piping has been known to create pin-holes in the CSST.  If pin holes are created they allow gas to escape.  This can cause an explosion, or added fuel to an existing fire.  We discussed this in detail at the end of Part-1 of this article.

Click To See An (enlarged) Pin-Hole In CSST Gas Piping — Caused By A Lighting Strike On Or Near The House: Pin-Hole In CSST Gas Piping

WHY? Water pipes energized with electricity create shock & fire hazards.  

** SOURCE:  http://hawleyhomeinspectionsllc.com/bonding-required-water-gas-csst/ *** SOURCE: https://www.thespruce.com/water-heater-bonding-wire-4125747

Cold Water Shut-Off Valve At Water Heater

photo of water heater

Image Source: CanStockPhoto

Shown: Water Heater Installation With Shut Off Valve For Both Cold & Hot Water Lines

Water Heater Code requires a separate shut-off for the cold water supply at the water heater.  This shut off allows water to be turned off to only the water heater, while the rest of the house continues to have cold water service. 606.2 Location of shutoff valves. Shutoff valves must be installed in the following locations:

  • On the water supply line to each plumbing fixture (other than bathtubs and showers).
  • On the water supply pipe to each sillcock (outdoor water faucet).
  • On the water supply pipe to each appliance or mechanical equipment.
  • Installing a dedicated water shutoff for water heater that allows water to be turned off water to only the water heater, not the entire home.
  • Individual water supplies shall be constructed and installed in accordance with the applicable state and local laws. Where such laws do not address all of the requirements set forth in NGWA-01, individual water supplies shall comply with NGWA-01 for those requirements not addressed by state and local laws.

 

Type Of Shut Off Valve

 

 

Click On Image To: View Product, See Details, Or Order From Amazon.com

Shown: Ball-Valve Style Water Shut-Off Valve.  Ball-Valves always have a lever handle.

  National water heater code does not specify which type of value must be installed.  Ball Water Valves may be specified in a local municipality’s plumbing code.  

WHY?  Gate Valves (with a round handle) Are More Prone To Failure

Gate water valves are more prone to failure.  Failed gate valves won’t shut off completely, or shut off at all.   The details are below.

  • When closing a gate water valve, the shut-off device comes downward as the valve is turned off.
  • It’s common for debris to get in the way, resulting in the valve’s inability to close completely.
  • Because all the parts inside are brass, corrosion occurs over time, and can “freeze” the valve (not allowing the handle to turn).
  • Ball valves have a plastic or stainless-steel ball with a hole in the ball’s center (where the water flows through).
  • Debris does not have a place to settle like in the bottom of a gate valve.
  • Because the ball is plastic or stainless-steel, corrosion is quite limited.
  • These features make ball valves more long lasting and reliable.

Ball valves have offer benefits not found in a gate valve:

  • The user can see at a glance if the valve is open or closed.
  • When the handle aligns with the direction of the water pipe, the valve is open.
  • When the handle is perpendicular to the pipe, the valve is closed.
  • The stem (the shut off lever is attached to) is sealed by a rubber O-Ring under nut.
  • Ball valves are notably less prone to failure than gate valves

home pro plumber logo

HomeProPlumber 

This article details the Plumbing Codes for a new water heater installation in Texas.  HomeProPlumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home. We sell & install Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near your home in Murphy, Rowlette, and Wylie, Texas.  We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no additional travel-charges. HomeProPlumber in Plano, Texas also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Call us today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service  

Water Heater Installation Codes For Texas Part-1

home pro plumber logo

HomeProPlumber 

This article details the Plumbing Codes for a new water heater installation in Texas.  HomeProPlumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home. We sell & install Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near your home in Plano, Allen, Frisco, and McKinney.  We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no additional travel-charges.

HomeProPlumber in Plano, Texas also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Call us today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service

 

Replacement Water Heaters Must Be Installed In Compliance With

Current Texas Plumbing Codes

electric water heater

Image Source: ShutterStock

SHOWN:  Electric Water Heater Installation

 

We Sell & Install  Rheem Professional Grade Water Heaters.  They Are Identified With The Word “Professional” On The Top Of Tank Label.

If It doesn’t say Professional, It’s Not Professional Grade.  Rheem Professional Grade cannot be purchased a Big-Box discount retailers. 

Typically a home must be updated to current codes when modifications, major repairs, and replacements occur. Until one of these “inciting” actions occurs, a home is considered legal if it met the building codes in effect at the time it was built.  If changes have occurred, they are legal if they met Building Code at the time the changes were completed.

gas water heater installation

Image Source: ShutterStock

SHOWN:  Gas Water Heater Installation

When replacing a water heater in Texas, the installation must be in compliance with all current plumbing codes.  This article discusses the most frequently required items to make the new water heater installation legal and code-compliant.  We also tell you why each item is required.  In nearly every instance, it is to protect home and the occupants safety.

 

All Water Heater Installations In Texas Require A Plumbing Permit 

Since 2007, Texas Requires A Plumbing Permit For A Water Heater Replacement.   The permit requires that a licensed plumber install the water heater in compliance with the State of Texas + any Local Municipality Plumbing Codes.  The International Building Codes (IBC) form the basis of most of Texas’ codes.

The Permit Requires An Inspection After The Installation To Confirm:

  • Water heater was installed properly.
  • Water Heater is working correctly & safely. 
  • No hazards exist.
  • There are many things that can go dangerously wrong if an error exists in a water heater installation.
  • Click Here to see the 2015 Texas Plumbing Codes: Up.codes 2015 Chapter 5 – Water Heaters    Note: The 2018 International Building Codes (IBC) may include updates to what is shown with the link.

 

Municipality-Specific Plumbing Codes

Garage Installations

new home with garage in front

Image Source: Pixabay.com

In Addition To Texas Codes, There May Be Additional, Municipality-Specific Water Heater Installation Code Requirements.

Example: For a garage installation, Texas code requires ALL GAS Water Heaters MUST Be 18″ above the garage floor.  This is because a gas water heater could become an ignition source for flammable / combustible vapors (such as gasoline) that accumulate near the floor.   

An Electric Water Heater MAY be required to be 18″ above the floor in a garage installation (depends on municipality).  When an electric water heater starts heating, a spark may occur.  The spark could become a source of ignition.  Example: Arlington requires an electric water heater be elevated.  Plano does not.

Click Here To See An Electric Water Heater Elevated From The Garage Floor:  Electric Water Heater Elevated From Garage Floor 

 

Water Heater Closet Installations (inside living space)

Many DFW homes have water heater closets inside the home.  There are new Plumbing Codes that require items be added when a replacement water heater is installed (varies by municipality).

  • Combustion-Air Source:  Water heater closets must now have a direct access to outdoor air for gas combustion. In the past, it was assumed the water heater could draw enough combustion-air from the house.  In some cases, the water heater’s up-draft was not strong enough to do that, so the venting of carbon monoxide and other gasses was restricted.  This is called “back drafting”.  Back drafting occurs when there is not a enough fresh air for both combustion and proper venting. Backdrafting occurs when air is drawn down the flue (for combustion)  instead of up the flue (to remove exhaust gases).
  • 1 or 2 outside-air vents will be required for a new gas water heater installation in a water heater closet (depends on municipality) The low inlet-vent is to provide fresh air to the burner for combustion.   The high inlet-vent is to provide as much air as is needed to ensure the exhaust gasses rise out of the home.
  • The water heater’s closet door must be weatherstripped.  This ensures that running kitchen & bath fans, clothes dryer, or the fireplace does not pull air from the water heater closet (causing back drafting)

 

Click Below To See A Photo Of A Correctly Installed Gas Water Heater Inside A Water Heater Closet (inside the home):

Plumbing Code Compliant Gas Water Heater Installation In Water Heater Closet

 

Click Here To See Plano, TX Water Heater Installation Code Requirements:  Plano, TX Water Heater Installation Requirements

 

An Example Of What Can Go Dangerously Wrong With An Incorrect Water Heater Installation

(Or A Neglected Water Heater)

If a water heater malfunctions and continues to heat, the pressure inside the water storage tank continues to increase until the water heater explodes.  To prevent an explosion, the Temperature & Pressure (T&P) Valve will open at a predetermined pressure (150 PSI in most cases) and/or temperature (210F in most cases).

The T&P valve allows overly overly hot and / or overly pressurized water to safely escape from the tank until the temperature and/or pressure drops below the T & P Valve’s pre-set levels.  Then the valve recloses.

 

Click On Image To: View Valve, See Details, Or Buy From Amazon.com.  Water Heaters Require Specific T&P Valves.  These valves are not “one size fits all”.

Shown: T & P Valve For Water Heater (gas & electric)

 

 

NOTE: Older T & P Valves Can Fail Due To Corrosion Or Other Reasons.  The T & P Valve Must Be Checked Annually To Ensure It’s Working.

Click On The White Arrow Above To See A Failed T & P Valve

 

A Home Is Destroyed By A Catastrophic Water Heater Explosion (Due To Failed T&P Valve)

Home’s Water Heater Explodes, Hurtles 135 Yards & Destroys The Home

Click On The White Arrow To See A Home Destroyed When It’s Water Heater Exploded

 

The Simple Mistake Of Not Discovering A Defective T&P Valve During A Replacement Water

Heater Installation Is A Prime Example Of Why A Plumbing Permit & Inspection Are Required 

When the installation is complete, a City Inspector will recheck the installation to ensure it is correct and the water heater is operating properly and safely.  A faulty T & P Valve is one of the items that is checked during the inspection.

2018 International Residential Code (IRC) Requirements

The International Building Code (IBC) is adopted (or in use) by all 50 states.  With advances in building-materials & building-sciences, Building Codes continue to evolve. The International Code Council (ICC) creates an updated International Building Code (IBC) every 3 years.  The current version of the IBC is the 2018 edition, known as ICC IBC-2018.  This comprehensive code comprises all building, plumbing, mechanical, fuel, gas and electrical requirements. 

SOURCE: https://blog.ansi.org/2017/11/2018-international-building-code-icc-ibc/#gref

Click Here To Read The 2018 IBC Codes For Water Heater Installation:  IccSafe.org 2018 IBC Code For Water Heater Installation

 

IBC-2018 Requirements For A Water Heater Installation

GAS WATER HEATER

  • The Gas Connector Must Be Accessible.  Both gas connector & gas valve cannot be concealed.  Most municipalities allows a flexible connector to be installed between the water heater and gas line from the house.  Other municipalities may require a a solid (non flexible) gas pipe connection.


Shown: Gas Connector (Flexible Pipe)   

  Click On Image To: View Valve, See Details, Or Buy From Amazon.com

 

Click Here To See A Gas Water Heater With Solid Gas Pipe Connection: Water Heater With Solid Gas Pipe Connected

 

 

  • Gas Valve: Older Gas Valve are often required to be replaced with a Ball-Style gas valve.
  • NOTE:  Flexible Gas Connectors Are Not Required To Be Bonded.  This Is Because They Are Attached To Bonded Gas Lines.

Shown: Ball Valve For Gas Line       

Click On Image To: View Valve, See Details, Or Buy From Amazon.com

 

  • Gas Line Sediment Trap.  Its purpose is to trap any sediment or moisture within the gas as it flows into the water heater

  

Shown: Gas Line Sediment Trap In Black (not flexible) Gas Piping.  

It forms a “T” with gas coming in one side and existing to the water heater from its center

Click On Image To: View Valve, See Details, Or Buy From Amazon.com

 

Bonding Of Flexible Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST) Gas Lines

International Building Code (IBC) 250.104: Bonding of Piping Systems

Metal Piping, if installed in a building, including gas piping, that is likely to become energized (mostly by a lightning strike) shall be bonded.   If lightning strikes the home, the electrical surge flows through the home’s wiring.  It then “archs” (jumps through the air) to CSST gas lines.  If they are not bonded, the arch causied pin-holes in the line, releasing gas that further fuels the fire. 

If the CSST lines are bonded (electrically grounded) — the bonding will take the electrical energy away from the lines, leaving them undamaged. 

 

Shown: CSST Tubing.  It almost always has a yellow jacket. 

Click On Image To: View Valve, See Details, Or Buy From Amazon.com

 

Common Gas Line Pipes Wall Thickness:

  • CSST: 0.008″  (3/125th if 1 inch) 
  • Copper Tubing: 0.04  (1/25th of 1 inch)
  • Black Iron Pipe: 0.12  (3/25th of 1 inch)

 

photo of lighting strike

Image Source: ShutterStock

Electrical Energy From Lightning Strike, or A Damaged Home Electrical Wire Has A History Of Damaging CSST Flexible Gas Lines.

(by creating pin-holes in them) When They Are Not Bonded To Carry Electrical Energy Away. 

Building Code Since 2006 Requires These Pipes To Be Attached To The Home’s Electrical Ground To Ensure They Don’t Become Energized Or Damaged By Electrical Energy.

 

If Your Home’s Flexible, CSST Gas Lines Are Not Bonded (Required In 2006)

Your Safety And Home Are At Risk

Flexible Gas Lines Must Be Bonded To Reduce Risk Of Damage From Lightning Strikes

Bonding Of CSST Gas Lines Became Building Code In Texas 

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video

Click On White Arrow Above To View Video Showing Damaged CSST Gas Lines From A Lightning Strike

 

Click Here To Read An Article About Bonding Requirements for CSST Flexible Gas Lines:  CSST Flexible Gas Lines Must Be Bonded

NOTE: In the article (link just above) Page 2 shows photos of bonding (blue covered) wire connected to the (yellow) CSST gas lines. 

 

What About Existing Homes?  Building codes are ‘grandfathered’. This means that, if something was installed to code, it’s still considered code-compliant, even when the codes have changed significantly.  If CSST was installed according to code in 2005 or earlier (and the CSST manufacturer did not have special requirements for bonding at that time) the installation still meets code today — that doesn’t mean it’s safe!  If something is deemed unsafe due to a change in accepted residential construction standards, Home Inspectors are to report it to their Inspection customer.  

If Your Home Was Built Earlier Than 2006, Its CSST Flexible Gas Lines May Not Be Bonded.   

Regardless of whether the installation was code-complaint at the time, and is grandfathered, Unbonded CSST Flexible Gas Lines Are Unsafe and make the home vulnerable to fire resulting from a direct lighting strike (and sometimes a nearby lighting strike).  

 

Click Here To See An Image From The “Yellow CSST Safety Campaign”:  Yellow CSST Safety Campaign Image

 

What About The Flexible Gas Line Connecting Gas Equipment To The Home’s Gas Lines?

The Yellow Flexible Pipe That Connects Gas Equipment To The Home’s Gas Lines Does Not Have To Be Bonded When The Home’s Gas Lines Are Bonded.

 

home pro plumber logo

HomeProPlumber 

This article details the Plumbing Codes for a new water heater installation in Texas.  HomeProPlumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home. We sell & install Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near your home in  Richardson, Garland, and northeast Dallas, Texas. service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Texas Counties with no additional travel-charges.

HomeProPlumber in Plano, Texas also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Call us today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service