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.

home pro plumber logo

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.



 

Water Heater Installation Codes For Texas Part-1

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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.  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

 

Rheem Professional Series Vrs Performance Series

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HomeProPlumber 

This article details the differences between Rheem’s Professional & Performance Series Water Heaters.  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 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 heaters sell at different prices.  In order to achieve different prices, water heaters are made to “Good” “Better” “Best” quality levels. Lower priced water heaters are built to lower specifications and have fewer features than more expensive ones.

electric water heater

Image Source: ShutterStock

 

Rheem Water Heaters

Professional Series Versus Performance Series (big box store)

Professional™ Series Water Heaters Are Available Exclusively Through Rheem Contractors

We Sell & Install Only Rheem Professional Series Water Heaters

 

Home Pro Plumber Sells Only Best Quality-Level Products.   

You Can’t Get Rheem’s Professional Series Water Heaters At A Big Box Store.  They Sell Only Rheem’s Performance Series.

Here Is A Link To The:  Rheem Performance Series Water Heater Brochure

Here Is A Link To The: Rheem Professional Series Water Heater Brochure

 

 Rheem’s Professional Series Includes These Additional Features

1. EverKleen™ Self Cleaning System

Rheem’s EverKleen™ System channels water through an inlet-tube that creates a High-Velocity Spiraling Water Stream. The spiraling water reduces lime & sediment build-up in the water heater’s tank.

sediment build up inside water heater

Image Source: ShutterStock

Shown: Sediment Build Up Inside Water Heater

Tap water includes mineral particles.  The most common particles found in water are calcium carbonate (lime) and magnesium carbonate (magnesium salt).   Highly pure concentrated Magnesium Carbonate is a common antacid.  In water, visible white particles are often lime.  As water flows over limestone, it dissolves a tiny amount of the limestone into the water.  The dissolved lime will mostly stay suspended as long as the water is moving.  When water stops moving, the lime settles.

Settled Minerals & Other Particles End Up At The Bottom Of The Water-Tank

As they settle, mineral particles in the water settle form a layer on the bottom of the water-tank.  Due to the build-up, a gas water heater loses efficiency because it must now heat the sediment build-up before it can heat the water.  The sediment also causes the water-tank’s bottom to heat unevenly. Sediment build-up causes premature failure of water heater tanks.  

Click Here To See A Photo Of Extreme Sediment Build Up In A Water Heater:  Sediment Build Up Inside A Water Heater

As sediment build-up becomes thicker over time, it causes a gas water heater to heat longer, and causes the bottom of the water tank to become hotter than it’s designed to be.  These two factors create excessive wear on a gas water heater’s tank.  The Water tank expands when heating and contract once heating stops.  When (due to sediment build up) the water heater runs hotter & longer the tank will crack sooner.  Once a water heater’s tank cracks, it starts leaking and the water heater must be replaced.   

water heater draining

Image Source: ShutterStock

Shown: Connecting Hose To Water Heater In Preparation To Flush It

Water heaters need to be flushed annually to prevent sediment build-up (from when they are new).  This is why most water heater warranties require proof of annual water heater flushes.Because water heaters are typically out of sight, this important annual maintenance task is often not done.  The more sediment builds up in a water heater, the faster the steel water-tank will fail and start leaking.

 

One Sign Of Excessive Sediment Build-Up In A Gas Water Heater Is A “Popping Or RumblingSound 

While The Water Heater Is Heating

Click To Hear The Sound:  Hear A Popping Water Heater

  • That’s the sound of steam bubbles percolating up through the sediment.
  • On a gas water heater’s water-tank, sediment build-up creates “Hot-Spots”.
  • A Hot-Spot is an area of tightly focused temperature variation on the water tank’s bottom.
  • Sediment does not build up evenly.  There will be more sediment near the water-inlet pipe (where new water enters the water heater).
  • In an electric water heater, Sediment Build-Up Can Reach Or Cover The Lower Heating Element.  This will likely cause it to fail.

 

2. Rheemglas® Water-Tank Lining

Click Here To See A Product Brochure For Rheem Professional Series Water Heater:  Rheem Professional Series Water Heater Features Sheet

Rheem’s Professional Series Water Heaters Include The (thicker) Rheemglas® Water-Tank Lining

This Thicker Lining Resists Corrosion Longer and Prolongs Water-Tank Life

Inside water heaters, the steel water-tank is protected by a Glass (Porcelain-Enamel) Lining.  This liner provides a longer life by keeping the corrosive-elements in water away from the steel water-tank.  During the manufacturing process, Porcelain Enamel is sprayed on the inner surfaces of the steel water-tank.  After the tanks are sprayed, they are heated to very high temperatures (1500 — 1600 degrees F.)

Over time, the porcelain liner fails on all water heater tanks.  When the porcelain liner fails, water gets to the steel water tank and starts corroding it.  Eventually, the steel water-tank will corrode all the way through and start leaking.  The thicker the Porcelain Enamel / Glass lining is applied, the longer the liner, water-tank & water heater will last.

 

3. ANODE RODS

Click To See A New And A Worn Out Water Heater Anode Rod: New & Worn Out Water Heater Anode Rod

The Anode Rod(s) is made are made of magnesium or aluminum.  These metals corroded more easily than the steel water tank.  This allows the anode rod to attract the corrosive properties of tap water, keeping them away from the steel water-tank.   As long as an Anode Rod is present (they wear away over time)  it provides increased protection for the steel water-tank.   Anode Rods wear out.  Once they do, the corrosive-elements in water will now corrode the steel water-tank.  Most water heaters can have the Anode Rod replaced.

Better Water Heaters Typically Have The Option To Install A 2nd Anode Rod

2 Anode Rods provide roughly double the period of time the Anode Rods can protect the water heater.  Rheem’s Professional Series offers the option for a second anode rod.

Note: Replacing a worn out Anode Rod will extend the life of the water heater.  As long as the Anode Rod has enough metal remaining, it attracts the corrosive-elements in water away from the steel water-tank. Replacing the rod will provide continued protection for the steel water-tank, making it last longer.

Note: Replacing an Anode Rod is not a DIY project for most people.  Call a plumber to do it.  The Anode Rod was installed very tight, and removing it incorrectly can damage the water heater, and / or shift the water heater enough to damage the pipes connecting the water heater to the house. You can find many “How To” Videos showing how to change an Anode Rod.  We do not furnish links to these videos because of the problem problems stated above.  

 

4. Additional Upgrades Included With Rheem’s Professional Series:

This link details the Performance Series Electric Water Heater.  Rheem Performance Series Electric Water Heater Brochure

This link details the Professional Series Electric Water Heater.  Rheem Professional Series Electric Water Heater Brochure

1. Gas Valve:

  • Performance Series have a Honeywell gas control within a plastic case.
  • Professional Series have a RobertShaw gas control within a metal case.

2. Professional Series Brass Drain Valve (versus plastic)

  • Performance Series have a plastic drain valve.
  • Professional Series have a brass metal drain valve.

corroded and new electric water heater heating elements

Image Source: ShutterStock

Shown:  Corroded Electric Water Heater Heating Element (left) And New (copper) Heating Element (right)

 

3. Professional Series Stainless Steel Lower Heating Element (Electric Water Heaters):

  • Performance Series electric water heaters have two copper heating elements.
  • Professional Series have Lifeguard™ Resistored, Stainless-Steel (lower) element to prolong both anode rod and water-tank life (upper element is copper).
  • Stainless Steel – Premium corrosion protection for long element life.
  • Resistored helps protect the element by slowing down corrosion.

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HomeProPlumber 

This article detailed the differences between Rheem’s Professional & Performance Series Water Heaters.  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 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

Gas Water Heater Venting With High-E Furnace

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HomeProPlumber 

This article details the changes needed to water heater venting when a High-E Furnace is installed in an existing home.  HomeProPlumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home. We sell and 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 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  

Gas Water Heater Venting When Installing A

High Efficiency Gas Furnace In An Existing Home

This article addresses the changes required to existing water heater venting when a High-Efficiency furnace is installed in an existing home that had a standard-efficiency furnace and water heater if they shared the same exhaust venting.  Many homes are built with the water heater and furnace sharing the same exhaust vent.  This practice is common with standard efficiency (80%) furnaces.  When installed correctly, this venting arrangement works with an 80% gas furnace (or less than 80%) + gas water heater.  The photo below shows typical combined furnace + water heater venting.  

When installing a High-Efficiency Furnace, the existing shared vent will not work for only the water heater because the vent is too large for the water heater’s exhaust to to warm the pipe enough so it rises safely out of the home.

The old vent pipe is too large because it served both the furnace and water heater.  High-E Furnaces have totally separate venting. When a standard-efficiency furnace is replaced with a high-efficiency the existing vent pipe must be replaced with the correct vent size for only the water heater (it will be smaller).   This ensures the water heater can heat the vent pipe enough to get exhaust gasses to rise.

This type of pipe is called “B Vent”.  Type B gas vent pipe has  a smaller pipe inside a larger pipe (also know as double wall pipe) for insulation and safety.  This ensures the outside pipe is cooler than the inner pipe.   The airspace between the inner & outer pipes provides insulation against heat loss (from the inner pipe) as flue gasses are rising out of the home.

.

You Can See Both The Inner & Outer Pipes In The B-Vent Pipe Photo Shown Above

 

Gas Water Heaters Come In Different Sizes (gallons)

THE VENT PIPE MUST BE THE SAME DIAMETER AS THE WATER HEATER’S DRAFT HOOD. 

The maximum dimension of the (water heater venting only) vent pipe is determined by;

1. How long the vent pipe is.

2. Water Heater size (in gallons).  Typically, if the existing vent (that served both furnace & water heater) is larger than 4 inches, so a smaller vent pipe must be installed for only the water heater.

3. Because the new vent pipe is smaller, it can often be installed inside the old vent pipe.  

high efficiency gas furnace with two white pipes visible Image Source: Dreamstime 40163150

High-E Furnaces have separate venting (see white plastic pipes coming from top of furnace). One pipe provides combustion-air coming in & 2nd pipe vents exhaust gases out.  

What Happens If A The Existing Vent Pipe Is Not Replaced?

With a vent pipe that is too large, the water heater does not produce enough heat get exhaust gases to rise out of the home.  In this case, the exhaust gases backdraft into the home.  Backdrafting means the exhaust gasses move downward in the exhaust pipe.  Then the gasses end up inside the home.   These exhaust gases contain carbon monoxide which will make occupants sick in smaller concentrations, and can kill in large enough concentrations.

How To Know A Gas Water Heater Is Venting Safely?

TO TEST FOR PROPER WATER HEATER VENTING:

  • If water heater and a gas furnace share the same vent, reduce the thermostat setting for the furnace so it does not run during the test.
  • Run enough hot water for the water heater start heating.
  • Allow water heater to run for 10 minutes.
  • Be sure all windows & doors are closed & locked.
  • Close fireplace damper(s).
  • Turn all kitchen & bathroom exhaust vents on
  • Turn clothes dryer on

With this test, even with everything running (that pulls air from the house)  a properly vented gas water heater will not backdraft.

Note: You Can See Backdrafting Using An Incense Stick.  While lighted, incense sticks produce a scented smoke.

  

Click On Photo To: See, View Details, or Purchase the item from Amazon.com  

Click On Arrow Inside The Photo To See A Backdrafting Water Heater (as it’s happening). 

Image Source: YouTube

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video

SUMMARY:

This article provides valuable information regarding why an existing shared (by furnace + water heater) vent pipe must be installed when installing a High-E Furnace.  This is because the vent will now be used by only the water heater.

Most homes have a shared vent (serving both the furnace + water heater) when the furnace efficiency is up to 80% (which is today’s standard efficiency gas furnace).  A High-E furnace has separate venting.  So, the existing vent pipe is too large for proper venting and must be replaced with one of a smaller dimension.  This ensures the water heater’s exhaust gases are warm enough to rise out of the home safely.   If this is not done, the water heater will likely backdraft — allowing exhaust gases will come into the home.

home pro plumber logo

HomeProPlumber 

HomeProPlumber provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home. We sell and 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 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