At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air Blog: Archive for February, 2015

Why the Sacrificial Anode Rod is so Important to Water Heaters

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Although you may not realize it, your water heater is one of the most essential components for your day-to-day life. Not only does it keep your shower warm and make temperatures bearable, you also need hot water for a number of daily tasks, including doing laundry, washing dishes, and washing your face and hands. Without access to warm water, we’d be a lot less comfortable in our own homes.

A water heater can run for years—decades in some cases—without any damage. But at the moment rust begins to form, your water heater is no longer viable. Rust leads to corrosion, meaning you never know when your system will begin to leak. Luckily, the anode rod is a part that protects the unit from rust—as long as you maintain it with regular services. Protect your system by scheduling regular maintenance for your water heater in Salt Lake City.

The Sacrificial Anode Rod and Water Heater Maintenance

Maintenance of a water heater is an important service for any water heater. Water heaters may seem to be in good condition for many years, but they can still have hidden problems that can have an impact on the unit in the future or add onto your monthly cost. For example, a dirty burner may not heat up water quickly enough, making your water heater inefficient.

One of the biggest potential problems for a water heater is if the sacrificial anode rod wears down too much. The sacrificial anode rod is a component that has only one goal: to corrode. This small rod is made of magnesium or aluminum. These elements are highly corrosive, which means corrosion should be diverted to the rod instead of to the steel tank as long as it is intact.

The sacrificial anode rod helps to protect your tank from rust and corrosion. But it can corrode so much that it is no longer effective. If you schedule regular water heater maintenance, a technician can let you know whether the anode rod needs replacement, and clean or adjust other components that may cause trouble or contribute to inefficiency.

The At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air team has plenty of experience with water heaters in Salt Lake City, so we can recognize when the anode rod is nearing the end of its life. Call us today!

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Reasons to Consider a Tankless Water Heater

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Most of us are familiar with storage tank water heaters, those hulking things in the basement that you were always told to stay away from as a child because it would burn you. Those kinds of water heaters have been the standard for many years. However, more and more people are making the switch to tankless water heaters instead. Why consider a tankless water heater over the traditional storage tank variety? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits to going tankless.

Energy Efficiency

The biggest reason for switching to a tankless water heater is how much more energy efficient it is than a storage tank water heater. Storage tank water heaters are designed to keep a large amount of water heated constantly in case someone in the home needs hot water. The problem is that this causes the water heater to be on 24/7, wasting energy on keeping water hot when there’s no demand for it. You’re still paying for all of that time that the water heater is running, but you’re only receiving a benefit when you actually use some of the water.

Tankless water heaters only activate when they receive a call for hot water. Once you no longer have a need for hot water, the water heater turns off until it’s needed again. This saves a great deal of energy, and therefore money.


Storage tank water heaters can produce a lot of hot water on demand, but the actual process happens very slowly. If you’ve ever run out of hot water in the middle of a shower, you know what I’m talking about. Every time a storage tank water heater distributes hot water, it takes in a little more cold water to replace it. The cold water is heated to the right temperature within a couple of hours, but in the meantime it’s going to be cold. So, even though you’d have to consume a lot of hot water to completely exhaust the supply, when multiple people are using hot water at the same time it can happen pretty easily. At that point, all you can do is wait for the water heater to catch up.

Tankless water heaters heat water much faster. Though they don’t store any hot water, and are thus easier to become overwhelmed if demand is very high, they also recover much faster than storage tank water heaters.

If you’d like to know more about tankless water heaters, call At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air. We provide tankless water heater services throughout Salt Lake City.

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Lupercalia: The Origin of St. Valentine’s Day

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Many people may think of Valentine’s Day as a holiday essentially created by card and gift companies, but the truth is that the holiday has long-standing roots going back to the Roman Empire. The name “Lupercalia” has its origins in the word “lupus”, which means wolf, and the reason for this is that according to Roman pagan religion, the she-wolf Lupa nursed the two orphaned infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

The Festival

The Festival of Lupercalia spanned two days each February, from February 13th to 15th. The festival was about fertility and was led by Luperci priests, known as “brothers of the wolf”. The festival was serious with intention (fertility) but was executed as quite a romp for both the priests and citizens of Rome. The process was this: two male goats and a dog were sacrificed at the beginning of the festival by the priests; two young Luperci were then anointed with the blood from the animals, and the hides of the animals were cut into straps. As food and drink flowed, the male priests would run around the city wearing nothing but thongs made from the animal skins, and they also carried a strap from one of the sacrificed animals. The strap was used to strike the palms of Roman women waiting for the priests in the city, as it was believed that being hit with the strap could help with infertility issues and a safe, healthy labor for women who were pregnant.

The Transition to St. Valentine’s Day

The Christian influence of the holiday came around the 5th century. The Roman Empire was still strong, but Christianity was rapidly taking hold throughout the world. It is believed that to try and remove the paganism from the holiday, the deaths of two men, supposedly both named Valentine, were added into the mix. During the 3rd and 4th centuries, a law created by Claudius II forbade young men eligible for military service to marry, because Rome wanted a strong army. The two men named Valentine were priests, and married young couples in secret. Both were found out and executed on February 14th, although in separate years. The Church made Valentine a saint (they chose one), and Lupercalia became St. Valentine’s Day.

Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Signs You Should Call for Water Heater Repair

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Water heaters are huge contributors to the quality of life in your home.

You don’t really realize how much you depend on hot water until something happens and you don’t have it anymore. Some water heater issues have pretty obvious symptoms, like a total loss of heat, while others are a lot more subtle. Regardless, it is a good idea to learn to recognize signs of a water heater issue well before a complete breakdown. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can identify a water heater problem before it’s too late.

Discolored Water

Brown or red water coming out of your faucets is a sign of advanced oxidization somewhere in your plumbing. This is an indication of an especially serious problem if it can be traced back to the water heater. Water heaters, especially those with storage tanks, are extremely vulnerable to rust from the large amount of water that they handle. To protect against this, water heaters typically include sacrificial anode rods inserted into the tanks. The anode rod is a long metal rod, designed to attract rust to itself instead of the walls of the tank. Once the anode rod has corroded enough, however, it needs to be replaced or the corrosion will spread to the tank. If you are getting discolored water from your water heater, call a professional right away. Water heaters with corrosion that advanced run the risk of rupturing and flooding the surrounding area.

Temperature Fluctuations

Water heaters can have trouble keeping up with demand, depending on how many people need hot water at once. This can cause the occasional sudden drop in water temperature, but there is a difference between running out of hot water and constantly uneven heat. If your water heater seems unable to provide water above a lukewarm temperature, or swings back and forth between hot and cold water, then you definitely have a problem. You’ll need to call a professional to examine your water heater.

If your water heater is acting up, call At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air. We provide water heater repair services throughout Salt Lake City.

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When Is It Time to Call for a Professional Plumber?

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Everyone knows to call a plumber in case of some catastrophic failure with their home’s water system. If you’re not getting any water from your faucet, for example, or if your toilet explodes for some unknown reason. What about the smaller signs, however? Those more subtle, but still damaging, signs that something is wrong with your plumbing? Can you identify some of the less well known signs that you need to call for a professional? If not, keep reading to find out.

Loss of Water Pressure

Barring more rare occurrences like pipes rupturing, you probably aren’t going to have a sudden and complete loss of water flow. It is far more common for water pressure to slowly decrease as things like clogs begin to build up in the pipes. This can be subtle, taking months or even years to progress from the initial stages to a complete blockage. No matter how small a loss of water pressure may seem, however, you should never ignore it. Call a plumber as soon as you notice that your water flow is dwindling.

Water Damage

Most of the plumbing in your home is located in the walls and ceiling, out of sight. This doesn’t mean that you have no way of gauging the health of those pipes, however. Keep a sharp eye out for any water damage that may suddenly start to appear on the walls and ceilings of your home. Any mold, warped wallpaper, or discoloration should tip you off to possible leaks in your plumbing network. If you notice any signs of water damage anywhere in your home, it’s a good idea to call a plumber right away.

Visible Corrosion

Though most of the pipes in your home’s plumbing may be hidden from you, there are still a few that are likely visible, if you know where to look. Make a habit of examining these pipes at least once a year to check for any corrosion damage. Any white, powdery substance found on the pipes is evidence that the pipe is corroding, and may need professional attention.

If you think you may have a plumbing problem, call At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air. We provide plumbing services in Salt Lake City.

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