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

The Problems that Hard Water can Cause, and how to Prevent Them

Monday, March 30th, 2015

There are all kinds of issues that can affect the plumbing in your home, from leaks to blockages to horrible smells.

One of the biggest problems, however, is hard water. Hard water is water that has an unusually high mineral content, and is common in many regions across the country. While most of the harmful substances in your tap water are filtered out before they ever reach your home, the minerals that remain in hard water can still cause a lot of damage to your plumbing system. Let’s take a look at the problems that are caused by hard water, and how you can prevent them.

Lime Scale

The problem with the minerals that characterize hard water is that they don’t stay in the water. As hard water flows through the pipes in your home, it deposits small amounts of its minerals on their inner walls. Over time, these mineral deposits build to the point that they start to restrict or even block the flow of water through the pipe. These deposits are called “lime scale,” and are extremely damaging to the plumbing. If the condition is caught in time, the lime scale can be cleaned out of the pipe to restore normal function. In more advanced cases, however, the entire pipe will need to be replaced.

Water Filtration

The best way to mitigate the damage that hard water can cause is to address it before it enters your home. By installing a water filtration system in your home’s main water line, you can filter all the extra minerals out of the water before it enters your pipes. This both improves the quality of your drinking water, and protects your plumbing from the ravages of lime scale. There are several different types of water filtration systems available, so be sure to consult with a professional on which one would be the best fit for your situation.

If you think your home may have a hard water problem, call At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air. We provide water filters throughout the Salt Lake City area.

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Common Causes of Water Heater Repair

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Water heaters are placed under a lot of strain, from the time they’re installed to the time they’re replaced. If you’re using a storage tank water heater, which is the most common type, it has to keep a large amount of water heated 24/7 in case you need it. That strain can eventually lead to some serious water heater repairs. Let’s take a look at some of the common causes of water heater repair, and what you can do about it.

Failed Anode Rod

A storage tank water heater can hold anywhere from 20-100+ gallons of hot water at any given time. Constant exposure to water invariably causes metal to rust away. So how do water heaters survive without rusting away to nothing? The key is a part called the “sacrificial anode rod.” The anode rod is a long metal rod formed around a steel wire, which is inserted into the storage tank of the water heater.

The anode rod takes advantage of a process called “electrolysis” to attract rust to itself instead of the tank lining. Unfortunately, this isn’t a permanent protection. Eventually, the anode rod will degrade until only the steel wire is left. When that happens, the lining of the tank will be vulnerable to rust again. For this reason, it is important to check your anode rod every year to make sure that it is still functioning. If you don’t know how to check your anode rod, give us a call and we’ll do it for you.

Heating Failure

When a water heater completely fails to provide hot water, it could be caused by a couple of different issues. It is possible that the pilot light is out, which can be easily checked. It is also possible that the thermocouple is faulty, which will prevent the pilot light from lighting. You’ll need to have a professional examine your water heater to determine the exact problem.

If you think your water heater may need repairs, call At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air. We provide water heater repair services throughout the Salt Lake City area.

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Benefits of Installing a Whole-Home Water Filtration System

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

There are a lot of ways homeowners can clean their home’s water, but the most effective way to make sure that all of the water in your home is clean is to install a whole-home water filter system.

When you integrate a whole-home water filtration system into your home, you’ll know that every single water outlet in your home will have fresh, filtered water – not just the kitchen sink or the water contained in your fridge. Your shower, your laundry, even the water coming from your garden hose will be purified. The At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air experts have been helping customers improve their water quality since 1980, so if you are interested in a water filtration system, call us today!

The Benefits

There are a number of benefits a whole-home filtration system can offer you that you can’t get with a single kitchen or pitcher type of water filtration device:

  • Better water for showers and baths – when you use a point-of-use water filtration system, such as a water filter that attaches directly to your kitchen faucet, you are getting a singular use from the filter. With a whole-home filtration system, all your water is cleaned and purified, so whether you decide to take a bath or water your roses, you’ll always have clean, filtered water to do so.
  • Protection against breaches in the system – when you have a whole-home water filter, you won’t have worry should a problem develop with your municipal water supply as all the water coming into your home will pass through the filter.
  • Helps protect water-using appliances – sediment and minerals can build on water-using appliances, shortening their life spans. This includes hot water heaters (tank and tankless), washing machines and dish washers.
  • Less fading of clothes – hard water can be tough on clothes and anything you wash. When the water is filtered, it is softened and cleans your clothes without beating them up.

We’ve all enjoyed the taste of filtered water at one point or another – why not enjoy the benefits it has to offer throughout your entire home? Call us today and schedule an appointment for a whole-home water filter in your Salt Lake City home!

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What is a Pinhole Leak, and Why is it so Dangerous?

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

In the early twentieth century, the plumbing pipes in most people’s homes were made of either iron or lead. These were absolutely terrible choices for a number of reasons. Lead pipes would actually poison the water running through it with small amounts of lead, while iron would simply rust away.

The realization of how poor these two materials were for plumbing lead to the advent of copper pipes in the mid-twentieth century. Copper was extremely resistant to corrosion, which quickly caused it to become the material of choice for plumbing systems across the country. Despite its resilience, however, copper pipes are not invincible. Let’s cover one of the most damaging problems the copper pipes can face: pinhole leaks.

We’ll start with an explanation of the type of corrosion that causes pinhole leaks.

Pitted Corrosion

One of the only types of corrosion that actually affects copper pipes, pitted corrosion is a bit of a mystery. Despite years of study, the EPA has been as yet unable to determine why pitted corrosion happens to copper pipes, or why it seems to be localized to certain communities. No matter where it comes from, though, pitted corrosion is a serious threat.

Pitted corrosion is always focused in a very small area of the pipe, and moves from the outside inward. This can quickly open up a small hole in the pipe, called a “pinhole leak” due to its size. These leaks are only large enough to release small drops of water into the surrounding area, but that is often more than enough to cause a lot of water damage.

The Dangers of Pinhole Leaks

Pinhole leaks may not seem like such a big deal from the above description, but they are actually capable of causing damage far beyond their size. A pinhole leak is so small that, even if there are several of them in the system, they will not cause a cumulative loss in water pressure large enough to be noticeable. This means that the first sign that most homeowners get of a pinhole leak is when they notice mold growth spreading over the wall. By that point, the leak could have also rotted out the insulation in the area.

The only way to detect a pinhole leak before it has a chance to do its damage is to have your plumbing system inspected at least once a year. If you haven’t had your plumbing system inspected in over a year, call At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

Our plumbers serve the entire Salt Lake City area.

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