Extend the Life of Your Water Heater

One easy way to add years of life to your water heater, is just simply connect your garden hose to the drain. You don’t have to touch the control valve or do anything to the water heater at all. Just connect one end of your hose to the water heater drain, position the other end in a safe place (the gutter or the street is good), then open the drain. This should be done once or even better yet twice a year. This will clean out the bottom of the water heater from all the minerals and harder water deposits the build up over time. This mineral build up acts as a heat sink, which makes your heater work significantly harder than a clean tank. This also wastes natural gas and speeds up the demise of the water heater itself.

NOTE !! THE WATER COMING OUT OF THE HOSE IS HOT AND CAN BURN YOU. THE WATER ISN’T MIXING WITH COLD WATER. WHILE DOING THIS FLUSHING PROCEDURE, DO NOT LET HOT WATER TOUCH YOUR SKIN!!! DO NOT ALLOW THE WATER TO FLUSH OUT ONTO THE GRASS, ON PLANTS, OR ON A SURFACE WHERE PEOPLE – ESPECIALLY CHILDREN – MAY WALK BAREFOOT ON.

Here are some examples of where to find the water heater drain:

Water Heater Drain Out

Water Heater Drain Out

Water Heater Thermocouplers

water heater thermocouple

What is a Water Heater Thermocouple and What Does It Do?

The water heater thermocouple is a small but important safety component in your water heater. By acting as a sensor to determine if your pilot light is on, it allows for the flow of gas to your heater. If your pilot light is off, the gas valve is shut keeping you safe!

How Does the Thermocouple Work?

Rather than using a battery or electric current from your home, the thermocouple uses the heat from the pilot light to generate a small amount of electricity. How small? We are talking about millivolts – that is 1/1000th of a volt! Residential home outlets (in the United States) are typically 120 volts. Quite a difference. The thermocouple is made of two different metals (nickel and copper) with a welded end and a non-welded end. The welded end is called the hot-junction and is the part that is heated by the pilot light. The non-welded (the cold junction) is attached to the gas valve solenoid which remains open if there is enough current. Heating the bi-metal thermocouple should produce enough millivolts of electricity to keep the valve open. If the pilot light turns off and the metal cools or if your thermocouple has failed, the gas valve will remain closed. No gas means no heat, which means no hot water for you!

How Can Flowrite Plumbing Help You?

With 40 years of experience, we can quickly identify what the problem is with your thermocouple and if necessary, we can replace it for you. Quickly and efficiently. Call us today at 805.888.7523 and let us help you get your hot water back!

Leaky Pipes

water heater overflow

Sometimes you may see evidence of prolonged water leakage from a pipe connected to your water heater. This could be related to the water heater’s temperature pressure and relief valve (Sometimes referred to as a T&P Valve). When operating normally, the T&P valve should not discharge any water. The valve is there to relieve excessive pressure and heat. When there is a thermal/pressure event, water would be discharged; however, if it leaks consistently, it could mean that the valve is faulty and time for repair. Flowrite Plumbing can take a look at the valve and tell you what the problem is and how we can fix it for you.

Pipe Corrosion

copper pipe corrosion on a water heater

What is Corrosion?

In this article we are referring to the corrosion of pipes (often copper pipes) that over time begin to decay in a process similar to rusting called oxidation. This corrosion (often times seen along with hard water deposits) is identified by a blue-green coating on a pipe or joint. It can be caused by water or soil chemistry, as well as other environmental factors.

If it’s Natural, What’s the Problem?

While oxidation and corrosion are a natural process, it can cause you all sorts of problems. If left too long, the corrosion can cause pinholes or larger holes causing water leaks that can damage your water heater, water softener, or even worse, the structure of your home or business. Corrosion can destroy valves and reduce the flow of water through pipes affecting water pressure. Finally, although less common in newer homes, corrosion can cause copper or lead to leach into your water. Ingestion of copper and lead can have adverse health effects and is something you should avoid.

How can Flowrite Plumbing Help You?

After doing this as long as we have, we can identify where the corrosion is originating from and come up with a solution to fix it. Since water can travel down the exterior of a pipe, the corrosion may appear someplace that the water is collecting when the leak is actually coming from above. Whether it is fixing a leak and cleaning the pipe, or it is a full replacement of parts, let Flowrite Plumbing’s experience save you time and money. Doing it wrong can cost you a lot in the long run and having a professional take care of it right the first time will only benefit you! Call us today at 805.888.7523!

Water Heater Tank Sediment

Does it take forever to get hot water again once it’s out?
Do you hear “knocking” or “banging” inside your water heater?

If you are experiencing either of these issues, it could be that your tank is filling up with sediment.

What is Sediment?
Basically sediment in your tank is made of deposits of calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is a mineral that is present in the water supply and over time, it precipitates out and collects in the bottom of your tank. As it collects at the bottom of the tank, it can resemble sand, or in larger amounts, can resemble large chunks of sandstone-like material.

Is it toxic?
No. By itself, the water heater sediment is not toxic.

water heater sediment
Show your water heater some love or you’ll be calling me soon!
So why is it a problem?
There are several reasons why sediment buildup in your water heater can be an issue. A layer of sediment in the bottom of the tank can act as a heat sink or insulator. This means that the energy the water heater should be using to heat the water is really just heating up the sediment. If the sediment is deep enough, you can bury one of the heating elements which could cause it to prematurely burn out. By overheating due to inefficient heat transfer, sediment can contribute weakening the steel of the heater. Finally, as the sediment gets jostled around by temperature changes and air bubbles, it can bang against the side of the tank making odd sounds.

Can it be fixed?
Possibly. It really depends on how bad it is. The image above shows a tank draining water and sediment. If the sediment is too thick, draining the tank may be a moot point. Give Flowrite Plumbing a call today at 805.888.7523 and let us take a look at your water heater. With over 30 years of professional experience and exceptional reviews on Home Advisor and Yelp, you can rest assured that you’ll be good to go in no time.