One of the things that I always feel insecure about are car repair estimates. I know NOTHING about cars. I can quote cabinets, plumbing, tile and lighting specs and prices off the top of my head, but I don’t know the difference between a spark plug and a piston.

Let’s face it.  Unless you are an expert, you have to take the mechanic’s word for it. Your ballcock is broken. Huh? I’m going to have to go get a Spline Adaptor. (hmmm.. how much will that cost?) And the Bonnet, it’s broken. And no, it’s not the hood of an  Englishman’s car.

So, in the hopes of enlightening you, my readers, here is a reference sheet of plumbing terms. That way, next time the plumber needs to fix something, you not only know what he is talking about, but how big a deal it is to fix. Or, should something suddenly break and you have anemergency – stay calm, and remember you have a Plumbing Vocabulary guide!

Enjoy this summary, and bookmark it for future reference!

Complete Guide To Plumbing Vocabulary

How often do you think about your hot water heater?  Can you remember the last time that you checked it? Typically, water heaters last 10 to 15 years, but with a little care and maintenance they can last even longer.

water-heaterSome things to consider about your tank:

Check the exterior. Leaks and rust on the outside could be early indicators of problems inside the tank.

Sacrificial anodes, the magnesium or aluminum rods that screw into the tank, get used up. The sacrificial anodes undergo electrolysis so that the steel in the tank is not effected, increasing longevity of the tank. Depending on the number of sacrificial anodes, the tank may have a 6 year, 12 year, or longer warranty. Not replacing them when they are used up may result in damage to the tank.

Sediment builds up over time. Part of your regular hot water heater maintenance should include flushing the tank. Sediment build up can cause the heating element to burn out, as well as cause damage to the bottom of the tank due to overheating.

Check that the pressure relief valve works. When it lifts up, it should release hot water via the overflow pipe.

Ideally, hot water tanks should be checked monthly as part of your regular home maintenance. The recommendation for testing the pressure relief valves and draining the tank is every six months.

And just one personal bit of experience – Bob’s parents recently replaced their very old water heater and when we hauled it out, we found over a foot of old iron sediment in the bottom of it! After the new one was in place for about a week, Mom & Dad told us they were feeling ‘better’ and their digestion had improved. They are quite active and in their 80′s, so this was very good news. And yes, we think it was the water that was causing their problems.

Feeling nervous about doing this yourself? Call HB Building and Design. We are always happy to help.