Plumbing

Plumbing

Expansion Tanks & Why They're Important

If your home’s utilizes a boiler and radiators for heating, expansion tanks are an important factor. Hydronic heating produces energy-efficient home comfort as water heated by the boiler circulates through radiators in each room. However, one specific fact of physics presents an issue: Water expands when heated. As the water volume inside a closed hydronic system increases with heat, the mounting pressure has nowhere to go and could potentially trigger pressure relief valves, over-stress system components, and degrade reliability. That’s where expansion tanks come in to relieve that pressure.

Here’s how an expansion tank protects your heating system:

  • Connected to the water line between the boiler and radiators, the tank is divided into two segments: an upper half that receives water expanding under heat and an empty lower half that contains only pressurized air. A flexible rubber diaphragm separates the two halves of the tank.

  • When the system cycles on and the boiler is heating, water volume in the system expands. The resultant pressure increase pushes water into the top half of the expansion tank. The flexible rubber diaphragm expands downward to accommodate this influx and moderating pressure in the system, preventing actuation of relief valves and/or damage to components.

  • When the system turns off, water cools and system water volume decreases. Air pressure in the lower portion of the expansion tank pushes against the rubber diaphragm to expel water out of the upper portion and back into the system. This ensures that system water volume always remains in the safe range, without admitting air into the system.

Here’s a quick way to check expansion tank functioin. While the system’s running, feel the upper part of the tank. It should feel noticeably warm to the touch. The lower portion, however, should feel like room temperature. If both the upper and lower portions of the tank feel warm, contact a qualified HVAC service provider to check the condition of the internal diaphragm and make necessary repair or replacement.

For more information about the installation and maintenance of expansion tanks, contact the professionals at Air Assurance.

Plumbing

Reasons Your Water Heater Runs Out of Hot Water in Winter

Reasons Your Water Heater Runs Out of Hot Water in Winter

If your water heater doesn’t seem to be delivering as much hot water in the winter, it may not have anything to do with cold temperatures. Fresh water does cool off in the winter, but if your water heating appliance is fully functional, the incoming temperature shouldn’t matter.Most problems with heating water occur when the heater:

Needs flushing.

The most common cause of high water heating bills and premature tank failure are the hard water deposits that collect at the bottom of the tank. A few won’t interfere with water heating, but if there are too many, the heating process will slow, especially in gas water heaters. A gas water heater heats from the bottom only, and when that surface is covered with hard water deposits, there won’t be as much hot water.Most electric units have two heating elements. One sits close to the bottom of the tank and the other near the top. If the bottom is covered with solids, the water won’t heat as well. One of the heating elements may also not be working and needs replacing.

Has a broken dip tube.

The dip tube is made from plastic that can become brittle and break over time. This tube connects to the cold water inlet and sends the water to the bottom of the tank where it heats up. If it’s broken, the cold water stays at the top of the tank and the water you get won’t feel as hot.

Needs insulation to combat cold temperatures.

If the tank feels hot to the touch, consider wrapping an insulation blanket around it to keep the heat inside longer.

Is too small.

If your family size has changed, someone’s taking longer showers, or you’re washing more clothes in hot water might force you to install a bigger water heater.Some of these water heater maintenance tasks might be better done by a pro. If you’d like assistance, contact Air Assurance, providing HVAC and plumbing services for Broken Arrow.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Featured, Plumbing

Summer Sump Pump Maintenance

Summer Sump Pump Maintenance

When you have a sump pump installed in your home's basement or crawlspace, you might mistakenly think that you're automatically protected against water intrusions. In reality, periodic sump pump maintenance is crucial if you want to keep your home safe from:

  • Costly water damage. Whether you experience minor groundwater seepage or significant flooding from a summer storm, your sump pump needs to be in good working order to handle it. If your home's basement is finished, this protects the drywall, flooring, the furnishings and stored items from damage.

  • Mold-related problems. Having a well-functioning sump pump that keeps the crawlspace or basement dry can also minimize mold growth and musty odors and preserve your home's indoor air quality.

  • Fire hazards. When your sump pump is well-maintained and on guard against water intrusions into your basement or crawlspace, you may not realize that it also reduces the danger of electrical fires. If a flood occurs and electrical wiring situated in the space gets saturated, there a risk that it can short circuit and cause a fire.

Essential Sump Pump Maintenance

It's vital to have a functional sump pump during a power outage, so invest in a battery backup if you don't already have one. To ensure that your pump is always in working condition, maintain it semi-annually by following these steps:

  • Clear any debris from the sump pit so it can't clog the pump.

  • Check the condition of the power cord and for safety, make sure it's plugged into a ground fault circuit interruptor (GFCI) receptacle.

  • To test the pump's functionality, fill up the pit with water and check that it starts up and empties the pit efficiently.

  • Unplug the power cord and repeat the above-mentioned test to check that the backup battery is working properly.

  • When the pump is running, verify that it stays upright and level, and that the drain hose stays attached.

  • If your pump is unresponsive or quits working, have it repaired or replace it immediately.

To learn more about sump pump maintenance and how it can help protect your Broken Arrow home, contact us at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about sump pumps and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Westfrisco/Pixabay”

Plumbing

Should Copper Pipes Sway Your Home Buying Decision?

Should Copper Pipes Sway Your Home Buying Decision?

When evaluating a home purchase, finding out whether the household plumbing incorporates copper pipes can be very relevant information. Many older houses still on the market today were built with galvanized steel plumbing. As decades passed, steel pipes proved to be vulnerable to internal corrosion and rusting. Steel has a high incidence of pipe ruptures that can cause very expensive water damage to the structure of the house and its contents.

As a result, real estate and home inspection experts typically advise prospective buyers to figure the cost of re-piping into the total price of any house that incorporates galvanized steel plumbing. Overwhelmingly, the recommended replacement is copper pipes.

The presence of copper piping in a house you’re considering means you’ll be spared the expense of having new pipes installed later, as well as the disruption to your normal household routine. Here are some of the other benefits of copper:

  • Unlike galvanized steel, copper has a proven long-term track record of durability after many decades of installation in residences.It is the only pipe material with a 50-year guarantee. Newer synthetic pipe alternatives haven’t been in wide usage long enough to establish an estimated service life expectancy.

  • Today, over 80 percent of new homes are constructed with copper piping, making it the industry standard for residential plumbing.

  • Capable of withstanding 1,000 pounds of pressure per square inch, copper is resistant to internal deterioration including rusting and corrosion that trigger leaks and pipe ruptures.

  • Installation of copper plumbing is expedited by the fact that the pipes are rigid yet also very light. Long spans of copper pipes require fewer support brackets and attachment points and are easily assembled with safe, lead-free solder. This lowers labor and installation costs.

  • Copper doesn’t contain toxins that could slowly leach into drinking water and cause health concerns.

  • Copper piping is a definite plus for your home’s market value if/when you decide to sell the house.

  • Copper plumbing can be recycled when the house is torn down in the future.

For more information about the benefits of copper pipes, in Broken Arrow contact Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about copper pipes and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Jhonatan_Perez/Pixabay”

Plumbing

Garbage Disposal Do's and Don't's

Garbage Disposal Do's and Don't's

Garbage disposals offer a convenient way to dispose of some kitchen waste. If you treat your disposal poorly, you could be in for some plumbing headaches, however. Follow these tips to keep your disposal running smoothly and your kitchen drains healthy:

Approved Items for a Garbage Disposal

  • Ice cubes – When ground in the disposal, these scour away sticky substances from the disposal walls.

  • Meat and vegetable scraps – Just keep in mind, you should allow only a little into the disposal at a time. Too much all at once can cause clogs

  • Fruits – Small pieces of fruit and small pits or peels are usually fine. Exceptions include banana peels and large fruit pits which can jam the disposal or clog pipes. A little leftover lemon rind or orange peel, however, won’t hurt the disposal and can remove odors

Items to Keep Out of the Disposal

  • Non-biodegradable products – This includes plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and similar items. These might be chopped up but they will never disintegrate and can cause pipe clogs later.

  • Stringy, fibrous vegetable and fruit matter – These can wrap around moving mechanical parts and hurt the motor. In addition, these products don’t break down quickly and can contribute to drains clogging. This list includes celery stalks, vegetable husks and potato peels.

  • Thick rinds – Watermelon and cantaloupe rinds, for example, have no place in your garbage disposal.

  • Large bones, such as steak bones, pork chop bones and ham bones.

  • Grease – Animal fats become liquid at high heat but quickly congeal when cooled. This spells bad news for your garbage disposal and your plumbing if you pour grease down the drain. It probably won’t cause a clog right away, but you can be assured it can lead to problems later.

  • Caustic products – This includes chemical drain cleaners. These can harm the disposal and plumbing pipes.

  • Uncooked rice, potato flakes or pasta – These expand on contact with water and clog drains.

For more tips about caring for your garbage disposal and your home’s plumbing, please contact us at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about garbage disposals and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Name”

Plumbing

Drain Safety: Make Sure These Things Never Go Down a Drain

Drain Safety: Make Sure These Things Never Go Down a Drain

The drains in your home are an essential part of providing quality home comfort for you and your loved ones. If you want your plumbing problems to remain at a minimum, then drain safety is an absolute must. A big part of that is ensuring that none of these things ever go down one of them:

Paper Towels and Similar Products

Many people seem to think that paper towels are no different from tissue paper and other flushable products. This is absolutely not true. If you want to clog up your toilet, flushing paper towels, cotton balls, baby wipes, and similar items is definitely the way to do it.

Feminine Products

This is similar to the list above, but it is so common for these things to be flushed, it deserves its own point. Please do not flush feminine products down the toilet. These should be placed in the trash every single time.

Kitty Litter

Despite popular belief, kitty litter does not belong in the drain. What happens is that a bit of this sand-like product often stays behind and settles in the drain. It won't take long before it's fully clogged, which means you'll be making a call to your local plumber before you know it.

Drain Cleaners

It's almost second nature these days to reach for a drain cleaner at the store for a quick DIY job. The problem is that these cleaners are corrosive and cause damage to your pipes. A HVAC professional can clear your pipes without hurting them.

Grease and Oil

Sorry, bacon lovers! Pouring grease down the drain is a great way to plug it up. Instead, collect the grease in a container, and once it's full, throw it away in the garbage.

Pasta

You know how pasta expands in size when you cook it in water? The same thing happens when you shove it down your drain, which can cause a clog quite quickly.

For more expert advice on drain safety or other home comfort issues, please contact the experts at Air Assurance. We've been serving the needs of Broken Arrow since 1985.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about drain safety and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Brett_Hondow/Pixabay”

Plumbing

Shopping for a New Toilet? Use Our Tips

Shopping for a New Toilet? Use Our Tips

Head down to your local home improvement store and you'll find loads of different toilets to choose from. The question is: Which is best for you and your family? It can be a tough choice, so allow us to give you a few quick tips to help you decide:

Save Water with Dual-Flush

We all know that not every use of a toilet is the same. That's why dual-flush models are perfect for those who want to save water by providing separate handles — a full flush for solids and a half-flush for liquids.

Save Money with Low-Flow

Although some homeowners have avoided low-flow in the past because of the need for multiple flushes from time to time, newer models aren't plagued by this problem. Pick up a low-flow model and your water usage bills will drop.

Consider a Taller Model

Toilets may not be constructed to the most comfortable seats in the world, but taller models provide an extra amount of comfort to their users. This is especially true for tall men and women, in addition to the elderly, who may have trouble getting up and down from a traditional model.

Check the Reviews

Selecting the right toilet for your home shouldn't be taken lightly. To ensure that you make the best purchase possible, it's important to check out reviews. This isn't a choice you'll make through a site like Yelp. Instead, head over to Consumer Reports for the low-down on the low-flow (and others, of course).

Defy Gravity

Were you aware that certain toilets can be attached to your wall instead of sitting on the floor? These models are extremely sturdy and are amazingly simple to clean, because they lack all the nooks and crannies found in many traditional models. Just be aware that, as you might expect, a wall-hung toilet will be more expensive.

If you're looking for a new toilet, these tips will serve as a great starting point. For even more information, feel free to reach out to the professionals at Air Assurance. We currently service the HVAC needs of Broken Arrow and the surrounding area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about toilets and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Name/Shutterstock”

Plumbing

The Keys to Preventing Winter Pipe Bursts

The Keys to Preventing Winter Pipe Bursts

As winter arrives, the temperatures are dropping more and more. Is your plumbing prepared? When the weather gets below freezing, the water flowing through your home turns to ice, expands, and ultimately a pipe bursts. How can you prevent this? There are a few steps you can take.

Insulate your pipes

You can buy long strips of foam pipe insulation at the hardware store. Cut them into lengths to fit each of your exposed indoor pipes and put them on. This won't prevent the water in them from freezing, but it will slow the flow of heat, keeping them warmer longer.

Heat your pipes

If your pipes are in a dry, enclosed space, then wrap them up in heater tape. You can plug it in, and it will generate enough heat to keep your pipes warm, so the water doesn't freeze. Failing that, you can also use a heat lamp to warm the pipes and keep them from icing over.

Open any cabinet doors

For pipes that are in a cabinet under the sink, open the doors up and let the heat in. You'll likely be running your furnace, so it will be warmer inside than outside.

Run the water

If your house has lost power, then plug-in heat tape and warming your pipes using the furnace will be ineffective. However, you can still keep your pipes from freezing. Turn on a slow drip of water from the hot side of each faucet, then a faster one from the cold side. By keeping the water flowing, it will prevent freezing. Even a very small drip should do the trick. It will drive your water bill up a bit, sure, but it's still cheaper than fixing the plumbing when a pipe bursts.

For outdoor pipes, drain the water

Shut off the valves to all your outdoor spigots to keep water from flowing through them. Then, drain all the water from the spigots.

To learn more about what to do when a pipe bursts, contact us at Air Assurance today. We've served Broken Arrow's plumbing and HVAC needs for over 30 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about preventing pipe bursts and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “MikeBird/Pixabay”

Plumbing

Learn How to Check for a P-Trap Clog

Learn How to Check for a P-Trap Clog

A clog in your drains can certainly ruin your day. The good news is, some clogs are more manageable by the homeowner than others, and depending on where they occur, you may be able to handle the unclogging yourself. For instance, when a clog occurs in that bent portion of pipe beneath your kitchen or bathroom sink — known as the p-trap — you may be able to unclog it yourself.

What P-Traps Do

P-traps aren't designed with a curve just to fit in your cabinet space. The curve actually has a purpose: it holds water continuously so that it blocks sewer gases emerging from nearby sewer lines from drifting into your drain and up through your sink.But the curved design also helps to trap substances in the drain other than water, such as hair, hairpins, and sludge from soap and other substances.

Clearing a Clog

As with any clog, you should start with the simplest solutions first. Try clearing the clog by pouring a half cup of baking soda followed by a half cup of vinegar. Leave it to bubble for five minutes, then turn on the hot water and let it run for a minute or so.If the clog persists, you can use a coat hanger or drain snake in the drain to see if it clears. A clog lodged in the p-trap may be hard to dislodge, so you may need to move to the next step.

Clearing the P-Trap

Assemble a few things to remove the trap, including adjustable pliers, latex gloves, an old towel and wash cloth and a bucket. Place the bucket under the trap to catch water and sludge when you remove the trap.Using the pliers, loosen the nuts that hold the trap in place. Remove the trap, emptying the water and cleaning out any clog material. Put a wet wash cloth in the open pipe coming out of the wall to prevent sewer gases from escaping. Reattach the pipe.For more on clearing a p-trap clog, contact Air Assurance of Broken Arrow. We've served our loyal customers since 1985.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about P-traps and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “d3images/Pixabay”

Plumbing

Showerheads That Save Water

Showerheads That Save Water

Saving water in your household can be a win-win from two standpoints. You'll save money on your monthly water bill and you'll save a precious natural resource, water.

Saving water is not as difficult as one might think, especially with the help of new technology that allows for reduced flow in showerheads and other water fixtures, while still allowing for what seems like a high-pressure spray. Fortunately, the federal government runs a program that's intended to help American consumers and businesses save water.

Called WaterSense, among other things this program certifies plumbing fixtures that save more than a benchmark minimum of water.Your water-saving efforts can start in the shower. First of all, when deciding between a bath and a shower, go with the shower. That will save substantial water right from the get-go. Then, once you're in the shower, don't stay there any longer than it takes to wash your body. (Again, this isn't only in pursuit of the altruistic goal of conserving water; you're saving money, too.)

Then, replace old-style showerheads with modern WaterSense-certified low-flow showerheads. These fixtures spray under 2 gallons per minute, while still providing plenty of water pressure (as long as your home has sufficient water pressure from outside). That's a big improvement over standard showers that spray 2.5 gallons or more per minute.You can save plenty of water with your home's toilets, too.

WaterSense-certified toilets can save 20 percent or more over industry-standard toilets that consume 1.6 gallons per flush. Plus, they'll remove all the waste, preventing situations where the toilet has to be flushed twice.Bathroom faucets also provide opportunities for saving water. Current federal rules don't allow newly manufactured faucets to deliver more than 2.2 gallons of water per minute. Older faucets sprayed as much as 3-7 gallons per minute. Most low-flow brands will still supply adequate water pressure while delivering much less water.

For more information on water-efficient showerheads and other water-saving strategies for your home, please contact us at Air Assurance, providing superior plumbing and HVAC services in Broken Arrow and the surrounding area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about showerheads and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Name of Artist/Shutterstock”

Plumbing

Save Water With These Plumbing Fixtures

Save Water With These Plumbing Fixtures

A plan for residential water efficiency and conservation should include the installation of water-saving plumbing fixtures.The following list includes some of the more common types of these fixtures and what you should look for when choosing water-saving plumbing equipment for your home.

WaterSense Certification

The WaterSense program is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and exists to help consumers better understand water efficiency and conservation. Any plumbing fixtures with WaterSense certification have been tested and proven to be water efficient. By using these fixtures you'll be able to reduce your monthly household water consumption and, at the same time, trim your water bill.

Hands-free Faucets

Hands-free faucets do not have standard on-off handles. Instead, they contain a sensor that activates the fixture when you place your hands under the faucet. Water continues to run while your hands are in place. When you remove them from the faucet's proximity, the faucet shuts off in just a few seconds. This helps prevent wasted water and ensures the faucet won't be left on by small children or others who may forget to shut the water off.

Dual-flush Toilets

Dual-flush toilets give you two levels of water use for flushing. The low-water option uses less water and is intended primarily for flushing liquid waste. The higher-water option needs more water to effectively remove solid waste. By using the low-water option more frequently, you'll save water by not being required to use the same amount of water each time the toilet is flushed.

High-efficiency and Low-flow Fixtures

Faucets and toilets are available in styles that automatically use less water than standard models. They provide enough water for the task, but use significantly less of it. Low-flow fixtures, such as aerators and showerheads, restrict water flow, reducing the amount of water available for bathing, cleaning, or similar tasks.

Tulsa and Broken Arrow residents can count on Air Assurance for professional heating and cooling services, including sales, installation, maintenance, and repair. Contact us today for more information on how installing water-saving plumbing fixtures can save substantial amounts of water in your home every month.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about TOPIC and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “OpenClipart-Vectors/Pixabay”

Featured, Plumbing

Water Shutoff Valves 101

Water Shutoff Valves 101

The first step of solving many plumbing problems is usually turning off the water shutoff valve. If you'd like to tackle these problems successfully when they arise, start by checking out the shutoff valves in your home. Let's look at the types of valves you'll most probably come across.

Gate Valve

This valve has a machined inner mechanism. To turn it on or off, you'll have to turn its circular head, which in turn raises or lowers a metal gate. The gate blocks water flow when it's in its lowest position. Water flows freely when the gate is in its highest position. The valve should be completely open or completely closed. Opening it partially will cause it to wear away and fail over time.

Washered Valve

This is the most common water shutoff valve. You're likely to find it in your toilet, sinks and outdoor sillcocks. It comes in different sizes and is usually round or oval shaped. It has a rubber washer that compresses onto a metal seat when you turn the valve's handle to shut off water flow. The valve will leak when the washer wears out. Replacing the washer is easy, but you have to ensure you get a rightly sized one.

Ball Valve

This is the least problematic valve. You'll most likely find it under sinks and toilets. It has a straight lever handle that only makes a quarter turn. In the open position, the handle is parallel to your pipes and in the closed position, it's perpendicular. Instead of a washer, it has a machined ball with a hole. It shuts off water when it's aligned such that the hole is perpendicular to water flow.If you're proactive about keeping your plumbing system healthy, it will be beneficial to identify the types of shutoff valves you have and where they're located. To learn more about the water shutoff valve types, please contact us at Air Assurance. We've proudly served the Broken Arrow area for more than 30 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “PublicDomainArchive/Pixabay”

Featured, Plumbing

Different Types of Plumbing Pipes

Different Types of Plumbing Pipes

For most homeowners, figuring out the plumbing in their homes is a confusing task. You have a wide variety of pipes going in many different directions. What's worse, if you get something wrong when working with your plumbing, you have to deal with water — or worse — spraying everywhere.Knowing a little about the pipes that you're looking at can take some of the confusion out of your plumbing. Here's a list of the most common types of pipes and what they're used for:

  • Cast iron pipes. This type of pipe used to be used for drains and vents and is still found in older homes. Cast iron tends to rust easily, but often the rust is just on the surface. Cast iron is a durable material that can last for many years.

  • Galvanized steel pipes. Like cast iron, these pipes are found in older homes and were typically used for drains. They have one downside: they don't last as long as some of the other choices available today.

  • ABS. This type of pipe is one of the early plastic pipes. ABS pipes are black and used for drains and vents. Because they often came loose at joints, they no longer meet code for new construction in many areas.

  • PVC. This type of pipe is the most common type used for drains and vents today. Specific kinds of PVC are usable for supply lines, but it is a good idea to check with your plumbing contractor to make sure you're using a type that meets building codes for your area. PVC is white plastic, extremely durable, lightweight, and inexpensive. They typically have the diameter of the pipe stamped on the side.

  • Copper pipes. Typically used for water lines, there's either rigid or flexible copper lines.

  • PEX. PEX is a flexible plastic that's used for water lines. It is very versatile and comes in different colors, allowing you to assign different colors of pipe to your hot and cold water lines.

For more answers to your questions about the plumbing in your Broken Arrow-area home, contact Air Assurance today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “fran1/pixabay”

Featured, Plumbing

Cloudy Tap Water: What It Means

Cloudy Tap Water: What It Means

Cloudy tap water is generally described as “milky water” or “white water” because the cloudiness is basically a neutral color. Frequently we expect water to come for the tap crystal clear and anything other than that is a sign of something wrong — or maybe even hazardous. In most cases, if you’re getting your water from a municipal water supply, cloudy tap water is only an aesthetic issue and has no health risks or even taste issues associated with it.Cloudiness in tap water is actually dissolved air. Mostly, it occurs naturally in well-water where municipal water supplies are often sourced, or it may enter the water during pumping. As long as the water is under pressure inside your supply lines, air it contains remains in a dissolved state. When you open the tap, however, pressure is released and the dissolved air content in the water rapidly turns into millions of extremely tiny air bubbles that impart a clouded effect when the water is viewed in a glass or other clear container.A simple test can confirm that cloudiness is simply air coming out of solution in the water, not chemicals or other impurities:

  • Open a tap and fill a drinking glass or clear jar with tap water. Set the glass on a counter and note the degree of cloudiness in the water.

  • Allow a few minutes to pass and observe the clearing process of the water. If tiny air bubbles are the cause, you’ll notice that cloudiness in the water clears steadily, starting from the bottom and moving up toward the top of the glass until all water is perfectly clear. That’s a classic indicator of air content causing the cloudiness.

  • If the water at the top of the glass clears but water at the bottom looks rusty or otherwise discolored, contact a qualified plumber for an inspection. You may have internally rusted or corroded water supply lines that need replacement.

For a professional opinion about issues of cloudy tap water, contact the plumbing experts at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Pexels/Shutterstock”

Featured, Plumbing

Toilet Flapper Troubleshooting

Toilet Flapper Troubleshooting | Air Assurance

A malfunctioning toilet flapper can prevent your toilet from working correctly. If your toilet is running or won't flush like it should, check for some common signs that will help you pinpoint the problem.

The Toilet Won't Stop Running

Your toilet flapper's job is to rise up from the flush valve and let water into the bowl when you flush, then drop down and stop the flow of water when the flush ends. As the flapper wears out, it can warp, harden or deteriorate and no longer form a tight seal. When this happens, it can't completely stop the flow of water. This leaves you with a toilet that runs constantly and wastes water.

First, make sure the toilet flapper chain isn't so long it's getting tangled and stopping the flapper from closing or so short that it's holding the flapper up off the flush valve. If this isn't the issue, adding a few drops of food coloring to the toilet tank will help you detect a leak. After you add the coloring, wait 10 minutes and if you find the color has seeped into the bowl, you have a leaky flapper you'll need to replace.

The Toilet Won't Flush Correctly

Your toilet flapper chain should have just a slight amount of slack. A chain that's too short will cause the flush to cut off too soon, leaving too little water in the bowl or even fail to fully clean the bowl. A short flush can also happen when the chain is too long. In this case, the rushing water pulls the flapper closed before the flush is complete.To check for this toilet problem, remove the tank lid and watch the toilet flapper as you flush. The flapper should start to drop when around 80 percent of the water has left the tank. If it doesn't, readjust the chain by unhooking it from the flush lever and shortening or lengthening it as needed by two links.

For help with your toilet or any other plumbing fixture, contact us at Air Assurance anywhere around Broken Arrow.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “gmstockstudio/Shutterstock”

Featured, Plumbing

What You Should Do About Low Water Pressure

What You Should Do About Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure is an irritating but common issue with residential plumbing systems, but it's not something you simply have to live with. Here's what you can do solve different types of water pressure problems in your home.

Low Pressure Throughout the House

If low pressure is affecting all your plumbing fixtures and water-using appliances, find your main water valve and make sure it's fully open. Next, check for obvious signs of a leak like wet ground where your water line meets the main supply. Then, ask your neighbors if they have a low pressure issue. If not, have a licensed plumber check whether you have a pressure reducing valve that needs adjustment or there are leaks in the piping.A plumber can also look for other causes of pressure problems, like corrosion inside your galvanized pipes or sediment/limescale buildup in the lines. If your neighbors have low pressure too, talk to your plumber about installing a pressure booster on your home's main water line.

Low Pressure at Individual Fixtures

If the water flow arriving at a single fixture has slowed down, you may be able to correct the problem yourself. With a faucet, unscrew the aerator and rinse the mesh screen to remove any tiny sediment particles. If there's a limescale buildup, soak the aerator in a 50-50 water and vinegar solution. Aerators aren't expensive, so if the buildup doesn't dissolve, simply replace the part. You can use the same process with a clogged showerhead nozzle. If the pressure doesn't improve, have a plumber check for a partial blockage in the fixture's supply lines.

Hot Water Pressure Problems

A lack of pressure with just the hot water supply is often a sign that sediment is clogging the water heater tank and lines. If you haven't had the tank drained and flushed on a regular basis, it's wise to have a plumbing professional assess the condition of the appliance and perform any needed maintenance.

If you're dealing with a low water pressure problem in your Broken Arrow home and need expert help, contact the plumbing pros at Air Assurance today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Justek16/Shutterstock”

Featured, Plumbing

Things You Shouldn't Put Down the Drain

Things You Shouldn't Put Down the Drain

It's dangerous to adopt an "out of sight, out of mind" attitude towards your household drains. Some things that go down your drain can come back to haunt you in the form of clogs, flooding and other costly plumbing problems. To help you maintain a healthy plumbing system, here's a list of items that shouldn't go down your drains.

  • Grease – Kitchen grease solidifies when it cools. It coats the inner walls of sewer pipes. With time, it can build up and even block an entire pipe. To get rid of it in an environmentally-friendly way, pour it into an old can or sealed container and put it in the trash.

  • Eggshells – Although they seem fragile, they don't break down easily once they're inside your drains. They can mix with other items and form clogs.

  • Stringy or starchy vegetables – Vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus, celery, kale, rhubarb, lettuce and potato peels are too starchy, stringy or fibrous to be put in your garbage disposal. They can easily get tangled around the blade and clog drains.

  • Coffee grounds – To you they may be fine and harmless but to your drains, they are a recipe for disaster. When they mix with water, they get heavier. They can compact in the disposal trap and cause a blockage. Why not put them to work by using them in your garden as fertilizer or a deterrent to ants, snails and slugs?

  • Large wipes – Paper towels, baby wipes and other large wipes may be biodegradable, but can cause problems for your septic system. Their absorbent nature can make them clog up drain lines.

  • Pasta and rice – Pasta and rice expand when they mix with water. They'll expand every time water goes down your drains. Eventually, they'll fill up the trap and clog your drains.

When you avoid putting the wrong things down the drain, you also save the environment by creating a healthier habitat for marine life. For more information on how to take care of your drain, contact us at Air Assurance. We serve the Broken Arrow area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “nattul/Shutterstock”

Featured, Plumbing

Keep Your Basement from Flooding with These Tips

Keep Your Basement from Flooding with These Tips

Cleaning up a flooded basement after rain seeps through your foundation walls can be your worst nightmare. It involves great work and can cost a significant amount of money to fix the damages and replace the items lost. Save yourself from this mess by taking these steps to prevent basement flooding.

  • Clean your roof's gutters. Ensure your gutters are free of leaves and debris. When they get blocked, they'll dump rain water against your foundation and increase the probability of your basement flooding.

  • Extend your downspouts. Protecting your basement from flooding entails making rain water drain as far away from your house as possible. One way of achieving this is by extending your downspouts at least 10 feet from your home. You can get plastic or metal downspout extensions at home improvement stores.

  • Re-grade around your house. Make sure the grade around your home slopes away from your house at a rate of at least one inch per foot. This will help drain water away from your house and prevent it from flowing back into your foundation and basement.

  • Check exterior foundation and basement for cracks. Fill all cracks in your foundation with epoxy. Apply masonry sealer to indoor cracks. If you come across serious damages, let a professional take care of them.

  • Ensure your sump pump is working. It's important to include a sump pump in your arsenal of flooding protection tools. Open its cover and pull up on the float to ensure it's in good working condition. You should hear the pump motor running. It's a good idea to have a backup power source for your sump pump.

  • Install window well covers. If your basement windows are at or below grade, you should install window well covers. They'll help in diverting water away from the framing and windows.

You can give yourself a greater peace of mind by purchasing flood insurance for your property. For more useful tips on preventing basement flooding, please contact us at Air Assurance. We've proudly served the Broken Arrow area since 1985.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Jana Guothova/Shutterstock”

Featured, Plumbing

Helpful New Homeowner Plumbing Tips

Helpful New Homeowner Plumbing Tips

When moving into a new home, most people don’t give a lot of thought to what’s going on inside the drains or the pipes hidden inside walls or the crawl space — until something goes wrong, that is. Plumbing issues can make an otherwise trouble-free home a headache. Here are a few plumbing tips to help you be prepared for any unpleasant surprises in the future.

  • Know the location of the main water shutoff valve and how to operate it. Every adult in the house should be able to turn off the water supply to the house in the event of a serious indoor plumbing emergency. Test the main valve annually to make sure it turns freely. Also test shutoff valves to individual toilets in the house in case a toilet overflows. Consult a plumber if any valves won’t turn or function properly.

  • Clear clogged drains with hot water and a common plunger. Avoid using caustic drain openers that contain corrosive chemicals that may deteriorate plumbing pipes and seals. Powered drain snakes from rental outlets may be improperly sized for your plumbing and may damage delicate pipes. If simple plunging fails to open a clogged drain, contact a qualified plumber.

  • If the house came with a washer connected to rubber hot and cold water supply hoses, these hoses typically have a short service life and may fail unexpectedly. Ruptured washer supply hoses are a frequent source of major indoor water damage. Put rubber washer supply hoses on your list to be replaced with braided stainless steel lines that have an unlimited service life.

  • There’s no such thing as a minor leak in a water supply line. Small pinhole leaks may be external evidence of serious corrosion inside the pipe. A pipe rupture and expensive water damage may happen at any time. Get advice from a qualified plumber about any pipe leaks.

For more plumbing tips, or professional service to resolve any plumbing issues that may come up, contact Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “VGstockstudio/Shutterstock”