If you don’t think of an “ice cold invigorating shower “ as fun than you might spend a few minutes thinking about your hot water heater.

For the most part they are reliable pieces of equipment that sit in a closet and quietly do their job.   We don’t worry about them until we turn on the shower and have no hot water.   Fall time is usually when most old hot water heaters fail because the water coming into the house is colder and the hot water tank works harder to heat the water.

There are several simple things you can do to make your water heater last longer but at some point it will need to be replaced.   A simple visual inspection can tell you a great deal about your water heater. Do you have a fairly new tank but it doesn’t produce hot water?   If there are any leaks or water standing around the tank you have a problem. Is your hot water tank “rumbling” like a volcano or whining? Does your hot water have a “rotten egg” smell or have an orange tint.

If your tank is fairly new and you have no hot water your first step should be to check the electrical breakers or the pilot light. If a breaker is tripped you don’t get power to the heating unit. If the pilot light won’t light, it could be a bad thermocouple or pilot control valve.    With either unit you are not getting the energy to the tank to heat the water. A plumber can help you solve these issues.

The rumbling is from boiling water in the tank. Sediment has built up on the tank bottom and is actually overheating the water and running up your heating bill.   Whining is caused by built up scale on heating elements in electric water heaters.    Flushing your hot water tank on an annual basis is normally all the maintenance it will need. This should take care of the rumbling volcano. To clean the elements on an electric tank you need to turn it off, drain it and remove the elements. It is important that you let the tank completely fill with water before turning the power back on to the elements.

Stained or colored water is from a deteriorating tank and it’s time for a new one. If you’re uncomfortable doing any of this than call your local plumber and they will be glad to help.

Heating Hot water has advanced technology in the last several years. You now have many energy efficient options to choose from including electric, gas and tankless water heaters.   The new tankless unit’s heat water as it passes through them. They provide an unlimited supply of hot water that is produced as it is needed. There are no storage tanks to rust or leak.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” has never been truer when it comes to hot water tanks. Spending a few minute a year flushing your tank, checking for leaks and/or replacing it if it’s over 10 years old can prevent a mess and damage to your home if the old tank ruptures.   If you choose to do nothing than a “cold invigorating shower” is in your future.


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Grease traps (also known as grease interceptors, and grease recovery devices) are plumbing devices designed to intercept most greases and solids before they enter a wastewater disposal system. Common wastewater contains small amounts of oils which enter into septic tanks and treatment facilities to form a floating scum layer. This scum layer is very slowly digested and broken down by microorganisms in the anaerobic digestion process. However, very large amounts of oil from food production in kitchens and restaurants can overwhelm the septic tank or treatment facility, causing a release of untreated sewage into the environment. Also, high viscosity fats and cooking greases such as lard solidify when cooled, and can combine with other disposed solids to form blockages in drain pipes.

Grease traps have been used since the Victorian era. They are used to reduce the amount of fats, oils and greases (FOG’s) that enter the main sewers. Effectively they are boxes within the drain run that flows between the sinks in a kitchen to the foul sewer system. They only have waste water flowing through them and are not served by any other drainage system such as toilets. They can be made from a number of different materials; e.g. Stainless Steel, Mild Steel, Plastics, Concrete, Cast Iron and can hold anywhere between 40 liters to 45000 liters and above. They can be located above ground, below ground, inside the kitchen or outside the building.

A septic tank, the key component of the septic system, is a small scale sewage treatment system common in areas with no connection to main sewage pipes provided by local governments or private corporations. (Other components, typically mandated and/or restricted by local governments, optionally include pumps, alarms, sand filters, and clarified liquid effluent disposal means such as a septic drain field, ponds, natural stone fibre filter plants or peat moss beds.) Septic systems are a type of On-Site Sewage Facility (OSSF). In North America approximately 25% of the population relies on septic tanks; this can include suburbs and small towns as well as rural areas (Indianapolis is an example of a large city where many of the city’s neighborhoods are still on separate septic systems). In Europe they are generally limited to rural areas only.

The term “septic” refers to the anaerobic bacterial environment that develops in the tank and which decomposes or mineralizes the waste discharged into the tank. Septic tanks can be coupled with other on-site wastewater treatment units such as biofilters or aerobic systems involving artificial forced aeration.[1]

Periodic preventive maintenance is required to remove the irreducible solids which settle and gradually fill the tank, reducing its efficiency. In most jurisdictions this maintenance is required by law, yet often not enforced. Those who ignore the requirement will eventually be faced with extremely costly repairs when solids escape the tank and destroy the clarified liquid effluent disposal means. A properly maintained system, on the other hand, can last for decades and possibly a lifetime.

Wastewater is any water that has been adversely affected in quality by anthropogenic influence. It comprises liquid waste discharged by domestic residences, commercial properties, industry, and/or agriculture and can encompass a wide range of potential contaminants and concentrations. In the most common usage, it refers to the municipal wastewater that contains a broad spectrum of contaminants resulting from the mixing of wastewaters from different sources.

Sewage is correctly the subset of wastewater that is contaminated with feces or urine, but is often used to mean any waste water. “Sewage” includes domestic, municipal, or industrial liquid waste products disposed of, usually via a pipe or sewer or similar structure, sometimes in a cesspool emptier.

The physical infrastructure, including pipes, pumps, screens, channels etc. used to convey sewage from its origin to the point of eventual treatment or disposal is termed sewerage.

Human waste is a waste type usually used to refer to byproducts of digestion, such as feces and urine. Human waste is most often transported as sewage in waste water through sewerage systems. Alternatively it is disposed of in nappies (diapers) in municipal solid waste.

Human waste can be a serious health hazard, as it is a good vector for both viral and bacterial diseases. A major accomplishment of human civilization has been the reduction of disease transmission via human waste through the practice of hygiene and sanitation, including the development of sewage systems and plumbing.

Human waste can be reduced or reused through use of waterless urinals and composting toilets and greywater. The most common method of waste treatment in rural areas where municipal sewage systems are unavailable is the use of septic tank systems. In remote rural places without sewage or septic systems, small populations allow for the continued use of honey buckets and sewage lagoons (see anaerobic lagoon) without the threat of disease presented by places with denser populations. Honey buckets are used by rural villages in Alaska where, due to permafrost, conventional waste treatment systems cannot be utilised.

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