Having a water leak and not knowing where it’s exactly coming from can be very distressing, and if not solved timely it can become a serious issue causing structural damage within your walls, and also lead to serious mold problems in the walls.
The worst part about having to deal with a water leak is that there are times when the damage will often go undetected and by the time that you realize what is the problem, you’ll have a big restoration to do.
Water leaks are caused most of the time by defective plumbing and issues such as weak plumbing which cannot withstand the weight of concrete and crumbles over time, pipes, and residential sewer pipes that freeze and burst because of extreme temperatures or external forces taking their toll on plumbing leading to punctures. Leaks can also come from rainwater draining down inside the walls or from a cracked and leaky foundation.
It’s very important to find the source as soon as possible because a water leak can
Here’s a guide about how to find the exact location of a water leak in your wall.
Wet areas. Of course, the first step is looking for wet areas in your walls, and pools of water that aren’t coming from appliances. Keep in mind that even though you find a wet area, it doesn’t mean the origin of the leak is in that particular spot, but it can be a clue.
Discolored areas. Leaky water pipes inside walls tend to cause spots of discoloration on walls.
Peeling paint or wallpaper. A change in texture forming rips or bubble-like shapes is caused by water distorting the materials.
Mold or mildew. If a pipe springs a leak, mold can begin to grow in the area. Therefore, pay attention if you see mold in unusual places where water does not usually accumulate, like non-shower walls.
A musty smell. Accumulated old water from a leaky pipe tends to have a musty smell. Especially if it’s behind a wall, it never has a chance to dry and causes an odor.
If you don’t find any of these signs of a water leak behind walls but still suspect you have one, you can use a moisture meter. According to homeinspectorsecrets.com “A moisture meter is an incredible tool to use to check the moisture content of various materials. Home inspectors frequently use moisture meters to check water stains, drywall patches, and problematic basements for water intrusion.
I walk through the house with a high powered flashlight, and any time I see what looks like a moisture stain, I pull out my moisture tester and check to see if the stain is active. If the moisture meter has a reading of 20% or more than the surrounding area, then I know there is still some kind of leak (or condensation problem) going on at this spot.
In addition to moisture stains, I also always check drywall patches. There is a reason that someone repaired, and quite often it has to do with a plumbing leak, especially if it is the ceiling.”
Another good way to pinpoint the leak's location is using an infrared camera to detect what section of the wall is the coldest, as this will be the section closest to the leak.
We all know what it’s like to step into a shower, last in line, only to get that blast of cold water half way through! If you’re tired of the shower going cold before you finish or don’t want to cut your showers short because everyone else deserves a hot shower too, maybe a tankless hot water heater is for you!
Instead of keeping a finite amount of hot water in storage, a tankless hot water heater heats the water on demand by circulating water through a heated pipe or coil. Want to know if a tankless heater is right for your needs. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of installing this appliance.
Tankless Water Heater Pros
Hot Water On Demand
The tankless hot water heater provides a constant flow of hot water for as long as you need it instead of providing only what is in the storage tank. This is ideal if you enjoy those longer showers or have more than one person showing at the same time of day.
Tankless heaters don’t have a storage take and because of this, they fit better into smaller places. This is perfect if you’re building a new home and want to save on some space.
Traditional water heaters heat up the water and store it in the take at that temperature whether you use it or not. It takes energy to heat the water and maintain that temperature constantly. A tankless heater on the other hand only runs when you are actually using it. This can often translate into a savings of over 50% energy usage and lower energy usage means lower bills.\
Tankless water heaters typically last about 20 years while traditional heaters last about 10.
Tankless Water Heater Cons
Bigger Upfront Cost
Tankless water heaters are more expensive to purchase and install. That’s just how it is.
Larger families need larger units
Yes, the tankless heater works on demand. But if you have significantly higher demand on hot water, a smaller unit may not be able to keep up. For example, it takes more energy to run a dishwasher and hot shower at the same time. A larger heating unit will cost more but it’s necessary if you have a larger family or higher hot water needs.
Delay of Hot Water
Think about it like this. When you turn the hot water from a traditional water heater, the water is already hot and it simply needs to run through the pipe to reach the output. However, with a tankless heater, the water has to be heated first before it runs through the pipes. While it’s not a long delay, it’s definitely not immediate.
Need some guidance on your water heater?
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And why homeowners need to pay more attention to them now than ever
Traditionally, radiator valves were very standard. There were few options and designs to choose from. Home heating systems tended to consist of functional radiators and basic valves that could only allow or block water flow to that radiator. However, in recent years, there has been a significant increase in radiator choices and you can see on our website.
Today, radiators and valves come in a massive array of styles and designs. This means that they are more than just functional - they are part of the overall design of a home as well. A wide range of valves is also available ranging from basic options to valves that control heat through wifi and bluetooth enabled apps. This means that now, with a relatively little expanse, you can create a SmartHome based on the latest technologies and reduce overall heat costs throughout your home.
Function Of A Radiator Valve
A radiator valve is designed to control how much hot water can enter and leave a radiator, adjusting the overall heat outputs. And while a thermostat controls the temperature for the specific zone, it is the radiator valve that would control a specific radiator. Basic models simply adjust for on and off settings. If, for example, the thermostat is set for 70 degrees and is measuring this at the thermostat site, hot water will be distributed through the system to heat up the radiators.
The exception however, is a radiator valve that is completely turned off. A radiator in a room not being used might be off in order to avoid heating an unused room. While the rest of the house is being heated.
Valve Styles vs Valve Types
All radiator valves perform the basic function of controlling the flow of hot water to a radiator. How the valve does this and the overall level of control is governed by two things - the radiator valve style and radiator valve type.
The type is typically determined by the location of the radiator in the home. And while the job is always exactly the same, to control the flow of water in and out, the style will vary depending on where the connectors are on the radiator and the pipework leading into the heat supply. Most common are straight valves, angled valves and curved valves.
Straight valves are used when the pipework runs directly into the radiator. The connecting pipes are straight with no change in angle. When the angle of the pipe changes, an angled valve must be used typically allowing a 90 degree change in angle. In many homes, the pipework comes up from the floor near the radiator, then adjusts to 90 degrees to enter the radiator itself. Here is where you would use an angled valve.
A corner valve is necessary when pipework goes around a corner of a room straight into a radiator. As noted above, when the pipework runs in a straight line to the radiator, a straight valve is used. This can often be in a bathroom where the pipe goes directly up and into a towel radiator.
While the type of the radiator valve will be determined by the actual usage and positioning of the radiator and the pipework leading to it, the style is more down to personal preference.
Radiator Valve Types
The radiator valve type will also determine the level of control there is over the flow of water in and out of the radiator. A manual valve is the most basic and essentially works just the same as a tap - it's opened, it’s partially opened or it’s closed. These valves are ideal when you want a room to always have the same level of heat, like a living room or office. Manual valves are simple and effective and often inexpensive to buy. However, they are often very inefficient.
Alternatively, thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) can be far more efficient. With a thermostatic valve, the radiator is set to a certain level and once the level is reached, the valve stops the flow of further water into the radiator. This is separate from the overall heating, meaning the boiler could still be in action producing hot water to heat other rooms, but this particular radiator would now be shut off until room temperature fell to the specified temperature.
A thermostatic radiator allows for a very specific level of control of heating. Rooms can be set to a specific temperature allowing for heating but without the wasted energy of heating all the time.
A thermostatic radiator valve is as easy to install as a manual valve but it offers more control of the heating in that location. If choosing between manual and TRVs, TRVs are generally preferred because of the level of heating control they provide
Smart Radiator Valves
As more and more technology is available, many homeowners are transitioning into SmartHomes. In order to accommodate this, smart valves have become a trend we are seeing more and more of.
These valves would work as part of an overall smart heating system and are typically controlled via a mobile app. The smart system allows the user to automatically set heating patterns depending on their usage of rooms, specific days and times. For example, the bedroom could be heated from 8.00pm to get it ready for bed, while the living room or kitchen heat would turn on early in the morning.
Smart systems also allow you to control the heat remotely. For example, if you were away over the holiday, heat levels could be lowered so as to not waste heat when no one is home and then adjusted to turn back on a few hours prior to your return.
Balancing the system
The final type of valve is the lock shield valve. This valve ensures heat is distributed evenly throughout the system. Without lock shield valves, the radiators nearest the boilers would get a disproportionate amount of heating compared to those further down the line.
Radiator Valves Working For You
Radiator valves all work by controlling the flow of water into and out of the radiator, they vary in terms of how much control they offer, whether it is possible to create independent heating for that room, and whether this can be controlled remotely. It is entirely possible to fit any type of valve on to virtually any radiator, the key question is what type of system do you want to create?
Thermostatic valves allow some degree of control, a fully Smart system enables complete control of any room, at any time of day - you could be lying in your own bed and simply use the app to turn the heating off in the kids’ rooms now they’re asleep.
Not Sure Which Valve Is Right For You?
At San Plumbing and Heating Supply House, we carry a wide range of radiator valves for all of your heating needs. Our knowledgeable staff will be more than happy to offer advice as to which types of valves are required for your specific situation and heating system. For further information, contact us at (855) 226-5704 or visit our site at www.sanplumbingandheating.com.
What Temperature Should I Set for My Water Heater?
The hot water heater in your home has a mixumun temperature setting that controls how hot the water running out of the faucets can be at any time. Did you know this is a setting that you can actually customize to suite your own needs and preferences?
Water heaters usually come preset to a maximum temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. For some, this is the ideal temperature while for others it may be too warm and setting it to 120 degrees Fahrenheit is preferred. Basically, there are two ways to look at it.
Setting of 120 degrees
Based upon recommendations from the US Department of Energy and American Society of Sanitary Engineering, the preferred water heater temp is 120° F. Advantages are:
Less Energy Usage
It takes electrical or gas energy to heat and maintain the water temperature in the storage take so you can be supplied with hot water on demand. Turning the temp down by just 30 degrees significantly reduces the overall energy usage required to heat your water.
Not only does it conserve energy but reducing the temperature can save you up to $60 annual.
It’s Better For the Water Heater
Lowering the temperatoru prevents mineral buildup. The cooler the water, the less likely you are to find deposited minerals in your pipes
This is arguably the most sifnifcant reason to lower your hot water heater temperature. Water heated to 140 degrees can cause some serious burns in a matter of seconds.
Setting of 140 degrees
Wondering that given the above, why anyone would set their water heater temps any higher? OSHA actually declairs 140 degrees to be safer. Their reasoning is primarily surrounding concerns relating to killing certain strains of bacteria inlcluding Legionnaires' disease bacteria, which causes a very serious pneumonia-like sickness.
What’s Right For You
Most homeowners can safeuly turn the temperature down to 120 degrees without any major risks. This is especially important if you share living space with children or older adults.
Setting The Temperature
Once you determin which setting is right for you, it’s time to change it. To begin, determine what setting your heater is currently on. This can be as easy as letting the water run in your faucets and seeing how it feels.
If you decide you need to adjust the temperature, consult the water heaters manual to determin where the temperature setting is. In some cases, there may be more than one control.
Running into any problems? Give San Plumbing and Heating a call at (855) 226-5704.