our plumbing system should be inspected and tested annually. Include these items on your detailed inspections.
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Close and open the main water supply shutoff valve (periodically) to ensure that it has not stuck in the
open position. Check fixture shutoff valves periodically as well. Both the main valve and fixture valves must be
operable so water can be turned off in an emergency or when plumbing repairs are necessary.
Loud vibrating noises (water hammer) are common in plumbing supply lines. The condition occurs when you open and close faucets rapidly and can often be corrected by anchoring or fastening pipes more securely. Air chambers can be added at the end of long pipe runs to solve the problem, but their installation will probably require help from a professional.
If hot water pipes are covered with insulation, inspect them to ensure that the insulation is secure and
in good condition (annually). Replace or reposition loose insulation to cover any open areas.
Have well water analyzed for bacterial contamination and chemical pollution (every three to five years), or
more often if an unusual taste or odor problem occurs.
Clean aerators on faucets (every three or four months, depending upon water hardness). You may
need to use a rust or scale remover to return them to normal condition, or have them replaced.
Repair leaking faucets (as needed). If washer type, replace faucet washer and check washer seat for
roughening; smooth if needed. If washerless, consult an installation manual or the personnel in a plumbing or
hardware store for replacement procedures.
Turn off supply line to the outside faucets (sillcocks) and drain lines (late fall), unless they are
frost-free hydrants and water lines are below the frost line or located in a heated space.
Remove garden hoses from all outside faucets (late fall). If any hose, even freeze-proof reinforced hose, is
left connected to a sillcock (frost-free or regular), the faucet will not drain properly. It could freeze and burst
during winter months.
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Inspect distribution and drainage pipes for leakage or signs of weakness (annually). Look for rust,
corrosion, greenish deposits, and mineral deposits around fittings, valves, household fixtures and along the length of the pipe. (Note: Water from small holes can evaporate before a drip forms, leaving only a telltale whitish or colored deposit.)
Check the bathroom stool for leaks by adding a small amount of red food coloring to the tank (annually). Check the toilet bowl later. If the toilet bowl water is colored red, water is seeping through from the tank. To
prevent wasting water and the extra cost it produces, replace the tank ball.
Check the temperature and pressure relief valve on the hot water heater (annually) to be sure the lever is functioning. Consult the operating manual or ask a qualified plumber to show you the procedure. If the valve does not work, have it replaced. (Note: Water will drain from the line linked to this valve. Have a bucket handy
to catch it.) According to the Ohio Plumbing Code, a pipe should be connected to the pressure relief valve,
extending down along the side of the tank to within 6 inches of the floor. This extension pipe prevents the
spraying of hot water when the valve is released or if a malfunction occurs.
Open the drain valve at the water heater tank bottom and drain 2 or 3 gallons of water from the heater to remove any sediment that may have accumulated in the tank bottom (semiannually; if drain water contains a high degree of sediment, drain more often). (Note: If this procedure is not done regularly, residual sediment
particles may prevent the faucet valve from reseating properly upon closing and the valve washer may have to be replaced.)
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Inspect the exhaust stack on gas and oil fired water heaters to ensure that all pipe connections are secure and free of rust, corrosion, and obstructions (annually). (Note: It is essential that fuel fired water heaters vent their gasses to the outside; escape of gasses inside the home could be lethal and pose a fire hazard.)
If insulation has been mounted on the exterior of the water heater tank, inspect it to ensure that the
insulation remains in the proper position, noting particularly that it is not blocking the combustion air
inlet or the exhaust vent of gas or oil fired units (quarterly).
Check the flame under the water heater. It should appear blue with yellow tips. If it's mostly yellow or if you
see a layer of soot and carbon, the flueways may be clogged. Don't try anything yourself at this point.
Call Geisel to investigate the situation.
Check the temperature setting on the hot water heater. If it is above 120 degrees F or 140 degrees F, or
if your automatic dishwasher does not have its own heating element, you are wasting energy.
Check the temperature gauge on the boiler of your tankless water heater system (semiannually). Consult the
operating instructions to determine the correct temperature setting.
Inspect the joints around the tankless heater mounting plate(annually). If corroded or covered with
mineral deposits, determine the cause of the leak and repair. It may be necessary to call a professional for
help on this item. If a gas or oil fired water heater is located in the garage, basement, or utility area, do not
store gasoline in the same area. Gas fumes can build up and be ignited by the water heater pilot light flame.
Check your sump pump to make sure it's in working order before the spring rains. Keep the sump pit debris-free by scooping out the accumulated sediment. A build-up of
sand or other debris can jam the pump and burn out its motor.
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