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540-342-0555

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How Often Should I Flush My Water Heater Tank?

Roanoke Water Heaters

Are you noticing that your water heater isn't heating as well as it should? Once reason could be a build up of sediment at the bottom of the tank. If you have a tank-style gas or electric water heater you can extend the lifespan of the unit by regularly flushing the tank to remove sediment build-up that can reduce heating efficiency and shorten the lifespan of the unit. Sediment is caused by minerals in the water that accumulate at the bottom of the tank. Flushing the tank removed the buildup and helps the burner work more efficiently. It also reduces the likelihood that the bottom of the tank will develop corrosion and leaks.

How often you should flush the tank depends on a number of factors, including the size of the tank, the number of people in the household and how hard your water is. Here is a general guide for how often you should flush your tank.
  • 1 or 2 person household - Inspect the water heater every 6 months and flush the tank every 12 months.
  • 3 or 5 person household - Inspect the water heater every 4 months and drain the tank every 8 months.
  • 6 or more person household: Inspect the water heater every 4 months and drain the tank every 6 months.
Need help maintaining your water heater? Call Ostrom, we can help with all you home pluming maintenance needs.

4 DIY Plumbing Mistakes To Avoid

Performing plumbing projects around the home can be a satisfying way to improve your home and save a little money. However, before tackling those plumbing projects it's important to understand the potential pitfalls to stay safe and avoid damaging your home.

Roanoke Plumbing

1. Chemical Drain Cleaners

When a drain becomes clogged the first thing many homeowners think of are the commercials they have seen for chemical drain cleaning products. While they can be very effective at clearing certain kinds of clogs, they come with important safety warnings.

The same chemicals that quickly dissolve organic matter like hair and grease can cause chemical burns to your skin or even blindness if they come in contact with your eyes. They can also damage metal pipes, plumbing fixtures, and other finishes in the kitchen and bathroom if not used correctly.

A far safer way to clear a clogged drain is with a little elbow grease and a plumbing auger. There are also natural drain cleaning products that use enzymes to break down organic material. Baking soda, vinegar and hot water is another natural method to clean out a drain. These natural methods may take a little longer to do the job, but can just as effective as more caustic drain cleaners.

If none of the above options work for those stubborn clogs, your plumber can solve the toughest clogged drain problems safely and quickly.

2. Not Shutting off the Water Supply

Most plumbing projects require turning off the water. Forget this step and you'll be dealing with gushing pipes and a big mess. If you can't locate the local shut-off valve near a fixture, turn it off at the water main.

3. Not Getting a Permit

You've just had your brand new hot tub delivered and you're all ready to install it in your new sunroom. Before you begin, do you need a permit? Some municipalities allow homeowners to pull their own permits, while others require a contractor. Always check before you begin any remodeling or installation project that you have all the required permits. This will ensure that the project is up to code and installed safely. You'll also avoid the hassle of potential fines or red flags down the road when you try to sell the home.

4. Bad Pipe Connections

In homes with copper pipes, it's important to understand the proper way to connect copper to galvanized pipes. If the two metals are connected directly, they can quickly corrode, leading to water leaks. This type of connection requires a special fitting called a dielectric union, which prevents the two metals from contacting each other.

Ask the Pros at Ostrom!

If you're not sure you have the skills to tackle your next plumbing project, give Ostrom a call. We would be happy to explain what's involved in completing the project. After all, there's no replacement for experience.
Heating takes up the largest percentage of a typical household's energy use, about 42% of the typical utility bill. You can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining your heating system. But even the most energy-efficient heating system won't have a significant impact on your heating bill if the whole-house isn't energy efficient. Good insulation, duct sealing, and programming your thermostat can save about 30% on your energy bill.

Energy Saving Tips

Here are some home heating tips to reduce energy use and make your home more comfortable:
  • Replace your furnace filter once a month or as recommended by the manufacturer
  • Program your thermostat to the lowest comfortable level, and lower when you're away from home or sleeping
  • Keep your air ducts clean and make sure they are nit blocked by furniture, rugs or drapes
  • Seal holes and gaps in air vents
  • During the winter keep shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill.
  • Use ceiling fans to improve the circulation of warm air in your living space
  • Replace worn weather sealing around windows and doors
  • Ensure your attic has sufficient insulation
Have questions about saving energy this heating season? Give Ostrom a call. From furnace tune-ups to duct sealing, we can help you stay comfortable and save energy. It's your home, trust Ostrom.
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