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Plumbing Tips

Here's some tips for those that want to take on a few plumbing repairs around the house.


CAUTION: When flushing your water heater there is danger of being scalded by hot water. Be careful and keep children and pets away during the procedure.

Water heater manufacturers recommend flushing periodically. How often your model needs to be flushed depends upon the quality of the water in your area. Areas with high mineral content will have to flush more often.

Over time, your heater can accumulate sediment consisting of sand, gravel, and various mineral deposits. This buildup can reduce the amount your water heater holds, create a variety of interesting noises, and reduce the efficiency of your unit. The buildup of sediment at the bottom can harden and sometimes clog the drain valve.

Turn off the heater!

If your unit is gas, set the gas valve to "Pilot" to prevent the burners from coming on while you are flushing it. If your heater is electric be sure to turn off the circuit breakers. If the water level drops below the heating elements and the thermostat turns the elements on, the heating elements will probably burn out quite rapidly.

Connect a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Make sure the outlet of the hose is in a safe area away from pets and children. It can be very hot can scald quickly

Close the shut off valve on the cold inlet to the unit.

Carefully open the temperature/pressure relief valve at the top of the tank by lifting the lever. Leave the valve open.

Open the drain valve at the bottom of the heater allowing the water to flow out through the garden hose. If the sediment is clogging the drain valve then try closing the temperature/pressure relief valve and turn the cold inlet valve back on to "power flush" the sediment out.

In some cases the sediment hardens into large chunks that can block the drain valve. At times I have run the hot water out of the tank by opening a hot tap and letting it flow until it is cool so I could remove the garden hose and use a long screwdriver break to break up the clog . This is a very messy procedure.

When the garden hose runs clear you are finished.

Close the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and remove the garden hose.

Close the pressure relief valve at the top of the tank and turn the cold inlet valve back on.

Open a hot faucet in your house, and let it run until no air bubbles come out.

Turn the heater back on.


Link to show you how to unjam a garbage disposal.


Never use a chemical drain cleaner to try to clear debris from the garbage disposal. The caustic chemicals can damage gaskets and other parts.


Help keep tree roots from growing into house drains by flushing 2 c. rock salt or 2 c. copper sulfate down the toilet during the last flush of the night. You may have to flush a few times to get the material down. Don't use both products at the same time. Do the same procedure two weeks later and then wait six months before doing it again. 

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