Hot Water Temperature Warning

Every year small children and adults are burned by water temperatures that are too hot. Resetting the thermostat on a hot water heater is usually a very simple answer to the problem. Not only do children get burned because they have more sensitive skin but also because they turn on the water without really understanding how to control it and are burned as a result. Adults get burned because they become ill or fall in the shower or tub. Set the thermostat at around 110 to be safe.
These burns can result is painful wounds as well as scarring and even death.

At 120°F it takes five minutes of constant contact to produce a third degree burn. According to the Consumer Safety Commission. At 130°F, the exposure time is reduced to 30 seconds. At 140°F, the exposure time is reduced to 5 seconds. At 150°F, the exposure time is reduced to 1.5 seconds. Lowering the temperatures can reduce the risk of burns, and save you money on your energy bill.

Lower that thermostat and stay safe! We'd like to inspect your next house for you too!:)

MAIN PLUMBING SERVICE

Main service lines are usually copper, although they can be galvanized, plastic or leaded. They usually enter the house in the front of the basement through the wall or floor, and will have a main shutoff valve to turn off all the water to the house in the event of an emergency. Keep this valve accessible--you rarely need to use it, but when you do, you need it fast! Consider periodically opening and closing the valve to help prevent mineral deposits or other forces from preventing the valve from performing its purpose. At or near this valve you may also see a water meter, a pressure regulator, and/or a jumper (a wire "shunt" around these items to help maintain electrical continuity of the cold water pipes as a ground for the electrical system if one of these items is removed for service). If a pressure regulator is present, it allows you to decrease or increase your water pressure up to the level of the municipal supply. We recommend not increasing the pressure unless your pressure is extraordinarily low to avoid creating leaks in the system or damaging the valves in appliances.

GAS WATER HEATER

Water heaters usually last from 7-12 years. Gas units are heated by means of a burner underneath the glass-lined tank, and the temperature is controlled by a thermostat located on the front of the gas valve at the bottom of the unit. Like gas furnaces, these will benefit from occasional cleaning, maintenance and adjustment. Temperatures should be kept between 120-125 degrees for safety---leass if there are young children or elderly/infirm vulnerable to scalding. If you see water on the floor around the water heater and it cannot be traced to a leaking fitting or some other source, it may indicate a leak in the tank. This calls for replacment.

BATHROOMS

SINKS- Sinks are usually cultured marble, enameled steel or vitreous china. Watch out for dropping anything heavy on china or cultured marble, since they can chop or break. Enameled steel will also chip, and is prone to rusting out, especially around the overflow. Be sure to maintain the faucet washers and packing to prevent leaks. Even small leaks can lose an enormous amount of water over time and can increase your water bill significantly.

TUB/SHOWERS - If your family includes athletes, teenagers or anyone else for whom 45-minute recreational showers are a necessity of live, check around the tub and shower. If your fixtures are surrounded by ceramic tile, any gaps or cracks in either the tile grout or the caulking can allow water seepage behind the tile, leading to loosened tile, damaged wallboar, an, in extreme cases, damaged sub flooring, wall framing and lower living areas. Check the tile int he lowest 3-5 rows above the base for any movement or softness. Since gravity will draw moisture sown to collect here first, this is where the first signs should appear. If your shower surround is tile board (that is paneling with a water resistant face) watch its condition carefully. These are not particularly durable, and moisture that gets in at the edges or through scratches or flaws in the surface can cause rapid swelling and deterioration of the panel. Even fiberglass, which is not usually affected by water itself, must be well caulked at the seams and the edges. Look for these signs of trouble. Damage may remain invisible for a long time before it becomes advanced enough to become obvious.

TOILETS - If you develop any movement in the toilet bowl, whether twisting or rocking, consider having the commode reseated properly. The nevitable small shifts each time someone gets on and off can deform the wax seal between the bowl base and the drain fitting beneath and create a slow leak or drip below the bowl which can move down into the sub flooring and framing. This can be very destructive because the moisture may never show ont he surface, permitting the leak to go undiscovered for a lont time. Extensive damage to the plywood sub-flooring and floor framing can occur before damage to the visible floor - or the ceiling underneath - prompts further investigation. If you develop this problem, remove the toilet, check for and repair any damage found, replace the wax seal,and remount the bowl securely. DO NOT JUST TRY TO TIGHTEN DOWN THE BOWL! Not only will this not address the deformed wax seal, but also the toilet flange may well break!

Copper Pinhole Leaks

There has been an ongoing failure of copper plumbing in distribution lines of homes on municipal water supply throughout the country. This problem has been documented in the outskirts of Washington, D.C. for the last several years particularly in metropolitan Maryland.


Several communities in Anne Arundel County have begun to experience pin-hole leaks in the plumbing of their homes. These leaks, in some cases, are resulting in mold growth on the drywall. The problem exists among multiple builders, copper manufacturers and installers. Once the problem is diagnosed, the system is typically removed and replaced with CPVC or PEX plumbing lines. This involves opening walls and can be very costly.

There have been several hypotheses regarding the causes of this failure. This type of problem was first seen in well water systems with low ph, which caused an acidic reaction. This failure is now being found in homes only five years old and on municipal water. Studies have shown corrosion beginning in copper in as little as one year. There have been several theories, including water quality, material defects in the copper and electrolysis. For the most part, these have been ruled out through independent research. One of the latest theories is that it relates to the change in the anode rod in water heaters from magnesium to aluminum. Some studies have shown what appears to be corrosion consistent with aluminum oxide.

To identify the problem, the copper usually exhibits a greenish/white build-up or blemishes on the body of the pipe. This may also be seen at solder joints, but is often caused by the soldering flux used at these points. We have seen samples and photos that show only a few tiny corrosion blemishes externally. When viewed internally, however, several dozen erosion pits are visible. Unfortunately, these can only be viewed when a section of pipe is cut open and removed. A plumber that is knowledgeable with this problem should be consulted.