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Plumbing Tips

Water Heater Maintenance

To keep your tank water heaters operating properly there are two basic maintenance procedures that need to be done annually, 1) flush the tank to ensure that sediment doesn’t build up inside it, and 2) activate the temperature and pressure relief valve to ensure it doesn’t become frozen in place.

How To Flush A Tank Water Heater
Picture of a Drain Valve

Flushing a tank water heater is easy, you don't even need to mess with turning off the water supply!

Simply attach a water hose to the drain valve (see a picture of a drain valve to the right for reference) located at the bottom of the water heater. Then run the hose outside or to a bathtub and turn on the valve.

Let the water heater flush for 10 to 20 minutes depending on how much sediment you see coming out of the end of the hose. The sediment could be anything, from sand to hard water build-up, and it will come out of the end of the hose in little white or sometimes bluish green chunks.

If you don't want to do this yourself, consider talking to us about our Preventative Maintenance Checkups as this is covered as part of that service.

How To Activate The Temperature And Pressure Relief Valve (T&P Valve)
Picture of a Temperature And Pressure Relief Valve

Caution! Ensure that your T&P valve has a drain line before following any of the steps below. If it does not have a drain line you could injure yourself and cause water damage!

Activating the T&P valve is even easier than flushing the tank.

The T&P valve can be found in one of two locations – either directly on top of the water heater or on the side near the top of the tank (see a picture of one in this section for reference.)

To activate the T&P valve simply lift the lever straight out and you should hear water rushing through it. You only need to let it run for about 15 seconds or so since you are just checking to make sure it isn't frozen in place. After those 15 seconds, flip the lever back down and it should shut off. If it doesn't shut off, try lifting it out and flipping it down again.

If your T&P valve is frozen – you can't get it to lift out – or won't shut off – nothing happens when you flip it back down – then it needs to be replaced. You can call us at 972.689.0578 to get this fixed.

If you don't want to do this regular maintenance yourself, consider talking to us about our Preventative Maintenance Checkups as this is covered as part of that service.

Toilets

How to Clear a Clog
Picture of a Toilet Auger

You may not know this but plumbing professionals rarely use plungers these days. Closet or toilet augers are much more common and highly recommended over plungers.

Plungers compress air down into your sewer line which can have the bad side effect of blowing out the toilet's wax ring – the wax seal that connects your toilet to the plumbing system and is the weakest part of it all.

A toilet auger can safely go past your wax ring without damaging it and can clear clogs that are further down the plumbing line that a plunger can't fix.

You can find a toilet auger at your local hardware store from between $10 and $50. We highly recommend that you get a high quality, 6 foot toilet auger which will be at the top of that price range. The first time you need to clear a clog beyond the toilet it will pay for itself!