Monthly Archives: October 2014

DIY Plumbing Repairs to Save Your Money

One of the most annoying things to a homeowner are those pesky drips and leaks that diy-plumbing-repairhappen from time to time. They can be expensive to fix if you have to call someone for plumbing repairs, but they can be an easy fix if you know what to look for yourself. If not repaired promptly,  they will cause more damage and lead to more costs down the road. Leaks can also drive up your utility bill, especially a hot water leak that causes your hot water heater to operate more than it should. We all know that the more your hot water heater runs, the higher your utility bill will be. Take a look around your home and inspect all your water sources to make sure these leaks are not a problem, and make the plumbing repairs necessary to save your money.

  • Cut-off valves:

At each place that water is supplied to your fixtures, such as bathroom faucets or toilets, there should be a valve coming from the wall. This is your cut-off valve (also called shut-off valve). It will cut off the water supply to your plumbing fixture in the event that you have to replace the fixture. If you have a leak at this point, you should cut off your main water source and replace your valve.

  • Leaky faucets or kitchen sinks:

This can be an easy fix if you know what to look for. This leak is often caused by worn washers that are inside your faucet. To check, turn off your cut-off valve, then remove the knobs on your faucet. (Look at the knobs to determine how to remove them.) After you remove the knobs, you will see a valve seat. You will see a part of the valve seat that looks similar to a nut—where you can place a wrench. Use a wrench to loosen the valve and remove it. Some valves have a rubber seal at the bottom. This seal may be worn and need to be replaced. Your valve may have a rubber O-ring instead; this also needs to be replaced. These worn seals and O-rings will allow water to pass through and cause your faucet to drip. This is a simple plumbing repair that will save you money and trouble down the road.

  • Bathroom commode:

Listen to the tank on the back of your toilet to see if it is always running. If it doesn’t shut off after each flush, you need to replace the insides of your tank. This is easier to accomplish than you might think. You can go to your local hardware store and purchase a kit that contains all of the parts needed to replace the insides of your toilet. Before you make any repairs to your toilet, be sure to turn the shut-off valve off.

  • Supply lines:

Supply lines are located between the shut-off valve and your plumbing fixture. The ends that are attached to the cut-off valve of your fixture will often develop a leak. Usually the rubber seal at the end of the supply line is worn. These lines can easily be replaced with the use of a wrench.

These are just a few things to check out if you do have an annoying leak. You can perform these simple plumbing repairs yourself and save!  However, if you do not have the time to accomplish these tasks, you can contact your local plumber, and he will be more than happy to take care of the problem for you.




What is Stack Effect?

I want to tell you about something that occurs naturally in the home. It is called the Stack
Effect. It works much like a chimney.what is the stack effect

This effect happens when the warmer indoor air rises up from lower living areas and escapes through the upper openings of a building in much the same way that cross ventilation works. What is cross ventilation? It occurs when people open windows on opposite sides of the house to cool indoor temperatures. If you have central air conditioning, you don’t need to open a window. But let’s get back to explaining the stack effect.

If you stand in front of a fireplace and strike a match, you will see the smoke leave and go up the chimney. This same effect happens in each home. The taller your home, the more stack effect you have in it.

The same effect helps keep your attic cool also. Go outside of your house and look under your soffit to see if you have soffit vents. If you do, you are in great shape. The air moves in from these soffit vents in a way that is similar to the stack effect. It goes out through the vents in your attic, thereby creating a passage for natural ventilation that will save you money. If you do not have soffit vents, you will discover that it is very economical to have them installed or to install them yourself.

You may be asking what this has to do with air leakage. In an earlier blog, I talked about finding air leaks in your home using your central air and heating unit? I hope that that procedure helped you to find some of those leaks. In the same way that your air unit draws air in from your interior rooms and exterior cracks in your doors and windows, the stack effect will pull air through the same places—even when your unit is not running.

I hope I have helped you to understand a bit more about how your home works. Your home needs to perform at its highest potential to help you save money and become “greener.” And you can help it do that! Talk to your local HVAC contractor, and ask him about the stack effect. I feel certain that he will be able to explain this to you. He will also be able to show you ways of minimizing this effect in your home to help it become more energy efficient and save you money.