Monthly Archives: September 2020

Why Is My Boiler Boiler Pressure Relief Valve Leaking?

During a recent inspection water was dripping from the extension pipe on the side of the boiler onto the floor. This piping was connected to a leaking Pressure Relief or Safety Valve. This fairly common problem is actually a relatively good thing and keeps you and your family safe from potential failure of your boiler. Before the installation of these devices it was not uncommon to hear about boiler explosions injuring home occupants.

But why is it leaking now? To answer this question, it is important to understand how your heating system works. Your heating system distributes hot water throughout your house. As the water is heated and cooled by the boiler that water expands and increases in pressure. In order to limit the pressure of the heating system the hot water heating system includes various safety devices to ensure your home is safe.

The first and most important device on your boiler is the Pressure Relief or Safety Valve. The standard operating pressure of a home boiler system is 12 psi. If for any reason the pressure of the boiler increases beyond the safe operating pressure (the setpoint of the Pressure Relief Valve) the valve will open. This over pressurizing condition is likely caused by a failing expansion tank. When a boiler system does not allow for sufficient thermal expansion of the water in the system, the pressure of the system increases beyond the Pressure Relief Valve setpoint. Leaking of the Pressure Relief Valve due to this condition is normally cyclical as the boiler temperature heats and cools. There are two potential causes for this circumstance.

A typical cause is the cold pressure of the boiler water system is higher than the setpoint of the expansion tank which are typically designed with a 12psi setpoint. However, when the feed valve to the boiler system is higher than this setpoint the expansion tank bladder is compressed before the boiler begins operation. Once the boiler is turned on and the water is heated, subsequent thermal expansion cannot be accommodated by the already compressed bladder. Modification to the internal pressure of the expansion tank and/or reduction of the pressure reducing valve setpoint may be required.

A second potential cause is an actual leak or failure of the expansion tank bladder. In this scenario the expansion tank no longer provides for thermal expansion of the water in the system as the entire tank is filled with water.

Other causes of leaking Pressure Relief Valve can be due to the age and deterioration of the valve itself. In that case replacement of the valve is recommended. Work should always be performed by a qualified plumbing contractor.

Benefits Of Building And Pest Inspections

Properties are some of the biggest purchases people make in their lifetime, be they residential properties or commercial ones. It’s for this reason that it’s crucial to conduct a thorough inspection prior to sealing the deal, because as a buyer, you will need to get your money’s worth and be assured that the property will be an asset and not a liability.

Benefit #1: It secures your advantage as the buyer.

Building and pest inspections, property experts say, are the smart real estate investor’s strategy because it’s an effort to secure the buyer’s advantage. If this is done properly, buyers can score the opportunity to renegotiate the deal, especially if after the inspection, it’s determined that the property has “areas of concern” such as features that need to be repaired, pest infestation, presence of asbestos, etc. If sellers no longer want to deal with these issues, more often than not, they are open to lowering their asking price since you will be shouldering the cost of addressing all these issues.

Benefit #2: You can better determine the potential of the property.

It’s worth pointing out as well that with thorough building inspections, property investors can also better determine the potential of the property they intend to buy because the result of the inspection will identify the various causes of material deterioration, and other variables that affect the integrity of the property. This will also enable the buyers to evaluate their plans for it and see whether they are feasible or they would have to go back to the drawing board so all identified issues can be accommodated.

Benefit #3: Inspection results can serve as a reliable guide.

Likewise, if buyers want to upgrade the property by adding new features and renovating some areas, inspection results can serve as a reliable guide to help them purchase the appropriate materials to ensure the functional longevity of the structure; the result of pest inspections is especially helpful for this particular objective.

Benefit #4: You will get access to building and pest inspectors’ services.

The services of building and pest inspectors are not only valuable for property purchases, though. People who are thinking of renovating their homes could benefit greatly from them especially in securing building permits and meeting other requirements. Also, with their help, should property owners make a mistake with their building project, inspectors are a great resource on how to correct things so the project can be accomplished in the safest manner.

Shopping for a New Water Heater

If your water heater is getting older, it’s a good idea to shop for a replacement before you run out of hot water, or worse… wake up ankle-deep in it!

Take note of the energy sources available to you, and the amount of hot water you expect to use. Not every form of energy will work with every kind of heating appliance and some work slower than others. Tanks work with solar, electricity, oil and gas (natural or propane) but tankless units work with only electricity and gas sources. Heat pumps use only electricity.

Estimate how much hot water your household uses during peak hours and look for a heater with a first hour rating (FHR) that meets your demand. A licensed plumber is the best person to make this calculation and help you choose the right size.

Hot water can add up to 25% of your energy bill, so be sure to choose an energy efficient heating appliance.

Storage tank

This is the most common in residential applications, heating and storing hot water until needed. When you open a faucet, the released hot water is replaced by incoming cold water, which is heated and stored again at a temperature controlled by one or more thermostats in the tank.

Storage tanks are simple, maintenance-free and relatively inexpensive to install – but due to constant reheating they use energy 24/7 even if you’re not running any hot water. Electrically heated tanks can be covered with an insulating blanket to help save energy, but not gas or oil-fired tanks.

Tankless

Tankless water heaters, also known as “on demand” heaters, heat water without a storage tank, using energy only when needed – rather than maintaining a tank of hot water. Sometimes individual units are used in a number of locations throughout a house, but most newer homes have one high-output tankless heater to supply hot water throughout the home.

Due to the storage volume of hot water tanks, and the high-output nature of tankless heaters, both are commonly used for heating a home with in-floor radiant systems or through a radiator coil in a forced-air heating system.

Heat pump (hybrid)

Heat pump water heaters are not directly heated. They use electricity to pump heat from the air or the ground to your water tank, using less energy than traditional water heaters.

You can install a standalone heat pump water heater or combine your water heater with your heating and cooling system, employing an air or ground source heat pump. Although installation costs are higher, heat pump water heaters cost less to run over the longer term.

Solar

Solar collectors can be used to harness the sun’s energy and heat your water almost for free! Solar water heaters use a primary tank for storing pre-heated water before it is transferred to a conventional hot water tank, operating on electricity, gas or oil.

Solar collectors can be installed on roofs or on stands at ground level. Shop for a better quality, energy efficient model which will last longer and save money.

Features to Consider

  • Warranty: Typically three to twelve years. Purchase prices are closely tied to warranties, and longer warrantied water heaters tend to be better built and better insulated. In addition to choosing a water heater with a good warranty, check consumer reporting websites and reviews from individual owners.

  • Anti-scale devices: Although scale can shorten the life of a water heater, you don’t need to invest in extra features to get a dependable water heater. Just buy a good quality tank with a good warranty.

  • Brass vs. plastic drain valves: Near the base of the water heater, these valves are used to periodically drain sediment from the bottom of a tank. Brass drain valves are more durable than plastic.

  • Glass-lined tanks: Are designed to minimize corrosion.

  • Digital displays: Easily monitor and control the operation of your tank; set the temperature of the water, set a vacation mode and other functions.

Find more good reads @ All Around The HOUSE

Carbon Monoxide – What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a serious public health concern. Over 10,000 are poisoned by carbon monoxide needing medical treatment each year; over 500 people in the U.S. die annually from carbon monoxide poisoning.

CO is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you. People who are sleeping or drunk can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms.

So, how can you prevent CO poisoning in your home?

  • Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. Place your detector where it will wake you up if it alarms, such as outside your bedroom. Replace your CO detector every five years.
  • Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year
  • Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
  • If you smell an odor from your gas refrigerator have an expert service it. An odor from your gas refrigerator can mean it could be leaking CO.
  • When you buy gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriters’ Laboratories.
  • Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly. Horizontal vent pipes for appliances should go up slightly as they go toward outdoors. This prevents CO from leaking if the joints or pipes aren’t fitted tightly.
  • Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. This can cause CO to build up inside your home or cabin.
  • Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a build-up of CO inside your home, cabin, or camper.
  • Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.

Stand-alone carbon monoxide detectors typically cost between $20-$50. In spite of the relatively low cost, safety checks have shown that fewer than one in ten homes had a carbon monoxide detector.

Being informed about the potential dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and adopting some proactive safety measures can help prevent unnecessary harm to you and your loved ones.

What Does a Home Well Inspection Include?

If you have a well, an annual well inspection should be part of your maintenance to-do list. Even if your water tastes good, lead and other contaminants can seep into the water supply and lead to health problems. A well inspection is a small price to pay to ensure the safety of your drinking water.

What Does a Well Inspection Include?

Conducted by a licensed and/or certified well water contractor, your annual well inspection should include several components:

  • A flow test to measure water output and level, pump performance, tank pressure and switch contact pressure,
  • An inspection of equipment to ensure that it meets local codes and appears to be safe,
  • A test of water for coliform bacteria and nitrates,
  • Tests for any minerals known to affect water conditions in the area, such as sulfides, manganese or iron,
  • Periodic tests for pH levels or total dissolved solids,
  • Additional tests if the water is cloudy or oily, if there are signs of bacterial growth on fixtures or if equipment is not working properly, and
  • A written report that includes laboratory data, explains results and offers recommendations.

Useful Information about Well Inspections

Once you receive the reports from your well inspection and from any other tests that were performed, you should retain the records and keep them in a safe place, along with construction documents from when the well was first dug. Most wells have a life expectancy of about 20 years or more. Having your records on hand will be useful in determining when you might need to replace it, and necessary if you sell your house.

How much can you expect to pay for a well inspection? The cost varies according to the area and is based on the sampling methods, test procedures and the number of tests performed, but a homeowner can generally plan on spending around $150-$350. More extensive sampling for more contaminants can raise the cost.

When choosing a well inspector, it is important to use one who is licensed and certified in your state and who is familiar with the local codes. The inspector should use laboratories that are licensed to test for various contaminants that may appear in the water.

Why Should You Order an Annual Well Inspection?

You may wonder why an annual well inspection is necessary if you have no problems with taste, appearance, odor or performance. Since your well is underground, you may be unaware of any possible changes. If your home is near farms, mines, a landfill or gas or oil fields, contaminants could infiltrate your water. The same is true if you have dumped oil or waste in your yard, had your home exterminated, have a septic tank problem or develop cracks in the sealed sanitary cap on your well.

Having an annual well inspection is the best way to assure the safety and quality of your water supply.