The usual cause of water not getting hot is a malfunctioning water heater. This could be because the unit is either completely broken or the heating element and/or sensor isn’t working properly. If turning up the temperature setting on the hot water heater doesn’t alter the water temperature at all, it most likely means the unit needs to be replaced. However, a plumber can inspect the unit, assess the issue and review your options with you regardless of the cause.
If your toilet is running, the culprit is most likely the flapper (mechanism that plugs the hole) in the bottom of the tank not doing its job correctly. If the flapper seems to be fine, it could also be that the chain connecting the flapper is too long and is getting caught underneath, not allowing the flapper to close all the way. Both of these pieces can be replaced easily and inexpensively and should resolve the annoyance that is a running toilet.
The purpose of a plumbing system vent is to allow sewer gases to be released outside the home, as well as to equalize the air pressure throughout. Without vents, the waste won’t flow properly and it may cause a backup in other fixtures around the home. A waste and vent system keeps sewer gas out of the home and drain every fixture.
The main difference between hard and soft water is that hard water is full of minerals, while soft water is treated to remove the harsh minerals; the ones that cause spots on dishes, dingy clothes and scum buildup on bathtubs and faucets. As it rains, that water is naturally soft, but as it makes its way through the ground, it picks up minerals such as chalk, lime and calcium. While soft water is preferred for household chores and showering, hard water is actually preferred as drinking water because of taste and health benefits.
Despite popular belief, chemical drain cleaners are not recommended. Not only are they toxic to children, pets and even you, they are a huge contributor to global pollution because the chemicals are being integrated into our water system. Furthermore, the toxic chemicals will erode your drain lines and over time, will need to be replaced. However, there are products out there that aid in the elimination of drain buildup that contain nonthreatening bacteria and enzymes that can be used instead. If these alternative products don’t work, the job is best left up to an experienced and knowledgeable plumber.
When and if your pipes ever freeze, it can be a catastrophe for your home and become very costly. Here are a few tips, however, to prevent them from freezing in the harsh winter:
- Keep your home at 68 degrees or higher, even if you’re leaving your house for an extended period of time
- Open cabinet doors that house sink/drain pipes to allow heat circulation
- Remove, drain, and store away all yard hoses used outdoors
- Keep garage door closed if there are water supply lines inside
- When the weather is extremely cold, let cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes