Why Does My Toilet Keep Running?

Toilets are one of those simple household conveniences we tend to take for granted, so it befuddles us when something suddenly goes wrong. It can’t be too complicated of a problem, we think, but when we pop the top from the back of the tank we quickly realize we have no idea what we’re looking at—and no idea what to do about it when the water in the toilet keeps running and running.

The good news is that continuous water flow in a toilet is usually a relatively minor problem that can be solved without the assistance of a professional.

 

Four Common Reasons Why a Toilet Will Not Stop Running

When toilets run like ultra-marathoners the cause can usually be traced to one of the following four possibilities:

 

Cause #1: Cracked, eroded or deformed flapper

What is the flapper?

The flapper is a rubber stopper in the tank that lifts up to allow the water to drain into the toilet bowl following a flush.

What is the problem?

Over time flappers can become damaged through natural wear or from mineral deposit build-up. They develop leaks as a result, which causes water to seep continuously from the tank into the toilet.

Fixing it

First turn off the valve in the wall behind the toilet. This cuts off the water supply, so after you flush the tank will drain without refilling. Then you are free to take a closer look at the flapper to see if it is damaged or degraded. Flappers are easy to remove and replace and your local hardware store will undoubtedly carry them.

 

Cause #2: The lift chain is too long

What is the lift chain?

The lift chain pulls the flapper up at the flush and drops it back into place when the flush cycle is completed, allowing the tank to refill.

What is the Problem?

If the lift chain is too long it has excess slack and can easily get stuck between the flapper and the pipe the flapper is supposed to plug. If this is happening you will be able to see it clearly when you lift the top off the tank.

Fixing it

After turning off the water and draining the tank remove the chain and use a metal cutter to shorten it by two or three links. Reinstall and see if that solves the problem. If not you can cut it again but don’t shorten it so much it won’t let the flapper drop.

 

Cause #3: The float valve is incorrectly positioned

What is the float valve?

The float valve will be either a ball that floats on the surface of the water or a cylinder-shaped object (called a concentric float valve) fixed in place on the left. Its job is to stop more water from flowing into the tank once it is filled to the proper level.

What is the problem?

If the float valve is set too high it won’t prevent the water from rising over the top of the overflow pipe. Once the water level reaches the overflow pipe it will drain out into the bowl and cannot rise any higher, meaning the float valve can’t function.

Fixing it

Float valves are raised or lowered through the turn of a screw. If your float valve isn’t shutting off in time you can tighten the screw to push the float ball or the concentric float valve downward. Trial-and-error will let you know if you’ve moved it far enough to prevent continuous water flow.

 

Cause #4: Systematic mechanical failure

What is it?

Some type of failure is occurring in the ballcock assembly, which is the unit responsible for re-filling the tank following a flush.

What is the problem?

It might be broken or just worn out. You may not be able to identify the problem just by looking at it, however.

Fixing it

Ballcock assemblies are available in hardware stores and they come with instructions that show you how to install them.

If this doesn’t solve your running water problem you should consider hiring a plumber to check your toilet more carefully.

Please follow the Countryside Plumbing & Heating blog for further insights that can help you solve your plumbing and HVAC problems.

2015 Water Heater Efficiency Regulation Changes

In 2015, every water heater manufacturer that sells in the United States must have their equipment conformed to the new standards of energy efficiency.  This is applicable to all residential, propane, electric and gas water heaters.  Water heaters as they are currently known will not look the same.

New 2015 Water Heater Regulation Changes

Water heaters that are manufactured after April 16, 2015 are required to obey the rules for the new energy efficiency standards.   This will result in a mandatory increase of between 3 and 30 percent greater efficiency versus current models.  The quantity differs by tank size according to the formulas.  More efficiency will be required based on the size of the tank.  There are only small gains in efficiency; however, the overwhelming majority of US homes have a water heater.  Therefore, this can add up to huge environmental benefits.

The Effects

If your tankless water heater has efficiency rating over .82, it is already compliant.  However, if you have a regular tank heater, you could be affected.  To achieve the efficiency, additional insulation will be added by manufacturers.  You will be impacted as outlined below:

In 2015, every water heater manufacturer that sells in the United States must have their equipment conformed to the new standards of energy efficiency.  This is applicable to all residential, propane, electric and gas water heaters.  Water heaters as they are currently known will not look the same.

New 2015 Water Heater Regulation Changes

Water heaters that are manufactured after April 16, 2015 are required to obey the rules for the new energy efficiency standards.   This will result in a mandatory increase of between 3 and 30 percent greater efficiency versus current models.  The quantity differs by tank size according to the formulas.  More efficiency will be required based on the size of the tank.  There are only small gains in efficiency; however, the overwhelming majority of US homes have a water heater.  Therefore, this can add up to huge environmental benefits.

The Effects

If your tankless water heater has efficiency rating over .82, it is already compliant.  However, if you have a regular tank heater, you could be affected.  To achieve the efficiency, additional insulation will be added by manufacturers.  You will be impacted as outlined below:

Fitting It In

These new tanks will be different in size; they will be wider and taller.  Additionally, larger venting will be required for some of the gas water heaters.

Custom Installation

The installer may need to do some creative planning to fit the new heater to fit some homes.  For example, if a 50-gallon tank is too big, a 40-gallon tank that have an additional mixing valve could produce the required amount of hot water.  Fortunately, we have the experience to get that done.

Price Increase

Manufacturers will need to undertake the expensive task of re-tooling production lines. There will also be increased materials cost from the added tank insulation; as such, we expect a price increase in the $100 range.

Three Replacement Choices

• Substitute with the style and size of your existing tank while it is still available.

• Upgrade to compliant water heaters

• Think about moving to a tankless heater

These are things that must be done in keeping with the 2015 Water Heater Regulation Changes.

These new tanks will be different in size; they will be wider and taller.  Additionally, larger venting will be required for some of the gas water heaters.

Custom Installation

The installer may need to do some creative planning to fit the new heater to fit some homes.  For example, if a 50-gallon tank is too big, a 40-gallon tank that have an additional mixing valve could produce the required amount of hot water.  Fortunately, we have the experience to get that done.

Price Increase

Manufacturers will need to undertake the expensive task of re-tooling production lines. There will also be increased materials cost from the added tank insulation; as such, we expect a price increase in the $100 range.

Three Replacement Choices

• Substitute with the style and size of your existing tank while it is still available.

• Upgrade to compliant water heaters

• Think about moving to a tankless heater

These are things that must be done in keeping with the 2015 Water Heater Regulation Changes.

For more information visit us at http://countrysideph.com/blog/

What To Consider When Purchasing A Water Heater

When shopping for a water heater, there are many factors you must consider to ensure that you get a unit that can meet all of your needs. The following factors are crucial features to consider in your search for the right water heater.

Fuel Types

Before you purchase a heater, you must first identify the cheapest source of energy in your neighborhood. If there are natural gas lines in the area, a natural gas heater may be the best option. If the unit cost of electricity is low and natural gas lines do not exist in the area, you can opt for an electric water heater. However, it is also important that you also consider propane gas prices. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of using different types of fuels.

Water Heater Capacity

A water heater with a smaller heating capacity than your hot water needs will have a shorter lifespan because it will be forced to work harder. On the other hand, an oversized heater will heat more water that you can use. This will lead to unused hot water. It is therefore important that you buy a perfectly sized water heater for your home. If there are five or more people in the household, a heater with a 60-gallon capacity may be the perfect fit. On the other hand, a heater with a capacity of 30 gallons or fewer can serve up to two people comfortably. If the number of occupants exceeds two, but is less than five, you can either pick a 40- or 50-gallon water heater, depending on your needs.

Water Heater Dimensions

Water heaters come in a variety of sizes. Since these appliances often have a designated location, you must measure the dimensions of a unit before making a purchase. The heater should fit in place comfortably and leave enough space for the insulation. Be sure to carry the measurements of the designated space with you when going water heater shopping.

Energy Efficiency

Understandably, you want the most energy efficient water heater for your home. Therefore, it is important that you look at the EF (Energy Factor) rating of the device. The higher the number, the more inefficient the heater is, so you want a water heater with an EF rating that is as close to 1 as possible.

With these tips, hopefully you’re one step closer to the right water heater for you and your family. Keep following our blog for more great energy and HVAC information.

Explanation On Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant

If you take a look at the water heaters available in the market then you will notice that they are all FVIR or Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant ones. From 2005 onwards, all the water heaters produced in North America are FVIR ones. In the past, water heaters running on propane or Liquefied Petroleum and natural gas caused tremendous fires in case there are flammable liquids such as gasoline nearby and gas spills occur. Thankfully, with FVIR models, things are a lot safer as these models boast of an impressive design that helps in preventing flashback fires.

In case of a flammable vapor ignition resistant water heater, its technology prevents flashback fires from breaking out by trapping and burning the hazardous gas vapors inside its body instead of in the room. The ignited vapors do not get released to the combustion chamber and the air flow towards the combustion chamber is one-way. This type of heater also comes with an inner door and a burner assembly which ensures that the combustion chamber is sealed and that the flammable vapors and combustion air do not enter this chamber from the front side of the water heater.
Thanks to FVIR water heaters, a lot of injuries and even deaths associated with accidental fire can be prevented. This special type of water heater also produces very little Nitrogen Oxides in case of emissions, therefore it is quite environmental-friendly as well. It is made up of a flame arrestor plate, a thermal cutoff switch and a screen for protecting the combustion process from dust, lint or oil.

This type of water heater is designed in such a manner that vapors aren’t ignited outside the combustion chamber at all, thus minimizing the risks of fire to a great extent! In case the flames travels in an opposite direction and ignite the vapor outside the combustion chamber of the water heater then the multi-purpose calibrated thermal switch automatically shuts down the main burner and the pilot on detecting the problem. Flammable vapor ignition resistant water heaters are a cut above the rest, therefore it is extremely beneficial to invest in one such heater. Call (800) 542-4243 to get your FVIR water heater installed and experience the difference!

Protecting Your Home Plumbing During Winter Freezes

People who live in cold harsh climates know better than anyone else about the damage winter can cause to home plumbing. What happens is simple: stagnant water in water pipes freezes when it’s cold, the water expands and the pipes crack or break when it starts thawing or melting. The results are obvious: water leaking into your kitchen and anywhere else in the home where the pipes have cracked. To prevent this needless and costly flooding there are a few cold weather tips that you can try out for winterizing plumbing in your home.

Running Water

As explained before, it is stagnant water in the pipes that freezes and thaws. Rather than turning off taps when the night is out try letting water run through one or two taps throughout the night. When the water is running the freezing process is nipped in the bud. It does not have to gush out of the tap and flow down the drain, a small trickle is sufficient. To save water you can place the stopper and let the water accumulate in the tub. Running water freezes a lot slower than still water.

Insulation

The insulation you will need is basically anything you wrap around your pipes to stop the cold from penetrating the surface of your pipes. Exposed pipes are those pipes which are normally damaged during winter and these should be the focus of your attention. Wrapping some electrical heating tape –which is plugged into a nearby power source- is a very effective way of ensuring that vulnerable pipes receive constant bolts of heat and warmth at regular intervals, especially when water is about to reach its freezing point.

Keep The Home Cozy

If pipes could think, act and talk as humans they would probably wish they could shield themselves from the cold just as you hide under layers of blankets to shield yourself from the cold. If your home is warm your pipes will be warm as well, albeit not as comfortable as you. Extend your heating system to your piping as this is perhaps the only surefire way to prevent the freezing and cracking of pipes.

4 Unique Ways to Clear a Clogged Toilet

Calling a plumbing contractor to clean up your blocked toilet is just one of the most convenient ways to solve the issue. Sadly most of the professional plumbers ask for up-wards of 100 dollars for the task. It might be rather unpleasant to spend that much of money in this time of economic crisis and job reduction.  However, the good news is there are some unique ways you can unclog that toilet yourself without having to call in an expensive plumber.

Wire

Yet another simple, yet effective device that helps in unclogging toilets is the wire. This extensively available item can be utilized to get to inside the bowl and delete items like plastic bags, etc. that cannot flush down the drain. You do not need to purchase a wire from the market. Simply take any commonly utilized product like a hangar and straighten it to make a wire. A pliable rubber pipeline can be an excellent substitute for a wire and can easily be made use of to clean a clogged pipe line.

Boiling Water and Dish Cleaning Agent

If the boiling water alone is inadequate, perhaps a pot of steaming water and detergent should work. Pour about a 1/4 cup of your preferred green cleaning agent, and let it to lube the lodged object while you wait for the water to boil. Pour in the boiling water making certain not to spray on yourself and hope that it will work … or else you might need to get a little messy.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Adding a cup of baking soda as well as white vinegar and pouring down a sink drain has actually been known to unplug it, and could manage a toilet. This is of the toilet is not so loaded with water that the mix will end up too diluted when added in the bowl. If this is the case, then move right to the steaming water and dish detergent technique.

Tapping to Unclog Toilet

Giving your toilet a little tap is something you want to attempt first. It is fast and straightforward and all that is required is your shoe or your plunger’s wood handle. You will notice on the edge of your toilet, where you sit, and locate the bulge behind it that looks like a snake. This is the area you will want to tap with a soft object that is softer than the porcelain to ensure you do not break it. Your shoe’s rubber sole can be sufficient but if not utilize the plastic or wood handle of your plunger and begin tapping lightly on this snake bulge on the toilet. You will be impressed. If it does not function initially continue while utilizing the above steps as well and you should probably get it to work.

For more details call (800) 542-4243 or click here

3 Common Items that should never be placed in your garbage disposal

A garbage disposal is a common luxury that many home owners have in their home. This system allows home owners to get rid of a lot of their waste a very simple way. Garbage and food items can be placed in the garbage disposal so that home owners can get rid of these items quickly. However as beneficial as the garbage disposal can be, many home owners do not understand how to work one properly. many times, home owners will place items in the garbage disposal that do not belong. Below are three common items that should never be put in the garbage disposal. 

Grease, Oil, Fat

A common factor involved in cooking is grease or oil. Any type of fat is commonly used to cook with and theses substances must be disposed of when the cooking is completed. However, these items should never be placed in the garbage disposal. As grease cools, it begins to solidify. If this type of item is placed inside a garbage disposal, it will cause the unit to stop working as it will have a large solid blocking the drain.

Stringy Vegetables

Another item that many home owners place down their garbage disposal is stringy vegetables. These vegetables, such as celery, lettuce, chard, kale, potato peelings, can wrap around the blades of your garbage disposal and cause the unit to clog and freeze up. It is essential that these items are not placed in the garbage disposal to keep the unit clear and working properly.

Pasta

Another item that many home owners put down the garbage disposal that does not belong is pasta. When cooking with pasta, one will notice that the noodles will expand. As the pasta hits the water, it begins to grow and grow. If pasta is placed inside the garbage disposal, it is guaranteed to get wet. Once the pasta becomes wet, it will begin to grow. This can cause the drain to stop up and the blades of the unit to become caught on the noodles. Always refrain from placing pasta down your garbage disposal.

It is essential that home owners remember to keep their garbage disposal clear of items that will do harm. Keeping your garbage disposal clear will ensure that the unit continues to function as it should and you will have little to no difficulty. If you do have problems with your garbage disposal, remember to contact your local plumbing company for quick repair service.