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Water Heater Repair – DIY Maintenance

 

JOHN:

You were listening to ask the expert Radio Show on Talk Radio 11 9. I’m John Wolf and I have with me Roger Wakefield the owner operator of Texas Green Plumbing. How are you this morning Roger.

ROGER:

I’m doing great John how have you been doing?

JOHN:

Great and with weather like this it will be hard to not feel great. Like we were talking about earlier this is a great day to open the windows open the blinds let the light come in and let the fresh air come in and have a great day.

ROGER:

And you could work on some plumbing at the same time couldn’t you?

JOHN:

That’s nice do it yourself project. It’s pretty easy for people to do.

ROGER:

I have a neighbor who always says he’s always working on something and not major jobs. He says if you just work on a little bit at a time a little bit every week you can stay ahead of a lot of the big problems.

I’m normally pretty far behind a big problem. You absolutely you should. You should find a good plumber. Well the plumbing is pretty easy to take care of it’s getting everything else taken care of where I get behind.

JOHN:

Well at this time of the year what sort of things would you tell people as we head through this into the spring that they should be looking out for looking to get ahead of.

ROGER:

Just taking care of those little details, if you’ve got a faucet dripping if you’ve got you know something that needs to be replaced general maintenance is great. This is a good time to do like a great day to do it. You know you’re supposed to flush your water heater annually and these are the kind of days I recommend it get out there get your five gallon bucket flush it out do different things. There’s just there’s so much people can do that can help their plumbing system. That’s just one good one, one really big one.

JOHN:

So not to wait for a problem but to do preventive maintenance you’re saying.

ROGER:

A lot of people wait till say that the water heater lot of people wait until the water heaters leak and say oh gosh I have a water heater problem. Well the truth is if they’ll take care of it every year flush it every year they can help eliminate that from happening or keep it from happening you know sooner water heaters are built to last six to eight years somewhere around in there are water heater repair is a very expensive thing replacing a water heater or getting a new water heater can be a very expensive thing also. But these are all things really that pretty much any homeowner can do if they know how.

JOHN:

Ok now I’m thinking of water heater I have which is in the garage. Fortunately in the garage slants very slightly but it does slant down and out and I’m happy for that. Not that I had a leak but if there were one I’m not worried about a major expense just some papers on the side of the garage would get flooded but what if somebody has one of the upstairs water heaters.

ROGER:

Upstairs water heater can be changed out to. I mean whether they do it or whether a plumber does it there it’s going to get done so they can have a friend come over and help them disconnect it. Drain it lower it down out of the attic or out of the upstairs closet whatever the case may be and we’re going to have somebody come help us too. It’s not just going to be a one man job trying to get a water heater out of an attic or what.

JOHN:

Well I’m not thinking out of the attic so much as just doing the yearly maintenance the draining of it. So it will let live longer last longer if you have one upstairs and you don’t want to. You haven’t done it before and you don’t want to have a major flood and an upper floor of your house.

ROGER:

You know number one if you if you’ve had the water heater for a long time you don’t want to go home today and say OK I’m going to flush it out. They’ve got an anode rod in there that releases magnesium to help fill maybe a little pinholes or microscopic cracks in it. And if you decide to go in now and flush it out say you’ve had it four or five years you’ve never flushed it and you go and flush it now you’re liable to pull out enough calcium and magnesium that you actually open up one of those cracks or pinholes.

 

Normally what we recommend to people when they get in the water heater flush it every year. If you’ve had one for a couple of years and you’ve never flushed take go ahead and flush it. And the proper way to flush it is hook a water hose up to it down at the bottom from the end of it and that’s how people either run it into a bathtub. If it’s up stairs or if it’s downstairs in your garage run it out to the driveway or out to the street and open it up while the water is still on to the water heater because that’s going to let fresh water in and it’s going to give you pressure to blow that out. And a lot of times people will actually run that into a five gallon bucket. Open the valve let it run you know about four and a half gallon shut it off go pour that out. But look at everything that you’ve got in there. The gunk that comes out is really a calcium magnesium minerals and deposits in the water that build up over time.

JOHN:

What color would you expect that water to be that comes out?

ROGER:

Water calcium and magnesium can start causing discoloration which is what causes sometimes people say they have brown water or the water starting to get Brown. Normally that’s through the hot water side. So getting all that out will help keep your water clean and pure also.

JOHN:

You know I get so enthused when you come in here because frankly I’m trying to pick your brain so I could learn a little bit that might save is in trouble but I zipped right past giving the information. Our number here is 214-787-1190, 214-787-1190. And Roger Wakefield’s number is 972-442-4101, 972-442-4101 or easier to remember, if you’re driving especially Texasgreenplumbing.com, Texasgreenplumbing.com.

 

Now, the emergency situations involving water heaters that you’ve had to deal with any idea what percentage of people had never done this annual flooding as I raise my hand.

ROGER:

Most people don’t do it. I actually used to teach plumbers continuing education and I’ll have classrooms with 45 plumbers in it and 43 plumbers in it and I’d always ask especially whenever we had chapters that were talking about water heaters. How many of y’all actually flush your water heaters and out of a class that size you’d get one or two plumbers that like yea i flush mine every month every year whatever it is every year is the minimum. If you really want a water heater to last a long time go out every couple of months flush out about 5 gallons of water out of the bottom of it you can make that water heater or help that water heater to last a lot longer.

JOHN:

Like fiber for your body fiber for your water heater.

ROGER:

Absolutely.

JOHN:

Keep it going. Now are there jobs that you’ve seen. Maybe emergency situations maybe not quite that deep that where people have done get they’ve gotten gungho and they said oh I could do this. I don’t mean necessarily draining a water heater or just anything else around the house that maybe they shouldn’t have tackled as a novice on their own.

ROGER:

The biggest problems you know the good thing is plumbing repairs are relatively easy to do and it’s easy for me to say because I’ve got 38 years experience doing it. Some of the most important things to remember are look at your path of water what is your flow path. Can you shut off a valve under the sink where you can take that sink apart that faucet apart and do the repairs on it. If the valve is not working properly go out to the street. Like I said plumbing repairs aren’t difficult. As long as you stop the water flow to where you’ve got time to make the plumbing repair you’ve got time to use the right part.

 

Some homeowners just think OK my faucets dripping. I’ll take apart the handle and change the washer. Well unfortunately if you take apart that handle and the water still on you’re going to get water everywhere. So that is the main thing keep an eye on your water.

JOHN:

One of the key things I’ve found in trying some plumbing jobs. Far from an expert is just having someone else there to help because the time it would take you to run from your faucet upstairs if you’ve made a mistake or thought something was fixed and you done everything right, almost, and now you’ve got water running through your bathroom. To get out to the street is a lot longer and a lot more possible damage than yelling out the window, honey turn that off now.

ROGER:

A water leak is a very bad thing to have to have. Water leaks cause damage. When it comes to lessons to teach homeowners that is probably one of the most important lessons there is. If your wife and children know how to shut the water off it can save you a lot of money. We’ve talked about it before when I was younger, walked in after school one day stepped around the corner into the living room which was a converted garage and it had about a 3 inch drop down and I step down. I’m standing in three inches of water.

 

When I call my mother she’s like turn the water off. I had no idea how she didn’t have any idea how I’m looking around trying to figure out how to turn off the water to the whole house. That is something that as a homeowner I would want to make sure that my wife knew my children knew and don’t just tell them go outside and show them. You’ve got a valve out in front of your house or you’ve got a valve at the valve box. The new houses that were building in Dallas these days have the waterline come in they come up in the garage and there’s a valve on the garage wall where you just open up the door on an access panel and turn off the valve.

JOHN:

Now you’re explaining everything very well very succinctly. But I have to tell the listeners that you’re so expressive with your hands and giving little clues. And we are videotaping here so you can go to the Web site at Texasgreenplumbing.com, Texasgreenglowing.com and be able to actually watch you. Not at this second from what you’re doing but from previous occasions and in the future giving pointing directions out that might be just a little bit more helpful even than just hearing .

ROGER:

And not just the website the best thing really would probably be go to our YouTube channel. What we’re doing when it comes to plumbing repairs it’s easy for me to sit here and try and tell you what to do and the steps to go through on our YouTube channel we’re actually putting videos together to where we can come in and teach people how to do a lot of these things. And that’s a really good spot to see it

JOHN:

Absolutely. I know it’s given me courage at times and I think that’s a lot of the that’s a big part of it is just having the courage to say I’m going to try this. Because let’s face it it’s not cheap to have a plumber come out and compared to being able to do it yourself. Little riskier to do it yourself. But that doesn’t mean that. No guts no glory that you shouldn’t try. Because I’ll tell you as a person who never owned a home before, I felt fantastic. I actually just changed faucets or fixed the toilet or whatever we’re going to talk about more about installing toilets and having to make changes and such when we come back.

Again we’re listening to the Ask the Experts radio show with Roger Wakefield the owner operator of Texas Green Plumbing and Texasgreenplumbing.com is the Web site. But again as Roger just mentioned they’ve got a YouTube channel and to see somebody actually do the job rather than just tell you about it in a box store and just put that in there and twist it you can have a problem is just so helpful. It’s like having someone else come to a one time and showing you.

ROGER:

What I liked about is if I can show people how to do repairs like that I can save them money, that’s important.

JOHN:

Everybody likes that. We’ll be right back on TALK RADIO 1190.

 

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