Installing low-flow toilets is a great way to conserve water and reduce your water bill. By using about half the volume of water as a standard toilet, you can save around a gallon and a half of water per flush. That adds up to thousands of gallons of water saved every year.
Many states and municipalities now require low-flow toilets on new homes or when replacing a toilet when remodeling a bathroom. For most homeowners, the process is simple and straightforward, but what if your home is 50 years old or older? Can your plumbing system handle a lower flow toilet?
The key to whether a low-flow toilet will function in an older home is the waste drain pipe slope. The waste pipe beneath a toilet needs a slope of between 1/8-in. and 1/4-in. per foot for the water to carry solid waste to the sewer. If it's too steep or not steep enough, the flow of water could allow waste to collect, causing a clog.
In some older homes the slope may not have been carefully planned. Since older toilets had plenty of flushing power with 3 gallons of water to work with, it may not have been a concern.
If you have an older house, here are some things to be aware of if you decide to install low-flow toilets.
If you're concerned that your older plumbing system may not be able to safely handle a low-flow toilet, consider installing a unit with a pressure-assisted flush that uses water pressure to charge a compressed-air tank inside the toilet tank. When flushed, it will use the compressed air to drive water out of the bowel fast, forcing it down the drain and into the waste line with enough force to remove solid waste.
Have questions about low-flow toilets? Call Maitz Home Services. We can help answer all your plumbing questions.
One of the concerns we hear from homeowners when deciding between a conventional tank-style water heater and a tankless, or on-demand water heater, is whether the tankless unit will get the water hot enough. The short answer is yes.
Most tankless water heaters have a thermostat that can be adjusted between 100° to 140°, depending on the brand and model. By comparison, most tank water heaters have the temperature set around 120°.
The key to ensuring the water heater can supply a consistent 120° or higher is the climate and number of sources the tankless water heater will need to supply. It is critical that a tankless water heater is sized based on a household's needs. If the unit is too small for the amount of flow it’s being asked to produce it may work fine for a shower, but not work as needed when a washing machine and a shower are in use at the same time.
Tankless water heater ratings are based on the rise in water temperature they produce. The colder the temperature of the incoming water supply, the lower the maximum temperature of the heater. This means in a colder climate like the Northeast, you’ll need a larger tankless water heater than someone living in a warmer climate, like Georgia.
Have questions about which water heater is right for your home? Call Maitz Home Services. We're here to help.
The slow filling toilet can be a real headache. It's one of the most common plumbing problems and can have several causes. With normal water pressure a toilet tank should refill in about three minutes.
If the toilet tank is slow to fill, first check the shut-off valve located behind the toilet. If work has been done on the plumbing system recently it may not have been reopened fully. Make sure it is all the way open for maximum flow. Next, try cleaning the pump and valve inside the toilet tank. Mineral buildup can cause the parts to stick in the open position or prevent the valve from closing tightly. If the toilet has an older-style ball cock assembly, we recommend that it be replaced with a new fill valve and float cup design.
If none of the above fixes work, call Maitz Home Services. We can can solve all your plumbing problems quickly.
Whether you're considering buying an older home or renovating an old bathroom or kitchen in your current home, it's important to understand some of the unique problems that older plumbing systems can present. Pipes, sewer and drain lines and plumbing fixtures will often require upgrades to operate reliably. Before buying an older home, it's a good idea to have a professional plumber inspect the home to ensure it is up to code and all system are operating safely.
Other areas that should be inspected in older homes include:
Need help upgrading plumbing systems in your older home? Call Maitz Home Services. From water heaters to sump pumps and showers, we can help with all your home plumbing needs.
One way to extend the life of your water heater is to flush the tank annually to remove sediment buildup. Over time sediment can accumulate at the bottom of the tank, making heating less efficient and increasing the likelihood that corrosion will damage the tank. The process of flushing the tank is straightforward, here are the steps:
When you're finished draining the tank, return it to operating condition by following these steps:
IMPORTANT: Always read and follow all manufacturer’s directions and warnings for your particular water heater. Some water heater tanks must be completely full to avoid damage to the gas burner or heating elements.
Need assistance maintaining your water heater? Call Maitz Home Services, we can help.