How To Maintain, Respect, And Utilize The Water In Your Home

The water in our home has the important job of hydrating us, cleaning us, heating us, and making our garden look pretty. Although we only see the water when it comes out of a faucet, in reality, there is a mini stream that travels around your home, hidden in the walls and the flooring. If […]

charles hardcastle

The water in our home has the important job of hydrating us, cleaning us, heating us, and making our garden look pretty. Although we only see the water when it comes out of a faucet, in reality, there is a mini stream that travels around your home, hidden in the walls and the flooring.

If something goes wrong with the water, it can affect every level of your house.

Before we explain how to protect your home from leaks, and help you maintain a dry home, we want to say a quick welcome to the readers of oneshotwaterheaters.com. We have recently acquired the website, and are super excited to expand our community.

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The Water In Your Garage

Although you probably don’t have a shower or a pond in your garage, you will likely have the home maintenance appliances stored here. To ensure your home is safe and secure against water-related damages, follow our guidelines below.

Water Heaters

Most of us will have water heaters in our garage. No matter if they are propane, direct vent, or electric, these appliances will last between 8 to 10 years before they need replacing. When it hits this age mark, you should instantly be looking for replacements, but if you see any of these signs then you should be replacing the water heater much earlier:

  • Rust
  • Strange Noises
  • Leaks
  • It’s failing to heat your water.

To help you find a new water heater, you should read through our reviews that explain the pros and cons of each major brand. For example:

  • Marathon is an electric water heater brand that uses cutting-edge technology while keeping the instructions simple. 
  • Bradford White is an electric and gas water heating brand. They use a tankless system which means you’ll have an endless supply of hot water.

Although a replacement will be needed once you hit the 10-year mark, sometimes you just need to replace a part to fix the issue – saving you way more money than an early water heater swap.

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Gas Water Heater Not Warming Up

For example, if you use a water tank gas heater, then you may find the gas is automatically turning off without warning. This might be because the gas valve is broken. Instead of replacing the whole unit, you could install a new gas value saving you hundreds of dollars. We have a guide, ready and waiting, to help you replace a water heater gas valve, so find more details there.

Electric Water Heater Not Warming Up

If your water heater is failing to warm up your showers, then there may be a problem with the thermostat. The thermostat is meant to tell your electric heater where the temperature should be. In our guide, you can learn what is causing the fault in the thermostat, how to replace it, and how to test if the thermostat is causing these issues in the first place.

Water Softener Not Working

If you live in an area of hard water, and your water softener stops working, then most of your water-based products will begin to scale. Over time this can break them. There are multiple reasons why your softener might stop working, but the most common is often due to the limescale. Cleaning the salt tank might be all you need to fix the issue. 

To figure out if your water softener isn’t working, you can take one of these three tests. The first test is to lather some soap. If you struggle to get the soap to bubble, then your water isn’t soft. The second test is to study your laundry. If the level of cleanliness has dipped, then the water softener isn’t working. Lastly, you can always taste the tap water. Hard water has a strong mineral flavor of magnesium and calcium, but soft water tastes like nothing. If you can taste minerals, then your water softener isn’t working.

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Drinking hard water isn’t going to harm you. In fact, there is evidence that suggests that the minerals in hard water are healthier for you than going without. This means that soft water contains less nutritional value. However, soft water has more to it than just a crisper taste. The lack of minerals can help those who suffer from skin and hair conditions such as acne and dandruff. With fewer minerals to interact with, their cleaning routine can continue more smoothly. There are lots of differences between soft and hard water, but the pipes of your home and body would prefer soft water.

To make sure you avoid these water softener failures, you need to know how to maintain the tank. First, you should regularly check how much salt you have in your tank and fill up the bucket as often as possible. The salt you are using should be high quality too. If you use a cheap brand, you may end up using more filler than functional minerals. Lastly, you need to clean the tank every couple of years to make sure that no residue gets stuck in the pipes.

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If you are reading these descriptions and realize that although you don’t own a water softener, you are dealing with the same issues, then it might be time to install a water softener. Ideally, you should hire a professional to do this for you, but in the link above you have a step-by-step guide to help you install the softer DIY style.

Winterizing Your Tankless Heater

If you are not going to use your water heater during the winter, then you need to protect it from the freezing temperatures. To do this, you need to remove all the water from your system, so none of it can turn into ice. We have a full guide into this method, here.

Washer Machine

Although we never put water into our washing machines, we expect them to pull it through the pipes and then drain it without spilling a drop. When the draining system stops working, your whole garage or basement will flood. You can prevent the backup from happening by cleaning the pipes as often as possible.

The Water In Your Bathrooms

When we think about water and our homes, we bet your first thought went towards your bathrooms. There are so many ways in which water can be a nuisance or a savior in these areas, so we need to give you as many tips as we can to help you navigate them.

Sewer Lines

None of us like to think about how our home disposes of our waste, but if you notice blockages in your toilet or in your shower, then you can soon experience bad smells and an inability to flush. Gross.

Unfortunately, one issue you might not have considered, is how trees can affect your sewer system. Tree roots can worm their way into cracks and use the nutrients from your waste to grow. For them, it’s a buffet. But this means the roots will block your sewer lines. So how do you get rid of them? For full details look at our article dedicated to the subject. In short, you need to remove the tree, use bleach or apply rock salt.

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Toilets

If your toilet isn’t working as it should, your whole living situation can be turned on its head. Here are a couple of our solutions.

Toilet Won’t Flush

One of the most common issues that toilets face can be easily fixed without calling a plumber. When the toilet just won’t flush, take off the lid. You’ll probably find that the plastic lock nut has become stuck. To help you remove the lock nut, follow our guide.

If your toilet is flushing, but not doing a good job, there are a couple of reasons why this could be. Firstly, your toilet may be clogged, secondly, the water level in your tank might be too low, and thirdly the flapper chain might be too loose. If you concentrate on these issues you will have a stronger flushing power.

Remember that flushing non-waste products down the toilet can and will break your flushing system. Paper towels (not toilet paper), baby wipes, hair, sanitary products, and diapers all belong in the bin.

Replacing A Toilet Tank

Replacing a toilet tank should ideally be completed by a professional, but if you understand how to connect pipework, then follow our steps to complete the project yourself.

Removing Black And Brown Streaks And Stains

If you find black streaks in your toilet, then you are likely experiencing an invasion of mold. Mold can be a health hazard, especially if you let it grow. To remove the streaks and the cause of the mold, you should blast some bleach down the basin.

Brown stains at the bottom of your toilet bowl aren’t created from fecal matter. Instead, it’s a sign that hard water is hacking away at your toilet. If you let the stains remain, you will end up with rusted and thinned material, which will lead to leaks. To remove the stains and protect your basin, you need to use a combination of baking soda and vinegar to scrub against the residue. 

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Cleaning The Toilet

The easiest way to clean your toilet is to put bleach around the rim and add a disinfectant to the water basin. However, one step that many people forget to do is clean the siphon jet – this is the S-shaped bend in the pipework. Failing to clean this bend can result in clogging. To clean the siphon jet you need distilled white vinegar, baking soda, and bleach. Then follow our step-by-step guide to complete the easy-to-follow procedure.

Whatever you do, don’t use Drano in your toilet. We have made a whole article based on why this is a bad idea. If you want to know more, click here.

Replacing The Toilet Fill Valve

The fill valve allows water to fill the toilet’s tank. It’s a delicate piece of tech that can easily break. If you notice your toilet won’t stop running, or won’t refill, then it’s time to replace the valve.

The Toilet Smells

If you can smell a bad odor from your toilet, then there is probably a problem with the vent. Vents are designed to release water, control temperature, and allow for proper flushing. If the vent isn’t working all of these functions can stop, and you’ll end up with stagnant and stinky water. To install a vent or fix your current venting system, follow this guide.

Replacing The Shut-Off Valve

When the shut-off valve stops working you have to work fast. This valve is the connection between the water supply and the toilet, and it stops your toilet from flooding. The process of replacing the valve is easy, but you need to read through our step-by-step instructions first, as the rushing water can easily make you overwhelmed.

Loose Toilet Handle

To fix a loose toilet handle, you should start the process by turning off the water. This way, you can have room for mistakes should you knock into the piping. Next, you need to tighten the locknut, by turning it right. Keep going until you feel resistance.

Bathtubs

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Everyone loves a bathtub. Soaking in hot water, with bubbles surrounding you and music playing in the background – pure bliss. The most common bathtub materials are acrylic and porcelain. One is cheap and lightweight, while the other is beautiful. No matter which one you pick, you’ll have the same maintenance issues.

The main issue you need to balance is water leaking from your tub. To prevent this, you should apply caulk around the edges. This will create a waterproof seal and will prevent water damage.

Sinks

Bathroom sinks and kitchen sinks may seem similar, but in reality, they have different machines, which can create different problems.

Pop-Up Stopper Is Stuck

If you live in a modern house, then your bathroom sink will likely have a pop-up mechanism. These plug types mean you never have to look for a rubber stopper again, however, just like anything mechanical, there is a chance it can break. We have a 9 step guide to help you unstick a stuck pop-up stopper.

Discolored Faucet

If your faucet has started to discolor after years of use, it’s probably because the chrome material has begun to oxidize. To stop and even remove the oxidizing process, you should rub lemon juice on the metal and scrub the crusts away.

If that doesn’t work, you can follow our other suggestion in this link.

Clogged Sink

If your sink is clogged, even if it’s clogged with vomit, the best solution is to dissolve the biological material with baking soda and white vinegar.

Leaking Sink

If you look around the threads of your sink and notice dripping water, then you probably have a leak. The first thing you should do is see if the nut is loose. If it is, tighten it, and hopefully, the leaking will stop. If that didn’t work you should check for damages. At this point, you should be turning off your water, as you investigate the cause of your leak.

Dripping Faucets

Did you know that letting your faucets drip in the winter can help prevent your pipes from freezing?. Depending on how big your home is, you only need one or two faucets to be loosely tightened, but the issue with this simple prevention method is the cost of running water. We go into a lot of detail about this issue in our guide.

Showers

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No matter how great your shower is, you will need caulk to protect your walls and crevices from mildew. You need to reapply the caulk every couple of years too, to ensure that your walls don’t suffer from damp or water damage.

If you notice walls adjacent to your shower room becoming damp, you likely have a leak that could have been caused by a gap in your caulk line. Dry it out, and then reapply the solution to fix the issue.

How To Save Money And Water In The Shower

Although showers are a lot cheaper to run than baths if you have a large household the price of keeping everyone clean can still be steep. To help conserve water, and stop one child from taking up too much time in the shower, you can install a shower timer shut off. These shut-offs automatically stop the shower from working after a certain limit has been reached. Some will have apps and others are analog, but either way they can easily help you save money

Clogged Drains

If your shower gets clogged with hair, there are 4 easy ways to get the water flowing again. The first and most obvious is to use a plunger. The second is to pour hot water down the drain. The third is to use a wire brush to scoop up the debris and the fourth is to sprinkle baking soda into the drain which naturally dissolves the hair.

The Water In Your Yard

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Depending on the size of your garden, you may have anything from a small fish pond, to an Olympic-sized swimming pool. No matter where you are on the spectrum, we can help you maintain a clean and safe yard.

Ponds

When most people think about ponds, their first idea is often “fish”. Although fish are an important part of pond life, we want to jump into the first health and safety hazard that comes with ponds – bacteria.

Swimming In Your Pond

Bacteria can live peacefully with the fish in your watery biome, but if you plan on swimming in your lake-sized pond, you need to adapt the waters to fit a human’s needs. This means installing a good water filter, ensuring a steady water flow, and making sure your water source isn’t contaminated. You can read more about how to make your large pond suitable for swimming here

Keeping Your Pond Clean

Of course, if you want to keep your pond an animal-friendly environment, there are multiple options for you to choose from. One of the newest trends is adding activated carbon tablets into your pond, to clean the water of chemicals and pesticides. It acts as a biological filter system.

Stopping Your Pond Overflowing Or Leaking

If you find your pond is overflowing and flooding your grass, the best way to stop the overflow is to install a pipe. This pipe can remove any excess water you receive from the rain and displace it into a safer location. These pipes are called Overflow Pipes and they are easy to install.

If the flooding isn’t due to an overflow, then you may have a leak on your hands. Finding and repairing a pond leak can take some time. Often a simple pond sealer repair is all you need, but we recommend reading our guide, to help you find the right solution to your issue.

In both situations, you may need to drain your pond first, to figure out how to install the overflow pipe or mend the cracks creating the leak. In deep ponds such as Koi ponds, it may be worth draining the water into a container, so you can re-use the same water when it’s time to refill – saving you money in the process. Building retaining walls can also help prevent both issues from occurring again.

Streams

When most people think about water features in their yard, a pool or a pond is what often comes to mind. But one of the most beautiful and eco-friendly water features you can create is a stream. To build a stream in your backyard, all you need is an area for the water to go, dig out the stream base and install a water pump.

Ideally, the water should circulate back into itself like a fountain, to converse the water and allow it to last longer.

Pool

To make sure that the water in your pool is healthy you need to use chlorine tablets to purify the water. Stagnant water causes bacteria to grow, and as a pool is essentially a massive bucket of stagnant water, you need these tables to remove any harmful bacteria that could be breeding in this perfect habit. 

A new trend we have found in pools is the desire to put them in the basement instead of outside. This allows the pool to be an all-year-round facility. However, with such a change, it can be easy for a plumber to mess up your home’s water system as they attempt to put in the new piping. We suggest following our guidelines if you want to take on this adventure.

The Water In Your Kitchen

In the US we love to filter our water to high heaven. However, before talking about how to keep your water in the sink, we need to talk about remineralizing our water supply. The World Health Organization explains that we need to have a certain amount of magnesium and calcium in our bodies to stay healthy, which means our ultra-clean water supply isn’t nutritious enough. You can make your water more beneficial by buying alkaline pitchers or adding natural salts to your glass.

Sinks

One of the biggest issues sinks are known for is clogging. Ideally, you should remove the U-bend and pull out whatever is stopping the water from flowing, but if you want a quicker solution that is less messy, you should pour hot salty water down the drain after every use. This will stop grease from leaching onto your pipes and will melt it away from your drainage system.

Installing And Removing A Faucet

If you are thinking about changing your faucet due to damage or a difference in style, then know that you can do it yourself without hiring a professional. The process is a little delicate, but following our guide, you can save money and complete this DIY project all by yourself.

Be warned. If you are removing a Delta kitchen faucet or an Aerator faucet, you will need to follow a different plan. They aren’t necessarily harder to remove, but the retaining plate requires an extra step and a different approach. Both of which you can find in our links above.

If your faucet has no visible screws, then you need to follow this guide instead. In this non-screw guide, you’ll have instructions on how to remove buttons and double and single-handle faucets.

If your issue with the faucet is its slow flow speed, you may not need to replace it. With the Delta kitchen faucet, for example, you can remove the flow restrictor by unscrewing the faucet base, locating the slip joint pillars, and turning the mechanism counterclockwise. This will help you remove the restrictor giving you more powerful speeds. 

The Sink Is Making A Weird Noise

If your sink is making a strange gurgling noise, then it either needs a clean, it’s been damaged, or the vent is blocked. To stop the noise, you could first try cleaning the sink and then unblocking the vent. If neither of those ideas works, you may need to replace the pipework due to damages.

Clog in the Kitchen Sink

If you don’t have a food disposal unit, it can be easy to clog up your sink. Food, hair, soap, and grease can all create a fatberg stopping water from pushing through. To unclog the sink, you should drain the tub of water, and then add baking soda to the pipe. After a couple of minutes, pour down some boiling water, and end the concoction with vinegar. This should dissolve the fat sticking to your pipes.

Installing A Disposal Unit

Disposal units are both convenient and eco-friendly as they break down your food waste into a more compostable liquid that can be filled into the water system. If you want to install a disposal unit into your single bowl kitchen sink, follow this guide.

Removing A Sink

If you want to change sinks, removing the bulky furnishing can be difficult. Make one wrong move and the pipes could snap. To make sure you don’t accidentally break something, follow our guide.

Removing Stains

Living in a location that deals with hard water can mean that even stainless steel can develop stains. It can be really hard to remove these marks unless you know what you’re doing. We suggest using white vinegar and baking soda to create a natural acidic formula that you can spray on the affected area. Within seconds the stain will go away.

If you leave the stain on your sink, you can expect the hard water to erode your countertop. This means you need to act quickly to prevent having to replace the sink.

The Water In Your Living Room

Most of us only have one water-based function in our living room – a humidifier. These machines are designed to add water to the air, stopping your skin from becoming dry.

Ideally, you shouldn’t have these machines on for longer than 12 hours in a day.

If you notice that the humidifier starts spouting our white dust or particles, it means you missed out on too many maintenance checks. To fix the issue, simply remove the casing and wash the filter. In Vicks humidifiers, which are aimed at making you feel better if you get a cold, the machine often stops working if it hasn’t been cleaned. This is to prevent the humidifier from causing more harm while you are ill. 

Summary

Water is the lifeforce of your home, and it is actively looking after you in every room you own. Knowing how to look for leaks, maintain your water’s softness, and keep your appliances in good working order will help you keep the water flowing. You can use our manuals, reviews, and general information guides to help you fix any water-based issue. And if you are struggling to understand some of the terminologies that often get flung around, just read our glossary of terms, to break it down for you.

Here at Water Heater Hub, we have all the answers you need to keep your home flowing.

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