How Much Water Do Dishwashers Use?

How Much Water Do Dishwashers Use?

How much water does a dishwasher use? It’s something you might wonder about, especially when your water bill arrives.

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You might be surprised how much water the average dishwasher uses and how it compares to washing your dishes by hand.

How Much Water Does a Typical Dishwasher Cycle Use?

The amount of water used per cycle can vary depending on the efficiency of your machine and its age.

In the U.S., if your dishwasher was manufactured after May 30, 2013, it has to meet federal limits that mandate no more than 5 gallons of water used per cycle for a standard-sized appliance. Compact dishwashers made in the same timeframe can use no more than 3.5 gallons. If you choose an Energy Star-rated dishwasher, it can only use a maximum of 3.5 gallons per cycle for a standard-size model or 3.1 gallons per cycle for a compact model. Older dishwashers use a lot more water — often 10 to 15 gallons per cycle.

Is It More Efficient to Handwash Dishes?

The alternative to using an automatic dishwasher is washing your dishes by hand. How much water does a dishwasher use compared to handwashing dishes? Surprisingly, a dishwasher usually uses less water. When you handwash dishes, you might use anywhere from 9 to 27 gallons, depending on how many dishes you wash and your efficiency when washing and rinsing them.

If you have a new dishwasher — especially an Energy Star-rated model — using the dishwasher is typically more efficient when it comes to water usage. However, an older model will use more water and make the process less efficient. The winner in hand versus machine washing can also depend on your habits when you wash dishes by hand.

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How to Wash Dishes More Efficiently

Whether you wash your dishes by hand or in a dishwasher, you can make the process more efficient.

  • Wait for a full load. If you use a dishwasher, only run it when the machine is full. If you do multiple smaller loads throughout the day, you’ll use more water overall. This can also be true of handwashing dishes. If you fill the sink to wash a few dishes, you’ll waste more water than you would if you wanted until you had lots of dishes and washed them all at once.
  • Skip pre-rinsing: When you pre-rinse your dishes for the dishwasher, you’ll add to your water consumption. You typically just need to scrape the food on the dishes before putting them in the machine instead of rinsing.
  • Fix issues: If you’re having issues with your dishwasher, have them fixed immediately to keep the appliance efficient and working properly to get dishes clean with one cycle.
  • Upgrade your dishwasher. If you have an old model, consider installing a new dishwasher that’s more efficient.
  • Install an aerator. An aerator installed on your kitchen faucet cuts down on how much water comes out of the faucet without reducing the effectiveness of the flow.
  • Reduce your suds. Only add enough dish soap to create sufficient suds for handwashing. More bubbles mean more rinsing and higher water consumption.
  • Start with a little water. Instead of filling your sink to the top to handwash, start with just an inch or so in the bottom. As you wash smaller dish items, rinse them with hot water directly into the sink to fill it gradually. When you get to larger items, the sink will have more water in it.
  • Wait to turn on the water. Avoid turning on the faucet until you’re done scrubbing a dish and are ready to rinse.
Why Do My Drains Smell?

Why Do My Drains Smell?

Walking into your kitchen to find a bad smell wafting from the drain is not pleasant. It may also leave you worrying about the cause of the odor.

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There can be many causes of smelly drains. Understanding the reason behind your drain’s smell is the first step to clearing the air.

Why Does My Drain Smell?

Some of the most common problems are:

Clogged Drain

If something is caught in a drain and stops water from flowing, this blockage can begin to rot and cause a foul odor.

Dry P-Trap

Person wearing rubber gloves uses an adjustable wrench on a drain pipe underneath a sink.

P-traps are under every sink in your home. They trap debris before it goes down the drain and the water pooled in them blocks sewer gas. If a P-trap gets dry, odors from the trapped debris can be released, and sewer gas may also rise up the drain.

Venting Problems

Your drainpipes are connected to venting pipes that lead to your roof. These pipes bring fresh air in and allow bad odors to escape. If a venting pipe is clogged from outside debris, such as leaves or a bird’s nest, the bad smells are forced back down into your home and out your drains.

Mold or Mildew

Moist environments are the perfect environment for mold and mildew to form. If mold grows in your drains, it can lead to bad smells. This is often a problem with drains that aren’t used regularly.

Why Does My Drain Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

A rotten egg smell is caused by hydrogen sulfide. This is one of the compounds found in sewage but can also be caused by a bacteria build-up. Although the smell can be overwhelming, hydrogen sulfide itself isn’t a health risk. However, it can indicate a more serious problem with the sewage line, so it’s important to diagnose the problem.

First, check if the problem is with your water by filling a glass with water from your sink and taking it outside to smell. If your water smells like rotten eggs, contact a plumber to investigate the problem because it could be a problem with your hot water tank, water supply or plumbing.

If your kitchen sink smells like rotten eggs, it’s most likely due to grease or fat stuck in the drain. The bacteria that grow on these substances usually have this smell. If the hydrogen sulfide smell is in your bathroom, it’s more likely to be caused by a clog or dry P-trap. There are actions you can take to fix these problems, but if the smell persists, it’s time to call a plumber.

Why Does My Kitchen Drain Smell?

media/?Closeup overview of stainless steel sink drain shows where the circular sink flange inserts into the sink basin.

HomeServe photo by Matt Schmitz

The most common cause of kitchen drain odors is rotting food. Food can stick to the sides of your drain or get caught in the garbage disposal, and even small amounts can rot and cause a bad odor.

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Why Does My Shower or Bath Drain Smell?

Hair, soap and other substances build up in shower drains and become a breeding ground for bacteria, causing a smell. Another common cause of bad smells in bathrooms is a dry P-trap, especially in guest bathrooms that are rarely used.

How Do You Fix Drain Smells?

The first step to take is always flushing your drain with boiling water. If the problem is a dry P-trap, this will fill it again. If the issue is debris or a blockage, boiling water can help move it.

If this doesn’t work, try pouring 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by 1 cup of vinegar. Let this sit for 10 minutes, then flush with boiling water. This can help dissolve a blockage and scrub away residue stuck to the sides of drains.

What Do You Do If You Smell Sewer Gas From a Drain?

If you’ve tried the above steps and the sewage smell remains, try doing a full clean of your sink to remove the blockage. If you can safely access your venting pipe, you may also want to check for blockages there. If this doesn’t work, it might be time to call in a professional.

How Do You Keep Drains From Smelling in the First Place?

If you want to stop the problem before it starts, make sure you regularly flush water down any drains that If you want to stop the problem before it starts, make sure you regularly flush water down any drains that aren’t used regularly. You should also be careful of what goes down your drains. Never pour fat or grease down your sink, and always put food waste in the trash or a compost heap. In the bathroom, use a mesh screen or similar device to catch hair before it goes down the drain. Lastly, never flush anything down the toilet besides toilet paper and human waste.

How Much Does It Cost to Install or Replace a Water Softener?

How Much Does It Cost to Install or Replace a Water Softener?

Water Softener Installation Costs at a Glance

  • Average installation cost: $1,500 (CAD $1,880)
  • Installation price range: $500-$6,000 (CAD 630-CAD 7,500)
  • Replacement cost: $700-$930 (CAD 880- CAD 1,200)
  • Average labor cost: $100-$500 (CAD 125- CAD 630)
  • Monthly salt cost: $2-$15 (CAD 2.50 to CAD 19)

Maybe you have white calcium built up on your shower heads and around the drains. Perhaps you find that your skin is itchy and your hair is dry. These may be indicators that you have hard water, which can harm your appliances in the long run.

This May Also Interest You: Have Hard Water? Here’s How to Know — and How to Treat It

It may be time to consider investing in a water softener system. Use this guide to get an idea of how much that will cost.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Water Softener?

The average cost of installing a new water softener system is $1,500 (CAD 1,880).

Prices for a water softener installation for the average home typically range from $500 to $6,000 (CAD 630 to CAD 7,500). The main factor of what it will cost is the size of the system you purchase. The average price for water softener installation in a larger home is $2,500 to $10,000 (CAD 3,100 to CAD 12,500).  If you are handy, you may be able to cut costs by installing it yourself.

A water softener needs to be replenished with sea salt. The monthly cost of softener salt is $2 to $15 (CAD 2.50 to CAD 19).

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Water Softener?

Most water softeners typically last around 10 to 15 years — provided they’re well maintained. When it comes time to replace your unit, you can expect an average cost between $700 and $930 (CAD 880 and CAD 1,200). This cost includes installation. Modern water softener systems may have certain parts tied to the sewer system. Because of this, you may need a permit and a professional who can install these systems to code.

What Are the Labor Costs Involved?

The average cost of installing a water softener is $500 to $6,000 (CAD 630 to CAD 7,500). The labor aspect of this average is $100 to $500 (CAD 125 to CAD 630). The labor cost for installing a water softener depends on a few factors:

  • The type and size purchased
  • How accessible the installation area is
  • If it requires extra piping materials or a drain

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What Size Water Softener Do I Need?

1. Determine the Hardness of the Water

One of the first things you should do to determine if you need to get a water filtration system is test your water hardness. The hardness of your water is based on what minerals are present in it. You can contact your water company, hire a professional lab or purchase a testing kit. The results are measured by grains per gallon (gpg) or milligrams per liter (mgL). The range for hard water is 7 to 11 gpg or 121 to 180 mgL.

2. Determine Your Water Consumption

Next, you need to determine the amount of water your household uses. Most household members use 80 to 100 gallons (300 to 400 liters) of water per day. Multiply your daily average by the number of people in your home. This number is your average daily consumption. For example, if you use 80 gallons (300 liters) per day and have three people in your home, your average daily consumption would be 240 gallons (900 liters).

3. Calculate Grains Removed

Calculate how many grains the system would need to remove weekly.  Multiply the gpg of your water by your household daily consumption. If your water has a hardness of 9 gpg, and the daily usage is 240 gallons (900 liters), the number of grains that need to be removed each day is 2,160. Multiply your daily number by 7. This example has a weekly average of 15,120 GR.

4. Determine Water Softener Size

Water softener sizes are typically indicated by grains to be removed weekly. The most common sizes for water softeners start at 24,000 GR and go up to 64,000 GR. When choosing a size, allow for water use fluctuations in different seasons. For the household of 3 that needs 15,120 grains to be removed, a 24,000 GR softener would be suitable.

How Much Does It Cost to Install or Replace a Water Softener?

How Much Does It Cost to Install or Replace a Water Softener?

Water Softener Installation Costs at a Glance

  • Average installation cost: $1,500 (CAD $1,880)
  • Installation price range: $500-$6,000 (CAD 630-CAD 7,500)
  • Replacement cost: $700-$930 (CAD 880- CAD 1,200)
  • Average labor cost: $100-$500 (CAD 125- CAD 630)
  • Monthly salt cost: $2-$15 (CAD 2.50 to CAD 19)

Maybe you have white calcium built up on your shower heads and around the drains. Perhaps you find that your skin is itchy and your hair is dry. These may be indicators that you have hard water, which can harm your appliances in the long run.

This May Also Interest You: Have Hard Water? Here’s How to Know — and How to Treat It

It may be time to consider investing in a water softener system. Use this guide to get an idea of how much that will cost.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Water Softener?

The average cost of installing a new water softener system is $1,500 (CAD 1,880).

Prices for a water softener installation for the average home typically range from $500 to $6,000 (CAD 630 to CAD 7,500). The main factor of what it will cost is the size of the system you purchase. The average price for water softener installation in a larger home is $2,500 to $10,000 (CAD 3,100 to CAD 12,500).  If you are handy, you may be able to cut costs by installing it yourself.

A water softener needs to be replenished with sea salt. The monthly cost of softener salt is $2 to $15 (CAD 2.50 to CAD 19).

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Water Softener?

Most water softeners typically last around 10 to 15 years — provided they’re well maintained. When it comes time to replace your unit, you can expect an average cost between $700 and $930 (CAD 880 and CAD 1,200). This cost includes installation. Modern water softener systems may have certain parts tied to the sewer system. Because of this, you may need a permit and a professional who can install these systems to code.

What Are the Labor Costs Involved?

The average cost of installing a water softener is $500 to $6,000 (CAD 630 to CAD 7,500). The labor aspect of this average is $100 to $500 (CAD 125 to CAD 630). The labor cost for installing a water softener depends on a few factors:

  • The type and size purchased
  • How accessible the installation area is
  • If it requires extra piping materials or a drain

More Related Articles:

What Size Water Softener Do I Need?

1. Determine the Hardness of the Water

One of the first things you should do to determine if you need to get a water filtration system is test your water hardness. The hardness of your water is based on what minerals are present in it. You can contact your water company, hire a professional lab or purchase a testing kit. The results are measured by grains per gallon (gpg) or milligrams per liter (mgL). The range for hard water is 7 to 11 gpg or 121 to 180 mgL.

2. Determine Your Water Consumption

Next, you need to determine the amount of water your household uses. Most household members use 80 to 100 gallons (300 to 400 liters) of water per day. Multiply your daily average by the number of people in your home. This number is your average daily consumption. For example, if you use 80 gallons (300 liters) per day and have three people in your home, your average daily consumption would be 240 gallons (900 liters).

3. Calculate Grains Removed

Calculate how many grains the system would need to remove weekly.  Multiply the gpg of your water by your household daily consumption. If your water has a hardness of 9 gpg, and the daily usage is 240 gallons (900 liters), the number of grains that need to be removed each day is 2,160. Multiply your daily number by 7. This example has a weekly average of 15,120 GR.

4. Determine Water Softener Size

Water softener sizes are typically indicated by grains to be removed weekly. The most common sizes for water softeners start at 24,000 GR and go up to 64,000 GR. When choosing a size, allow for water use fluctuations in different seasons. For the household of 3 that needs 15,120 grains to be removed, a 24,000 GR softener would be suitable.

9 Common Plumbing Myths — Busted

9 Common Plumbing Myths — Busted

From the outside, your plumbing system might seem simple, but go a bit deeper, and you’ll find an intricate network of pipes and fixtures that can all have major issues. Because plumbing systems are often mysterious to homeowners, it’s no wonder certain myths have cropped up about their inner workings.

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Acting on common plumbing myths can make plumbing problems worse or introduce new issues that can damage fixtures, cause water damage or require expensive professional repairs. These are some of the biggest plumbing myths going around. Here’s how to avoid unintentionally damaging your plumbing system.

Steer Clear of These Plumbing Myths

These plumbing “tips” are often passed down through generations. Kids see their parents putting a brick in the toilet tank or pouring drain cleaner down the sink to clear clogs and assume it’s the best way to handle plumbing issues. The following plumbing myths are some of the most common ones people share.

1. Drain Cleaners Are Safe and Effective

It’s easy to assume that drain-cleaning products are safe and effective if they’re sold in stores, but they can actually be very dangerous. The harsh ingredients used in these drain openers are often damaging and can cause your pipes to deteriorate. If you breathe them in, splash them on your skin or get them in your eyes, they can cause serious injuries.

Drain cleaners don’t always work all that well, either. That might lead you to try other methods, such as additional drain-cleaning products, which can cause a serious chemical reaction if combined. If you use a plunger after putting drain opener in your drain, the plunger could splash the product on you. Instead, it’s best to try plungers and augers initially without the addition of drain-opening products.

2. Flushable Wipes Are Flushable

Despite the name, flushable wipes aren’t really safe to flush. Toilet paper is designed to break down, so it goes down the drain when you flush your toilet and doesn’t easily clog up the sewer or septic system. However, flushable wipes don’t disintegrate as toilet paper does, so they can often clog up the system. It might flush down your toilet, but it can create deeper issues in your system. Toilet paper and human waste are the only things you should flush.

3. Minor Leaks Are Nothing to Worry About

If your sink only has a minor drip, you might not think much of it. However, every drip adds up and can lead to gallons of wasted water. The leaky faucet will likely get worse, which can cause more damage and even more wasted water. Handling a plumbing leak as soon as you notice it prevents the issue from getting worse.

4. Lemon Peels Are Good for Garbage Disposals

There’s a good chance someone has told you to put lemon peels down your garbage disposal to freshen it up. Citrus peels can damage the disposal. Even though the chopped-up lemons might temporarily freshen your kitchen, they can make the blades dull. The citric acid can also cause the metal blades to corrode, and the peels can clog your garbage disposal. Instead, use a cleaner designed for garbage disposals, and always disconnect the power if you’re wiping the blades or other garbage disposal components.

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5. If It Goes Down the Drain, There’s Nothing to Worry About

For the most part, if your toilets flush and the drains drain well, your plumbing should be working fine. However, sometimes clogs can build up inside the pipes even when water is still flowing. Some clogs start small and gradually build up as more gunk goes down the drains, which means the problem could be growing in the pipes without you realizing it. If you notice the water starts to take longer to drain or you notice other unusual things, having your drains cleaned could help you avoid a major clog or backup.

6. Pipes Only Freeze If the Heat Is Off

You might think the only way your pipes can freeze is if you lose power or your furnace stops working. However, some pipes can freeze even if your heat is working fine. Pipes that run through exterior walls without much insulation or in areas like basements and attics that aren’t insulated can freeze, even if your furnace is still running. Freezing can often lead to a burst pipe, which can cause serious water damage. Monitor your pipes carefully in freezing weather. Leaving cabinet doors under sinks open and insulating pipes in uninsulated areas can minimize the risk of freezing.

7. Putting a Brick in the Toilet Tank Will Save Money

A brick in the toilet tank is supposed to save you money by using less water, but it can cause toilet issues. Your toilet tank needs a certain amount of water in it to flush the toilet properly. The brick can make the flushing worse by decreasing how much water the toilet has. The brick could break apart and cause issues inside your toilet.

8. Plumbing Is Easy to Fix Yourself

All homes eventually need plumbing repairs. It’s tempting to tackle them yourself to save money, but many repairs are better left to professional plumbers. DIY repairs could lead to bigger problems that cost a lot more to fix. Before trying to fix a plumbing issue yourself, ensure you’re fully equipped to make the repair.

9. Any Plumber Can Handle Your Issues

Some people believe that all plumbers are the same and can handle all plumbing issues. Most states require plumbers to be licensed, but they don’t all have the same credentials or training. Not all plumbers are equally reliable or knowledgeable on plumbing issues, so it’s important to check reviews and ratings to look for red flags.

If you have a very specific issue, it’s a good idea to find a plumber with extensive experience in that issue. For example, if your tankless water heater isn’t working properly, ensure you find a plumber who has worked on a lot of tankless water heaters and not just traditional tank types.

How Your Home’s Plumbing System Works

How Your Home’s Plumbing System Works

Our plumbing system is an essential part of your home, but many homeowners don’t understand how it works.

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Knowing what the different plumbing system components do and how they function can help you diagnose and manage plumbing problems.

How Does a Plumbing System Work?

Your plumbing system consists of freshwater and wastewater subsystems. The freshwater subsystem pushes water through your pipes under enough pressure to supply upstairs fixtures. Meanwhile, the wastewater subsystem transports used water away from your home. Depending on your wastewater system, the water travels to a municipal sewer or a septic tank.

Plumbing systems also contain a water heater with a tank to store hot water and supply your fixtures. Alternatively, you may have a tankless system that heats water on demand.

How Does Fresh Water Enter Your Home?

Most American homes get their water supply from a public water supply system in their town or city. The entity responsible for the communal water supply uses powerful pumps to transport water from a well or body of water to a water tower, and the source depends on the natural geography of the area. Water suppliers then treat and filter the water to make it safe to drink.

Sometimes, the tower is located on high ground, allowing gravity to pull water along supply lines to people’s homes. Otherwise, the supplier pumps the water to supply local houses with water.

Some homeowners in remote communities have their own wells that supply their homes with fresh water. They may also have a tank as part of their plumbing system to store water so that it’s readily available.

How Does Fresh Water Flow to Fixtures Like Sinks and Showers?

After fresh water enters your home via a main water supply line, it’s pumped under pressure along supply pipes made from plastic, iron or copper. These pipes branch out to supply every fixture in your home, including toilets, faucets and showers. Some of the water supplies your water heater and travels along hot water supply pipes to your fixtures.

Pressure is essential for forcing water through your plumbing system. A pressurized system allows water to travel upward to supply upstairs taps and push around corners in your pipework.

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What Are the Major Parts of a Home Plumbing System?

Your home’s plumbing system has three major parts:

  • Pipes: Supply hot and cold fresh water to your fixtures
  • Fixtures: Allow access to hot and cold fresh water
  • Drains: Carry wastewater from your fixtures to the sewage system

Each part of your plumbing system requires proper installation and maintenance to keep everything working correctly. A professional plumber can advise you on how to care for your plumbing system.

What Are Plumbing Vents?

Plumbing vents, also known as vent stacks or plumbing air vents, control the airflow through your plumbing system. These vents are vertical pipes that attach to a drain line and allow waste gases to escape while supplying fresh air to your plumbing system.

Plumbing vents prevent a vacuum from forming inside your plumbing system, allowing water to flow freely to your fixtures. They also stop sewer gases from entering your home by carrying them to the main roof vent away from your home’s ventilation system.

How Is Wastewater Taken Out of the Home?

Unlike your freshwater system, your drainage system isn’t pressurized. When you flush the toilet or let the water run down the plughole, gravity transports it downward through the fixture drain. Fixture drainpipes usually have curved sections called traps that prevent waste gases from traveling back up the pipe and into your home.

Fixture drains connect to horizontal branch drain lines concealed in the walls. These horizontal lines have a slight downward angle to allow the water to flow into soil stacks, which are large vertical pipes that connect to the main drain. The main drain is usually located underneath your house.

The main drain line is angled downward to encourage wastewater and solid waste toward the municipal sewer main or septic field. The municipal sewer main is a communal line owned by your city or county that transports the sewage to a wastewater treatment plant. Some municipal sewer lines transport water using gravity alone, but others use pumps to push wastewater through the system.

If you live in a rural area where it would be too expensive or impractical to install a public sewer system, you may have a septic tank. These tanks are large concrete or steel containers installed underground in the yard. Sewage flows through the main drain line into the septic tank, where solids sink to the bottom to form sludge and floating waste rises to the top. This creates a layer of clear wastewater in the middle. As more water enters the tank, some of the existing water flows into perforated pipes in a drain field where it seeps into the ground.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Bathtub Drain?

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Bathtub Drain?

Bathtub Drain Replacement Costs at a Glance

  • Drain and parts: $100
  • Professional installation: $350

No one thinks about their bathtub drain. In fact, unless it’s clogged, you probably never do. But things happen. And sometimes your bathtub drain needs a little more care than a simple unclogging.

This May Also Interest You: 4 Ways to Unclog a Bathtub Drain

If that’s the case, you’re probably left with two questions: Can you even replace the drain in a bathtub, and how much will that cost? We’ve got your answers.

Can You Replace the Drain in a Bathtub?

The good news is that, thankfully, a bathtub drain can be replaced. The process can be done either by a professional or as a do-it-yourself project. Usually, it’s a relatively straightforward process. Some drains can be easily replaced within a few minutes. Be aware, though, that others will require extensive plumbing work beyond that of a simple drain replacement. How involved the process is will likely be determined by the type of bathtub you have and the reasons you want or need to replace the drain.

Why Replace a Bathtub Drain?

There are many reasons people will need to replace the bathtub drain. It could be that you’ve tried every method you can think of to clear a clog and you’re still having issues. It might be that you’ve got a cast iron tub, and a drain that doesn’t work could lead to rust issues. Perhaps you have a fiberglass tub, and the drain is causing residue buildup. Any of these reasons — or a whole host of others — could lead you to want to replace your drain. Replacing your drain is also a step to take before going through the work required to replace the whole bathtub.

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What’s the Average Cost to Replace a Bathtub Drain?

Typically, the cost for the drain itself is somewhere around $100. However, you might be able to do it for less. The price of parts and labor associated with the cost to replace a bathtub drain vary based on a few factors. The two biggest will be the kind of bathtub you have and the type of work it needs. Free-standing tubs, for example, will require a completely different drain-replacement technique than a walk-in unit. Plus, if you’re just replacing the main drain interface of the tub, it will be much cheaper than if you need to hire a plumber to replace the bathtub P-trap.

If you go the DIY route, labor costs are zero, putting the total around $100 because you’re just paying for parts. Meanwhile, the cost to hire a professional to change out your bathtub drain will come in somewhere around $350. Keep in mind this price is just for the drain replacement, and it doesn’t include other bathtub drainpipe costs. The more the job extends into the plumbing beyond the drain area, the more it will cost.

How to Flush Your Tankless Water Heater: A 7-Step Guide

How to Flush Your Tankless Water Heater: A 7-Step Guide

Flushing a Tankless Water Heater at a Glance

  • Step 1: Turn of isolation valves and gas
  • Step 2: Connect hoses
  • Step 3: Attach hoses to circulation pump
  • Step 4: Add cleaning agent
  • Step 5: Open valves
  • Step 6: Flush cleaning agent
  • Step 7: Reconnect

One of the most important maintenance tasks you can do for your water heater is to flush it. Sediment like calcium and other minerals can build up inside the tank over time, causing it to erode, which shortens its lifespan. To deal with this problem, you need to flush it to get rid of these pesky minerals and other unwanted debris.

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Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, flushing your tankless water heater is something you need to add to your list of yearly maintenance tasks. By doing so, you can improve your water heater’s efficiency and delay an expensive water heater replacement down the road.

Why You Need to Flush Your Tankless Water Heater

Mineral sediment made up of calcium and magnesium can build up inside your water heater over time and disrupt efficiency as well as reduce its lifespan. Mineral buildup can also cause loud, unpleasant noises to come from the water heater. When you flush a water heater, the cleaning agent used helps remove this buildup in the process and restores the machine.

Water heaters aren’t cheap by any means, so by performing routine maintenance like flushing them, you’ll help increase your machine’s longevity.

How Often Do You Need to Flush Water Heaters?

You should strive to flush your water heater at least once a year at the minimum. This will keep things running smoothly and ensure it doesn’t need replacement before its time. If the area you live in has hard water, you’ll want to flush it even more often.

DIY or Hire a Professional?

With the right tools and knowledge, you can certainly flush a tankless water heater by yourself. In fact, there are water heater flushing kits you can buy online for the job, which come with everything you need. They include things like a circulation pump, hoses, a bucket and a cleaning agent.

However, this is not a project where you can put caution aside. If you’re not confident working with tools, it’s best to leave it up to a professional. Depending on where you live, you can expect to pay anywhere between $150 to $250 per flush. Assuming you only do it once a year, the yearly costs of flushing are minimal compared to the costs of replacing a water heater. So, in the end, it’s a good long-term investment.

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How to Flush a Tankless Water Heater: Step By Step

Step 1: Turn Off the Isolation Valves and Gas

The first step is to turn off the isolation water valves that connect to your water heater — a blue inlet valve for the cold water and a red outlet valve for the hot water. A valve is turned off when it’s perpendicular to the pipe. If the valve is in the same direction as the pipe, then the valve is turned on. Always double-check that the valves are closed. You also need to turn off the gas valve by following the same steps above. You don’t need to turn off the power to your water heater.

Step 2: Connect the Hoses

Connect the hoses to the inlet and outlet valves. There might be a service port cap on both valves you need to remove before connecting them. If you didn’t buy a flushing kit that already comes with water hoses, you could always use water machine hoses as well. Connect the hoses to the vales and use pliers to ensure that the hose and valve are watertight. You don’t want the water to start leaking when you’re in the middle of flushing.

Step 3: Attach Hoses to the Circulation Pump

Now you need to use the circulation pump that came with your water heater flushing kit. Attach the other end of the inlet hose to the circulation pump and place it in the bucket. You only need to attach the inlet hose to the discharge side of the pump. For the outlet hose, you can simply place it in a bucket since the system you have set up will ensure the cleaner goes through the structure and cleans off any magnesium and calcium.

Step 4: Add Cleaning Agent

Once your system is all set up, simply add the cleaning agent to the bucket. The bucket should have at least one gallon of water in it before beginning the process.

Quick tip: If you don’t have a cleaning agent, you can always use vinegar. However, you will need to use at least 2 to 3 gallons of vinegar and let it circulate longer.

Step 5: Open the Valves

At this point, you just need to open up the water valves to let water flow through them and start the pump. You need to let everything circulate for at least 45 minutes and up to an hour and a half. The instruction booklet that comes with the cleaning agent will tell you how long you should let things circulate, but plan on at least an hour. If you’re using vinegar, you need to let it run even longer — for at least an hour and a half to 2 hours.

Step 6: Flush Out the Cleaning Agent

After the time has passed, turn off the pump to stop the circulation. Then turn off both valves and disconnect the inlet valve hose. You now want to flush out any remaining cleaning agent or vinegar. To do this, keep the hose connected to the hot water outlet valve and turn on the cold water inlet valve. This will push water up the system and flush out everything through the hose on the hot water side. Let the water flush for 5 to 10 minutes, then turn off the service port and the cold water inlet valve again. Finally, simply remove the remaining hose.

Step 7: Reconnect Everything

The tankless water heater has now been flushed, so now you can put everything back the way it was. Plug the service port caps back in and then turn on both water valves and the gas valve.

My Toilet Tank Is Spraying Water! How to Fix a Toilet Fill Valve

My Toilet Tank Is Spraying Water! How to Fix a Toilet Fill Valve

Is your toilet acting up? From toilet handle issues to clogs, a lot can go wrong with the busiest seat in the house. One of those things is the toilet fill valve, which controls the water that goes from the tank to the bowl. When you flush the toilet, it opens to let the water in the bowl. Then, it closes to refill the tank.

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When this valve fails, you’ll need to know how to fix a toilet fill valve to get your toilet back on track. Here’s what to do.

What Causes a Toilet Valve to Fail?

One of the most common causes of a failing toilet valve is simple wear and tear. The more times you flush, the more wear that happens to the toilet valve. This can cause the fill valve to move out of alignment or otherwise experience problems.

These toilet valves can also become dirty or clogged when debris builds up inside of them. The inner components are often inaccessible, which means it’s difficult impossible to clean out the debris.

How to Know When to Replace a Toilet Fill Valve

All homeowners should know basic toilet maintenance — like when to replace or fix a toilet fill valve. In addition to spraying water, here are some signs that you need a new toilet valve:

  • Constantly running toilet
  • Strange noises, such as low humming or screeching
  • Tank takes a long time to refill
  • Weak flushing

Can a Toilet Fill Valve Be Repaired?

When the toilet fill valve fails, you usually need to replace the whole thing. A new fill valve is inexpensive. Plus, you get the peace of mind of knowing that everything is news and less likely to fail again soon.

That said, you can make some adjustments to your fill valve that could help. For example, if the toilet doesn’t fill to the appropriate level, there’s an adjustment on the fill valve that you can move up or down. You can also adjust the height of the fill valve if needed.

How Do You Repair a Toilet Fill Valve?

The easiest way to fix a toilet fill valve is to simply replace it. Sometimes, you can remove and clean the existing fill valve to correct the issue. But usually, the answer you want when you ask how to fix a toilet fill valve is to install a new one. If the valve is very worn, it’s probably best to replace the entire thing to prevent more problems. You’ll often spend more on wasted water than you would to buy a replacement valve.

How Do You Replace a Toilet Fill Valve?

If your toilet fill valve fails, you usually need to replace it completely. These steps should guide you in the process:

1. Shut off the water supply to the toilet. The shut-off valve is usually behind the toilet tank.

2. Flush the toilet to empty the tank. You might need to use a sponge or towel to soak up the remaining water in the tank to keep it from spilling on your floor.

3. Position a bucket on the floor underneath where the water supply line connects with the toilet. This catches any leftover water that you can’t remove from the tank, which will leak out as soon as you remove the old fill valve.

4. Disconnect the water supply line at the base of the toilet tank.

5. Unscrew the locknut on the toilet fill valve and remove it from the tank.

6. Position the new fill valve inside the toilet tank, referring to the package instructions if necessary. The tube on the valve goes into the discharge. There might be a clip to attach the hose as well, depending on the replacement valve you buy. The fill valve is adjustable. The overflow pipe in your toilet should be 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) below the critical level mark on the flush valve for things to work correctly.

7. Adjust the fill valve if necessary to get the correct height. You might need to cut off the top portion of the overflow pipe if you’ve extended the fill valve as much as possible, but the overflow pipe is still too tall.

8. Hand-tighten the locknut once you get the proper positioning of the toilet fill valve. You want it tight enough to keep the valve in place without overtightening and breaking it.

9. Reconnect the water line and turn the water supply on.

10. Test the toilet to make sure it flushes and refills correctly without leaking. You can adjust the water level inside the tank by squeezing the metal clip and sliding it up or down along the metal rod.

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What Type of Fill Valve Do I Need?

When you’re buying a replacement part, you might notice different styles of fill valves at the store. Some older models use a ball float to measure the water level and determine when to shut off the water. A more modern design is the float cup fill valve, which has a round float mounted around the shaft. The float goes up and down with the water level and determines when the water level is high enough. You can also get floatless fill valves that use a pressure-sensing diaphragm to control the water.

Tips on How to Fix a Toilet Fill Valve

Use these tips to help when replacing or fixing a toilet fill valve.

  • Try adjusting your current toilet fill valve first to see if that resolves the issues.
  • Keep a bucket under the water connection point until the replacement is completely done and you’re sure it’s not leaking.
  • Grab an old towel in case you need to dry up spilled water. Place the old fill valve on the towel to keep any water from leaking out of it.
  • Avoid using a wrench or pliers to tighten parts so you don’t break them.
How to Turn Off Your Water Heater — and When It May Come Up

How to Turn Off Your Water Heater — and When It May Come Up

If you notice a leak from your water heater or your water supply is cut off, it’s important to act quickly to avoid damage to your heater unit or surrounding walls and floors. Typically, this means turning off your water heater.

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Knowing in advance how to turn off your water heater can give you the confidence that you know what to do in a plumbing emergency. Here’s a quick guide.

Is It OK to Turn Off a Water Heater?

It’s generally best to avoid turning your water heater off too regularly. Some homeowners try to save money by switching off their water heaters when they don’t need them, but the savings are unlikely to be significant enough to justify the additional wear and tear on your machine.

Furthermore, you’ll have to wait for around an hour for the water heater to produce enough hot water for a bath or shower after you turn it back on, which is bad news if you’re in a rush and don’t leave enough time. Switching your water heater on also puts it under extra stress, which could cause it to malfunction if you do it again and again. However, there are some situations when you’ll need to turn your water heater off.

When and Why Should You Turn Off a Water Heater?

There are a couple of situations when you should consider turning your water heater off. If your main water supply is turned off for any reason, it’s best to shut down the water heater as a precaution until the supply resumes. Continuing to run your water heater when the tank isn’t full could cause heat damage to the internal components.

The other time you should always turn off a water heater is if it starts leaking. This is a sign of a faulty valve or could indicate that your heater is simply too old and needs replacing. A water leak from your heater could cause damage to your walls or floors, so turn it off until you can get support from a professional plumber. You’ll also need to turn off an electric water heater before you flush it.

How Do I Shut Off My Gas Water Heater?

First, locate the temperature dial on your gas water heater and twist it into the off position. Look around the top of the water heater to find the supply line and switch off the valve to stop any more water from flowing into the heater.

Next, you need to switch off the gas supply to the heater. If you have a lever, turn it so that it’s perpendicular to the supply line. If you have a knob, twist it clockwise until it won’t go any further. Finally, turn the air relief valve off to let air inside the tank.

How Do I Shut Off My Electric Water Heater?

Start by finding the breaker box for your home’s electricity supply and turn off the line to your water heater. You can usually find the breaker box on an external wall. If you plan on flushing your water heater, now is a good time. Turn off the water supply valve, then switch off the air supply valve to allow the tank to fill with air.

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Can I Turn Off the Water and Leave My Water Heater On?

If you need to turn your water off for any reason, it’s always safer to turn your water heater off, too. While many water heaters will be fine for a while without a water supply, reduced water pressure or a low water level inside the tank could cause the heater’s components to overheat and burn. This could cause significant, expensive damage to your water heater.

How Do I Know If My Water Heater Is Off?

If you’re concerned that you haven’t turned your water heater off correctly, try turning on a faucet for a couple of minutes to ensure that the water runs cold. You can also try listening to the heater to check that it’s silent. While a water heater should be reasonably quiet if it’s in good working order, most make a low noise that will alert you if it’s still running.