28 07, 2019

Faucet dried and cracked seal leaking

2019-07-28T19:32:22-05:00July 28th, 2019|

Faucet dried and cracked seals leaking

The most common cause for the issue you describe is that the seals in the fixture have deteriorated and most like caused by the water to the house being shut off.
Faucet seal
Example:

Plumbing is a vulnerable spot for a vacant house even if water is shut off for a short period.

Instead of turning off water and draining and treating pipes to prevent catastrophic fractures, many absentee homeowners will simply shut off the water to the whole house or at a toilet or sink valve.

It sounds like the right thing, but it nearly ensures that the person who next opens that valve will be mopping up water and repairing the damage. Plumbing fixture’s valve, gasket, or hose needs water to stay pliable. If it dries out, the seal will crack and will not be able to do its job. Once the valve opens and the water turns on, a leak or flood will likely follow.

The pipes can also dry out, crack, and wreak the same havoc. Water pressure can cause extreme bursts and flooding throughout your home.

How to restore water to the house.

Step 1: Remove the aerators from the kitchen and bathroom sinks before turning on the water in the house. This allows any mineral buildup to pass through and not get stuck in the aerator. Check that every faucet is turned off before turning on the water valves.

Step 2: Turn on the water supply valves under each sink. The supply valves are knobs located on the pipes under the sink. Turn the valves counter-clockwise, or to the left, to open them. Open the valve on your hot water heater as well.

Step 3: Locate an outside water faucet close to the water meter. Turn this to on so that water flows from it when you turn on the main water supply; this way you know that you have water going to the house.

Step 4: Locate the main water valve on the water meter. It probably looks like a lever you can rotate to the left to open. Rotate the valve a quarter turn, wait 20 seconds, and rotate another quarter turn. Repeat until the valve is completely open. It is important to open the main valve slowly so that the pipes in your house aren’t flooded with full-power water, which can cause leaking.

Step 5: Check that water is flowing through the exterior faucet. If it is, turn the faucet off. Go inside and listen for water flowing into the hot water tank. Do not turn on the electricity to the hot water heater until the tank is full of water.

Step 6: Turn the water faucet on at each sink. Do this slowly, and allow each faucet to run for 15 or 20 seconds. As you turn off the water, replace the aerators. Once you’ve cleared each sink, turn the valves for the toilets a quarter turn at a time until they are fully open and the tanks are filling with water. When they are full, flush the toilets. Run water into each shower and bathtub as well. When testing the different water outlets for the first time, go slowly so the pipes have time to adjust to the water and won’t leak.

Step 7: Turn off all the water outlets once the hot water tank is full. Check the water meter. If the usage meter is rotating, you may have a leak. In this instance, call a plumber. You also can do a visual tour of the inside and outside of your house to check for any leaking water.
28 01, 2019

Bootleg Ground or False Ground

2019-07-28T19:39:42-05:00January 28th, 2019|

Bootleg Ground or False Ground

 False Ground

A false ground or boot leg grounding involves using a jumper wire to connect the neutral terminal (lug) and the ground terminal (lug) on a receptacle. This is done to trick the basic hand held testers most inspectors use to check for open grounds.  This is a common trick used by do-it-yourselfers and some handy men.  The reason it is done is to disguise an ungrounded two wire electrical circuit and make it appear to be a legitimate grounded circuit.

The issue is the receptacle now appears to be correctly grounded and it is not.  An unsuspecting home owner that plugs in a power tool, kitchen appliance or any other electrical device with a three prong plug is now exposed to the possibility of a deadly electrical shock.  The third wire that would normally protect the unsuspecting user is now part of the electrical circuit and a short may not be detected until the user is shocked.  A false ground is a significant safety issue.

A false ground is dangerous

Using jumpers does not provide a ground

The proper repair for existing two wire ungrounded circuits is;

  1. Use a two prong receptacle
  2. Use a three prong receptacle protected by a GFCI receptacle Link
  3. Use a three prong receptacle protected by a GFCI breaker in the circuit breaker panel Link
  4. Replace with a grounded three wire cable

Remember ungrounded GFCI protected receptacles are required to be marked as such.

All electrical repairs should be made by a qualified electrician.

7 05, 2018

Turn On The Air Conditioning To Avoid Mold

2018-05-07T22:08:11-05:00May 7th, 2018|

 

Turn On The Air Conditioning To Avoid Mold

Keeping the air conditioning running in your home will not only cool your home, it will help reduce the humidey from the air and help circulate and filter the air.Turn On The Air Conditioning To Avoid Mold

Question: Should I leave the HVAC on in a vacant / empty home?

Answer: In a home left vacant with the utilities off, the resulting enclosed dark and damp environment will create an almost perfect situation for mold spores to grow.

In the summer, a closed house with the air-conditioning turned off will have higher moisture / humidity levels than an air-conditioned home. A vacant house also receives little or no sunlight through closed shades and no air movement with the fan off and the doors locked.
By leaving the air conditioning running, it will cool the home and remove moisture from the air and circulated and filtered the air.
Molds thrive when the humidity levels exceed 70 percent. Because humidity levels vary from day to day, the thermostat should have been left at or below 75 degrees, and the fan should have been set to “On.”

 

For more information see this link by the Environmental Protection Agency
If you are concerned about mold you should have a professional mold inspection.

17 02, 2018

Open Ground Receptacle

2018-02-17T14:01:25-05:00February 17th, 2018|

Ungrounded Or Open Ground Receptacle

Ungrounded or Open Ground Receptacles are a safety hazard and are in violation of the building and national wiring codes. They need be made safe immediately.

Newer Wiring

In homes where all the receptacle were installed with a ground, any failure of the ground must be corrected by replacing the failing receptacle, or replacing and/or reconnecting the ground wire. In many cases the open ground on one receptacle is the result of a disconnected wire at another receptacle. A wire disconnected from one receptacle will disconnect the ground service from all the receptacles down line.

Older Wiring

In older homes the original wiring did not have ground wire connected to the receptacles. These ungrounded receptacles are easily distinguished by their two hole / slot configuration verses the newer grounded type of receptacle that has three holes / slots. Ungrounded receptacles that have two holes / slots used in a home that was originally wired in this manner and has not been rewired are considered acceptable.GFCI Receptacle

Where the Problem Begins

The problems for the owners of older homes start when grounded type receptacles are substituted for the ungrounded type without the necessary rewiring that adds a ground wire to the new three prong grounded type receptacle. Grounded type (three hole / slot) receptacles may not be substituted for ungrounded receptacles unless a ground wire is connected.

An exception to this rule is allowed by the National Electric Code, when the receptacle is protected by a ground fault interrupter (GFI or GFCI).

The Fixes

There are two fixes available for those home owners who do not want to rewire the entire house.

The first fix uses Ground Fault Interrupters. There are two types of GFI available, one takes the place of the regular circuit breaker in the load center. The second type that is available takes the place of the standard outlet and replaces it with a special GFI protected receptacle. These are commonly used in the kitchens and bathrooms of newer homes. Most people know them for their black and red reset buttons.

The second fix – In many older homes the receptacle mounting box was grounded but the receptacle was not, if this the case it is possible to use a jumper between the mounting box and the grounding screw on the new grounded type receptacle. This type of ground may not be adequate for surge protectors.

Surge Protectors

A surge protector plugged into an ungrounded outlet will not operate as the manufacturer intended. When a large surge or spike hits, the surge protector uses the ground wire to take the “hit” away from the protected equipment and send it safely to ground. If the surge or spike is not sent to ground by the surge protector it will destroy the delicate electronics you were trying to protect. The warranty offered by the surge protectors manufacturer offer, is only valid if the surge protector is used in a properly grounded outlet.

Video courtesy of The Sparky Channel

31 01, 2018

Water Heater Galvanic Corrosion

2018-01-31T18:41:02-05:00January 31st, 2018|

Water Heater Galvanic Corrosion: is electrochemical disintegration that occurs when dissimilar metals come in contact with each other while immersed in an electrolyte. Galvanic corrosion is a major concern anywhere moisture can reach metal building components.

There are 3 conditions need for galvanic corrosion to occur:Water Heater Galvanic Corrosion

  • Two electrochemically dissimilar metals must be in direct contact with each another.
  • There must be an electrically conductive path between the two metals. Any non-metal, liquid substance that can conduct an electric current (such as saltwater or rainwater) can function as an electrolyte.
  • An electrical path must exist to allow metal ions to move from the active metal to the less active metal. (Typically, the metals merely touch one another).

The Statue of Liberty is perhaps the most famous case of galvanic corrosion. Contact between the wrought-iron support and the outer copper skin amidst rainwater exposure has allowed the structure to gradually corrode. The famous icon’s builder anticipated this problem and installed asbestos cloth soaked in shellac insulation in the 1880s.  This worked for some time until it dried up and became porous, acting as a sponge that held saltwater close to the contact points between the two metals. An inspection in 1981 revealed severe galvanic corrosion of the iron supports, causing them to swell and push saddle rivets through the copper skin. This rapidly worsening situation was the main drive to restore the statue in 1986, when the iron was replaced with a variety of corrosion-resistant steel. The solution has held up, and native New Yorkers and visitors alike have been able to enjoy a landmark free from corrosion that will last long into the 21st century.

Examples in Houses

  • ACQ (alkaline copper quaternary) lumber includes copper, which can corrode when it comes in contact with common aluminum building nails. With this type of lumber, it’s best to use G185 galvanized steel or stainless steel fasteners, as they will resist corrosion.
  • Aluminum wiring can become compromised. In the presence of moisture, aluminum will undergo galvanic corrosion when it comes into contact with certain dissimilar metals.
  • Piping commonly rusts and corrodes, especially at joints. The failure of pipe thread is commonly caused by corrosion where carbon steel pipe directly meets a brass valve, or where it transitions to copper pipe. Dielectric unions may be installed to separate these metals to resist damaging corrosion in pipe connections.
  • The elements of an electric water heater often rust and fail. The copper sheathe and steel base, if they become wet, may corrode. Installing galvanized unions with plastic nipples on the top of the water heater can prevent corrosion.

Galvanic Corrosion Can be Prevented in the Following Ways

  • Electrically insulate the dissimilar metals. Plastic can be used to separate steel water pipes from copper-based fittings.  A coat of grease can be used to insulate steel and aluminum parts.
  • Shield the metal from ionic compounds. This is often accomplished by encasing the metal in epoxy or plastic, or painting it. Coating or protection should be applied to the more noble of the two metals, if it is impossible to coat both. Otherwise, greatly accelerated corrosion may occur at points of imperfection in the less noble (more active or anodic) metal.
  • Choose metals that have similar potentials. Closely matched metals have less potential difference and, hence, less galvanic current. The best such solution is to build with only one type of metal.
  • Electroplate the metals.
  • Avoid threaded connections, as they are most severely weakened by galvanic corrosion.
In summary, galvanic corrosion is the disintegration of metals in the presence of an electrolyte. It can occur in homes wherever dissimilar, joined metals become damp.
14 09, 2017

Why Winterize Your Irrigation System

2017-09-14T17:50:23-05:00September 14th, 2017|

Prevent frozen water lines from damaging your irrigation system by performing this critical seasonal maintenance.

Pro Tip: Winterize Irrigation (Sprinkler) System

Irrigation sprinkler You rely on your irrigation system to keep your lawn looking its best most of the year, but when autumn approaches you need to take action and to empty and insulate the system so it will be reliable next spring. If you fail to winterize your irrigation system properly, when the cold weather hits, any water left in the lines can freeze, expand, and crack, potentially causing costly damage. For the various types of irrigation systems, there are two primary methods of releasing this water: draining it from the valves and/or using an air compressor to blow it out of the irrigation pipes. Because the consequences of leaving water behind in your pipes can be considerable, irrigation system manufacturers recommend that homeowners follow both procedures every fall before temperatures dip to 30 degrees Fahrenheit.Frozen Sprinkler

Central Virginia Home Inspections recommends contacting a irrigation company to perform the winterization of the irrigation system.