1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

July 31, 2008

:213 Sacrificial Anode Type

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:213 EcoTip: The type of sacrificial anode you have in your hot water heater can help eliminate any rotten egg odor coming from your hot water. Unfortunately this generally means using an aluminum/zinc anode instead of the more typical magnesium anode. You should never drink water from your hot water heater. Instead heat your water on the stove or other method designed for drinking purposes.

 

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :212

For more information about rotten egg odors and your water heater take a look at the Water Heater Rescue website at:

 http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/pages/WHRpages/English/Troubleshooting/stinky-water-in-hot-water-heaters.html

To learn almost everything there is to know about water heaters – I recommend Larry and Suzanne’s book “The Water Heater Workbook” published by Elemental Enterprises, PO Box 928, Monterey, CA, 93942, 408-394-7077

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July 30, 2008

:212 Sacrificial Anode

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:212 EcoTip: Metal water heaters have a sacrificial anode that helps maintain your water heater by reducing the electrolysis of the metal tank. Checking it and replacing it when needed will save money by keeping you from having to replace your water heater as often, and saves landfill space.

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 Additional Information:

For more information about replacing sacrificial anodes take a look at the home energy article by Larry and Suzanne Weingarten

 http://www.homeenergy.org/archive/hem.dis.anl.gov/eehem/96/960510.html

To learn almost everything there is to know about water heater’s – I recommend Larry and Suzanne’s book “The Water Heater Workbook” published by Elemental Enterprises, PO Box 928, Monterey, CA, 93942, 408-394-7077

Would you like to receive an email alert for each new 1:5:10:365 EcoTip? Sign up for a Google Alert.

July 29, 2008

:211 Muck-Vac

Filed under: :211 Muck-Vac — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:34 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:211 EcoTip: If there is too much sediment build-up and flushing doesn’t work, some plumbers have a system called the Muck-Vac which can be used to vacuum sludge from the tank. This helps remove the hiding places for the bacteria that can cause the rotten egg odor and helps eliminate the rumbling and popping noises.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :203, :208, :209, :210

The Muck-Vac was developed by Larry and Suzanne Weingarten, of Elemental Enterprises in Seaside, California. The inside of the water heater is accessed by unscrewing the sacrificial anode from the top of the tank. (tomorrow’s EcoTip is about this anode)

The Muck-Vac`s sucks out the sludge through a filter which traps the sediment. The water is then pumped back into the tank.

To learn almost everything there is to know about water heater’s I recommend Larry and Suzanne’s book “The Water Heater Workbook” published by Elemental Enterprises, PO Box 928, Monterey, CA, 93942, 408-394-7077

 Would you like to receive an email alert for each new 1:5:10:365 EcoTip? Sign up for a Google Alert.

July 28, 2008

:210 Water Heater Flushing

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:210 EcoTip: By flushing a few gallons from your water heater every 6 months you can help avoid the build-up of sediment that may lead to rumbling noises and bacteria. The regular screw type drain fixture on the side of most hot water heaters doesn’t let the sediment out easily. The valve should be replaced with a ball valve.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :203, :208, :209

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July 27, 2008

:209 Water Heater Sediment

Filed under: :209 Water Heater Sediment — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 7:28 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:209 EcoTip: Sediment build-up in the bottom of hot water heaters can provide a place for bacteria to grow. Some types of bacteria that grow in hot water heaters make them smell like rotten eggs.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :203, :208

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July 26, 2008

:208 Bacteria in Water Heater

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:208 EcoTip:If the rotten egg smell is coming from your hot water, it is likely your water heater is contaminated with bacteria that are producing the rotten egg – sulphur odor. This generally involves several considerations which with be covered in the 1:5:10:365 EcoTips for the next several days.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :203

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July 25, 2008

:207 Septic Health

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:207 EcoTip: Don’t let toxic chemicals including cleaning compounds like non-biodegradable detergents or chlorine bleach into your septic system. If your system does get “poisoned” you may be able to help it back to health by supplementing the bacteria (see EcoTip :206). 

 

 Source: US EPA (1987). It’s Your Choice — A Guidebook for Local Officials on Small Community Wastewater Management Options, p. 40. EPA 430/9-87-006.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :203, :204, :205, :206

The Humanure Handbook  written by Joseph Jenkins answer almost everything you ever wanted to know (or need to know) about human manure and returning it to nature. I purchased my first copy almost a decade ago, and still refer to it regularly. According to Joe:

Humans started disposing of “human waste” by defecating into a hole in the ground or an outhouse, then discovered we could float our turds out to the hole using water and never have to leave our shelter. However, one of the unfortunate problems with septic systems is, like outhouses, they pollute our groundwater.

 At the end of the 20th century, there were 22 million septic system sites in the United States, serving one fourth to one third of the U.S. population. They were notorious for leaching contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, nitrates, phosphates, chlorides and organic compounds such as trichloroethylene into the environment. An EPA study of chemicals in septic tanks found toluene, methylene chloride, benzene, chloroform and other volatile synthetic organic compounds related to home chemical use, many of them cancer-causing.3

Between 820 and 1,460 billion gallons of this contaminated water were discharged per year into our shallowest aquifers.4

 In the U.S., septic tanks are reported as a source of ground water contamination more than any other source. Forty-six states cite septic systems as sources of groundwater pollution; nine of these reported them to be the primary source of groundwater contamination in their state.

Toxic chemicals are commonly released into the environment from septic systems because people dump them down their drains. The chemicals are found in pesticides, paint, toilet cleaners, drain cleaners, disinfectants, laundry solvents, antifreeze, rust proofers, septic tank and cesspool cleaners and many other cleaning solutions. In fact over 400,000 gallons of septic tank cleaner liquids containing synthetic organic chemicals were used in one year by the residents of Long Island alone. Furthermore, some toxic chemicals can corrode pipes, therby causing heavy metals to enter septic sustems.7

 You can order the Humanure Handbook or download it for free at http://www.jenkinspublishing.com/humanure_contents.html

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July 24, 2008

:206 Septic System Treatment

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:206 EcoTip: Septic tanks utilize bacteria to help digest the solid sewage so that it becomes liquified. The liquid waste then flow through the leech lines where additional bacterial action renders the wastes safe. The digestion process that takes place in septic systems and leech lines can be aided by adding bacteria that assist the process. 

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :203, :204, :205

If you have a septic tank or cesspool and want to start using bacteria based supplements, it is important not to begin adding them when the septic tank is full. The bacterial action helps break up the sewage, but this can cause a temporary expansion in the volume contained in the tank (kind of like yeast causing bread to rise). If you add the bacteria when the tank is full, the sewage may expand to the point where it will back-flow or pop the tank lid. If you have a septic tank make sure the level is less than half full when you first start using them. A good time to start is a week or so after you have had your tank pumped out. If you are having to pump your tank more frequently than once every five years, supplementing the digestion process may help.

Roebic has bacteria based septic treatments that are readily available. Their biological sewage treatment products are certified 100% biodegradable by Scientific Certification Systems, Inc. of Oakland, California. They have additional good information on drain and septic care at their website http://www.roebic.com/septicintro.htm.

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July 23, 2008

:205 Drain Cleaning Bacteria

Filed under: :205 Drain Cleaning Bacteria — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 7:20 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:205 EcoTip: Odor problems in drains may be because of the build-up of grime with bacteria. In order to reduce bacteria levels it is necessary to eliminate the organic material that has built up. This is the same debris that eventually leads to clogs. A bacterial enzyme drain and trap cleaner is preferable to the use of caustic chemicals.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :203, :204

Think of this a using “good” bacteria to fight “bad” bacteria. By treating your drains on a regular basis, the bacteria that cause odor problems and the grease and organic materials that cause clogs are broken down and flushed out of the pipes into the sewer system without the risks and harm from the chemical drain cleaners. Bacteria can also help keep septic tanks and lines clear so they don’t need to be pumped so often.

Roebic is one brand of bacteria based cleaners that is readily available. Their biological sewage treatment products are certified 100% biodegradable by Scientific Certification Systems, Inc. of Oakland, California. They have additional good information on drain and septic care at their website http://www.roebic.com/septicintro.htm.

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July 22, 2008

:204 Check the Trap

Filed under: :204 Check the Trap — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 5:47 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:204 EcoTip: All drain connections to the sanitary waste system must have a U trap (sometimes called a p-trap) that holds a few inches of water to prevent sewage gases from flowing back into the building. Sometimes the trap becomes dry allowing gases to back-flow creating a nasty odor. If you have odors coming from a drain, make sure it has a trap and try pouring a couple of cups of water down the drain. Tomorrow’s tip will deal with something else to try if this doesn’t work.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :203 

Think about your daily water use. Sometimes an odor will develop in an infrequently used drain – like in an unused guest bath or a floor drain hidden under a washing machine. These will dry out and start to smell. In addition to being obnoxious – sewer gases aren’t healthy – So make sure the traps don’t dry out.

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