1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

December 31, 2008

Day 366

Today is December 31, 2008. Since this was a leap year that makes today day 366. Happy New Year! For the last year I have posted a 1:5:10:365 EcoTip. I’ve had a number of people ask what I intend to do once the year of posts was completed.

It is my intention to continue posting – but probably not every single day. For the last year I’ve been encouraging people to do one thing for 5 to 10 minutes a day to help improve our home and planet. Prior to beginning this project our family had already taken many of the actions that were discussed – but there is always more that can be done. For this next year I plan to refine and improve those things about our home that will make it a better more sustainable place. I will report on those projects as they progress.

Yesterday I tackled our hot water heater. I don’t know its exact age, because it was present in our home when we moved in about 5 years ago, but it is making a lot of noise, which tells me its full of sediment. I tried draining the sediment and found there was enough to clog the drain valve – so I ended up spending about half the day changing out the drain valve, pressure relief valve and checking the sacrificial anode (:209, :210, :212, :213). The anode is still in good shape – so I will recheck it again in about two years. By the time I finished all this, there wasn’t enough time to finish flushing out the sediment. That will be my project for today.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

John Banta

November 11, 2008

316: Scald Prevention

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:316 EcoTip: Install a scald prevention system. This allows your hot water heater to operate at a high enough temperature to prevent Legionella pneumophilia from growing in your hot water system, but automatically mixes cold water to a preset temperature for safety. A scald prevention valve at each hot water fixture then acts as an extra safety device to shut-off the water flow as a fail- safe should the temper valve stop working.

anti_scald_domesticTemper valve

 

***********************************

 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :146

Anti-scald devices are now required by U.S. law in all new plumbing installations. An anti-scald device shuts the water off when the temperature exceeds 120°F (49°C) but it doesn’t temper the water temperature. This means that in the U.S. the water heater is frequently used to keep the temperature low. 

Lower temperatures save energy and help prevent scalds but they may also lead to the growth of Legionella pneumophilia  in the hot water heater. These conflicting issues are discussed in :146.

According to the Washington based National Coalition to prevent childhood injury tapwater scald injuries are the second most common cause of serious burn injuries and are responsible for over 100 deaths a year in the United States (mostly children under 5 and elders over 65)

According to the Austrailian green plumbing firm Highlander Plumbing the following regulations apply in Austrailia (but the information is valid anywhere):

AS 1056.1
With reference to clause 3.2.2 the thermostat for a storage water heater shall be set at not less than 60°C. This clause then explains that a minimum setting of 60°C is specified on the advice of the Department of Health, NSW, that bacteria Legionella pneumophillia do not survive in temperatures above 55°C.

AS 3500.4
With reference to Clause 1.10.2, Part B, all new hot water installations shall deliver hot water not exceeding 50°C in residential buildings, at the outlet of all sanitary fixtures used primarily for personal hygiene purposes.

Here are the facts:…

  • at 50°C, a deep scald takes 5 minutes in an adult or child;
  • at 54°C, a deep scald takes 35 second in an adult and 10 seconds for a child;
  • at 60°C, a deep scald takes 6 second for an adult and 1 second for a child;
  • at 65°C, 2 seconds for an adult and 0.5 seconds for a child;
  • at 70°C, in a typical factory setting – 1 second for an adult.

Tempered water is compulsory on all new residential developments in NSW. You cannot simply turn the heater down or you will breed Legionella. The tank must stay hot, but the water coming out must be tempered down.

*A tempering valve has on average a 5yr lifespan and cannot be serviced. We recommend replacement after 5 yrs. This valve is a safety valve and cannot be serviced. If the valve fails to operate it is to be replaced.

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

August 2, 2008

:215 Water Heater Drip Pan

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

1:5:10:215 EcoTip: To help prevent or reduce water damage from burst water heaters you should have a drip pan underneath them that will ideally drain to the outside. Since the water that flows into it may be very hot, it will need to be constructed of a material that can stand the heat. Metal drain pans may rust through and leaks with a high flow rate such as with a sudden bursting can also cause expensive damage. A water alarm (:214) should be installed to alert you to problems early.

***********************************

 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :214

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

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.

 

***********************************

 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

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

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.

***********************************

 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.

***********************************

 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.

***********************************

 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :203, :208, :209

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

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.

***********************************

 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :203, :208

You can

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

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.

***********************************

 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :203

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

July 21, 2008

:203 Rotten Egg Odor

Filed under: :203 Rotten Egg Odor — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 5:49 am

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

1:5:10:203 EcoTip: A rotten egg – sulpher like odor coming from the sink may be your sinks drain or your hot water heater. To test and figure out which it is – run some hot water into a glass. Step away from the sink and swirl the water then sniff it – kind of like checking the quality of wine. If the rotten egg smell is in the water then the problem is probably your hot water heater. If its not in the glass of water, it is probably your septic drain.

***********************************

 Additional Information:

Tomorrow I will begin discussing these problems cause and solution.

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

Older Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.