Steps You Can Take to Prevent Frozen Water Pipes

During the cold winter months, one of the more serious problems that can occur with the components of your home is the water pipes becoming frozen. If the temperatures are cold enough, it’s possible for some of the water pipes on your property to freeze, which causes pressure that can lead to the pipes bursting. When this happens, you’ll require the services of a professional repair company like Lion Home Service. There are, however, some quick tips that you can follow to help avoid issues with frozen water pipes.

Consider Adding Some Insulation

If you want a more permanent solution to frozen water pipes, consider adding some extra insulation in areas of your home that the pipes run through like the basement and attic. You can also add some fiberglass or foam rubber sleeves directly to the piping to help keep temperatures up. While insulation helps with the exterior of the pipes, the insides of these pipes won’t be protected, which means that prolonged usage of cold water in the pipes can cause them to freeze. The temperatures in Fort Collins can be extreme and Lion Home Service can help with sound advice and experienced professionals.

Make Sure That Your Heat Remains On

If you’re going on vacation or are going to be away from your home for a few days, you should avoid turning the temperatures down while you’re away. Keeping the heat on will help to prevent the pipes from becoming frozen. The heat should always be above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Consider Having Your Faucet Drip

If you believe that a specific pipe is about to freeze, keep your faucet dripping to lessen the amount of pressure buildup in the pipes. If both cold and hot water pipes run to the faucet, turn both of them on.

At Lion Home Service, we provide our customers with a wide array of services that mainly center around heating, cooling, and electrical services. We also offer some additional services to residents of Fort Collins and the surrounding areas that include duct cleaning, radon testing, and the placement of insulation.

In the event that your water pipes have become frozen, call Lion Home Service immediately so that we can provide you with a quick repair.

What to Do About Hot Water Heater Leaks

A leaking hot water heater could be a small issue or a huge problem. You won’t know until you investigate the cause of the leak. Either way, it’s critical that you address it right away. Here’s what to do when you find drips coming from your hot water heater.

Why Hot Water Heaters Leak

On average, you can get 8-12 years out of a water heater. Over time, the parts wear out, and the tank can become corroded. Your hot water heater may be leaking because it’s reached the end of its lifespan. However, not every leak means that your hot water heater is done for. Some are caused by loose fittings or connections. In that case, hot water heater service may be all that you need.

Why the Source of the Leak Matters

Leaks from the bottom of the heater are often the most critical. If water is dripping from the bottom of your unit, that may be a sign that your tank has permanently failed. In this case, there’s usually a split or a crack somewhere inside the unit, and the water is escaping through the bottom of the heater.

Leaks from the valves or connections, on the other hand, may be fixable. These can include:

  • Hot water outlet valve – at the top
  • Cold water inlet valve – at the top
  • Drain valve – near the bottom
  • Temperature and pressure relief valve – at the top or on the side

What to Do When Your Hot Water Heater Is Leaking

If you notice drips near your hot water heater, cut off both the power and the water supply going to the unit before inspecting further. Try to determine the source of the leak. If it comes from a loose connection, you may be able to tighten that yourself.
Contact the professionals at Lion Home Service in Fort Collins today if need further help or the heater is leaking from the bottom. We offer a variety of helpful services.

The Basics of Having a Boiler in Your Home

A boiler is different from a forced-air furnace in that it uses steam or hot water to heat a house. OurheatingOur and air conditioning company, Lion Home Service, is an expert source for maintaining and repairing boilers in the Fort Collins area. Read more to learn how boilers work and how to know if you have one in your home.

How Boilers Work

A steam boiler basically heats water to the boiling point. The resulting steam is then circulated around the house, and the steam’s heat is released through radiators. In a boiler that uses water, hot water is circulated around the house. Water is then returned to be reheated and sent out again. Both hot water and steam heating systems can use the same type of boilers and can be powered by gas or oil. However, there are differences:

  • Hot water boilers have an expansion tank full of air to keep the water from boiling
  • Steam boilers lack expansion tank but have a gauge glass that lets homeowners and heating specialists know water levels
  • Hot water boiler has combination gauge that shows the pressure, the minimum pressure, and the water temperature
  • Forced water system has a circulator, which is a pump that moves the water

How to Know If You Have a Boiler

A boiler looks very much like a hot water tank. It is attached to pipes, drains, shut-off and relief valves, try cocks and drain cocks. If you have such a unit in your home, it may be a boiler. Of course, you can also reach out to a heating system expert who can inspect your system.

Call Our Company in Fort Collins for Answers About Your Boiler

If you have questions about your boiler or need one repaired or installed, don’t hesitate to call Lion Home Service.

How to keep your water heater operating at peak efficiency

We’ve all been trained to take our cars in for oil changes every three months or 3,000 miles, but when’s the last time you thought about giving your water heater a tune up? Most homeowners don’t realize just how much they rely on hot water until it’s gone. Fortunately, a little preventative water heater maintenance can go a long way to prevent problems and keep you in ample supply at the turn of a faucet. But if you still notice problems with your water temperature, it’s best to call a professional company like Lion Home Service.

Types of water heaters

There are two main styles of water heaters on today’s market — models with tanks and newer tankless options. The traditional tank-style units include metal holding tanks of various sizes with a heating element that warms the water inside using electricity, propane or natural gas. These models work on the same basic principle as turning on your cooktop to heat a pot of water. In comparison, tankless water heaters operate by running water past a sensor and through a pipe where it’s spot-heated to deliver hot water on demand.

Each option offers its own unique pros and cons. For instance, tank models are cheaper to purchase than tankless models, but they only hold a finite amount of water. And once that tank of hot water has been depleted, you have to wait for the next batch to warm up to get more, which can take up to an hour. Because tankless models only heat the water when you need it, there’s an unlimited supply. Since they don’t require a holding tank, they’re often a good option for apartments, condominiums and small homes where space is more valuable. However, turning the hot water on and off can create pockets of cold water in the pipe between use.

Standard tank water heaters will usually last between 7 and 11 years and can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000 depending on size, model features and whether any plumbing in your home needs to be brought up to code before the unit can be safely installed. Because they involve smart technology components, tankless water heaters are more expensive and can run $3,000 to $8,000 — about twice as much as traditional tank heaters. They’re not working constantly to keep heating, however, so they cost less to operate and can last twice as long as a tank heater— up to 15 or even 20 years if properly maintained.

Maintenance recommendations

Whether you decide to go with a tank or tankless model, maintaining your hot water heater shouldn’t require a lot of time or money. Each should be inspected and treated at regular intervals to keep them operating effectively; how often you’ll need to do this depends on the hardness of the water in your home.

Hard water can create sediment that collects in the bottom of a hot water heater tank over time, making it more difficult for the unit to heat the water and resulting in higher energy bills. Flushing this sediment a couple times a year can make a big difference in the heater’s overall efficiency. A home service professional can easily take care of the job for you, but it’s fairly easy to manage yourself after you’ve seen it done and received some instruction. Simply disconnect the electricity or turn off the gas/propane, release the pressure in the tank, drain it halfway and then turn the water back on to push any sediment out. (Of course, you’ll need to make sure the draining water has a place to go.) Another maintenance checklist item to keep in mind: Water heaters with tanks include a rod part that should be replaced every two or three years.

Likewise, tankless water heaters should be checked on a regular schedule to get rid of any scaling or calcification that can collect inside the unit and prevent optimal function.

If your hot water heater starts making odd noises or you simply notice it’s not heating properly, it’s always a good idea to call a professional who can evaluate the situation and make appropriate recommendations to remedy the problem.

A running toilet is a bigger problem than you might think

How serious is a running toilet? Just ask anyone who’s received a $500 water bill because of one.

To most people, a running toilet doesn’t sound like a terribly big deal, but what may seem like a mere annoyance can quickly escalate into a major problem. It’s like turning on a faucet and just letting it run. Even a simple leak in your toilet can easily fill a swimming pool with thousands of gallons of wasted water within a matter of days. And while water is a fairly cheap commodity under normal circumstances, a leaking toilet can result in an unpleasant surprise when you find yourself opening a utility bill that usually totals around $40 to discover you owe several hundred dollars.

The lifespan of a toilet

It’s not often a top-of-mind fixture but make no mistake about it — the humble toilet is one of the most essential and frequently used items in your home. How long yours lasts depends on the material it’s constructed from, the amount of use it gets and whether it’s thoughtfully maintained. Well-constructed toilets that are properly maintained can last a lifetime, but poorly made models that receive a great deal of wear and tear may need to be replaced every few years.

The older a toilet is and the more use it’s seen throughout its life, the more likely it is to experience cracks and fissures. Imagine dropping a china plate from the height of a half inch. It’s probably not going to break after one drop. But, if you keep dropping that plate repeatedly, tiny stress fractures will begin to form and eventually, it will shatter. The same principle applies to slamming the seat down on a toilet. Over time, the porcelain can become weakened and crack, creating prime conditions for leaks.

Hard water is another factor that can adversely affect your toilet and your plumbing on the whole. When hard water deposits form in the pipes, it can prevent a toilet from functioning at optimal efficiency.

 When does a running toilet become an issue?

If you can hear the toilet running or see any leaking at all, even if it seems minor, you’ve got a problem that shouldn’t be ignored and needs to be fixed quickly. Beyond the astronomical water bills running toilets have the power to produce, they can also cause damage to the home if water is actually leaking out of the bowl or tank.

In cases of a hard or corroded flapper (the stopper that holds water in the tank before releasing it into the bowl when you flush) or an old gasket, the leak is usually contained within the toilet. However, a crack in the bowl or tank can lead to water leaking directly into your floor, destroying hardwood, tile, carpet and even the subfloor underneath. If that happens, you’ve got a major — and expensive — remediation problem to deal with.

Toilet leaks can sometimes be very subtle. In some instances, you may not actually hear or see water leaching out of the toilet. If you suspect your toilet’s sprung a minor leak, you can perform your own simple test by adding a drop or two of food coloring to the water in the tank. If after 20 minutes you see colored water seeping into the bowl, you know you’ve got a leak.

Tackling DIY repairs

Most mechanically minded homeowners can address minor toilet repairs themselves without much trouble. It’s usually not too complicated to take care of small fixes like replacing a flapper or chain yourself with parts readily available at hardware stores or major home improvement stores, although some brands can be trickier to work with than others.

When to call the professionals

If you’re experiencing a major leak or damage to the gasket, the flushing mechanism, the pipes, the bowl or the interior of the toilet, it’s best to call a plumbing pro. Overly ambitious homeowners can quickly find themselves in over their heads and wind up making the problem worse, costing more time, stress and money in the long run than if they paid a professional plumber to quickly correct the problem at its onset.