Common Problems with Toilets

Common Problems with Toilets

 

If you are having problems with your toilet not working properly, your toilet is clogged or you need to schedule a new installation, you can trust ACE HI PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR to help you get the job done right. We have trained and experienced technicians and 24-hour emergency service available. Call us today at 970-667-0300. We service the Northern Colorado area including Loveland, Fort Collins, Windsor, Greeley, Longmont, Milliken, Johnstown and Estes Park.

Flushing and Drain Problems

The first thing to consider when a toilet begins to flush poorly, slowly or not at all, the problem is often a clogged drain. This, no doubt could be the issue if there are other toilets or drains that are not working properly. If the other drains are working fine, a simple solution would be to ensure the water supply valve is open all the way, or you can check the problem by pouring in about a gallon of water. The drain is most likely clogged if it flushes poorly.

When flushing a toilet, clean water from the tank rushes down the flush valve to wash the bowl and provides enough water pressure to force any waste down the drain. If your toilet has a lazy flush but the drain seems to be clear, poor movement of water from tank to bowl is likely to be the problem.

Look inside the tank for a manufacturing date stamped in the clay. If a toilet was made between 1994 to mid-1997, this could very well be the problem and no matter what, it will not flush right. If the toilet was made before 1994, hard water deposits in the siphon jet hole or the angled bowl rim swirl holes may be the source. It is recommended that you do not try cleaning these yourself and should hire a trained professional.

Also, check to see if the water level inside the tank rises to within a 1/2 inch above the overflow tube, which is the hollow tube connected to the flush valve. If it does not, there may not be enough water to provide sufficient force for a full flushing action. In order to raise the water level, bend the float arm or manually adjust the refill valve and allow the water to raise to the right level. If someone as added water saving devices to the tank, remove the items to allow more water into the tank. If you are having to flush more than once, the water level may be too high. Lower the water level and look for any improvement.

If water is leaking from the tank to bowl, this could diminish the flow into the bowl when the toilet is being flushed. To determine whether or not this is the problem, you can use a pencil to mark the water level inside the tank, turn off the water supply valve located behind the toilet and check in a few hours to see if the water level is lower. A constant leak means the locknut is not tight enough, the rubber washer inside the tank has flashing (excessive rubber) or the porcelain surface inside the tank is uneven or has chips or cracks, therefore is not sealing. If the leaking occurs when flushing, the problem is the tank-to-bowl gasket.

Problems with the Roof Vent

 

An obstruction preventing air flow in the toilets roof vent could also lead to slow draining, however, this is not a likely cause. To inspect the vent, you must be okay with climbing onto your roof to remove anything that sits on top of the vent pipe. Also, use a flashlight to look down the vent to ensure there are no other obstructions exist. If there are obstructions beyond your reach, it is recommended that you contact a plumber for help.

Master baths are often distant from the rest of the plumbing in the house so it is common for them to have their own plumbing vents independent of the home’s other plumbing. If there is poor flushing performance and there are no obvious clogs or malfunctions, you may want to check the roof vent located above the bathroom.

Occasionally, plumbers forget to remove the temporary plug  that is used to pressure-test the lines after plumbing rough-in. If you can’t see the rubber cap clamped on the vent, climb on to the roof and inspect the vent. If you find an overlooked plug, break through the plastic with a screwdriver and pry out the pieces and the toilet should work just fine. If this is not the problem, you may have a defective toilet or an obstruction in the drain line. We recommend you get a hold of a plumber to help solve the problem.

If you flush the toilet and hear suction or gurgling noises coming from your tub or bath sink, this could also mean that the toilet vent pipe is clogged or partially clogged. You may want to check the rooftop vent pipe to see if this is the cause or you may want to call a plumber to help solve this problem.

Problems Concerning the Flapper Valve

If your toilet has a strong, but partial flush, the flapper valve may be waterlogged and dropping too fast. Observe the flapper valve during a flush. It should stay up until about 80% or more of the water has drained from the tank. If it drops sooner, you should replace the flapper.

If the toilet tank is filling with water as if it had been flushed, also known as a “phantom filler”, this could mean that the tank is leaking water. You can always use food coloring dye to determine if this is the case or check to make sure the flapper is sealing properly. If not, than in this case you will also need to replace the flapper.

While the tank is empty, test the flapper to be sure it hinges smoothly and moves up and down properly. Make sure the flush handle, when pressed, lifts the flapper all of the way open so that all of the tank’s water can rush into the bowl before the flapper drops back down onto the flush valve. With most toilets, the chain between the flapper and the trip lever should be relatively taut. If it is not, disconnect and shorten the chain. Just be sure that the chain is not so short that it doesn’t seal against the flush valve when closed.

You may also want to check the handle and trip lever to see if they wiggle or have too much play. If so, they might not allow the flapper to raise all of the way or cause the flapper to misalign with the flush valve and seal properly. If they are loose you can try tightening the nut or spud, or replacing the handle mechanism.

Problems with a Toilet’s Siphoning

 

Another thing to check is the toilet’s siphoning action. When a toilet is flushed, the water from the tank rushes to the bowl through passages around the bowl’s rim and through a chamber in the front of the bowl. Some of the water rinses the bowl through small holes along the underside of the rim. The movement of the water into the bowl creates pressure that forces the water out through the drain at the bottom of the toilet. A small hole near the bottom drain called the jet hole, provides necessary suction to completely empty the bowl.

So, in order to check the siphoning action, be sure the water supply is on and the tank is full. As you flush the toilet, use a mirror to watch the water cascade down around the inner rim to make sure it flows evenly through all of the rinse holes. If not, mineral deposits may be clogging some of the passages, which is most common with hard water. To clean this area if needed, you can use a scrub brush to scrub the bowl and rim. Also, after emptying the water in the bowl, you can use a bent metal hanger to clear the rinse holes, but be careful not to scratch the porcelain.

Dripping and Tank Filling Problems

If you hear dripping after the tank has filled, and then several minutes later the tank fills with water and the dripping starts again, this could also be a siphoning problem. This could very well be the cause of a tank fill valve. There is a small flexible tube that runs from the bottom of the valve to the top of the toilet overflow tube. As the tank fills, water is also sent through this tube and used to refill the toilet after a flush. If the tube drops down inside the overflow tube, it can, in some instances, siphon water from the tank. New toilet fill valves often have a clip that attaches to the top of the overflow tube and points the water flow down into the tube without actually having the tube enter the overflow tube.

Toilet tank fill valves that stay wide open until the tank is filled, has been around for over 20 years. Usually, if you hear a whistling while the tank fills, it is this older technology ball cock valve with a float on the end of a rod. As the ball floats higher, it begins to slowly close the water fill valve, causing vibrations and all sorts of noise.

 

If the tank is filling more slowly than usual, check to make sure that the shut off valve under the tank is open.

Bowl Water Level Drops

When flushing the toilet, after a period of time, a significant amount of water has left the bowl. Two things could be wrong. First, water could be slowly siphoned from the bowl by a partial clog of the toilet paper up in the colon of the bowl. To see if your toilet has a clog causing the drainage, empty the water from the bowl and use a flashlight and mirror to look up inside the colon of the toilet. In rare cases, the bowl may actually have a crack in the interior colon or piping of the bowl. This problem can only be solved by installing a new bowl.

toilet-plumbing-diagram

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New 2015 NAECA Water Heater Standards

New 2015 NAECA Water Heater Standards

National Appliance Energy Conservation Act and its History

The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1975 (NAECA) was enacted to help create uniform appliance efficiency standards at a time when individual states were creating their own standards. The NAECA established a conservation program for major household appliances, however no real standards came into existence until the 1980s when appliance manufacturers realized it was easier to conform to a uniform federal standard then individual state standards.

The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 amended the Energy Policy and Conservation Act and was introduced and supported by democratic Senator Bennett Johnston, Jr. from Louisiana in January 1987. The new amendments to the act established minimum efficiency standards for many household appliances. These standards were put in place to ensure that manufacturers were building products that are at the maximum energy efficiency levels are that are technically feasible and economically justified.

Department of Energy Water Heater Standards for 2015

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), as part of the NAECA issued Final Rule energy efficiency mandates in April 2010. As a result, on April 16, 2015, the new requirements call for higher Energy Factor (EF) ratings on virtually all  residential gas, electric, oil and tankless gas water heaters. The NAECA rulings are important to customers because they reduce energy usage and save money all year long. According to the U.S. Department of Energy website, standards mandatory in 2015 will save approximately 3.3 quads of energy and result in approximately $63 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 2015-2044. These far-reaching new requirements will have important impacts on water heating manufacturers, distributors, installers and consumers.

GASVSELECTRIC NEW STANDARDS

What this means for homeowners

These regulation standards will be mandatory in Northern Colorado, which includes all of Larimer, Boulder and Weld counties.

The new water heaters have to accommodate the higher insulation r-values, or thermal resistance, which will make the water heater typically 1-2 inches taller and up to 2 inches wider. In some cases, the water heater will have to be relocated to operate properly, or mitigate noise.

While the operating cost of the new water heaters will be less because of their increased energy efficiency, it is likely that the maintenance costs will increase because of a more complex design, and the integration of electronics, blowers, fans condensers, etc.

The new water heaters are expected to be 20-30% higher than the price of a current water heater. In some cases, other installation costs may be required to adapt to the new water heater’s size and efficiency installation requirements.

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To find out more information or to schedule a new water heater installation, call ACE HI PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR today at 970-667-0300. We service the Northern Colorado areas including Loveland, Fort Collins, Berthoud, Longmont, Windsor, Greeley, Evans, Johnstown, Milliken and Estes Park.

Direct Vent vs. Power Vent Water Heaters

Direct Vent vs. Power Vent Water Heaters

There are many variations of water heaters making it overwhelming and difficult for homeowners to know which type of water heater would be the best choice for their home. Here we will go over the two most popular water heater types – direct vent and power vent. The difference between the two water heater types is combusted from the burner to the vent system. A direct vent water heater vents these combustion gases to the atmosphere , while a power vent water heater removes them with the aid of a powered venting fan.

Water-Heatersderctvspowervent

Direct vent

Direct vent water heaters are very popular in the Fort Collins, Colorado area. In a direct vent water heater, fuel is burned and the heat from the combustion process is used to heat the water. The exhaust gases are then transferred to the outside of the home via the exhaust pipe or chimney.

Direct venting works because heated air is lighter than cool air and in turn will rise naturally due to the difference in buoyancy between the hot and cold air. This is a simple system that works well when the exhaust gases can be vented vertically. No extra power is needed and in turn, the overall hot water heating costs are lower.

Power vent

A power vent water heater uses a fan or blower to assist in the removal of exhaust gases from the hot water heater. If the water heater is installed in a location the doesn’t have access to a vertical vent or chimney, a power vent water heater mat be your only option. Exhaust gases can be pushed through horizontal exhaust pipes with the use of a fan or blower.

The main benefit of a power vent water heater is the ability to locate the water heater away from a chimney. If there is no chimney available, horizontally venting the water heater to the outside through inexpensive venting pipe instead will also benefit the homeowner by saving money. This type of water heater is more common in certain areas of Northern Colorado such as Loveland, Fort Collins and Berthoud areas.

Disadvantages

A power vent water heater will cost more initially due to extra equipment needed such as the fan and blower. Also, you will need to run a power line to the fan which will also add to the cost. Another downside to this is that the blower portion of the water heater will need electricity to operate and will increase your hot water heating costs throughout its lifetime.

Finally, it is known for some people to complain about the sound of the fan running when the hot water heater is operating. While it’s probably only a minor concern, it’s something that should be seriously considered. Proper installation can help to eliminate, or minimize most of this.

Whichever water heater is right for you, depends on your situation with respect to access to a vertical vent (vent stack) path or chimney. To get more information about what type of water heater would be best suited in your home, call Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating & Air today at 970-667-0300.

Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating & Air offers furnace and boiler repair for Northern Colorado

Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating & Air offers furnace and boiler repair for Northern Colorado 

When it comes to providing service for furnace maintenance and repairs, you can trust in Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating & Air to get the job done right and help you on getting a furnace maintenance service that’s right for you. We service Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor, Greeley, Johnstown, Berthoud and Estes Park.

 A furnace is a permanently installed appliance that provides heat to an interior space through fluid movement, which could be air, hot water, or steam. For modern combustion furnaces, the most common fuel source is natural gas. Other common fuel sources include coal, wood, propane or fuel oil. in other cases, in places where the electricity costs are low, electric resistance heating is used as a source of heat. Traditionally, combustion furnaces, which always need to be vented outside, expels heat along with the exhaust through a flue.

 Lets go over the different types of units.

  1. A central warm-air furnace is a type of space-heating equipment in which a central combustor or resistance unit provides warm air that circulates through ducts leading to the various rooms. This type of furnace generally uses natural gas, fuel oil or electricity.
  2. A forced-air furnace uses a fan to force the air through the ducts
  3. A gravity furnace circulates the air by gravity and relies on the natural flow of warm air rising up through ducts while cold air falls through ducts that return to the furnace to be reheated.
Home heating systems generally consist of three parts.
  1. The controls and safety devices including a
  • gas valve
  • ignition control
  • igniter
  • heat sensor
  • transformer
  • limit control
  • blower control board and
  • flame rollout switch

A heat sensor, also known as a thermostat, measures the temperature and determines when the temperature needs to be raised in your home. When the air temperature drops, the thermostat signals the blower and the heater to turn on.

  1. Once the blower and the heater turn on. the combustion in the heater creates heat, while the blower creates a negative pressure on the intake side and moves air over the heat exchanger, raising the temperature and distributing it throughout the house by the heating ducts. Cooler room air is returned to the furnace through return ducts where it is warmed. The warm-air-out, cool-air-in-cycle continues until the desired temperature is reached and the thermostat signals the furnace to shut down.
  1. The burner is where the flame originates and is drawn into the heat exchanger by the negative pressure produced by the draft inducer. The hot gases produced by the combustion of the flame pass through the chambers of the heat exchanger. The cooled gases then enter the draft inducer blower and are pushed into the venting pipes and the exhaust gasses are then directed out of the house through the vent pipes.

A warm home is important after spending your day working hard. You want to be comfortable when relaxing.  We have technicians that understand the importance of keeping repair costs at an affordable rate, because everyone lives on a budget. Call Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating and Air today at 970-667-0300. We have 24-hour emergency service available.

Troubleshooting Water Heater Pilot Lights – Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating & Air

Troubleshooting  Water Heater Pilot Lights

Important: Before troubleshooting any pilot light problems, keep in mind that pilot flame is always ON and the flame should be mostly blue. If it is yellow it needs adjustment. Also, make sure the tank is completely filled with water before lighting the pilot light.

 Pilot Light Will Not Stay Lit

 It is crucial that you read the manufacturer instructions carefully to prevent problems with the water heater pilot light; How to Maintain Gas Water Heaters and How to Light it. It is also important to understand when troubleshooting pilot light problems that gas heaters are equipped with the safety elements. There are many factors that can cause a water heater to not stay lit.

Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • Thermocouple goes out
  • Gas utilities being turned off
  • Air temperature
  • Lack of oxygen
  • Defective gas control valve
  1. All gas water heaters use pilot lights to ignite the main gas burner used to heat the tank reservoir. The pilot light plays a significant safety role as it ensures that any gas supplied to the main burner is ignited and not allowed to accumulate prior to the main burner is immediately ignited and not allowed to accumulate prior to combustion, thus creating a potentially dangerous explosion.

A thermocouple is a sensor used to measure temperature under a wide variety of temperature ranges and conditions and designed automatically to shut off the unit when the flame is not present or extinguished for any reason. The thermocouple stands guard over the functioning of the pilot light. It accomplishes this by continually monitoring whether the pilot light is burning and by providing an immediate “fail safe” by shutting down gas supply system when the pilot lights fail to burn, before uncombusted gas can accumulate at the burner head.

If the thermocouple connection is loose, tighten it. It should be embedded in the flame and tighten correctly, first hand, tighten and then use the wrench for an additional 1/4 turn. If you have the faulty thermocouple, replace it with a new one. The gas control valve should be creating at least 10 millivolts.

2. If there is no gas, or gas pressure is too high or low, check with your utility company.

3.  The air present in gas lines could prevent the pilot light from lighting. Purging the air from a gas line should be performed by a professional.

4.  Replace the thermostat, or gas control valve, if the inner elements are faulty or if the thermostat ECO switch is open.

Gas water heaters use two different elements to control the gas flow to the water heater. The gas cut-off valve is situated on the gas line leading into the water heater. The gas line feeds from the cut-off valve to the gas control valve assembly.

The gas control valve is part of the gas burner control module. This unit operates to control gas flow to the pilot light and as a thermostat by turning the gas to the burner off after water reaches the desired temperature. A thermocouple sensor detects when the temperature of the water drops and sends an electrical impulse to the thermostat control. The Thermostat causes the burner to light and bring the temperature of the water back up to the temperature setting on the thermostat.

Pilot flame is too large

The Main reason a pilot light is too large is if the gas pressure is too high. There is nothing you can do about this problem except to gall the gas utility company and check with them. The wrong size of the pilot burner orifice is another reason.

 Pilot flame is too small 

You may experience the flame being too small if the gas pressure is too low. Check with your utility company about this problem. Also, the pilot light tube’s orifice might be clogged with the dirt found in the gas line. Some elements you can clean, but if there’s dirt on the incoming gas line, you should notify your utility distributor and check with the gas technician about installing the dirt trap in the gas line. If you have the wrong pilot burner, replace it with the correct one.

 Pilot light will not light

One reason why you don’t have hot water is because the burner did not ignite. This happens when the pilot light does not light. Listed below are a few reasons.

  1. If the pilot light is clogged, you should clean or replace it.
  2. Faulty Piezo igniter. The water heater uses the piezo igniter to light the main gas burner and when pressed, it releases the electric spark. The spark gap is factory set. When Troubleshooting the light problems, it is recommended to test it first. Turn the gas OFF to the water heater and press the piezo igniter. Once pressed, the electrode should release the spark.
  3. Check to make sure the wire connections are properly tightened.
  4. Be sure that the electrode is not broken and replace it if it is.
  5. If there is soot and/or carbon deposits on the pilot light, you should clean the tip of the electrode from the dirt, rust and other deposits by using a dry cloth and sandpaper.
  6. No gas or faulty gas valve does not release the gas.

Pilot light goes out due to condensation  

Most of today’s water heaters will produce a certain amount of condensate. If there is excessive condensation, it will effect the light and extinguish it. In this extreme case, condensate is running down the flue tube and is dripping on the main burner, resulting in the pilot outage.

Pilot light goes out due to improper venting or air supply 

Improper venting will cause the pilot light outage on direct vent gas water heaters . Even a down draft from a ceiling fan or if there is a draft at the bottom of the unit, can blow out the pilot light. If there is a restriction on the fresh air delivery, find the reason and remove the obstructions. The proper air supply should be delivered when the unit is installed in a small, confined place. If there is wind blowing directly into the DV vent, it may cause the pressure imbalance.

Windsor and Greeley, Colorado Heating Repair Services at Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating & Air

Windsor and Greeley, Colorado Heating Repair Services at Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating & Air

 

Boilers can grow less efficient or even stop working altogether which can cost you money. That’s why it’s so important to get yearly boiler inspections. At Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating & Air, we offer inspections, repairs and installation services designed to meet your budget. We also offer energy-efficient boilers to help you save money on your monthly utility bills and have technicians that have the expertise required to accurately assess the state of your equipment and make recommendations to suit your needs.

Most homes are heated with a furnace or a boiler. Boilers are a natural gas, oil, propane or solid fuel burning appliance that produces hot water or steam.  This water is circulated through pipes to heat radiating tubes throughout the home. Most homes are heated with a furnace or a boiler.

Boilers provide either hot water or steam.  Steam is distributed through pipes to steam radiators.  Hot water can be disbursed through a baseboard system or through pipes for in floor heating.

Steam boilers operate at a higher temperature than hot water boilers and are less efficient. High efficiency boilers are offered for homeowners today and may qualify for energy rebates.

Boilers that are old and inefficient should be replaced.  They are costing you money.  Replacement boilers will save you energy and costs on repair bills. Old boilers may be over or under sized which can cost you money.

Call Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating and Air at 970-667-0300 for more information or schedule today!

Fort Collins, Colorado Heating Repair Services at Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating & Air

Fort Collins, Colorado Heating Repair Services at Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating & Air

Experts recommend changing regular furnace filters once a month during the heating season and changing high-efficiency filters at least every three months. Make sure to get a supply of filters that fit your unit. Having clean furnace filters is extremely important. A blocked furnace filter can cause the “limit switch” on your furnace to activate, turning it off and leaving you without heat until the switch is replaced by a professional.

If you suspect problems with your heating system, contact Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating & Air, a company who cares about their customers and the quality of their work. We have NATE-Trained technicians and we offer top quality service at an affordable price. The warranties and guarantees are industry leading because of our experienced technicians and the high quality parts we use. All our technicians are friendly, smoke-free, drug-free and background checked.

If you need heating repair services in Fort Collins, Colorado, call Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating & Air today at 970-667-0300.