How to Clean Whirlpool Tub Jets

By Bud Coburn

http://www.actionplus-hi.com

You’re soaking in your hot whirlpool bathtub and turn on your jets. At first, you notice some black things floating in the water, but then you take a closer look and the black goo is everywhere. What has probably happened is your pipes and tubes for the jets have slowly built up grime–possibly from shampoo, bubble bath, soaps and bath oil that have passed through when you turn on your jets. This grime may contain bacteria and mold. But follow a few simple tricks, and your whirlpool tub will be the relaxing getaway it was meant to be.

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Instructions

Fill up your tub with hot water a few inches above the jet line and run the jets for 15 minutes.  Make sure there are no children or pets to accidentally fall in.

Pour 1/2 cup bleach and 1/4 cup dish washing detergent into the hot water. Use a low-foaming dish detergent.

Drain and rinse your tub. Be sure to get all the bleach, detergent and grime down the drain.

Fill up your tub with cold water a few inches above the jet line and run the jets for 15 minutes. Do not add anything to this water.

Drain and clean your tub. Use a cotton swab for the outside of your jets. Get a wet cotton swab and start to clean around and in your jets the best that you can to be sure nothing else is stuck. Also, clean your tub as you normally would, with a cleaner that will not scratch your surface. Rinse thoroughly.

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TPR Valves and Discharge Piping

By Bud Coburn

http://www.actionplus-hi.com

TPR (temperature pressure relief) valves are safety devices installed on water heating appliances such as boilers and domestic water supply heaters. TPRs are designed to automatically release water in the event that pressure or temperature in the water tank exceeds safe levels.
If temperature sensors and safety devices such as TPRs malfunction, water in the system may become superheated (exceed the boiling point). Once the tank ruptures and water is exposed to the atmosphere, it will expand into steam almost instantly and occupy approximately 1,600 times its original volume. This process can propel a heating tank like a rocket through multiple floors, causing personal injury and extensive property damage.
Water-heating appliance explosions are rare due to the fact that they require a simultaneous combination of unusual conditions and failure of redundant safety components. These conditions only result from extreme negligence and the use of outdated or malfunctioning equipment.
The TPR valve will activate if either water temperature (measured in degrees Fahrenheit) or pressure (measured in pounds per square inch [PSI]) exceed safe levels. The valve should be connected to a discharge pipe (also called a drain line) that runs down the length of the water heater tank. This pipe is responsible for routing hot water released from the TPR to a proper discharge location.
It is critical that discharge pipes meet the following requirements.  A discharge pipe should:
  1. be constructed of an approved material, such as CPVC, copper, polyethylene, galvanized steel, polypropylene, or stainless steel. PVC and other non-approved plastics should not be used since they can easily melt.
  2. not be smaller than the diameter of the outlet of the valve it serves (usually no smaller than 3/4″).
  3. not reduce in size from the valve to the air gap (point of discharge).
  4. be as short and as straight as possible so as to avoid undue stress on the valve.
  5. be installed so as to drain by flow of gravity.
  6. not be trapped, since standing water may become contaminated and backflow into the potable water.
  7. discharge to a floor drain, to an indirect waste receptor, or to the outdoors.
  8. not be directly connected to the drainage system to prevent back flow of potentially contaminating the potable water.
  9. discharge through a visible air gap in the same room as the water-heating appliance.
  10. be first piped to an indirect waste receptor such as a bucket through an air gap located in a heated area when discharging to the outdoors in areas subject to freezing, since freezing water could block the pipe.
  11. not terminate more than 6 inches (152 mm) above the floor or waste receptor.
  12. discharge in a manner that could not cause scalding.
  13. discharge in a manner that could not cause structural or property damage.
  14. discharge to a termination point that is readily observable by occupants, because discharge indicates that something is wrong, and to prevent unobserved termination capping.
  15. be piped independently of other equipment drains, water heater pans, or relief valve discharge piping to the point of discharge.
  16. not have valves anywhere.
  17. not have tee fittings.
  18. not have a threaded connection at the end of the pipe so as to avoid capping.
Leakage and Activation
A properly functioning TPR valve will eject a powerful jet of hot water from the discharge pipe when fully activated, not a gentle leak. A leaky TPR valve is an indication that it needs to be replaced. In the rare case that the TPR valve does activate, the homeowner should immediately shut off the water and contact a qualified plumber for assistance and repair.
Inspectors should recommend that homeowners test TPR valves monthly, although inspectors should never do this themselves. The inspector should demonstrate to the homeowner how the main water supply can be shut off, and explain that it can be located at the home’s main water supply valve, or at the water supply shut-off for the appliance on which the TPR is mounted.
TPR Data Plate Information
  • The pressure at which a TPR valve will activate is printed on a data plate located beneath the test lever. This amount should not exceed the working pressure limit marked on the data plate of the water-heating appliance it serves.
  • The BTU/HR rating marked on the water-heating appliance data plate should not exceed that of the TPR, which is marked on the TPR data plate.
  • TPR valves with missing data plates should be replaced.

Although a TPR valve might never become activated, it is an essential safety component on boilers and domestic water heaters. Guidelines concerning these valves and their discharge pipes reflect real hazards that every homeowner and home inspector should take seriously.

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Water Heater Maintenance

By Bud Coburn

http://www.actionplus-hi.com

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SAFETY:  IF THIS PROCEDURE IS NOT FOLLOWED PROPERLY ALONG WITH THE INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE MANUFACTURER OF THE WATER HEATER YOU COULD CAUSE DAMAGE TO THE WATER HEATER OR HARM YOURSELF.

IF YOUR ARE NOT COMFORTABLE DOING THIS MAINTENANCE ONYOUR WATER HEATER.  HIRE A LICENSED PLUMBER OR HANDYMAN!

Very few people know that in order to keep your water heater running properly and efficiently very simple maintenance procedures need to be performed. (These come with the instructions and are often overlooked.)

As water is pumped into your water heater tank dirt, sediment and various minerals settle on the bottom. Depending on your water quality these extra “ingredients” can add up rather quickly robbing your water heater’s efficiency and costing you in the long run. If left unchecked they can not only make your water heater work harder but also allow your tank to rust and slowly be eaten away until you need to replace the entire unit which is very costly yet easily preventable. And cheap to prevent! You just need a hose, bucket (optional) and gloves (optional too, but safer with.)

This Instructions will show you how to perform a simple yearly draining of your water heater to keep it running smoothly.

Step 1: Locate Water Heater

First off, you need to know where your water heater is. This should be very simple. It is often located in your garage.

Be careful! You are going to be dealing with gas/electricity and very hot water and steam.

Step 2: Determine if it’s Gas or Electric

This should be simple enough. Look around the tank itself and read any warnings and labels. If you can’t determine one sure fire indication is if there is a pilot light odds are it’s gas. Mine is gas operated.

Note: Read the instruction on the tank for turning off the gas and or electricity. Don’t just do it unless you know what you are doing.

Step 3: Locate Water Shut Off Valve, Pressure Release Valve, & Water Drain

The water shut off valve is located on the top of the water heater. It typically looks like the circular water valves used for front and back yards.

The pressure release valve is located on the top as well. It should have labeling near it. There is piping that leads out of the water heater and into the wall. On the other side of the wall should the the continuation of this piping. It is typically in the front yard or entry way. Make sure it is not obstructed. This is very important.

The water drain is located on the bottom. It is usually a simple spout that has threads so that a hose can be attached. (These threads will be needed for later.)

Step 4: Turn Off Heating Source and Gather Supplies

Now that you know where your water heater is and what it operates with (gas or electric) you are ready to perform it’s yearly maintenance. Be sure to turn off the gas to the water heater (if gas) or shut off the circuit breaker if electric. (Again, read instructions carefully.) I did this the night before. This saves the energy it takes to warm the water that you will soon be draining. No need to heat water you won’t be using.

Get a hose.

Get a bucket.

Get some gloves to protect you from possible hot steam and or water.

Step 5: Turn Off Water & Attach Hose

Turn off the water to the water heater and attach the hose to the water drain.

Step 6: Turn On Water Drain & then Open Pressure Release Valve

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Next you will want to turn on the water drain to release the water from the water heater tank.

The water will drain from the hose and then slowly stop. This is because the pressure release valve needs to be opened to allow air into the tank. A vacuum has been formed and no additional water will be drained from the tank until the vacuum is opened up and removed.

Don’t worry if the water is a little dirty as first. That is from all the dirt and sediment that has built up. This is the reason why you are draining it. Get all that stuff out!

Wait 10 – 30 minutes to allow all the water to drain.

Step 7: Turn On the Water to flush the rest of the sediment out.

Turn off the water drain and remove the hose.

Take the bucket and place below the water drain.

With pressure valve still open turn on the water to the water tank and then turn on the water drain to allow the rest of the sediment to be flushed out. Allow a few gallons worth of water to drain. Be sure to check the water draining out and make sure it is clear. If it is then you are set to refill the tank.

Step 8: Refilling the Tank

Make sure the water drain at the base of the tank is turned off.Close the pressure release valve.Turn on the water to allow the tank to be filled.Once the tank is full you can turn the gas or circuit breaker back on. Caution: Do not turn the heating unit on until the tank is full. If the tank is not full it can cause heating damage to the unit.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy your nice hot water that will be flowing and heating you more efficiently. You got a full year to wait and perform this maintenance again.

Note 1: If you want you can drain a few gallons a month from your tank especially if you live an an area with a lot of sediment in your water. You don’t need the hose. Just use the bucket for this month to month maintenance.

Note 2: If you experience any leaks in the water valves or pressure valves be sure that they are tightened correctly. There is a packing nut just below the knob that can be tightened if needed. If the leaking persists then there is a good chance they haven’t been used enough and need to be replaced. So be sure to perform this routine maintenance to keep the valve working properly as well!

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