Banging Boilers

A boiler making banging sounds does not always mean it’s about to blow. It might be just asking for your attebanging boilersntion. We’ll share with you some possible reasons for noise coming from your boiler; but it will be in your best interest to call in a professional to diagnose and solve the problem.

Over time, air gets built up in the system and pipes. Locate the pressure release valve (or bleeder valve) for the system and s-l-o-w-l-y open to let the air escape. You will probably hear it hissing. Barring any other problem with the boiler, this should take care of the banging.

Again over time, there could be some sediment built up in the system. The heating element is stressed while heating up when there is sediment buildup. The element will create steam as it heats up the water faster due to the sediment and the banging could be coming from the pressure of the steam.

You could have an expansion tank that has begun to fail and will need to be repaired or most likely replaced. Another place to look for the banging is with the zone valve. We recommend hiring a service technician to take care of these issues for your safety and peace of mind.




Take A Seat!

toiletLet’s face it; nothing takes more abuse than your toilet seat! It’s dropped on to the porcelain bowl, plopped on when you’re in a hurry and scrubbed to within an inch of existence! Unless you want to replace the whole shootin’ match, you can just replace the toilet seat and you’re good to “go.”

But not all seats are built the same; there are various standard sizes you need to be aware of. Here are some pointers for measuring your toilet seat to help get the right one for the job.

  1. Measure the distance (inches) between the bolts where the seat attaches to the bowl. It should be around 5 – 6 inches.
  2. Measure the width of your bowl at the widest point, making sure it’s outside the brim.
  3. Measure the bowl length from the outside front edge of the bowl to a spot between the bolts at the back, where you first measured. Round bowls are about 16 ½ inches; oblong bowls should measure around 18 – 18 ½ inches.

There are many choices when it comes to toilet seats. The most common is a high-impact plastic or a wood composite seat with a plastic covering. Many people choose a regular wood seat. They are heavier and warmer to sit on, but more expensive than a plastic seat.

Also there are soft toilet seats. These usually have a foam layer that will breathe when you sit. It will give you a cushy landing for your tush. They are generally warmer, which is a welcome greeting on cold nights! The downside: they are much harder to clean. The covering is porous; meaning there are microscopic holes that allows air out when you sit. But that also means bacteria and moisture can get in, making cleaning and sanitizing harder.

Now, to answer a burning question: Have you noticed that in most public restrooms the toilet seats are shaped differently than your home toilet? They usually have an opening toilet seat1at the front. Why? Well, it is commonly thought that designers wanted to create a toilet seat that accommodates everyone, making it easier to complete their visit without touching the seat.

Of course, you may choose a seat by taking into consideration your décor and comfort preference. There are hundreds of choices from standard white to wildly decorated.

Someone has cleverly invented an automatic seat cover that is being used in many public restrooms now. Yes, you read that right. Automatic seat covers! A dispenser is attached to the toilet seat that will automatically push a plastic sleeve around the seat. When done, or before the next person uses it, you can automatically dispose of the used cover and place a new one on the seat by waiving your hand or pressing a button! Very clever.

**Remember when installing your new toilet seat, to thoroughly clean and dry all surfaces. Any grime or wetness that gets trapped where the connections are could cause a rust issue or prevent the seat from a good bond because of the grime.

Word of the Day: Hydration!

The summer is upon us and heat waves are inevitable. Start gearing up your body with a hydration routine well before that thermometer reaches the OMG stage. If you are already there, keep that water a-comin’. If hot temperatures (over 90°) are in the forecast, you will be much more comfortable if you begin drinking more water NOW.

Getting your body ready to sweat means your body can react more efficiently to cool down and the possibility of dehydration is lessened. When it’s super-hot, you don’t realize just how much water your body loses by sweating. It’s not just your head and neck, your limbs and even feet sweat, and valuable moisture evaporates faster than your realize.

Sweat contains salt that your body needs to function. You want to replace that salt if you are sweating a lot, as soon as you can. Sport drinks contain sodium to help replenish that salt.

If you are lucky enough to spend your days in a pool, lake, stream or ocean, your evaporation rate is somewhat lessened as you won’t sweat as much because the water cools you. (Note: the ocean is salty, so you need to drink extra water or fluids when in the ocean. Ironic isn’t it?)

So start drinking more water today! And if you work where there is heavy manual labor, having sport drinks available is a good idea.  And take a cooling break often.


Dig Safe!

dig safe

Are you getting ready to do DIY projects this summer? Some projects include having to dig for landscaping, adding a gas line or hot tub, etc. We can’t stress enough the importance of calling 8-1-1 to schedule a utilities locate on your property. It’s free and could be a life saver!

The technician will clearly mark where underground electrical, gas, water and sewer lines are so you or the excavator will know where and how to dig. This not only can save you money, you won’t have angry neighbors should you hit a utility that serves the neighborhood.

*Note: the utilities locator will not be able to identify where a leak may be; they will only mark where the utilities are per the maps they have on file.


Is It Time to Replace Your Water line?

tree roots in pipe 1We take for granted access to our water supply. The truth is, water lines don’t last forever. If you are living in a newly constructed home, you should not be experiencing any water flow issues. But if you live in a house that is older (say, 25+ years) or have a lot of old tree growth, you may be experiencing some water line issues.

Some water line problems arise when tree roots wrap themselves around or invade the water lines. There are several ways to remove tree roots from the water line including cutting them out to employing toxic chemicals that destroy the roots. If you choose the latter, you need to contact a licensed plumber with training to use the chemicals.

Note that if tree root problems occur over and over, a new water line may be needed.

If your home is very old, the pipes may have just worn out. They do not last forever. Consult your licensed plumber to discuss the options and cost of replacing your water line.

You can prolong the life of your water line with attention to its maintenance and care. Although it may not need to be done annually, having a water line inspection is a good thing. A technician with a specialized camera can survey the inside of the water line to find root invasion, cracks or other problems. The cost of this service is usually reasonable and could be cheaper than having to deal with problems when they become a big headache.

Whatever your plumbing needs, remember that Firkus Plumbing is there for you. We’re one the of oldest family run plumbing services in Central Oregon. Call us today! 541-382-7710.

Multiple Shower Heads: Yay or Nay?

multiple showerheadsThe latest trend in bathroom renovations, or even new building is multiple shower heads. There are many to choose from: round stationary to overhead square. From dual shower heads at multiple angles and possibly a hand held feature.

While you may feel like you are king of the hill with an expanded shower experience, will your wallet agree with you? It is much more expensive to install for the most part.

Things to consider:

-The larger the shower head, the lower water pressure

-Make sure you have enough space in your shower area to accommodate two or more shower heads. If the space isn’t large enough, you run the risk of overspray on your bathroom floor

– Multiple shower heads means more water will be used

-The hot water will get used up faster; you may want to install a water heater that is dedicated to the shower

-Depending on the type of shower head, you may need to install a separate mixing valve for each shower head

-Many multi-shower heads come with digital displays; this means it will be much more costly to install and expensive to repair

-Smaller bathrooms cannot accommodate multiple shower heads; you may have to consider a complete bathroom remodel

Sump Pump Maintenance

There are two types of sump pumps: a pedestal and submersible. The pedestal is sump pump1mounted above the sump, making it easy to service. The submersible is located entirely within the sump. As far as costs go, the pedestal is usually cheaper, but can easily collect debris. Submersible pumps are sealed in such a way that debris collection is not a problem.

Sump pumps are used to rid basements or rooms below grade or water level of water that has amassed due to flooding or substantial rains. But if you don’t maintain your sump pump, you could find that it is not removing the water effectively, if at all.

Usually the culprit is debris.  Small rocks, paper, leaves or anything else could be blocking the filter screen, causing the pump to malfunction or quit entirely. It might be a good idea to note on your calendar times to check your sump pump BEFORE you actually need it. (Several times a year)

The easiest way is to slowly pour a bucket of water into the sump pit. If it automatically fires up, your good to go. When visually inspecting the pump, take some time to clean out the sump pit, removing any muck or debris that has collected.

You may be so ambitious and want to attempt to clean the entire pump. A word of caution before trying this: turn off your electricity before disconnecting the pump. Once the pump is disconnected, take it along with the drain line outside & give it a thorough hosing down. Keep hosing it down until the drain line rinses clear. Make sure the sump pit is clear of all debris before re-installing the pump. Only then re-establish the electricity, slowly pour in a bucket of water and see if the pump engages.

If the pump shows signs of stress, or does not fire up, you will probably need to call a plumber to attend to the problem. Firkus Plumbing will be happy to help you maintain or repair your sump pump. Give us a call today! 541-382-7710