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Plumbing may be the cause of Musty Smells

  • By proadAccountId-361762
  • 14 Mar, 2017

A musty smell in a home is a result of inadequate cleaning, poor or stagnant air circulation, high humidity and possible moisture problems.

If you've ever noticed an odd smell coming from old furniture, clothing or books, or in a poorly ventilated area such as the attic or basement, you have a problem with mold, mildew or fungi.

If the mold and mildew growth is heavy it might look like   an area of pink, orange, blue, black or green discoloration- on the other hand, if the fungi growth is light you might not be able to see where it is, though you can definitely smell it.

Old furniture is often musty and puts off a smell that I can only describe as a   combination of mold and rotten eggs.   The odor may start out as a minor annoyance but will eventually get to the point where the air in your home is bad for your health. So once you start smelling a musty, moldy odor, it’s time to take care of it. The poor air quality and odor problem won't stop on it's own and will only get worse.

Molds and fungi are not healthy for your lungs. Mold spores and noxious gases they put off are aggravating to your health. If you have breathing problems or the smell is particularly bothersome you may want to wear a mask while cleaning it up.

Possible Locations and Causes of Musty Odors:

First you need to figure out exactly where the problem is and what is causing the odor:

Water Leaks:

The smell is not caused by the water leaking into your house itself, it’s caused by   molds and fungi that are growing where the water is pooling.

As they grow in number, mold and mildew put off a sulfur containing gas we all can easily identify. Once established, fungi can easily spread to other areas of a home so it's important to get rid of any water leaks as soon as they’re discovered. Wet basements, leaky faucets and pipes are a common culprit.

Wet Wood:

If wood remains damp it will start to rot and give off an earthy musty smell. Once again,   molds and fungi will grow just like it will on any other organic material.

If you should see dark stains on wooden items, chances are that they’re becoming wet from a leak somewhere and molds and fungi are growing.

This can happen to an item left in a storage shed that water happens to drip on, or it can happen to the baseboard in your home that might have a water pipe leaking behind it.

Leaking roofs allow rain inside which often follows gravity right up to a beam or other supporting structure in a home. Wet wood will continue to rot and allow mold and mildew growth until the source of moisture is stopped.

Damp Walls:

If walls in your home are starting to look very rundown, take the time to look behind them. Most walls are made of drywall which is gypsum or plaster in between 2 sheets of paper.

Mold and mildew will grow on the paper backing and it will darken in color, start to flake, blister or peel off.

Start by looking in the area with the heaviest discoloration for moisture leaks. Chances are pretty good that either molds or fungi or both are growing behind the walls and will have to be removed.

Mold and mildew that covers more than a very small section of the wall will likely indicate a serious problem and the section of wall might need to be removed and replaced by a professional.

High Humidity Locations -Bathroom/Laundry Room

Molds and fungi love bathrooms and laundry rooms. Both are warm, moist and often leak. Basements, attics, crawl spaces and air-conditioner vents are great homes for molds and fungi.

If you start to see   stains on the floors, ceilings or walls, molds and fungi may be growing. Clean the area right away to keep it from spreading further. If it's in a moist area where standing water is common, a good scrubbing along with a spray of 50/50 water and bleach will remove mold and mildew almost instantly.

Damp Furniture/Drapery Fabric:

Fabric that   is moist or in area of high humidity   can be a breeding ground for molds and fungi.

Damp or Moist Carpet and Rugs:

Carpets and area rugs trap dirt, hold moisture and can become wet or saturated in the case of plumbing leaks or a cracked foundation. Dust and dirt will settle in the fibers and give off a bad odor if not cleaned occasionally.

Removing Musty Odors from Hard Surfaces:

  • Vinegar   kills molds, mildews and fungi. Use full strength if you should see areas of any of the above.
  • Lemon juice and water   the acidity in a lemon and water solution will wipe out musty odors quickly.
  • Soap and water   will help to remove the any remnants of the offending mold or fungi that might still be present. Dry after cleaning so that you don’t leave moisture for new growth.
  • Baking soda   removes odors. After using either vinegar or lemon juice and water, and then the soap and water, baking soda can be spread over a musty area to get out any residual smells.
  • A dry vapor steam cleaner   will kill most molds.

Deodorizing and Cleaning Mildewy Carpets:

Look under the carpet to see if the carpet pad is mildewed. If it is, remove that part of the pad and replace.

Clean with Vinegar:

Clean the moldy part of the carpet with a solution of one cup of white vinegar to half a cup of warm water. Then scrub the mildewed area to remove mold. Turn a fan on the wet spot to dry it quickly.

Sprinkle with Borax:

Spread borax on the entire dry carpet. Borax will treat mold, mildew and fungi and keep it from reappearing. Let the borax sit for half an hour or so and then vacuum it up completely.

Furniture/Drapery Fabric:

Vacuum upholstered furniture or drapes thoroughly with a vacuum. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove mold spores from the circulating air.

Steam clean or dry clean the item, dry with a clean towel to remove additional traces of moisture. Move the piece to an area with good air circulation to dry completely.

Preventing Musty Smells From Returning:

Once the musty odors are gone, it’s best to try to prevent molds and mildews from regrowing.

Reduce Humidity

A dehumidifier or air conditioner will keep the air in your home drier which will   help prevent new growth of molds and fungi.   It will also help to remove musty odors by replacing old air with new, fresh air. Follow manufacturers recommendations on cleaning your dehumidifier and air conditioner filters to reduce mold, mildew, and odors from being recycled back into the air.

Increase Air Circulation

Increased air circulation   reduces overall moisture in affected areas. A fan or cracked window will help to keep the air fresh.

Lighten Up

All molds and mildew prefer low light conditions. Turning the lights up helps to retard their growth.



http://www.housecleaningcentral.com/en/cleaning-tips/odor-removal/musty-smell-removal.html

Connect with Mrs Clean!

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Mrs Clean (Corina Wilson) is not only the owner of the company, but a very busy mother of 3 children.

Mrs Clean realized long ago, that a clean home is   a necessity, not a luxury   when we are struggling to find the time in our day to cover the very basic levels of work and/or family obligations. The battle seems to never end... (but that's why we're here to help!)

When Mrs Clean is not busy managing her   house cleaning company   or running her kids back and forth to their events, she enjoys experimenting with natural and non-toxic cleaners and learning new techniques to remove stains.

She thoroughly enjoys sharing her valuable information with the readers of her blogs and various social media sites.

Valuable Cleaning Tips!

Connect with   Mrs Clean House Cleaning   on Google+ for valuable   House Cleaning Help   from Mrs Clean. You can also find us on   Facebook ,   Twitter   and on Mrs Clean's House Cleaning Tips Blog   House Cleaning Central .


By proadAccountId-361762 20 Jun, 2017

Why Won't My Dishwasher Drain?

By Timothy Dahl

 

If you've recently installed a new garbage disposal, that might be why your dishwasher is plugged up.

A clogged dishwasher that won't drain is a common and disgusting kitchen issue, but the problem might not be the dishwasher itself. Rather, it could be your newly installed garbage disposal.

If you've got a water sitting in the bottom of your dishwasher, the first thing you want to do is check the drain plugs for blockage in the dishwasher pan. Large chunks of food and other items may be preventing the dishwasher from draining. If the drains are clear, then move along to the draining tube which often dumps into your garbage disposal.

The top rubber tube drains the dishwasher into the garbage disposal. The port on a new garbage disposal will have a plastic plug inside. If that plastic plug isn't popped out, then the dishwasher won't drain and the water will pool back into the washer.

Unplug your garbage disposal before working on it. To remove the plastic plug, simply release the clamp holding the rubber tube and pull it off.

Then take a screwdriver and feel for the plug. If the screwdriver pushes all the way into the disposal, you've got a blockage somewhere else. But if you can feel the plastic plug then you've found your issue.

 

Use a hammer to lightly bang against the back of the screwdriver and punch out the plastic plug. Make sure you've removed it around all of the edges. Reach into the top of the disposal through the sink and pull the plug out and any remaining plastic pieces. Then reattach the hose and your dishwasher should now drain properly.

Need help?

Contact us at Joe the Plumber . We wake care of all your plumbing needs!

By proadAccountId-361762 19 Jun, 2017

By: Light Foot Mechanical

You invested in a water filtration system to ensure that you can easily get clean, safe and healthy water for your whole family at home. You can rely on your water filters for quick and easy drinking water when you’re in a rush, and it has become part of your daily routine. However, without regular and proper maintenance, your filtration system can become less effective at removing contaminants from your water, leaving a less pleasant taste in the liquid you drink every day.Water Filtration - Clean Water

It is quick and easy to get in the habit of cleaning and maintaining your water filter system on a regular basis, which will help to enhance the effective and efficient performance, making it last longer. Consider trying some of these hints and tips to improve the lifespan of your filtration system.

Regular cleaning routine

Cleaning the inside of your water filter system frequently and thoroughly is important to avoid a build-up of minerals, contaminants or dirt in the filter. Try not to use any harsh cleaning products and gently rinse the system with warm water. You do not want to add any harmful toxins to your system that could be absorbed into the water that you and your family drink. Make sure to clean all elements of the system, preferably on a weekly basis. Ensure you sanitize the different parts of the system when cleaning your water filter, including the water dispenser, line, and cap assembly.

The water softener that you use may contribute to a build-up of salt in your water filter, meaning you will need to clean your system more often. Newer water softeners are efficient in how salt is used in the water, causing the excess to sometimes form a blockage within the system. When cleaning out your water filter, simply switch off the system, remove the majority of the salt and use hot water to dissolve the blockage.

Remember to monitor your water filter whenever you use it, looking out for signs that it may need cleaning. There is often also a monitoring system on your water filter, which can differ depending on the brand or type you have.

By proadAccountId-361762 05 Jun, 2017

Where and When

There are several things that could cause your toilet to make gurgling sounds; a blockage in the toilet or drain for that toilet, a blockage in the vent stack leading up to the roof that may have a nest or leaves in it, or most commonly a main sewer drain blockage. The gurgling sound you hear is from air that escapes backwards into the toilet and is the first sign of a more serious issue occurring and a messy disaster waiting to show itself at the most inopportune time. - See more at: http://www.3wayplumbing.com/FAQ-Blog/ArtMID/1709/ArticleID/23/What-does-it-mean-when-I-hear-gurgling...

Not all gurgling sounds are caused by problems in the plumbing draining/venting system. It is normal to hear these sounds in the toilet at the end of every flush because of air suction into the toilet bowl.

Gurgling sounds are not normal when we flush the toilet and hear the sound coming from a nearby vanity sink or bathtub drain.

By proadAccountId-361762 01 Jun, 2017
What is a galvanized pipe you ask? Prior to the 1960s and through the 1980s, new homes were being built using galvanized pipe. It was a very popular and effective way to transport water throughout the home and a great alternative to lead pipes. A galvanized pipe is a steel pipe dipped in molten, naturally occurring zinc allowing us to safely drink water without the risk of contamination of rust or metals from the steel. Naturally occurring zinc is impure so these pipes may also have been contaminated with lead and other impurities.
By proadAccountId-361762 23 May, 2017

Accurate leak detection methods must be utilized to find leaks in a system and correctly address them. Listed below are the accepted methods of HFC leak detection and are the most common refrigerants you may encounter as a Service Technician, arranged in groups:

1. Soap Bubbles – Visible Method – Works with all refrigerants – Very accurate for pinpointing a leak

2. Fluorescent Dye – Visible Method – Works with all refrigerants – Must be added to refrigerant – Special UV Light required.

3. Electronic Leak Detectors – Currently the most popular method in use – Works with all refrigerants – Very accurate or very inaccurate, depending on sensor condition. Must be checked regularly against a calibrated reference leak to ensure accuracy.

The various electronic leak detectors are covered below. The information is not meant to steer you towards or away from any technology, but is for information purposes only.

a. Ultrasonic: Uses sound amplification. Acts on the high frequency sound pitch that occurs when gas passes through an orifice. This method may not be accurate on small leaks because not enough sound is generated through a small orifice.

b. Corona Discharge: Air is pulled through an energized electrical field around an electrode. Refrigerant gases are broken down by the electric arc (corona discharge) and detected by the sensor. The presence of a detectable gas changes the current flow in the electrode and triggers an alarm. Gases other than refrigerant can trigger an alarm, giving the appearance of a leak when there may not be one (false alarm). The sensor may degrade over time and need to be replaced. It should be checked regularly against a calibrated reference leak to ensure correct operation. Do not use in the presence of combustible gases.

c. Heated Diode: Air is pulled over a heated diode. Halogenated gases are broken down by the heater resulting in a change in current flow through the diode. The change in current through the diode triggers an alarm. The heated diode sensor is sensitive to excess refrigerant in addition to other contaminates such as moisture and oil resulting in sensor degradation. Because of sensor degradation, the heated diode sensor must be checked regularly for accuracy and replaced within 100 hours of use. When exposed to contamination including excess refrigerant, the sensor could fail much more quickly. For this reason, sensors must be checked regularly against a calibrated reference leak to ensure correct operation. Do not use in the presence of combustible gases.

d. Heated Electrolyte: Air is pulled over a heater that is in the presence of an electrolytic material that reacts with the broken down halogenated refrigerant gasses. Halogenated gases result in a change in current flow between the heater electrode and the electrolyte which triggers an alarm. Like the heated diode sensor, the electrolytic sensor is sensitive to excess refrigerant and other contaminants resulting in sensor degradation. Excess refrigerant exposure can have a quick impact on sensor life. A heated electrolyte detector must be checked regularly with a calibrated reference leak to ensure that it can accurately detect a refrigerant leak. Do not use in the presence of combustible gases.

e. Infrared: Air is pulled through an optical window in the infrared sensor. Refrigerant gases absorb IR Radiation. The optical sensor senses this and triggers an alarm, depending on how much IR has been absorbed. This technology is very accurate and has been the technology of choice in lab settings for many years. It has only recently (last 5 years approx.) been introduced to the field in the form of portable hand held leak detectors. The refrigerant isn’t broken down by heat and doesn’t directly contact the sensor, thus the sensor isn’t subject to contamination. Sensor life expectancy is over 1000 hours or the life of the leak detector. To ensure accuracy, the infrared detector should be checked regularly against a calibrated reference leak.

Electronic Leak Detectors designed for use with HFC refrigerants, no matter what sensor type is utilized, when properly maintained (including sensor replacement when necessary), all work very well.

Some are more susceptible to contamination – including exposure to excess refrigerant – than others. For this reason, never open a bottle of refrigerant and place the pickup tube in the refrigerant stream, as it can quickly ruin the sensor in your leak detector. Always use a calibrated reference leak to determine the accuracy of your sensor.

If your leak detector will trigger on the reference leak, it’s capable of finding any leak in the system you are checking. If not, replace the sensor.

By proadAccountId-361762 11 May, 2017

Over time, a tankless water heater can accumulate minerals that can build up on and erode the walls inside your tank's heating chamber. To properly maintain and clean your tankless water heater, you must flush and remove the mineral deposits from your tank at least once per year. Continue reading to learn how you can maintain your tankless water heater to ensure its optimal performance and efficiency.

Steps

1.  Turn off the power source for your tankless water heater.

This can be done by shutting off the main gas or turning off the circuit breaker for electrical devices.

2.  Close and turn off the 3 water valves attached to your thankless water heater.

This procedure will prevent cold water from flowing into the water heater and prevent hot water from coming out during the cleaning process.

The water valves consist of a cold water valve that may be colored blue, a hot water valve that may be colored red, and a third main valve that runs the water into your home.

3.  Remove the purge port valve caps slowly from the purge valves located on each of the cold and hot water valves.

The purge valves have small handles that resemble the letter "T."

This procedure is done to relieve any pressure that has built inside the valves and will prevent excess hot water from shooting out and coming into contact with your skin.

There may be pressure when removing the purge port valve caps, so it is extremely important to make sure the hot water valve is completely and accurately shut off for safety purposes.

Handle each cap carefully to make sure the rubber washer sealing discs stay in place, which are needed for your valves to function properly.

4.  Attach your hosing lines to each of the 3 valves.

If the manufacturer of your tankless water heater did not provide you with hosing lines, you can purchase them from any retail store specializing in home repair or water heaters. The hosing lines must be long enough to reach between the water heater and your bucket.

You may need to consult your manual provided by the tankless water heater's manufacturer or contact the manufacturer directly for exact instructions regarding this procedure.

In some cases, this procedure may require you to use a sump pump and connect hoses that will discharge and flush water from the thankless water heater using the cold and hot water valves.

5.  Open the purge port valves by twisting them perpendicularly to the position of the cold and hot valves.

Use 2.5 gallons (9.46 liters) of undiluted white vinegar to clean your thankless water heater at all times instead of chemical solutions.

Since your thankless water heater is most likely the source of all your drinking water and bathing water, using chemical cleaning solutions may be extremely harmful to your health.

6.  Perform the flushing and draining procedure by following the directions provided by the manufacturer of your tankless water heater.

This procedure may take up to 45 minutes.

Image titled Maintain a Thankless Water Heater Step 88

Close the purge port valves by twisting the "T"-shaped handles after the flushing process has been completed.

7.  Disconnect and remove the hosing lines from each water valve.

Replace the purge port valve caps onto the purge valves.

Tighten the caps completely and firmly without breaking the rubber sealing discs located inside the caps.

8.  Refer to the manufacturer's manual of your tankless water heater for exact instructions on how to safely re-start your water heater.

This procedure may just require you to rotate and open the cold and hot water valves so they are parallel to the position of the main valve that leads into the house.

9.  Turn on the hot water tap in your sink slowly to allow the air to pass through the pipe.

Continue to run the water until it runs steadily without air escaping.

This procedure may take up to 2 or 3 minutes. 

 

By proadAccountId-361762 01 May, 2017

Toilet clogs seem to happen at the most inopportune moments. Fortunately, you can clear most clogs yourself without having to pay a plumber. Most clogs can be cleared with a good plunger or homemade drain cleaner made with hot water, baking soda and vinegar. For deeper clogs, try snaking the drain or using a wet/dry vacuum to do the job.

1.   Keep the toilet from overflowing.

If your toilet doesn't flush properly after one flush, don't flush again. This will cause more water to be pumped into the toilet bowl. Instead, take the lid off of the toilet tank and close the toilet flapper. Closing the flapper will keep more water from entering the bowl.

2.   Prep the bathroom.

In case splashing occurs, place newspapers or paper towels on the floor to soak up liquid. The paper will make for easier cleanup later. You should also turn on the ventilation fan or open a window to minimize foul odors.

3.   See if you can clear the obstruction.

If you can see the cause of the clog, reach in and remove it from the toilet if possible. If you can't clear it with your hands, but you know there's an object (such as a child's toy) causing the clog, skip the plunging and go straight to another method.

4.   Use a high quality plunger.

It is important to use a large heavy-duty rubber plunger, either the ball-shaped type or one with a fold-out rubber flange on the bottom which forms a seal.

5.   Insert the plunger into the bowl.

Make sure the plunger completely covers the hole. The plunger should be submerged in water to be effective. It is important to be pushing and pulling with water, not air. Add water from the sink to the bowl if necessary.

Pump the plunger over the hole. Start slowly at first, since the first plunge will push air into the bowl. Push down, then pull up sharply to disturb the clog and loosen it. Continue vigorously pushing and pulling until the water begins to drain.

6.   Flush the toilet to check the drainage.

If the plunging eventually drains the bowl, but the clog is still blocking a free flow down the drain, leave the plunger in the bowl and fill the bowl with water again.

Fill it to the point it is normally after a regular flush, then plunge again. Stubborn clogs might require you to do this a number of times.

7.   Purchase an enzyme waste removal product.

Look for a product that contains a mixture of enzymes that liquify waste materials. These enzymes are used in septic systems to break down waste, follow the instructions on the container.

Pour the recommended amount of the enzyme product into the toilet bowl. You will typically be instructed to wait overnight for the enzymes to go to work on the clog. The toilet should drain once the clog has cleared.

8.   Heat half a gallon of water.

If the toilet tends to clog easily as the result of trying to flush too much waste, using a combination of hot water, baking soda and vinegar will often do the job as well as a commercial drain cleaner. Boil half a gallon of water, then let it cool for a moment while you add other ingredients to the toilet bowl. The water should be no hotter than a hot tea you can drink comfortably.

It should not be boiling, since very hot water can crack porcelain. You want to raise the temperature of the water passing around or pressing on the clog.

9.   Pour 1 cup baking soda and 2 cups vinegar into the toilet.

The baking soda and vinegar create a chemical process that help to dissolve clogs.

Distilled white vinegar is commonly used, but any type of vinegar will work. The mixture will fizz a great deal.

10.                 Add Soap.

If you don't have baking soda and vinegar on hand, try adding a few squirts of dish soap to the toilet bowl.

The soap may help to loosen the clog. our the hot water into the bowl. Pour it from waist level, rather than right near the rim. The force of the water falling into the bowl can help to clear the clog.

Let the mixture stand overnight. In the morning, the water should have drained. This homemade drain cleaner should successfully clear clogs caused by organic material. If the water won't flush on your second try, you may have hard obstruction causing the clog. Try using a wire coat hanger or a drain snake.

11.                 Purchase a chemical drain cleaner.

They're available at most grocery, hardware, and "big box" stores.

Use this method only as a last resort. The chemicals used in drain cleaners are toxic to people and pets, corrosive to pipes and very damaging to the environment. Only use chemicals that are specifically made for toilets. Using other drain cleaners may damage your toilet.

* If you suspect that there is a hard obstruction, do not use a chemical solution. Instead, use a snake or call a plumber.

Do you want to know more details? Go to Wiky How

By proadAccountId-361762 18 Apr, 2017

Changing your refrigerator water filter is the kind of routine maintenance that can be easily put off, but just like the batteries in your smoke alarm or the oil in your car, it’s important to keep a regular schedule.

Most manufacturer guidelines recommend that you replace your water filters every six months. Of course, these guidelines are based more on broad situations – rather than your specific situation. If your family uses a heavier than average amount of water, your filter could expire early, meaning it will no longer be reducing particulates and contaminants effectively. In fact, if you wait too long, your old refrigerator water filter may actually be growing bacteria and mold.

So how do you know when it’s time to change your refrigerator water filter?

You may notice a “decreased flow.” Your ice maker may have stopped making ice cubes plural, and decided to make one dirty singular cube, instead. Of course, most refrigerators will also have a status indicator light in your fridge that can give you a helpful idea.

But overall, the most effective way to determine if your refrigerator water filter is shot is simply to explore your palate for an unpleasant taste or odor. The type of contaminants reduced by a properly functioning filter will appear more and more as your filter ages. And when it gets to the point that you start to notice – whether that’s three months, six months – or even nine months – it’s time to make a change.

If your refrigerator dispenses water, chances are it uses a water filter. And if it’s been a long time since you’ve replaced it, the inside of it may be clogged with some of the gunk and the crusty ice cubes below are likely an all too familiar image, it’s time to make a change
By proadAccountId-361762 13 Apr, 2017

Blue water stains are due to a corrosion and are directly related to copper water lines in the home. In some instances this phenomenon manifests itself shortly after a new plumbing system is put into continuous service and then eventually goes away. Notice of this situation occurs, and concern generally arises, when it causes a slight blue or green discoloration in the water or, more commonly on surfaces that come in contact with the water such as plumbing fixtures. Electrolysis and or high acidity can contribute to staining and is often found in untreated water systems such as well water in a forested area with pine trees.

The majority of high copper level cases or blue water staining is caused by interaction between the copper tube wall and elements or compounds in the water. Fabrication of the tube is not normally found to be a factor in high copper level occurrences. This is because the smooth drawing of the tube through the blocks requires a consistent alloy structure. Tubes that may have an inclusion in the tube wall or inconsistencies in the make-up of the alloy tend to collapse, bend, or break during drawing and never get to the marketplace.

Discoloration occurs due to a fine dispersion of copper corrosion in the water conveyed by the system. Elevated copper levels may be a result of either dissolved copper, particulate copper, or both. Usually in cases where this occurs, the inside surface of the tube will be covered by a loosely adhering powdery scale or, if the water velocities in the system are high, no scale will be present. Instead there will be a general dissolution or corrosion of the copper resulting in a high sheen on the inside of the copper tube wall.

Typically stain will occur in fixtures serviced by water with low pH. It generally is characterized by elevated levels of dissolved copper in the water. However it does not usually result in high levels of particulate copper, or suspended copper corrosion products in the water.

The best way to get rid of this occurrence is to have your water tested by a reputable filter company. They will make recommendations for the best whole house filter. Usually a Calcite Filter will do the job.

By proadAccountId-361762 10 Apr, 2017

Copper is the top choice among homeowners for about 85 percent of new home construction. But as the price of copper continues to rise, plastic pipes are becoming more popular (Plastic tubing PVC (polyvinyl chloride), ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) PE (polyethylene) and PEX (cross-linked polyethylene.)

Plastic plumbing pipe: is relatively stable, resists corrosion, is strong and flame-retardant and is flexible, so there’s rarely a problem with “water hammer”, that banging and knocking noise you sometimes hear in metal pipes when you turn the water on or off. It could reduce pressure leaks at solder joints and is easier than copper for the handy do-it-yourselfer to repair and install.

Some drawbacks to plastic pipes: some people complain that they give their drinking water a plastic taste. The inside of the pipes could be more susceptible than copper to growing bacteria. Some homeowners are shying away from plastic water piping citing health concerns.

Copper plumbing pipe: is durable as long as the water isn’t highly acidic, is fire resistant and even earthquake tolerant, every building code accepts copper plumbing, its joints aren’t bulky, its small external diameter means it can fit into tight spots, could increase the resale value of your home.

Some drawbacks to copper pipes: they’re expensive because the price of copper fluctuates with the demand for raw materials. Some homeowners report a metallic taste to their drinking water. Pinhole leaks in copper pipes can spring when a home’s water is too acidic. In fact, copper is best suited for use when the pH of the water is between 6.5 and 8.5. They can be difficult to install, especially if the job requires the use of a gas torch.


Which one is right for your home?

Your best bet is to ask a professional plumber to help you decide.

Your choice will depend on your budget, the acidity of your water, how long you intend to live in your home and which material your trusted Arizona plumber has the most confidence in.

If your home already has copper pipes, for instance, the plumber might advise you to stick with copper for repairs; same with plastic replacements if your home already has plastic pipes. And if you live in an older home with galvanized steel pipes, your plumber almost certainly will advise you to leave repairs to a pro.

As one of my plumber friends likes to say, homeowner’s who tackle galvanized pipe problems on their own are “treading where angels fear to go.” Same goes if you live in a house with a polybutylene plumbing system. That’s one you want to replace, not repair. If it isn’t leaking yet, it’s just a matter of time before it does. If your home’s PB plumbing was installed between 1978 and 1995 and it leaks, you may qualify for free replacement as the result of a class-action lawsuit.

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