What is more shocking than the burnt out wire on the left is the yellow and green wire on the right. That wire is the ground wire. It is supposed to be connected to the body of the boiler. It is not. If you look closer you can also see a bolt missing that is meant to hold tight another wire meant to ground the heating element. It is there to protect human life. If G-d forbid there is an electrical leak somewhere the escaping current is meant to run through that wire to the ground. If it is not connected and there is a leak and someone touches that boiler...yup, not good news for whoever touches it...Sadly many boilers we service are not grounded.
We all know those disastrous kitchen clogs occur at the worst times: Shabbat eve, holiday eve and whenever you are preparing food for tons of guests!
Two things come to mind: how to mitigate those nasty clogs, and how to ensure we're not surprised by a total blockage 3 o'clock on a Friday afternoon.
In regards to the former, the main ingredients in tough kitchen clogs are Fat, Oil & Grease, or FOG. Over time that greasy residue on your plates and pans that you wash down the sink congeal, constricting the pipe until it becomes totally blocked. That leads us to the latter issue. Clogs don't sneak up on us. There are warning signs. The sink begins to drain slowly before it becomes totally blocked.
Therefore, try as much as possible to throw FOG from your meal and meal prep into the garbage. Also, when you start realizing a clog is developing deal with it straightaway, whether that means a DIY project or calling a plumber.
P.S. If you live in Jerusalem and find yourself being overtaken by a monstrous kitchen clog you can call us for a thorough drain cleaning at 054.323.7877
Check out these two augers. One of them is a grease cutter that fits a 5/8 inch rod. The other is a sharktooth cutter for a 7/8 inch rod.
Most plumbers in these parts don't carry 7/8 inch rods. Normally that is ok. However, when encountering a kitchen grease clog on a 4" line that can be an issue. With the smaller cutter only a small tunnel is bored into the grease. This can result in frequent clogging.
When a properly sized cutter is used the line is properly cleaned resulting in a far longer period inbetween cleanings.
A defective thermostat in your boiler can cause severe damage in your home.
The job of the thermostat is to shut off the system at a preset temperature to prevent overheating. This saves in electrical costs (uneccesary heating) and prevents joints from leaking or bursting from overheating.
We have clients that experienced flooding as a result of forgetting to shut off the boiler.
We recommend always using a timer (have an electrician install one if you don't have one).
We also recommend installing a quality thermostat that is less likely to fail (the blue thermostat in the picture).
Lastly, a thermostatic mixing valve installed on the boiler will ensure that no water above 50C will enter the home, ensuring that no pipes will burst due to overheating.
You may be wondering if adding or replacing defective solar panels for your water boiler is a worthwhile investment.
Budget is tight, replacing the panels is costly, let's cap them off and forget about it.
Well, in the long run that may be a terrible decision. Let's look at the numbers.
Most water boilers have a 2.5KwH heating element. At today's rate that amounts to roughly NIS 1.375 an hour. For larger families that run the boiler for two hours a day, seven days a week, the cost per year is over a thousand shekels!
Within two-three years this family would be seeing a full return on their investment. How many investments see that type of return?
I’m often asked to recommend a water softening system to protect a home’s washing machine.
No magnets. No poly-phosphate. No electro-magnetic waves. Most of the solutions offered by technicians do not actually work.
The best solution is the cheapest solution.
Just put in citric acid and synthetic vinegar once every three months. They will remove the calcium and magnesium from the machine’s heating element. Voila!
Pour in 100 grams citric acid or half a bottle of synthetic vinegar into the detergent drawer. Put the machine on the hottest setting. Once the cycle is complete run the machine on a cold cycle. This ensures that all the citric acid and vinegar is out.
1st, 6th and 12th month use citric acid. 3rd, 9th, and 3rd month use synthetic vinegar. Thus, you are cleaning the heating element every three months but using each of the products once every six months.
Plumbing code in Israel requires all schools, hospitals and elderly care facilities to install thermostatic mixing valves (anti-scald valves) on the hot water lines. These valves prevent any hot water over 50 degrees Celsius from reaching the sinks and showers.
In reality, all homes should have anti-scald valves. Especially if one has little kids.
A brief look into how fast serious damage can occur without an anti-scald valve.
The hot water in a boiler can easily surpass 70 degrees Celsius. In some cases the water can be well near steaming (If the thermostat valves and the heating element continually heats the water).
The below shows how quickly one can receive third degree burns (burns run from 1st degree to fourth, with the latter being the worst):
70 degrees Celsius: Adult, one second. Child, half a second.
60 degrees Celsius: Adult, five seconds. Child, one second.
55 degrees Celsius: Adult, thirty seconds. Child, seven seconds.
50 degrees Celsius: Adult or child, five minutes.
Certainly, a thermostatic mixing valve that limits all hot water supplied to ones home to 50 degrees can save lives and prevent serious injury. It give us time to react if a child unsuspectingly turns on the hot water or if someone slips or faints in a shower.
Get a call Friday afternoon, hour before Shabbat. Drains not working on a renovation we recently completed. Told the contractor the clog is probably originating outside, not my lines as they are all new and checked. I get there Saturday night and clear the line.
Get a call the following Friday at 11:00. Clogged again. Get there at noon. Work until 2:00. Pull out a lot of baby wipes but this time no success in clearing the clog. I tell the contractor there must be a hidden manhole or a bend with something gone awry. I'm leaning towards the former. Tell him I'll be back Sunday morning first thing with my sewer camera, locator and excavation equipment.
Send in the video camera until I hit the spot where I had been getting stuck. Can't see anything as the line is full of water, but that doesn't matter. Activate the sonde, get out my locator and start walking around the patio. I soon find the location where my sewer camera head is located. I start digging, opening up the Jerusalem stone patio, breaking concrete and soon find the pipe. Little more digging and find a covered manhole cover. Years ago a hotel next door renovated the area. The workers ruined the manhole, rocks fell inside (cause of the clog), and they covered right over the access cover! Surprisingly enough this happens more frequently than one would think.
I clear out the mess, open up the hole more, get a new cover and ring, raise up the sides of the manhole, install new Jerusalem stone -- and voila! Done like a pro.
Want to save BIG on your electric bill?
We love keeping the house at a comfortable temperature. Problem is, we live in a very warm location and our home is poorly insulated! Keeping the AC on 24/7 will end up costing a lot of money. So what to do?
Install a ceiling fan. Properly sized they do wonders! They really shine at night when it isn't too hot outside but still uncomfortable indoors. Keeping a fan on at night uses a lot less electricity than keeping on an AC.