I followed dad around on our farm like a puppy. Dad was always doing interesting things that were new to me and exciting. He was a “Jack of all trades”. If dad didn’t know how to fix something, he would tear it apart and let common sense carry him through. Dad never failed.

Some of dad’s projects seemed impossible as he took a moment to explain what “we” were going to do. Dad explained he was going to remove a motor from his friend’s pickup and rebuild it. There were so many parts, but dad organized them in a special way that made it easier to reassemble them. It ran great!

Dad was a mechanic, carpenter, plumber, electrician, welder, painter, remodeler, and the list goes on. If it was broken, he fixed it. The most impressive thing was dad seemed to be a “Heisemen” farmer that was second to none. He respected nature and our farm provided a good return.

Growing up with a talented dad was something I took for granted, but what if that knowledge is not readily available?

Sometimes we need to reach out in areas and gain support from others. Those skilled experts can improve the quality of our lives. They may take their skills for granted, but we look at that advice as important in life.

Plumbing, heating, and air conditioning knowledge is something I take for granted, although I have been a direct student of these trades for 41 years. Here are some basic plumbing questions and answers that I take for granted, but they may fill that void and even save your life.

Do you have your water heater serviced?
All water heaters need regular maintenance. For instance, burners on natural gas water heaters get dirty and need to be cleaned. A clean burner saves energy and reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

After cleaning the burner, it’s important to check carbon monoxide levels to make sure it is venting properly. Without checking gravity-vented water heaters with the proper detection equipment near the flue pipes and air inlets it’s impossible to know if they are venting properly. Did the person that put in your water heater have the right detection equipment or skills? Are you safe?

Another maintenance is needed too. Natural gas and electric water heaters need to be flushed regularly as per the manufacturer’s recommendations to remove hardness sediment in the bottom of the tanks. Tankless water heaters require annual maintenance to chemically clean them internally.

City code requires water temperatures not to exceed 130 degrees for residential use. Checking the temperature is easy to do by using a container and cooking thermometer.

A major mistake some make is to turn the water temperature up to compensate for a lack of hot water. That’s an incredibly dangerous practice that can cause severe burns to children and even adults. An example of the risk is a friend of mine who had a seizure while taking a bath and kicked on the hot water. Luckily, he survived but spent a painful stay in the hospital burn unit.

Is your water pressure adequate? The city code requires water pressures not to exceed 80 pounds per square inch. If that pressure is exceeded, a water pressure reducer needs to be installed on the water supply piping as it enters the home or business.

Excessive water pressures can cause the “weak links” like plastic parts in the plumbing system to blow apart, resulting in substantial water damage. Plastic flushing mechanisms in toilets are great examples of weak parts. Low-quality faucets and washing machine hoses are known culprits as they age too.

Water piping also fails as it ages and needs to be replaced. A water leak is a “gift” because it can warn us before the pipe joint bursts.

The low water pressure causes problems too. All plumbing fixtures need an adequate supply of water for multiple reasons. The most important reason is the quality of life may be affected. It’s impossible to put a value on that. Low water pressures can also cause plugged drains over time.

We take so many things in life for granted, like when our plumbing systems “talk” to us. We need to listen and respond.

One thing I do not take for granted is the education in life my dad provided through the years. Mom was always a talented source too. You both made a huge difference and are appreciated more than ever. Thank you!

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