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Why cold Weather makes your water pipes burst

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

The cold weather is quickly approaching

Why Do Pipes Burst the Way They Do?

Why do water pipes burst, and why do they always fail the same way? These are two interesting questions.

Water pipes burst because the water inside them expands is it gets close to freezing, and this causes an increase in pressure inside the pipe. When the pressure gets too high for the pipe to contain, it ruptures.

We grew up with water all around us and so this expansion phenomenon seems natural, but interestingly, it is a chemical anomaly. Most liquids do not expand just before transitioning to solid. You should be thankful for this; it is one of the reasons that life exists.

When a liquid cools the molecules slow down (temperature really is just a measure of the average kinetic energy of the molecules). This slowing down allows the molecules to get closer together and increases the density of the liquid. This happens with water too, and when water is cooled down, it gets denser and denser, down to 3.98°C then, something interesting occurs; it starts to expand again.

Because of the shape of a water molecule, it is slightly polarized. The electrons buzzing around it are more likely to be on one side of the molecule than the other (called a dipole), and this asymmetry creates a slight potential. Water molecules are attracted to each others' opposite sides. These potentials create weak bonds that are called Hydrogen Bonds. Hydrogen bonds, whilst not as strong as covalent bonds or ionic bonds, are stronger that van der Vaals forces.

This extra hydrogen-bond 'glue' holding water molecules together is the reason why water is a liquid at everyday temperatures and pressures (another one of the reasons life exists). Other chemical compounds similar to H2O, but without the benefit of Hydrogen bonds, are all gases in typical Earth temperature ranges.

The Hydrogen-bonds in water are also the reason why water has such a high specific heat capacity (the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of water one degree); this helps dampen our weather and stops the Earth changing in temperature too rapidly. It also means that water is great for carrying energy around (like in power stations and hydronic central heating systems). It's also why it takes a lot of energy to boil a kettle to make a nice cup of tea!

As water cools, like other liquids, the molecules slow down and get denser. A competing force, however, is the desire for the water molecules to align with other water molecules based on their Hydrogen bonds, and this causes expansion. Below the temperature of 3.98°C down to 0°C, this alignment expansion process wins out against the desire of slower molecules to get closer, and density decreases.

Whilst not completely understood, it is this expansion that causes beautiful snowflakes to form with their characteristic six points.

This decrease in density continues until the water finally freezes to form ice. Water expands to form ice which has a volume up to 9% greater than the water it came from. It is this reason that icebergs float (being less dense than the water they displace).

Again, it seems natural to us that ice floats, because we grew up this all effect all around us, but this is atypical.

Most other liquids, when freezing, do not form a solid 'crust' on top. As they cool, the solid formed, being denser, drops to the bottom of the cooling liquid and the solid grows up from the bottom!

This irregular behavior of water is yet another reason that life exists. When water freezes, it floats to the top, forming a skin which insulates the water below. When a river or lake freezes on top, life continues below in the liquid left underneath.

In other words, insulate your pipes this winter!

This post was originally published on Data Genetics, a site created by Nick Berry was educated as a rocket scientist and aircraft designer, graduating with a Masters Degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, and currenty works as a Data Scientist at Facebook. You can follow DataGenetics on Twitter here or on Facebook page here.

Article source: https://gizmodo.com/why-cold-weather-makes-your-water-pipes-burst-1480690222

Preventing root intrusion into pipes

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

Preventing root intrusion into pipes

How to prevent sewer line problems before they start?

Know where your sewer line is before you plant! Contact a marking service that can locate and mark the location of your yard if you don’t know where it is.

Do not plant on top of or too close to the pipe. It could cause potential harm to the pipe in the future

Right plant, right place!

Ensure a tree has enough room for the root system to grow without coming in contact with pipes. Figure this out BEFORE planting any new trees.

Keep in mind, a young tree may be small at first and pose no threat to pipes, but may do so in the future.

Tree selection and placement

It is possible for any species of tree to cause damage to pipes, but some trees have certain physiological characteristics that make them more likely to intrude into sewer lines. Trees that grow quickly above ground also do so below ground.

If you must plant near a pipe, select a tree that is not known to be an aggressive or fast grower.

In general, trees should not be planted near sewer lines, but some trees have shown to have comparatively less reports of damage to pipes.

Many fruit trees including cherry, plum, and peach

Some evergreens including cypress

Diagnosis if tree root intrusion

If your home repeatedly experiences plumping stoppages, you may have roots impeding your sewer line.

If the land surrounding your home is heavily wooded, or large trees are present and are close to the sewer line, a root intrusion is possible.

Many plumbing companies can verify a root intrusion by inserting a video camera into the sewer line to view the blockage.

Controlling tree root intrusion

The best way to control tree root intrusion is to completely remove the entire sewer line, but other options are available such as:

Chemical herbicides, Mechanical root removal from pipes, sewer line repairs or installation of liner inserts. Many chemical herbicides can be routinely used to kill roots that may be growing inside pipes. This is typically a temporary solution, and will not eradicate the problem completely.

If a root intrusion has become too serve for herbicides, plumbers resort to “snaking” the line. A flexible metal auger is inserted into the pipe to mechanically remove the built-up roots. This is a temporary solution as roots will grow back and will need repeated removal. The only permanent method to solve a tree root intrusion is to completely remove the damaged pipe. If the problem is very server, complete removal of the tree may also be necessary, as the excavation of the pipe and removal of roots may have deadly consequences on the tree in the near future. If tree removal is necessary, plant a new tree farther away from the pipe that is known to be less invasive

Article source: https://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/videos_posters/breeze/tree_roots_and_sewer_lines.pdf

What to do if your roof is leaking

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

What to do if your roof is leaking

With winter coming upon us and snow sitting our roofs, there’s a chance for some possible roof leaks. A leaky roof can certainly cause a rain on any homeowner’s parade. Rainy weather or snow is often when roof leaks get discovered. That's when it's too late for anything but a repair. No time to contemplate, no time to plan with the rain causing interior damage right now, just get to the phone and get a roofer there as soon as possible. But what can you do to temporarily stop the leaks from causing more damage until help arrives?

First Things First - Deal with inside the house to minimize interior damage

In most cases, a leak will slowly pool at the ceiling until it finds an escape route -- usually a penetration point like at a light fixture or heat register. After several hours, the leak will start to find multiple escape routes, making the leak look much worse than it actually is. To minimize your ceiling damage, find the wettest spot or a bulge in the ceiling and poke a small hole in the middle. Use a bucket to collect the draining water. 

Second Step – Locate the point of entry

Start with the inside, such as an attic. It will prove to be quite difficult to stop a leaky roof in the rain. Try to locate the leak but keep in mind that the leak in the ceiling and the leak in the roof may not align. If your roof covering is over a layer of plywood, then you should keep in mind that water will generally travel from the leak in the roofing material to the nearest joint in the plywood, depending on how the roof slopes.

Third Step – Maintain the situation until help arrives

Once you locate the point of entry from the inside, there are a couple of options for temporary repair such as roofing cement, roofing tape or a tarp. Available for purchase at any home improvement store, roofing cement or tape can be applied to the inside of the roof decking inside your attic, as well as to the outside of the roof. If you feel confident enough scale your rooftop, tarping is a quick and easy option to control any further leaking until your roofing contractor arrives. When using a tarp to cover your roof, a good rule of thumb is to cut the tarp so that it adequately covers the damaged area. Leave at least an extra four feet of tarp on each end to cover the roof damage. Secure the tarp with 2 x 4 boards. You can staple or nail the tarp to the boards, but be sure to use nails that are not so long that they will go through your roof.

These steps will help you prevent further damage to your home until a professional can arrive. Keep in mind when hiring a roofing contractor you want to have a reputable company, someone who is going to stand behind their work. Your roof will last a long time so you don’t want someone working on it who is not a local, reliable company.

Article source: http://blog.redriverroofing.com/what-to-do-with-your-leaky-roof-until-help-arrives

How to prevent sump pump overflow in the basement

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

How to Prevent Sump Pump Overflow in the Basement

We are now entering the time of year with the heaviest rainfall and many homeowners are concerned that their basements will flood.  Installing a sump pump in your basement is a great way to prevent floods during heavy rains, but there are a number of ways the sump pump can fail and eventually overflow.  The following are common problems that can cause sump pumps to overflow and the best solutions for solving these problems.  Keep in mind that you should unplug the sump pump from its power source before attempting to correct any of these problems.

The following tips will help prevent sump pump overflow in your basement:

  1. Debris in the Basin: Sometimes debris such as children’s toys and other household objects may fall into the basin and interrupt the float mechanism which can cause it to malfunction.  The float mechanism can also fail naturally over time.  To test this mechanism, fill up the basin with water to make sure the sump pump starts like it should.
  2. Check Valve: The check valve prevents water from going back into the sump pump in the event of a failure.  Make sure to check this valve because it is not always installed properly; the arrow should be pointing away from the sump pump.
  3. Weep Hole: Sometimes sump pumps may have a weep hole between the pump and the check valve.  You can clean the weep hole with a tiny object such as a toothpick, just be careful not to break anything off in the hole.
  4. Clean the Impeller: The impeller is a small filter that may become clogged and when this happens it can cause the sump pump to suddenly stop running or make a whining noise.  Cleaning or replacing the impeller can get the sump pump to function properly again.
  5. Back Up Power Source: Sump pumps are only useful when plugged into a power source and if the power goes out during a thunderstorm, the sump pump will stop working.  Installing a backup power source for the sump pump is the best way to prevent this from happening in the middle of a thunderstorm when the sump pump is needed the most.

As the season of heavy rains arrives, make sure to check your sump pump for these potential problems so that you are prepared when it rains.  If your home does experience some flooding due to heavy rain fall or a sump pump failure, make sure to call for professional water damage restoration immediately to help limit the damages.

Article source: http://restorationmasterfinder.com/restoration/how-to-prevent-sump-pump-overflow/

What to do if your sump pump overflows

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

What to do if your sump pump overflows

  1. Tap the discharge line coming out of the sump pit. "Sometimes" when I would tap the line very gently with a rubber mallet the primary submersible pump would turn on. Why? because the float switch on an automatic would stick due to corrosion on the top metal rod that activates the motor. If this does work then wait till the basin is empty to see if you can locate the cause of the failure. If their is no obvious reason why the submersible pump failed, you should still replace the pump. If it happened once it will happen again and you may not be home when it does.

If that does not work, then try this:

  1. "Power" Check the fuse box to see if you have blown a fuse. If you have blown a fuse then reset the breaker by turning the breaker off then back on again. Or, you can plug in a light in the outlet where the sump pump is plugged into to see if you are getting power. If you are getting power then hurry up and replace the pump if you can or call a professional plumber. Do not stick your hand in the basin when the pump is plugged in, if their is a short in the wire then you may be electrocuted.

If that does not work either, then try this:

  1. Unplug the motor and put your hand down in the basin until you reach the pump. Feel around the sump pump to see if you can feel any debris stuck near or on the submersible pump. If so, then gently dislodge the object. After you have removed the object, simply lift the float switch to make sure it is going up and down properly. Quickly plug the pump back into the outlet so you don't flood.

I hope these tips will aid you in saving your basement from flooding. You may want to consider getting a backup pump for more security.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Ross_Waniolek/533206

Toaster can be fire hazards

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

Toasters can be fire hazards

Under the right circumstances, just about any electric appliance can be a fire hazard. Lately, electric toasters are falling into that category.

Joni, of Cleveland, Ohio, suffered a house fire about a year ago. Once repairs had been made she received a Black & Decker toaster as a house-warming gift.

“Put a pita bread in it yesterday and set the timer for 10 minutes,” Joni wrote in a Consumer Affairs post. “Went to the bathroom and when I came out the thing was on fire. From all these posts, I don't think this is an isolated incident.”

An anonymous consumer from Edgewater, Md., posting under the name “Visitor,” reports having the problem more than once.

“My husband and I had one several years ago,” she writes. “It caught on fire, so we complained and took the free replacement. That one caught on fire and we took another free replacement. That one I left in the basement for a long time before being brave enough to try again. Guess what? That one caught on fire also. These were different models and each had the same problem. I give up. These are dangerous and need to be recalled.”

Black & Decker toasters aren't the only ones triggering complaints about fire hazards. Stacie, of Vancouver, British Columbia, reports purchasing a Kenmore toaster about a year ago.

Blew up

“Today I went to make some toast, and without any notice, it literally blew up, sparks flying and caught fire in my kitchen,” Stacie posted at Cosmographers. “I literally had to unplug it at the chance of getting injured, and while it was on fire run it out to my balcony and run back inside to get pitchers of water to put the flames out. I am very upset.”

December 2011 Hamilton Beach recalled about 14,000 chrome two-slice toasters because of a potential fire hazard. Safety experts found that when the appliances are plugged into an electrical outlet, the heating element can be energized although the toaster lifter is in the up or off position, which can pose a fire hazard if the toaster is near flammable items. The company said it had received five reports of the toasters causing fires.

Toasters have been around nearly as long as electricity. The first electric toaster was developed in Scotland in 1893. Before that people used metal frames to hold bread in place over a heat source, usually an open fire. Electric toasters replaced fire with heat generated by electric current. Westinghouse developed the first two-sided toaster in 1913.

By their nature, toasters can cause fires because of the heat they produce. They are, after all, designed to generate enough heat from electricity to brown pieces of bread placed in the slots. If the electric elements that generate the heat do not turn off on schedule, they can burn the bread.

Problem with crumbs

At the same time, toasted bread is fragile and tends to generate crumbs that often fall to the bottom of the toaster. If these crumbs are allowed to accumulate, they can easily catch fire during normal toaster operation. Most toasters have removable trays for easy cleaning. Consumers should make sure they clean their toasters on a regular basis.

While crumbs might explain some toaster fires, consumers insist others are related to mechanical faults. Several consumers posting at Consumer Affairs have mentioned that their toaster's timer did not shut off when it was supposed to.

“I was making a piece of toast and I smelled burning,” writes Joya, of Brooklyn, N.Y. “It wasn't toast burn I smelled though, it was the toaster burning. The toast setting had gone to the end of the cycle and didn't turn off. I had to unplug it to get it to shut off. I'm confident that if I hadn't gotten to it in time it would have caught fire.”

What to do

Just to be safe, consumers should probably unplug their toasters when not in use. When using them, it's also a good idea to monitor them and not walk out of the room.

Regular cleaning will also reduce the risk of a fire during normal use. In case of a fire, do not use water to try and put it out. Use a kitchen fire extinguisher or smother the blaze with a heavy towel or blanket.

You don't have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen? You should.

The kitchen is the most dangerous room in the house when it comes to fires, and it's not only objects that can burn. People often set their clothes on fire while cooking -- a life-threatening emergency that requires instant action.

Having a fire extinguisher mounted on the wall or someplace else in plain view is the best hope of meeting such an emergency effectively. Don't put the fire extinguisher in a cabinet or cupboard. It needs to be someplace you can see it and grab it immediately. 

Article s ource: https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/toasters-can-be-fire-hazards-042313.html

How to prevent dryer fires

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

How to Prevent Dryer Fires

Every year, firefighters across the country respond to around 14,630 home fires caused by clothes dryers, according to the National Fire Protection Association. An accumulation of lint causes one out of four fires, which means that not cleaning your dryer is more of a threat than a mechanical or electrical malfunction.

Some dryers have indicators designed to alert you when lint has built up and blocked the vent. Our clothes dryer tests have found that LG’s Flow Sense and Samsung’s Vent Sensor detect completely blocked vents, but aren’t as good as detecting partially blocked vents. The same is true for the check-vent feature on Whirlpool and Maytag dryers.

“Dryer fires are responsible for nine deaths, 420 civilian injuries, and $222 million in property damage annually,” says Marty Ahrens, a spokesperson for the NFPA

Given these numbers—and the fact that more dryer fires occur in the fall and winter—we asked CR’s experts for advice on reducing your risk of a dryer fire. Below, four simple steps for laundry-room safety.

Clean Your Lint Filter

Not once a month, or even once a week: “Remove lint from the dryer’s lint screen every time you use your dryer,” says Emilio Gonzalez, the test engineer who oversees CR’s laundry appliance lab. It doesn’t matter if you take this step before or after running a load, but remove any lint from the screen at some point during each use. “This helps prevent a fire, but it also helps your laundry dry faster,” Gonzalez says.

Replace Accordion-Style Ducts

Generally, dryers are equipped with a 4-inch vent in the back, which homeowners or installers connect to the exterior vent with a duct. But not all ducts are created equal.

If you see a plastic or foil accordion-style duct connecting your appliance to the vent, it's a good idea to replace it.

“These are risky because they can sag, allowing lint to build up at low points,” says Gonzalez. “And the ridges on this style of duct can trap lint.” He recommends using a metal duct, whether it’s flexible or rigid, since it won’t sag, and lint is less likely to accumulate. Use the shortest length possible, and refer to the manual’s instructions.

Inspect Vent and Exhaust Duct Periodically

If you notice that your dryer takes longer to dry laundry than it used to, it’s a clue that there may be a blockage. Another clue: When you’re drying a load, head outside, and take a look at the dryer vent, if you have access to it. Do you see or feel exhaust air? If not, the vent or exhaust duct may be blocked with lint.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends disconnecting the duct from the dryer, cleaning it out, and reconnecting the duct to the dryer and outside vent. While you’re at it, clean behind the dryer and underneath it—lint builds up there, too. In winter, be sure that snow isn’t covering the outdoor vent.

Take Care When Washing Stained Items

Clothes stained with flammable chemicals or substances, such as gas, cooking oil, cleaning agents, or paint thinners, need special care. The CPSC recommends washing the clothing more than once to minimize the volatile chemicals, then hanging to dry. If you must use a dryer, use the lowest heat setting and a drying cycle that concludes with a cool-down period.

In the event that a fire does start, keep the dryer door closed, warns Ahrens—a fire needs oxygen to keep it going.

Article source: https://www.consumerreports.org/clothes-dryer/how-to-prevent-dryer-fires/

How to prevent a Turkey fryer fire. Safety tips

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

How to prevent a Turkey Fryer Fire. Safety Tips

It's hard to beat the speed of deep-frying a turkey-or the irresistible flavor and juiciness that result. But turkey fryers have the potential to cause fire and serious injury, which is why organizations like Underwriters Laboratories and the National Fire Protection Association advise against using them.

If you plan to deep-fry your holiday bird, be sure you know how to safely use the fryer, and take these precautions to protect yourself, your guests and your home:

  1. Keep outdoor fryers off decks, out of garages and a safe distance away from trees and other structures.
  2. Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause flare-ups.
  3. Watch the weather. Never operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow.
  4. Place the fryer on a level surface, and avoid moving it once it's in use.
  5. Leave 2 feet between the tank and the burner when using a propane-powered fryer.
  6. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid overfilling. Oil can ignite when it makes contact with the burner.
  7. Choose a smaller turkey for frying. A bird that's 8 to 10 pounds is best; pass on turkeys over 12 pounds.
  8. Never leave fryers unattended.
  9. Purchase a fryer with temperature controls, and watch the oil temperature carefully. Cooking oil that is heated beyond its smoke point can catch fire. If you notice the oil is smoking, turn the fryer off.
  10. Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner on.
  11. Wear goggles to shield your eyes, use oven mitts to protect your hands and arms and keep a grease-rated fire extinguisher close by.
  12. Skip the stuffing when frying turkey, and avoid water-based marinades.
  13. Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.
  14. Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner, place it on a level surface and cover to let the oil cool overnight before disposing.
  15. Opt for an oil-less fryer. This uses infrared heat, rather than oil, to cook the turkey.

Article source: https://www.statefarm.com/simple-insights/residence/15-turkey-fryer-safety-tips

What is mold

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

What is mold?

Molds are various types of fungi (singular = fungus) that grow in filaments and reproduce by forming spores that can travel through the air. The term mildew is sometimes used to refer to some kinds of mold, particularly mold in the home with a white or grayish color or mold growing in shower stalls and bathrooms. Mold may grow indoors or outdoors and thrives in damp, warm, and humid environments. Mold can be found in essentially any environment or season.

The most common types of household mold that are found indoors include Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus. Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra and sometimes referred to as "black mold") is a greenish-black mold that can also be found indoors, although it is less common than the other types of mold found in homes. Stachybotrys grows on household surfaces that have high cellulose content, such as wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint. There are types of mold that can grow on substances as different as foods and carpet.

Molds reproduce by forming tiny spores that are not visible to the naked eye. Mold spores are very hardy and can survive under conditions in which mold cannot grow, such as in dry and harsh environments. These spores travel through outdoor and indoor air. When the mold spores in the air land on a surface where moisture is present, mold can then start to grow.

Outdoors, molds play a role in the decomposition of organic material such as dead trees, compost, and leaves. They are most common in damp, dark areas or areas of decomposing plant life. Indoors, mold is often found in basements or shower stalls. Indoor mold in residential areas has the potential to cause health problems and can destroy surfaces and objects where it grows.

Article source: https://www.medicinenet.com/mold_exposure/article.htm

You can control mold. Mold prevention tips

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

You Can Control Mold

Inside your home you can control mold growth by:

Controlling humidity levels;

Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes;

Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding;

Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas.

Mold growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors, and can smell musty. If you can see or smell mold, a health risk may be present. You do not need to know the type of mold growing in your home, and CDC does not recommend or perform routine sampling for molds. No matter what type of mold is present, you should remove it. Since the effect of mold on people can vary greatly, either because of the amount or type of mold, you can not rely on sampling and culturing to know your health risk. Also, good sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable quantity of mold have not been set. The best practice is to remove the mold and work to prevent future growth.

MOLD PREVENTION TIPS

Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.

Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.

Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.

Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after flooding.

Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting.

Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.

Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly. Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.

Article source: https://www.cdc.gov/mold/dampness_facts.htm