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When a pipe bursts or an appliance starts to leak, you can’t always afford to wait for a plumber. Water damage will take its toll quickly. Knowing a few basic but important plumbing quick fixes can make a big difference in how you recover from a plumbing disaster.
Here are some easy repairs you can perform to minimize damage before your local smell good plumber arrives on the scene. These simple stop-gap solutions may not sound like much, but they could save you money and spare your home from greater catastrophe.
No matter how small a pipe leak is, you don’t want water pouring out into your home. Even small drips can develop into big problems. Luckily, there are plenty of home plumbing tools designed to help you make quick fixes to prevent disaster.
Whatever method you go with, start by turning off the water. and measuring your leaking pipe’s circumference.
How to turn off the water
To turn off the water to a leaking pipe locate the nearest shut off valve. Sinks and toilets will have a small knob underneath where the water supply connects. Showers and tubs often have an access panel on the opposite side of the wall. Simply turn the shut off valve counterclockwise to stop water from flowing.
If your leak is not located near a local shut off valve, you may need to turn off the water to your entire home until the leak is addressed. Locate your water main where the city water supply enters your home. It will have a knob or lever type valve where you can shut off the water supply into your home.
The right repair supplies
Your nearest hardware store should have what you need to temporarily stop leaking pipes until they can be replaced. If you have iron pipes, purchase an epoxy compound. If you have copper, PVC or other, purchase a pipe clamp or wrap.
To repair a leaking iron pipe: Apply epoxy directly onto the leaking pipe, like you would with caulk or plumber’s putty. The epoxy will temporarily form a seal over the leak.
To repair leaking PVC or copper pipes: Affix the pipe clamp or wrap around the leak. The pressure should hold in the water until you can get the pipe replaced.
Remember that none of these three products offer a permanent solution. While they function admirably as quick fixes, the only foolproof way to be rid of a plumbing leak permanently is to replace the pipe.
Leaking Pipe Joint
Leaking pipe joints are a little trickier than normal pipe leaks. The angle of the joint can make quick repairs awkward or ineffective. Luckily, there are a few tools designed specifically for administering quick fixes to vexing leaks like these.
Repair sleeves and rubber pipe connectors are flexible enough to wrap around a leaking joint and will press in on it to squeeze water back through the pipe.
To use a rubber pipe connector or repair sleeve: Measurement is important here. Cut rubber pipe connectors so they fit tightly around the leak. The rubber of the connector resists water if it’s wrapped tightly enough, but it won’t last forever. Repair sleeves work well on smaller joint leaks. Add a clamp over your rubber wrap to hold it in place.
Over time, however, the leak may grow wider than the sleeve. In a real pinch, you could supplement either of these tools with duct tape, but keep in mind how temporary a solution it would be.
Toilets, bathtubs, sinks, and showers can crack or break just like anything else. Unlike everything else, however, these appliances are sometimes full of water. It’s easy to panic if the bottom of your toilet cracks open and starts flooding your bathroom. In cases like these, you’ll want to prevent the leak from damaging the floor as quickly as possible.
This is where our old pal plumber’s putty comes in. First, apply plumber’s putty to the inside of the leak. Try to squeeze it in as snugly as possible. Plumber’s putty naturally resists water, so it should hold for long enough. After you’ve squeezed the putty in as much as you can, apply caulk right over the top of it. The caulk will help form a secondary seal and lasts longer than plumber’s putty will, but it would be hard to put on without the putty. Neither the caulk nor the putty will last forever, however, so consider having your toilet, sink, or tub replaced soon after.
Faulty Water Heater
If your water heater isn’t working well, it’s likely that sediment has collected in the tank. When a layer of sediment builds up at the base of a water heater tank, it blocks the heating element. The water heater wastes time and power trying to heat through the sediment. You don’t get hot water as quickly, and your water heater becomes strained. All water heaters need to be replaced eventually but flushing your tank can extend its lifespan significantly.
To flush your water heater
First, turn off the water heater. Run hot water in a sink for about 10 minutes to drain the tank of hot water. Shut off the cold-water supply on top of the tank, and then attach a garden hose to the drain valve. Make sure the hose leads to the nearby floor drain. Re-open the cold-water supply WITHOUT closing the drain valve or disconnecting the hose. Watch the water drain until you can’t see sediment discoloration in it.
For Plumbing Emergencies in L.A.
Try these quick fixes for any of the above plumbing emergencies and then call us right away. We can fix your emergency quickly, effectively, and permanently. Mike Diamond has been on the Los Angeles scene stopping all manner of home plumbing problems since 1976.
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The best method to unclog a clogged bathroom sink may depend on what’s clogging it. You can flush soap scum clogs with vinegar and baking soda or tweeze hair. For bigger clogs, a plunger or drain snake work best. Figuring out why your drain is clogged is the best way to figure out how to unclog it.
Below are six methods that address how to unclog a sink drain. Most of these apply to kitchen sinks and showers drains too. Roll up your sleeves and get started. If your bathroom sink is completely clogged or your sink is full of water that won’t budge, your Los Angeles plumbing experts are on hand to help.
Why is my bathroom sink clogged?
There are four common reasons why most people’s bathroom drains clog. Figuring out which one of these problems you have will give us a place to start. Look for:
Clumps of hair
When hair enters your sink drain it clumps together and gets stuck on the walls and tangled in the drain’s components.
Use a long tweezers or a zip-it tool to remove hair. If neither works, try disassembling the whole drain. (see “clean the p trap” below)
Soap scum is especially prevalent where there is hard water. It can build up in your pipes over time and foster mold and mildew.
Pour a pot of boiling water down the drain or use baking soda and vinegar to dislodge built up soap scum. If it still doesn’t budge, plunge with warm water.
Something stuck in p-trap
The p-trap is the curving pipe beneath your bathroom sink that connects to the wall pipe. It prevents harmful sewer gasses from coming up through the sink drain.
Disconnect your bathroom sink p-trap and clean out the hair and any large items that may have gotten stuck within (see details below).
Rust, corrosion, and other common pipe damage can lead to a slow drain or a clog over time.
Replace old, rusted pipes before they become bottled necked with debris. Plunge or snake them for temporary relief.
Unclogging your sink
After you’ve figured out why you have a clogged drain, try the method we recommended for your problem above. If you can’t figure out what your drain’s problem is, then try each of these methods in order.
Note: Never use chemical drain cleaners.
1. Baking soda and white vinegar
Unscrew the drain cover and remove the sink stopper.Measure out a ½ cup of baking soda and 1 cup of white vinegar.Sprinkle the ½ cup of baking soda into the drain.Pour the cup of vinegar down the drain.Let the mixture sit in the drain for several minutes, until fizzing stops.Rinse hot water into the drain.Repeat the process up to three times.
2. Remove bathroom hair clog
Remove the stopper.Use a flashlight to look down the drain.If you can see hair, use a long-nosed tweezers to retrieve it directly.If you can’t see hair, use a zip-it tool or bend and insert a wire hanger to retrieve it.Slide the tool up and down the drain as far as it will go naturally. Don’t attempt to force it.Push the tool in at different angles. Try to move it around the drain to catch more hair.Repeat the process several times, rinsing with hot water as necessary.
Use a cup plunger.Remove the stopper.Seal the sink overflow outlet with tape or a rag.Place towels or rags on the floor around the sink.Fill the sink with warm water.Use the plunger’s cup to create an airtight seal over the drain.Pump the plunger’s seal up and down several times with quick, sharp movements.Test the drain to see if you’ve cleared the clog.Repeat a few times as necessary.
4. Clean the p-trap
Put a bucket under your p-trap and wear rubber gloves.Loosen the slip nuts by hand or with a pliers as necessary.Remove the p-trap by hand and dump the water into the bucket.Remove objects and grime lodged in the trap.Clean the p-trap with a bristle brush.Put the p-trap back together and test the drain.
Use automated drain snakes (called plumber’s snakes or plumber’s augers) if possible.Place towels or rags beneath the sink.Remove the p-trap.Remove the stopper.Thread the snake into the wall drain manually.Uncoil the snake using the handle.When you reach the clog, rotate the head up-and-down and back-and-forth.Pull the snake out and reassemble the sink components.Check the drain.
6. Dissemble the drain
Follow these directions to remove your sink drain. Replace old or corroded drains with a new one. A new drain can help your sink smell fresh again.
Bathroom sink plumbing for Los Angeles’ worst clogs
We hope you’ve learned how to fix a clogged bathroom sink. If you’ve tried everything and are still up to your elbows in water, contact the pros at Mike Diamond. Some clogs are stubborn or so far down your line that they require extra finesse. We know how to dislodge these tough clogs and get your drain flowing again.
The post How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink appeared first on Mike Diamond Services.
There are thousands of types of mold. Mold spores travel through the air around us every day. Once these spores settle, they can reproduce in 24-48 hours. All they need is a moisture and oxygen. Bathrooms and showers provide the perfect breeding ground for mold to grow.
Unlike mildew, which forms on surfaces, mold is a fungus that can penetrate porous materials. If you see black or green gunk in the corners of your tiles and caulking or dark spots along walls, you probably have mold.
Molds carry health risks, especially for people with acute illnesses and compromised immunity. We’ll show you how to clean mold in showers to avoid these health risks. We’ll also give to tips for preventing mold in your bathroom and your home.
What Kind of Mold is in Your Bathroom?
Molds come in three different classifications:
Allergenic: Causes an allergic reaction or asthma-like symptoms.Pathogenic: Harmful to people with acute illness or compromised immunity.Toxigenic: Dangerous or even deadly to everyone.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell different kinds of mold apart. Black mold in showers could be Stachybotrys – the most toxic “black mold” – but it could be Alternaria or Aspergillus, two common household molds.
You can have your mold tested to determine what variety it is, but the CDC recommends treating all molds as harmful. It’s best to remove and clean any mold as quickly as possible.
8 Steps to a Mold-Free Shower
To fully get rid of black mold in your shower, orange mold in your shower and mold in shower grout, use a cleanser specifically designed for mold. While bleach is often touted as the best way to get rid of mold, it doesn’t fully address the problem. Bleach is good at removing mold stains and surface mold, but it doesn’t kill fungus that has soaked in.
If you prefer not to use a commercial detergent, you can create a 1:1 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water or white vinegar and water to kill deep-rooted mold.
You will need:
CleanerSpray bottleRubber glovesCleaning clothScrub brush with stiff bristlesToilet paper or paper towelBleachVinegar
To perform a thorough cleaning, follow these steps:
Spray down all affected areas of shower with detergent or cleaning solution.Let soak for 20 minutes-hour.Apply rolled paper towel or TP in cracks and along tub rim to keep cleanser soaking against mold.Scrub vigorously with brush.Rinse and wipe with clean water.Scrub any stained areas with bleach.Rinse and wipe.Spray with white vinegar and let dry.
The final step is a preventative. White vinegar inhibits mold from growing and will reduce the chance of mold returning to your shower.
If you have significant mold growth or are worried that you have toxic mold, consult a professional remediator. Don’t take on large mold projects yourself.
Never paint or caulk over moldy walls/ cracks. You won’t stop the mold from reproducing or being a health risk. Replace old moldy caulk with new, mold-resistant caulking.
Remove Mold from Shower Head
Shower heads inevitably build up with mineral deposits and sometimes mold. If you’re wondering how to clean all those small nozzle holes, here’s a trick.
Put a 1:1 solution of white vinegar and water in a plastic bag. Place the bag over your shower head and seal it shut with rubber bands. Let your shower soak in the solution overnight. The next morning your shower head will be like-new and, best of all, mold free.
How to Prevent mold in Showers and Bathrooms
The best way to get rid of mold is to prevent it from being able to form. Follow these practices to limit mold from growing in your shower.
Turn on an exhaust fan or open a window when showering.Keep humidifiers at 50% or less.Clean your bathroom often with mold-killing products.Fix leaks, drips and other sources of moisture.Change air filters frequently.Don’t leave wet towels or laundry on floor.Spray vinegar on shower walls regularly to prevent mold growth.
By keeping a dry, clean home, you significantly limit mold’s ability to grow. Regular bathroom cleaning and maintenance means no ugly dark stains on tile or grout.
Plumbing Issues Related to Bathroom Mold
If you have mold in your bathroom from leaky pipes, bad drains or drippy faucets, Mike Diamond can help. If you’re in Los Angeles or the surrounding area, schedule service with a certified plumber to evaluate and repair your plumbing issue today.
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As the old saying goes – there’s more than one way to unclog a toilet. OK, we just made that up but we’re here to prove it’s true. Sure, we love our plunger, but what if you don’t have one? Have you tried soap or baking soda?
Follow our detailed instructions for how to unclog a toilet with a plunger but stick around for plunger-less toilet clog hacks too. One way or another, we’ll get your toilet unclogged and return things to business as usual.
How to Plunge a Toilet
The best way to unclog a toilet is to learn to use a flange plunger properly. Flange plungers are made specifically for plunging toilets. The “flange” is an extended, sleeve-like rubber flap built into the underside of the plunger’s rubber cup. Insert this flange directly into the toilet bowl’s drain hole to ensure a tighter seal than a conventional cup plunger.
1. Prepare the area around the toilet
Plunging can get messy. Put on rubber gloves and lay out towels or plastic wrap to catch spills.
2. Level out the amount of water in the bowl
To maximize plunging effectiveness, you’ll want to fill the toilet bowl about halfway full with water (enough so that you can fully submerge the plunger cup).
3. Place the flange into the toilet drain
Maneuver the flange until it fits snugly into the top of the toilet bowl’s drain. Insert the flange at an angle so the flap fills with water as you lower it.
4. Fit the cup over the drain
Fit the cup of the plunger snugly over the drain while keeping the flange inserted. As you create the seal, let water from the bowl under the cup. The water between the cup and the drain will help generate suction pressure to unclog.
5Position and “test” your plunger seal
When you’ve created a seal with both the flange and cup, “test” it before getting started. Depress the plunger straight down and then tug it back up the way you would to unclog normally, but do so slowly. Make sure the seal stays in place throughout the process.
5a. (Optional) Apply petroleum jelly around the cup of the plunger
If you’re having trouble maintaining a seal, try applying petroleum jelly to the cup. Petroleum jelly will help keep the cup from sliding off of the bottom of the bowl.
6. Plunge forcefully 5 to 6 times
Push down on the plunger forcefully to drive the cup down and drive the flange into the drain, then pull the cup back up to “reset.” Repeat this motion repeatedly and steadily, but not too forcefully or rapidly, for 20 seconds.
7. Check water level in toilet bowl
After plunging for thirty seconds, quickly break the seal and remove the plunger. Listen for a gurgling sound from the drain (a good sign) and check the water level in the toilet bowl. If nearly all the water drained from the bowl, then you’ve probably cleared the clog.
7a. (Optional) Repeat plunging as necessary
If the water in the toilet bowl didn’t drain, repeat the plunging process a few more times. Add or bail water as necessary until your bowl is half full before you start again.
8. Test to see if the clog is gone
Before you test your flush, remove the tank lid. Depress the handle as usual and watch the toilet bowl closely. If you haven’t cleared the clog, then the toilet won’t flush, and the bowl will start filling with water. Prevent an overflow by manually closing the toilet’s flapper.
We recommend you only re-try your plunging up to five times. Plunging for too long could damage your toilet, and some clogs are too stubborn for even the most effective plumbing.
How to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger
Worst case scenario: you only have one toilet in your home, it’s clogged, you’re without a plunger and you have a dinner party starting in two hours. Stay cool. We’ve got a few more of Mike’s diamonds to get that toilet flushing again.
How to Unclog a Toilet with Dish Soap
Dish soap has natural properties that break down grease and grime in solids. It can also serve as a lubricant to get things moving.
Simply squirt a generous cup or so of your favorite soap into your toilet’s drain. Follow the soap up with a bucket of hot (not boiling) water. Water that is too hot may crack the porcelain. Wait 30 minutes and check. Repeat if necessary.
How to Unclog a Toilet with Baking Soda
Sprinkle a cup of baking soda around your toilet’s drain. Slowly add two cups of white vinegar. Allow the chemical reaction an hour to reach the clog and work its magic. You could follow up with a bucket of hot water as mentioned above. Repeat the process if necessary.
How to Unclog a Toilet with Poop in It
Yep, we said it, but that’s the way it goes. Sometimes after your uncle has spent the better part of the morning in your bathroom, you have a very unpleasant clog.
The secret here is Coca Cola. Not for your uncle, for your toilet. Turns out, coke has some awesome acids that double as unclogging agents. The carbonation also helps by putting pressure on the clog.
Pour a can or half liter bottle of coke into your toilet and then quickly cover the bowl with plastic wrap. This will help keep the pressure in. After the hour, enough dissolving should have taken place to allow a normal flush.
Unclogging LA’s Toilets the Right Way
If you’re dealing with a stubborn clog that won’t budge, then call Mike Diamond. Our expert plumbers have yet to meet a clog they couldn’t clear.
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Before 1902, humans adopted creative ways of staying cool during hot summers. The ancient Egyptians hung wet reed mats in their windows that created a cooling effect when the wind blew through. Ancient Romans went so far as to pump cold water from aqueducts through the walls of elite homes.
These days you need only turn your thermostat dial for sweet heat relief in your home. But what exactly happens when you turn that magic dial? And how do you fix your AC when it doesn’t click on? Mike Diamond is the fresh smelling man with the answers to all things cool. We’ll cover the parts of a home ac system and explain how the air conditioning system in your house works. If your AC isn’t working, we’ll troubleshoot the common reasons why.
Who invented Air Conditioning (and the summer blockbuster)?
The man credited with inventing air conditioning as we know it is Willis Carrier. At the turn of the 20th century, he had an epiphany while standing on a train platform. He realized that humidity could be removed from air causing it to feel colder. Willis built a system of ice chilled coils that kept mills and printing companies cool during hot industrial workdays.
Stuart Cramer invented a ventilation device around the same time that was used in textile plants to distribute cool vapor to hot air. He was also the person to coin the term “air conditioning.” In 1925 he invented a more efficient version of his device for a movie theater. Soon his device was in theaters across the country. Ever since, Americans have flocked to the movies to escape the summer heat and thus was born the summer blockbuster season.
How Does Air Conditioning Work?
Modern air conditioning works via the physical principal of phase transition. This law states that when a liquid converts to a gas, it absorbs heat energy. Like when you boil water to create steam.
The liquid in this instance is a refrigerant or chemical compound that evaporates and condenses over and over to cool your home. The refrigerant starts as a liquid that travels through an evaporation coil inside your home. As the liquid evaporates it absorbs heat and, in this case, that heat is from warm air from your home. As the heat is removed, the resulting cool air is distributed back into your home.
The used refrigerant gas is then sent to your air conditioner compressor – that’s the big unit outside – where it is compressed back into a liquid. The hot air that is a byproduct of the process (remember phase transition) is vented outside and the condenser aids the compressor in sending the liquid refrigerant back to the evaporator coil where the cycle begins all over again.
How HVAC Systems Work
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Your home’s central air takes advantage of the existing ducts and vents in your home that are also used by your furnace during colder months.
After warm air travels over the evaporation coil and is cooled, fans blow the chilled air through your ducts and vents to reach every room of your home. This network delivers cold air evenly and efficiently throughout your home.
The thermostat connected to your HVAC system regulates all temperatures for both your heating and air conditioning. Each system responds based on the setting you input. Having one central control makes it easy to stay comfortable all year long.
Why Won’t My Air Conditioner Work?
Like any piece of equipment, air conditioners are subject to break down and failure. Common reasons air conditioners malfunction include:
No power.Blown fuse or tripped circuit.No signal from the thermostat.Too hot outside to keep up.Dirty or blocked air condenser.Dirty air filter.Broken fan.Problems with refrigerant.Unit not the right size for your home.Older unit (10+ years).Leaky air ducts.
Some of these issues are easier to address than others. If your air conditioner is not working, make sure its receiving power. Check that the circuit isn’t tripped and that your thermostat has fresh batteries. Then make sure your filter is clean and check your compressor for obstructions like brush or grass. If you’re still having problems, it may be time to have a professional technician look at it.
ir Conditioner Repair Service for Los Angeles
Mike Diamond knows air conditioning and HVAC systems. When things heat up, don’t lose your cool. Call or contact Mike Diamond for fast, reliable air conditioner service in Los Angeles and the surrounding area.
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Traditional water heaters look like large metal cylinders and are usually located in your basement or closet. While tankless water heaters are becoming more popular, this blog will focus on the workings of the more common traditional tank water heater.
Your water heater performs an important task that you probably don’t often think about. It supplies warm or hot water to all parts of your home for hand washing, showers, dishes and more. How is it that you have hot water at the turn of a knob? We’ll cover the water heater parts that make it happen and what to do if your hot water heater is not working the way it should.
Water Heater Anatomy
The two most common types of water heaters in US homes are the traditional electric and gas models. These two varieties have many of the same elements with the primary difference being their power sources. Their major components include:
Water tank. This stores the hot water until it’s needed at a faucet or appliance. Tanks come in different sizes depending on the amount of hot water needed. Most tanks are lined with a thin layer of glass. Transport your new water tank carefully to avoid cracking or breaking it.
Dip tube. This is the cold-water pipe that supplies new water to the water heater. As hot water exits the heater at the top, the dip tube replenishes the water supply at the bottom.
Hot water outlet. This is where hot water leaves the tank to travel through your home’s plumbing.
Thermostat. Like the thermostat for your home, your water heater’s thermostat regulates the temperature of the water. When the thermostat senses cold water at the bottom of the tank, it activates the burner or heating element to warm the water.
Drain valve. At the bottom of your water heater is a hose connection and valve. Use this to empty your tank once a year to prevent sediment build up inside the tank. Consult a professional if you’re unsure how to drain your water heater.
TPR valve. Water heaters have a temperature pressure relief valve near the top. This valve will open if the tank experiences excessive pressure or heat within. It prevents your water heater from exploding.
Internal anode rod. This rod attaches at the top of your tank. Like a magnet, it attracts the corrosive elements in your water so that they don’t eat away at the tank walls. Depending how corrosive your water is, you may need to replace your anode rod every few years.
Electric vs Gas Water Heater
The way in which your heater heats water depends on whether it is powered by electricity or natural gas. Below we explain the differences.
Electric water heaters
In addition to the parts above, electric water heaters also contain:
Heating element. This is a metal loop inside the tank. It’s powered by an electric resister and controlled by the thermostat. When electricity travels through it, it becomes hot and heats the water.
Electric water heaters have a thermostat mounted flush with the outside of an internal tank. This thermostat constantly senses the internal temperature of the tank. If it senses the temperature getting too low, it activates the heating element inside the tank. The tank’s internal heating element heats up the water stored in the tank. The heating works the same way an electric range heats up a pot of water. Once the water reaches the set temperature, the thermostat cuts off power to the heating element.
Gas water heaters
Additional parts that make up a gas water heater include:
Burner. The burner sits at the bottom of a gas heater. When the water inside the tank needs to be heated, a flame ignites from a pilot light. It’s essentially like heating a water kettle on a gas stove.
Vent Flue. This is a hollow “chimney” through the center of the tank. It vents the exhaust from the burner to the outside.
Thermocouple. This is a small rod beneath the burner. It senses if the pilot light is on and sends a signal to the burner to activate. If the pilot light goes out, the water heater thermocouple prevents the gas valve from opening and leaking gas into your home.
Gas water heaters have a thermostat just like electric ones do. The thermostats in gas water heaters contain a mercury sensor in the tip alongside a thermocouple. The thermocouple monitors the pilot light and the mercury sensor monitors the internal water temperature.
When the temperature inside the tank gets too low, the thermostat sends a signal to the gas control valve. This valve checks in with the thermocouple to make sure the pilot light is on. If it is, the valve opens and allows gas into a burner, igniting a flame. This flame heats the water. Once the water in the tank heats to the preferred temperature, the gas control valve closes again. The exhaust from the burner travels through the flue vent and safely outside.
How to choose the right water heater for your home?
Start by checking out our helpful guide! We’ll cover everything you need to consider when choosing a new water heater. That includes the right type, fuel, efficiency, and tank size to fit your needs.
How do I best maintain my water heater?
Make sure your drain the tank regularly to clear out any sediment build-up. If you don’t, sediment buildup in the tank will make the heater far less efficient.Set the water heater thermostat’s temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less. If you ever leave home for an extended period of time, consider turning the temperature down before you leave.Always keep an eye out for pooling water around the base of the heater’s tank. Catching small leaks before they become big ones will help save you a lot of money and trouble.
Los Angeles Water Heater Repair and Installation
If your water heater is leaking or you’re interested in upgrading your to a more energy efficient water heater, give the team at Mike Diamond a call. Our experts can help you choose the right make, model, and size for your home. Not only that, but we can install as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The post The Anatomy of Your Home’s Water Heater appeared first on Mike Diamond Services.
Have you ever wondered where your home’s electricity comes from? It’s a bigger question than you might realize! Every one of LA’s electricity-using structures connects to our gigantic, state-spanning, billion-dollar power system. Your humble home is one end of a story spanning hundreds of miles and involving thousands of people.
The Electrical supply Los Angeles uses every day is nothing short of an engineering miracle. We’ll give you the shocking truth about where the power that runs your coffee machine every morning comes from. Enjoy Mike Diamond’s guide to the Los Angeles electrical grid.
Who Makes Los Angeles’ Power?
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) supplies all the power LA uses every day. The LADWP is the nation’s largest municipal utility. 9400 employees help manage an electrical system capable of generating over 7,880 megawatts of power. Overall, the LADWP power system supplies an average of over 26 million megawatt-hours of electricity to LA every year.
The LADWP was established in 1902 to deliver water to LA. In 1916, it also began distributing electricity. The LADWP is managed by five-member Board of Water and Power Commissioners selected by the mayor of LA and confirmed by City Council.
What Generates All of L.A.’s Power?
According to the California Energy Commission’s 2019 report, California generates its electricity via these means:
0.12% coal16.53% large hydro42.97% natural gas8.06% nuclear0.02% oil0.20% Petroleum/waste heat2.92% biomass5.46% geothermal2.67% small hydro14.22% solar6.82% wind
California is a national leader in renewable energy production. Every part of California–including LA–is quickly scaling up how much renewable energy it uses. The state hopes to get 50% of its electric power from renewable sources by 2030.
To accomplish this goal, the LADWP is in the process of implementing the Power Strategic Long-Term Resource Plan (SLTRP). The SLTRP is a 20-year plan for aligning LA with Senate Bill 350 and LA’s 100% clean energy initiative. As part of this plan, LA will eliminate coal as a power source, decrease natural gas use, incorporate more renewable energy sources, and more.
Where The Los Angeles Electric Company Gets Its Power
The LADWP gets the power it supplies to LA from many sources, both inside and outside of California. You may be surprised to know that your electricity comes from Arizona, Utah, Wyoming and Oregon. These sources include:
Hydro plantsNatural gas power generating stationsLandfill biogas converting stationsHydroelectric damsSolar plantsWind plantsGeothermal plantsNuclear power generating stations
All of these power sources are connected to LA via a massive transmission and distribution infrastructure. Moving and distributing LA’s power requires:
3,507 miles of overhead transmission circuits (across five states)124 miles of underground transmission circuits15,452 transmission towers6,752 miles of overhead distribution lines3,626 miles of underground distribution lines160 distributing stations21 receiving stations128,693 distribution transformersand more
Overall, 15,000 miles of power lines and cables are required to transport and distribute LA’s power!
How Electricity Gets to Your Los Angeles Home
This infographic explains the high-voltage journey electrical power makes to get to your home. We break down the steps in further detail beneath the graphic.
Phase 1: Transmission
1. Plant to “Step Up” Substation
Each of LA’s many power generators connects to a transmission substation (sometimes called a power plant).
Transmission substations “step up” the voltage to prepare the power to travel long distances through the transmission grid. Whenever an electrical current is conducted through anything (like transmission lines), it loses some power to electrical resistance. The higher the voltage of the electricity in the transmission line, however, the less electricity resistance wastes. By “supercharging” the generated power’s voltage, transmission substations make sure it gets to you without losing its effectiveness.
2. First Substation to Transmission Network
After converting low voltage power to very high voltage power, substations send electricity into transmission circuits. These circuits run from the transmission substation near the plant all the way to local distribution substations in your city. A single transmission line can successfully conduct electricity for up to 300 miles.
There are two types of transmission circuits:
Overhead circuits transmit electricity over long distances. They’re supported by the giant steel transmission towers you’re probably familiar with.
Underground circuits are used in high-density, urban areas where there’s no room for transmission towers. LA uses 124 miles of underground circuits.
Phase 2: Distribution
3. Transmission Network to “Step Down” Distribution Substation
Your power has already traveled hundreds of miles via the transmission lines to reach your area. Before it can enter the distribution grid, however, it must pass through another substation. Instead of charging up the electricity with more voltage, these transformers remove voltage to make it safe for distribution.
After passing through the transformer, electrical power enters a “distribution bus.” The distribution bus splits the power off into multiple different directions. LA uses 160 distributing substations to transfer its electricity into distribution.
4. Second Substation to Distribution Network
By now, your power is almost to you. After passing through the “step down” transformer and bus at the substation, power enters the local distribution network.
LA’s distribution networks is, as you can probably imagine, massive. The city uses 6,752 miles of overhead and 3,626 miles of underground distribution lines. These lines crisscross all over the city to supply power to every single connected structure.
5. Distribution Network to You!
Once the distribution line reaches your immediate area, it connects to a distribution transformer -either supported on overhead poles or buried underground.
Distribution transformers “step down” the amount of electricity running through power lines one more time. This process brings the electricity’s’ voltage down to around 240 volts, to make it safe for residential use.
This stepped down electricity travels via your home’s service wire from the distribution transformer all the way to your home’s meter box. The meter box records how much electricity is entering your home and the voltage of that electricity. Electricity passes through the meter box and into your circuit breaker, where it’s distributed throughout your home via your electrical panel.
Electrical Contractors in Los Angeles
By the time electricity reaches you, it’s had quite the journey. If you have questions about your home’s power supply or are concerned about the amount of electricity powering your home, fill out our quick and easy service form. One of Mike Diamond’s licensed technicians will be happy to make sure your family gets the power it needs to live comfortably.
The post Where Does Los Angeles Get Its Electricity? appeared first on Mike Diamond Services.
Since we use electrical outlets nonstop every day, it’s easy to forget how dangerous they can be. All that separates you from the high-voltage electrical currents flowing through your wires is a hard plastic shell. If your outlets ever seem loose, it’s important to perform outlet repair right away. Loose outlets could expose you to direct voltage, sparks, or other electrical hazards.
Outlets can loosen in two different ways:
The whole outlet face wobbles.The receptacles are so loose that plug falls out of the outlet.
These problems occur for different reasons and require different fixes. Luckily, we can teach you how to fix an electrical outlet in either scenario. Here’s how your outlet got loose, why it’s a problem, and how to fix it.
Why is my outlet loose?
Electrical outlets are mounted inside of an electrical box within your wall. Electrical boxes that are too far back aren’t secure enough, which affects the stability of the entire fixture. Outlets attached to these boxes will eventually loosen.
This instability could bump or jostle wires loose, creating even more major problems. Loose, damaged, or disconnected wires could shock you or spark, leading to fires and other electrical hazards.
How do I fix an electrical outlet that wobbles?
Fixing a loose outlet requires outlet shims, a wire tester, and a screwdriver. Once you’ve collected these tools, take each of the following steps:
Time needed: 10 minutes.
Turn off power to the outlet.Use the circuit breaker in your electric panel specific to that room.
Test outlet.Insert your wire tester and be certain the power is off before you proceed.
Remove outlet.Unscrew the outlet cover and outlet screws. Remove the outlet from the box so that it hangs freely.
Add outlet shims.Place outlet shims onto the outlet screws. These shims will compensate for any gap between the screws and the recessed box. You may need more than one shim per screw depending how far back your box is.
Replace and test.Replace the outlet back in the housing box and tighten the screws. If it still seems loose, add more shims. Reinstall the outlet cover, restore power and use your newly secure outlet!
How to fix a plug that falls out.
If plugs constantly fall out of your outlet, the problem is the outlet’s receptacle. An outlet’s receptacle is the two narrow slots your plugs go into. Contact points and other parts of your outlet wear out over time. Old, worn-out outlets and receptacles could arc, spark, or start fires.
If your outlet receptacle is worn out, the best way to fix it is to simply replace it. New outlets are inexpensive and well-worth the peace of mind.
Replacing an outlet requires rewiring it into the electrical box. It’s crucial that you attach each wire to its appropriate connection to avoid shorts. If your electrical plugs keep falling out and you’re not comfortable with electrical outlet repair, we recommend calling a professional to replace it. An electrician can replace an outlet quickly and easily to ensure your home is safely powered.
Electrical Outlet Repair for Los Angeles
These are fairly simple electrical fixes, but even the simplest electrical fixes pose some risk. If you have even the slightest doubt in your ability to make an electrical fix safely, don’t do it.
Instead, call an accredited, professional electrician like the ones employed at Mike Diamond. Our technicians will be able to fix your loose outlets or any other electrical problems you face quickly, safely, and correctly.
The post How Can I Fix a Loose Electrical Outlet? appeared first on Mike Diamond Services.
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