Is water heater safety important? You BET it is!
You should be very critical of your water heater and examine it as closely. All of us practice careful inspection when looking for properties to rent. We should also practice this level of skepticism when inspecting our water heaters. A damaged water heater could cause danger to members of your household. It can also be costly especially when the water heater’s damage is significant. It’s better to be always on the safe side and make sure that our water heaters are in good condition in order to avoid accidents.
Watch this short “Mythbusters” video that clearly demonstrates how powerful a poorly rigged water heater can be. For this demonstration the water heater’s thermostat and pressure relief valve have failed, no thermal expansion tank is installed, and steam pressure inside the tank builds up turning the water heater into a rocket and flys up to 150 feet in the air!
But before a water heater goes ballistic, all that pressure takes a toll on the home’s plumbing. When the water heater heats a large quantity of water (say, after a shower) the water expands slightly, and that expansion has to go somewhere, which can significantly increasing the pressure,! The symptoms may be a toilet fill valve (ballcock valve) running on its own, or “unrelated” leaks in various places (e.g., faucets). A thermal expansion tank can absorbe the expansion pressure changes and prevent the damage (and costly plumbing repair bills).
How to Repair a Delta Shower/tub Valve
The Delta shower valve is a very popular valve for home installations. It is one of the most common valves, virtually unchanged over the years.
The inner workings of the Delta valve is a ball with holes that line up with holes in the valve body. Both plastic and stainless steel balls are made, I prefer the stainless steel variety.
On the valve body side, rubber cups are held against the ball with small springs. Your replacement kit may come with a variety of spring shapes. Use the ones that match those that you took out.
1) Identifying the Delta shower valve: Look for a Delta logo. (if yours is a Moen, or Price Pfister, then it is not a Delta) The Delta valve comes in a variety of finishes, but all turn on by pushing the valve handle up. Rotating the handle left and right controls the temperature. Full hot is about 270° of rotation from off. If it’s a tub & shower installation you’ll have an additional button to select tub or shower operation.
2) Purchase a replacement kit. Don’t go for the cheap import. I prefer the stainless steel variety of the ball valve. The kit may come with more parts than you need in order to accommodate several models. In this case, having extra parts after the repair is OK. If you think that your plumbing problem requires the services of a professional to rectify it, you should head online to find experts in your area like these – https://siriuspac.com/plano-plumbers/.
3) To make it easy, purchase the Delta Cup Tool. I’ll show you how to do with with and without this handy little tool, but it’s definitely easier to remove and insert the cups and springs with this handy device. If you don’t want to buy it, or can’t find it, I’ll show you how to use a plain old Phillips screwdriver to get the job done.
You’ll also need a Delta Valve Spanner (a.k.a. Delta Valve Wrench) to adjust the tightness of the handle operation once it’s put back together.
Since most showers don’t have a separate shut off (like a sink or toilet) you usually have to shut the water off to the entire house until the repair is complete. So, have everything you need or might need ready, just in case.
A word of caution: The valve body is suspended in the wall by three copper tubes. If you use excessive force to try to take the front dome shaped cover of the valve off, you can damage the 3 tubes and tear the valve body right out of the wall! For those that have done this, they have decided to buy a copper sheet and repair it in a pinch but many others decide to replace the part. This is going to be very expensive to fix – and you’ll be without water in the house the entire time! In the video I’ll show you how to remove the valve dome correctly – without damaging the valve body – and how to use a silicone paste to make sure it comes off easy next time too. If you scratch the dome in the process, don’t worry, you can buy another one at the store.
Now you’re ready to continue with the actual repair, which are shown in the video in the following steps:
- Shut off the water to the house & open a faucet to relieve pressure
- Remove the button in the middle of the handle (use a small knife if necessary)
- Remove the screw holding the handle on
- VERY CAREFULLY unscrew the dome. Use channel locks if necessary – avoid excessive force! If the dome does not unscrew easily see the video for techniques on how to unscrew it. If you don’t think you can do this without damaging anything, contact a company like AC Plumbing who can sort out the issue for you.
- Remove the plastic cover and rubber washer that was held in place by the dome
- Remove the valve ball
- Use the Delta valve tool or a Phillips screwdriver to remove the cup and spring set in the top two holes (the bottom center hole does not have one).
- Re-assemble in reverse order using a food grade silicone paste on the replacement cups and springs. The kit may come with several versions of cups and springs. Use the ones that match the ones you removed.
- Insert the ball, with the two holes on the top side
- Re-assemble the washer and plastic cap (a tab on the cap fits a groove in the valve body
- Apply silicone paste to the dome threads and then replace the dome
- Use a Delta valve spanner to tighten the collar inside the dome hole so that the valve operates smoothly, but doesn’t fall to the OFF position on its own.
- Replace the handle. The screw hole is offset from the handl’s center, so check for proper orientation.
- Turn the water back on (gently)
- Test valve operation
- Replace the handle button
- Use a hold-back wrench to secure valves while tightening supply lines and you’ll prevent turning and stressing fragile joints down the line.
- Flexible gray polybutylene water pipes are prone to failure. If this type of plumbing fails in your home, funds may be available to assist you. For more information, call the Consumer Plumbing Recovery Center at 800-356-3496.
- You can fix an uneven faucet stream by cleaning your aerator. Loosen the aerator with slip-joint pliers softened by a couple of winds of electrical tape. Hold the aerator under hot running water and scrub with an old toothbrush until it’s clear. Screw the aerator back into the faucet and enjoy your handiwork.
- If the ceiling appears to be wet or sagging from retained water, turn off the room’s electricity at the main breaker panel before attempting any examination or repairs.
- Water-damaged items are best left to dry indoors with plenty of ventilation. Sunlight and heat will dry many materials too quickly causing splits, warping, and buckling.
- Minor ceiling stains caused by moisture can be lightened by saturating them with bleach. While wearing hand and eye protection, apply gently with a soft cotton pad.
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