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water-heater-101

Water Heater 101: Maintenance, replacement time and more

You may not look at your water heater very much, but you rely on it every day. When it malfunctions, it’s noticeable, and it can be expensive to repair.

If you feel completely lost when it comes to water heater maintenance, this blog post will give you the basics and let you know when it’s time for replacement.

Welcome to Water Heater 101!

What maintenance should I perform on my water heater to keep it running smoothly?

Before performing any maintenance on your water heater, first shut off the power and read your owner’s manual.

  • Check for signs of thermal expansion (Twice per year)Thermal expansion is the greatest contributor to early water heater failure. If your home has a closed water supply system (one that has a one-way valve to keep water from expanding back into the city’s water supply), your water heater may be at risk. Check for signs of thermal expansion by watching for bulging in the top or bottom surfaces of your tank and signs of deformity in the relief line or connection nipples at the top of your tank. If you have a closed water supply system or you’ve already experienced water heater failure due to thermal expansion, you probably need a thermal expansion tank.
  • On gas units, check your water heater burner (Twice per year) – The burner should appear blue with yellow tips. If it’s mostly yellow or if it’s sooty under there, your flue may be clogged. This is a dangerous situation, and you should call a technician to inspect the appliance.
  • Flush the water to remove built-up sediment (Twice per year) – By removing built-up sediment, you’ll improve your unit’s efficiency and avoid harmful corrosion. This process is especially important for Hoosiers living with Indiana’s hard water! Learn the steps to flush your water heater.
  • Test the pressure-relief valve (Twice per year) – If your water is over 80psi, we recommend a pressure-reducing valve on the system. To test an existing pressure-relief valve, lift the valve’s handle, and let it snap back. This should release a burst of water into the overflow drainpipe. If it doesn’t, your valve needs replaced.
  • Have your water heater serviced by a technician (Every 2 years) – A leaking water heater can cause expensive property damage. Having a qualified professional inspect your water heater on a regular basis will help you avoid costly repairs in the future and extend the life of your appliance.

How long does a water heater typically last?
The average life expectancy of a water heater is 12 to 15 years.

How do I find out how old my water heater is?
Installation dates can typically be found on the “rating plate” or manufacturer’s label attached to the side of your water heater. If you don’t see a specific date, write down the serial number and contact your manufacturer to find out how to decode the age of your water heater from the serial number. You may also be able to find out your manufacturer’s serial number decoding process with a Google search.

How do people know when it’s time to replace their water heater?
If your water heater is more than 12 years old, has a leak around the base of the tank or is not working as efficiently, it’s probably time to replace it. Replacing the unit can improve your energy usage and lower your monthly utility bill. However, before committing to replacing the unit, be sure to check that you haven’t blown a fuse or tripped a breaker, causing your unit’s malfunction.

22-year-employee-anniversary

Customer service associate celebrates 22 years of service to Justin Dorsey Plumbing!

This week, we celebrate the 22-year work anniversary of one of our own — Dorena Stansbury. Dorena started working with Justin Dorsey Plumbing on June 17, 1996, and has loyally served the company ever since.

“I looked it up the other day, and the average employee tenure in the U.S. is 4.2 years,” said company owner Justin Dorsey. “When you consider that, you realize how lucky we are that Dorena has stuck with us for so long! I’m grateful for her reliable service and the wonderful work she does with our customers.”

An Interview with Dorena

To honor her time with Justin Dorsey Plumbing, we interviewed Dorena, and here’s what she had to say:

Did you think you’d be here 22 years when you started back in 1996?

I was hoping to be because I am not one to move around from job to job.

Describe your main job responsibilities.

“One of my main jobs is to answer all incoming phone calls (along with Kim, who helps me out if I’m unable to answer). I answer calls both during and after office hours, so customers get a live person no matter when they call, rather than an answering service. I schedule service calls and dispatch the technicians. I also process invoices and figure service technician pay from each invoice. I serve as one of the main support personnel for the service technicians.”

What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened on the job?

The winter of 2013 or 2014, everyone had frozen pipes. We had so many calls that we had a list of people that needed pipes unthawed or busted lines repaired. We had a similar experience during the flooding of 2008 when everyone needed sump pumps and other repairs. Those two years, we had to have lists of customers and could not get to all of them. We had to explain to customers that, if they couldn’t get out of their homes due to snow- or water-covered roads, then our plumbers couldn’t get into their homes either — something a lot of customers don’t think about.

What’s the most valuable plumbing fact you’ve learned since working for Justin Dorsey Plumbing?

“I’ve learned that it’s important to take care of small leaks sooner rather than later. If you leave it for later, it could turn into a bigger leak and cause property damage.”

What’s your favorite thing about working at Justin Dorsey Plumbing?

“There are many things that I like about working here, but I’d have to say my favorite part is working with Justin, Judy and all the lovely people on staff (especially the other ladies in the office). I also love that there’s never a dull day. I get to speak with many different people on the phones, and I have lots of paper work to do that keeps me busy so time flies by. I don’t recall a single day working here that I have said, ‘This day is never going to end! When can I go home?’ Instead, it’s always, ‘Oh, it’s 4:30 p.m. Time to go home? Wow!’

Justin and Judy make working here easy because they do their best to help and accommodate all their employees’ personal needs. Not all businesses would allow me time off to go on a school field trip with my daughter or leave for a couple hours to take my dog to the vet. That is one of my main reasons for working here.”

Thank you, Dorena, for your service!

Learn more about our amazing team.

FACEBOOK CONTEST! Enter by Aug. 19 to win a brand-new water heater!

oldest water heater contest

** PLEASE NOTE – Contest has now ended. See winner announcement below. **

It’s contest time!

Do you have the oldest water heater? We’re giving away a brand-new water heater to the person who can prove theirs is the oldest!

Prize details (valued up to $1,500!)

The winner of this contest will win a Bradford White gas or electric water heater, holding up to 50 gallons, depending on the client’s space and needs. This prize is worth up to $1,500!

Entry guidelines:

  • The participant must be the legal homeowner of the property, not a tenant.
  • Must reside within a 50-mile radius of Danville, Ind.
  • The water heater age must be validated via a free inspection by Justin Dorsey Plumbing before the new water heater will be installed. Once a winner has been chosen, we will work with you to schedule the inspection and subsequent installation.

Contest entry instructions:

  1. Visit our Justin Dorsey Plumbing Facebook page.
  2. Like and follow our page.
  3. Find the post pinned to the top of our page, detailing the contest instructions.
  4. Comment on the post with:
    A picture of you standing next to your old water heater, holding a paper with the install month and year clearly written on it.
  5. Deadline for entry is Sunday, Aug. 19!

How do I find out how old my water heater is?

Installation dates can typically be found on the “rating plate” or manufacturer’s label attached to the side of your water heater. If you don’t see a specific date, write down the serial number and contact your manufacturer to find out how to decode the age of your water heater from the serial number. You may also be able to find out your manufacturer’s serial number decoding process with a Google search.

The winner will be announced Tuesday, Aug. 21! Good luck!

Learn more about malfunctioning water heaters in our post, featuring “4 common plumbing problems and how to avoid them!”

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UPDATE: WINNER ANNOUNCED!

Congratulations to Leeann Hobbs Abbott, the winner of our Oldest Water Heater Contest! Her 41-year-old water heater earned her a BRAND-NEW Bradford White water heater! Congratulations! And thank you to all the people who entered or shared this opportunity! We appreciate you!

free water quality test

Get a free water quality test with your next Justin Dorsey Plumbing service call

Justin Dorsey Plumbing offers a free water quality test to customers who have scheduled service calls. This test takes 5-10 minutes and tests for water hardness as well as iron and chlorine levels.

“This is a nice added value that we offer to customers when we’re already at their home for another service,” explains Michael Rodgers, a service technician with Justin Dorsey Plumbing. “As a technician, this test helps me to provide better recommendations to my customers for what water conditioning system would work for their particular water quality.”

Water conditioning system options include:

  • Water softener
  • No-salt water conditioner
  • Iron filter

Worried about contaminants in your drinking water?

“It’s important for customers to note, however, that this free test does not test for bacteria or other heavy metals present in the water,” warns Rodgers. “For that, we offer a Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System that can provide customers bottle-quality water at their kitchen faucets.”

Reverse Osmosis systems remove:

  • Heavy metals
  • Poisons
  • Pesticides
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • And more

If you don’t like the taste of your drinking water or are concerned about contaminants, be sure to ask your Justin Dorsey Plumbing technician about the Reverse Osmosis system.

Call (888) 242-2937 to schedule your next service call, and be sure to tell your technician you want the free water quality test!

Meet the man behind the plumbing business

After we had such interest in the story behind the crying baby logo, we thought we’d introduce you to the man behind Justin Dorsey Plumbing. Here’s a chance to learn more about Justin Dorsey, the guy who started it all.

A personal interview with Justin Dorsey

  1. Are you originally from Danville?  I have lived in Danville since 1962, when I moved here with my parents and two older twin sisters when I was four years old. My dad was in the military (U.S. Air Force) and had a mobile home. He traded in that mobile home to use as a down-payment on a farm here in Danville.
  2. What was your first-ever job? I got a job driving a Minneapolis Moline tractor, raking hay for a dairy farmer at $.50 per hour. I liked it. I always enjoyed work and staying busy.
  3. Tell us a little about your family.  My father was an ornamental iron worker for Iron Workers Local 22 in Indianapolis. He grew up in Barlow, Ky. My mother was from Waveland, Ind. My parents originally met at a dance hall in Cayuga, Ind., in 1956. I have two older twin sisters and a younger brother. I met my wife, Judy, while we went to Danville High School — she was a friend of my sisters. We were married on Sept. 3, 1977. We have three children and 11 grandchildren. Another interesting thing is that, although she was raised in Richardson, Texas, we were both born in Lebanon, Ind. When we got married, we had to find our birth certificates, and we discovered the same nurse had signed both of our birth certificates.
  4. What were you like in high school? I wrestled in high school. I also played the trumpet in my high school band class, although I wasn’t the most attentive band student. It was mostly just for fun.
  5. What are your favorite hobbies?  I enjoy a lot of different activities — cycling, horseback riding, fishing, hunting, shooting clays, camping and softball. I took two camping and fishing trips this summer (2017) — one in Alaska and one in Canada.
  6. What is something most people don’t know about you? I received a Competent Toastmaster (CTM) award designation from Toastmasters International, a membership organization that helps leaders improve their speaking and leadership skills.
  7. Where did you go to college? I graduated from a Purdue Agricultural short course, and I started farming. I probably raised 40 sows and 500 pigs, until the Jimmy Carter era when I went out of business. Then I worked for a contractor doing night calls, and I decided to get my Master Plumber’s License in November 1983 and start Justin Dorsey Plumbing.
  8. What attracted you to plumbing? I liked the fact that it is a service everyone needs and requires a state license.
  9. What is your favorite part about running your business?  I enjoy the freedom I have to plan my own schedule.
  10. What is the worst or weirdest plumbing disaster you’ve ever seen? That’s a hard question. I’ve seen tons of flooded basements, floating carpet. One time, I was called out to a home that had a well pump that had been hit by lightning. The pipes went through the side of the house, so that was pretty unusual to see that amount of damage. I’m thankful to say we have not had any accidents that have disabled my staff members. Plumbing can certainly be a dangerous job, especially with men working in ditches and with electricity around water!
  11. If you could be anything else besides your current job role, what would you be?  I’d be a general contractor. I’ve always liked building things. I’ve built more than a dozen buildings, built townhomes, single family homes and even renovated a house on Clinton Street here in Danville.

The bacteria you need for your plumbing

Look at your septic system this way, it is the same as a large wastewater treatment plant in Crawfordsville, Greencastle, Plainfield, Brownsburg or Avon. It’s just a smaller version.

bio1_dry

From time to time, the Indiana Legislature is lobbied to regulate your home septic system under the same guidelines as the larger systems in the town you live near. Of course, Justin Dorsey Plumbing doesn’t condone this approach, but it is important to consider your septic system as a crucial element for the health and safety of you, your family, and your neighbors.

Your septic tank operates with a flora of bacteria that breakdown the solid organics, as well as the oily ones. But, did you know that many household chemicals and detergents destroy that helpful bacteria? Take something as harmless sounding as anti-bacterial soap. It’s good for you (not necessary, though), but not for your septic tank.

Enter BioOne, a patented concoction that:

  • Replaces the friendly bacteria in your mini-wastewater treatment plant.
  • Eliminates organic buildup in your pipes and the odor from the residue.
  • Will maintain a free-flowing system and remedy a sluggish one with regular use.

BioOne is safe for use in all septic systems, grease traps, holding tanks, boat bilges, and all drain lines. It is 100 percent biodegradable. It is recognized by the EPA and safe for humans and pets.

Make sure you check with your technician to get your bottle of BioOne and sleep better knowing that you are helping your septic system.

3 Scary Scary Stories from Crawfordsville to Indianapolis

In honor of  Halloween, here are some scary stories and sites around Central Indiana.

The Crawfordsville Monster

In 1891, a strange apparition terrorized the skies over Crawfordsville in Montgomery County. Described as a “great white shroud with propelling fins,” it scared the jeepers out of a couple of ice delivery men. The dimensions of this “apparition” were 18 feet long and 8 feet wide. It had no form, no visible head, but there was an eye, a flaming eye.

It moaned. No mouth could be seen, but still it wheezed. There was also an eerie flapping sound described as sounding like a flag whipping in the wind. Several eyewitnesses, including a Methodist minister and his wife, reported the phenomenon.

News traveled around the country quickly, alarming folks from Brooklyn to St. Louis. But what was this ghostlike amoeba that hovered in the lonely skies over Crawfordsville?

Find the answer and more about the Crawfordsville Monster here.

Whitcomb’s Library

After his death in 1852, former Indiana Gov. James Whitcomb, donated his large library to what is now DePauw University in Greencastle. Legend has it that Whitcomb’s ghost came with the library to protect it.

One scary tale tells of a student who checked out a The Poems of Ossian. That night in his room, he claimed the ghost of Whitcomb appeared at the foot of his bed demanding to know, “Ossian! Who stole the Ossian?!” The incident kept the student awake the rest of the night and he returned the book at the library’s opening the next morning.

You can read more about it here.

Central State Hospital: Indianapolis’ scariest site

Since the 1850s, Central State Hospital has been described as the “Hospital of the Insane.” That is always good fodder for scary stories. Shuttered in 1994, buildings remained on the campus for many years.

The Indiana Medical History Museum documents the history of the Pathology Lab of Central State. In an effort to understand the disease, the doctors would autopsy resident’s brain. To this day, the museum houses the brains with explanations of the causes of the mental diseases. You can check it out here.

It also widely suspected that many of the residents, poor and without family, were buried on the grounds, perhaps in the northwest corner behind the museum and where the Indianapolis Police Horse unit houses the horses.

Central State will always send shivers through its visitors.

Happy Halloween from Justin Dorsey Plumbing!