#Answered: Your homeownership questions

Cabin home in North Carolina
MB HAYNES has the answers to your homeownership questions | Photo by @wncrealestatephotography

ICYMI, we recently asked you to send us all the homeownership questions you’ve been too afraid to ask. From water heater woes to toilet tips, you delivered — and now, the pros at MB HAYNES have answers:

Q: Should I turn off the water heater when I’m away for a month?  

A: You will save electricity or gas if you turn off the water heater for that month. Be sure to also turn off the water supply to the house — that will limit damage in the event of a leak.

Q: Can you flush small hair trimmings down the toilet? 

A: As a general rule, sending hair down he drain can cause larger problems later on. Hair tends to stick to the inside of pipes, leading to build-up and clogs over time. It is best to dispose of hair in the garbage.

Q: Water pressure: Is it possible to make it better?

A: Yes, booster pumps can increase the water pressure in any building.

Q: What can’t I pour down my sink, and why?  

A: The waste piping lines connected to your sink are small, and it does not take much to clog them up. Grease is one of the worst things you can pour down the drain. When it cools, it sticks to the inside of the pipes, and then other solids stick to the grease.

Q: Is it really necessary to have your ducts cleaned?

A: Each space is its own unique environment. The particulates within a given environment play a large role in the necessity of the cleaning. According to NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaners Association), you should have your ducts cleaned every 2 years.

Q: For years in another home, I turned my water heater off while I was at work to save electricity. But when I do that in my condo, I get noises + air in the pipes when I turn it back on. What’s going on?  

A: It could be that sediments, scale, or mineral deposits have formed at the bottom of your water heater tank. If your water heater is making noises, the sound could be due to the reduced volume at the bottom of your tank. Steam bubbles can develop while the element is heating the water + cause the noises.

Q: Will galvanized pipes in a 1960s house fail and have to be replaced?  

A: Impossible to say. Galvanized pipes can last 20-70 years, but leaks can (and do) happen in all types of water pipes. 

Q: My master bath is the furthest from my tankless water heater. The shower heats up fairly quickly, but the sinks, located next to an outside wall, run cold for a very long time. What can be done to fix this?  

A: There are several products on the market to help with this issue. A hot water recirc pump and piping is the best way to solve this problem.

Q: We recently replaced all our old (and failing) copper pipes with pex pipes for hot and cold water. Should we insulate the hot water pipe separately with prefabricated wrap-around foam pipe insulators, or are pex pipes insulated by themselves?

A: Pex pipes provide very little insulation. If you want to save energy, we recommend you insulate the hot water pipes.  

Q: Should I be changing my air filters every month? Are the “cleanable” kind better than the paper kind?

A: The environment dictates the frequency of filters. They should be visually checked every 2 weeks. MB HAYNES recommends pleated filters over washable filters for most applications.

Q: What is the difference between a furnace and a heat pump? Is the heat pump part of my outdoor unit that looks like an air conditioner?

A: A furnace is a standalone gas/oil heating unit. It can be combined with either a heat pump or straight A/C. A heat pump is a complete heat and AC system. 

Have another question for the pros at MB HAYNES? Call (828) 254-6141 or click here to learn more about their services or request an estimate for your industrial, institutional, commercial or residential project.