Is this as bad as it looks? Mold in apartment A/C vent

r63idkvUser RobotDrZaius writes:

I took off the vent cover because I was trying to close it and the switch was stuck. Looks like death inside. Now, I’ve lived in this apartment with my g/f for almost 6 months with no health or respiratory problems…is this as awful as it looks to my untrained eye? Should I contact my apartment’s maintenance people or just clean it myself (wearing a dust mask, of course)?

zeimbo answered: It’s hard to tell from the pic- your best bet would be to get a spore test kit which most hardware stores will have relatively cheap. I would not attempt to do anything to the insulation as it may contain asbestos. If the kit comes back positive for mold spores, keep your receipt and tell the management you’d like to be reimbursed and have it cleaned..

 

29 Sep

Plumbing: Looking for advice with water service fix?

0llq4jcternarybit writes:

The valve farthest right is leaking. Below that is heavily corroded galv that goes into the ground. Moving right, the first tee feeds into a sprinkler system which is the PVC you see in the lower-right of the corner. I want to leave that stuff intact because it’s working fine and it would be a huge hassle to mess with.

Moving right again, I guess that’s a pressure regulator? No idea what the ball valve is doing there, I guess just another shutoff option. Then it goes into PVC and back into galv into the house.

I partially exposed the corroded buried galv going into the first valve, and it’s horrible. Super corroded, must be original from 1956. Got about 2′ exposed before I ran out of time. The valve and exposed pipe is leaking pretty good, 2-3 drips per second now.

I want to replace the corroded galv and leaking valve, but I also want to do everything else as correct as possible.

Questions:

  1. What do I replace the galv with? I guess UPC states I can put almost anything underground. Thinking either poly or PVC, then backfilled with sand. Open to input.
  2. Do I need a pressure regulator at all?
  3. Any other recommendations for cleaning this up and doing it as properly as possible?

Thanks.

Answer: Check code to see what see if they allow PVC or Pex  for underground water supply. I personally like copper, use rolled soft copper or PEX for the water service from the water meter to the house, with those products you will have no connections underground. The ball valve was probably installed because the gate valve for the water service was bad.

The pressure regulator is there for a reason so make sure you reinstall it.

As far as cleaning up that mess, I would run the new water service straight up to the house service. Between the ground and the service install a ball valve, after that install the regulator, tee off for the sprinkler and tie into the house service. You should be able to install the regulator vertically. Get the model number and call the manufacturer to make sure. Also if you use copper you will need a di-electric union to isolate the copper from the Galvanized pipe to prevent electrolysis. Pex will be the easiest to install if it is allowed in your area

– Rick Ensley, SureSeal Product Manager

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22 Sep

HVAC: Upgrading flex to rigid in the attic. Is it worth it?

ejwjzs9Malsotano writes:

Since I’ve moved into my house, I’ve noticed that the upstairs has pretty terrible ventilation. It stays quite warm in the summer, and much cooler in the winter.

I’m trying to track down some of the issues (like very little airflow coming from the vents), but after poking around in the attic, I couldn’t help but notice these fairly long runs of flex used for the return air: http://imgur.com/a/SCe2q

I guess my question is, would replacing these with a proper rigid installation improve the situation much, or is it not a very strong bang-for-buck upgrade?

Yes, long flex runs particular when not sized, routed and supported properly will reduce airflow and reduce efficiency. Also, you are again correct that rigid ductwork is more efficient than flex. However the primary reason you are having comfort differences between upstairs and downstairs is that heat rises. If you fix the airflow so that you are getting the same comfort level on both floors then when your turn on the heat this fall, that extra airflow will cause your upstairs to really over heat. I recommend zoning the two floors using motorized dampers and separate thermostats. This will require professional design and installation. I do want to caution you in this area, zoning done right is one of the best things you will experience. However, if done wrong, can be a nightmare. Make sure your contractor has reference from other zoning jobs or you do other due diligence on the contractor.

– James Bowman
National Technical Manager – HVACR

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15 Sep

Brand-new toilet water in bowl STINKS

maxresdefaultUser necron52 writes:

Bought this house in June. One of the first things I did was buy new toilets because the ones here were disgusting (family of 5, 3 boys, and if they ever scrubbed under the rim of their toilets it’d be a surprise to me, they were AWFUL).

My plumber installed both new toilets and said everything underneath looked good. But since day one the wife and I have noticed an odd smell in the downstairs bathroom.

It isn’t mold, exactly. It isn’t pee, exactly. It isn’t sewer gas, exactly. It’s just weird and bad. We can’t pin it down to a particular time of day, or any specific weather conditions. It doesn’t seem more or less prevalent with use or disuse of that toilet.

Tonight I got a strong wave when I opened the toilet lid (we close them because 3 cats) and got the idea to sniff the water in the bowl before doing my business.

It’s the water in the bowl. Not the water in the tank – that smells fine. But the bowl is AWFUL smelly.

What could cause this? Where do I even point my plumber to get started? Is there any chance it’s something I could fix myself?

Thanks.

That is one the strangest things I’ve ever heard. There is no way that odor can escape the P-Trap in the toilet bowl if it is full of water. Have the customer smell around the base of the toilet where it mounts to the floor and see if the odor is coming out at that point and not the bowl. If the closet flange is below the floor level then wax ring seal may not be pressed against the toilet and making a complete seal. If the wax ring is not crushed when the toilet is removed then that is the problem, the fix would be to add another wax ring. Make sure is a PLAIN WAX  ring that has no plastic sleeve inserted.

– Rick Ensley, SureSeal Product Manager

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02 Sep