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Our home has gray plastic water lines. Someone said these lines are likely going to leak. Our home is 30 years old, don’t you think if the lines were going to leak they would have already?

The lines you are talking about are likely poly “B” lines. While it is true these lines have had a poor history and many homes have flooded from this type of pipe, you need to consider a couple of things before you get too excited. As you said, your home is 30 years old and no leaks have developed to this point. The problems with Poly “B” was discovered early on and most of the failures happened in the first couple of years after the pipe was installed. I’m guessing that your poly pipe is fine but just remember to keep an eye on it. The affected poly pipe can be identified by the number PB2110. Even if you have PB2110 in your home you may have no problems if the fittings are copper and they are crimped with copper crimp rings. The majority of the problems with Poly “B” were in the connections between the plastic fittings and the plastic pipe.  visit http://www.polybutylene.com/poly.html  for more information.

Poly B fittings

I have had several sewer backups over the past few years. Is there something I can do to fix this?

Sewer back-ups are caused by several factors including sags in the line, line displacements, tree roots, debris in the line, cracks in the line, line collapse, and deformed pipe. It is impossible to know for certain what might be the cause of your line backing up. The best approach is to send a special camera down the line to see what is happening. I have a camera for this purpose which I run from the cleanout in the home to the city street. The camera is crystal clear so long as the line is not full of water. If you have a back-up it is best to auger the line first then call for the camera. My equipment has a built in DVD burner and I also have a line locator that allows me to find the exact spot where the problem is located. Check out the video on my web site for more information.

Locating the problem area using 512MHertz locating device

Locating the problem area using 512MHertz locating device

The Color camera is amazing

The Color camera is amazing

 

There is a copper wire running from my gas line to my water line. It is in my way, can I remove it, what is it for anyway?

This wire is likely the bond wire and is part of the electrical system. While this wire is important it could be moved. The purpose of the bond wire as I understand it is to prevent the possibility of a buildup of static electricity or stray electrical current from building up on the gas line and creating a spark which could cause an explosion if there was a gas leak. Many homes I inspect do not have this bond wire in place. None the less it should be there so if you must move it be sure to put it back somewhere else. This wire should be securely fastened to the gas line and a copper water line or ground wire connected to the ground system in some way.

 

Parts of my home are cooler than others. I have vents in every room but they do not all preform equally well. How can I direct the heat to where I need it most while not overheating other rooms?

There is a science to the duct work in a furnace distribution system. For instance, if you vent a duct off the end of a plenum you will get more heat than taking the same vent off the side of the same plenum line. This is usually not something you have control over so here are some approaches you can use instead. First of all try to measure the air flow from the vents. If some vents are hotter and have more force it may be enough to partially close the grill in the floor or ceiling to hold back the heat. If the vent is weak you can buy inline fans to boost the air flow. If the air is cool you may be able to insulate the line somehow to keep the heat in. 

How far out should my garage heater vent through the wall?

I often see large accumulations of frost under the garage soffit where the heater is vented. It is important that the warm moist air that is coming out of the heater vent is not entering the attic space through the soffit. If the vent is too short, the warm air rises up into the attic where it condenses when it hits the cold air there. This condensation can lead to rot and eventual weakening of technology rafter tails and roof sheathing. Leaks due to ice damming are also possible. It is best to extend the vent out beyond the eave a few inches.