Appliances, continued


Do not bother buying the official condenser coil brush.  Most of the dust is on the front coils, so just vacuum them off.

Hot Water Heater

In yesterday’s blog, I mentioned that even though the [pressure relief] valve reset, there is still a drip drip drip outside from the discharge line outside.  The online instructions said, If the valve fails to completely reset and continues to release water, immediately disconnect the electrical power, close the cold water inlet valve and call a qualified person.  So I thought that was what I ought to do.

Looked through the plumber recommendation sheet I had from Benjamin Supply, and called the first one on the list.  He was at work on Sunday or he works out of his home – he answered.  Was telling him my story and when I got to Couldn’t get the handle [of the pressure relief valve] to lift…   So asked my neighbor to lend his male strength…  he said No don’t do that!  Too late.  Done the previous day.  Seems that if you haven’t been tweaking the handle of the valve on a yearly basis it corrodes on and adding strength just breaks it.  So we said he’d come by Monday.  $85 for the house call and replacement, but he gave the water heater a clean bill of health. Said it looked like new, as I don’t use it much, and that I should watch for corrosion around the bottom.  A weight off me; at least that’s one house part that won’t break this year.

He also said no, don’t dick around with the anode; they last 12 to 15 years if you don’t have a water softener (see below).  And it just hit me (even though I put it in yesterday’s blog) that the water tank is glass-lined, so there’s little to corrode.

Each water heater contains at least one anode rod, which will slowly deplete while protecting the glass-lined tank from corrosion and prolonging the life of the water heater.  Once the anode is depleted, the tank will start to corrode, eventually developing a leak.

I am just beginning to understand what an anode rod does.  (I nearly flunked chemistry almost 50 years ago.)  It corrodes so that any exposed steel doesn’t.

The anode rod is the most important factor in determining the life of your water heater. An anode rod is a steel core wire surrounded with one of three different metals. [American uses aluminum.] The rod is screwed into the top of your water heater and protects your water heater from rusting. When the tank is filled with water the anode rod sacrifices itself to protect the exposed steel of the water heater, through a method called electrolysis. Electrolysis happens when there are two pieces of metal connected inside of water, the process makes the anode rod corrode in place of the exposed steel in your water heater. During this process the more noble (less reactive) metal will corrode over the less (more reactive) noble metal. Aluminum… is much less noble than steel, meaning it will corrode before the steel, which is why it is used for anode rods.

A water softener also shortens the life of your anode rods significantly.  Aluminum anode rods are best for places with hard water. The aluminum rod will withstand harder water than any other type. Aluminum may be a health problem, so to be safe you may not want to drink hot water and make sure to run some cold water through the faucet spout before drinking the water.  Keep in mind, our sodas come in aluminum cans too.1

And finally, when I showed him the bath tub faucet (that I hardly ever use as I usually take showers) which had started dripping after I had it running for a while, using up the hot water so that I could drain the hot water tank without getting scalded, he said that it was a Grohe, and that I needed to order both hot and cold cartridges from them, and that they would be free (!) as they are guaranteed for life.  Is that was this says below? So I emailed Grohe. We’ll see.

Residential Products: GROHE provides the following warranties on its products to the original purchaser, installed in a residential application. This warranty is effective for all faucets sold after January 1, 1997.

Mechanical Warranty: A Limited Lifetime Warranty is provided on all mechanical parts to be free from manufacturing defects in materials and workmanship under normal use for as long as the original purchaser owns their home…2


My father’s family curse (perhaps in addition to high cholesterol) is macular degeneration.  My cousin sent me this link:

What is lutein and can it improve vision? Lutein, and the related compound, zeaxanthin, are carotenoids found in high concentrations in the macula of the eye. You may already get sufficient lutein from the foods you eat, but many people do not. If you are among those who don’t, taking a supplement with the right amount of lutein has been shown to improve vision in people with atrophic age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Preliminary studies suggest lutein may also help in retinitis pigmentosa and other conditions.’s tests showed that many lutein and zeaxanthin supplements contain what they claim and meet other important quality parameters. The problem is knowing which product, if any, to choose. Formulations vary widely — the daily dose of lutein in products ranged from 4 to 45 mg, and the amounts of zeaxanthin range from 1 to 4 mg. The cost of the pills also ranged from just 12 cents to over $1 per day. Several “eye health” supplements also contained zinc and other ingredients similar to those in the AREDS formulation shown to prevent age-related macular degeneration in a major study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

You must be a member to get the full test results for lutein and zeaxanthin-containing supplements along with recommendations and quality ratings…3

OK, I’m not joining consumer lab for $36, so I kept looking online.  Here is the recommended dosage and the foods that have lutein and zeaxanthin in them:

Lutein May Decrease Your Risk of Macular Degeneration

by George Torrey, Ph.D.
Lutein is the dominant component in the peripheral retina.

Dr. Johanna M. Seddon and associates at Harvard University found that 6 mg per day of lutein lead to a 43% lower risk for macular degeneration.  John T. Landrum and Richard A. Bone of Florida International University conducted a two-person study in 1995 to find out if lutein supplements would increase macular pigment. After 140 days, macular pigment increased about 20% in one man, 40 percent in the other. Although this study is minuscule, it is the first evidence that taking lutein supplements may restore lost macular pigment.

Lutein supplements are available in soft-gel capsule form. They should be taken at mealtime because lutein is absorbed better when ingested with a small amount of fat such as olive oil. The recommended dosage is 6 mg to 30 mg daily.

The following chart shows those foods that contain high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin is the dominant carotenoid in the central macula.4

lutein 1We were always told that eating carrots would be good for our eyes, but spinach is more than 200 times as good!


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2 Responses to “Appliances, continued”

  1. Jim Says:

    Arch Ophthalmol. 2011 Apr;129(4):481-9. doi: 10.1001/archophthalmol.2011.48.
    Vitamin D status and early age-related macular degeneration in postmenopausal women.
    Millen AE1, Voland R, Sondel SA, Parekh N, Horst RL, Wallace RB, Hageman GS, Chappell R, Blodi BA, Klein ML, Gehrs KM, Sarto GE, Mares JA; CAREDS Study Group.
    Author information 1Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA.

    OBJECTIVE: The relationship between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) concentrations (nmol/L) and the prevalence of early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) was investigated in participants of the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study.

    METHODS: Stereoscopic fundus photographs, taken from 2001 to 2004, assessed AMD status. Baseline (1994-1998) serum samples were available for 25(OH)D assays in 1313 women with complete ocular and risk factor data. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for early AMD (n = 241) of 1287 without advanced disease were estimated with logistic regression and adjusted for age, smoking, iris pigmentation, family history of AMD, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hormone therapy use.

    RESULTS: In multivariate models, no significant relationship was observed between early AMD and 25(OH)D (OR for quintile 5 vs 1, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.50-1.24; P for trend = .47). A significant age interaction (P = .002) suggested selective mortality bias in women aged 75 years and older: serum 25(OH)D was associated with decreased odds of early AMD in women younger than 75 years (n = 968) and increased odds in women aged 75 years or older (n = 319) (OR for quintile 5 vs 1, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.29-0.91; P for trend = .02 and OR, 1.76; 95% CI, 0.77-4.13; P for trend = .05, respectively). Further adjustment for body mass index and recreational physical activity, predictors of 25(OH)D, attenuated the observed association in women younger than 75 years. Additionally, among women younger than 75 years, intake of vitamin D from foods and supplements was related to decreased odds of early AMD in multivariate models; no relationship was observed with self-reported time spent in direct sunlight.

    CONCLUSIONS: High serum 25(OH)D concentrations may protect against early AMD in women younger than 75 years.

    PMID: 21482873 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] PMCID: PMC3075411Free PMC Article

  2. Jim Says:

    Dr. Seddon states in her most recent article, 2014:

    “Unfortunately, not enough is known about macular degeneration at this time to provide effective treatment in most cases. Research today may help find the cures of tommorow. Below are listed two ongoing studies which are currently recruiting patients with macular degeneration.”

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