Leaking Faucet: How to Repair a Ball Faucet, Cartridge Faucet, and Ceramic-Disk Faucet

In our last blog post, we covered how to prepare your sink in order to fix it and how to repair a compression faucet. The blog post will include the instructions on how to fix ball faucet, cartridge faucet, and ceramic-disk faucet.

ball faucet

It’s easier to figure out if this is a ball, cartridge, or ceramic-disk faucet by looking at the inner mechanisms.

HOW-TO: Fix a Ball Faucet

  1. You have to buy a replacement kit because of the ball faucet has several parts that need replacing and specials. Don’t worry! You don’t have to replace the entire faucet and the kits tend to run at twenty dollars.
  2. You must unscrew the handle and remove it.
  3. You use your pliers to take off the cap and collar. Afterward, loosen and remove the faucet cam, washer, and ball. You’ll recognize it because it looks like a human ball and socket joint.
  4. You need to use needle-nose pliers to reach into the crevice and take out the inlet screws and springs.
  5. You should replace the O-rings by cutting out the old ones, rubbing the new ones in plumber’s grease, then installing them.
  6. You should install the cam washers, valve seats, and springs that are in your kit. It’s done in a reverse process from when you started the how-to guide.
  7. You can now put your faucet back together.

HOW-TO: Fix a Cartridge Faucet

  1. You should remove the handle by prying off the decorative cap and unscrewing it.
  2. If necessary, take off the retaining clip to get at the cartridge. It’s a plastic item that holds the cartridge and you can remove it with pliers
  3. When you have your cartridge in hand, pull it so it’s lengthened.
  4. You should remove the faucet to look for the O-rings.
  5. You should replace the O-rings by cutting out the old ones, rubbing the new ones in plumber’s grease, then installing them.
  6. You can now put your faucet back together.

HOW-TO: Fix a Ceramic-Disk Faucet

  1. You should take out the escutcheon by removing the handle. It sits directly underneath it.
  2. You should take out the disk cylinder, which will expose the neoprene seals underside.
  3. You should pry out those seals, cleaning them and the disk cylinder with white vinegar. Let it soak for several hours then see if you can still use it.
  4. You can now put your faucet back together, but be careful! At this point, you should test turning the water on because if it’s too forceful, you may crack the ceramic disk.

Leaking Faucet: How To Repair a Compression Faucet

It’s oddly painful to hear the drip of a leaking faucet. The sound can drive anyone insane, but your water bills hurt your wallet the most when excess water leaks out of your faucet.  You have the option to pay a plumber to fix all your needs! In the case that you can’t afford a plumber or you want to learn to do it yourself, we’ve brought you a guide on fixing one of the most common faucet types. We’ll be covering the others in later articles!

leaking faucet


1. Turn off the water pipe that leads to your leaking faucet.

You should look under your sink to find the handles, which are often along the pipes, to shut off the water. The next step is to twist them clockwise until they’re nicely tight.

2. Remember to plug your drain.

If you have a plug or a rage, remember to use it on your drain. There is nothing more frustrating than having a screw, washer, or small item slip from your hand and fall down into those slimy depths.

3. Figure out what type of faucet you have.

  • You’ll know the compression faucet easiest because it has two handles: one that turns on the hot water and one that turns on the cold water.

If you don’t have a compression faucet, your sink has one handle that switches the water from hot to cold. If you can’t google the answer, this means an extra step where you have to take your faucet apart to understand what inner mechanism it’s using.

  • A ball faucet uses a ball bearing
  • There will be a ceramic cylinder in a ceramic-disk faucet.
  • Like its name, the cartridge faucet has a cartridge. You might sport this faucet beforehand because they tend to come with decorative caps.


  1. Take off each handle
  2. You’ll have to remove the nut. The stem is on the O-ring, and the O-ring is on the seat washer. When you find the seat washer, check if the rubber is worn. This is generally why someone would have a leaky faucet.
  3. You can pull out the stem to get at the seat washer. The seat washer uses an upside down-brass screw to hold it in the stem. Make sure to bring the old one to the store to compare its size. You need to coat it in plumber’s grease
  4. If your handles leak, the object you need to replace is the O-ring.
  5. You should be able to reassemble the handles now! You’ve fixed the minor leak.

Plumbing System: How Does It Work

Your plumbing system abides by the laws of gravity, pressure, and water, in its attempts to maintain a natural level. If you understand the basics of plumbing, it’ll help you with the basics back home.

plumbing system specifications

Plumbing System: Two Separate Sub-Systems


Your plumbing system contains two sub-systems. There is one that carries the freshwater into your house and another that the carries wastewater out of your house. It’s important that these don’t overlap because they serve two different functions.

The fresh water comes into your home pressurized so it can travel around your home. As you bring the water into your house, there’s a meter that keeps track of how much water you use. The main water shutoff, or the valve that your water runs through, is generally located close to the meter as a result. You must be able to locate your main water shutoff or your house can be flooded in a plumbing emergency. If you find that the water doesn’t go too far from a confined area, you could turn off the individual stop valves.

When you need cold water, the system is ready. Your hot water, on the other hand, goes through a different process because a line carries it to the water heater. The thermostat on the water heater maintains a temperature between 120 degrees F and 160 degrees F based on the owner’s choice. The 120 degrees F is usually enough for most purposes. After the water heater warms the water, the water line sends the heated, pressurized water to the needed fixtures.


The drainage system doesn’t use pressure but instead uses gravity. Your waste matter leaves your house because of your drain system’s pipes all angling downward. Your waste, then, proceeds to either a septic tank or a sewage treatment facility.

There’s more to the drainage system like vents, traps, and clean-outs. For example, the vents on your roof make air enters the drainage system. It helps the wastewater to flow properly and the traps to work well.

You might wonder what is a trap? Your trap is a curved or S-shaped pipe located under a drain. If you ever want to have a peek at one, look under your sink or any other fixture. The water from a basin flows enough to pass the trap and enter the drainpipe, but some water remains in the trap, so sewer gas doesn’t return into your home.  Your clean-out is a plug that gives you an easy way to take out any blockage that might back up a trap.

To get the best out of your drain system, you have to make sure everything is working in proper order. You can examine your pipes better by entering your basement or crawlspace, but you can also save yourself the trouble by asking your local plumbing agency.

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CLIMB Works: Outbreak of E. Coli

CLIMB Works in Sevier County has come under scrutiny for a recent string of stomach issues caused by drinking water along the zip-line course. Five hundred and forty-eight customers reported illness and all affected individuals drank water from the zip-line during mid-June. Their symptoms mostly included diarrhea and vomiting. The Tennessee Department of Health has not released their official report. The preliminary results stated that there was E. Coli in the CLIMB Works well water around the course. Todd Keith, one of our own Knoxville Plumbing water quality specialists, informed WATE-TV and WBIR-TV how to prevent such tragedies from occurring in your home or business.

Your Home: Filtration System Testing

It is your responsibility to maintain your water quality by having it tested and perhaps installing a water filtration system. You need to have the quality of your water tested at least once a year for contaminants, even if you have a filtration system in place. Your water will adapt to the changes in your system’s surroundings which can vary significantly within two weeks by events such as oil spills, or even an animal climbing into your well. Our Knoxville Plumbing experts look for ground conditions like sewer leaks or breaks in the water lines, run-off water, and feces that may be in your water filtration system’s environment.

CLIMB Works is near an area where sediment, chemicals, bacteria, and PH has the capacity to shift over time, which could’ve affected their water filtration capabilities. The best choice would be to do once a year testing to make sure bacteria doesn’t enter through the system.  

CLIMB Works: Updated Filtration System


548 people suffering stomach issues due to unclean water

CLIMB Works is in the process of installing a new water filtration system. They also offered free bottled water to thirsty patrons. If they upgrade their systems on a regular schedule, hopefully, CLIMB Works will not have the same problem again.

Knoxville Plumbing: Our Services

Knoxville Plumbing offers free in-home water quality test for certain minerals like iron or sulfur and many other contaminants. In order to test for E. Coli, Knoxville Plumbing will need to send samples to a certified lab for detailed results, which requires a fee

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What Should You Keep Under Your Bathroom Sink?

This article will outline what you should and shouldn’t store in your bathroom space, and some tips on how to maximize your tiny spaces. Do store toiletries, towels, showering products, hair tools, toilet paper, and a first aid kit in your bathroom space.

Tip: Put the first aid kit in a bottom droor, because your upper droors will be hot property for everyday things and in the event of an emergency, you’ll be able to tell guests “the first aid kit is in the bottom droor on the left” and they will be able to easily find it without much clutter to go through.

You can make all your typical bathroom supplies convenient and easy to access by using the following organizational tips.

Get Unconventional

Organizing your bathroom’s under-sink cabinet is going to take some creativity. You will be using items for things they weren’t created to do, but they sure make your morning ready routine easier for the whole family. First, you might want to get one medium sized, open container or basket that you can keep toilet paper in. Any cleaning products you use in your bathroom can be organized on a “lazy susan”, you know, those rotating “plates” that are usually found in kitchens. You can use a tension rod to maximize space by hanging your spray bottles from it, high in the back of the cabinet. This will also keep potentially harmful chemicals away from children. For little beauty things that are homeless, purchase a clear storage solution that has droors. Most homes have women, and once a month, they’ll need easy access to their sanitary products. Small and medium-sized shower caddies are great for pads, tampons, and other occasionally used items. Don’t forget the cabinet door! If your cabinets are not stuffed to the brim, you can utilize the inside of the door for things you want the easiest access to. Some people screw round PVC pipe to the inside, just big enough for their hot hair tools and their cords. You can also use adhesive 3M hooks to hang small plastic organizers for smaller items like nail polish and manicure tools.

What Shouldn’t You Store In The Bathroom?


Jewelry, whether costume or more expensively made, can tarnish pretty badly when exposed to constant moisture and oxygen. The process of tarnishing is called oxidization and causes the material to look duller, corrode completely, or attract dirt and show signs of wear. Jewelry should not be kept in the bathroom but instead in a closet or designated chest.

Reading Material

Paper will warp when exposed to moisture and it doesn’t look visually appealing if its not well-organized. Prepare for any reading material to be ruined if kept in the bathroom or keep it in a covered container for protection.


Prescription medications, and even over-the-counter medications, can be expensive and they can be compromised with exposure to elements such as moisture. They should always be kept in a cool, dry place.

Essential Oils

Like medications, essential oils need to be kept in a cool, dry place as well. Exposure to sunlight and moisture can change the chemical makeup of the oil itself, possibly changing its effectiveness or even becoming harmful to you. This is why essential oil manufacturers put the product in dark blue or brown glass bottles, to maintain the integrity of the product. If you love essential oils, take care of them by keeping them in a cool and dry protected place.

Non-Water Proof Electronics

As you know, electricity and water can be an extremely dangerous combination. Don’t keep any electronic hazards near the bathtub or sources of water. If the item is not made for use in a bathroom, keep it stored in another room. Use best practices when using music playing devices and check out the latest water-proof technologies!

How To Make Your Home More Disability Friendly

There are several great reasons to make your home more handicap accessible or “disability friendly”. You might be considering selling your home one day, or living in it yourself long term, in which case you might wish to consider your needs in your own old age. You might also make your home easier to live in for guests you might have with limitations. This article outlines some permanent and semi-permanent solutions for you.

Your Home’s Entrance

Is your home currently easy for a person in a walker or wheelchair to get into? You might consider ditching your stairs and providing a disability friendly ramp. Depending on size and material, there are a wide range of ramp solutions at varying costs. If your door is on the ground level already, then your entrance should not rise above one-half inch and should be rounded for a wheelchair to easily roll over.

Floors and Stairs

Hardwood and tile floors without any rugs are ideals for wheelchair access, but you can also opt for a low-pile carpet. Stairs are also difficult for handicap people to use, so a lift that swivels will give your resident or guest a sense of independence they otherwise wouldn’t have if someone had to help them get up the stairs. You could also lessen their need to go up the stairs, by bringing anything they’d want there to the ground floor level.


Recommended doorway widths for wheelchairs to access is 32”, but you can also provide a safer and more pleasant mobility without that cost by removing doors or by reversing the way in which a door opens. You can also lower the doorknobs for easier use.


Kitchens are often challenging to someone faced with living with a disability, but there are a number of solutions to make their life easier. First, you can make sure that all appliances are easy to reach, lower counter tops, and install a lower sink if at all possible. Roll-out storage units are best for those living with a disability and making outlets available to their height.


Shower stalls are much easier for a handicapped person to use. Provide them a seat and multiple bars for their safety, inside and outside of the shower. You can also ensure they are safe from scalding water by setting the hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

I’m sure there are other ways you can discover how to best provide safety and independence to any disabled resident or guest you might have in your home. You can easily rent a wheelchair for a day and bring it home to see just how a person might feel touring your home in a wheelchair. Try to go about your usual routine and you will add plenty of things to your list of how to make life easier and your home more accessible!

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What Is Dishwasher Safe?

Owning a dishwasher is heavenly. Most North American households now have one, and they help families save time, water, and money. As our appliances and technology advance, they often become tougher on food stains, but also harsher on our dishware. Some of us have gotten so used to loading a dishwasher, it’s been a long time since we’ve stopped to question what exactly is dishwasher safe anymore. This article is a gentle reminder of what you can use in the dishwasher, to protect your dishwasher and your heavenly appliance.

You really can’t put food caked dishes in there.

Your dishwasher is not a garbage disposal and putting too dense of food in the dishwasher can clog the drain line of the washer and that would require a plumber’s removal. Scrape all the food off of your dishes before putting them into the dishwasher. Sauces are okay because they will become liquid enough, but fats and grease will not. Follow the same guidelines you do with your drain, with your dishwasher.

Don’t let paper labels go in the wash.

Labels from jars or on plates and dishware are not safe for the dishwasher for the same reason you can’t put food in there, they can clog the drain line.

Don’t place any glued dishware in the washer.

If once you broke a dish and tried to repair it with glue or an adhesive, this dish is no longer dishwasher safe. The heat can undo the glue or adhesive and wreak havoc inside. To save this dish, you’ll have to wash it by hand and still avoid keeping it in hot soapy water for too long.

Don’t put hollow plastics inside the dishwasher, such as plastic straws.

Unfortunately, putting hollow plastic in the dishwasher can lead to mold growth if water gets inside and stays too long without drying. It’s best to wash these items by hand and make sure they adequately dry out.

Insulated travel mugs should not go in the dishwasher.

Insulated travel mugs should not go in the dishwasher for the same reason hollow straws shouldn’t. They, too, can be penetrated with moisture and promote mold growth.

No wood should be placed inside the dishwasher.

Wooden spoons, cutting boards, and anything made of wood are not permitted for dishwasher use. To keep them in good working condition, you should always wash these types of items by hand and let them dry out quickly in an open air environment. There are even oil products marketed to keep them long standing, this is because they can warp, swell, and crack and lose their protective finishes if placed in the dishwasher.

Any dishes with metallic accents or actual silver flatware should not be washed in a dishwasher.

Because dishes are subjected to bouncing around and clanking together in the dishwasher with the force of the water, you will want to hand wash all these fine dining items to preserve their pristine quality. Just one cycle can ruin a dish with a silver accent.

Cast iron is not dishwasher safe.

Pots and pans made of cast iron need to be cleaned gently and carefully because the very use of them (for cooking) preserves them, and washing them in a harsh dishwasher could strip this coating that protects it.


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Stop Using Drop In Toilet Tabs

You know the tabs, the toilet tabs. Some are made of bleach and others, with blue dyed cleaning products. Visually they appear to be cleaning without your effort, but they are quite dangerous and threaten the integrity of your toilet’s inner workings. Not only are they dangerous to your home’s plumbing, but they aren’t effective at cleaning either. Your plumber would be happy to know you’ve quit using these nuisance products.

Dangers of Toilet Tabs

If these products could be more controlled, they might be helpful, but they are too concentrated with corrosive chemicals and stay in what place, corroding your flapper, tubing, and any other rubber pieces involved in the mechanics of a toilet. Because of this causing misshapen toilet flappers, these tablet products contribute to water loss as well. The blue dyed chemical cleaning toilet tablets are only responsible for disguising iron deposits and ugly marks inside your toilet, not actually sanitizing. The product also gunks up the toilet’s jets underneath the rim and will prevent the toilet from flushing toilet properly over time.

The Safe, All-Natural Alternative

A safe alternative that automates your bathroom cleaning is to use distilled white vinegar. Pour 1 cup inside the back toilet tank, half designated to the overflow, the small rubber pipe that stands up in the middle of the tank. This piece is responsible for sending water through the aforementioned under-rim jets. The natural acids inside distilled white vinegar will gently dissolve the same lime, iron, and other deposits and ugly marks that you were only disguising with the harmful competitors. Using distilled white vinegar not only cleanses your toilet bowl with little effort of yours, it gently cleanses the mechanics of the toilet, making it run optimally. The best practice is to use distilled white vinegar in the toilet tank once monthly.

Other Uses for White Distilled Vinegar

White distilled vinegar has hundreds of applications in the home because of its miraculous natural cleaning ability. A common way to further automate your bathroom cleaning is to spray down your faucet and shower fixtures with the vinegar mixture and then rubber band a sandwich bag of vinegar to it. Leave it for hours and it will clean and polish your metal fixtures. When mixed with baking soda, it fizzes and provides a little bit more abrasion for tough to clean debris. It also cleans wine stains with ease within the stain’s first 24 hours. Any material responds well; including cotton and cotton polyester.

Automated Bathroom Cleaning

Cleaning an undermaintained bathroom is hard work and unavoidable hands-and-knees scrubbing; tubs, tile and grout, floors, and toilets, mirrors, countertops, and sinks. With these suggestions, you can start implementing bathroom cleaning maintenance that will minimize the deep cleaning you’ll need to do occasionally. All of these suggestions are keeping in mind professional housekeeping and plumbing advice, and opt for the safest and most natural but effective cleaning methods.

All Natural Monthly Drain Cleaning

Marthastewart.com offers this all natural drain cleaning method to keep your drains from draining slowly over time as build up occurs. Remove your sink’s stopper and as best you can, pour ½ cup baking soda into the drain, followed by ½ cup of white distilled vinegar. The mixture will foam and dissolve fatty acids and gunk. Let the mixture work its magic for 5 minutes, and then pour boiling water down the drain to force out the mixture and the unclogged material. Do this every month or two to maintain your pipes naturally!

Clear Shower Clogs and Shine Metal Fixtures

You’ll quickly realize that white vinegar is a miracle. This trick is one you may have already heard of! Pour some white vinegar into sandwich bags, spray some onto your metal shower and sink fixtures, and rubber band the bag over them as well. Let them sit for a few hours and they will deep clean your faucet and shower head for you! The vinegar will shine the metal gently, and actually loosen any mineral deposits and grime that has clogged the openings of your showerhead.

The Truth About Toilet Tablets

Professional plumbers say the only use for the fun, blue toilet tablets is for toilets in drug testing facilities (so that testees don’t dilate their urine with the water). Not only the blue tablets, but other tablet products put into your toilet and tank are known to quickly corrode your toilet’s important mechanisms and are made of a lot of harmful chemicals. Vinegar to the rescue! You can pour vinegar into your tank, and into the small tube part inside the back of the tank to put it to work cleaning not only your bowl, but the inner parts of the machine that is your toilet.

Shower Cleaning Machine

Some people swear by shower cleaning machines that suction cup to the inside of your shower. You can find a Scrubbing Bubbles machine in store or online at Amazon for under 20 dollars. If the machine is not your taste or you do not have an enclosed shower it works best in, you can kind of employ the same concept by keeping shower cleaner in your tub and spraying it down the walls after every use.

Minimize Mold and Moisture

A lot of the work that your bathroom requires over time is cleaning and disinfecting mold and mildew caused by a lack of ventilation. Installing a better ventilation system in bathrooms is often the first task set forth by homeowners during a renovation. Most ventilation is just not adequate enough to prevent mold completely. The best thing you can do is amplify the exposure of light in your bathroom, increase airflow such as through a window or installing a better system, and always keeping the fan on for a full 30 minutes or longer after you’ve showered.

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Wintery Bathroom Themes and Decor

Making your bathrooms cozy for winter months is a priority for some. If you live in a place that stays cold for over 3 months, you need all areas of your home to make you feel secure and “held”. Here are 4 great concepts for “warming” your home’s bathrooms and in turn, your spirit.

Log Cabin/In The Woods

There’s something timeless and classic about a log cabin bathroom that keeps people decorating their bathroom this way. Wooden walls or items, black bears, rustic signs, pine trees and greenery, plaid, fur, and antiques are great ways to solidify this theme. Ensure the space is warm, inviting, and even romantic, by stocking it well with candles or lanterns.

Literally Warm It Up

Affordably, you can purchase very cozy-feeling rugs or replace your lights with heated lights during the winter. There are also some amazing investments that can be made to warm up your bathrooms in the winter including the installation of heated towel bars to keep your towels warm, heated floors, or a fireplace. You can also visually warm up the space, with colors like red, brown, and orange. Rather than doing the obvious and purchasing items that are this color, such as the shower curtain and accessories, consider taking the leap of painting the wall!

Textures and Material Choices

If you are completely renovating a bathroom and live where it gets cold in the winter, consider getting the best winter materials. Materials such as copper, brass, soapstone, and volcanic limestone are well-known for keeping water warm. Test for air leaks by lighting an incense and walking around your bathrooms. The smoke should flow vertically, and when it flows horizontally, you know that air is escaping. Use heavy drapes for large windows to block further air leaking, but use a layer of sheer curtains to take advantage of the sun when it is shining. You might also consider the warm look of a cloth shower curtain that is multi layered and pulls back the same way a curtain wood, so that when you are enjoying a bath, you feel like you are in a special enclosed space.

Spa Theme

Another way to encourage your comfort in a cold winter bathroom is to make it feel like a spa. Purchase lush towels of every size and display them around the bathroom. An essential oil diffuser that delivers aromatherapy and a pleasant looking steam can instantly warm your spirit. Great oils to diffuse during winter are clove and bergamot. These oils in your bathtub will also warm you. Consider stocking your droors with plenty of baking soda boxes and epsom salt for muscle soaks. Proper lighting for relaxation is a must. Candles are obvious choices, but you can also play with others. Ambiant color therapy machines, especially those with sound therapy options are also a great contendor.