The holidays often come with unexpected numbers of guests. It is also the time you experience more use for your septic tank. Too much use of it, especially one that has not been serviced for a while may lead to unpleasant malfunctions and backups. In normal circumstances, a septic tank will experience problems, especially if […]

Are you freaking out because of a leak in your ceiling?

Considering how damaging such a leak can be to the interior of your home, your freaking is totally understandable. The leaking point is, in most case, meters away from the actual point where the water is entering the ceiling which makes investigating the source a very frustrating ordeal. Don’t lose hope just yet though as we are here to help you identify the source of- and fix- your ceiling leaking problem. Please be our guest.

What Are the Common Causes of Ceiling Leaks?

Leaks in the roof are the most probable sources of water which later leaks from the ceiling. That is, however, not to mean that you should rush to the roof every time you notice a water drop from your ceiling. There are several other probable leak sources that you ought to check out first before making your conclusions. Some of them include plumbing leaks and air conditioning leaks.

How To Differentiate Between a Roof Leak And A Plumbing/An Air Conditioning Leak.

There are only two ways to tell: observing the ceiling leak patterns or climbing to the attic and following the water trails to their source(s). If, after observing the leak patterns, you realize that the water drops are dirty, there is a high chance that the leak is coming from the roof. The same probability applies to when the leaks come during or immediately after the rains and cease during the dry seasons. If, on the other hand, you notice a leak during a dry season, chances are that the leak source is from within the interiors and not the roof. Another characteristic of plumbing/air conditioning leaks is that their drops are mostly clean.

Although observing the leaking patterns can give you a clue of what the leak source is, it’s always wise to access the attic and confirm the validity of that clue. Sometimes rainwater from a roof leak can pool in the ceiling and stay there for months, only for pests to scratch the ceiling and provide the water with an escape route. If that happens during a dry season, you might end up making the wrong conclusion that the water is from a plumbing line.

Important note

If you saw some unexpected standing water or wetness in your home but didn’t see any water drop(s) falling from the ceiling, it is advisable not to conclude that there is a leak in the ceiling without first checking for water leaks within the home. You may need to check for leaks in the water heater, the washing machine, under water sinks, and any appliance that uses water. It’s only after confirming that none of those sources is leaking that you check the ceiling/attic. That being said, how do you locate the leak source from the attic?

Locating Sources of a Ceiling Leak from the Attic.

Always begin your leak investigations by measuring/approximating the distance between the leak and a fixed reference point in your living area. That could be a wall, a chimney, or a vent pipe for bathrooms. This distance will help you to easily locate the ceiling leak while in the attic; you will be on top of it at that time and locating it is definitely not the easiest thing to do. That done, take your flashlight, a plastic straw, and any other safety equipment that you might need while up there and, using a ladder, climb up to the attic.

The flashlight will help you to locate where the ceiling leak is which will then help you to follow the water trail/stain from the leaking point to its source. If there is a water supply pipe at the end of the trail, check it to see if it could be the source of the leaking water. If it’s moist, you definitely have solved the puzzle. Repair it or call a professional plumbing company to do it for you. If it isn’t, check if there are any holes in the roof. The easiest way of detecting a hole in the roof is looking for light spots on the attic ceiling. If you see one, insert a straw to mark the hole so that you can easily locate it from the other side of the roof.

What if you can’t see any holes in the roof even after confirming that all the plumbing lines are intact? Then it’s time to climb to the roof and check if there are:

• Spaces between sidings or shingles that could be causing the leak.

• Any unsealed parts around the chimney, valley, or attic dormer vents.

• Clogged gutters or any foreign material on the roof.

• Any signs of tear and wear in all protrusions on the roof.

If you identify the source, fix it using tar or any other roofing material. If you can’t, contact a professional plumbing or roofing company.

Conclusion

A leak in the ceiling is arguably the most disturbing thing that can happen to a homeowner, particularly during wet seasons? Are you struggling with a ceiling leak in Knoxville, Tennessee? Have you identified the leak source but, for whichever reason, you are unable to fix it? Knoxville Plumbing is here to help. Our plumbers are experienced and dedicated to fixing all of your leaking problems. Give us a call. If you have determined it is a roofing leak call the best roofing company in Knoxville, TN.

Water Damage Water damage is one of the worst things that can happen to your home. Not only can it damage certain rooms and furniture, it can also rot wood, spread bacteria and cause mold infestations. Unfortunately, water damage is inevitable for all homes and buildings. This is true regardless of where you live. Water […]

Your kitchen and bathroom sinks swallow a lot of things. Sadly, some of that stuff doesn’t always go down well. Even top-of-the-line, well-installed plumbing requires cleaning from time to time.  A clean drain reduces stress from having backed up water in your sink or tub. It also prevents build-up of damaging residue in your pipes. Depending on what type of things normally go down your drains, you may need to clean and unclog them more often. But, don’t panic! Whether your drain is clogged or just needs freshening, we’re here to help with this handy list of 5 steps to a clean drain.

Supplies

If your drain is clogged, you’ll find these tools handy:

 Plunger

Bucket or large bowl

Rubber gloves

Safety goggles

Pipe wrench

Hand auger

Small plastic barbed drain-cleaning tool

For cleaning the drain, you’ll need:

White vinegar

Baking soda

Hot water

Biological or environmentally-friendly drain cleaner

Steps to unclog your drain

1.      Always start with your plunger

Yep, you can use a plunger in your sink. Just be sure it’s not the one you use in the toilet! Fill the clogged sink with enough water to cover the drain and the bottom of the sink. Press the plunger tightly over the drain. Once you have a secure seal, pump the plunger several times to dislodge the clog. If you have a double-sided sink or your sink has an overflow hole, plugging the extra drain or overflow opening will help create more pressure in the pipe as you pump the plunger.

2.     Try the small plastic barbed drain-cleaning tool

If the plunger doesn’t work, the next thing to use is one of these nifty drain-cleaning tools. You can find these handy little gadgets in hardware stores and in the hardware departments of places like Walmart and Target. They are inexpensive and very effective on clogs close to the drain, above the P-trap. Simply remove the drain plug and slide the tool into the drain as far as it will go. When you pull it out, the backward angled barbs pull out hair and other debris that has balled up in your pipe. Steps for unclogging the tub drain are a little different.

At this point, there are a couple more DIY things you can try.

If you are not comfortable using more invasive plumbing tools, now’s the time to call in the professional plumbers.

 

3.      The hand auger

Also known as a plumber’s snake, the hand auger drills a hole through the debris creating the clog in the pipe. This loosens the clog enough that it breaks apart and washes down when you flush the drain with hot water. If you’re not familiar with how to use a hand auger, we like the explanation and photos on this site: Family Handyman

Once your drain is unclogged and water is flowing smoothly again, you can finish up by cleaning and freshening the drain. We recommend the following methods for keeping your drain clean and helping prevent the build-up of residue that could lead to another clog.

4.      White vinegar, baking soda, & hot water

The next step is to pour about ½ cup of baking soda down the drain. Follow the baking soda with white vinegar. Remember those school science volcanoes that erupted? Yep—that was the reaction between the vinegar and baking soda. Place a cover over your drain and let the reaction continue for about 15 minutes. Finish by pouring boiling water down the drain as a final rinse. (Note: Some people prefer to use biological or enzymatic, environmentally friendly commercial drain cleaners for this step. These are good choices also and won’t damage your septic system like chemical, corrosive cleaners. Just be sure to follow package directions.)

5.      Clean the disposal

The final step to a clean drain is one most people don’t even think about the disposal as a something that needs to be cleaned. Disposals can be the source of pretty stinky odors, however. Food debris that doesn’t drain properly can lurk around the sides of the disposal floor where it decays. Cleaning your disposal is inexpensive and easy. Here are a couple of our favorite ways to keep the disposal clean and fresh-smelling. DIY fresh disposal and How Bob Vila cleans a disposal.

Choose your favorite method and get that disposal scrubbed!

 

Well, there you have it. Five Steps to a Clean Drain.

Hopefully, you were able to clear the clogs yourself and end up with a beautiful clean drain. If not, remember that using too much force can cause permanent damage to a pipe and lead to much greater expense.

Whether you’re fighting a stubborn clog or just don’t have the time to deal with it yourself, we can help! Give us a call today!

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It seems like simple enough logic. If you don’t seal your bathtub drain, you’ll get water damage that effects your home. You know the tub drain by the hole on the floor that water goes through during a bath or shower. We’ll make sure to show you all how to do it well in a step-by-step guide.

tub drain

USE A RUBBER SEAL IN YOUR TUB TRAIN

The best method to use in sealing the drain is installing a rubber seal. If you use this method, you’ll prevent water from leaking out of the drain since it’s a water-tight block. You fit the seal between the tub drain and the wastewater drain by removing or lowering the floor drain pipe. You’ll need a wrench to unscrew it, put in the seal, and then screw it again tightly so nothing falls apart.

YOU SHOULD ADD CAULKING: After fitting in the rubber seal, use caulking on the outside of the pipe to seal it in. You should buy specialized bathtub caulking, which is waterproof and costs around 5 dollars. If you see any exposed joints, make sure to add caulk onto it as well. There should be no water over the seal.

YOUR LAST RESORT IS THE DRAIN ASSEMBLY KIT

If you find that the rubber seal doesn’t fit, nor does your drain stop overflowing above your seal, you should use a drain assembly kit that will replace the old drain.

  1. You should put together the overflow pipe. The rubber gasket should be on top of the waste overflow, or better known as the top opening of the pipe. The drain piece should be at the bottom of the pipe with the tub drain hole.
  2. You should apply plumber’s putty to the bottom of the drain flange. Make sure to clean off the excess.
  3. You should place the drain flange on the hole of the tub and screw it into the drain tailpiece opening. Don’t screw it too tight because you might have to adjust later down the road.
  4. You should buy the trip leaver and drain hardware. If you can, make sure it fits into the decor of your bathroom.
  5. You should put together the trip lever and the pop-up drain stopper, using the instructions provided.
  6. You should put the trip assembly through the overflow hole that’s on the back of the tub. Your items should come with screws so that you can fasten the trip lever assembly to the overflow cover plate.
  7. You should put together the pop-up stopper with the link on the trip lever hardware’s bottom. Afterwards, you should tighten.
  8. Screw everything back together. Test the water to see if it works as intended.

It’s something we don’t really think about — until it stops working. When your shower gets cold, that’s when things heat up!

Amidst cries of outrage about cold water showers and cold water dish washing, we scramble to figure out what caused the water heater to stop working. But, before we talk about things that can go wrong with water heaters, let’s take a look at their simple, yet creative design and discover how it is they do what they do to make our daily lives more comfortable.

 

WATER HEATER DESIGN

The majority of residential water heaters are storage water heaters. They are basically tall cylindrical tanks–sort of like a tall metal drum. They vary in capacity from about 20 gallons to about 80 gallons of water. Even though traditional water heaters don’t present a very dramatic appearance, the principles they use to supply abundant hot water to your home are pretty interesting.

 

COMPONENTS

water heater

                  photo credit: US Department of Energy

 

Storage water heaters are comprised of the tank and a couple of tubes, a series of valves, and a mechanism for heating the water. Storage water heaters are either electrical or gas operated. Here’s how all these components work:

  • Tank: The tank is made of heavy metal and is actually the inner component of the cylinder. It serves as a shell to hold the water. Tanks are often covered with some type of insulating material, a decorative “outer shell” and sometimes an additional insulating blanket-type cover.
  • Dip Tube/Cold Water Inlet: Cold water enters the tank at the top and flows through this tube to the bottom  of the tank. Because the water is cold, it stays close to the bottom of the tank where heating occurs.
  • Hot Water Outlet: This pipe is also at the top of the tank. Heated water at the top of the tank exits through this outlet and flows to areas where it is needed.water heaters
  • Shut-Off Valve: This valves closes off the flow of cold water into the tank.
  • Drain Valve: This valve is near the bottom of the tank and is used to empty the tank when servicing is needed.
  • Pressure Relief Valve: This valve serves to regulate pressure inside the tank.
  • Anode Rod: This rod, made of steel overlaid with either magnesium or aluminum, is suspended in the water of the tank to help reduce corrosion.
  • Heating mechanism: In a gas storage water heater, the heating mechanism is a gas burner and chimney system. An electrical storage water heater uses heating elements projecting into the interior of the tank to heat the water.
  • Thermostat: This device is a thermometer and a temperature-control device. Electric water heaters may have individual thermostats for each heating element.

HOW IT WORKS

water heatersStorage water heaters rely primarily on the scientific principle that hot water rises. Cold water enters the top of the tank through the dip tube or cold water inlet, flows through the pipe to the bottom of the tank where it exits the pipe, pushing the warmer water already in the tank upward.

The thermostat setting is usually between 120 – 180 degrees Fahrenheit. The thermostat should be set nearer the lower end of this range in homes with small children to prevent potential scalding injuries. As the thermostat monitors the temperature of the water inside the tank, it regulates the function of the elements (on an electrical water heater) or the gas burner (on a gas water heater) to heat the water accordingly.

Because heat rises, the hottest water is always closest to the top of the tank. When a hot water tap is turned on somewhere inside the home, the hot water exits the tank through the hot water outlet at the top of the tank and flows to the open tap.

What’s next?

Now that we have a basic understanding of the parts of a water heater and how it works, our next post will take a look at some things that typically cause water heater problems resulting in the dreaded cold shower.

Whether you have a malfunctioning water heater or a leaking faucet or a clogged drain, Knoxville Plumbing is here for you!

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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.

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

BEGINNING

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.

COMPRESSION FAUCET

  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.

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

  • FRESH WATER SYSTEM 

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.

  • DRAINAGE SYSTEMS

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.

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

CLIMB Works

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