springtime plumbing tipsPlumbing tips bring benefits any time of the year. But, after a long winter, they are especially helpful. Concerned about springtime plumbing problems? You are not alone. In many places, spring brings with it a welcome release from the cold and dangerous conditions of winter. In addition, it brings an opportunity for homeowners to take a good inventory of any damages caused by winter’s wrath. Here are some springtime plumbing tips to help you make sure your pipes are up to dealing with the rest of the seasons.

 

Outside plumbing tips

The best place to start with your spring plumbing check is outside. By ensuring the proper drainage of rainwater away from your home, you will protect your foundation. Make sure you look for signs of leaking pipes, as well.

 

Gutters

Gutters take the brunt of winter’s storms. By spring, gutters are often choked with dead leaves, twigs, and other debris deposited by winter winds. Clogged gutters and downspouts allow rainwater to sheet down the walls of your home and seep into the foundation. Clean out the gutters and be sure to replace any damaged or broken sections. And remember to blast water through the downspout to clear it, as well.

 

springtime plumbing tipsOutside faucets & pipes

Even insulated pipes can freeze in some winter conditions. Leaving your hose on the hose bib and connected to the faucet can also cause your pipes to break if water freezes in them. Check your outside faucets and pipes and make repairs or replacements as needed.

 

 

Mainline & sewer line

Standing or puddling water in the yard may indicate a break in a buried pipe, such as the main line or sewer line. If you suspect this is the case, call a professional immediately.

 

Inside plumbing tips

Problems inside the house can also represent plumbing issues. A number of these problems can be dealt with using DIY techniques. Some, however, need the trained touch of a professional plumber.

springtime plumbing tipsSlow drains

Winter parties, hosting guests and being cooped up inside all lead to extra usage of your plumbing system. Drains take a particularly big hit during this season. If you find your drains working slowly, you can try non-chemical DIY fixes. Many chemical-based DIY fixes end up seriously damaging pipes and requiring much more time and money to repair. Some people clear clogged drains by simply using a smaller form of a plumber’s snake. If your drain resists your efforts to remove or dislodge the clog, call in a professional.

 

springtime plumbing tipsSump pump

The next item you need to inspect dwells in probable obscurity in your basement. Your sump pump provides your main line of defense against basement flooding. You will want to make sure it is in prime condition before you need it. Check this appliance by pouring a few buckets of water into the sump pit. The pump should start within a few minutes. Watch to be sure the water flows out and the pump cycles itself off. If any problems arise, you will need to contact a professional to conduct repairs or replacement.

 

Conclusion

Don’t let plumbing problems drag you down this spring. Follow our springtime plumbing tips to safeguard your pipes and your home. Remember to call Knoxville Plumbing for all your plumbing needs!

Gas water heaters remain a popular option among homeowners. In spite of competition from their electric counterparts, gas storage water heaters supply hot water to about 60% of America’s homes. How you choose to heat your household water makes a difference in an economy where heating water in the home has become the second-largest household expense, according to the Department of Energy. Gas storage water heaters are a great option for lots of families, but they can still have some drawbacks. Let’s take a look at some of the common problems associated with a gas storage water heater.

Gas water heater problems with performance issues

Typical gas storage water heaters tend to outperform same size electric storage water heaters. They just have a faster recovery time. Sometimes, though, older — and even newer — units can malfunction. Here are some common gas water heater problems.

no hot water, water heaterLittle or no hot water

Arguably the most annoying hot water heater problem, reduced or no hot water when it’s needed ranks as the most common issue. Little hot water results from a variety of issues.

Increased demand for hot water prevents the water heater from fully heating water before delivering it. Are you remodeling? Do you have guests or a new family member? How about a new, larger washing machine? All of these can increase the demand for hot water and affect how quickly the water heater recovers. Other common causes of reduced hot water supply are:

  • Thermostat set too low
  • Thermostat malfunction
  • Faulty dip tube
  • Sediment build up in tank
  • Incoming water pressure is low
  • Dirty or faulty gas burner

Adjust the thermostat to a higher temperature and see if this resolves the issue. If not, you may need to check the thermocouple. This is a safety device that shuts off the gas if the pilot light goes out. It is fairly easy to replace. A faulty drip tube delivers cold water into the tank at a higher level than designed. This allows the cold incoming water to mix with the hot water at the top of the tank and cool it down. Replacing the drip tube can remedy this problem. Over time, sediment build up in the bottom of all storage water heater tanks. This layer of sediment prevents the burner from heating the water as efficiently. Annually flushing your water heater eliminates this problem. The gas burner beneath your water heater may also be in need of cleaning or replacement.

No hot water

If you have no hot water, you might have a problem with your pilot. Pilot lights can go out when there is no problem with the unit. If this is the case, simply relight the pilot. If the pilot fails to stay lit, you probably have a bad thermocouple. Older gas water heaters have a pilot easy to light with a match or a candle-lighter. Newer models, however, have a button you push to activate a spark igniter inside the burner compartment. If the problem is the thermocouple on an older unit, you can DIY the replacement. A newer unit requires the services of a professional because the thermocouple is behind the sealed compartment and not easy to access safely without the proper equipment. If the thermocouple is not the problem, you might have a faulty gas valve. In this case, definitely call in the professionals.

 

Leaking

If you find water on the floor under or near your water heater, you need to find the source of the leak. Leaks can occur in several different places on your water heater. One potential leak location is the top of the tank where the cold water enters the drip tube. This leak presents an easy fix. Just tighten the connections. The T & P (Temperature & Pressure) relief valve sits on the outside of the tank near the top and has a small pipe running to a drain near the heater. You can repair a leak from this valve, but if the leak originates in the bottom of the tank, you will have to completely replace the tank.

 

 

 

Gas water heater problems with sounds and smells

Faulty plumbing and normal wear-and-tear provide a homeowner with plenty to do. Unfortunately, gas water heaters have a reputation for some additional types of problems.

Sounds

Rumbling. Popping. Ticking. Sizzling. Hissing. Hammering. Knocking. Gas water heaters have a reputation for conjuring all of these noises. Fortunately, each sound indicates a specific problem or two for you to check and correct.

electric water heater maintenance tips Pleasant How to Remove Water Heater Sediment Top Water HeatersPopping:

This occurs when sediment has built up in the bottom of your tank. The sediment causes the water to boil. Water bubbling up through the sediment makes the popping sound.

The Fix: Flush your tank annually to keep sediment from becoming a hazard. Or, install a water softener system to prevent sediment from collecting in the tank at all.

Ticking:

Ticking noises come from a couple of problems. The first, variations in water pressure, you really can’t fix. The second, however, presents an easy fix. The pipe straps holding the hot water lines that come out of the tank can be loose and cause an annoying ticking sound.

The Fix: Pick up some plastic spacers at the hardware store and install them to keep the straps from slapping into the pipes.

Sizzling or hissing:

This sound also arises from a couple of possible sources. A tightly closed relief valve can generate a sizzling sound. Water dropping onto the hot gas burner assembly will also cause a sizzling noise.

The Fix: Not so easy this time. The water dripping onto the burner is probably coming from the bottom of your tank. A leaky tank can’t be fixed. It must be replaced.

Rumbling:

This is also a sound you really don’t want to hear from your tank. A rumbling sound occurs when the tank has begun to rust out from sediment build-up.

The Fix: The rusting metal leads directly to a leaking tank, which, as stated previously, leads to a replacement.

rust-colored water running out of a faucetDiscolored water

Has this ever happened to you? You turn the hot water on, step into the shower and get splattered by reddish brown streams jetting from your shower head? Hopefully, it hasn’t. But, if it does you can narrow it down to a couple of sources. Rust in plumbing can cause water to appear yellow, brown, or red. The rust could be in the pipes inside your home. It could also be in the outside pipes leading into your home or even in the water heater. The good news is that it’s not really a health hazard. The bad news is — well — it’s pretty unsightly. It also causes the water to taste metallic and can leave stains on clothing and toilets and tubs. This fix has to be handled by installing a water treatment system.

Rotten egg smell

Unfortunately, discolored water is often accompanied by a nasty, sulfur-like rotten egg odor. This sewage-like smell indicates that bacteria are growing in your water heater. This happens for a few reasons. If you’ve been away and turned the water off or turned the thermostat too low to keep the water hot, bacteria will take advantage of a prime place to colonize. Although the bacteria are not harmful, it’s best to have a professional plumber help you deal with this problem.

 

CONCLUSION

Your gas water heater provides essential service for your family. Make sure you take care of it.Whether your gas water heater is new or old, if you’re experiencing any of these issues, Knoxville Plumbing is here to help. Give us a call today for any of your plumbing needs!

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.

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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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.

There are two kinds of people in this world: bath enthusiasts, and now, shower enthusiasts. Taking a bath or shower after a long day of work is often the perfect start to a relaxing evening. It can signal the brain that work has ended and play has begun. Here are 4 cool shower head products you should consider enhancing your shower experience with.

Light Therapy

Ramon Soler brand offers a shower head that offers much more than light therapy. It also uses music to provide the ultimate relaxation experience. The line is called Hidrocrom and the therapy is called hydrochromotherapy. What makes this product superior from the others is the extent of research and thought that was put into the modern chrome design and its functions. There are three programs to choose from; Wellness, anti-aging, and play bath. Wellness is designed to increase mental and physical well being. Anti-aging is designed to promote energy and balance. And Play Bath is a playful program with rainbow colors. You can also play all three programs one after the other for maximum benefit. The best part for music lovers is that the radio transmitter can pick up signal from a nearby radio or mp3 player.

Low Flow Fixture

A water conservative, low flow shower head can reduce your water usage by up to 5 gallons per minute. Those who are trying to time their showers can conserve as much as 20 gallons when shaving 5 minutes from their shower time using an older shower head model, but an inexpensive water-saving model can afford you more time in the shower with its efficiency. If you like timing your showers, especially in large families where water needs to be conserved and shower time is hogged by particular members, there is the Shower Manager, a timed shower head. Full flowing shower time settings include 5, 8, and 11 minute showers. A 60 second alert goes off, and the water is reduced to 1/3 its stream to allow you to finish rinsing before the flow is completely stopped!

Temperature Gauging

Delta has come out with a new model of shower technology called the Temp20. A digital display on the shower head tells you exactly the temperature of the flow, accompanied by the visual led color display that can tell you whether or not the temperature is safe for you and your family members. This is especially great for children, the elderly, people who are sensitive to hot and cold water, and those who really enjoy hot showers or use hydrotherapy in different ways. The LED shows blue when the temperature is below 80 degrees Fahrenheit and red when the temperature is above 110. A shade of light to dark magenta will show how hot the water is between, but the red indicates an unsafe temperature. The great thing is that the technology is employed on several designs to choose from and is not only one shower head for purchase. The technology can also be applied to tub spouts. This is one way to upgrade the home on its journey to becoming a smart house!