Water Heater Noise Problems

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Water heater noise is common and can be annoying if its installed
in or near your living space.
Noisy water heaters are described as humming, singing, screaming
rumpling, crackling, popping, ticking, tapping, hissing, sizzling,
knocking, pounding, and hammering.
Some unusual descriptions I’ve heard are – sounds like a cat screaming,
finger nails on tin, chair dragging across the floor, bacon frying and
some I can’t repeat.
If water heater noise is keeping you up at night, or has you worried,
read on to see what steps to take.

Humming
An electric water heater noise you may hear is humming.The heating
element has a looped tube. If the space between the tube is vertical
to the tank it may cause a humming noise.
This sometime occurs after the elements have been replaced and
on a new water heater.
It will not cause damage to the element or the tank. However, if you
want to stop the humming, tighten the element one eighth to one
quarter turn.

Rumbling/Popping/Cracking

Gas water heater rumbling is caused by excess sediment in the tank.
Calcium or lime deposits, rust, and other debris build up over time.
Water becomes trapped under these deposits and makes a popping
or cracking sound when its heated. As the amount of sediment builds
up in the tank you will began to hear a rumbling sound. As the amount
of sediment builds so does the noise increase.

Rumbling is normal in a water heater that has not been flushed or
cleaned on a regular basis. It will not blow up. It is annoying if it
is located inside your home.

To solve this problem the tank needs to be flushed and cleaned or
treated with a deliming solution.

Electric water heater elements will make a cracking, sizzling, popping
hissing or sizzling sound when they become covered with sediment.
An element can be removed and cleaned with a wire brush or vinegar
if the noise is disturbing. May reduce element life over time but
will not cause any other problems.

Most water heaters have steel tanks. Steel expands and contracts
when its heated or cooled. This can cause popping or cracking.

Plumbing pipe can be also expand and contracts creating noise.

Singing/Screaming
This happens when water under pressure is forced through or
around an object.

Most common problem is a shut off valve not open fully. This
could be the shut off valve at the water heater or under a sink.
Open valve completely.

Ticking/Tapping
Heat traps can cause a ticking or tapping sound. Heat traps are
built into the nipples on top of the water heater where the plumbing
connects to the tank.
The ticking is normal. Heat traps are not necessary. Remove and
replace with standard die-electric nipples.

Plumbing can also have a ticking or tapping sound when its cooling
off. This is also normal.

Water Hammer – Knocking/Pounding
If it sounds like someone is beating on your wall with a hammer, you
have what is called “water hammer”.
Water hammer is not a water heater noise. It is caused by water rushing
through the pipes and being shut off quickly. The water stops abruptly
and tries to push back up the pipe. This causes the pipe to bang the
walls.

Water hammer should be fixed as soon as possible. Its not likely to damage
the walls but will burst the pipe and cause a flood.

The most common causes are dishwashers and washing machines with
automatic valves that shut the water off fast. Shutting any faucet off fast
can cause water hammer. Toilet valves can cause water hammer.
Determine where the problem is and install a “Water Hammer Arrestor”
between the appliance or faucet and the water pipe.
Water hammer arrestors can be had specifically for washing machines,
under sinks or to fit any size water pipe.

4 Easy-to-Fix Solutions for a Weak Flushing Toilet

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Got a toilet with a weak flush? Here are four common slow-flush plumbing problems and their easy-to-fix DIY solutions.

1. The water level in the tank is low

Your problem may simply be a need for the float to ride higher in the tank, allowing the water level to increase.

  • If your tank shows a low level of water, simply adjust the float accordingly as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Be careful not to damage the float as you adjust it or bend the rod that attaches it to the valve, which allows water to flow back into the tank. You could wind up with another problem: a leaking toilet and the sound of non-stop trickling water.

2. The flapper closes too quickly

In order for the toilet tank to drain, the flapper needs to lift up a reasonable distance.

  • If there’s not enough lift and an insufficient amount of water drains into the bowl, remedy the situation by checking the length of the flapper chain.
  • Shortening the chain holds the flapper open longer. In turn, this allows more water to flow through the toilet and flush through the system.
  • You should see a slack of .6 to 1.2 cm (¼ to ½ inch) in the chain. Adjust, if necessary.

3. There’s a clog causing a slowdown

A clogged toilet can occur when an obstruction forms in the trap, sewer pipe or the vent pipe. While plugged up sewer pipes require a contractor, an inspection and possibly expensive repairs, the other two possibilities are easier to check:

Trap
First, fill a bucket or waste can with water and pour one or two gallons quickly into the affected toilet.

  • If you see a swirl, but no flush or a weak flush, try a standard toilet plunger first.
  • Try a toilet auger if that doesn’t work.

Vent pipe
Next, try the vent pipe. The vent pipe is a pipe that measures about 5 to 8 cm (2 to 3 inches) in diameter and protrudes from your roof by about 30 cm (a foot).

  • You’ll find it above the location of the toilet in your home.
  • You can either run a plumber’s snake down the pipe or force water through it with an expansion nozzle or water pressure bulb to flush out the blockage.

Any time you venture onto your roof, use extreme caution and do not take any risks, especially if you have not tried doing this before.

4. Mineral buildup is creating a blockage

Occasionally, you may find your toilet’s rim feed holes get clogged with calcium and/or other minerals, thus weakening the flush. In that case, a good dose or two of toilet bowl cleaner should help get rid of the buildup. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Shut off your water supply.
  2. Drain the tank.
  3. Tie the flapper open.
  4. Pour ¼ litre (a cup) of toilet bowl cleaner down the flush valve opening.
  5. Let sit for an hour.
  6. Pour a mixture of 1/8 litre (1/2 cup) mixed with equal parts water down the flush valve opening.
  7. Close the flapper immediately.
  8. Turn on the water.
  9. Flush two or three times to rinse.
  10. Repeat if necessary.

If these things fail and you’ve tried everything else you can think of, then it’s probably a good idea to find a plumber for a better diagnosis and a professional solution!

 

Removing Hard Water Stains on Shower Doors

d815a81dfc32833ba23886dcc4ab93c7.jpgStart with some “elbow grease”. Before getting into expensive or potentially toxic cleaning products, try using these scrubbing techniques first.

  • Use “magic” and “eraser” cleaning pads or other non-scratching scrubbing sponges to safely scrub your glass surfaces. Try to remove as much as you can by scrubbing with one of these moistened sponges.
  • Never use hard-bristled brushes or abrasive cleaning tools when cleaning glass to avoid scratching or etching the glass surface.
  • Scrubbing works best on smaller hard water deposits, newer stains, and those that are not firmly set in.

Use baking soda. If you’re dealing with older stains or large areas of heavy hard water build-up, you will need more than just elbow grease. Baking soda is a very effective non-liquid home remedy that’s all-natural and probably already in your pantry.

  • Baking soda is a base (alkaline), so it can be used to chemically counteract the effects of hard water mineral deposits.
  • Because it is a natural, biodegradable product, baking soda is considered to be a safe, environmentally-friendly alternative to harsh chemical cleaners.
  • There are two schools of thought for using baking soda to clean: one camp claims that you can mix baking soda with vinegar to make an effective paste, while others claim that you should not use vinegar (an acid) and baking soda (a base) at the same time because they will cancel out each others’ pH benefits.
  • As a compromise, try applying some white vinegar to the stain first, waiting 30 minutes, and then applying baking soda before scrubbing and thoroughly rinsing away the stain.

Brush on some toothpaste. Many home cleaners use toothpaste as an alternative to baking soda.

  • Apply some regular toothpaste to a moist towel and rub it over the stain using circular motions.
  • Wait a few minutes, and then rinse off the paste with equal parts water and vinegar to remove all residue.

Use commercial paste cleaners. There are several commercial cleaning products for hard water stains that come in a paste formula.

  • The main benefit of using a paste over liquid cleaner is that the paste will not leave its own liquid streaks or water marks.
  • A downside to using paste products, though, is that they can leave behind a foggy haze if not buffed off of the glass. Be sure to follow all the label instructions to avoid this side effect.

 

How to Fix Water That Keeps Running in a Tub Faucet

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Step 1

Turn off the water to the tub faucet by closing the valves in the wall (accessed through a panel behind the wall on which the faucet is mounted) or by turning off the home’s water main near the water meter.

Step 2

Pull the cap off the top of the faucet handle and unscrew the Allen-head screw under it. If your faucet doesn’t have a cap, it will have a set screw on the side of the handle. Find the screw and remove it with an Allen wrench.

Step 3

Take the handle off the faucet head and look for a small retainer clip around the edge of the cartridge underneath. Use a pair of pliers to remove this clip. If there is a bonnet cap or washer, loosen and remove this either by hand or with a pair of pliers.

Step 4

Slide the cartridge out of the faucet head and install a new cartridge in place of the old one. Press it to the back of the faucet head and then fit the clip around it to secure it, or reinstall the washer to hold it in place.

Step 5

Put the handle back on the stem of the cartridge and fasten it with the set screw to hold it in place. Turn on the water and test the faucet.

How to Fix a Stinky Sink

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First, make sure you have a proper P-trap installed under the sink. This trap holds water and provides a seal against sewer gases getting up into the bathroom. Without a P-trap, gases will leak in constantly, and will be displaced by water down the drain which can force the gases up into the bathroom even if normally it’s not detectable.

Also make sure there is a proper vent for the sink. Even with a P-trap, if there’s nowhere for back-flowing gases to go, they’ll bubble up past the trap. (And even if you don’t have a vent, that might be OK.)

One more thing it could be is the overflow drain. Depending on the design of sink, the overflow can hold a small amount of water at the bottom where it T’s in to the main drain, which can become stagnant. Run water down the drain and you’ll force some air up the overflow (to make way for the water coming down), which will have that stagnant smell.

To diagnose this, plug the sink and begin filling it; you shouldn’t get any musty smell at first because there’s no air movement. Once the water level hits the overflow drain, you will start smelling the musty smell for a while because the water is displacing the gas, which wants to rise above the water and so will move up into the bathroom. If this is the problem, you can ameliorate it with some foaming pipe snake; pour it down the overflow drain and it will clean out any caked-on gunk which contributes to the smell, and which may be trapping the water. The real fix is to make sure there’s no “damming” effect of construction defects at the bottom of the overflow drain (a lip of porcelain, issues where the overflow meets the metal drain downpipe, etc).

Does it smell when you turn on the tap and catch the water in a bowl (so it doesn’t go down the drain)?

 If so, it’s something in the faucet. Take off the aerator cap and look for gunk inside. Also, look in the barrel of the faucet and clean it out if you can. And of course you can also consider replacing the faucet.

If this doesn’t work, it’s something in the basin, drain, trap, or overflow drain. KeithS has some good answers above, but I also recommend the following:

– Take out the drain stopper and look down the drain pipe for gunk. Clean it out with a snake or unraveled coat hanger if you can.

– Spray bleach down the drain and overflow drain to kill anything nasty in there. You can bleach the basin too for cleanliness.

– Get a large bowl or 1-5 gallon bucket. Fill it with water. Quickly but carefully pour all the water down the drain. The goal is to fill the basin and displace all/any water in the overflow drain and trap. Sometimes there can be nasty things in there that float so they don’t go through the trap, and this forces them out the drain pipe.

Dangerous Water Valves

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A gate valve for a property usually has to be closed if plumbing repairs or maintenance are needed inside the building. In some instances, particularly if the main control valve is a gate type valve, the valve may not close completely. In many cases a gate valve repair or replacement may be needed. But many times other remedies are available.

A gate valve not closing completely is typically due to sediment that has built up inside the body of the valve. The sediment becomes lodged between the gate that lowers, and the inside of the valve body itself. Ball type valves do not suffer from this problem, as they operate on a different principal than a gate that raises and lowers inside of the valve body .

The typical reaction when a gate valve will not close fully is to exert addition force on the handle. Using force to close a valve is absolutely the wrong response. Brute force can cause permanent damage to the valve and a loss of water supply to the building.

Leaking Air Gaps

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The simplicity of the air gap not only makes for an elegantly effective device, it also means there are fewer opportunities for malfunction. But that isn’t to say things can’t go wrong:

  • The most common issue with air gaps is a blockage somewhere along the line, usually due to bits of food and grease accumulating over some time. These kinds of blockages are most likely to be found in the hose between the air gap and drain/disposal (where there’s less pressure to move things along). When a blockage becomes large enough, water coming out of the dishwasher will begin to back up, spilling out of the air gap into the sink basin. Try disconnecting the hose and flushing it out.
  • If a blockage can’t be found in the hoses, there could be something inside the air gap itself – a bottle or pipe brush may be handy in clearing out the unit. If that doesn’t solve the problem, it’s possible the blockage lies past the hoses: in the the disposal itself, or the trap(s) under the sink. While you would probably notice such a clog well before the dishwasher brought it to your attention, this would be the last obvious place to look. Remove the p-trap and clean out any blockages.
  • Ensure that there are no kinks in the hose(s), and that no length is too long; there should be little slack when all is said and done. There should be just enough hose to get to the air gap inlet (or reach the highest point under the counter if using a high loop), and just enough to reach the drain or garbage disposal. The final run of the hose to the drain/disposal needs to be free of any sagging “traps” resulting from excess length, in which debris can accumulate and cause a blockage.
  • If the dishwasher is connected to a garbage disposal and constantly spits water from the air gap during draining, it’s possible that the knockout plug on the disposal inlet was never knocked out. It happens! Disconnect the power supply, and use a screwdriver and hammer to punch it out. A pair of long-nose pliers will be helpful in fishing out the plastic plug from the disposal.
  • Avoid using standard corrugated, plastic hoses – they’re easier to damage than high quality rubber hoses, and the ridges inside are perfect for accumulating debris, which can lead to a clogged line.

How much does a leaky faucet cost per month?

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Drip, drip, drip. Whether in your kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room a leaky faucet can be one of the most frustrating issues.

This simple small leak can cost you about $20 per year. A more significant faucet leak can produce 30 to hundreds of gallons of wastewater per day. The average costs of these fast dripping faucets will end up costing you $60 to $200 per year!

A leaking faucet or sink can not only cause a mess and annoying noise, but it can run up your water bill. It might be a simple fix, or you may choose to have the appliance completely switched out. Maybe you just want an upgrade. Whatever the case, our licensed plumbers have the resources to locate the problem and get it fixed for you.

Dangers of Old Water Lines and Piping

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Every home has a water line that delivers fresh water and every home is going to have a leak in their water line at some time.

This line may come from the city meter or from a well, or even from a community water system. This line is called a “water service”. Your water service may be made of copper, Galvanized steel (as seen above), Polyethylene, or PVC.

The effective lifespan of these different materials vary greatly. Our plumbers are trained to locate the area of the leak and determine if repair or replacement is necessary. Should you choose to replace the line (most commonly selected option), we can get this job done in quickly so you have the least amount of inconvenience possible. Also, we have the ability to install the new line with minimal disruption to your landscape.

Even past your main water line, pipes leak – we can handle it.

Our licensed plumbers have years of experience to draw from in finding and repairing leaks inside your home. Most of the time only a small hole is required pinpoint the source and repair the problem.  Our licensed plumbers can repair all types of pipes in any location of your home.

Older homes will need to be repaired. Our licensed and professional plumbers can carefully plan the new system for you and keep demolition of your walls and ceilings to a minimum. Quite often we can install piping in existing chases or hollow areas, and reuse the existing holes. With new plumbing pipes, you not only increase the value of your home, but it becomes a joy to bathe and cook with bountiful amounts of fresh clean water.

Whatever option you choose, you can be sure that the job will be done quickly, professionally and correctly at a price that you approve up front!