When we hear the phrase “water heater,” most of us probably get a picture in our heads of the traditional storage water heater. Although many other types of water heaters are now available, the standard storage water heater remains the most commonly seen in homes across the United States. A storage water heater consists of a tank or reservoir that holds water. A pipe brings cold water into the tank, where it is heated. Warm water rises to the top of the tank and is disbursed through another pipe whenever hot water is needed throughout the house. Storage water heaters all do basically the same thing, they just use different sources of energy for heating the water. Let’s take a closer look.
The basic structure of a storage water heater is pretty simple. The visible part — the drum — is a tall cylindrical tank made of heavy metal, a layer of insulation and an outer shell. Tanks hold 30 – 80 gallons of water, depending on size. Cold water enters the tank through the dip tube. The end of the heat-out pipe lies near the top of the tank, ready to whisk heated water wherever it is needed. Other essential parts of each storage water heater are the thermostat, drain valve, pressure relief valve, sacrificial anode rod, and a shut-off valve. The heating mechanisms differ in how they supply the heat needed to warm the water. We’ll look at gas water heaters first.
Gas Water Heaters
Gas water heaters, as the name implies, use natural gas or propane to fuel the heat for your water. The heating system for this type water heater has two main parts: the burner and the venting system.
The burner sits beneath the tank in a small chamber. This burner operates on the combustion principle. Gas — either natural gas or liquid propane (LP) flows through a valve into the burner. A thermostat located outside the tank projects a heat sensitive probe inside the tank. The thermostat controls the flow of gas to the burner. Combustion occurs when the pilot light ignites the gas flowing through the burner. Flames heat the bottom of the tank, transferring heat to the water inside the tank. Small openings in the combustion chamber allow air to enter.
As long as gas and air continue to flow into the combustion chamber, the burner will continue to heat water. Thermostats are generally set between 120 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit , although newer models may restrict the upper limit to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. An energy cut off switch acts as a safety mechanism within the thermostat. If the probe detects water temperature above 190 degrees F, the energy cut off valve shuts off the gas flow. If this happens, you usually have to replace the entire gas valve mechanism. The combustion process, though very efficient for heating, produces harmful fumes and requires proper venting.
The Venting System
Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxide produced in the combustion process are harmful to breathe. They must be vented outside the home or office to protect the people inside the buildings. Gas storage water heaters use a flue and hood venting system. The flue consists of a bottom hood within the combustion chamber. This hood collects and directs the exhaust fumes up through the flue. The flue itself is a small tube rising through the tank and exiting at the top. Many flues now contain baffles. A baffle is a shaped like a helix. It deflects the exhaust push the heated air to the sides of the flue to help heat the water. Exhaust exits the tank through the draft hood located just above the top of the tank. The draft hood prevents back drafts into the flue and vents noxious gasses outside the home or office.
Electric Water Heaters
Electric storage water heaters have the same basic parts as their gas-fueled cousins. Rather than heating water with fire, though, electric water heaters use electricity. The heating system for an electric water heater also has to main parts: the elements and the circuit control.
The elements in this system work much like the burners on an electric stove. Elements may be stainless steel or copper-plated. They consist of a wire surrounded by filler material encased in a U-shaped tube of either stainless steel or copper. They project into the tank about one-third down from the top of the tank and one-third up from the bottom. Each element has its own thermostat. As electricity flows through the inner wire, resistance in the wire generates heat. The heat passes into the filler material and outer sheath of the element to heat the water. The upper element operates first to heat the top one-third of the water to the temperature set on the thermostat. Once the upper water has reached this temperature, the lower element comes on and heats the middle third of the water.
The control circuit
The control circuit includes the elements, thermostats, a high limit control switch, and a reset button. As in the case with the gas-powered water heater, the electric water heater also carefully monitors water temperature and pressure. If water temperature in the electric water heater exceeds the established limit, the high limit switch activates and shuts down the entire unit. You can restart the unit once it cools by pushing the reset button on the thermostat.
Well, there you have it. Although both types of storage water heaters provide the same function, the do so by very different means. When you’re considering a new water heater, be sure you review all your options carefully. Both types of heater have energy efficiency and safety features built in. Just how much money you can save will depend on the needs of your family or business. Give us a call today. We’ll walk you through all the details and help you make the best choice for your particular needs.
The post How Storage Water Heaters Work: Gas vs Electric appeared first on Knoxville Plumbing | Plumber in Knoxville | Plumbing | Tennessee.
Whether you’re renting your home, or you own it, one issue you are bound to have is the dreaded “slow drain.” Thankfully, this problem is typically nothing too serious, and you should be able to fix it on your own. Before you try to fix it, you should have a clear understanding of how your sink works and what is the probable cause for your sink or shower draining slowly. Once you understand the basics, there are a few key tricks that can help you unclog your drain, DIY style.
What Type of Drain is Slow?
As previously stated, knowing how to fix your slow drain depends on two things:
After those two things are figured out, fixing your drain should be a breeze.
If your shower or bath tub drain is not working as well as it use to, the most common reason for this is hair. It doesn’t matter if you have short or long hair, if you give it enough time, the hair will build up in the pop-up assembly of your shower/tub drain and cause it to drain much slower than normal. If this isn’t taken care of, your hair will soon trap other sorts of debris which will eventually lead your drain not draining all together.
The most common reason your kitchen sink would not be draining will be food related. One of the biggest culprits is grease that gets trapped either in the P-trap, which is the curved section of your drainpipe that is located under your kitchen sink, or the drain basket itself. Food itself can get stuck in the bottom of the P-trap and hinder waterflow. Not only will this problem be inconvenient, but it can also get smelly.
Other Common Drain Problems
Its important to know that just because your drain is draining slow, doesn’t mean that the problem is right at the surface. You should also be well informed about how your venting and sewer lines function, and what the signs are of a malfunction.
These are the main lines that will carry your household waste water and sewage away. One of the biggest things that can mess up your sewer lines is tree roots. The tree roots are attracted to all the nutrients that flow through these lines, and the roots will find any weak points, cracks or holes in your sewer lines. They will push their way into the pipes, rendering them useless. Its also important to know how old your pipelines are, because another common cause for sewer line problems is that they have begun to collapse or deteriorate. One big red flag that is indicative of a sewer line problem is if your toilet constantly clogs or flushes slowly.
Vent stacks are an important part of your plumbing because they allow air into your pipelines, reducing the vacuum effect that would restrict water flow. These stacks are in your bathroom and kitchen areas around your house. Typically, vent stacks are the pipes that are protruding through your roof. The most common reason they get clogged is by leaves, sticks and sometimes bird nests.
There are several things that you can try before calling in a professional to come and fix it for you. Just remember to clear out any standing water in your sink or tub before you try to move the blockage, as the water will get in your way.
Boiling Hot Water
This is going to be your cheapest way to try and fix your draining problem. With this method, all you have to do is boil some water on your stove, make sure that there is little to now standing water in your way, pour the hot water into your sink and wait. You may have to repeat this process, but if the clog is small enough, this should move the clog along and out of the way.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
For this method, you poor about a cup of baking soda into your drain. Next, pour the same amount of either white or apple cider vinegar down the drain. This combination will bubble initially, then it will calm down. Once this happens, put the stopper in your drain and wait for about 15 minutes. After that time frame, run hot water to see if this cleared the clog.
It is a good idea to invest in a designated sink plunger, if you can’t fix the clogs with the previous methods. You can use a sink plunger on either a single or double sink. If you have a double sink, first seal off the second side with either a wet cloth or a stopper. To properly plunge your sink, you will need fill you sink up with enough water to cover the bell of you plunger. Then all you must do is plunge it like you would a toilet. If this works, you should hear the suction clear the clog, remove your plunger and run warm water for a few minutes.
This tool, also called an auger or plumber’s snake, can clear the clogs that might be stuck deeper in the system. You simply stick this down the top of your drain until you feel something stop it, which is probably the clog. Then you twist it around until you feel the obstruction loosen. If the clog is even deeper, you will have to take apart your drainpipe and P-trap.
While DIY fixes save money, they do not always work out. If your DIY fails or if you just do not have the time to track down and fix the slow drain issue, we can help. Contact us today. We can help you get your drains flowing smoothly in no time!
The post Slow Drains–Causes and DIY Fixes appeared first on Knoxville Plumbing | Plumber in Knoxville | Plumbing | Tennessee.
Water heaters. We use them every day without thinking about them. The next types of water heaters in our series provide cost-effective and exciting ways to heat your water and save money.
What is a Tankless Coil Water Heater?
It is a device that supplies hot water, whenever needed, without the use of a water tank. It utilizes the hot water boiler to heat water for the household plumbing. In some cases, it is a slide in option for select boilers.
How Does a Tankless Coil Water Heater work?
When the hot water faucet is turned on, cold water is flooded into the inlet side of the heat exchanger in the boiler. The heat exchanger is located near the top of the water or steam boiler and is typically made of copper pipes. The copper piping ensures the best heat transference. After this process, the water is usually too hot for household use. As such, most setups have a regulated tempering valve which releases a small amount of cold water. This allows the water to cool to a safer temperature of about one hundred degrees Fahrenheit.
Pros of having a Tankless Coil Water Heater:
It’s easily fitted to most boilers, including steam boilers. It is far more cost-efficient in the winter months than a typical water heater. This type of water heater is much cheaper to install and maintain than basic water heaters. If something were to go wrong or break, these water heaters are easier to replace. It basically supplies limitless hot water to the household. The biggest pro is the saving on heating costs because it doesn’t lose any heat from standing heated water.
Cons of having a Tankless Coil Water Heater:
While it is cost savvy in the winter months, this isn’t a great option for people in warmer climates, or during summer months. This is due to the reduced need and frequency for hot water on demand. Also, it’s lifespan is not as long as other water heaters. The Tankless Coil Water Heater only lasts about 10 years if properly maintained. Unfortunately, the Tankless Water Heater is not compatible with a furnace. Something else to consider is the quality of water running to your household. If the household is on hard water supply, the Tankless Coil Water Heater will require a water softener to run smoothly and efficiently.
What is an Indirect Water heater?
The Indirect Water Heater is a more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly way to heat water. It is a little tank-like device that holds a coiled heat exchanger. The Indirect Water Heater relies on the boiler to heat the household water, as it does not produce its own heat.
How does an Indirect Water Heater work?
A closed-loop water pipe connects the Indirect Water Heater to the boiler, where the boiler supplies heated water to it. This boiler water never mixes with the water in the Indirect Water Heater. The water circulates through the heat exchanging coils, heating the water in the tank that is for the household use. The Indirect Water heater is basically a conduit. The household water flows through the water heater to be heated and pushed up to the household appliances. The Indirect Water Heater pays for itself as it saves on heating costs, and allows the furnace to turn off and on less often.
Pros and Cons of having an Indirect Water Heater.
The Indirect Water Heater is very similar to the Tankless Coil Water heater. They both are great money savers, both better for winter months/cooler climates. The main difference between them is that a Tankless Coil Water Heater cannot use a furnace in its functions, whereas the Indirect Water Heater is furnace compatible.
If you are in the market for a new water heating system and are looking to save some money then give us a call today! We are ready to help you with your next home improvement project.
The post Water Heaters: Tankless Coil & Indirect appeared first on Knoxville Plumbing | Plumber in Knoxville | Plumbing | Tennessee.
Do you call a licensed plumber or DIY it? Despite the claims of popular DIY shows, not to mention YouTube videos, there are just some plumbing issues you cannot DIY. The key for the average homeowner is knowing their own limits. What might be a simple fix for a professional could run into two or three times the trouble and cost with a DIY-gone-bad.
That said, Knoxville Plumbing has put together a short list of plumbing issues that can usually be a successful DIY project along with ones that should be handled by a licensed plumber.
The most successful DIY projects will only require a minimal number of tools and will be in easy-to-access areas. They may require a trip to the hardware store, but should not take too much time out of your day.
Faucets leak from either the handles or the spout. To DIY repair the leak you have to determine where it originates. After you figure out where the leak is, turn off your water supply to the faucet. Next, disassemble that part of the faucet, using appropriate tools. You may need to replace O rings, washers, cartridges, or an aerator. Taking the worn or damaged part with you to the hardware store will help you to figure out exactly which replacement you need.
Most clogs respond well to DIY treatments. Try pouring boiling water down the clogged pipe, as long as it is not PVC. Other common and successful DIY tricks are plunging, baking soda and vinegar, or a small drain snake. You can also remove the P trap under the sink to try to find the clog. If the clog persists, or you do not want to start pulling your pipes apart, your best bet is to call a licensed plumber to get deeper into the problem.
Toilet “running” or “phantom flush”
If your toilet continues to run after the tank is full, it is usually an easy fix. These problems occur when there is a problem with the fill tube, the water level float, the flush handle/flapper chain, or the flapper itself. You will have to drain the tank and bowl to perform some of these repairs, so if it looks more troublesome than you have time for, just give us a call.
When to call a licensed plumber
We recommend every homeowner have basic plumbing tools, including a heavy pipe wrench, a water meter key, an adjustable wrench, and a toilet auger. These jobs, however, can lead to much more complex problems and require specialized equipment and experience to correctly diagnose and repair. We recommend calling a licensed plumber for these kinds of jobs.
Anytime you have to take pipes apart, you should have a licensed plumber doing the work. They will be able to assess multiple factors including the age of your pipes and the exact needs for your pipes when it comes to putting everything back together again.
The sump pit, usually in the basement, collects water that drains into the house from groundwater or perimeter drains. Once water has accumulated in the pit, the pump pushes the water away from the house. Your sump pump is an easy to forget — an out-of-sight, out-of-mind appliance. You do not want to forget or ignore it. The potential for serious problems if it is not working properly makes this type of installation, maintenance, and repair best for a licensed plumber rather than DIY. You do not want to deal with a broken or improperly installed sump pump.
Gurgling sounds and water backing up in your drains, toilet, or bathtub indicate a major problem. Mainline backups require specialized equipment including a camera attached to a line to accurately assess the damage and plan repairs. The repairs often entail using digging equipment to access the damaged pipes. You definitely want a licensed plumber dealing with the wastewater rather than exposing yourself to this hazardous waste.
A failed DIY
If you get started with a DIY that turns into a nightmare, that is where we come in! Knoxville Plumbing has expert licensed plumbers standing by to help with any of your plumbing concerns. Here are a few of the most common DIY plumbing fails, according to Family Handyman. You can read details about each of these fails on Family Handyman.
10 Most Common DIY Plumbing Fails
DIY projects are a great option for many homeowners in the right circumstances. We appreciate the need to save money and the sense of satisfaction that comes from a job well done. But, if your DIY project gets out of control or if the plumbing problem is beyond your expertise, Knoxville Plumbing can help. Give us a call today!
The post Licensed Plumber vs. DIY appeared first on Knoxville Plumbing | Plumber in Knoxville | Plumbing | Tennessee.
Solar water heaters have the potential of being an ecofriendly and cost-efficient way of heating one’s household water supply. The process is simple and does just what the name implies. This type of system harnesses sunlight, turning it into heat through a device called a Solar Thermal Collector.
Direct solar water heater systems
There are several types of solar water heaters on the market. While it’s true that these water heaters can work in any climate, some do work better in warmer areas.
One of the most common types of Solar Water Heaters is called a Direct System, also known as an “active” or “open loop”. The process for the Active system is simple: Water is circulated from the water tank, up to the roof to the Solar Thermal Collectors. The water is then heated in the collectors and transferred down to the water tank and into the household, ready, for use. This type of system is best for tropical climates, as it doesn’t require assistance in heating one’s water.
The most common Solar Water Heater, in the Direct System, is the Indirect or “closed-loop” system. These work best in climates where temperatures drop below freezing. This system uses a combination of sunlight and antifreeze to heat the water. Antifreeze is circulated from the water heater up to the Solar Thermal Collectors, heated, and then moved down into the heat exchanger, heating the water in the tank, indirectly. The cooler antifreeze is then pushed back up to the collectors where the process begins again.
Common Problems with Solar Water Heaters
Probably the most common problem with a Solar Water Heater is leaking. The most plausible explanation for this is a leaky temperature and pressure relief valve on the solar heater. Do not try to repair this problem on your own. It’s better to call and have a technician come out and replace it. Another reason leaks can occur is because the piping in the solar panel has burst. This may be due to either freezing weather conditions or simply too much pressure in the pipes. It is best to call a technician to come and assess this problem as well. The problem could also be that the pipe fittings just need to be tightened.
Not enough hot water
The second most common problem is not having enough hot water. To address this issue you can do a couple of things.
Make sure the solar panel is in the correct placement on the roof, i.e. away from tree shading, facing south with the recommended tilt. Also consider if the solar panel size is correct for the household size. The amount of hot water that you use will help determine the size you need. Not having enough hot water can also be caused by a leaky or stuck valve. Make sure that if there is a back up storage tank, that the thermostat is set to the right temperature. Be mindful in the winter months that the solar panel is given an adequate slope, so the output end is higher. There could also be a system blockage. If so, all you need to do is flush the system until the flow is no longer blocked. The most important thing you can do is make sure that the solar panels are properly insulated.
No hot water
Finally, the third most often reported problem is no hot water at all. To avoid this problem, it is best to be preemptive. Make sure to maintain the absorber paint on the collector panels. If this paint deteriorates, it can cause the system to be less efficient. Make sure that the paint is both heat and UV exposure resistant. Also make sure to provide a small weep hole on the bottom of the collectors. When there is a lot of condensation inside the panels, the excess needs to be expelled so as not to affect the performance of the system.
Despite their drawbacks, Solar Water Heaters are a great option for alternative-energy conscious homeowners. If you are looking to save money, we’ve got everything you need to get you started on this eco-friendly alternative energy option for your home. Give us a call today!
The post Solar Water Heaters appeared first on Knoxville Plumbing | Plumber in Knoxville | Plumbing | Tennessee.
Tankless or demand-type water heaters are a type of water heater that only heats up water when one needs it. They are a more cost-efficient way of heating water, because they don’t waste as much energy on heating a whole storage water tank. They are also referred to as instantaneous water heaters.
How do they work?
The way these water heaters are designed is quite ingenious. The hot water is turned on at the tap, and cold water is propelled though the pipeline into the unit. Once this happens, either an electric unit or a gas burner heats the water. This type of system practically insures that one will always have hot water available. It will produce about 2-5 gallons of hot water per minute. Keep in mind that a gas-burning water heater will yield larger quantities of flow rates than an electric-powered water heater. The beauty of this is that the demand-type water heater will do all of this without needing a hot water heating tank, saving space, money and energy in the process.
While the tankless water heater itself is more expensive than the typical storage water heater, it will usually last longer. Tankless water heaters also cost less to operate, and as mentioned before, save energy. All that counters the initial purchase price. In addition, the storage water heater only lasts about 10-15 years, whereas a tankless water heater will last up to 20. It is also easy to keep up with maintenance of a tankless water heater, because its parts are so easy to come by and usually cheap.
What are some common problems with tankless water heaters?
Running out of hot water
One of the most common problems with a tankless or demand-type water heater is that it runs out of hot water too quickly. There are several variables that one must consider when dealing with this problem. One reason this could be happening is because tankless water heaters cannot supply enough hot water when the hot water is being used for multiple things at the same time. For example, if one household is using the dishwasher, the laundry machine and the shower all at the same time, this will drastically impede the water heater’s ability to supply hot water to all three places. A simple but slightly pricey solution to this problem is to install an additional tankless water heater next to the original to help spread the hot water throughout the household. Another possibility is to install appliance-specific water heaters onto the appliances.
Mineral build-up can be another culprit. Hard water can be damaging and counter-productive for any water heater. Be sure to flush the tankless water heater about every six months or so to insure optimal usage. Consider a water softener to help keep the mineral build-up to a minimum.
Failure to ignite
Failure to ignite is a frustrating problem. This is often caused by blockage of the air supply or exhaust. Many tankless water heaters will have a display with an error code to tell that there is an air supply or exhaust problem. The demand-type water heater is most likely struggling with venting or combustion air. Make sure all the vents are clear. Look out for small animals, birds or even wasps. These creatures like to make their homes in or around the outside vents.
Flame failure is another common problem. This typically occurs from an electrical or gas pressure issue. Make sure that it is not because of an overdue gas bill or empty propane tank before calling professionals.
Give us a call if it’s time to change the way your house heats water! We have professionals standing by to help with the next chapter in your home improvement journey.
The post Demand-Type or Tankless Water Heaters appeared first on Knoxville Plumbing | Plumber in Knoxville | Plumbing | Tennessee.
Whether your water heater broke or your family is growing, you might just need a new water heater. Choosing a new one doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Just follow these tips, and this will be one of the easiest things you’ve done!
Research How Water Heaters Work
There are a lot of different kinds of water heaters. They range from tank to tankless and can be powered by gas, electricity, oil, solar or heat pump.
The two most common tank water heaters run on gas or electricity.
Electric water heaters use coils that go down into the tank to heat your water. This type is ideal for a smaller household that doesn’t require much hot water. Although electric water heaters might be cheaper to purchase, they’re not as efficient as gas heaters in the long run. They also tend to be more expensive over time.
Gas heaters, be it natural gas or propane, are another common water heater choice. They use a gas burner that is vented through a chimney or small wall vent. Propane gas heaters are used when natural gas is not accessible. Propane tends to be cheaper than natural gas.
Above are great examples of tank water heaters, but there is another option: a tankless water heater.
Also known as the “on demand” water heater, it only turns on when you need hot water. There is no holding tank, which makes this a more efficient option. However, like the electric water heater, this also makes it a more expensive option.
You also need to consider the lifetime expectancy of the heater you choose. Where a tank water heater can hold from 40 to 60 gallons of hot water and last up to 13 years, a tankless heater can last up to 20 years.
Taking all this into consideration, it ultimately comes to what is most suitable for you and your household.
Size and Storage Of Water Heaters
You must factor size and storage into your search for a new water heater. To help with this, think back to how satisfied you were with how your old one worked. Some things to consider: Did you had enough hot water? How long did you have to wait for it to reheat?
If the old water heater didn’t provide enough hot water, you might want to upgrade the size of the new water heater.
For a storage tank water heater, a very important factor to consider is the amount of water that can be held and the recovery rate, which is basically the amount of water that can be heated in an hour. An energy sticker on the new water heater will display the recovery rate as First Hour Rating (FHR).
For example, a four-person household would require a 40- to 50-gallon water tank, whereas a two-person household could skate by with a 30- to 40-gallon tank.
Gas heaters have a better FHR than electric water heaters, which means they have a smaller tank with the same EF rating.
Choosing your new water heater doesn’t have to be a headache. Just remember: do your research on types, sizes and storage options.
If you get stuck, give us a call. Here at Knoxville Plumbing, we have experts who can help you evaluate what your family needs and match these up with the heater that will work best for you and your household.
The post Choosing a New Water Heater appeared first on Knoxville Plumbing | Plumber in Knoxville | Plumbing | Tennessee.
It can be very frustrating trying to figure out if it’s time to replace the household water heater, or if it simply needs a little TLC. This article will help shed some light on whether it just needs a repair, or if it needs to be replaced.
There are plenty of signs that a water heater is about to fail. Below are some of the most common indications that it’s time to replace the household water heater.
Common Signs It’s Time To Replace the Water Heater
If the water heater is 10 years or older, it will be in the best interest of the house to go ahead and replace it before it starts causing problems. To check the age of the water heater, simply look on the upper part of it and find the manufacturer’s sticker.
If rust-colored, metallic tasting water is coming out of the hot water faucet, this is another big indicator. Dark, metallic water is a clear sign that the inside of the water heater is beginning to rust. If this is left unattended for too long, it will severely damage the tank. It will also begin to leak and cause more damage to the home.
With older water heaters, it is not uncommon to notice strange noises or rumbling coming from the unit. These are usually caused by excessive sediment build-up accumulating on the bottom of the water heater. As the water heater will frequently change temperature, the sediment will eventually harden. When this happens, it will be harder for the water heater to effectively heat the household water supply. This will ultimately cost more money to run it.
Consistent “puddles” around the base of the water heater could be a sign that there are fissures and cracks in the hull of the tank. As the metal heats and expands and then cools and shrinks again, this causes these fissures and cracks. While this is normal and should not cause problems for quite some time, in an older water heater it could be a sign that it is time to replace the water heater. But before doing that, make sure that leaky pipes or loose valves are not to blame.
Why Isn’t There Enough Hot Water?
It’s safe to assume that the biggest problem with water heaters is that there is often not enough hot water being supplied to the household. There are some simple explanations as to why this is happening, regardless of the type of water heater (i.e. gas or electric).
Electric Water Heater Malfunctions and Possible Causes
Make sure that the water heater has a proper connection to the power source, and then, reset the thermostat. There could also be too much sediment in the bottom. As mentioned above, this impedes the function and makes it harder to heat enough amounts of water. A good flushing of the water tank will make sure that all the sediment is removed.
Another culprit might be that the pipes are not properly insulated, and the water is losing heat on its way up to the rest of the household. Another thing to assess is the heating element or thermostat. If this is the case, it would be best to just replace that part, rather than the entire unit. If all those things check out fine, it could just be as easy as raising the temperature.
Gas Water Heater Malfunctions and Possible Causes
There are only a few differences when it comes to assessing problems with electric and gas water heaters. The first thing to check on a gas model is the pilot light. If the pilot light has gone out, relight it, and make sure that the gas valve is hooked up securely and properly. Another issue could be that the gas burner needs to be cleaned. The cleaning is a good time to go ahead and replace the thermocouple, too. Just like electric versions, it is important to flush to rid the tank of sediment. Also, keep an eye out for rusty water coming from the hot water faucet.
In conclusion, if the tank itself is presenting serious damage signs, it is smartest to replace the whole water heater. Give us a call, and we will be more than happy to help you make the right decision!
The post Water Heater: Repair or Replace? appeared first on Knoxville Plumbing | Plumber in Knoxville | Plumbing | Tennessee.
Looking for ways to cut energy costs? New, more energy-efficient water heaters are flooding the modern marketplace. High on the list are water pump water heaters.
This article series starts an exploration of heat pump water heaters.
What is a heat pump water heater?
A heat pump water heater, or HPWH, uses surrounding air to heat water. It takes in air, heats it to a higher temperature and then channels that air into a water tank to heat the water. The HPWH can be a stand-alone unit, or it can be retrofitted on a water tank.
The Geothermal Heat Pump
The most common type of HPWH is a geothermal heat pump. The geothermal heat pump uses heat from the ground during the winter months. During the spring and summer months it uses heat from the surrounding air.
Most units come with control panels displaying multiple operating options. Below is a list of possible modes listed on the control:
How the HPWH Works
The HPWH is a far more efficient way to heat household water because it using air already present in the environment. A common analogy to explain how a HPWH works is a refrigerator. The refrigerator is designed to expel heat and create a cold place. In a similar way, the HPWH pulls in heated air, internalizes it, heats it to a desired temperature and uses that air to heat water for the household’s benefit.
Common HPWH Problems and Solutions
One of the most common problems with a HPWH is icing up, especially in the winter time. The outside unit will often be covered with frost or maybe even a thin layer of ice. This is completely normal. When everything is working properly, the device has a built-in defrosting system that will help to take care of this problem. However, say the unit is covered in a thick layer of ice, or maybe the coils are surrounded by ice, and in a worst case scenario, the entire unit is completely covered in thick ice and heavy snow. All those problems could obstruct the transfer of heat from inside to the outside refrigerant which would continue to delay the HPWH functions. If this is left untreated, this could severely damage the unit beyond repair.
Here are a few ways to troubleshoot this problem before having to call in an expert:
Never chip away at the ice.
This could damage the fan coils in the device. Instead, use water to melt the ice. Try removing what may be blocking the air flow– like snow or ice. If the HPWH still won’t function, then it is time to call in the professionals to help sort it out.
We explained above what to do when your HPWH starts icing up in the winter. You may find, however, that your HPWH is icing up in the summer months. If this happens, do not waste any time and call a professional right away. If the HPWH is icing up in the summer, there is a problem with the device itself and it should be looked at immediately.
Another common problem is when the HPWH is constantly running in the summer months. During winter, it may appear to be running all the time, however this is how the device was designed. The HPWH is not designed to consistently run during the warmer months, when the temperature is above thirty degrees. This could mean there is a serious service problem, such as:
Whichever the case, in a situation like this, it is best to call in an HVAC professional to help sort all this out.
HPWH: a great choice
Whatever other measures you take to help with energy efficiency, purchasing a HPWH is an excellent choice. Give us a call today to find out how we can help!
The post Heat Pump Water Heaters appeared first on Knoxville Plumbing | Plumber in Knoxville | Plumbing | Tennessee.
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.
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.
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.
The post How To Identify the Source of a Ceiling Leak appeared first on Knoxville Plumbing | Plumber in Knoxville | Plumbing | Tennessee.