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Categories Plumber

How To Stop Water Hammer When Toilet Fill Valve Closes

How To Stop Water Hammer When Toilet Fill Valve Closes

fter flushing the toilet, you expect that the water goes down and the fill valve closes quietly. However, you notice that after the fill valve shuts off, there is a loud bang in your pipes. What is that? That is called a water hammer. How to stop water hammer when toilet fill valve closes? It is a process that starts with opening up the cold water faucets and letting them drain. Let’s take a look at the process.

What is Water Hammer

Water hammer is water that is moving along and slams into a valve that closes. Then the water goes from the water to the pipe and into the frame of the home. Also, if the pipes are loose or not attached properly, then they will move. This sound is loud and echoes through all the plumbing in the home. This happens during the filling process of a flush.

Water hammer is found usually with washing machines, dishwashers, toilet valves, and faucets and can happen because of faucet washers that are worn or damaged. Also, when there is build-up on minerals and rust that are inside shut-off valves. These are in the walls of the home.

Let’s look at how to stop this from happening.

Turn off main water supply to start the process of getting rid of water hammer when the toilet fill valve closes.

How to Stop Water Hammer

  1. Shut off the main water supply to the house
  2. Starting with the highest floor in your home and working your way to the bottom level, open the cold water faucets.
  3. Now, flush all the toilets that are in your home.
  4. Water will drain from the open faucets. Wait for about 20-30 minutes.
  5. Turn the main water supply back on.
  6. Then, wait 5-10 minutes so the faucets can create a strong flow of water.
  7. Starting on the lowest level of your home and working your way up to the top level, close the cold water faucets and the toilets will refill.
  8. When you have all faucets closed and the toilets have filled, flush the toilets. This will allow you to listen for water hammer.

To control water hammer, you will need to have permanent air chambers or water hammer arrestors or both of them installed.

Permanent Air Chamber

This is a vertical section of copper pipe. On the end of it is a cap and it attaches to the supply line with a T- fitting. This supply line is near a shutoff valve or appliance. Installed on hot and cold water lines, it is filled with air and absorbs the force of the water.

This is usually installed during construction of the home in the walIs, however, you may still experience water hammer. This is because the air in the chambers is absorbed by the water over time. Sometimes there are difficulties with these because of the space they take up so it is necessary to use a water hammer arrestor.

Water Hammer Arrestor

This is an alternative to the air chamber and can be installed in a home during new construction or when an air chamber isn’t working out in your home. An arrestor has an air bladder and spring and can absorb the force of moving water. However, it may not give the protection needed if there are pumps and shutoff valves on the same line. They are used in commercial and residential settings and never have to be recharged.

If this isn’t working, focus next on the toilet.

  1. Shutoff valve must be open all the way by turning the handle counter clockwise.
  2. Flush the toilet and see if the noise has stopped.
  3. If you still hear the noise, turn it clockwise to close the valve.
  4. Open the valve and flush it again. If there is debris stuck inside the valve, this will help get it out.

If this doesn’t work, it could be the washer inside the valve is damaged, or you may need to replace the shutoff valve. The fill valve in the toilet tank may need replacing as well. Replacing these may fix your problem.

The shut off valve plays a part in getting rid of water hammer when the toilet fill valve closes.

How Much Does It Cost

Washer – about $8-10 for a package of 100

Shutoff Valve – about $25

Fill valve – about $12

Water hammer arrestor – $15 and up

You may be able to take care of these on your own by purchasing them at the local hardware store or online. However, you will need to know what you are doing. If you want to hire a professional to do this for you, keep in mind the labor charges can be $75 and higher per hour.

Other Recommended Maintenance

While you are looking into how to stop a water hammer, consider also reading up on why my toilet makes a whistling sound. You might be able to solve both the water hammer and whistling sound with the same repair.

Water pressure issues can happen in the home as well so keep an eye out for them.

Also, if you notice that the water is not flowing freely in the sink, you may need to increase the water pressure. This can be done by checking the aerator or looking for a blockage in the faucet or in the pipes.

Lastly, if you notice that there is a sewage smell in your bathroom, it may be from the Jacuzzi tub, shower drain, sink, or toilet. It is important to find out what is causing the smell and fix it quickly.

When Should I Call A Professional

Issues with plumbing and toilets, in general, is never fun. Unless you know what you are doing, it is worth spending the money for a professional. Calling a professionally licensed plumbing contractor allows you to save time and money on your plumbing projects. They will get the job done quickly, figure out what is causing the issue and correct it. Consider calling on your local home inspection team to get a thorough home inspection, which can include your plumbing.

Categories Industrial

What To Do About Water Heater Leaking

What To Do About Water Heater Leaking

Water heater life expectancy is about 8-12 years. However, your water heater can start leaking before then. In this post, we are going to cover the complete guide on what to do if you have a water heater leaking.

Why Does My Water Heater Leak?

The most common reasons for water heater leaking are age and high water pressure.

Overtime, the natural minerals in water can create deposits and calcium build up inside the water heater. Then, the tank can rust and corrode. This is a natural process.

On the other hand, if your water pressure is too high, this can cause too much strain on the TPR valve, drain valve, or other components.

Sometimes, other components can just become faulty which may lead to a leak at the supply pipes or elsewhere.

Here’s what to do about your water heater leaking.

Step 1: Shut Off Water Supply, Power, & Gas

The first step in any water leak situation is to shut off the water supply. This will lessen any water damage as you find the source and make repairs.

Your water supply can be stopped in many places depending on your home. The easiest place is the pipe that leads water into your water heater. However, you can also shut-off your water at your main valve or water meter if you cannot find the valve just before your water heater.

Take a look at the images below to find these valves. Keep in mind, cold water goes into the water heater and then hot water leaves so your water shutoff should be on the cold side (inlet) which is typically on the right. Use your hand to feel the temperature of the pipe and ensure it is the inlet.

After you have shutoff the water, head to your electrical panel and turn off the water heater breaker.

electrical panel

Finally, if you have a gas water heater, you should shut off the gas to your home. After the water, gas, and power are shut off to the water heater, you can begin finding the water heater leak and repair it.

Step 2: Draining the Water Heater

If your leak is bad enough, you may want to consider draining the water heater to prevent further water damage.

To do this, simply connect a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater. Then, lead the hose outside the home. Be sure that gravity will naturally allow the water heater to drain.

Next, use a flat head screwdriver to loosen the drain valve and empty the water heater.

Allow the water to fully drain.

This maintenance should be completed at least once per year to remove any sediment build up.

Step 3: Finding The Water Heater Leak & Repairs

By this point, you should see your water heater leaking and know if it is a lot or a small drip. In most cases, water heater leaking is at the bottom, however, it could also be other places. Before moving forward, take a look at this diagram to understand where your water heater leak may be.

water heater diagram and labelled

Water Heater Leaking At The Bottom

As mentioned, most water heater leaks are at the bottom of the water heater in the drain pan.

Your water heater may not have a drain pan, and that’s okay! Just know for your next water heater, you should have a drain pan to catch the water leak. In addition you should have a PVC drain pipe connecting the water heater drain pan to the exterior of the home. You can see in the image above, the drain pan has a PVC pipe that drains to the lowest part of the garage floor.

water heater leaking from bottom

If your water heater is leaking from the bottom like the image above, most likely your water heater is older and rusted. Therefore, you would need a new water heater since the rust cannot be repaired. We recommend contacting a plumber to replace your water heater for you. However, replacing a water heater can be done on your own if you are handy.

Water Heater Leaking At TPR Valve

If your water heater is leaking from the TPR Discharge Tube, as seen in the image below, this is typically an easy fix by replacing your TPR Valve.

TPR discharge tube leaking

Water Heater Leaking From The Top Pipes

If your water heater is leaking from the top pipes/connections where your inlets/outlets are, most likely you will just have to redo those connections. If this is something you are comfortable with, you can do this on your own. Use this video below for guidance.

Water Heater Leaking From Drain Valve

If your water heater is leaking from your drain valve, this is usually an easy fix by tightening the drain valve with a wrench. If that does not work, you may need to replace the drain valve.

Here’s how to do that!

Water Heater Maintenance & Preventing Another Leak

After fixing this leak, you will want to complete some steps to prevent another water heater from leaking.

Drain Your Water Heater Yearly

The first thing you should remember to do is to drain your water heater yearly. To do this, simply connect a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater. Then, lead the hose outside the home. Be sure that gravity will naturally allow the water heater to drain. Next, use a flat head screwdriver to loosen the drain valve and empty the water heater.

Check Your TPR Valve & Discharge Tube For Leaks

The end of your discharge tube should easily be visible. You should monitor this area for leaks every so often and repair as needed. If your TPR valve leaks, it is a sign that something is wrong.

You can also watch this video for more information

Drain Pan & Pipe

Ensure you have a proper drain pan and pipe that leads outside the home. In the case your water heater leaks again, you can count on your drain pan and pipe to carry the water out of your home and preventing water damage.

Categories Electrical

How Fast Does Mold Grow And What To Do About It

How Fast Does Mold Grow And What To Do About It

Mold is a serious problem for residential and commercial properties. In fact, water is the number 1 destroyer of buildings and water is the source of mold.

So, how long does it take for mold to grow? What should you do about it?

In this blog post, we are going to answer just that, but first, we should discuss how mold starts.

How Mold Starts

Mold grows through two things: food and moisture. Food can be from dust, drywall, wood, or any organic substance. Moisture can be related to plumbing leaks, water intrusion, roof leaks, or even high humidity.

Therefore, mold can start growing in as soon as 24 – 48 hours of coming into contact with the right moisture level and organic substance.

Mold can easily continue to grow on materials and in the air if the conditions are right.

Roof leak leading to mold on ceiling

How Fast Does Mold Grow?

If items in a home continue to stay wet, including the air (i.e. high humidity), mold can persist and spread to other items.

Once started, mold can colonize in 3 – 12 days. From there, mold can become visible after 18 – 21 days.

What To Do About Mold

First off, prevention is key. A homeowner or commercial property owner should conduct yearly inspections. That way, leaks or moisture problems can be solved before it becomes a more serious issue.

In addition, a property owner should consider a mold test or inspection. Often times, mold can spread through the air causing a problem to go unnoticed. We conduct mold testing and inspections in the Maine area.

Before jumping in, we want to recommend to where the proper personal protection equipment. This includes a mask and gloves.

1. Find The Source Of Moisture & Make Repairs

The first step is to find the source of the moisture. Is my A/C keeping the humidity in my home below 50%? It is coming from a roof leak? Is there mold around my A/C? Or perhaps your window is leaking? Our mold inspections help you find the source of mold.

Next, you have to repair whatever is not functioning. If you do not stop the source of moisture, your mold problem will persist. Therefore, see if you can repair the issue yourself. If not, call a professional to repair it for you.

2. Calculate The Area Affected By Mold

After finding the source of moisture and creating a plan to repair the problem, you should calculate the area affected by mold. You can do this by opening drywall, removing carpet, or possibly checking inside ducts with a flashlight.

After viewing the area affected by mold, calculate the area affected. If the area is greater than 10 square feet, you will need to call a professional. If the area is smaller than 10 square feet, you can use some home remedies to clean the mold yourself. However, remember, you need to stop the source of moisture. Otherwise, the mold can return.

3. How To Clean Mold Yourself

After you stop the source of moisture (or schedule someone to make repairs) and you know the area affected by mold is less than 10 square feet, you can begin cleaning the mold.

The first step is to dry everything out. This might involve removing wet insulation, using a dehumidifier, removing wet carpet, or opening up drywall.

dehumidifer

Next, you will want to scrub the area down with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. Some people might recommend bleach, however, bleach can be too harmful on us humans.

After scrubbing the area down with vinegar and water, run a dehumidifier and a HEPA filter through the room. You can purchase a nice HEPA filter/fan or just replace the filter in your air handler with a HEPA filter like this one, just be sure to purchase the right size for your air handler.

Finally, check back in with the area each day. The mold spores should gradually disappear. If after a week the problem persists or grows, call a professional.

Once the mold spores are gone, you can replace the insulation or drywall.

If the problem persists after a week or more, or the mold grows, contact a professional to help you.

Categories Uncategorized

What Is An Open Ground?

What Is An Open Ground?

An open ground is when a three-pronged outlet is not connected to the home’s grounding system. This is unsafe because if a fault were to happen, the surge could damage equipment or people rather than routing to the ground.

Open grounds are commonly found during home inspections. As home inspectors in Rumford Maine, we help homeowners and homebuyers find open grounds in their home to protect their investment and their families.

Let’s talk about what grounding is, how an outlet can have an open ground, why it’s unsafe, and how to repair an open ground.

What Is Grounding?

Electrical grounding is a backup pathway for electrical current to flow in case there is a fault. An electrical fault is any abnormal electric current. Therefore, grounding helps abnormal electrical current find safe pathways. If grounding was not in your home, abnormal electrical currents may damage your appliances, home, or people.

Open Ground Outlet Overview

Properly wired outlet
Outlet that is wired correctly.

How To Identify An Open Grounded Outlet

You can identify an open ground by using an outlet tester. Or, you can physically remove each outlet from the wall and ensure the ground wire is properly connected to the outlet.

An outlet tester will show a light up code to tell if there is an open ground. In the case above, two right lights indicate that it is correct. One middle light means there is an open ground.

Is An Outlet Required To Be Grounded?

While nobody is going to come arrest you if you have an open ground, having an equipment ground is code enforced through the National Electrical Code. Moreover, your home insurance may get cancelled or you may be unable to sell your home without repairing it.

Local Building Codes

Your local building department will enforce equipment grounds on all outlets when you build something new and pull a permit. For example, if you remodel your kitchen or even build a new home. But, you are not required by law to update open grounded outlets.

Insurance

When you change insurance policies, the new insurer may require an inspection which inspects for open grounds. Some states, like Maine, require a four-point inspection which may show you have an open ground and lead to the insurance company requiring repairs.

Selling Your Home

When you sell your home, you are likely to have a home inspection. During the home inspection, the inspector will inspect a representative number of outlets and you can count on them to report an open ground if they find one. In most cases, home inspectors flag open grounds as safety items that should be repaired. This effectively will tell the buyer to ask for repairs or concessions in the deal to repair it themselves.

Is An Open Ground Safe?

In short, an open ground is not safe. While the chances of an open ground actually hurting someone is low, it is not zero. Moreover, while it may not hurt you, it could very easily cause a house fire. Just take a look at the statistics below.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), which is a U.S. government organization shared research that says, “In the United States, there are approximately 1000 deaths per year, as a result of electrical injuries. Of these, approximately 400 are due to high-voltage electrical injuries, and lightning causes 50 to 300. There are also at least 30,000 shock incidents per year which are non-fatal.”

Additionally, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), “Each year in the United States, arcing faults are responsible for starting more than 28,000 home fires, killing and injuring hundreds of people, and causing over $700 million in property damage. … Sixty-five percent of home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no working smoke detectors.”

Ultimately, open grounds caused by abnormal faults can easily lead to house fires, electrical shock, and death.

So What Should You Do?

You need to repair an open ground as soon as possible. Let’s take a look on how to do that.

How To Repair An Open Ground

Once an open ground is properly identified, you can begin to repair the open ground. Follow the steps carefully below to repair your open ground. If you are not handy or feel uncertain at any point, you should contact a licensed electrician for help.

Step 1.

Turn off the power to the room/outlet. This is the most important step. Use your outlet tester to be sure power is turned off.

Step 2.

Remove the outlet from the wall. Removing the outlet from the wall will help you see the grounding equipment and attach it to the outlet.

The next steps I have labelled 3a, 3b, and 3c. Follow the step that makes sense for your use case. Grounding was required starting in the 1970s. In homes with electrical wiring older than the 1970s, more than likely, you will not have ground wiring throughout your home.

Step 3a.

If your home already is pre-wired with a grounding wire, there should be an available ground wire to connect to the green screw on the outlet. Just like the featured image of this post.

Step 3b.

If a grounding wire is not present, sometimes, the grounding is connected via the metal box the wires sit in. This should be verified first with a multimeter. Then, this can be used to ground the outlet.

If a grounding wire or grounding box is not present, a GFCI outlet can be used. GFCI’s can be installed at the first outlet in a circuit and then it will “protect” the rest of the outlets down the circuit. On the other hand, a GFCI breaker can be installed to protect an entire circuit.

A GFCI works by measuring the current on the hot side versus neutral side. If at any point, these currents differ, it would mean electrical current is flowing outside the circuit and the power will mechanically shut-off.

Words of Caution on GFCIs for Grounding

Please understand, GFCI’s do not replace grounding. They simply make an ungrounded outlet safer and are an acceptable alternative.

All outlets must be marked with “No Equipment Ground”.

Be sure to check with your local building code to ensure your area permits this. This may not be approved by insurance companies and your GFCI may fail during a fault.

GFCIs should be tested monthly for operation.

Cloth-wiring-without-ground-wire
Cloth Wire without Grounding Wire

Step 3c.

If no ground wire is present, the proper way to ground the outlet is to run a physical grounding wire from every outlet to the electrical panel and to the ground. This can be intensive depending on the home so it is recommended to hire a licensed electrician.

Video