When Is It Time to Replace Your Water Heater?

Most homes have a water heater of some kind, but most people don’t know much about them. The main thing that makes most people remember their water heater exists is the running out of hot water. However, if you’re a homeowner or beginning to have water issues, you may start asking the eternal question: When do you replace your water heater?

Outdated 

Let’s cut to the chase. If your water heater is 8-10 years old, you should consider replacing it. If it’s over 10 years old, you should almost definitely replace your water heater. Finally, if you’re even wondering about when it should be replaced, there’s a good chance things are going wrong already.

An appliance that turns off and on, runs all the time, and has such a heavy workload as the water heater must retire. Ten years of heating up water for showers every day – or sometimes multiple times a day – is a lot of work. If you have two people living in a home and showering about every day for ten years, your water heater has provided enough hot water for over 7000 showers! That doesn’t even include hot water for laundry, dishes, and washing up at the sink.

Rusty Tank or Water

If your water heater’s tank is rusty or the tank is dispensing rusty water, you need to replace it. If the rust is coming from hard water with iron in it, you should consider buying a water filter that softens water. Otherwise, the hard water will continue to destroy appliances that take water, such as your sink or a fridge with a dispenser. Plus, the rust will coat the inside of pipes, damaging their integrity and narrowing them. If you need home replumbing because of hard water damage, give us a call. We can come out and take a look, then give you an estimate.

If you don’t have hard water, rust could be a sign that the water heater has lost its internal coating and/or has some kind of crack that’s letting in air. Either could be dangerous and shouldn’t be ignored.

Leaking

If your water heater is leaking, it is no longer airtight. That’s a huge safety concern, as it could mean pressure causing further damage, the water heater exploding, and more. Leaking is never something to ignore in a water heater. Have a professional replace it immediately.

Mysterious Noises

Mysterious noises in a water heater are never a good sign. Generally, your water heater should only make the kind of noises you expect, such as a hum. If there are any popping, klinking, dripping, or tapping noises, something is loose or damaged. Any damage in a water heater poses a serious safety risk.

Water Isn’t Getting Hot

If your water is no longer getting hot, your water heater has given up the ghost. Something vital broke completely. If your water heater is fairly new, you should check the warranty. You may be able to get a replacement or refund. However, if your warranty is no longer valid or the water heater is already reaching its age limit, opt for a replacement.

Finding the Source of a Kitchen Water Leak

Have you suddenly stumbled across a pool of water in your kitchen? You’re not the only one scrambling to Google to find out why, and what to do about it. That’s why our team at POM Plumbing has put together a short list of causes to help you sniff out the source of your kitchen water leak.

Sink

The first place to check is the sink. The faucet is the easiest to rule out. If there’s a mystery puddle on the kitchen floor, unless your sink is backed up and overflowing, the faucet couldn’t have caused it. However, the drain and water line are both suspect. Open the cabinet beneath your kitchen sink. If all seems dry beneath it, you can move on to the next appliance. However, if there’s water pooled inside the cabinet and spilling out of it, it’s time to look further. 

If the water pooling is substantial, it’s most likely the water line, since it would take a steady stream of water coming in for anything more than a puddle. If the water line is broken or leaking, you need to turn off the water to the sink. There should be a knob on the wall at the back of the cabinet. Turn it as far to the right as you can. If the water doesn’t stop leaking after ten seconds, you’ll need to turn off the water main, which is likely located in the garage.

If the water line doesn’t seem to be the problem, and you can see a leak coming from your drain pipe, put a bucket or towel under it and give us a call. No matter which sink issue is leading to a leak, we’re here to help.

Fridge

The first thing to know is whether your fridge has a water or ice dispenser. If it doesn’t, and the puddle is slightly sticky, it’s probably coolant leaking from the fridge. If that’s the case, you’ll need to buy a new one. Freon leaks can be dangerous, especially since it’s in the vicinity of your food.

If your fridge does have a dispenser and the liquid is almost certainly water, the next thing to rule out is the ice dispenser. Ice dispensers sometimes get ice stuck in the little trap door that opens to dispense the ice. After a short while, it will melt enough to slip out of the trap and then melt on the floor. This doesn’t happen infrequently, so you should be used to it unless you’re new to having a dispenser fridge. Check if there are ice chunks sitting in the puddle, or if the puddle comes out from under the appliance. If the water seems to be coming from beneath the fridge, you’ll need to call a fridge repairman or consider replacement if the issue continues.

Dishwasher

If neither the fridge nor sink seem to be the obvious source of the water, it’s most likely from the dishwasher. Dishwashers leak water more often than either of the other appliances by nature of how much water runs through it regularly. If your dishwasher seems to be the culprit, check out this guide on figuring out the cause of the leak.

Hire a Professional

If you need help fixing a water line, drain, sink, or other piece of plumbing, we’re here to help. No one should be without help when dealing with a kitchen water leak. Give us a call if you have questions about our services and procedures. We look forward to working with you.

The Cons of Open Concept Showers

People have been in love with open concept homes for the last decade and then some. With open concept homes, frequently, come open concept showers. In our last article, we discussed the pros of open concept showers. This time, we’re going to tackle the cons of open concept showers. After all, before jumping into a renovation, you want to know exactly what you’re getting into.

Not as Warm

The first con of open concept showers is that they don’t stay as warm. There is a benefit to a bathroom being somewhat small: it holds in heat and steam better. Open concept showers are typically seen in a master bedroom, in a corner, with one, or no, glass divider. That means your shower will be completely open to the bedroom on one or two sides. 

If the room is nice and warm, you should have no problems with your shower being warm. However, your shower can’t save you from the cold of winter if all of your shower heat is dispersing throughout the bedroom.

For some, this might be considered a pro, as showers may be too warm or steamy for their comfort. However, for the grand majority of people, we like to step into a sauna when we take our shower. It’s extremely refreshing to feel the day’s sweat and grime simply melt away under some hot water.

Possible Increased Likelihood of Mold

Because steam is freely flowing into the surrounding room, there is an additional concern: mold. If you take very hot showers, your shower will produce a lot of steam. Bathrooms are equipped to handle this. A bathroom is typically painted with a special, moisture-resistant paint. There is also, usually, an overhead, bathroom fan that can reroute that moisture to the outdoors.

One of the cons of open concept showers is that that moisture will be going directly into your bedroom. There are 3 main ways you can fight this:

  1. Ensuring your bedroom is painted with moisture-resistant paint
  2. Installing a bathroom fan right near the shower
  3. Showering with the window open, to allow airflow

If you do these things, you can lower the chance of mold cropping up in your bedroom space. However, the risk will still be there.

An important thing to note is that, the bigger the room, the less likely it is to get mold from an open concept shower. After all, plenty of places are humid. The chance of mold growth is higher in those places, but not to the point of it being considered a risk. Therefore, if your home is extremely open concept (such as having your bedroom open to the living room, kitchen, and so on) you may have enough open space that the steam from your shower won’t increase the humidity to a concerning degree. In fact, with a large, open space, the humidity from a shower may actually improve your living conditions in the same way a humidifier would. If you struggle with dry air, this might just belong on the pros list.

Reverse-Visibility

And, finally, there is reverse-visibility. As we mentioned in the pros list, it’s nice to be able to see out from the shower, which can be hard if you have a fogged-glass enclosure or opaque curtain. However, with that newfound visibility, people can also see in. If you live with family who aren’t your partner, with roommates, or anyone else you don’t want seeing you in the nude, open concept showers may be a slight risk. This is especially true if your home is almost entirely one room. The important thing is to keep the door locked to whatever space your shower is in, since the second the door is open, there’s nothing between you and your unexpected guest.

The Pros of Open Concept Showers

Open concept homes are a huge thing right now. They’ve taken hold of us over the past decade and haven’t quite let go. Why is that? Well, because being able to move freely and see easily from one end of the home to the other is quite nice. It feels like the home is all one space, rather than a collection of separate ones. One thing people love about open concept homes are their open concept showers. Before you take the leap to have an open concept shower installed, let’s make sure they’re right for you. To see if they are, we’ll look at the pros and cons of open concept showers.

Let’s start by looking at the pros of open concept showers. You can see the cons in our next article.

Room to Move

The first benefit of open concept showers is the additional room to move. An open concept shower is typically placed in a corner with only one, or even no, glass divider. That means you’re not so closed in. That gives you a lot of room to move around while showering. As long as you’re not splashing water outside of the tile zone, you can move as much as you wish. 

This lack of crowding is especially great for couples who enjoy showering together. You and your partner can easily fit together in an open concept shower. There’s no need to shuffle carefully past each other or take turns under the water. A rain-type showerhead that’s installed on the ceiling will make showering with a partner even easier, as one person won’t be blocking water coming from one side.

Easy Plumbing Access

This additional room to move also makes an open concept shower easier for plumbers to access. If you get a clogged drain or need faucet or showerhead repairs, we can access the drain or faucet with ease.

No Curtain

Shower curtains are one of the most hated parts of showers. They often collect mold, then require replacement. Moreover, they frequently will blow up against the person showering. Therefore, the lack of curtain involved in open concept showers is an A+ in our book.

Visibility

With no opaque curtain or fogged glass, visibility is much better. While there isn’t necessarily a practical reason for needing to see outside of the shower, there are plenty of comfort related ones. Being able to see a larger space means feeling less cramped. Even with glass enclosures, there is the feeling of being closed in, which isn’t pleasant to many people.

Better Lighting

And, last but not least, an open concept shower brings better lighting with it. In a shower with an opaque curtain or a fabric outer curtain, there is very poor lighting. Most showers don’t have lights directly above them, so you’re forced to make do with what comes in over the curtain. This can make for a very dim showering experience. Without barriers, you can take in whatever light the surrounding room has to offer.

What Are the Cons?

Now that you know the pros, you might be wondering, “What are the cons of open concept showers?” We’ve got a list of cons as well, so you can make an informed decision before deciding if open concept showers are right for you.

How Can I Repair a Cracked Tub?

If your tub ends up with a crack in it, you might be in kind of a panic right about now. It may not seem like a big deal at first glance, but a cracked tub can lead to leaking water and water damage to the floor. Can you repair a cracked tub? The plumbing experts at POM Plumbing have some advice for you.

The Cause of the Crack

The first thing we have to discuss is how your tub came to be cracked. If the crack is along the side due to some accidental collision or acute damage, you’re in luck. That kind of crack can easily be fixed with some epoxy or a tub repair kit. However, if the crack has simply appeared and is along the floor of the tub, things become a bit more complicated. This is a stress crack, which can happen after many years of use, especially if many people are using it or if users are very heavy. Fortunately, there are some fixes that may be able to help you with a stress crack in your tub.

Repair a Cracked Tub Temporarily

The first thing you must know is that a stress crack in the floor of an acrylic tub isn’t something that can simply have a bandaid slapped on it. Because it’s caused by stress, any fix will only be temporary. However, if you need an emergency fix that may last a few weeks at best, epoxy will do the trick. 

Applying epoxy and pressing it into the crack may allow you some extra time to organize a replacement. However, in the end, if you don’t have the tub replaced, the crack will simply keep appearing, worse each time. Each time it reappears, there’s the possibility of water getting in and leading to water damage on the floor beneath. This can cause structural issues to your floor. That’s incredibly dangerous when the weight of the tub relies on it to hold it up.

Repair a Cracked Tub “Long-Term”

If you’re up for some ugly repair work that might end up making things worse if done wrong, there is one more solution. An acrylic tub getting a stress crack is typically because there isn’t enough support beneath it. Fixing the support issue and then patching the crack might be enough to prevent the crack from returning for many months. However, the end goal should still be replacing the tub.

To give additional support to an acrylic tub, you’ll have to make things worse before they get better. Using a drill, create a hole at each end of the crack. Add a few in other areas of the floor of the tub that could use more support as well. Once the holes are drilled, you’ll want to spray an expanding foam into each of them. Do this until the hole is filled completely. This foam will expand beneath the tub and firm up, providing some more support to the tub floor. Any excess foam should be scraped away. Then, a tub repair kit should be used to waterproof the areas of the tub floor that were damaged.

Tub Replacement

When it comes time to replace your tub, POM Plumbing is here to help. Ensuring a new tub is installed properly is extremely important. Let us help with the installation to guarantee your plumbing continues working as intended.

How Can I Fix a Leaky Faucet?

If your faucet is leaking, there’s more going on than just an inconvenience. You’re wasting water and, therefore, wasting money. Plus, a leaky faucet dripping water into the sink makes your home more attractive to pests like bugs or mice. So, how do you fix a leaky faucet? It’s actually quite easy to do yourself if you’re not fond of hiring professionals. Here’s how to get it done.

Find the Source

The first step to fix a leaky faucet is knowing where it’s leaking. You probably already know where the leak is. However, if the water is simply running down the back of the sink, you’ll want to take a closer look. Is it coming from the base of a handle or knob? Is it coming from the base of the faucet? Both require different fixes.

Leaking from Handles

If your faucet handles are leaking, this has to do with one or two things. Your handles either need to be tightened or have their gaskets replaced. The answer may end up being both fixes. Before you start, make sure you turn off the water line under the sink.

If you have knobs, you’ll need to remove the cap at the top of the knob. This cap will usually be a circular piece of plastic with a brand logo on it or the letters L or R. There should be a small opening along the edge just big enough to fit the edge of a flat screwdriver or another rigid object. Pop the cap off and you’ll see a screw underneath. Simply tighten this screw down and then turn on the water. If the knob is still leaking water, you’ll need to remove the screw, remove the knob, and replace the rubber gasket beneath.

The same process can be applied to a handle, but the location of the screw will be on the back of the handle base. 

Leaking from Base

If your sink is leaking from the base of the faucet when you’re running water, it’s an issue with the o-ring there. The o-ring is simply a type of rubber gasket that’s meant to create a seal between the faucet and sink. When it’s worn out, it no longer seals, allowing water to escape from the faucet when the water is on.

To replace the o-ring on your faucet, you’ll need to remove the faucet from the sink. Depending on the type of faucet you have, this may be as simple as unscrewing the back of it. Some other sinks may require more complicated maneuvers, such as unscrewing the faucet from beneath the sink. If it’s a difficult case, you’ll want some professional assistance. Once the faucet is removed, simply pull away the old and worn-out o-ring and put the new one in place.

Dripping When Off

If your faucet is dripping while the water isn’t on, there’s a problem with the cartridge or valve. Start by opening up both handles as in the Leaking from Handles section above and tightening their screws. If the handles are slightly loose, it can prevent them from rotating entirely into the off position. This may not fix the problem, however. If not, you may need to check the valve or replace the cartridge in the faucet.

If you need help with any of these repairs, our professionals at POM Group are happy to help. We do these kinds of repairs all the time and can be in and out in no time, leaving you with a functioning sink. Give us a call if you have questions or would like to schedule a visit.

Why Are My Sink Faucets Giving the Wrong Temperature Water?

If you’ve just moved into a new house or apartment, there’s a chance you’ve just stumbled onto something really confounding: the water faucets are giving out the wrong temperature than they say they should. While this backwards mistake is something possible to ignore and adapt to, it can also lead to accidents. For example, a guest or child could burn themselves. Plus, it’s just really annoying when things are labeled wrong when we, as a society, rely on labels so often. So, how do you fix faucets that are backwards? Let’s cover the steps together.

Preparing to Work

The first thing you’ll need to do is prepare your work area. You’ll need access to the cabinet under the sink. Therefore, if you’ve got things stored in that cabinet, you’ll want to remove them to give yourself room to work. You’ll also need a wrench, as the water lines are typically secured with bolts.

The next step of preparation is turning off the water. There should be two water cutoff valve knobs under the sink. These are typically chrome nobs. Turn them both clockwise until they come to a stop. Then, turn on the faucet to check that the water is fully off. You may want to spread a folded towel on the base of the cabinet, as there may be some leftover water in the valve lines when you unbolt them.

Switch the Water Lines

Now that you’ve got your work area prepared and water lines turned off, you can switch the two valves. The reason the water faucet temperatures are backwards is because someone connected the hot water line to the cold faucet and vice versa. Simply switching them will make everything as expected.

The two lines are the two flexible, metal tubes leading from the water cutoff knobs up toward the faucets. You’ll be disconnecting them from where the connect to the supply lines above the knobs. Simply turn each one’s connecting bolt counterclockwise until they’re loose, then reconnect them to the opposite line. Voila! You’ve swapped the supply lines.

Test the Water

Lastly, you’ll want to test your water. First, turn the water supply back on with the cutoff valves. Then, turn on each faucet by itself and check that the temperatures are correct. If they’re still giving the wrong temperature water, it’s possible the lines got mixed up and refastened to their original lines. It happens to the best of us; simply try again. 

While testing the water temperature, you’ll also want to check for any leaks in the supply lines under the sink. If there’s any dripping or running from the connection, turn the sink off, turn the supply off, and reconnect it. Unscrew the bolt entirely and resecure it. Check again for leaks.

Call If Any Problems Arise

If the line continues to leak in spite of reconnecting it, there may be an issue with the hardware. If leaking continues or any other problems with your water or its temperature arise, give us a call at POM Plumbing. We deal with faulty sinks all the time and can get yours back in working order.

Why Is My Toilet Handle Loose or Not Working?

This question is extremely common. Fortunately, the answer is a simple one! The handle of a toilet has a chain attached to it within the tank of the toilet. This chain’s job is to pull up on a plug when the handle is pushed down. That plug, also known as the flush valve, is what keeps the fresh water in the back of the tank. Then, when it’s unplugged, water is able to rush down into the toilet bowl, flushing your toilet out. So, why is the toilet handle loose? Even worse, why is the toilet handle not working? Let’s take a quick look.

Diagnosing the Problem

If your toilet handle has suddenly stopped working or, perhaps, has never worked, the problem is simple. The chain that attaches your handle to the tank’s flush valve is likely not attached, or is so loose that the handle does nothing at all. Every time you push down on the handle, it’s doing nothing because it’s unable to pull up the plug that initiates a flush.

To fix this issue, start by lifting the lid off of the toilet’s tank and setting it aside. Now, look inside. Is there a chain attached to the extended interior handle? If so, it must be incredibly loose. There may also be no chain attached to the handle. Check if there’s one sitting in the bottom of the tank. If the chain is missing entirely, you’ll need to head to a hardware store to buy one. If it’s just been detached from the handle, your job is an easy one.

Attaching a Flush Chain

Attaching a flush chain is easy. There is usually a hook at the end of the interior handle. Simply hook the end loop of the chain over that hook. Now, give it a flush. Check to see if the last loop is tight enough. Sometimes, a chain is longer than necessary. If the chain doesn’t pull open the flush valve or not enough for a flush, you’ll need to tighten it a bit.

If your flush chain is too short to reach the handle, and this toilet has never had a working handle since you moved in, the short chain is likely the reason for that. Whoever installed it realized the chain was too short to fit and didn’t bother getting a new one. Unfortunately, that’s now your job. Head to a hardware store and get a chain that’s a bit longer.

Tightening a Flush Chain

Tightening a flush chain is simple. Simply hook one of the loops that’s slightly further down the chain and try flushing again. It should only take a couple adjustments to get to the loop that’s just right. When you find the right one, the chain should be long enough to pull the flush valve open, get a successful flush, and then quickly close again when the water level in the tank is low.

Toilet Repair Services

If these solutions didn’t work for you, give us a call at POM Plumbing. Is your toilet handle loose? We’ve seen all there is to see with regard to dysfunctional toilets, and we look forward to assisting with yours.

Quick and Easy Ways to Prevent Drain Clogging

Tired of your drains clogging? The truth is, you can prevent drain clogging easily with some help from the professionals. Here are some easy ways to prevent drain clogging in your sinks and showers.

Drain Cleaning

If your drains are currently having problems draining, the first step is cleaning them out. Cleaning your drains out will give you a fresh start to prevent drain clogging from.

For sinks, drain cleaning is actually quite simple and can be done as a DIY project, if you’re comfortable removing a pipe from under your sink. If your tub drain is giving you problems, you don’t want to DIY your sink drain, or DIY hasn’t solved the problem, it’s time to get some help from your local drain cleaning professionals.

POM Plumbing can have your drains back in working order in no time. With some help from our power washer or a snake, we can unblock any drain in your home and have it draining like new.

Soap and Water

Once your drains are back to their fully functional selves, there is one simple rule for keeping them clog free: never put anything down them but soap and water. It may sound obvious, but it’s easy to forget or shrug off this simple rule – especially in the kitchen.

When we say soap and water only, we mean it! There are a lot of things that slip down our drains without us realizing, just for lack of attention. For example, grease from cooking is a huge cause for clogs. If you cook something with a lot of grease, like bacon, let the grease harden in the pan and then scrape it out with a paper towel before washing it in the sink.

The same goes for things like rice, flower mixtures, and other tiny remnants of food. If you want to keep your drain from clogging, wipe all of these things out into the trash before washing your dishes. 

Clog Prevention

Soap and water is easy to agree to in your head, but in practice, it’s a bit harder than just keeping the food in the trash. This is especially true in the bathroom. After all, how are you going to avoid hair going down the drain? The answer is simple: you need some clog prevention methods in place as well. Spend a few dollars on a drain trap to keep hair, lint, and other foreign things from entering your tub drain. By dumping the trap out in the trashcan each time it gets a small clump of hair in it, you’ll keep all of that from building up inside the drain and prevent future clogs from appearing.

If you struggle to keep every food particle from entering your kitchen drain, like most normal people do, learning how to remove and dump out the drain pipe yourself can be a great way to maintain drain integrity. Even doing this once every 6 months or so can make a huge difference in draining abilities. If all else fails, POM Plumbing is here to help with any drain clogs that manage to happen anyway. Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to assist!

How to Clean Your Sink Drain Yourself: Part 2

If you sat through Part 1 with us, you now have all of your supplies and a loosened drain pipe in your hands. Now comes the fun part: it’s time to clean your sink drain.

Step 3: Remove Its Contents

When your sink drain pipe is loosened, you should be able to wiggle it free. It’s recommended that you keep your bucket directly under it while doing this. As you remove the pipe, some of the gunk blocking it may come free from where the pipe was attached and some water may escape where it was settled. This is why it’s wise to keep a towel under the entire site to avoid dirtying the inside of your cabinet.

With your pipe free, pull your pipe and bucket from under the sink and shake out the contents of the pipe into your bucket. It’s likely that the blockages aren’t very compacted in the pipe, and should come free fairly easily. This blockage is likely made up of mostly hair and whatever bacteria and rot has accumulated on it.

With this piece of your drain pipe emptied of its blockage, you’ll also want to check the parts it was attached to. A look up at the vertical pipe leading down from the drain might reveal some more gunk trapped there. It should be easily removed with your pointy object. We’ll assume you’ve got a cheap pipe cleaner on hand. You can use this to knock any gunk from the vertical pipe into your bucket. 

The horizontal pipe leading into the wall may also have its fair share of waste blocking it. If this blockage goes deeper than a couple inches past the edge of the pipe, you may need to employ a snake to remove it. However, this kind of blockage in a bathroom sink drain is unlikely. You should be able to bend the end of your pipe cleaner into a hook and pull out whatever is trapped there with ease.

Step 4: Clean Your Sink Drain

Next up, if you want a job well done to end in your drain feeling like new (and smelling like new too), it’s time to clean your sink drain. Set your bucket aside and use your rag to clean out the removed portion of drain pipe. You can simply push the rag through, pulling it out the other side to remove anything coating the pipe, or you can go all out and use soap and water. Whatever degree of cleaning satisfies you will do. 

Step 5: Return the Pipe

Finally, wiggle that piece of pipe back to where it sat before and start tightening those coupling nuts back on. You may need to finagle it a bit to get it in the right place. If you’re struggling to keep the threads aligned, try turning the nuts counterclockwise until they settle into the right spot, then tighten them into place.

When you’ve got the coupling nuts back in place, go ahead and turn on your faucet. Let it run for a minute and watch to make sure there’s no leaking before calling it a day.

If your sink drain didn’t have almost any blockage at all, or continues to struggle with draining after you clean your sink drain, the problem is likely further down. Give us a call today and we’ll be happy to get your sink back in working order.