Frequently Asked Questions
Know Your Virginia Beach Technical Systems
Being a home or business owner often means dealing with things that you never thought you’d have to. When problems with your heating, cooling, plumbing, or electrical systems arise, it’s important to call professional help, but sometimes, these situations can be prevented by taking simple steps to preserve the systems.
Just as well, you may be shopping around for something new and want to know which option is the best one for you. Whatever your particular case may be, we’ve tried to anticipate questions you may have and have compiled these answers in efforts to keep you properly informed and on top of your systems.
For a particular solution to a more complex problem not listed here, call our Virginia Beach technical experts today at (757) 347-8549.
What kind of equipment is best for air duct cleaning?
The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) does not endorse one kind of equipment (truck-mounted or portable vacuum machines) over another. Truck mounted equipment is generally more powerful than portable equipment. However, portable equipment can be brought directly into your home, allowing the vacuum source to be located closer to the ductwork. Both types will clean to the NADCA standard. All vacuum units should be attached to a collection device for safe containment prior to disposal. Any vacuum collection device which exhausts indoors must have a HEPA filter. American Mechanical, Incorporated uses the ROTOBRUSH Air Duct Cleaning system of high pressure vacuum and brushes to remove the accumulated debris from your air duct system and biocides to inhibit the growth of bacteria once the system has been cleaned.
Research by the EPA has shown that air duct cleaning may allow your HVAC system to operate more efficiently by removing debris from sensitive mechanical components, giving your system a longer life expectancy and will generally operate more effectively than a dirty duct system.
How often should I change the air filters in my home?
With the constantly rising cost of energy, we all try to save energy in any way we can. A good rule of thumb is to check the air filters monthly and change them when they are dirty. The Department of Energy reports that changing your air filters can improve the efficiency of your HVAC equipment by 5% to 15%. The frequency depends upon several factors such as how many people live in the home, pets and the area where you live (highly polluted areas and areas of construction). While it may seem like a short answer, it all depends on the living condition in your home, the type of filters used, and how often and how hard your HVAC system has to work to maintain the comfort inside your home. During unusually hot or cold weather, you may need to check your filters more often.
What is a heat pump? How do they work?
A heat pump is part of a central heating and cooling system, uses the outside air to heat a home in the winter and cool a home in the summer. Technically, a heat pump is a mechanical-compression cycle refrigeration system that can be reversed to either heat or cool your home. Installation of this type of system typically consists of two parts: an indoor unit called an air handler and an outdoor unit similar to a central air conditioner, but is referred to as a heat pump. A compressor circulates refrigerant that absorbs and releases heat as it travels between the indoor and outdoor units.
Think of a heat pump as a heat transporter constantly moving warm air from one place to another, to where it is needed or not needed (depending upon the season). Even in air that seems too cold, heat energy is present. When it’s cold outside, a heat pump extracts this outside heat and transfers it inside. When it’s warm outside, it reverses directions and acts like an air conditioner, removing the heat from your home. One advantage of a heat pump is that it moves heat instead of generating heat, giving you more energy efficiency. Also, it is powered by electricity, so you can save a substantial amount of money on your energy costs.
Why should I choose a heat pump?
Heat pumps are best for moderate climates like we experience here in Hampton Roads. American Mechanical, Incorporated is a TRANE Comfort Specialist, and as a year round solution for your home comfort a heat pump can become a component of your matched system. Call American Mechanical today an request one of our HVAC Solutions Specialist for a no cost in home consultation for your new heat pump system!
What is a furnace? How does it work?
A furnace is a part of the heating system in which the combustion of fossil fuel and transfer of heat occurs. Furnaces can be fueled by either natural gas or oil. The oil furnace is the heating component in some systems in colder climates. It converts oil to heat. Oil is pumped into the furnace where it is turned into a mist, sprayed through the blast tube and ignited.
These fine droplets mixed with air allow it to burn more efficiently. The flame heats the air within a heat exchanger, and the combusted gases out through a flue or chimney. Another option is a gas furnace and it uses natural gas as its fuel instead of oil. The main components of a furnace includes burners and heat exchanger, blower and controls. Air from the house is drawn through the ductwork, past the heat exchanger and back out of the vents in the house. In most of the modern systems, the air flows through a filter, which removes any impurities.
What is a blower motor in my HVAC system? What does it do?
Air heating and cooling systems rely on forced air. Blowers motors provide air movement through the system to the desired location. The blower motor consists of an electric motor and a fan. Residential blower motors are used to circulate conditioned air (whether heated or cooled) from a furnace or cooling system throughout the home. The fan forces the air through ducting and vents.
What are the health hazards associated with a cracked heat exchanger?
Heat exchangers perform a vital part of your furnace. The function of the heat exchanger is to bring warm air from your furnace. These chambers are where hot combustion gases go after produced by the burner. These gases transfer heat to the walls of the heat exchanger. Venting pipes remove the cooled exhaust from the gas, while fans funnel air through and around the heat exchanger to remove the heat from the walls. Without a heat exchanger, the gas jets do not get into the air and do not heat up giving you warm air or room temperature coming through the vents.
Extensive age in a furnace or a lack of maintenance can cause cracks along the heat exchangers due to rust and corrosion. If you look at a cracked heat exchanger these cracks look small. However, inside the furnace these cracks widen due to heat absorption and allow exhaust gas into your home! This can cause carbon monoxide to get into your home causing severe headaches and nausea. A warning sign of a cracked heat exchanger is a clicking noise coming from inside the furnace cabinet. If you hear this clicking noise (and can’t account for loose bolts or broken pieces of the component), call American Mechanical immediately! This may require replacement of the furnace or heat exchanger. We offer our homeowners emergency services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year!
What is an evaporator coil in an HVAC system? How does it work?
The evaporator coil works with the indoor unit, functioning with the air conditioner or heat pump to cool and condition the indoor air that flows over it by drawing out heat and moisture. It is the unsung hero of any home heating or cooling system as its job is to transfer heat. It may be installed with your furnace or as part of the air handler. Inside the coil, the refrigerant evaporates as it absorbs heat from the indoor air that passes over it. The evaporator coil essentially serves as a :heat exchanger” working in conjunction with your heating system in the winter and your cooling system in the summer. A dirty indoor coil lowers the efficiency of the total system and must be cleaned regularly. Indoor coils are often dirty because they are difficult to access. A clean evaporator coil will give you better performance and cleaner air inside of your home! Call American Mechanical, Incorporated for more information for our Home Care Agreement!
Which system is best for my home? What is the packaged unit?
This is a good question! Packaged systems are all-in-one solutions, with most of the components for heating and/or cooling housed in a single cabinet. These systems are popular in certain regions, where construction techniques favor a single cabinet system rather than a split system, which has both an indoor and an indoor unit. Typically, packaged units are installed outdoors at ground level, in a crawl space, or they may be installed on the roof for horizontal or down-flow designs. Available in the same configurations, and utilizing the same components as split systems, packaged units also offer a variety of efficiency options. Unlike split systems, in a packaged system, most components are in one cabinet. According to your needs, you can select from the many types of packaged systems available:
Packaged air conditioner – In parts of the country where the weather tends to be warmer, a packaged unit is the perfect solution. Higher efficiency units are also available that allow better humidity control.
Packaged heat pump – With heating, air conditioning, and air handling functions in one unit, a packaged heat pump can take care of all your home comfort needs. TRANE units are available and come equipped with two-stage heating and air conditioning for maximum comfort and efficiency.
Packaged dual fuel units – A packaged dual fuel unit has what you might call a split personality. As a heat pump, it cools and dehumidifies your home in the summer. During the spring and fall, the heat pump provides high –efficiency heating. Then when the temperature falls well below freezing, it can provide gas heat for greater comfort. If you live in an area where natural gas is not available, you can use propane gas as fuel.
Packaged gas electric – A packaged gas electric unit offers you electric air conditioning and gas heating. In warm weather, it is an all-electric, high-efficiency air conditioner. In cold weather, it provides warmth from natural gas or propane, giving you the best of both energy worlds. TRANE units also come equipped with two stage heating and air conditioning for more efficient energy use.
What is a central heating and cooling unit? How do they operate?
Central heating and cooling systems are separate things but they are matched to work together! The most common central cooling system is a split system and includes an outdoor cabinet containing a condenser coil and compressor, and an indoor evaporator coil, which is usually installed in conjunction with your furnace or air handler. The compressor pumps a chemical called refrigerant through the system. Once warm air inside your home blows across the indoor evaporator coil, its heat energy transfers to the refrigerant inside the coil. That transfer, in turn, “cools” the air. The refrigerant is pumped back to the compressor when the cycle begins again.
The heat absorbed by the refrigerant is moved outside your home while cooled air is blown inside. Moisture that contributes to humidity is also condensed out of the air. You cooling system is usually combined with your central heating system because they share the same duct work for distributing conditioned air throughout your home. The central heating systems have a primary heating appliance (such as a furnace) typically located in your basement or garage. All furnaces consist of mainly four main components; a furnace to deliver and burn fuel, heat exchangers, a blower and a flue (that acts as an exhaust for gaseous by-products. Depending upon the situation, region and home needs, you can choose from heating systems which run on either gas or oil as fuel or as a hybrid packaged system that utilizes both types of fuel. Combustion gases are generated by the burners in your furnace and passed through a heat exchanger. Air from your home blows across the heat exchanger to be warmed. It is then blown through a system of duct work to be distributed throughout your home. During warm seasons your heating system works with your central air conditioning. Air is cooled as it is blown over the air conditioning units cooling coil, often it is attached to the air circulating fan of the furnace, and then it is sent through the same air ducts throughout your home.
I have a gas furnace as a component of my HVAC system. When the electricity goes out due to bad weather, will the furnace still work?
No, it will not and the reason is because the system control boards and the blower motor operate on electricity. The solution is to consider installing a whole house generator which will start once electricity is lost.
What is a “matched system”? What are the benefits of having one?
Matched systems are a lot like a pair of shoes! A “matched system” takes a more holistic view of answering your comfort needs and provides energy savings. By combining components that are made separately, but designed to work together, you can create a more efficient ideal system for the comfort of your family. Different houses have different needs. You can choose from many components to create the right system specifically matched for you.
A matched system can be composed of an air conditioner or furnace, a heat pump and a furnace, a heat pump and an air handler, an air conditioner and air handler or as an all-in-one packaged unit. The air conditioner is suited to the North and some Southern regions. The heat pump and furnace system is a good choice for the Southern regions. The heat pump and air handler system is ideal for the Hampton Roads area! The air conditioner and air handler system an option for some South, Southwest and California regions.
What is the ductless system?
Ductless systems connect an outdoor unit with an indoor unit to heat and/or cool the specific zone of a home and do not require any duct work to operate. Installing a ductless system is not only easy, but it allows for flexibility in where you deliver heating and cooling in your home. No ductwork is needed! An outdoor unit Is placed outside your home-often at ground level, but not always- and is connected to an indoor unit by small cables and a refrigerant line through a hole in the wall.
The interior unit is typically mounted high on the wall of the room and can be pre-set to run automatically or be adjusted by remote control. The mini-split system controls one room or zone by connecting one outdoor unit to one indoor unit. A multi-split ductless system can connect to up to five indoor units-depending on the indoor and outdoor model letting you control the heating and cooling in several areas of your home or rooms independent of each other. A ductless system is a great solution for homes without a central heating/cooling system or when a room is added onto a home or in the attic that has been converted into a living space. A ductless system can provide efficient heating and cooling at a lower operational cost.
What is so important about duct work and the effect it has on heating and cooling my home? Why does size matter?
Your duct system is at the center of your heating and cooling system! If your duct work is sized incorrectly, you may be wasting a lot of money as this is the I-95 for airflow throughout your home. There are three parts to a duct system. The first section is called a return and provides a path for air to flow from individual areas to the inlet of the furnace or air handler. This is where the air is cleaned and fresh air is taken in. The air then passes along to the air handler where the heat is added or removed to maintain the comfort inside your home. The conditioned air enters the supply section of the system to deliver conditioned air to individual areas inside the home.
The two types of supply systems are extended plenum (consists of a supply air plenum which is connected to the outlet of the equipment) and central plenum (where all of the branch ducts start). The main supply ducts are attached to the extended plenum and run through the extent of the home. The size of the main supply ducts is reduced as necessary to maintain good air flow. Branch ducts are attached to the main duct and carries the conditioned air to the registers. If you notice noises such as popping or whistling the system may be working harder than normal to maintain the comfort of your home! You may also notice higher energy bills as a result of this problem. Homeowners should make sure the duct system is properly sealed and insulated.
What is a TRANE Comfort Specialist? What is the difference between any other HVAC contractor?
The badge lets you as the homeowner know you’re working with an independent TRANE dealer of the highest standing. Those who display the badge are committed to the BEST in every aspect of their business! From the installation of the equipment, service of the equipment and customer satisfaction they have exhibited leadership and technician training to make sure the customer is kept foremost in their everyday activities.
Many also have NATE (North American Technician Excellence) certified technicians. Not every dealer qualifies as a TRANE Comfort Specialist dealer! Each year, independent dealers qualify for TRANE Comfort Specialist status by meeting TRANE’s stringent standards and demonstrating a commitment to customer satisfaction and continuing education. By looking for the badge of the TRANE Comfort Specialist dealer, you can rest assured you’ll be working with a proven dealer…the BEST of the BEST!
Does your TRANE equipment come with any type of warranty? How do I enter the equipment for the warranty?
The equipment that is installed must be registered within 90 days of installation. Registration can be completed wither online or by telephone. The duration of the warranty for the equipment such as the heat pump, air handler, thermostat and accessories is ten years , in most cases. The warranty duration does vary somewhat depending upon the model number and nomenclature of the equipment. American Mechanical, Incorporated will be responsible for registering the warranty registration on both the TRANE site and the Comfortsite (both are subsidiaries of Ingersol-Rand). Your registration warranty information will be mailed to you in most cases within 24 hours after installation of the equipment.
As stated, the warranty covers:
- Air conditioners compressor, outdoor coil and internal functional parts
- Heat pumps compressor, outdoor coil and internal functional parts
- Furnaces heat exchanger, internal functional parts
- Coils internal functional parts
- All=in-one systems heat exchanger (where applicable), compressor, coil and internal functional parts
- Air handlers and internal functional parts
- Air cleaners and internal functional parts
- Humidifiers and internal functional parts
- Control and thermostats and internal functional parts
What happens if I decide to sell my home? Does the warranty transfer to the new homeowner?
Yes! Your transferrable warranty will help you sell your home. You may transfer your warranty to the new homeowner within 90 days following the sale of your home. You will have the opportunity of purchasing for a nominal cost a “Transfer Option” which will allow the balance of your warranty period to be transferred to a subsequent homeowner.
I have just been told that I have a cracked heat exchanger. What has caused this to happen?
It is all related to how metal stresses and flexes when exposed to heating and cooling! This due to contraction and expansion of the metal components of the heat exchanger. Eventually, over a period of use (possibly 20 years or so), these actions may cause a crack or hole to form in the heat exchanger! These cracks may appear as a hairline crack or be more visible but with lack of maintenance or the inability to know what to look for, these cracks will eventually become larger and create the health-hazardous condition. The key is to perform routine maintenance on your system or call a professional to ensure your system is operating correctly!
What can I do to prevent a cracked heat exchanger?
Nothing! You can make sure you maintain the system on a periodic basis to “kill the monster while it is little”. Dirty filters, closed off vent openings and furniture blocking the vents may help. Proper air flow through the vents and clean air filters will go a long way to improve the breathing air quality in your home and slow down the process of a faulty heat exchanger. The proper combustion of gases inside the furnace is also very important because when the burners are not firing as designed, this will cause the unit to operate at a lower efficiency than the unit is designed to work. The most important thing (and most common in furnaces) is if not operated for a period of time, condensation accumulates inside the components and cause them to rust! CALL AMERICAN MECHANICAL TODAY FOR A FREE FURNACE INSPECTION! It could literally save your life.
I noticed that I have an electric panel which was made by Federal Pacific Electric. Are these panels safe or should I consider an electrical panel upgrade?
This is a good question and the answer is a short one! Yes. It is time to consider an electrical panel replacement! FEDERAL PACIFIC ELECTRIC PANELS COULD FAIL! Federal Pacific Electric Company was one of the most common manufacturers of circuit breaker panels in the United States from the 1950s to the 1980s. Millions of their panels were installed in home across our country. As time passed, electricians and home inspectors often found these panels failed to provide proper protection to homeowners and their families. Experts now say that these panels can appear to work fine for years, but after one overcurrent or short circuit, they can overheat and become fire hazards! When a breaker fails to trip, an extreme amount of power from the outside electrical supply surges into a home’s panel and circuits. Once that happens, it cannot be stopped or shut off manually.
Electricity will burn until it runs out of fuel or the wires melt. The panel could overheat and catch fire, causing serious harm to a home and its occupants. When they do malfunction, a disaster could occur. These Federal Pacific brand electrical panels have been outlawed for these reasons. With the upcoming hurricane season when homes often lose power, homeowners should check the brand of their electrical panel and may consider an electrical panel upgrade if these unsatisfactory panels are now installed. Call American Mechanical for more information and to schedule a no cost in home consultation for an electrical panel upgrade today!
My plumbing pipes are frozen, what can you do to help me?
This is a good question! The answer is a short one, however. The pipes must be thawed out before we can do anything! If you have pipes that are vulnerable to freezing, allow a small trickle of water to run overnight (or during the day) to prevent the pipes from freezing. The cost of the extra water is low compared to the cost to repair a broken pipe. Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing. Once the pipes freeze, shut off the water immediately (know the location of the shut off valve in advance of the cold weather). Don’t attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off! Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints. Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it, or by applying heat directly to a pipe. You can use a hair dryer, space heater or hot water. Once the pipes have thawed turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks or leaks. If pipes inside the home are frozen, call American Mechanical, Incorporated for a service request.
Why do I need to drain my water heater?
It is a good idea to drain your water heater. Sediment is a solid material that is not dissolved in the water. This could be grit from a well, or any of the foreign materials that make their way into the municipal water mains. Many municipal water systems are not filtered so there is always a small amount of “stuff” moving through the piping. This “stuff” settles to the bottom of the tank. If your plumbing inside the house connects to the city main, and the city has recently cleared the main drain lines, you may have an increase in the amount of sediment inside your water heater!
Small accumulations of sediment are not a serious problem. However, the depth of the sediment can interfere with the operation of the drain valve, increase the amount of dissolved minerals in the hot water, and may if neglected affect the efficiency of the lower heating element. Plus, the chlorine in the water has an effect on the sediment, and may produce unwanted and possibly unhealthy chemical compounds. All the more reason to decrease the amount of sediment that settles in the bottom of the water heater.
I have a tankless water heater so why do I need to flush it? How often should my tankless water heater be flushed?
Rather than storing the hot water in a tank, a tankless hot water heater heats water on demand. This can contribute to considerable energy savings for you! Manufacturing companies of tankless water heaters recommend the unit be flushed annually in order to eliminate the buildup of calcium, minerals, and other "junk" within the unit. This should be completed even more frequently if you have “hard” water. Some of the more advanced units will indicate when the unit is in need of flushing. You can flush out a tankless hot water heater in about an hour of your time. Here are the procedures to follow:
Step 1 - Turn off the circuit for your water heater at the breaker panel. If the water heater uses a gas heater, rotate the gas cutoff counterclockwise to turn the gas off to the unit.
Step 2 - Use a screwdriver to remove the cover plate of the water heater unit, allowing you to have access to the wiring within the unit. Hold the tip of a non-contact electrical tester against the wiring leading into the terminals. If the tester light turns on, continue turning off the breakers or the main circuit breaker to the house until testing of all wires show that no power in accessing the system. Replace the cover plate.
Step 3 - Locate and turn off the water supply valve that supplies cold water to the water heater. Turn off the main hot-water valve that sends hot water to the local fixture or the multiple fixtures inside the house.
Step 4 - Connect one end of a six-foot garden hose to the outlet of a pond pump or sump pump, then connect the other end of the hose to the cold water isolation valve. Connect a second garden hose to the hot water isolation valve. Tighten the garden hose couplers with an adjustable wrench.
Step 5 - Place the pump and the open end of the second hose into a five gallon bucket or receptacle. Fill the receptacle with five gallons of fresh, clean white vinegar.
Step 6 - Open the hot and cold isolation valves on the water heater, and turn on the pump to allow the vinegar to circulate through the heater.
Step 7 - Let the pump circulate for 45 minutes, then turn off the pump and let the vinegar drain from the water heater through the hoses into the receptacle. Close the cold water isolation valve.
Step 8 - Dump the vinegar out of the bucket, then place the open end hose back into the bucket. Turn on the cold water supply valve and let the water flow into the bucket for five minutes. Close the cold water supply valve and disconnect the hoses from the inlet valves.
Step 9 - Turn off the hot water isolation valve. Remove the inlet filter screen per the owner’s manual for the water heater, and rinse the screen to remove any accumulated sediment. Reinstall the screen inside the unit.
Step 10 - Turn on the hot water supply valve, followed by the cold water supply valve. Open a couple of hot water faucets inside the house to bleed any air from the hot water lines. Close the faucets once no more air is coming through the water lines.
Step 11 - Look over the water heater’s connections to make sure there are no leaks. Turn on the gas supply valve, if so equipped, and the circuit breaker for the hot water heater. Test for hot water at the faucets.
Step 12 - Voila!….you did it! Go on a vacation!
My toilet keeps running all the time! What do I need to do to stop wasting my water?
Toilets are one of the most common sources of wasting water inside the home! This water is usually unnoticed because the leaks are often silent and not visible. Approximately 20% to 35% of residential toilets leak to some degree! This leakage can be revealed when the valve makes a hissing noise or a gurgling sound when the toilet is not in use.
To start with, remove the tank lid and inspect the flush parts of the commode. The water level inside the tank should not reach higher than one inch below the top of the overflow tube. If the water level is to the top of the overflow tube, the water is seeping down the tube and out the drain! This may be caused by the water level being adjusted too high, the float is damaged and is not shutting off the refill valve or the refill valve (ball-cock assembly) is worn out and should be replaced.
To check for leakage, place a couple of drops of food coloring or dye into the tank water. Wait 15 minutes and if the color seeps into the commode, you may have a problem. This is usually caused by a defective flapper valve not creating a watertight seal. The chain may not be working correctly and prevent the flapper to not seat correctly inside the valve seat. Other reasons may be the flapper is worn out or warped. A worn out flapper valve is the most common reason this occurs. This can be fixed easily!
Number 1 – Shut off the water supply to the toilet and flush the toilet to remove most of the water from inside the tank.
Number 2 - Remove the chain from the flapper to the flush valve and remove the flapper valve by either sliding the flapper up and over the overflow tube. You may need to remove the pins of the flush valve. Inspect the flapper for signs of deterioration or warping.
Number 3 - Install the new flapper valve by sliding the valve over the overflow tube and into the valve seat. Make sure the new valve is fully seated on the flush valve opening. You may need to trim the flapper to make sure the fit is correct and seated properly.
Number 4 - Attach the chain to the flush valve.
Number 5 – Turn the water supply back on and flush the commode to ensure the flapper valve is operating correctly!
Number 6 – Pat yourself on the back for a job well done! You just saved money by having the courage to do it yourself.
I have very high water bills! How do I know if I have a leak?
Good question! Leaks from pipes, plumbing fixtures and fittings are a significant source of water waste for many homeowners. The typical home can lose up to 2,000 to 20,000 gallons of water per year due to leaks! Some leaks are obvious, such as from a dripping faucet, leaking water heaters or a commode that is not operating correctly. Unfortunately, many leaks go undetected for years because the leak is not in a visible location. If your water bills are increased and the usage level in your home is relatively stable, you may very well have a water leak in a crawl space or at the water meter.
Call an experienced plumbing technician to do an inspection on your home as part of our Home Care Agreement to be sure. Larger leaks or a combination of small leaks can often be detected by your water meter. Using your water meter you can perform a simple leak check with a few easy steps, as follows
Number 1 – Ensure all water is turned off inside and outside of the home. This is a good exercise so that you will know the location of the valves needed to cut off the water in case of an emergency! This test must be completed when no automatic equipment is operating such as the dishwasher and washing machines.
Number 2 – Record the reading of the water meter and wait 15 minutes and be sure that no water is used during that time inside or outside of the home.
Number 3 – Record the reading of the meter again. If the meter has recorded any water use during the test, it might be due to a leak somewhere in or outside of the home.
This meter test only verifies that a leak is possible! It does not nor is it intended to locate the source of the leak. This requires investigation from a skilled technician and should not be delayed!
My kitchen faucet is leaking! What can I do to stop the leak?
Stay calm. Faucet leaks are a very common occurrence in any home and usually simple to fix. A faucet that drips slowly (one drop every two seconds) will waste more than 1,000 gallons of water per year. The repairs needed to stop the leak depends on the type/style of faucet. There are basically four types of faucet found in most homes; the compression valve, ball valve, cartridge types and ceramic discs. Each type of faucet has unique methods of repair. If you can use tools or are used to making home repairs this will be a “snap” for you.
Number 1 – Ensure the water supply is turned off, from the handles over the sink to the valves under the sink that controls water coming in from the main water line.
Number 2 – Remove the decorative knob or insert from the faucet fixtures.
Number 3 – Locate the screw under the decorative knob and gently remove the screw with a flat head screwdriver. Be sure to cover the drain in the sink so that you do not lose that screw! If the screw has not been replaced in some time you may need to use WD-40 or some similar penetrating oil to take the faucet handle off of the stem.
Number 4 – Use the crescent wrench to loosen the packing nut. You will be able to locate and remove the stem at this point. Some stems will twist out or pop out of the assembly. Check parts for wear and tear.
Number 5 – Inspect the o-ring and washer inside the valve seat. This could be the cause of the leak! Replace the washer with a new washer and re-assemble the faucet in reverse of what it was removed. Make sure the washer is the correct fit before putting the faucet back together!
Number 6 – Turn the water on under the sink, check the water flow at the faucet and pat yourself on the back! You just saved money!
For solutions to more complex and pressing matters, call our team today at (757) 347-8549 to work with the best in the business!