Here’s why fixing a dripping faucet or showerhead matters

Drip. Drip. Drip. Every homeowner, at one point or another, has experienced a leaking faucet or showerhead. But, you’d be surprised at just how many proceed to ignore the problem for weeks, months, and even years. Take it from our plumbers: it’s much better, easier, and cheaper to just address these kinds of leaks right away. In this article, we’ll review the reasons you should deal with your dripping faucet or showerhead and some of the common ways to go about fixing the problem.

King is proud to be your local plumbing team here in Chicagoland. For a free VIP plumbing inspection, call us today!

Is a dripping faucet that big of a deal?

The short answer is yes. A dripping faucet—even one with what seems like a relatively minor drip—can be a major, headache-inducing waste of water and money. Here’s how:

A dripping faucet can be a major waste of water and money in your home.You’re wasting more water than you think

According to a water waste calculator from the USGS, a single dripping faucet losing water at the rate of one drop every minute (pretty slow, if you think about it) will waste a whopping 34 gallons of water over the course of a year. A faucet or showerhead that is leaking faster than that (say, 30 drips per-minute) will waste more than 1,000 gallons in a year. That’s a lot of water just being wasted—this use doesn’t even include the water your family uses on a daily basis.

Higher water bills

Yes, there’s a lot of water in Lake Michigan, and you’re probably not going to run Chicagoland dry. But, beyond the environmental impact, you’re probably inflating your water bills unnecessarily. Water isn’t free and it isn’t cheap: here in Oak Forest, our water rates and costs are higher than many other parts of the Chicago metro area (you can see where your community’s rates fall in this interactive survey from the Chicago Tribune).

Up all night

For many homeowners, the primary motivation to address a leaking faucet is that constant, obnoxious drip-drip-drip. Even sound sleepers might be kept up at night by this unending sound. Trust us: it gets old after awhile.

Take all these things into account, and there’s no real reason to waste the water—especially when the fixes are typically easy. Let’s dive into that subject in the next section.

What causes dripping faucets, and what should be done about them?

In most cases, fixing a dripping faucet or showerhead is a relatively straightforward task that homeowners can take on themselves. In some cases, you might need to give us a call—we offer free plumbing inspections here in the Chicago area.

Sink faucets

Most sink faucet drips are caused by a worn-out rubber washer. As the faucet is used continually over the course of many years, the washer is continually worn through until eventually it is no longer able to keep the water completely inside of the fixture. As a result, water begins to leak out. The fix here is easy: handy homeowners can take apart the faucet and replace the washer with a new one from your local hardware store. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, be sure to call in one of our plumbers here at King to help.

In some cases, a corroded valve seat could also be to blame. The valve seat is vulnerable to long-term corrosion that can cause the spout of the faucet to leak water.

Showerheads

Similar to sinks, many shower leaks can be caused by a deteriorating washer. This washer is located inside of the showerhead. With the shower turned off, take apart the head and inspect this rubber washer. If it’s cracked or otherwise coming apart, try replacing that—this might be the source of your leak.

Many modern showers rely on a cartridge to control the flow of water as the shower’s user turns a handle. Over time, these cartridges may need to be replaced. This can be trickier: the exact method for taking apart the handle assembly and removing the cartridge from the pipe can differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, and specialized tools—such as pliers capable of getting all the way around the cartridge—are often required to remove the assembly from the pipe. If you’re not sure how to proceed or worried about damaging the plumbing behind your shower, be sure to call in an expert from our team.

No plumbing problem is too small. Call King for your VIP plumbing inspection!

At King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, our experienced plumbers love helping local homeowners with their plumbing problems. We’re proud to be the team that offers free VIP plumbing inspections here in Chicagoland. If you’re dealing with the aggravation that is a leaking faucet or showerhead, don’t just wait around for it to magically fix itself—it won’t. Instead, call us for fast service you can count on.

What causes a frozen evaporator coil and what can you do about it?

It’s the hottest day of the year, and your air conditioner just stopped working. You walk outside to inspect the outdoor unit and you’re greeted by a strange sight: ice. As it turns out, you have a frozen evaporator coil. In this article, we’re going to talk more about what causes this phenomenon and what you should do if this happens to your air conditioning unit.

At King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we’re here for you and your home’s air conditioning needs with our 24/7 emergency service. Call us today for fast, reliable air conditioning repair.

Preventing a frozen evaporator coil here in Chicago.

Schedule an AC tune-up with King every spring and have one of our technicians look at your refrigerant levels ahead of summer.

What causes an evaporator coil to freeze?

Let’s start by talking about how your air conditioner works in the first place. In the simplest of terms, air conditioners (and heat pumps, in their summer setting) are able to cool down your home by moving heat energy from one place to another. The evaporator coil contains refrigerant that runs inside and outside in a constant, contained loop. As the refrigerant enters the inside portion of its circuit, the molecules expand, cooling down the line and allowing it to absorb heat energy from the air in your home.

It then returns to the outdoors, where the condenser condenses those same molecules, causing the line to heat and expel that heat energy into the outdoor air. This happens over-and-over again until sufficient heat energy is removed from your home to bring it down to the temperature where things are comfortable.

In the event that heat energy is not able to be absorbed into the refrigerant, things start to go wrong. Most often, this occurs because the return air—the heat energy-filled air inside of your home—is unable to get to the line. As a result, the refrigerant in the line begins to get colder with no heat to absorb. The line gets cold enough that the condensation on the outside of the line—which normally drains away harmlessly—freezes over, leading to a literal block of ice.

What are the most-common causes of this problem?

Essentially, anything that blocks airflow to the evaporator coil can lead to a frozen evaporator coil. Here are some of the most likely culprits:

Dirty coil

Over time, your system’s evaporator coil will become covered in dust, dirt, grime, and more. This prevents it from getting the airflow it needs to properly move heat, which means that the system could then freeze over. Evaporator coil cleaning is an essential part of our AC tune-up service for this exact reason.

Blocked air ducts

In the event that you’ve manually shut many of your home’s floor or ceiling registers, the return air flow to the coil may not be getting sufficient airflow to continue operating correctly. Another common cause of this problem is when homeowners unknowingly block floor registers below furniture or rugs. Similarly, an extremely dirty air filter can block a main source of air from reaching the line.

Low refrigerant

The refrigerant line is a closed-loop system. However, in some cases, refrigerant may be lost through leaks or other problems. Without enough refrigerant, the molecules expand too much, causing a runaway cooling effect that results in a frozen-over system.

How should you go about fixing this problem?

First things first, you’re going to want to turn off your air conditioner. At this point, any further operation by the air conditioner is just going to keep refreezing the already-frozen line. Then, call the trusted technicians here at King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We offer 24/7 emergency AC repair services throughout Chicagoland. When our tech arrives at your home, they’ll inspect the problem and then likely switch the thermostat to its fan-only setting to accelerate the thaw.

Once the system has fully thawed out, we’ll need to address the original cause of the problem. It’s likely one of the three culprits listed above: dirty coils, blocked air ducts, or low refrigerant. If it the latter, we can recharge the system with the appropriate refrigerant type and address any leaks that caused the system to lose refrigerant in the first place.

Call King for 24/7 emergency AC repair

At King, we’re your 24/7 AC repair experts in Chicago, Oak Forest, Homewood, Frankfort, Chicago Heights, Joliet, and surrounding areas. If your air conditioner has a frozen evaporator coil or any other problems that are preventing it from operating properly, call us today. We’re ready to help!