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.

Here are 3 easy steps for regular water heater upkeep

If you’re like most Chicagoland homeowners, hot water is pretty essential to your daily routine. From showers to washing dishes and doing laundry, your home relies on a properly working water heater. In this article, we’ll review some relatively straightforward ways that local homeowners can engage in regular water heater upkeep and help prevent common water heater problems, especially as the tank starts to age.

For professional water heater services here in the Chicago area, contact the plumbing professionals here at King Cooling, Heating & Plumbing. We offer free VIP plumbing inspections, which means you can have an expert plumber out to look at your water heater if you suspect anything is wrong or if you think it might be time to replace it with a new model.

For water heater upkeep here in the Chicago metro area, call the friendly plumbers at King!Our tips for regular water heater upkeep here in Chicago

1. Inspect the pressure valve

All water heaters have a temperature pressure release valve that can release pressure from the tank if it gets too high. It’s essential that this valve is working correctly to avoid serious problems. You can inspect the TPR valve by lifting the valve to let a little bit of water out of the tank, then close it. If water continues to flow from the valve, you’ll need to have one of the professional plumbers here at King replace it.

2. Check the anode rods

Regularly checking on your water heater’s anode rod is essential in preventing the tank from rusting. This small rod consists of a steel wire surrounded by either zinc, magnesium, aluminum, or all three. The anode rod attracts the corrosive materials in your water so that the interior tank walls don’t corrode. If you don’t replace the rod regularly, you may have to replace your tank sooner.

To check on the status of the anode rod, unscrew it from the top of the tank. If it has been corroded down to less the one-half-inch thick or has a thick coating of calcium, it’s time for a replacement. Call King for anode rod replacement services here in Chicagoland.

3. Flush the tank

For optimal functionality, your water heater needs to be flushed at least annually. This removes the sediment that builds up in the tank, reducing its efficiency and even clogging the water lines.

Perform a tank flush by turning off the cold-water inlet to the tank. Attach a hose to the drain valve and open the TPR valve. Drain the water out of the tank into an area that can a large amount of hot water, such as a floor drain. After all the water is out of the tank, close all the valves and turn on the hot water faucets in your home and the cold-water inlet. Once water flows back through the faucets, close each one and turn your water heater back on, lighting the pilot light carefully.

Call King for our water heater services

If you’re unsure about how to proceed or uncomfortable doing this on your own, please call in the professionals at King. Our experienced plumbers can quickly and safely manage your water heater upkeep—including pressure valve, tank flush, and anode rod check—and ensure that your system is ready for the year ahead. Call us today!

Here are the 6 signs you need tankless water heater repair

Tankless water heaters offer you a lot of advantages in terms of size, efficiency, longevity, and more. However, like standard water heaters, they occasionally do need to be repaired by a professional plumber. That’s one of the reasons why King offers tankless water heater repair in Chicago. We’re your go-to team for Chicagoland plumbing services, and we offer free VIP plumbing inspections.

If you’re noticing any of the following signs coming from your tankless water heater or your home, you need to call us right away for plumbing service.

Here are the signs you need tankless water heater repair in Chicago

1. It’s making strange or unusual noises

When your tankless water heater is working properly, its operation should be nearly soundless. In contrast, strange noises like hisses, groans, or gurgles are indications that it is malfunctioning. Before calling a repair professional, turn off the water heater. You don’t want the problem to get worse while we’re driving to your home.

Call King for tankless water heater repair in Chicago, for both commercial and residential buildings!

We work with tankless water heaters in both residential and commercial buildings.

2. You’re getting insufficient or inconsistent heating

Your water heater may provide hot water as expected one minute and then cold water the next. Conversely, your water heater may consistently provide water that is lukewarm, rather than hot. Either issue is cause for concern: tankless water heaters heat water as it’s needed in your home, and should be able to meet most of your hot water needs.

3. There’s low water flow

When the flow of water is reduced, it may be a sign of mineral build up inside your water heater. If you already know that your area has hard water, it should be easy to pinpoint the cause. Removing the buildup, however, can be a much more difficult matter and should be handled by a professional.

4. You experience a sudden lack of hot water

When this happens, it usually means that the computer system that runs your tankless water heater has shut it down as a safety precaution due to the detection of a possible problem, such as a buildup of exhaust gases. This happens when gas venting somehow becomes restricted.

5. Your appliances stop working

Appliances that use hot water, such as the dishwasher or washing machine, may not operate properly if they are not receiving a sufficient supply due to a malfunctioning tankless heater. You can attempt the tedious process of adjusting the water temperature manually, but that may only be a temporary solution.

6. Your water heater is leaking

It is rare for a tankless water heater to leak, since there is no tank that can become corroded. However, if you do notice a leak, call a plumber right away, as this is a sign that your water heater needs immediate service and repairs.

Call our team for tankless water heater repair in Chicago

King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing provides tankless water heater repair in Chicago, among of many other home services. If you suspect that your tankless water heater is having issues, contact us for a free plumbing inspection today.

Sewer blockages are as bad as they sound

Your sewer line is the unsung hero of your home. It carries water and waste away from your home to the municipal sewer—a function you probably don’t think too much about on a day-to-day basis. That is, until something goes wrong. A sewer blockage is a serious problem where water and waste can no longer leave your home. And what goes down must come up. The result can be incredibly destructive—and pretty gross, as well.

Call King for help with sewer blockages in your Chicago home.

Sewer blockages are a major issue that can cause major headaches. Call the experienced plumbing pros at King for a free plumbing inspection if you suspect you’re having sewer line issues.

In this article, we’ll review what sewer blockages are, how they often form, and the signs of one that you should be on the lookout for. If you suspect that you have a sewer blockage, or you think something might be wrong with your home’s plumbing, call King for a free plumbing inspection here in Chicagoland.

What are sewer blockages?

All the drains in your home lead to one place: your sewer line. This is a wider line that runs from your property to the sewer—typically located at the street. A sewer blockage is anything that acts to obstruct that line, preventing water and waste from draining to the sewer. Most commonly, such obstructions are caused by:

  • Grease, trash, and waste: Whenever you pour grease down the drain, there’s a chance that some of it will start to collect inside of the sewer line. Over time, this can cause a clot to start to form inside of the line until, one day, this completely blocks the flow of water. This problem is only made worse when non-disposable trash enters the sewer line.
  • Tree roots: When a sewer line springs a small leak, most homeowners don’t notice. Surrounding trees do, however. Their thirsty roots reach out and envelope the line, eventually breaking into it and blocking the line altogether. For obvious reasons, homes with trees over or near the line are in the most danger of this occurring.

Signs of a sewer blockage

One of the first things you’ll notice—and often the thing that prompts homeowners to call us—is that your sink isn’t draining. In fact, nothing is draining. A sewer line blockage is a simultaneously clog of all your drains. If this is happening to you, immediately turn off the water and call us in for a free plumbing inspection and our 24/7 plumbing repair service.

You may notice that water is starting to come up. This will first happen in the lowest drains in your showers and bathtubs, but could eventually impact the rest of your home. Again, by turning off the water, you should be able to put a stop to this before too much damage is done.

Dealing with sewer blockages

A sewer obstruction is a major issue that will involve us needing to dig up the sewer line, clear the blockage, and then replace that part of the line without compromising the rest of it. In other words, this is a job best left to professional plumbers.

If you suspect that you have a sewer line blockage or sewer line issues of any kind, call King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We offer free plumbing inspections here in Chicagoland, and we’re your source for experienced plumbers and 24/7 plumbing repair services.

Here are the signs you may need to re-pipe your older home

Most homeowners can manage plumbing problems like slow drains, leaky faucets, and clogged toilets. However, if your pipes are more than 50 years old or you notice any of the following signs, have them inspected by King. Call us to schedule a free VIP plumbing inspection here in Chicagoland.

5 major signs you need to re-pipe your older home

Here are just a few of the signals that your home’s plumbing needs to be replaced at some point in the near future:

1. Water discoloration

Re-pipe your older home if you notice that your pipes are starting to rust.

Rusting pipes could eventually lead to leaks. If you notice rust buildup on the exterior of your pipes, it might be time to re-pipe your older home.

This is a sign pipes are rusty or corroded on the inside. Rust flakes break off inside the pipe and give your tap water that telltale reddish-orange color. If it takes more than a minute to for your water to run clear, re-piping may be necessary. You may also want to check with your local water department to make sure that the discoloration isn’t something happening to the tap water as a whole, or the result of something environmental.

2. Low water pressure

Corrosion and mineral deposit (magnesium and calcium) buildup in your pipes can cause low water pressure. It causes a yellow-green or white buildup around water fixtures, causes clothes to fade more quickly, and causes spots on dishes after washing them in a dishwasher. These problems can impact all pipes in areas with hard water, but they become increasingly prevalent with older pipes, as the scaling begins to build up and clog them.

3. Water stains

Older pipes running throughout your house may spring small leaks causing water stains on walls, ceilings, or floors. If you find yourself repairing numerous leaks and water stains in different locations, there’s a good chance your plumbing is failing.

4. Visible rust

Rust appearing on the exterior of the piping system almost always leads to leaks along the length of the corroded pipe. When you see rust on the outside of your pipes, they should be replaced before leaks occur and cause more home damage.

5. Lead Pipes

Many years ago, lead pipes were the standard for home plumbing systems, but they were banned when it was discovered that lead poses serious health risks. However, they still exist in some older houses. If your older home has lead pipes, you should replace them immediately.

Treat your older pipes like an environmental issue!

Outdated, aging pipes present a danger to your home and your family. They can release toxic materials, like lead, into your water; they can develop leaks in walls, floors, and ceilings leading to mold and mildew growth; and they can break, easily causing major damage to your home and your wallet.

Here’s a great place to start: call King for a free VIP plumbing inspection. Our licensed, certified plumbers thoroughly inspect all aspects of your plumbing. We’ll be able to advise you on whether or not you need to re-pipe your older home. Contact us today to schedule your free inspection here in Chicagoland.

Why you should have King install anti-scald devices in your home

Water heaters that aren’t equipped with an effective anti-scald device pose a serious risk to those in your home. Water pressure changes triggered by flushing a toilet, turning on a washing machine, or other similar actions may cause a dramatic decrease of available cold water, resulting in burns from scalding water. One of the benefits of anti-scald devices is that they prevent water from reaching scalding levels in order to keep burns and related injuries from occurring.

If your home doesn’t currently have anti-scald devices installed to prevent injuries, call the team at King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We install anti-scald devices throughout Chicagoland.

Install anti-scald devices to avoid injuries from hot water

A sudden influx of unchecked hot water can cause serious injuries to members of your family.

What are anti-scald devices?

Anti-scald devices, also known as anti-scald valves, tempering valves, or mixing valves, are responsible for mixing cold water with outgoing hot water in order to prevent it from scalding occupants. Two common types are pressure balance valves and thermostatic mixing valves.

  • The first type works by detecting a decrease in cold water pressure from an action such as flushing a toilet, and adjusting the flow of hot water accordingly.
  • The second type works by continuously mixing a stream of cold water into the stream of heated water to maintain a pre-determined safe temperature.

Different types of anti-scald devices work in different ways, but each serves the same purpose and needs to be installed by a professional plumber, such as King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, to ensure the device is installed and functions correctly.

Benefits of anti-scald devices

The main benefit of an anti-scald device is protection against severe burns resulting from scalding water flowing from a shower or other faucet. Children and the elderly are at particular risk of being scalded and a sudden increase in water temperature can also lead to injuries from falls, especially among the elderly, as they attempt to quickly adjust the temperature of a shower or faucet. Severe burns from scalding water can also result in other complications, such as:

  • Costly hospital stays
  • Painful skin grafts or plastic surgery
  • Risk of heart attacks, particularly among the elderly

Call King for plumbing installation

If you need an anti-scald device installed on your water heater, contact us at King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We offer efficient, high-quality service to our customers and we’ll ensure that your device is installed and working correctly. Your family’s safety is our top priority, and we put our expertise to work for you.

Have a professional help you locate hidden leaks

Do you have a sneaking suspicion you have a water leak somewhere in your home? If so, it’s best that you immediately call the plumbing professionals from King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We specialize in helping local homeowners locate hidden leaks, and we can help you get to the bottom of the issue.

Have our plumbers locate hidden leaks, including those caused by frozen pipes.

Have our plumbers locate hidden leaks, including those caused by frozen pipes.

In this blog, we’ll review some quick ways you can be on the lookout for leaks, and why you should call in the experts as soon as you suspect you have a leak in your home.

3 ways to be vigilant when it comes to leaks

Keep an eye on your bill

If your water bill has gone up but you haven’t changed how much water you use, it could be a major sign you’re in need of leak detection. Rather than keep paying more than necessary or speaking to utilities representatives who can’t pinpoint what’s going on, have a plumber come out to see what’s what and help you locate hidden leaks.

That being said, it could be a long time before your next water bill. You may not want to sit that long on a leak. If you have other reasons to suspect you have a leak, you should call King for 24/7 emergency service here in Chicagoland.

Use food coloring

Another way to determine if you have a leak is to squeeze a few drops of food coloring into your toilet tank. If food coloring ends up in the bowl without you flushing, you probably have a leak.

Sniff out the problem

Take a whiff of the air under basins, inside cabinets underneath the sink, and other areas where there’s exposed piping. If you catch the smell of mildew or mold, it could be because you have a leak.

Locate hidden leaks by calling our friendly plumbers

The reason to turn detection over to our expert plumbers is that they have all the necessary equipment, techniques, and expertise. Commonly used leak detection equipment includes:

  • Listening discs
  • Acoustic amplifiers
  • Plumbing cameras
  • Video inspection tools

Plug up leaks in your plumbing and in your spending

By allowing a leak to go on a minute longer than necessary, you’re wasting money. The investment made in a knowledgeable plumber and a treatment plan pays for itself over the years. Leave temporary or questionable fixes alone and invest in a genuine solution.

Stop leaks from ruining your finances, your home, and your peace of mind. Contact our team here at King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing to know for sure whether you have a leak and plug it up if you do. We’re here to take care of all your plumbing issues, as well as any problems you may have with your HVAC system.

Here’s how to deal with frozen pipes in your home this winter

Frozen pipes are the fear of every Chicago homeowner. All it takes is one cold night, one problem with your furnace, and you’re suddenly dealing with pipes filled with ice. In this blog, we’ll discuss what frozen pipes are, how to deal with frozen pipes this winter, and what not to do when your pipes freeze.

For fast, reliable plumbing services here in Chicagoland, call your friends at King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We offer 24/7 emergency frozen pipe repair services here in Oak Lawn, Frankfort, and Joliet, IL.

Avoiding frozen pipes is easy with these tips from KingWhy are frozen pipes such a problem?

As water freezes, it also expands. You may see this phenomenon when you make ice in a freezer ice tray: even when you fill the water up to the fill line, the resulting ice cubes often freeze over the top of that line.

In that scenario, the water has room to expand into as it freezes. However, in the case of your home’s pipes, there is no where for the ice to go. As the molecules expand, they push against the metal or ceramic sides of the pipe, exerting tremendous pressure on the interior walls.

Best case, the pipe walls hold, and there’s no long-term damage to your pipes. Worst case, they don’t, and you suddenly have water flooding into your home.

How to deal with frozen pipes this winter

Call us. Seriously: if you suspect your pipes have frozen, you need to call a licensed, professional plumber immediately. Doing so increases the chances that we can safely thaw out your pipes without long-term structural damage.

After you’ve called, shut off all the water to your home using the main water shut-off valve. There’ll still be some residual water in your home’s pipes, but this will at least limit the amount that can come out of a cracked pipe.

Here’s what not to do

Never try to thaw your home’s frozen pipes yourself! There’s a lot of “home remedies” out there on the Internet, from using a hair dryer to an electric blanket. At best, they just don’t work. At worst, they can actually increase the stress on your pipes, leading to a burst and other problems down the road. Or, they can present a danger to yourself and your family. Take that hair dryer, for instance. You’re using an electric appliance in a position where, if something went wrong, there could be water everywhere.

A professional plumber can help inspect the plumbing system prior to beginning the thawing, which helps identify if freeing the ice in one spot is going to cause a torrent in another damaged spot.

Call King for 24/7 frozen pipe services

If you suspect that your home’s pipes have frozen, call our team for 24/7 plumbing repair here in Chicagoland.

Here are our best tips for preventing frozen pipes this winter

On average, Chicago winters have highs just above freezing. Any time the temperature dips below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, there is a risk that your water pipes can freeze. Frozen pipes can crack and leak, which is why preventing frozen pipes is so important.

To avoid the need for emergency plumbing repair this winter, call King. We offer free plumbing inspections here in Oak Forest, Orland Park, Joliet, and other parts of Chicagoland. Our experienced plumbers are ready to help you with your plumbing needs, and to help you assess your risk for frozen pipes this winter.

Avoiding frozen pipes is easy with these tips from KingEnsure you have sufficient heat

Before winter hits, you want to make sure your home is ready for the cold months ahead. A furnace tune-up in the fall is one part of frozen pipe prevention. This service ensures your home has enough heat to protect you interior pipes and prevent freezing.

Know your high-risk areas

Exposed pipes, such as those in a basement or home exterior, are at the highest risk for freezing. However, an easy fix is to look into is insulation. Pipes in a basement, crawlspace or attic can be wrapped in foam, while external faucets can be protected with faucet covers.

Let warm air circulate and keep cold air out

Keep your garage door shut to prevent cold air from seeping in. You also want to use the warm air inside your home to protect interior pipes, such as those under a kitchen countertop. Open the cabinet doors as often as possible to allow for air circulation that helps in avoiding frozen pipes.

Drain faucets for reduced risk

You won’t be watering your lawn when the temperature is below freezing, so turning off the flow of water to your exterior faucets should pose no issue. Most switches are located in a basement or similar area. Once the water’s off, open your faucet all the way to let water drain out.

Know who your local plumber is

In the event some of your pipes freeze, you need a plan of action. A licensed plumber from King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing can assess the damage and determine what sort of repairs you might need. We are also available to help with your winter prep with a whole-house heating tune-up.

Preventing frozen pipes during a cold Chicago winter takes knowledge and proper planning. With our help, you can avoid common pitfalls during winter and protect your home from water damage. To learn more about our plumbing services, call us today.