Archive for the ‘leaks’ category

Quick Tip #32 – Water Heater Drip Needs Attention

September 28th, 2014

One fine day, you walk past the water heater, and your foot gets wet. Hmm, that’s strange. You take a look and notice a very slow drip – drip – drip from the tube on the side of the water heater. That can’t be too bad, right? Just put a bucket under the tube to catch the water? Sorry, not a good idea.

That tube on the side of the water heater is the temperature and pressure relief (T and P) valve (also called TP and R valve). This valve monitors temperature and pressure inside the tank. If the temperature or pressure becomes too high, the valve will open to dump steam and water. This prevent excessive pressure from building and possibly rupturing the tank.

If you find a leak, this often means the valve is not seating properly, and perhaps debris has built up in the valve. It may also mean the temperature or pressure is too high.

When the T and P valve is leaking, have a plumber check for problems and replace the valve as needed. Don’t ignore this problem, as it could create a safety hazard.

W024C - Water Heater T & P - Drip_300dpi

Quick Tip #2A: Quick – Turn Off the Water! (Cold Climate)

January 6th, 2014

Oh, no! Water is running from somewhere beneath the cabinets and ruining your new kitchen floor. HELP!

P005You can prepare for a crisis like this by knowing how to turn off the water to your home. You should locate the main water valve, know how to operate it, and tag it. Everyone in the household should walk through this drill.

Where is the valve? You don’t know? For us lucky folks in cold climates, supply piping is buried several feet in the ground; the pipe enters the home through the basement or crawl space. Take a look at the illustration. (In warm climates, pipes don’t need to be protected from freezing, and water may enter the house through an exposed valve.)

To find your supply line, look on the street side of your home first. You can also trace the pipe from the water heater to the cold water source. Remember, “right is tight” (off) with older valves. For ball valves: when the handle is perpendicular to the pipe, the water is off. If the valve is rusted or corroded, have a plumber test it and replace it if necessary.

By Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It

Leaks Coming From the Attic

November 18th, 2013

Question:

I have frost in the attic of my five-year old, two-story house. I noticed a small leak coming out of the can light in the bathroom. Do I have enough insulation in my attic? I have 2″ x 4″ ceiling rafters, with ~16 inches of blown-in white insulation. I also have a ridge-vent running along the peak. Could heat be exiting through the attic door, exhaust vents, or can light, then melting the frost?

–Kevin

Answer:

Most folks who study moisture and home systems would identify your issue as an air-leak problem into the attic. Warm, moist air from the heated space is escaping into the attic, and moisture from that air is condensing on the cold roof deck. This may show as ice in very cold weather, and water in warmer weather. The problem is not insulation.

 

I025 - Air Leaks - Top of Wall

You need to search for air leaks at can lights, plumbing, electrical penetrations, chimneys, trap doors, etc. Seal up the air leaks, and the problem will be solved. Sounds easy? It’s not. You need an experienced contractor, who knows how to locate and seal the leaks. However, stopping theair leaks will save lots of energy.

I suspect you saw the leak at the can light because the light heat was melting the frost. The plastic vapor barrier is also open at the can light. If you want more information on attic insulation and air sealing, read my article Insulate Your Attic – But Don’t Stop There!

–Mr. Fix-It

Roof Leaks Every Time it Rains

May 21st, 2013

QUESTION:

I have a roof leak which has ruined the dry wall in one of the rooms. I had a new roof put on by a local company, and spent thousands of dollars trying to get the leak repaired. The roofing folks have visited many times. However, every time it rains, the leak continues. Can you give me any advice?

–CHRIS

ANSWER:

First, try to have the roofing company address the issue, and inform their insurance company. Water damage that results from the workmanship of a roofing contractor should be covered by them, or their insurance policy.

You’ll need to solve the problem. Look for any penetration through the roof. Often, the roof does not leak; it’s just the holes in the roof. For example, look at the chimney, chimney flashing, valleys, vents, and plumbing vent flashings. If you have a masonry chimney in the area of the leak, the problem could be the chimney.

If you can’t get the contractor to respond, I would contact a home inspector from the American Society of Home Inspectors, or an independent roofing consultant. You can find an ASHI inspector by using the search tool. Quiz the inspector about his background in roofing and roof inspections.

–MR. FIX-IT