Advocate Blog

Lees Summit ceiling leak troubleshooting Burst pipes

Leaking Ceiling

Advocate Master Plumbing has been helping lees summit plumbing customers with leaking ceiling diagnostics for years. A ceiling water leak can be scary. Water streaming from a light fixture or water stains on your ceiling can just make you see dollar signs. Finding the cause of the leak doesn’t have to cost you anything. Let us show you how our plumbers approach ceiling leak detection.

A plumbers diagnostic approach to a leaking ceiling

When I get a plumbing service call for a leaking ceiling I already know what it might be. There are a few very common reasons for leaks. And while taking the call I always have some questions for the customer. Then when I arrive I let them vent a bit and tell me their story. Even though this is routine for me, it’s a major life event for them. Once they’re more relaxed I can begin the leak detection process. It always begin with further questions.

Where is your ceiling leaking?

This is an obvious question. And usually I’m told during my customers retelling of the events. A brownish water mark on the ceiling is a small leak. But a larger leak will include a long straight brownish line. This is pooled water finding a seam in the drywall.

Is there a bathroom above the leaking ceiling?

It’s uncommon for pipes to leak. It’s usually a plumbing connection to the pipes. So I always ask if there’s a bathroom above the leak. A leaking tub or shower is most common. A leaking toilet is also very common. Then I try to go deeper with my questioning.

Leaking tub

leaking bathtub waste and overflow drain assembly
tub waste & overflow

If I suspect a leaking tub I’ll first look at the caulking and grout around the tub. Caulking and grout are both temporary. They both need occasional maintenance or replacement. Shrinking caulk can actually channel water into the wall. And grout voids allow water to saturate backer board/drywall. The tile depends on this for structural integrity.

I’ll also check for a cracked tub or loose tub drain connection. And lastly, I’ll check for a loose overflow assembly or shower valve trim. This is usually easily repaired by either tightening a screw or sealing with silicone caulk. I’ll always use clear 100% silicone caulk. Clear because it’s easier to work with.

Leaking shower

Leaking shower, shower drain leak
Plastic shower drain

A shower leak will be checked the same as the tub leak. But I’ll also check the special shower drain. A cracked shower drain on the shower base is very common. The shower bases can sometimes flex when walked on. If the drains are made of plastic, the flange portion of the shower drain can crack or loosen. This will require a replacement. My preferred shower drain replacement is manufactured by Sioux Chief and is brass. This is a permanent repair.

Leaking toilet

Leaking toilet wax ring
Leaking toilet wax ring

A toilet leak can be caused from a multitude of things. To find the cause of a leaking toilet when water is on the floor you always look up. Follow the leak upward until there is no leak. Then look down. For more about this you can check the DIY toilet repair page.

A leaking ceiling that’s caused by a toilet will sometimes not show any water on the floor. If it’s a leaking toilet wax ring then that just requires a wax ring replacement. But if the toilet flange is too far below the floor you may need a flange extension. The wax isn’t meant to seal a large gap. It will sag over only a few years. But sometimes leaking toilet wax ring is due to a loose toilet caused by loose bolts or a cracked toilet flange.

Have you used the garden hose recently?

leaking spigot, burst hydrant
Frozen & burst sillcock

A burst sillcock can occur when a garden hose is left attached during cold weather. An older sillcock that isn’t frost free needs to be shut off inside the house and drained. But normally you’ll have a frost free hydrant style sillcock. They are specifically designed to drain themselves. This keeps the water pipe far from cold air. But they can’t drain if you leave the hose on. Trapped water freezes. As it freezes it builds pressure. Enough pressure to crack the brass sillcock housing. But a water leak will only occur when the sillcock is turned on. And it’ll leak inside while you’re outside wondering where all your water pressure went.

Have you been using the kitchen sink?

We all use the kitchen sink daily. But sometimes a large amount of water at the ceiling and wall connection can mean a cracked kitchen drain stack offset. The kitchen drain stack is a pipe that runs from under your sink, inside the wall and down to the basement. The kitchen sink is often on an exterior wall. But the wall is sitting on a concrete foundation. So the drain needs to offset about 6 inches to get around the top of the concrete wall. If you have black ABS plastic drain pipes it’s very possible this drain pipe has cracked. And the offsets are a weak point. This is especially true when there’s been settling in a house.

Frozen and burst water pipes

This isn’t a question. During cold weather a frozen pipe can burst and leak in a garage ceiling or along an exterior wall. Shower drains and tub drains can freeze and leak. Cold weather highlights the weaknesses in your home insulation. For more information about this you can go to How to Deal with Frozen Pipes to prevent this.

Leaking plumbing appliances

Normally a water heater will be on the lowest level of the home. This is also true of an hvac system or washing machine. But sometimes they aren’t. So check behind and under the washing machine. Test the drain for intermittent drain clogs. Check the water heater for leaks. They can have thermal expansion that will cause the relief valve to only leak occasionally. And an air conditioner condensate drain can back up. A condensate pan can clog creating water streaks down the side of the a/c. A furnace humidifier drain hose can clog or leak as well.

Some uncommon causes of leaking ceilings

When all else fails you look to the uncommon things. A roof offset near the ceiling leak can mean some roof flashing needs to be sealed. Leaking from a bathroom can be from an improperly sealed shower door or just splashing in the tub. A leak in the middle of the house with no plumbing fixtures around it can mean someone dropped some water on the floor or a water pipe leak or a leaking drain or vent pipe connection. I’ve even seen nails or screws that take years to rust away after penetrating a water or drain pipe.

Who fixes leaking ceilings

Finding the cause of a leaking ceiling is where a good plumber earns his pay. It can be frustrating trying to find the cause. And we don’t want to just start cutting holes in ceilings without being sure. But sometimes it’s all we can do. So in short, don’t hire a handyman for this. And don’t try to DIY this. A ceiling leak should be left to the professionals. Call your local Lees Summit plumber near you. Advocate Master Plumbing will perform a leak detection in a methodical and professional manner while minimizing damage to your home.

Frozen pipe repair Burst pipes

Frozen Pipe Repair

When winter comes and the winds kick up we plumbers are busy with frozen pipe repair. But sometimes you just can’t wait. In this article we’ll discuss how your local lee’s Summit plumbers deal with frozen pipe repair near you. Since soldering copper pipes is a skill most homeowners don’t possess and gluing water pipe can take too long, an alternative way will be discussed.

Push-to-connect fittings

How push-to-connect coupling works
Push-to-connect coupling

Push-to-connect fittings are a brass transition fitting. If you have to repair a pipe that’s either copper, pex or cpvc, these will work in a hurry. And when your water is shut off you’re always in a hurry. They work on the same premise as the old Chinese finger tricks. You push the pipe inside the fittings and a set of “teeth” shaped inward like sharks teeth hold onto the pipe to prevent it from coming out. An o-ring inside the fitting seals around the exterior of the pipe. This creates a water-tight seal.

How to use push-to-connect fittings

If these sound too easy then you’re partly right. For them to work you need to be sure the o-ring can seal onto the pipe securely. That means the pipe needs to be cut straight and the outside can’t have any solder, rough edges or nicks. It also means you need to be sure to push the pipe all the way into the fitting. Make a mark on the pipe showing the correct depth. And don’t allow any sharp edges to damage the o-ring as the pipe is inserted. Lastly, be sure the pipe and fitting stays straight. Any crooked angles or awkward stresses could mean a leak.

Frozen pipe repair with push-to-connect fittings

Every job demands the right tool. In this situation which tool you need depends on the type of pipe you’re working with. Since these fittings only work with copper, pex and cpvc we’ll discuss the necessary tools for working with them.

Cutting different types of pipe

To begin the repair you’ll need to shut your house water off and drain the water system down. Then you’ll have to cut out the damaged section of pipe. But first, let’s look at how to cut different types of common water pipe.

Copper pipe

Copper pipe is the most standard type of water pipe in homes these days. And since frozen pipes are routinely in tight spots, the usual tubing cutter won’t work. The Autocut copper tubing cutter is the tool of choice. It’s simple. It’s small for those tight spaces. And you don’t have to know a lot about plumbing to use them. You do, however, have to know if you’re working with. The size should be printed on the pipe.

Copper tube cutter
Autocut copper tube cutter

To cut with the Autocut copper tubing cutter you simply open the Autocut. Then attach it to the point on the pipe where you want to cut. Then following the directional arrow on the tool, rotate it around the pipe until the cutter wheel has completed the cut. Since you’re cutting out a section of pipe you cut the other side the same way. In this situation you’ll be cutting out the frozen and burst section of pipe.

Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX)

repair pex pipe
Plastic tube cutter

Pex pipe is becoming the most common pipe material in new home builds. It has a lot of advantages. One is it’s easy to work with. To cut this particular type of pipe you simply use a plastic tube cutter. Like the copper pipe, you cut out the burst section. There’s usually a little slack in this pipe. Because of this, you should be able to work with it pretty easily after cutting out the burst section.

 

Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC)

cut cpvc pipe with a saw
Cutting CPVC pipe

Working with CPVC pipe is the same as working with pvc pipe. You can just use a saw to cut it. A plastic tubing cutter can be used for a cleaner cut. But it takes some work. If you choose to just saw this pipe be sure to clean the debris from the cut. But gluing this pipe really isn’t an option. You’re working with a pressurized water line. The glue will need 24 hours to cure. Most people won’t want to wait that long to get their water back on.

Repairing the pipe

push-to-connect coupling
Copper, PEX, CPVC pipe repair

After you have cut out the damaged pipe you’ll need to repair it. The easiest type of push-to-connect fitting for this repair is the slip repair coupling. These work easily by allowing you to replace the cut out section of pipe with just one fitting.

To begin, be sure your cut is no larger than 2 inches. Clean each end of the cut pipe. Place a mark on each end of the pipe noting the correct depth for insertion. This should be on the packaging. Push the “slip” end on first. Then using the specialty tool slide the the other end together. After the repair you’ll need to slowly turn on your house water to test for leaks. I prefer to partially turn it on. This will allow it to fill slowly and avoid stirring up debris. And if you have a leak it won’t be nearly as bad. Then turn the water the rest of the way on.

Who to call for a frozen pipe repair

When pipes freeze and burst it’s usually at a really bad time. Your water is shut off. You may have your insurance company on the phone. There probably have fans blowing and water restoration people walking around your home. It’s all you can do to keep your family calm. So you’ll want to call your local Lees Summit plumbers at Advocate Master Plumbing. We’ll be prompt, professional and fair. Now please enjoy this instructive video from Sharkbite regarding this repair.

Older Delta faucet repair Faucet Repair

Older Delta Faucet Repair

The single most common faucet repair Advocate Master Plumbing performs is the older Delta faucet repair. Our plumbers have had so many customers ask them about it that I’ve decided to write a specific post about it. I’ve written about this in the past but not to the extent that I am now. I’ll describe how this faucet repair is done by your local plumbers in Lees Summit. I’m going to begin with a video. Watch it first. And I’ll then give you the step by step diy faucet repair info.

Older single handle Delta faucet repair

I’m going to discuss the most common Delta single handle faucet design. It’s important to remember that the style doesn’t mean much here. It’s only the guts of the faucet that we’ll be worrying about. You’ll find different designs and finishes for the same faucet. And I’m going to discuss the way I do it. Faucet repairs are done in various ways by professional plumbers.

older delta faucet repair
Delta RP3614 faucet repair kit

Tools and parts you’ll need

  1. Delta faucet handle repair kit RP3614 & for kitchen faucets you’ll also need RP63136
  2. Plumbers grease -Heat proof grease – Waterproof grease. All the same stuff.
  3. Mesh sand cloth
  4. Long handle pliers. Channel locks are ok. Wilde brand are best.
  5. Multi-bit screwdriver

    Delta RP63136 faucet repair kit
    Delta RP63136 faucet repair kit
  6. Hook and pick set
  7. Needle nose pliers

Step by step instructions

This is dry reading. But read the whole thing first. Then begin your project. This is how we repair faucets near you.

  1. Shut the water off. If you don’t have faucet water shutoffs or you do and they’re scary looking, just shut the water off to your whole house.
  2. Plug the sink drain so no loose parts fall down the drain.
  3. Remove the single handle. If you have a crystal handle you’ll have to pry the index button out of the middle of the handle with your screwdriver. Then remove the handle screw and then the handle. If you have a brass lever handle use the allen wrench end of the Delta faucet wrench that comes in your RP3614 repair kit to remove the allen screw at the base of the handle and wiggle it off.
  4. Remove the bonnet nut. (The dome shaped cap.) You’ll use your pliers for this. If the bonnet nut is seized, very common problem, use penetrating oil, CLR, WD40 or just a lot of elbow grease to remove it. If you still can’t get it off I’ve gently sawed the cap at it’s base and popped it open with a flat head screwdriver. But it may be easier to just replace the faucet at this point.
  5. Remove the cam and packing and ball assembly.
  6. Using the slightly angled pick remove the rubber seats and springs inside the base of the faucet.
  7. If there are any hard water deposits use your sandcloth mesh to rubbed them off. Don’t use a pick or screwdriver. You can mar the housing making it impossible to seal correctly.
  8. Lubricate the inside of the faucet housing and threads with your plumbers grease.
  9. Lubricate the new rubber seats in your handle repair kit. This will prevent cracking and allow for a better seal.
  10. Put the smaller end of each conical spring inside each rubber seat. Then put your straight pick through the top of the rubber seat and spring. Using the pick as a guide, place the end of the pick inside each seat orifice inside the faucet and slide the seat and spring in place while pulling the pick out. You may need to work it in place with your finger until it pops in place.
  11. If the old ball assembly has a straight shaft then you’ll be using the triangular cam. If it has a triangular shaft you’ll use the cam with the straight groove. Just look at your old parts. If you’re reusing your old ball assembly gently scrub any hard water deposits off with your sandcloth mesh and lubricate it with your plumbers grease. Place the ball assembly into the housing being sure to match the groove in the side of the ball assembly with the little nub on the interior housing of the faucet.
  12. Lubricate the cam and packing with your plumbers grease. Put them together and place them on top of the ball assembly. Be sure to match up the nub on the outside of the cam with the groove on the edge of the faucet housing.
  13. Put one finger through the bonnet nut and use the same finger to push and hold down the cam and packing while threading the bonnet nut on with your other hand. Try it a couple of times. You’ll get it.
  14. Reassemble handle. Turn the water back on. Test for leaks. If the cam and packing leaks at all use the Delta wrench with the 2 prongs to thread the top of the cam clockwise a little.
Older Delta faucet repair
Delta kitchen faucet parts

Delta single handle kitchen faucet vegetable sprayer

If it’s a kitchen faucet you’re repairing you may find that the vegetable sprayer isn’t working correctly. It will often get jammed up with hard water or the the rubber seals will get stuck. For this repair we’ll just dive into the middle of the previous instructions.

Before beginning step 6 you’ll want to wiggle the whole kitchen spout off the faucet housing. You’ll need to rotate it back and forth while pulling up. You’ll see two o-rings around the exterior of the faucet housing. Using your angled pick remove them. Then you’ll see a round plastic stem near the base of the front of the faucet housing. This is the diverter valve. I use needle nose pliers or my pick set to remove the old one. If there’s any hard water deposits use your sandcloth mesh to remove them. Lubricate the opening with heat proof grease. Lubricate the new diverter valve (Delta RP63136 diverter valve) Press the new valve into the faucet. Lubricate the two large o-rings and install them in the appropriate spots on the shaft. Clean and lubricate the inside of the faucet spout housing and slide it back onto the faucet housing. Then proceed to step 6 above.

 

Older Delta Faucet Repair Near You

This sounds like a lot. If you feel overwhelmed or just want a professional to handle it feel free to call Advocate Master Plumbing. We’ve been repairing older Delta faucets for over 27 years. We have fair pricing and don’t send salesmen into your home.

gas range conversion Gas Water Heater

Converting to a Gas Range

Converting to a gas range from an electric range is a common homeowner remodel project. Advocate Master Plumbing has performed many gas pipe installation for our plumbing customer s for this purpose. And there are many pros and cons to it. But that’s not what this post is about. We’re going to be discussing the plumbing considerations when converting gas. Just remember to call your local Lee’s Summit plumbers for a safe conversion.

What’s involved in converting to a gas range

After making the choice to convert you’ll need to know what’s involved in the project. There are a few things to look at before beginning. Our master plumbers perform these steps each and every day. These are the basic steps we take:

  1. Choose a range that fits in your counters
  2. Have a gas line installed for your range
  3. Have the electrical outlet changed to accommodate new gas range
  4. Have your gas range installation done by a professional

Choose a range

When choosing a range you’ll have many personal considerations. But on the mechanical side of the project you want to be sure that the new range fits. This is where our professional plumbing services can begin to help. So measure your old electric range and be sure that the new gas range will fit. Be sure that the height is right with your countertops and it will fit flush against the wall.

Have a gas line installed

gas range shut off, gas leak detection
Range gas connections

Next you’ll need a gas pipe installed. A master plumber with gas pipe installation training and certifications will be needed for this part. They’ll have to determine that you have enough gas service for the project. They’ll need to size the gas pipe to your particular home. A gas shutoff will have to be installed directly behind your range. If the new gas pipe is CSST flexible gas pipe it will have to be electrically grounded. And a gas leak test will be needed to confirm it’s safe. Be sure to hire a master plumber.

 

Have the electrical outlet changed

converting to gas range, range electrical outlet
Electric range outlet

Yep. You still need electricity for a gas range. That click you here when turning on a burner is the spark ignitor. It’s electrical. The outlet behind your electric range is too large for the new gas range. You’ll need to hire a professional electrician for this part. But to them this is a simple job. So don’t worry too much.

Have the new range installed

The last thing you’ll need done is having the range installed. If you’ve done all the other steps it will be more cost effective to have the store install it for you. Their installers can usually handle this part. But I tell my plumbing customers to have a professional plumber install it for you. Full disclosure, I’m not a fan of this job. I’m not trying to drum up business. But when attaching a flexible gas connection to the back of a range you can create leaks. These connectors can easily kink. And the installers often don’t realize the flared gas connectors need liquid thread compound applied to them to make a good seal.

Who should I call for a gas pipe installation

At Advocate Master Plumbing we offer full gas pipe installation and repair services. We’ll install a gas termination flange inside the wall to allow for a flush fit. A quarter turn gas shut off will be attached. A gas leak detection will be performed prior to completion. All work will be done to local plumbing code. And all the best materials will be provided to ensure your family’s safety. We also offer hot water heater installations and sump pump replacements!

How a humidifier works, Lees Summit plumber Plumbing appliances

Whole House Humidifier

What does a humidifier have to do with plumbing? Aren’t they to be serviced by heating and air conditioning contractors? Well, the lines can be blurred a bit. There was a time when heating and cooling was considered plumbing. But do to technological advancement, the trades got more complicated. And the heating and air conditioning trade was spawned. And for good reason. You want a specialist when hiring a craftsman. Much like water heaters. But in this case, they blend a bit.

What is a humidifier

A humidifier is a device that adds moisture to the air. In this case, I’m discussing the whole house humidifiers mounted to the heating and air conditioning system housing. They have a water connection that’s usually attached to the water line above your water heater. A quarter inch copper tube runs from the water connection to the solenoid valve of the humidifier. And on the simple humidifiers, a stream of water flows over a paper pad. A separate duct bypasses the air conditioning coils and allows air to blow across the wet pad. This humidifies the air in your home.

Advantages of a Humidifier

One of the obvious benefits of the humidifier are that it helps dry skin from dry winters. This is especially true when you have a gas furnace. They tend to make things even dryer. But dry air affects your home as well. The wood work will crack less. The carpets won’t build static as much. And you can keep the temperature down on the furnace more if the humidity level in your home is higher.

Disadvantages of a humidifier

There is an upfront expense of installing a whole house humidifier. And the added moisture can sometimes encourage mold. They tend to waste water. They lower the efficiency of the blower in your hvac system. They need maintenance. If you forget to turn them off in the summer it will increase your air conditioning costs.

What kind of maintenance

A standard whole house humidifier needs to be manually turned on and off each year. That means turning the humidistat down, turning the duct bypass to “summer” mode. This closes the duct bypass. And replacing the humidifier pad in spring. If you don’t, it’ll grow mold. And you don’t want that in your homes air.

Common humidifier repairs

The repairs are where the plumbers will often come into play. Though they are simple machines, you always want a professional to both install and repair them. Have a trained hvac technician install the unit. But the plumbing you might leave to the plumbers.

Humidifier water shutoffs

Humidifier saddle valve, Lees Summit plumber
Saddle valve

The water shutoffs are the part of the system that I often deal with. Air

Humidifier quarter turn water shutoff, Lees Summit plumber
Quarter turn shutoff

conditioning techs will install the self-piercing saddle valves to create a quick and easy water connection. They’re often used as refrigerator water shutoffs, too.These have problems with calcifying shut. As a plumber, I can tell you that a standard quarter turn shutoff valve, like you’d see under a faucet, is what you want. They have a full port opening and will last a very long time.

 

Solenoid valve

Humidifier solenoid valve
Humidifier solenoid valve

The humidifier solenoid valve sounds very technical. But it isn’t. It’s just a water shutoff valve that’s controlled by the appliance. They tend to calcify, too. This is especially true when the system is attached to the hot water side of the water heater piping. They have two little wires, two little compression water connections and two little screws. The average diy homeowner can handle this.

 

Humidifier evaporator pad replacement

The evaporator pad replacement is more maintenance than repair. But it’s worth mentioning. Get

Humidifier evaporator pad
Evaporator pad

the model of your unit off the front. Go to your local home store and get the new pad. They usually run less than twenty bucks. Pull the cover off the front of your humidifier. Remove the old pad from the plastic framing and slide the new one in.

 

In conclusion

Don’t let your whole house humidifier intimidate you. They are an important component in many home heating systems. Basic maintenance can be taken care of by your average diy homeowner. But when you need some basic repairs done call a professional. If you find that there’s no water flowing to your humidifier call your local Lees Summit plumber near you. In this case it’s Advocate Master Plumbing. We are also Lee’s Summit sump pump installation and repair specialists!

washing machine plumbing, washing machine water shutoffs. Plumbing appliances

Washing Machines

The plumbing in washing machines are usually pretty routine. But for an existing washing machine it’s often incorrect. In this post we’ll discuss the plumbing components related to your washing machines.

Washing machines water shutoffs

The water shutoffs are what I work with most. Often when someone moves they find that the water shutoffs not only leak at the spout but they leak at the pack nut. While the pack nut can be easily tightened a leaking spout usually means replacement. You don’t want to try and repair a thirty or fourty year old valve. It’s a waste of time.

Types of shutoffs on washing machines

washing machine quarter turn water shutoffs
Quarter turn shutoffs

This may seem silly but the type of water shutoffs is really important. An

washing machines single lever water shutoffs
Single lever shutoff

older style multi-turn valve is fine and can be repaired easily over the years. And a single lever valve that operates both the hot and cold at the same time may seem convenient. But that valve can also leak between the hot and cold and create a  cross connection. (This is the first place I look whenever I have a plumbing customer with intermittent cold water in the hot side.) But individual quarter turn water shutoffs are what I prefer. They are easy to use and rarely leak.

Hoses for washing machines

Stainless steel washing machine hoses
Stainless steel hoses

Standard rubber washing machine hoses are suppose to be replaced every three to five years. And if you have excessive water pressure, even more often. And these normally come stock with the machines. But manufacturers are transitioning to heavy duty plastic. I haven’t heard too many issues with these so far. But my favorite washer hoses are stainless steel. They just don’t break. And you can reuse them. But you may need to replace the washers each time.

 

Washing machines inlet screens

I’m not trying to be overly inclusive but the screens in the washer water connections are too

washing machine screens
clogged inlet screens

important to overlook. A plumbing customer complaining about not having enough hot water flow in their washing machine is almost always a build up in the screens. Since water gets debris in it, the screens need to be regularly cleaned. And not just on the hot side. The cold water side gets clogged too.

Washing machines drain

The washing machine drain isn’t just a piece of pipe. It needs to be 2 inch pipe. Older homes may

Washing machines plumbing
Washing machine standpipe

have an 1-1/2″ drain pipe. But the pumps were smaller back then. It needs to have a p-trap between 6 and 18 inches above the floor if it’s a relatively new home. In older homes it may be in the basement floor. But you must have a p-trap. Otherwise, you’ll have sewer gas in your home. And you want the top of the washer standpipe to be level with the top of the overflow of the machine. If it’s shorter it can overflow with just a little bit of a flow restriction. If it’s too high the pump is being overworked. It won’t last as long.

 

Washing machines discharge hose

This is more an appliance thing than a plumbing thing. But sometimes the lines can be blurred. Plumbers will sometimes get calls about a water leak by the washing machine. The discharge hose is, on occasion, the culprit. It’s normally either a recent move that’s dislodged the clamp at the base of the machine or a hose that’s jumped out of the drain. You always want to zip tie them to the water shutoffs if you can.

Washing machine drain pans

If your washing machine is on a second floor you should have a drain pan under it. As a

washing machines drain pan
Washer drain pan

disclaimer, I hate this. I think pans are more trouble than they’re worth. But it’s plumbing code. The assumption here is that if there’s a leak it’ll go into the pan. But rarely will the leak be under the washing machines. The pan needs to have a drain pipe connected to it that drains indirectly into a basement floor drain. If you have a floor drain under the machine with a p-trap on the second floor, that’s wrong. A p-trap implies it’s connected directly to the sewer. This drain is not going to regularly get water in it. The p-trap will dry out. That means you’ll end up with sewer gas in your house.

Who fixes washing machines

To be clear, plumbers don’t normally repair the machines. We only repair the plumbing for the machines. That would include all the things discussed here. And it would of course include washer drain clogs. But that’s a subject for another post. Just remember that if you need a local Lees Summit plumber, please call Advocate Master Plumbing. If we can’t fix it we can usually refer someone that can. And don’t forget to call us if you need a hot water heater installation in Lee’s Summit or Lee’s Summit sump pump replacement!

Dishwasher installer Plumbing appliances

Dishwashers

Plumbers usually only deal with the dishwashers water and drain pipes. We do install dishwashers so a little wiring is involved. But the water and drain pipes are what we get the most calls about. There are a few common complaints that my plumbing customers have that we’ll discuss here.

Why can’t I get my dishwasher to fill with water?

Lees Summit dishwasher installation
Dishwasher water line

Dishwashers water and drain pipes are constructed of only a few materials. The water lines are usually either soft copper or flexible stainless steel. They will sometimes get kinked or clogged with debris or hard water. But a lack of dishwasher water flow is almost always either a damaged water shut off or a water heater flow restriction. I normally hace to replace the angle stop.

 

Why won’t my dishwasher drain?

If your dishwashers not draining it’s usually an appliance issue like debris in the screens of the pump or a pump failure. But sometimes a homeowner installs their own garbage disposal. When they do they’ll forget to remove the knock out in the disposal before attaching the dishwashers drain pipe. This blocks the water from discharging.

Dishwasher not draining
Dishwasher drain pipe

Another reason why it won’t drain is a kitchen sink clog. Since it discharges into the kitchen drain pipes a clog would prevent proper drainage. And sometimes a kitchen drain clog can back up into the dishwasher drain pipe and into the dishwasher itself. That’s why it’s a good idea to elevate the drain pipe as high under the kitchen sink as possible. If the sink clogs it’ll have to almost overflow before any water backs up into the it.

Why does my dishwasher smell?

I was recently working in Lees Summit for a very nice older couple. They had just purchased a brand new dishwasher. They were very proud. But it stunk to high heaven. They cleaned it. They disinfected it. Nothing fixed the problem. There was some food debris in the bottom of their new dishwasher that was too big to fit through the pump screens. So it sat there and rotted.

Another reason is a kitchen sink clog. The clog can be the type we just discussed or it could be a little debris in the garbage disposal blocking the drain port inside. Instead of backing up in the sink it backs up into the dishwasher. Running the garbage disposal should fix it.

Why is my dishwasher leaking?

Leaks can occur from both the dishwasher water and drain pipes. A leak from the drain pipe can occur under the dishwasher. But it usually happens at the kitchen sink drain connection. This will need to be repaired.

If the water pipe leaks it’s normally due to recent work being done. The dishwashers water pipe won’t normally just start leaking unless something has been done to it. Otherwise a dishwasher water leak is the motor/pump seal or the door seal.

Who installs dishwashers?

An inexpensive option to have your dishwasher installed is the store that sold it. As long as there’s no complications they’re a cheaper option. But often the water shut off is old or the water pipe isn’t flexible. So better to call a plumber to install your dishwasher. Call your local Lees Summit plumbers at Advocate Master Plumbing. We’ll get it done right the first time or come back for free. We also offer water heater repairs & sump pump repairs!

refrigerator water pipe Water filtration

Refrigerator Water

Refrigerator water can come with many different plumbing issues. I’m often asked to repair appliances. But as a plumber I explain that I only work on the plumbing that services the refrigerator. In this post I’ll be discussing the various types of plumbing issues that are related to refrigerator water.

What kind of refrigerator water shut off do I need?

refrigerator water shut off
Self piercing saddle valve

Appliance installers are not plumbers. They install the most basic water shut offs that come with refrigerators. The manufacturers furnish a water shut off that’s called a self piercing saddle valve.

Quarter turn refrigerator water shut off

This is a clamp that attaches to a copper water pipe. The clamp has a “needle valve” attached to it that when turned clockwise pierces the copper piping. Then they turn it counterclockwise. This leaves a hole in the pipe that’s about the size of a pencil lead. They then attach their water pipe to that and attach the other end to the refrigerator.

These shut offs are considered junk. Because the pierced opening is so small it eventually clogs with calcium. They are also prone to leaking. What you want is a quarter turn angle stop or straight stop that will not clog. It is similar to your faucet or toilet water shut off. But it has a quarter inch compression connection for refrigerator water lines.

What kind of refrigerator water pipe should I get?

The manufacturer supplied refrigerator water pipe is usually an opaque quarter inch plastic

refrigerator copper water tube
Refrigerator water tubing

water tubing. This tubing is prone to cracking. I recommend getting your own. But the most common option is a flexible quarter inch stainless steel water supply. I use to think this was the best. Then my wife told me she could taste the rubber inside it. It’s amazing what a lady can smell and taste. I now recommend copper tubing only. It’s the best. When installing the tubing you want to leave a few loops behind the refrigerator to create a spring. It will allow the refrigerator to be pulled out and put back without kinking the copper tubing.

 

What kind of refrigerator water filter should I get?

Because the refrigerator water is going to be either drank or used to create ice, filtration is

refrigerator inline filter
Refrigerator inline water filter

preferred. The stock filters are often over priced and not very long lasting. I recommend replacing the filter, when it’s time. with an in line filter that can be picked up at your local home store. These filters can last anywhere from 6 months to 5 years. It depends on the quality of the refrigerator water filter you buy. And when you take the stock filter out the refrigerator won’t leak. You can leave it out. The inline filters are easier to find. They’re cheaper. And they work better.

Who installs refrigerator water pipes?

Plumbers install refrigerator water pipes, shut offs and filters. They not only install them, they check your home for excessive water pressure that could be damaging to the refrigerator solenoid valve. So call your local Lees Summit plumbers at Advocate Master Plumbing. We’re the homeowners advocates. We are also your Lee’s Summit sump pump installation and repair specialists!

Sillcock, Lees Summit plumber Burst pipes

What is a Sillcock

Sillcock, hydrant, outdoor faucet and hose bib all can mean the same thing. I’m not sure why we plumbers have so many different terms for the same thing. But man do we. In this case we’re talking about your hose connection that is mounted on the exterior of your home. In Lees Summit, Missouri we have to be aware of these every winter. If we don’t remove the hoses before the first hard freeze they’ll burst. A sillcock is a faucet that is mounted through the sill plate of your home. It gives you fresh drinking water to either drink, wash your car or water your garden.

Standard Sillcock

A standard sillcock is just a faucet with a handle and spout that’s mounted on the exterior of a house.

frostless hydrant, hose bib
Older style Sillcock

The water pipe that feeds the faucet is just inside the wall. With this type of sillcock there needs to be a water shutoff on the inside of the house. This allows it to be turned off and drained in the winter. If it isn’t, then it and the water pipe to which it’s attached will freeze and burst. You’ll usually only find these on older homes or homes in warmer climates.

 

 

Frost Free Sillcock

A frost free sillcock is also a faucet that provides water to the exterior of the home. It doesn’t need  a water shut off, however. They have an extended stem that shuts the water off inside the home where the air is conditioned year round.

Sillcocks, Lees Summit Plumber
Older & newer sillcock

When you turn it off a small amount of water will drain from it leaving no water exposed to the cold. The newer styles will have a cap on the top of the spout called a vacuum breaker. This protects the city drinking water supply if you have a garden hose attached that’s connected in some way to cleaners of fertilizers. If there’s a fire near by the fire department will use so much water fighting it that the city water pressure will be depleted. This will create a siphoning action from your home that could taint the drinking water supply. The vacuum breaker also aides the water draining from the sillcock when turned off.

Alternative Sillcocks

There are some alternative sillcocks that serve some very important homeowner needs. My favorite is the Woodford model 19 anti-burst faucet. It’s designed with a pressure relief valve. If it starts to freeze and pressure begins building, it’ll allow water to flow backwards into the water piping.

anti burst hydrant, Woodford model 19
New anti-burst sillcock

Other options are the hot and cold sillcock. If you prefer hot water to wash your car this will come in very handy. It comes with separate hot and cold handles but just one spout. Another one comes with a large quarter turn handle. This is a good option for older customers. And commercial buildings love the security key style sillcock. You can’t turn it on without the key.

In conclusion

So if you’re in need of a new sillcock remember there are options. Consider them before having yours replaced. You can also just call Advocate Master Plumbing. We understand your plumbing needs and will offer you your best options. And for more information about all types of faucets visit our faucets service page. And we are also Lee’s Summit premier sump pump repair specialists!

Lees Summit plumber, water filtration Water filtration

Reverse Osmosis Water Filter

If you’re looking for the cleanest water possible have a reverse osmosis water filter installed. Multiple water quality issues are popping up around the country. And if you’ve ever read your yearly water department report you’d wonder who decides what an acceptable level of arsenic is. Lees Summit has pretty good water. But the first thing we did after moving here is install our filtration system.

What is a reverse osmosis water filter

They are a drinking water filtration system that removes contaminants and chemicals by forcing water through a semipermeable filter. It then flushes the contaminants out of the filtration system and into your drains.

How reverse osmosis water filter works, Lees Summit plumbers
How reverse osmosis water filter works

Where is it installed

Most filtration systems are installed under your kitchen sink. This is where you’re going to be using it the most. A separate water spout is installed on the counter for it. There’s a small storage tank and normally a 4 stage filter system. The system attaches to your cold water pipe for it’s water supply. It attaches to the tubular kitchen sink drains for the waste water. But you can install them in your basement if there’s access to the plumbing in the basement ceiling.

What kind of reverse osmosis water filter should I get

When plumbing customers ask me what type of system to get I usually recommend your basic Home Depot GE model. I prefer them because they work very well. They are a great value. And since the filters need to be replaced about every 6 to 9 months it’s easy to find the replacement filters. More expensive models may offer additional features but I like to keep things simple.

Who installs them

Plumbers install reverse osmosis water filter systems. They can seem pretty simple but it’s easy to mess them up. Once installed, you can replace the filters yourself pretty easily. So when you decide you want clean, pure water to drink and cook with call your local Lees Summit plumbing professionals at Advocate Master Plumbing. And check out all the other services we provide.