Plumbing & Water FAQs
We’re Answering the Top Questions Our Customers Ask
Home plumbing and water systems aren’t always as straight-forward as heating and cooling. But there are some key things every homeowner should know to keep things flowing smoothly. Read through our top plumbing and water FAQs and feel free to reach out to our licensed plumbers with any questions.
There are many possible causes, including clogs, a bad flapper or flapper seat which causes a slow leak from the tank into the bowl, or a bad float, refill tube, or inlet-valve assembly which lets water slowly trickle into the tank. No matter the cause, call a professional to have it fixed sooner rather than later. Left untreated, a running toilet can cause your water bill to rise and damage your water system.
Consider adding a water softener to manage hard water and enjoy these key benefits:
- Cleaner, shinier silverware and dishes
- Softer skin and hair
- Reduces soap scum buildup that can be difficult to remove
- Removes hard minerals that get trapped in your clothing
- Preserves the life of your appliances, including coffee makers, ice makers, dishwashers, washing machines, and water heaters
- Lowers your monthly energy costs
Call your water company and ask for the annual Consumer Confidence Report, which reports on water quality and all contaminants that could be present in your area. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that every water agency supply homeowners with one. Or if you have a private well, you can call our pros to perform a water quality test. We can tell you where your levels stand and if you should be concerned.
The following items are common culprits in causing a clogged drain:
- Food waste
- Mineral buildup
- Toilet paper buildup
Besides being annoying, clogged drains can also cause backups and serious damage to your plumbing. Have one of our plumbing professionals out to do an inspection and find the cause of the problem, and then make recommendations and share tips to avoid a recurrence.
A good rule of thumb is to never put anything into your garbage disposal that’s not a biodegradable food. Non-biodegradable foods can damage the blades and motor and cause clogs. To keep your garbage disposal in good condition:
- Pour a little dish soap in the drain and let the garbage disposal run for a minute or so with a cold stream of water after doing the dishes.
- Use your garbage disposal regularly to avoid rust and corrosion.
- Always run cold water when using your garbage disposal to solidify any grease or oils and keep them moving to avoid clogs and buildups.
Keep these foods out of your disposal at all costs:
- Coffee grounds
- Fruit pits
- Potato peels
- Onion skins
- Corn husks
There are a few different things you can grind up to combat garbage disposal odors:
- Ice cubes—toss in a few ice cubes to dislodge any built up gunk (and as an added bonus—to sharpen the grinding blades).
- Baking soda and vinegar—turn on the garbage disposal and pour one cup of dry baking soda down the drain along with a cup of distilled white vinegar. The mixture will bubble up to remove odors and clean out your disposal.
- Lemons—cut lemons into small sections and toss them (rind and all) into your garbage disposal next time you’re grinding up food. The citrus scent gets rid of most smells and is an affordable way to clean your disposal.
If the water seems too hot, your water heater’s thermostat could be malfunctioning or your mineral content could be too high. You can try turning its thermostat down, waiting a few hours, and then testing the water temperature at the faucet. If that doesn’t help, give us a call so we can find out what’s wrong.
Hearing a banging noise coming from your faucet when you turn it on or off isn’t a good sign. It’s caused by water hammer (also called hydraulic shock), which occurs when water flow is disrupted within the pipe. Left untreated, water hammer can weaken pipe joints and cause a leak, or even break a faucet in half. Call for professional service right away.
Find the outlet where your sump pump is plugged in. You’ll see two separate plugs—unplug them both and then plug in just the one for the pump. If it doesn’t immediately turn on, it likely needs repair. You can also test your sump pump by pouring in enough water to raise the float (or you can raise it by hand). Your sump pump should kick in to pump the water away. During testing, don’t let your pump run for more than a few seconds, otherwise you could damage its motor.
There are a few clear signs to keep an eye—or nose—out for:
- Sewage backups and blockages
- Sewer gas odors in or around your home
- Mold growth
- Slow drains
- Extra green, lush patches in your lawn
If any of these signs are present in your home or yard, make sure you call a professional right away to avoid further damage to your sewers and pipes.