Plumbing Frequently Asked Questions
Concerned that your plumbing systems might be in need of repair or replacement? Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about home plumbing systems to help you better understand what is or is not “normal” operational factors about your plumbiing systems:
Can chemical drain cleaners take care of a clog?
Homeowners often turn to chemical drain cleaners that are available at retailers to take care of clogs. One disadvantage to using chemical cleaners instead of contacting a plumber is the fact that these cleaners pose a danger to children and pets because of the toxicity of the chemicals present. If they do make it down the drain we are contributing to global pollution. The toxic chemicals can also have a negative effect on your piping as well. Over time these chemicals may deteriorate your pipes from the inside out. When this happens, the drain line(s) will have to be replaced. Don’t confuse toxic drain cleaners with the various drain maintenance products that are on the market. These products contain “friendly” bacteria and enzymes. They work great to keep any drain sludge and grease from building up in the pipes.
How can I find the source of a leak that is not apparent?
Leaks do not always have to occur at the site of a faucet or the visible portion of a pipe. The leak can involve the toilet, which can be determined by adding food dye to the toilet tank and observing whether the dyed water leaks into the toilet bowl within a one hour span. Underground leaks are harder to pinpoint than those that occur at a visible site, and the assistance of a professional plumber like those at Home Service Corp. is necessary to determine the site of the leak and fix it.
What causes hot water to have a foul odor?
Odors that are associated with hot water are caused by a combination of magnesium, sulfur and different kinds of bacteria. Since all of these must be present in order to cause the odor, a magnesium anode rod that is being used to protect pipes may be a factor. We can replace this rod with a different type in order to keep odors under control. However, the odor can be better controlled by killing bacteria present in the pipes. Let the plumbers at Home Service Corp. assist you with this process.
How can homeowners prevent pipes from freezing in the winter?
Pipes that freeze in winter often do so because they are located in unheated areas of a home or are exposed to cold winds. Homeowners can begin to ensure that pipes do not freeze by insulating exposed piping, opening cabinet doors under sinks, sealing air leaks around the outside of the house, shutting off and draining outside faucets, or having a plumbing inspection by Home Service Corp.
How do you fix a running toilet?
It is most likely the flapper in the bottom of the tank, which you can simply replace. Sometimes the chain can be too long and get caught under the flapper. The chain should be long enough to reach from the lever arm to the top of the flapper without pulling on it.
How do I know if my toilet leaks? What should I do?
Toilet leaks occur in two ways and are often very difficult to detect. First, the most common toilet leak and often hardest to detect is caused by a deteriorated or defected flush valve (flapper) or “tank” ball at the bottom of the toilet tank. If the flapper or ball valve does not seat properly and form a water-tight seal, water will leak around it into the toilet bowl. Often, this leak will occur without being heard. Here is an easy way to check for flush valve leaks and in just minutes, you can find out if a toilet is wasting thousands of gallons due to an undiscovered water leak. Remove the tank lid, then flush. After the flapper/tank ball drops and the tank refills, add several drops of dark food coloring or a Fluidmaster leak detector tablet. Wait at least 20 minutes. If any trace of color appears in the toilet bowl, there is a leak. The second most-common type of leak is caused by improperly adjusted or broken fill valve. If the float is set too high or the shut-off valve fails to close completely, water will continue to enter the tank and flow into the overflow tube. This type of leak can be seen simply by taking the tank top off and observing if water is flowing into the overflow tube once the tank is full. Excess water pressure can also have a negative effect on the operating system in your toilet. If you are experiencing either of these types of leaks and do not know how to fix them, call us.
What can contribute to a high water bill besides leaking faucets and/or pipes?
Most leaks in residential plumbing systems are found in the toilet tank. These leaks typically result from worn parts or improper alignment of some part of the flushing mechanism. It is important to stop these leaks because they will cause an increase in your monthly water bill.
Why does my toilet “sweat” and what can I do?
This is caused by cold water filling the tank and humid air in the bathroom. This can cause condensation to form on the outside of the tank. There are a few of things you can do. You can insulate the inside of your tank. They sell kits for this and they work fairly well. The tank covers you can put on the outside help somewhat as well. You can also get a mixing valve. This is put on your cold water supply. It will add just enough hot water to the cold to warm it up. When the tank is filled with water at room temperature it won’t sweat.
Why doesn’t water enter the bowl when I try to flush my toilet?
Make sure the water supply is turned on. If it is, remove the lid to the toilet tank. It is probably the chain or strap to the flapper that is broken or come loose. You could also have a blockage in the toilet rim.
What should I do if I have a major leak in my home?
Turn off your water in the event of an emergency. If the leak is inside your home or you have a burst pipe you should first turn off your water supply at your main shutoff valve. If you do not have a main shutoff valve, or don’t know where it is located, you may turn off your water at your meter in an emergency situation. It is advisable to contact us during such emergencies. If any damage has occurred it is also advisable to contact your insurance company. Do not touch any wet electrical fittings – call in an electrician.
What makes plumbing and drainpipes rattle all the time?
This is usually caused by the water lines not being properly secured. This can be fixed easily but only if your water lines are easily accessible. It means that there are one or more places your water lines come in contact with the wood of your floor joists. You will need to get plastic pipe hangers that go between your water lines and your joists. A defective pressure reducing valve can also cause some very strange noises. Contact us for help.
Do you have more questions? Contact us