Frequently Asked Questions for Plumbing Services
Q: How do I prevent my pipes from freezing in the winter?
A: Make sure you turn off the water to your outside pipes. Drain the faucets to make sure there isn’t any water left in them. For inside pipes, wrap pipes that are in exposed areas like basements or garages with insulation. And open cabinet doors to let heat circulate around the pipes during extreme cold spells.
Q: My sink drain is always clogged. How can I prevent this?
A: If it’s in the kitchen, avoid dumping grease down the drain. Also avoid stringy vegetables like celery. Use some ice cubes and cut up lemons to help keep your disposal running properly. In bathroom drains, be sure to use a strainer to capture any hair. It’s best to avoid caustic drain cleaners like Drano, as they can damage your pipes. Instead, have a plumber clean your drain every six months.
Q: Are there ways to conserve water usage?
A: The newer low-flow toilets use about half the water an old toilet uses per flush. Low flow showerheads and facets will help you conserve water as well. The newer tankless water heats offer you instant hot water, resulting in savings as well as conserving water.
Q: Why am I always running out of hot water?
A: It could be that your water heater is too old. Make sure you flush out your water heater once a year, as it helps prevent a buildup of sediment in the tank. That will help your extend the life of a water heater, which is usually about 10 years.
Q: We noticed our water pressure is running much lower. What’s going on?
A: Poor water pressure could be the result of older pipes. The older they get, the more there is a buildup of rust which causes the inside diameter of the pipe to shrink – resulting in less water flowing through them. The only solution is to replace the old pipes.
Q: I keep hearing about tankless hot water heaters. Are they really better?
A: Overall they will save you on energy costs – about 30% over a gas water heater – and 50% on an electric one. There are other advantages, too. They save on space, provide endless hot water and there’s no risk of any water damage. Plus, they last about twice as long as a regular water heater.
Q: How can I tell if my toilet is leaking?
A: A quick way to test it is to put a few drops of red food coloring in your tank. If the water in the bowl turns red, then water is seeping from the tank. This should be repaired immediately.
Q: What’s the best type of plunger to use?
A: There are many different types of plungers on the market to unclog a sink, toilet, bathtub, etc. They all work on the same principle, using pressure to unblock a drain, and most are similarly effective. Professionals prefer using the accordion type plunger, so if you’re in the market for a new one – that’s the one to choose.
Q: How do I know if my sump pump is working?
A: If your pump has a piggyback plug, unplug it from the pump’s plug and plug it into any electric outlet. The pump should run immediately. If not, the pump will not work when needed, and it should be repaired or replaced.
Q: My pipes start “rattling” when I turn on the hot water. What causes that?
A: Usually this is caused by water lines that are not fully secured. The water lines either bang against one another or against the wood of your floor joists. It’s an easy fix – just get some copper or plastic pipe hangers and use them to secure the pipes to the joists.’