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Frequently asked questions

What type of hot water heaters are there?

There is both storage tank and tankless water heater storage tank water heaters have insulated tanks where water is heated and stored until it is needed. Tankless water heaters do not store water, but rather heat water as it passes through the system when needed.

Are there things I should do to maintain my garbage disposal?

There are several things that will keep your garbage disposal working well. First, be sure you are following the garbage disposal manual’s advice on what items to put in the disposal. Second, ice is an effective way of cleaning and sharpening the blades. Third, citrus peels (such as lemons) will act as a deodorizer. You only need to use small pieces.  Drop them in the disposal and then grind them. Finally, be sure that you run your garbage disposal anytime you put food into it. We recommend running the water at the same time until the food has passed through the disposal. Allow the water to run an additional 15-30 seconds so the disposed product flushes completely through the drain line.

How do I remove the white build up from my faucets and what is it?

The white buildup around your faucet head is mineral deposits. The easiest way to remove the deposits is to fill a plastic bag with vinegar. Secure the bag around the faucet head. Leave the bag on the faucet overnight and use an old toothbrush to remove any additional deposits. That should take care of it.

What is a plumbing vent?

Plumbing vents are pipes leading from fixtures to the outside of your house, usually via the roof.

What can cause a toilet to clog frequently?

If your toilet clogs fairly frequently, you need to investigate all the fixtures in your bathroom. Slow drainage in your sink could indicate that you have an obstruction in your main sewer line such as tree roots or sludgy build-up, and that’s going to require a bit more than a cheap plunger. But if the sink has no problem, the source of the clog is probably in your toilet trap. This could be caused by any number of things. If you have kids, don’t be surprised if toys, crayons, socks, toothbrushes or anything else is blocking the line. Or it may be that someone decided to flush facial tissue, paper towels or some product other than toilet paper down the commode. Those papers aren’t designed to disintegrate like TP. Or the problem could be that you simply have a poorly designed toilet and it just doesn’t work very well. In these instances, a plunger can probably create a temporary solution. But if the clogs are frequent, you should probably have a plumber take a look. He can run an auger through the line to clear things up, or if necessary, replace your toilet altogether.

What is the effect of my plumbing vents not working correctly?

Not having proper venting can cause the water in your traps to get sucked out with the other water disposal (commonly called a ‘dry trap’), which opens the door for sewer gases to back up out of the fixtures and into your living space.

How can I tell if my toilet is running?

If you cannot see or hear your toilet running, there are a couple other ways to determine if you have a slow leak. Check to ensure that water is not overflowing into the tank via the overflow pipe. Second, put a couple of drops of food coloring into the tank. If within 15 minutes the water in the bowl changes colors, you will know that water is leaking and that either the ball or flapper needs to be replaced.

Do all leaky fittings need to be replaced?

Yes, ultimately, any loose or leaky fitting will need to be replaced.

Is there a way to temporarily fix leaking fittings?

Yes. Your best option is to use fiberglass repair tape. Find the problematic fitting, start wrapping the tape at the outside of one side of the fitting and continue wrapping until you’ve gone one inch past the other side of the fitting, onto the pipe. The other technique to try involves plumber’s putty. Sometimes you can apply putty around a loose fitting to solidify the seal and rebuff any leak. It’s the same principle as tape only it will probably be easier to apply in tight spaces. If your fittings and pipes are corroded, these techniques may only cause the problem to move further down the line. Your best bet is to have your system inspected by a qualified plumber.