Frequently Asked Plumbing Questions
Question: How can I prevent clogged drains?
Answer: Do not rinse fats or cooking oils down the kitchen sink. Liquid fats solidify in the cold pipes and create clogs. To help prevent clogs, fit all your tubs and shower drains with a strainer that catches hair and soap chips, and clean the strainer regularly.
Question: My water heater has a horrible smell almost like rotten eggs. What is causing it and what do I do?
Answer: Your water heater tank has a magnesium anode rod (aka “sacrificial” anode) that protects the tank surface. If your tank has a lot of sulfur in the water or bacteria in the tank the anode rod interacts with this and generates an odor. Replacing the magnesium anode rod with an aluminum anode may minimize the problem. However, the most efficient method of eliminating the hydrogen sulfide odor is to control the bacteria and the best way to do this is to annually drain and refill your water heater.
Question: Why doesn't my old water heater work as well as it used to?
Answer: This is usually due to a sediment buildup in your tank. As water heaters grow older, they accumulate sediment and lime deposits. If these deposits are not removed periodically, the sediment will create a barrier between the burner and the water, greatly reducing the water heater's performance level. At least once every three months, drain water from the tank. Draining a gallon or so on a regular basis helps remove the sediment. You should also periodically inspect your water heater burner. The flame under the heater should appear blue with yellow tips. If it's mostly yellow or sooty under there, your flue may be clogged, which is a dangerous situation. Contact a professional to check it out. At least once every two years, have your water heater inspected by a service technician. He or she will also check the drain valve for signs of leakage, and the anode rods for corrosion.
Question: If I have a major water leak in my home what should I do?
Answer: First, turn off your water supply at the main shut-off valve. As a homeowner it’s important to know where this is located and educate your family members as to where shut-off valve is located. Second, always contact a professional plumber during emergencies.
Question: Besides a leaking faucet or pipe what else can contribute to a high water bill?
Answer: Leaks are commonly found in toilet tanks, resulting from worn parts or improper alignment of a part of the flushing mechanism. Stop these leaks right away because they’ll add up in your monthly utilities.
Question: What's the best way to check for toilet leaks?
Answer: Toilet leaks can be wasteful and expensive. At least once a year, check your toilet for leaks by adding a small amount of red food coloring to the tank, and then check the toilet bowl later. If the toilet bowl water is colored red, water is seeping through from the tank. If it is leaking, you should replace the tank ball.
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