Common Plumbing Questions Answered
What is a low flow toilet and is it worth buying?
It uses a lot less water to flush your waste down the drain. A low flow toilet usually uses about only 1.6 gpf (gallons per flush) to get rid of your waste. Most cities or counties will even give you a rebate if you install a low flow toilet.
How do I know if my toilet is leaking?
Sometimes leaking toilets can go un-noticed for a long time and is the most common cause for an expensive water bill. Signs that your toilet is in need of repair or might be leaking:
Water keeps running from the tank into the toilet bowl after it has been flushed. Sometimes it is just noticed as a little trickle down the toilet bowl sides.
After flushing the toilet the tank won’t fill again and you can’t flush again.
You have to move or jiggle the toilet handle to make the stop flushing or running water.
The toilet handle is loose.
You have to keep holding down the toilet handle while flushing in order to complete the flushing process.
Any water spots or mold along the wall behind the tank.
Phantom flushing: your toilet turns the water on without your flushing it.
A toilet that is not being used should be silent. Any noise coming from it might be an indicator of a problem or a leak.
What is a “low boy” toilet?
A low boy toilet is an older model of toilets, which are hardly installed anymore. They are about 15 inches of the ground, like a normal toilet, however they have a very low water tank at the rear of the toilet, which gives its it name.
What is the difference between a handicapped toilet and a regular toilet?
A handicapped toilet has a raised seat so that elderly or handicapped people can get up from the toilet much easier. Usually it is raised by 18 inches from the floor.
My toilet is not flushing and water is backing up into my shower, what is wrong?
You either have a clogged drain or sewer line. We usually use a drain cleaning machine or a rooting machine. This is a cable type drain machine that sends a long cable down your drain usually attached with some sort of cutting head at the end. This cutting head will cut through roots or will clean out what ever is blocking the sewer and drain pipes. The cable comes in different sizes to fit different fixtures from tubs to small sinks and large sewer lines.
My garbage disposal broke down, what should I do?
Don’t hurry out to buy a new garbage disposal – breaking down could be due to various reasons and the disposal may not need to be replaced right away. Something might have just blocked the blades from moving. First, make sure the disposal is not jammed with a hard object (spoons, etc). Please make sure the garbage disposal is TURNED OFF or even disconnected from the power. If you don’t find anything that could have jammed the disposal, try to reset it with the reset button (usually located underneath the garbage disposal) or check your breaker switch in your breaker box. If all fails call us at (919) 266-0377 for service.
What size or model of garbage disposal should I get?
Looking for the right garbage disposal might be a little baffling: there are so many sizes, models and vendors. However, the main difference in garbage disposals is the power output. Garbage disposals usually come in 1/2, 3/4, and 1 horse power models. Our recommendations are: ½ horse power models for light kitchen use, ¾ horse power for a normal household use, and 1 horse power model for heavy home use or small commercial use.
What should I NOT put down my garbage disposal?
Fibrous foods, such as celery, asparagus, or artichokes, are bad for your garbage disposal.
My garbage disposal stinks, what should I do?
There are two ways of cleaning your garbage disposal. You could buy commercial garbage disposal cleaners and dump them down the drain. Or you could use a cup of ice cubes and run the garbage disposal to clean the blades. To give your sink a better smell, we recommend using some lemon juice and lemon peel.
Why is water backing up into my sink when I run the dishwasher?
Often there is a connection between the dishwasher and the drain from the disposal. If there is food left behind in the disposal it can clog that connection to the main drain and therefore the water backs up into your sink. To prevent this, you should make sure that your disposal is free of food before running the dishwasher. Run the garbage disposal with plenty of water before turning the dishwasher on.
Can old faucets be repaired?
It depends on the faucet. Usually we can fix any faucet. However, sometimes it is more efficient to replace an old faucet with a new one.
Which type of sink should I get for my kitchen?
There are different types of kitchen sink styles available in various materials. The style that suits you – like say, farmhouse or square – is mostly up to your taste. There are many different choices in materials and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The most common ones are stainless steel, cast iron, porcelain, and enameled steel. However you could also choose from various styles of corian, acrylic, fiberglass americast, or copper.
I am losing water pressure in my shower, what is causing this?
Your shower head could be plugged with water deposits such as rust and dirt from your pipes. You could try to remove the shower head from the pipe coming out of the wall and check it for deposits. Clean the shower head gently with an old toothbrush and rinse it to remove all the dirt. Also run the shower without the shower head on to possibly remove any left over dirt in the pipes to prevent the shower head from plugging up again. If cleaning your shower head didn’t take care of your low water pressure, give us a call at (919) 266-0377.
What is an ‘overflow’?
It is a “Water Break” for bathtubs. Technically, it will prevent a bathtub from overflowing with water and flooding your whole bathroom or house. Once the water reaches a certain level in the bathtub, it starts to drain through the overflow. So if you would ever walk away from your filling bathtub and forget about it, your overflow would prevent you from a flood, but not from a high water bill!
What is an ‘air gap’ and do I need one?
An “Air gap” is like a little two inch metal cap that sits at the top of your sink. This is supposed to prevent dirty water from backwashing back into your dishwasher. However, newer dishwashers and sinks with garbage disposals make it possible to eliminate this extra little metal cap. Consult your plumber and see, if you can run your dishwasher safely without having an “Air gap”.
What size water heater should I get?
Water heaters come in different sizes and it depends on your size of living quarters and how many people are using hot water on a daily basis. A normal household with a family of four, two bathrooms, and regular appliances will get by with a 40 gal water heater.
Should I get a gas or electric water heater?
Sometimes you don’t really have a choice. However, if you do, consider the following:
Gas water heaters are more efficient because gas is cheaper and makes water hot faster.
Gas water heaters have a pilot light and have to be away from flammable liquids since they can pose a fire hazard.
Electric water heaters are more expensive to use, however they don’t require gas and flue piping.
Electric water heaters come in a lot of different sizes, as small as 3 gallons. They can be installed almost everywhere, such underneath a sink in a little apartment kitchen or a sink in a rest room.
How long does a water heater last?
It depends on the model/brand and maintenance of the water heater. A 5 year model will last anywhere from 5-7 years and a 10 year model can last up to 12 years. However, a lot depends on your water quality, and proper installation. You should check your water heater on a regular basis for any rust or corrosions around the valves and pipe connections. That will give you a good idea about the condition your water heater is in.
How do I maintain my water heater?
It is good to drain the water heater every now and then. Draining the water heater will clean the bottom of the water heater tank from harmful build ups. These build ups can cause the tank to overheat and shorten its life.
Is there a temperature setting on the water heater?
Yes, the normal water temperature setting for a water heater is 120 degrees F. Setting it at this temperature will prevent accidental burns from hot water coming out of the faucet. Some water heater models have a digital temperature control and can be set up to 190 degrees F. For more information and Plumbing Help visit the San Antonio Plumber website