At Express Sewer & Drain, we take great pride in more than just our onsite services, but also in keeping our readers informed. Our work doesn’t end when we leave your home or business; responding to our customers and helping our readers implement better plumbing practices is a large part of our services.
To directly address our most popular reader questions, we will be kicking off our Reader Response blog series. In this series, we collect and answer several of the most common plumbing questions we hear, and ask for you to speak out with whatever questions you have for later parts of the series.
In the first entry of our Reader Response series, we cover topics such as water heater repair, restoring pipes that run beneath driveways and the true cost of hydro-jetting a pipe. Without further disruptions, let’s begin:
1.) Why is my Water Heater Leaking and Making Sounds?
Home water heater leaks can be more than just a pain to fix, but also expensive. The final cost of a water heater leak depends ultimately on the cause of the leak and the price of replacement parts. It should be noted that many water heaters produce natural condensation, and that some water presence may not be cause for concern. To make sure it’s your water heater unit leaking and not another plumbing issue, clean up the water beneath your unit and lay a towel out.
Check back on it after an hour or so; if the water has returned and the towel is wet, the problem is likely a leak and not mere condensation. Leaks occur as parts, connections and valves wear over time through normal use. The extent of the leak and best course of action depends on the part that’s leaking; it’s easier to fix an inlet or outlet connection than it is to replace a pressure valve. In any case, we recommend having a professional look at your water heater if the problem is not immediately fixable.
If your heater unit is making occasional ‘popping’ noises, you may think the worst right off the bat. However, this is a common, and fortunately minor, problem that many homeowners deal with. The ‘popping’ noise is the result of sediment buildup within water heater units, which happens over time. This mineral sediment comes directly from the water cycling in your unit, and naturally accumulates at the bottom of water heaters through standard use.
As the water in your unit is heated, steam bubbles escape from beneath the sediment material and create the ‘popping’ noise you’re hearing. Fortunately, clearing your unit of sediment requires a simple tank flush, which you can do entirely on your own without the need for professional assistance.
2.) The PVC Pipe Under my Driveway is Broken. What do I do?
Restoring damaged sewer pipe beneath a driveway (or any other surface-level object, for that matter) is tough; it can take days - if not weeks - to complete and, worse, can cost thousands upon thousands of dollars in remedial landscaping.
In these circumstances, dig-free pipe lining can be a much more affordable repair option than conventional pipe replacement. Cured-in-place pipe liners work for any pipe material, including PVC, clay, steel and concrete. During the pipe lining process, trenchless pros will essentially create a new pipe within your existing pipe line, forming new pipe walls in areas of pipe affected by intrusions, cracking and other common pipe ailments.
This process typically takes a single day to complete, and can be done without digging your driveway out or causing significant lawn damage (the two most expensive parts of pipe repair for lines that run under driveways and other obstructions).
If you have a damaged sewer pipe running beneath your driveway or another surface, the first thing you should do is contact a trenchless expert in your area and have them conduct a video inspection of your line. Then, they will let you know if alternatives to trenching, like lining or pipe bursting, are possible in your situation.
Stay tuned for the next entry in our Reader Response series, and feel free to ask us any and everything about home and commercial plumbing.