Top Residential Plumbing Questions Answered
Posted by William Heinselman on
Home plumbing problems are a challenge for anyone who owns a house. Not only can they cause plenty of headaches, but residential plumbing problems can be especially expensive if not addressed immediately and properly.
The following list includes some of the top residential plumbing issues commonly encountered by homeowners and their solutions so you can be prepared for anything that comes your way. While many of these common at home plumbing problems can be solved through a simple DIY fix, some may need the expertise of a professional plumber.
Should I Turn Off My Water When I Go On Vacation?
You may have remembered to double-check (if not triple!) the stove and windows before heading out to door on vacation, but what about your water?
Shutting off your water before you leave for an extended period of time is wise, but many homeowners decline to do so. Keeping your water turned on always leaves the possibility open of your pipes leaking or bursting. While this is unlikely, even a small leak can be catastrophic if you’re away from your home for days (or even weeks!). The worst situation you want is coming back home after a long trip to find your house flooded.
Simply avoid this disaster scenario by shutting off the water before you leave for a trip. Not only will it prevent leaks and bursts, but it will give you a peace of mind so you can enjoy your vacation to the fullest.
What Can I Put In My Garbage Disposal?
Garbage disposals can be notorious for breaking down or clogging. However, this is usually due to the homeowner treating them as trash cans - which they aren’t. By putting the proper waste down, you can avoid many common issues with your garbage disposal.
What to put in a garbage disposal?
- Fruit scraps & pits
- Vegetable scraps
- Small bones, like those of fish
- Cooked meat
What to avoid putting in your garbage disposal:
- High fibrous or “stringy” foods e.g. celery and tough vegetables,
- Expandable rice or bread based products,
- Egg shells,
- Animal bones and fat,
- Paper or plastic materials,
- Cooking oils and grease.
Why Is My Toilet Running?
Running toilets are not only bothersome, but they can also be expensive and cost you hundreds of dollars (if not more!) in wasted water every year. Luckily, there is often a simple fix since the problem is usually caused by a faulty flapper or floater in the toilet’s water tank.
If the flapper or floater is not responsible, then it’s likely you’ll need to replace your toilet to solve the running water problem. A quick way to determine if your toilet is leaking is to insert a couple drops of food coloring into the tank. Flush your toilet after waiting about 20-30 minutes. Then, check to see if there is color in the toilet bowl. If there is, then you have a running toilet leak.
If you have a leaking toilet on your hands, identifying the cause of the leak will determine the fix. If the problem is due to a faulty flapper or floater, then all you’ll need to do is adjust the hardware or purchase and install a new one from your nearest home improvement store. However, if it's looking like you’ll need a toilet replacement, then you should contact a professional plumber for further assistance.
Can I Use Chemicals Drain Cleaners?
A common misconception is that chemical drain cleaners are the solution to residential plumbing problems involving clogs. In fact, the idea that chemical solutions are good for drain systems is not only false, but also the most hazardous. The chemicals in chemical drain cleaner products (like Drano) can corrode the piping and increase the risk of leaks, not to mention they could have potentially dangerous reactions to other things found in the plumbing system.
A clogged drain can be fixed by a DIY job with all the main plumbing tools needed readily available at your local home improvement store. If you find yourself with a clog that can be fixed without the need for professional help, there are a few different home methods you can use to fix it on our own. Or, if you plan on hiring professional service, be sure they are a reputable company trained to handle the type of clogging found in your piping.
Why Is There a Sewer Smell in my Home?
If you notice a persistent sewer smell in your home, it may be due to a broken sewer line. These odors are often the clearest sign that you could have a cracked drain pipe. You should never get an odor from your drains when your household plumbing is in proper working order. If you do, you need a professional plumber to inspect further to find the cause of why toxic sewer gas is making its way into your home.
If your water smells like raw sewage, mold, or even decaying fish, the most likely culprit is bacteria building up due to decaying matter in your pipes. A variety of nasty things can grow in the dark recesses of dirty plumbing, including algae, fungi, and a range of bacteria, to create a musty water smell. While hydrogen sulfide is the most common culprit, it’s best not to take any chances when it comes to bacteria in the water. Disinfecting your water system with a shock chlorination treatment will typically kill off any foul-smelling bacteria lining your pipes.
Why Is There Never Enough Hot Water?
Constantly running out of hot water can be a frustrating inconvenience. Due to the type or condition of your hot water heater, there may be several reasons for your hot water heater to run out.
Your hot water heater may be too small for your needs. If this is the case, don’t run several hot water appliances at the same time. For example, refrain from turning on the dishwater at the same time you shower. This can prevent running out of hot water in the middle of a shower.
There may also be trouble with the gas burner. The gas burner may be getting too little gas - or too much - and cause a limited output for your heater’s hot water. For electric water heaters, make sure the heating elements are in good condition and replace them if necessary. If you suspect a problem with your hot water heater, call a professional plumber to inspect it.
Hopefully these answers help with your common residential plumbing problems! If your home plumbing requires repairs far beyond basic DIY skill, be sure to consult with a plumber to see what kind of plumbing fix would work best for you.
Do you have a critical residential plumbing question that you need answered, but don’t see in this blog post? Contact the experts at Express Sewer & Drain today!
Topics: Home Plumbing