Frequently Asked Plumbing Questions

1. What's the difference between tankless and tank type water heaters? What are the pros and cons?

A tank type heater stores water in different amounts and has a heating mechanism to keep the tank full of hot water. The advantage to a tank heater is the proven technology, and parts and repair are easily accessible, but it consumes lots of energy to keep hot water available at all times. A tankless water heater is considered a green product -  it's designed to heat water as it is used, conserving energy. Industry standards and sizing for tankless heaters are not well established and parts availability is not extensive. Transitioning from a tank type water heater to a tankless water heater requires an assessment of the current plumbing and hot water needs.

2. My hot water takes too long to get to my fixtures. How can I resolve this?

Recirculating pumps and point of use water heaters can speed up your access to hot water.

3. My water pressure seems to be less than what it used to be. What are some causes for this and how can they be repaired?

The cause could possibly be a water leak. It could also be calcification (foreign debris built up in the lines). Sometimes an increase in newly constructed homes in the area adds to the load and will decrease water pressure.  We recommend a qualified plumber evaluate the situation.

4. Why is there a rattling noise when my water is turned off and on?

Possible causes could be unstrapped water pipes, lack of hammer arrestor (shock absorber), or too much water pressure. We recommend a qualified plumber diagnose the problem.

5. My water bill is very high this month. Is there a simple way to see if I have a leak?

Yes. You can check your toilets by adding food color inside of the tank without flushing. If the water in the bowl changes colors, you have leak. Disconnect water hoses to outside faucets to make sure they are not dripping. Inside your home, turn off all stop valves to every faucet and toilet. Make sure the ice maker is turned off. Find your water meter and inspect it to see if there is any movement on the small dial. If so, you need to call a licensed plumber.

6. Are there any risk in using over the counter drain cleaners?

Acid and heat generated by the ingredients in some drain cleaners can cause pipe failure.

7. When should you replace a toilet rather than rebuild the inside?

A toilet that does not meet water efficiency requirements you should replace it.  If only aesthetic value is a concern, toilets that meet the water efficiency requirements can be rebuilt more cheaply than they can be replaced.

8. What is a backflow device and why do I need one?

A backflow device allows the flow of water in one direction only. It prohibits private water from being drawn into the public system. Liabilities include mortuaries, chemical plants, or any other business that has hazards to get in the water supply. A drop in pressure on the public side, such as fire hydrate usage, can cause a negative pressure in the private system.

9. There is a strong sewer odor in my home coming from the bathroom. How do I check to see where it is coming from?

The  odor is likely from bad seals, wax rings on toilets, tub, showers, or lavs that aren't used for months at a time.

10. At what temperature should I let my faucet drip and why?

At 32 degrees or severe wind chill both hot and cold lines should be dripped. Insulate water pipes whenever possible.

11. What is polybuetalane pipe and should I have mine replaced?

Polybuetalane pipe is a flexible plastic water pipe that was approved for use in the portable water systems. The pipe itself has been the subject of a national lawsuit and is no longer sold in the USA. Due to problems with the pipe chemistry and fittings it is advisable to have it replaced.

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