How can I prevent clogged drains in my home?
Every clog is different, just like every home is different. But you can prevent clogs in your drains by taking a number of preventive measures. Whether your house is older or modern, sooner or later you will find yourself with clogged drains on your hands.
Here are some great ways to prevent clogged pipes:
1. The first tip is simple: be careful about what you put down your drains. Some of the most common causes of clogged drains are cooking grease, coffee grounds, hair and soap scum.
2. Buy a drain strainer that covers the drain’s opening. This should catch hair and foreign matter before it can reach the drain and create a blockage.
3. Run very hot water through the sink after you’re done using it. Hot water allows materials such as food or oil to run through the drainpipes instead of amassing together to create a clog.
4. Pour a handful of baking soda down the drain every so often. Then follow it with hot water.
5. You can also pour one cup of vinegar down the drain on top of a cup of baking soda. Let sizzle for about 15 minutes and then rinse with hot water. Repeat as necessary.
6. Avoid using caustic chemical drain cleaners. Over time, these can corrode some pipes—and sometimes they don’t even remove the whole clog.
7. Take care of your sewer lines and septic tank. You can call a plumber to help snake your main sewer on an annual or semi-annual basis. Doing this can remove tree roots that often grow into pipes at the joint and cause sewage backups.
8. If you have a septic tank, get your tank pumped every three to five years and regularly treat with a bacteria additive to keep the system in balance.
There are a lot of basic steps you can take to prevent clogs in your drains, most of which start with making sure the right things are going down the drainpipes. If you’re concerned about your sewage system, it may be beneficial to consult a professional to assess your plumbing.
Why do I need to call a plumber?
You can actually do damage to the plumbing by trying to unclog a drain yourself. A common mistake when trying to clear a clogged drain is exerting too much pressure. This can cause a host of problems, including cracking or breaking the pipes. Another mistake is using drain cleaner for every clog, every time. Most drain cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can damage pipes, and with time, overuse of these cleaners can cause erosion and leaks. Certain types of pipes should never have drain cleaner used in them. Be sure to read labels thoroughly before using any clog remover product to ensure its safe use.
Why do I need to hire a licensed plumber?
It really comes down to the highest level of experience and expertise. A licensed master plumber has a lot of training, extensive experience and advanced skills. So hiring a master plumber, as opposed to an unlicensed plumber, has its advantages.
Becoming a master plumber typically requires a minimum of seven years of experience in addition to passing a licensing exam. Most plumbers learn through on-the-job training or by attending a technical school, and some go through an apprenticeship program. After completing the necessary training, plumbers become journeyman plumbers. Journeyman can then become master plumbers after several more years of experience in the field.
Master plumbers follow all necessary guidelines and regulations. They are familiar with local codes and will make sure that all repairs or installations comply with those codes. You could be taking a risk if you hire a non-licensed handyman or plumber, because if something is done incorrectly or is not up to code, you could have additional repairs in the future. Those repairs can become costly and take more time to complete. An advantage to master plumbers employed by a reputable company is that they will guarantee their work and they are insured, which protects you as a homeowner.
Master plumbers also supervise the job and oversee the work of apprentices and journeymen, and they give approval after the final inspection.
The plumbing inside your home is not something you should take for granted. Make sure you hire a licensed plumber, whether you are in need of a simple repair or a whole new plumbing system.
When do you recommend hiring a plumber vs. DIY?
Owning a home means that it’s likely you’ve made DIY repairs in the past and will consider doing so next time repairs need to be made. Thanks to countless Internet how-to’s and blogs, DIY plumbing is easier than ever. However, not every job can be done yourself. You may not have the time or know-how to complete a job, or the job may be too big for one person. It’s important to know when to hire a plumber and when to get your hands dirty.
The main thing to consider is cost. Plumbers charge by the hour or by the job, and the cost of labor is often the biggest expense, not materials. However, every job has different costs associated with it. For example, replacing a gasket in a faucet will be less expensive than purchasing and replacing the entire fixture. It will usually cost less to do the project yourself, as long as you know what you’re doing. However, mistakes sometimes cost time and money to correct. If you’re unsure of how to accomplish the job, the best option may be to hire a plumber.
Plumbers have training and experience to ensure that the job is done correctly. They know the local codes, obtain permits and get inspections as needed to protect you and your home. They have the proper tools for each task and are well equipped to handle any plumbing problem.
We recommend calling us for all types of plumbing repair needs—big and small.
How do I increase water pressure in my home?
Poor residential water pressure is a frustrating problem for many homeowners. If you suspect that your home water pressure is not quite up to standard, follow these six steps from Marco Plumbing to determine if there is a problem and how to resolve it.
1. Test your water pressure
You can buy a water pressure test gauge from many local home improvement stores. Turn off any appliances inside that might be using water (such as the dishwasher or washing machine) and attach the gauge to an outdoor hose spigot. They screw onto the threads just like a garden hose. Turn on the spigot and note the reading. Anything less than 60psi is on the low side. Ideally, you’ll see a reading between 60 and 75 psi. Anything above 80 is too high and will wear down your plumbing fixtures and pipe joints over time.
2. Ask Around
You can determine if your water pressure issues are yours alone or possibly related to the city municipal water system by chatting with your neighbors or your landlord. Are they experiencing similar issues? If your neighbors also report low water pressure, give your local provider a call. They can confirm whether it is a known issue, or begin taking steps to remedy the problem on a municipal level. If you have well water, you could have issues with your well pump.
3. Check the water meter, shut-off valve, or regulator
If you’ve (unfortunately) confirmed that your water pressure problems are yours alone, start with the basics. Check your water meter and the main shut-off valve at the street to ensure that they are both fully open. Contractors may shut off water at this point to do routine or other maintenance. If you have a water pressure regulator, check that too. Poorly functioning regulators can result in gradual drops in water pressure.
4. Check for leaks
Cracked or damaged pipes allow water to slowly seep into your home, damaging walls or ceilings and reducing water pressure overall. Check for hidden leaks using your water meter. Turn off all the water in your home and record the number on your water meter. Wait at least 20 minutes, return to check your meter again. If the meter reading has changed, that means you have a leak.
If you want to try to locate the leak, check the tank parts of your toilets, especially the flapper valve; look under kitchen and bathroom sinks; look for drips from your bathtubs and showers. You should also check for puddles around your water heater, as well as possible leaks in your washing machine hoses. If you need a professional to check for hidden leaks, you can rely on Marco Plumbing’s leak repair professionals to locate and repair every type of water leak in and around your home.
5. Check your faucets
If you got a normal reading on your water pressure gauge on an outdoor spigot but still experience low water pressure indoors, take a closer look at your faucets and shower heads. Mineral buildup on fixtures can affect water flow. Loose or worn out washers can also contribute to leaks, reducing water pressure.
6. Consider clogged pipes
Years of buildup and residue inside your water supply pipes decreases the amount of water flowing through, reducing water pressure. This rarely occurs in copper pipes or PEX piping, but it’s a common problem with iron and galvanized pipes. If you are experiencing low water pressure throughout your house, you’ve thoroughly cleaned and removed mineral deposits from faucets and showerheads, and can’t find any leaks, it’s time to call in a professional plumber from Marco Plumbing to assess the pipes in your home and determine whether extensive buildup is affecting your water pressure.
Should our pipes be copper or plastic?
Copper has been the longtime standard for plumbing. It has been around a long time and we know the material is durable and reliable for water pipes. However, plastic piping (PEX) works well because it is made of a flexible material. It is also resistant to cold temperatures and has fewer joints, so it may be less costly to install.
PEX, or crosslinked polyethylene, is a fairly new material and has become more frequently used for re-piping of water supply pipes and some pipe repairs. It is durable during extreme temperatures. It is flexible, and provides fast installation with fewer connections and fitting. It is also ideal for areas too small or tight for rigid copper.
Copper has natural qualities that make it ideal for plumbing. It is extremely durable. It creates a biostatic atmosphere, which makes it difficult for bacteria to grow inside of it. It also resists corrosion and it is not affected by ultraviolet rays, which allows you to use it outside.
Copper does have a few disadvantages, though. It has become expensive, can still corrode based on pH levels of water, and in cold climates, frozen water can cause copper pipes to burst.
PEX installs quickly, which significantly reduces labor costs. It is easy to install due to its flexibility, and has fewer fittings, which can reduce the chance for leaks. PEX pipes do not corrode and are not susceptible to freezing.
However, PEX piping cannot be used outside. And, since the material can expand and contract, it is not completely impermeable like copper. This can lead to water contamination. Also, there have been reports of rodents chewing through or eating PEX piping.
For fast, dependable service on pipes and all types of plumbing and drain issues, trust Marco Plumbing.
Why do my pipes bang when my faucet is turned off?
Improperly secured pipes behind walls may be the cause of the plumbing noises you’ve described. Since water supply pipes are made of metal, they transmit sound waves. As water flows through the system, it flows over obstructions and around turns, creating eddies in the water. These can be rhythmic depending on the speed of the water. When they reach a certain pitch, they cause the piping to begin vibrating in harmonic reaction to the wave created inside the pipe. In order to quiet your noisy water pipes, you’ll have to remove the offending part or debris that's causing the water to fluctuate. If the pipes are accessible, you can strap them with plastic clamps so they can't bang against the structure. If your piping is metal and runs through the joists or studs, then the problem may be expansion and contraction. As soon as either hot or cold water runs through pipes, they expand or contract, causing vibration and noise.
Another problem is water hammer. This happens when you have high water pressure. Water moving in one direction does not want to stop flowing. When you shut off a faucet, the water still has some force, which has to be absorbed, causing the pipe will flex. If the pipe is near wood, it will bang against the wood. You can stop this plumbing noise problem by installing water hammer arrestors on the offending water lines.
Why is sewage exploding out of the toilet?
What you have is more than a temporary toilet clog – it’s likely a branch line blockage between the bathroom and the main sewer. You'll probably need to hire a professional plumber to clear and clean the drain line. If you don't have a clean-out port big enough to accept a cable with 3-inch blades, the service technician will have to pull up the toilet in order to thoroughly snake the line.
Why do I get a foul smell every time I flush my toilet?
Generally when you have a foul odor when flushing the toilet it means the toilet wax ring is not sealed to the toilet or the floor. Whenever you put water into a drain, it first has to push the air away. If the wax ring is not sealed, it will simply push it between the floor and the bottom of the toilet into the room, instead of down the pipe. Because both air and water take up space in the pipe, you can't put the water in unless you move the air out. Typically we send it up the main vent of the house and out the roof, but if the roof vent is blocked, then there is no place for the air to go. To eliminate the bathroom odor, you should reseal the toilet to the floor and the clear the main vent of debris.
What is causing the black ring around my toilet base?
When a black ring starts to appear around the base of a toilet under the linoleum it generally means the wax ring that seals the toilet to the floor underneath is leaking. The color is coming from a black bacteria, mold or sewage. The only way to fix this is to pull the toilet off the floor, remove the toilet’s wax ring and replace it with a new wax ring gasket. I would also suggest making sure the drain line is cleared under the toilet – as long as you have it off the floor. If the toilet cannot flush properly, then the water will build up and put pressure on the wax ring causing it to leak. If you're not accustomed to this kind of work, you might save yourself a lot of headache by calling an experienced plumber to check for toilet leaks and to get the job done right the first time.
What do I do with a toilet that keeps clogging?
Unclogging a toilet that is blocked that often may mean that you need to have your main sewer line cleared. To test it, flush the problem toilet five or six times in a row without leaving. If it backs up then you likely have a main line problem and you need a professional to come and clear it out.
What is the black stuff that comes out of the faucet?
There are several possible reasons for discolored water, but ultimately water testing will be critical in diagnosing the cause of the problem. Minerals, including iron and magnesium, algae, pipe degradation and resin beads can all cause black water.
Magnesium is often found in water and when mixed with oxygen, turns black. If you look in your toilet tank and the inside is black, then you have magnesium and probably iron in the water. In either case, they are harmless to you. But if you want them gone, you will have to filter your water. Call a water softener company to analyze your water and determine what you need to remove the color. If the piping in your house is steel or galvanized, you could be getting mineral flakes from exposed iron (rust).
Under the right conditions, with the right natural minerals and elements in the water (like magnesium), then you could get black water out of the faucets. Natural resin beads from your water softener are often black in color, like charcoal. Sometimes the water softener can break down and the resin beads can get out and into the water system. Marco Plumbing can properly diagnose the problem and offer some solutions.
How do I restore water flow to my faucets?
When facing water pressure problems that result in low or no water flow, look to the simplest solution first. Often when this happens, the strainers in the faucets have to be removed and cleared and the top of the fill valve in the toilet should be removed, flushed and replaced. Cities will sometimes flush their systems, which breaks loose debris and sends it to homes along the piping route. When this happens the pipes distribute the debris to every faucet and valve, plugging them up.
Why does my outdoor faucet keep running?
When an outside hose bib runs even when the handle is shut off, it means either the gasket needs to be replaced or the valve seat has gone bad. The seat is the brass opening that the gasket closes against. Leaking water can cut a microscopic channel in the surface of the brass. If the seat is damaged, you need to replace your exterior faucet’s hose bib since most seats are molded into the faucet and are not replaceable.
Why do we have rusty water backup in the kitchen sink?
You probably have a clogged drain and need to schedule a professional cleaning. These lines get clogged with grease, food particles and soap scum. Eventually the buildup is so thick that the internal diameter of the drain is reduced and water cannot pass quickly through the pipe.
How can I inspect our water heater to prolong it’s life?
Inspection is vital to water heater maintenance and a relatively quick and easy process, as long as you know what to look for.
Gas water heaters require more maintenance than electric units. If you have a gas heater, first you should check the unit and the pipes for any rusted or blackened areas. These could be caused by leaks or improper combustion.
Unless you’re an expert, these aren’t problems you can solve yourself, so you should call for assistance if you find any corrosion or evidence of combustion troubles during your water heater inspection. Do the same for all piping connected to the heater. Check thoroughly for signs of corrosion; a few minutes now are all it takes to prevent a dangerous malfunction.
If you have a gas-powered water heater, you should check for leaks with a gas leak detector. You can buy one of these at a hardware store or order one online. They’re fairly inexpensive and worth the investment in the long run. Furthermore, make sure to check the gas valve by turning it slightly, but not too much, as this will turn off the pilot light. Make sure that the draft hood is centered and not crooked or loose. You should also check the burner, pilot light and flame color every six months or so if you have a gas water heater.
Whether or not you have a gas or electric heater, every so often you should make sure your heater’s thermostat is working. You can make sure the hot and cold water pipes are working: just touching the pipes should be sufficient. Check and test the temperature/pressure relief valve once a year for leaks or signs that it has discharged water.
Finally, make sure you check the anode rod every two years, replacing when necessary. For the most thorough inspection, you can also drain a gallon of water from your tank every month to remove silt and sediment.
I replaced the heating element, why am I still losing hot water?
When you experience a rapid loss of hot water, the problem is probably the dip tube. This tube is really a pipe that is is attached to the cold water inlet pipe (inside the water heater) and transports the cold water through the hot water to the bottom of the water heater where the burner can heat it up. It is designed to prevent the cold water from coming into the top of the water heater and running right over to the hot water outlet and out to the faucets. All water that is brought in through the cold pipes ends up on the bottom of the water heater and the hot water stays on the top. Once in a while the dip tube falls off inside the hot water heater and the cold water doesn't go to the bottom but stays on the top, so you get cold water out of the hot water faucet after only a few minutes. In order to stop your loss of hot water, you will need to pull the cold water inlet pipe and verify the condition of the dip tube.
How quickly can Marco Plumbing respond to a flood?
When disaster strikes and you are having a water damage emergency, Marco Plumbing is available when you need service most. We are accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to respond to your emergency.
The water damage restoration professionals at Marco Plumbing are experienced in getting your home or business back in working order as quickly as possible. No matter what time of day, your call will be answered by a live customer service representative who will quickly send a specialist to assess the water damage and determine the best course of action.
It is important that water and sewage are removed immediately and your property dried, ventilated and disinfected as quickly as possible to prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi, mold, mildew and other harmful microorganisms. Marco Plumbing’s prompt response times and immediate action can reduce further damage to your home and possessions.