Frequently Asked Questions

Your Go-To Resource for Common Plumbing issues

How do you fix a running toilet?

It is most likely the flapper in the bottom of the tank, which you can simply replace. Sometimes the chain can be too long and get caught under the flapper. The chain should be long enough to reach from the lever arm to the top of the flapper without pulling on it.

Why does a plumbing system need a vent?

A vent allows sewer gases to be vented to outside the home or business, which otherwise would permeate the air inside. Venting also maintains the appropriate pressure in the pipes to allow proper disposal of grey water and effluent.

What besides leaking faucets and pipes can drive up a water bill?

Most leaks in residential plumbing are found in the toilet tank. These leaks typically result from worn parts or improper alignment of some part of the flushing mechanism.

How do I determine if my toilet is leaking?

Toilet leaks occur in two ways and are often difficult to detect. The most common toilet leak is caused by a deteriorated flush valve (flapper) or tank ball at the bottom of the toilet tank. If the flapper or ball valve doesn’t seat properly and form a water-tight seal, water will leak around it into the toilet bowl, often without noise.

The second most common type of leak is caused by an improperly adjusted or broken fill valve. If the float is set too high or the shut-off valve fails to close completely, water will continue to enter the tank and flow into the overflow tube. This type of leak can be seen simply by taking the tank top off and observing if water is flowing into the overflow tube when the tank is full.

What should I do if I have a major leak in my home?

If the leak is inside your home or you have a burst pipe you should first turn off your water supply at your main shutoff valve. If you do not have a main shutoff valve, or don’t know where it is located, you may turn off your water at your meter in an emergency situation. It is advisable to contact a plumber during such emergencies. If any damage has occurred it is also advisable to contact your insurance company. Do not touch any wet electrical fittings. Call in an electrician.

Why does my hot water smell like rotten eggs?

The combined presence of hydrogen, sulfur, and bacteria cause foul smelling water. The magnesium anode rod installed in the tank protects the tank surface but generates enough hydrogen to create an odor when it interacts with sulfur in the water or bacteria in the tank. Replacing the magnesium anode rod with an aluminum anode may minimize the problem. The most efficient method of eliminating the hydrogen sulfide odor is to control the bacteria. As a rule, chlorination of public water supplies kills the bacteria, but some private well systems may need to be purified by the use of chlorine injectors or ultraviolet light.

Why does my toilet “sweat” and what can I do?

This is caused by cold water filling the tank and humid air in the bathroom, which causes condensation to form on the outside of the tank. There are a few of things you can do. You can insulate the inside of your tank. There are tank covers that can help as well. You can also have a mixing valve installed, which adds just enough hot water to heat the cold water to room temperature.

Why doesn’t water enter the bowl when I try to flush my toilet?

Make sure the water supply is turned on. If it is, remove the lid to the toilet tank. It is probably the chain or strap to the flapper that is broken or has come loose. You could also have a blockage in the toilet “jet’s” just under the rim of the toilet.

How do I get my toilet tank to stop over flowing?

The fill valve in the tank might have a leak in it. If the fill valve is old, you should replace it. Sometimes the shaft or wire that is used to set the level corrodes off. If the shaft or wire seems to be your problem, it should be replaced.

If my drain is clogged, shouldn’t I use a chemical drain cleaner before I call a plumber?

We don’t recommend this for several reasons. Most drain chemicals are very toxic. Not a good thing to keep around the home if you have children or pets. And if they do make it down the drain, you’re contributing to global pollution. The toxic chemicals can also have a negative effect on your piping. Over time these chemicals may deteriorate your pipes from the inside out.