Plumbing Frequently Asked Questions.
Bathroom Sink Frequently Asked Questions
What is a widespread faucet?
A widespread faucet is generally for larger sinks because it allows for more room between the faucet handles and spout than a center set faucet.
The 'Spread' is the distance between the faucet mounting holes.
Usually center sets are single or four inch spacing between holes, while a widespread is wider.
Widespread hole spacing ranges from six to twelve inches and that is why it is call a widespread faucet.
Can you fix my faucet?
YES! No matter how it well it is designed and how beautiful it looks, a faucet is simply a device that draws water from the local water supply.
Having a plumber that not only knows how to fix these different kinds of faucets, but also has the parts available in their truck, is the key to getting a faucet repaired quickly.
A good plumber can repair any faucet, no matter how decorative or beautiful it is.
That is why, if you have an expensive faucet or sink that isn't working, you will want to get it repaired right away to avoid any further damage to it.
Garbage Disposals Frequently Asked Questions
What Can I Put Down My Garbage Disposal?
You need to be selective about what kinds of foods you put down your garbage disposal.
A garbage disposal is a great kitchen tool that uses a combination of water from your kitchen sink, rotary blades, and the drainage pipes from your home to get rid of food particles that would otherwise have to sit in your kitchen garbage pail.
Without a garbage disposal, you may not get to these kinds of leftover scraps of food until they create an unpleasant odor, along with attracting unwelcome pests.
While you can put just about any non-fibrous food down your disposal, you have to be aware that fibrous food cast-offs like corn husks and asparagus should never be put down a garbage disposal.
These fibers wrap themselves around the rotating plates and then disable the motor.
The only way to disentangle this kind of motor lock-up is to call a plumber, who may have to install a new garbage disposal.
What Can't I Put Down My Garbage Disposal?
Fibrous materials are the worst culprit when it comes to crippling your garbage disposal.
This includes fibrous materials like asparagus, celery, corn husks, artichokes and other vegetables that have any kind of stringy qualities to them. This is because the 'strings' actually wrap themselves around the blades and prevent the motor from turning. With enough fibrous material put down your garbage disposal, the motor will eventually wear out and have to be replaced. As well, large amounts of pasta can damage your garbage disposer's motor. So, if you put pasta down the drain make sure that it is a small amount, or feed it through the garbage disposal slowly. If you have a large amount of pasta to get rid of, it is probably best to put it in the garbage. It is especially wise to be careful with any kinds of vegetables when using your garbage disposal. However, vegetable waste from potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, most fruit, meat scraps, and even small bones are okay as long as they are scraps and not large chunks of food waste. Remember, even a powerful garbage disposal can only handle so much waste.
Will A Garbage Disposal Clog My Pipes?
NO. A garbage disposal which is used properly will not clog your pipes.
However, the key to making sure that your garbage disposal doesn't clog your pipes requires proper installation and then usage that is compliant with your particular model.
Before you install any kind of garbage disposal, you have to make sure that the drainage pipes are clear in the first place.
This is why a garbage disposal should always be installed by a professional plumber.
They can check for pre-existing clogs and also clear them out.
Remember, a garbage disposal is supposed to be a convenience, not a nuisance.
There is nothing like installing a new garbage disposal and then have it clog your pipes simply because you did not check the pipes first.
The next part of using a garbage disposal and making sure that it won't clog your pipes is that you need to only put food particles down the drain that you feel will wash away down a sewage system.
Do I Have To Run The Water When I Use The Garbage Disposal?
YES. You must run a good flow of water until the grinding has stopped.
In fact, it is a good idea to run cold water down the disposal before grinding food particles and then also after the grinding has stopped as well.
This will ensure that the food particles from your dishes are on their way to sewage plant and not clogging your pipes or backing up your dishwasher.
When I Use My Dishwasher, Water Backs Up Into The Garbage Disposal, Why?
Water backing up into the garbage disposal and then the sink is generally caused by food that is left in the disposal.
If you leave food particles in the disposal and then forget about them without grinding them up and then sending them through
the drain pipes with a good amount of cold water, these food particles will clog up your drainage system.
Since the dishwasher and the garbage disposal share the same drainage pipes,
you will have plumbing problems in the kitchen if you do not make sure that
food particles from the disposal are cleared before using the dishwasher.
Before using the dishwasher make sure that you check the disposal for food particles, and as an extra measure,
run cold water through the disposer and turn it on to get rid of any food particles that may be left there.
This is especially important if you live in a household with more than one person living there.
This is because one of the worst things for a garbage disposal is people who put things down the garbage disposal,
thinking that it can liquefy anything.
My Garbage Disposal Just Stopped Working, What Happened?
When a garbage disposer stops working, there can be several reasons.
The first thing to do is to check and see if your garbage disposal is plugged in to the power outlet.
This seems a little silly, but if you have more than one person living in your house, they may have unplugged it accidentally.
You can also check the reset button and see if that works.
Sometimes, a garbage disposal will shut off automatically if there is something like a power outage, or if it has been accidentally unplugged.
Also, if someone has put something down the garbage disposal that will stop the blades from working and destroy the motor, the disposal will also shut off automatically.
After checking the power supply and also trying the reset button, if there is still no humming when you flip the switch,
the garbage disposal may need servicing from a licensed professional plumber. If you have an older model garbage disposal,
it may need to be repaired or even replaced. Many people try to fix garbage disposals themselves,
but usually come to the conclusion that this it is a job for a professional.
So, if you can't use these simple tips to fix the problem,
then it is probably time to either call for service or get a professional plumber to install a new garbage disposer.
Kitchen Sinks Frequently Asked Questions
What is that chrome thing on my sink?
The chrome thing on your sink that looks like an upside-down juice glass is an air gap fitting for your dishwasher.
An air gap fitting is a fixture that prevents dirty water from entering your dishwasher through the drain line and contaminating the dishes placed there.
It also works with your drain line to protect your potable drinking water.
Air gap fittings are not only extremely important, but also required by plumbing codes to be installed on your drains.
This is because air gap fittings prevent contaminates from the drain line from flowing back into your water supply and mixing with water that you may use for drinking, showering, or washing dishes.
The primary purpose for air gap fittings is to prevent what is called 'back flow'.
Back flow occurs in your drains when you have a blockage in the drain that actually works as a suction mechanism to draw the waste from an appliance like the garbage disposal back into your drainage system. This means that waste that you thought was disposed of will be drawn back into your sink or dishwasher.
What are the differences in stainless steel sinks?
Stainless steel sinks come in a wide selection of types and styles.
However, the most important issue with stainless steel sinks is the thickness.
This is because the sinks that are made from thicker stainless steel are much more durable.
If you are buying a stainless steel sink, it may seem okay to go with the cheapest model,
but in the long run, it will just have to be replaced as it gets scratched, vibrates and distorts.
The thickness of stainless steel sinks range from 18 gauge to 28 gauge, but here's the confusing part.
While you would think that 28 gauge would be the most heavy-duty sink available, it is actually made of the thinnest material.
Thinner sinks tend to vibrate.
This means that if you are running a dishwasher, or have pipes with an uneven flow of water,
you can actually feel the sink start a sort of humming.
This leads to distortion and a general noise that at the very least is annoying.
This is especially true when the garbage disposal is in use.
Buying an 22 gauge to a 28 gauge stainless steel sink will not only prevent the vibration and distortion, but will also add value to your home.
This is because a better quality stainless sink is also more scratch- resistant than their lighter weight counter-parts.
Showers and Baths Frequently Asked Questions
Very little water comes out of my shower head, why?
It's always frustrating when you go to take a shower and it feels like almost no water comes out of the shower head.
It's always good to know what is wrong with your bathroom plumbing and even better to know how to fix it.
However, it is always better to call a plumber if you suspect there is a bigger problem than just a low flow shower head.
Remember, by government mandates, today's shower heads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute compared to shower heads of the past.
However, contemporary showerheads should still put out an even flow of water.
So, if you have a newer model shower head that puts out less water over time, you may have other problems that exist besides the low water flow that they put out.
This is because these low flow water showerheads put out so little water that they are more prone to clog with bits of dirt and rust.
This is as opposed to their older counterparts.
If your shower head doesn't seem to perform anymore, there are a few things that you can do to fix the problem yourself.
The first is to remove the head coming from the chrome pipe which projects out of the wall and check for dirt and rust.
You may be surprised at what you will find.
While the shower head is removed, it's a good idea to run the shower to blow out any residue in the pipes.
Then reassemble the shower head and test for leaks. Leaks in the showerhead can make it run continuously.
When this happens, the dirt and rust will still continue to accumulate.
This is what makes your shower put out less and less water.
If this procedure doesn't help, or seems too difficult, give us a call and we will be happy to help you get your shower up and running again.
What is a pressure balanced shower valve?
A pressure balanced shower valve is designed to maintain the temperature of the water when you take a shower.
Depending on the age of your home, and the amount of people living in it,
you may have experienced a fluctuation in temperature when you take a shower.
This usually occurs when someone flushes the toilet or uses another bathroom to take a shower at the same time.
A pressure balanced shower valve is a sophisticated device that regulates the hot and cold water that runs out of different taps from your shower.
Essentially, it makes sure that the mix of hot and cold water is always the same, no matter what water pressure is coming out of the hot or cold faucet.
What is a thermostatic shower valve?
Thermostatic shower valves regulate the temperature of the water within one half of a degree of the desired temperature.
This means that you don't have to keep adjusting the hot and cold water valve as thermostatic shower valves do all the work for you.
A ¾" thermostatic single-handled valve is the most common thermostatic valve that is usually installed in a custom shower;
but a thermostatic valve wasn't really designed for comfort. It was designed for safety.
Toilet Frequently Asked Questions
My toilet fills up every 10 minutes. What is the problem?
This usually indicates that the flush valve in your toilet tank is not seating correctly and water is leaking from the tank into the bowl.
This could be the result of the lift chain being tangled, faulty flapper or a problem with the flush valve itself.
Are low flow toilets any good?
Yes! The newer models of low flow toilets now work better than the older high-flow toilet models.
Since the late 1990's, the rush to comply with government standards has slowed down.
The technology and engineering have been mastered, and these kinds of toilets are now advantageous to install in any home.
This is definitely the time to buy a low flow toilet for water savings and at the same time, also to add value to your home.
Part of the technology developed and engineered by Flushmate that makes low flow toilets functional is the pressure assist.
The pressure assist is a combination of compressed air that forces the small amount of water used during a flush to compel waste down the trap way with an improved amount of strength.
So in effect, the new breeds of low flush toilets work even better than the original high volume flush toilets.
While the original low flush toilets may get easily clogged, the new and improved low flow toilets actually work much better than their predecessors.
Need more information just give us a call we can help you decide on the best toilet for you.
What is a "Comfort Height" toilet?
Could my toilet be leaking without my knowledge?
The only difference between a Comfort Height toilet (or what is sometimes referred to as a handicapped toilet)
and a regular toilet is that a Comfort Height toilet has a higher seat.
A regular toilet has a seat which is fifteen inches tall.
A toilet designed for an elderly person, or someone who needs more assistance in the bathroom,
has a seat that with a height of 17 inches from the floor to the top of the seat.
These two inches may not seem like a big difference, but in fact, this extra two inches in height makes it easier for elderly or tall people to get up and down from the toilet.
While the main application for these kinds of toilets may seem like they are for hospitals or businesses with public bathrooms, they actually have a very widespread benefit for homeowners.
Toilets are notorious for leaking. However, a leaking toilet often goes unnoticed until a water bill shows up that is higher than usual.
The first thing that many people do when they have a higher water bill is think about using the dishwasher and clothes washer less to save money on the water bill.
Most people don't realize it, but a leaking toilet is the most common cause for a water bill that gets out of control.
There are a number of signs that a toilet needs some repairs, but many toilets still leak without any obvious signs of trouble.
This is what makes a leaking toilet problematic for homeowners.
Most homeowners will notice if there is water around the base of the toilet,
but here are some signs to look for if you have a larger than normal water bill because you suspect that you may have a leaking toilet:
- If you have to jiggle the handle to make a toilet stop running.
- If you have any sounds coming from a toilet that is not being used.
- If you have to hold down the handle to allow the tank to empty.
- If you can see water trickling down the sides of the toilet bowl long after it has been flushed.
- If a toilet turns the water on for 15 seconds or so without you touching the handle, you may have what is known as a phantom flusher.
The problem with leaking toilets is they can eventually result in outrageous water bills.
This is especially true if you aren't home a lot or aren't paying attention to your plumbing.
In effect, some of these kinds of water bills can run up to 300% higher than your average monthly bill.
Leaking toilets are easy to fix, and the cost for a plumber to assess the situation and repair it is
usually much cheaper than letting the problem go on and then pay for an-out-of-control water bill.
Water Heaters Frequently Asked Questions
What size water heater should I get?
Most people who live in a single family dwelling buy a forty gallon water heater, which is more than ample for a family of four or five people.
In order to figure out what size water tank you really need though, you have to take into consideration all of the uses for hot water that you might have.
The best way to figure out how big the water heater that you might need is to think about all of the uses for hot water that are necessary.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you call a local plumber to install the hot water heater that is right for you.
- How many bathrooms do you have?
- How many people live in your home or in your building?
- What is the size and water output of the shower heads?
- How often is the dishwasher used? (In the case of a multiple unit building,
you will have to consider how many units have dishwashers and how often they use them.)
- Washing machines are also a consideration. In the case of a single family home, you have to think about how many people use it.
If you have an apartment building with several tenants, you may need a larger unit to accommodate people who use more hot water when they wash their clothes.
- The last thing to consider is the dishwasher.
If you live in a single family home and run it once a day, a 40 gallon tank will suffice.
However, if you own a commercial property like an apartment building or a restaurant,
you will need to talk to an experienced plumber to figure out what size water heater you need.
Do I need to drain my water heater?
Yes, it is important to drain you water heater once every year.
If you are a homeowner, it is one more chore that you have to do, but it will make your water heater last a lot longer.
This is because draining your water heater cleans out the sediment that collects in the bottom of the tank and also makes your water heater run more efficiently.
All water heater manufacturers recommend that you flush the sediment from your water heater at least once a year.
This should usually be done by a local plumber, and the cost of the visit pays off in the long run.
As well, this is not a job you want to do on your own.
There is not only a chance of scalding, but there is also a big mess to clean up if you don't run the hoses right.
How often that you need to drain your water heater also depends on where you live.
The quality of your water may have much more of an impact on your water heater than you might think.
Besides having old pipes in your house, if you have water with a high mineral content,
then you may have to flush the sediment from your water heater more often than other homeowners.
Call Davis Jr. Plumbing, Inc. or local water authority.
They can tell you the amount of minerals that you may have in your water and how often you should
drain your water heater to make it last much longer than what the manufacturer guarantees that it will last.
How hot should I set the water heater?
The temperature on your water heater should be set so that it is just hot enough to satisfy your needs.
However, many home owners don't know what the standard temperatures are and set the thermostat on their water heater too high!
120 degrees is more than adequate for household chores, and especially for showers and baths.
If the temperature of your water is 125 degrees Fahrenheit, you only have about two minutes before you will be scalded.
Never set your thermostat higher than that unless you have a special need, like sterilizing eating utensils.
Also, lowering the temperature can have an adverse effect.
If you have more the one person living in your home, they might run out of the shower freezing.
In effect, if you want to save money and control the thermostat on your water heater, it's a great choice for energy efficiency.
But just like any other home improvements, you have to monitor it so that everyone is safe.
TIME / TEMPERATURE RELATIONSHIPS IN SCALDS
1. 125° F 1 1/2 to 2 minutes
2. 130° F About 30 seconds
3. 135° F About 10 seconds
4. 140° F Less than 5 seconds
5. 145° F Less than 3 seconds
6. 150° F About 1 1/2 seconds
7. 155° F About 1 second
Should I Get A Gas Or Electric Water Heater?
There are certainly debates about the differences between gas and electric water heaters.
But usually, unless you are buying a new home, the choice between a gas and electric water heater is already made for you.
This means that unless you want to go through an entire home renovation, you may be already invested in the utility devices that you have.
It's not a deal breaker if you buy a new home; having an electric water heater just means that you will have other responsibilities when it comes to being energy efficient.
While gas is cheaper to use and makes hot water faster, there are some advantages to electric water heaters.
Most people think of electric water heaters as outdated devices that waste too much energy for the hot water that they provide; but they have come a long way since their invention.
Electric water heaters can be installed almost anywhere. They can be installed under your sink as a point-of-use water heater in a condo where you just might want to wash your hands or a few dishes with water at the right temperature.
This makes small electric water heaters more energy efficient if you live on your own.
Of course, if you have a larger family you may benefit from a gas water heater.
Just remember, a gas water heater cannot be installed in a living area, a bathroom or a bedroom.
It is always best to call a professional plumber before you start renovating a local building or home.
So you should always check with local plumbers and municipalities before you install any kind of water heater
to make sure if a gas or electric water heater will be more efficient and also will comply with local ordinances.
What Is An Expansion Tank?
The most common use of an expansion tank is to prevent the temperature and pressure valve on a water heater from opening do to thermal expansion.
Thermal expansion is caused when cold water is heated and expands in a closed system,
such as a domestic hot water system with a pressure reducing valve supplying the cold water.
In a domestic hot water system the pressure reducing valve regulates the incoming water pressure allowing water in but not out,
creating a closed system. When the water heater heats the water the water expands creating more pressure.
When the pressure reaches 150 pounds the temperature and pressure valves open dropping the pressure in the system and making a mess.
The expansion tank absorbs the excess pressure when the water is heating preventing the temperature and pressure valve from opening.
Technically speaking, an expansion tank is an extra tank used in closed water heating systems made for domestic use to absorb excess water pressure.
It is divided in to two parts, one which contains water and is connected to the hot water system.
The other side of the tank contains air and helps increase the amount of water pressure.
It's actually called a rubber diaphragm, and helps relieve the wear and tear on a plumbing system that may have more demands on it than it can handle.
There's a lot more to it than that, which is why you should give Davis Jr Plumbing, Inc. a call if you feel like you need an expansion tank.
General Plumbing Frequently Asked Questions
Why is water leaking down the pipes that connect under the sink to my faucets?
It is causing mold.
You might get lucky and solve the problem just by tightening the fittings to the faucet with a basin wrench,
which is usually the only tool that can reach up there.
If not, the connections will need to be replaced with braided stainless flex tubing.
Give us a call so we can get the leak stopped today! Once the leak is history,
treat the mold with a strong bleach solution (using gloves, eye protection, and ventilation, of course).
Then dry out the cabinet. If the wood is rotted, you may have to patch the bottom with plywood or replace the whole cabinet.
What causes my pipes to hammer?
Water rushing through the pipe and out the faucet moves with speed and force.
When you shut off the faucet, the water flow is brought to an abrupt halt and that energy has to go somewhere.
The result is the 'pounding' noise you hear. A water hammer arrester will absorb the shock and minimize the slam noise.
A soft seat in the check valve will then assure a quiet closure, and you will not have the 'pounding' sound any longer.
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