Plumbing
Frequently Asked Questions

What Is My Plumbing System?

The pipes and appliances that operate in your bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room make up your plumbing system. This means your plumbing system includes drains, bathtubs, sinks, showers, and toilets that operate your bathrooms and also the drains and sinks in your kitchen. Your plumbing system can also be expanded, if you decide to install a new dishwasher in your kitchen or washer in your laundry room.

How Often Does My Plumbing System Need Maintenance?

Making sure your plumbing system is running at optimum efficiency means that your plumbing system will need maintenance throughout the year.

Do You Have Any Preventative Maintenance Tips For My Plumbing System?

Absolutely! Some helpful tips for your plumbing system include:

❏ Looking for signs of leaks around your home’s foundation, where pipes run through walls, and near visible pipes. Signs of a leak include puddles of water and watermarks on walls, floors or ceilings.

❏ Looking for signs of corrosion. Pipe corrosion can cause leaks and bad pipe connections if not corrected. Green stains around copper and brass fittings and on shutoff valves are a sign of corrosion.

❏ Testing water pressure. Water pressure measures the force of water, as it comes out of sink faucets and showerheads. Low water pressure can be a sign of a problem with the water line or of sediment build up in the faucet or shower head.

❏ Removing the showerhead to look for any blockage or sediment that it may have collected. Blockages and sediment buildup can cause lower water pressure.

❏ Checking each sink, bathtub, and shower for the speed of drainage. Slow drainage is usually a sign of a clog in the drain or a blocked pipe. When draining, the water should have a full swirl. If you see bubbles when the water is draining, this usually indicates a problem.

❏ Checking the inside parts and the flushing handle of toilets. To make sure they are flushing properly, flush each toilet at least once. Check inside the tank of the toilet to see if any parts are rusted, missing, or broken. Make sure there is no water on the floor around the toilet, and that the toilet water does not continue to run after flushing.

❏ Looking for cracked tiles in the around sinks, near the water pipes in the home, or in the shower. Hollow or loose tiles can be an indication that there is a leak underneath or behind the tile that may have caused rotting.

❏ Checking if any sink, bathtub, or toilet caulking is coming off.

❏ Checking for mildew in sinks, bathtubs, showers, and clothes washers. Mildew is caused by standing water that has dried up again.

❏ Checking to see if toilets rock or move by pushing and pulling on each toilet.

❏ Looking inside the burner chamber of your home’s water heater, for any flakes of rust. Also, check the flame of the water heater, to make sure it is a blue color. If you see a yellow color, this can indicate that the jets need to be cleaned.

❏Draining the water heater to remove sediment build up.

❏ Turning on all of the faucets to see if there is any water leaking out of the handles and valves.

❏ Checking the hoses connected to your washing machine, to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, or leaking.

Will The Sump Pump Burn Up If Outdoor Pipes Freeze?

It isn’t likely. Most sump pump motors have thermal protection for the motor if the pump becomes plugged. If the motor overheats, a relay switch should shut off power to the sump pump motor.

Do You Clean Or Replace The Filters In My Sump Pump?

Sump pumps do not have filters. Water actually enters the sump pump through screens, which can clog. During plumbing inspections, plumbers should clean these screens every time they inspect your sump pump.

Where Does The Water From My Home’s Sump Pump Drain?

So that the water run-off does not damage your home’s foundation or basement walls, we recommend making sure the water is drained at least 15 feet away from your house and your neighbor’s property too!

How Long Does A Sump Pump Last?

This will depend on how long the sump pump has to run, and how much water is pumped. With proper maintenance, newer sump pumps can last at least 5 years. Industry leading plumbers recommend replacing the float and switch at least every 2 years.

Are Water Softeners Bad For My Septic System?

The Water Quality Association is investigating if chloride in water softeners has harmful effects on septic systems, and currently there is no evidence that water softeners harm septic systems. Based on 40+ years of experience, the St. Louis area plumbers at Hoffmann Brothers report that they have installed many water softeners, and observed no negative effects on the septic system.

What Should I Do If My Toilet Is Clogged?

Clogged toilets are common household problems, and can usually be solved with a toilet plunger. If a toilet plunger does not clear the clog, then a plumbers’ snake might work. However, if neither of these options clear the toilet clog, call a plumber and the should inspect and repair your toilet.

What If My Toilet Constantly Runs?

Check the overflow tube in the toilet, to make sure the ballcock and the float cup do not need to be adjusted. If this doesn’t work then make sure that the refill tube on the toilet is above the overflow tube, and not in it! If neither of these improve the situation, you may have a defective fill valve seal that needs to be replaced.

Why Is My Toilet Filling Slowly?

If your toilet is taking a long time to fill, then your toilet’s fill valve tube might be clogged. You can try and clear the clog by using wire or a small brush to clear build-up from inside the tube. If clearing out the tube doesn’t fix the problem, call plumbers who should find and fix the problem.

Why Won’t My Toilet Flush Completely?

This is commonly found with new low-flow toilets. You can try and fix this problem yourself by making sure the water is flowing freely and cleaning the entry holes under the toilet rim. If that doesn’t work try adjusting the chain on the flapper to a 1/2’’ of slack or replacing the flapper, if it is worn out.

How Can I Make My Water Heater Last Longer?

You can insulate the hot water pipes in your home’s plumbing system and turn down the thermostat on the water heater to extend the life of your hot water heater. Many plumbers also recommend draining the tank on the water heater to remove any sediment build-up at the base of the water heater.

Why Is There Never Enough Hot Water In The Winter?

Because the weather is colder and the pipes are cooler in the winter, water takes longer to heat in the water heater. Insulating your water pipes will help maintain the water temperature in the pipes.

What Happens To My Old Water Heater When I Buy A New One?

Most industry leading plumbers will dispose of your old water heater, after they install your new water heater.

Because of the complexity of most residential and commercial plumbing systems, it’s always a good bet to call your local plumber and get an inspection before a potential nuisance becomes a real problem.