FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

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Frequently Asked Plumbing Questions | PlumbSure Plumbing & Drains

Since opening our doors over 15 years ago, we’ve served hundreds of customers throughout the northeastern suburb of Columbus, Ohio. And through our years of service, we’ve been asked many questions about plumbing, and here are the most common.

How Do I Troubleshoot a Water Heater?
If your water heater is acting strangely, you’d probably prefer to fix it yourself before calling a plumber for help. So, here are some water heater troubleshooting tips.

Check the Thermostat:
The first thing you should do is check the thermostat to make sure it’s set correctly. If not, adjust it accordingly and see if that fixes the problem.

Check the Pilot Light:
If you use a gas water heater with a pilot light, make sure it’s lit. If not, relight it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Check for Leaks:
Inspect your water heater for any signs of leaks. If you see water pooling around the tank, check for loose connections or condensation to see if that’s the problem; if not, turn off your water heater and call a plumber as soon as possible.

Drain the Tank:
If your water heater makes odd noises you’ve never heard before, like gurgling or popping, it’s likely due to sediment buildup in the tank. In most cases, draining the tank to flush the sediment solves the problem. Once the tank is clean, fill it with fresh water and start the unit.

Check the Power:
If the water heater isn’t giving you hot water, check to ensure that the system is getting power by looking at the breakers to see if any are tripped and checking the pilot light if you have a gas water heater.

Call a Plumber:
If you’ve tried all of these troubleshooting tips and your water heater still isn’t working properly, then it’s time to call a plumber like those at PlumbSure Plumbing for professional assistance.
What’s the Truth About Drain Cleaners?
When most people have a clogged drain, they go to the store and buy a chemical drain cleaner to solve the problem. But, although these products are advertised as safe for all plumbing, some people have concerns. So, what’s the truth?
What is a Chemical Drain Cleaner?
A drain cleaner is a product people use to unclog drains. It typically contains caustic chemicals, such as lye or sulfuric acid, which break down organic matter, such as hair or grease, that can clog a drain.

There are two main types of chemical drain cleaners: liquid and gel. Liquid drain cleaners are more common and typically come in a bottle with a nozzle that you attach to the mouth of the drain. Gel drain cleaners are thicker and usually come in a tub. To use a gel drain cleaner, scoop out some of the product with a plastic utensil and drop it down the drain.

Drain cleaners are appealing because they’re inexpensive, easy to use, and work in the short term.
Are Drain Cleaners Safe?
This is a question we get asked a lot, and it’s one that we’ve been doing a lot of research on. The simple answer is: no; chemical drain cleaners are not safe. In fact, they can be extremely dangerous if misused. Here’s what you need to know about drain cleaning products and why you should avoid them at all costs.

First and foremost, it’s essential to understand what’s in these products. Most contain incredibly corrosive chemicals like lye or sulfuric acid. When these chemicals contact with your skin, they can cause severe burns. If ingested, they can be deadly. And if fumes from the chemicals are inhaled, they can cause severe respiratory problems.

Even people who have followed the instructions on the bottle wind up damaging their pipes or getting injured using these products, so we recommend using alternative drain cleaning methods.

Drain Cleaner Alternatives:
If you’re looking for alternatives to chemical drain cleaners, a few options are available. One option is to use a plunger to try and dislodge the clog. Another option is to use a drain snake, a long, flexible piece of equipment that can reach deep into your drains to clear out any blockages. Finally, you can also try boiling water to break up the clog. Home remedies, however, don’t always work, and they can’t penetrate deep enough into the system when needed.

The safest drain cleaning method, however, is calling a professional plumber.
Why Does My Toilet Keep Running After Flushing?
There are a few reasons your toilet may run after flushing, and the following are the ones we encounter most.

Faulty or Worn-Out Flapper:
The flapper is the rubber seal at the bottom of the tank that lifts when you flush the toilet, allowing water to flow from the tank into the bowl. If your flapper is worn out, it may not create a tight seal, causing water to slowly leak from the tank into the bowl and resulting in a running toilet.

Corroded or Damaged Flush Valve:
The flush valve is located inside the tank and is responsible for releasing water from the tank when you flush the toilet. If this valve becomes corroded or damaged, it may not close properly, causing water to leak continuously into the bowl and resulting in a running toilet.

The Float Level is Incorrect:
The float is a plastic ball that rises as water fills the tank and triggers a mechanism to shut off the flow of water into the tank when it reaches a certain level. If your float level is set too high, water continues flowing into the tank even after it has reached its capacity, causing your toilet to run.

Faulty Fill Tube:
The fill tube is a small hose that delivers water to the fill valve (located inside the tank) from the supply line (located behind your toilet). If this tube becomes kinked or disconnected, water will continue running and never fill the tank.

Fortunately, these problems are relatively easy to fix if you’re handy. However, if you feel more comfortable letting a pro take care of it, you can count on the plumbers at PlumbSure Plumbing & Drains.
What's Safe & Unsafe to Put In My Garbage Disposal?
Garbage disposals are handy appliances that make life in the kitchen more convenient and quick. However, many people still don’t know what is and isn’t safe to put into the system.

What Not to Put In Your Garbage Disposal

Coffee Grounds:
Coffee grounds form clumps in the drain, eventually creating a mass that causes a clog and impedes your garbage disposal’s performance.

Starchy foods like bread, oatmeal, pasta, and rice expand when they absorb water, which can cause your system to clog.

Shells, Nuts, & Vegetable Peels:
Seafood shells and certain nut shells can dull or damage your garbage disposal’s blades. Also, avoid eggshells and vegetable peels like corn husks and fruit pits.

Grease and Cooking Fat:
Grease and cooking fat are the two worst things you can put into your drains because they solidify and require a professional drain cleaning to remove.

Fibrous Foods:
Stringy foods like artichokes, celery, kale, lettuce, and asparagus can tangle the machinery, causing it to jam.
What's Safe To Put In Your Garbage Disposal?
Soft Liquid Foods:
A good rule of thumb is if the food is soft enough to give to a baby, it’s generally safe to put into your garbage disposal.

Vegetable Scraps:
Soft vegetable waste debris is also safe to put into your garbage disposal.

The truth is that a garbage disposal is a powerful machine that can grind up most things you put it in. However, it’s not generally the disposal you must worry about, but rather your drains and what might get stuck and cause problems.

Call the plumbing experts at PlumbSure Plumbing & Drains if you need garbage disposal repair.
Why Doesn't My Hot Water Last As Long As It Used To?
If your home has a hot water heater, you may have noticed that it doesn’t seem to provide as much hot water as it used to. There are a few reasons why this could be happening.

The Tank May Be Too Small
If you’ve added new members to your household or started using more hot water than usual, the tank may not be able to keep up. You may need to upgrade to a larger size.

Heating Element Failure
If the element isn’t working properly, it won’t heat the water as efficiently, and you’ll run out of hot water faster. This is a common problem with older heaters.
The Tank May Be Leaking
A leak will cause the water level to drop, so the heater will have to work harder to heat the water, leading to shorter periods of hot water before it needs to reheat.

The Thermostat is Too Low
If the thermostat is set lower than usual, it will take longer for the heater to reach the desired temperature, resulting in less hot water overall. Check the thermostat and make sure it’s set properly.

Sediment Buildup
Sediment buildup can also lead to shorter periods of hot water. Over time, sediment accumulates in the bottom of the tank and reduces the tank’s capacity. This is especially common in areas with hard water. Flushing out the tank periodically can keep this problem from worsening and reducing your hot water.

Dirty Burner Assembly
If you have a gas water heater, the most likely reason it’s running out of hot water is because the burner assembly is dirty and needs cleaning.

The average lifespan of a water heater is between 10 and 13 years, but you can maximize use and avoid common problems through routine maintenance by a trained expert.
Why Does My Drain Always Clog?
Clogged drains are the most common plumbing problem we deal with; they’re annoying, especially when you think you’ve solved the issue, but the clog returns. So, why does this happen?

Repeated clogs often result from problems in the main sewer line. When a sewer line is blocked or damaged, the wastewater has nowhere to go but back into the house.

Sewer lines clog from:

  • Sagging, broken, or damaged pipes
  • Tree root infestation
  • Flushing non-flushable items, like feminine hygiene products, personal wipes, diapers, and paper towels
  • Grease, fat, or cooking oil poured down the drain
  • Using too much toilet paper at once

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Drain Clogs: Many homeowners think slow drains are part and parcel of owning a home, but it’s essential to keep your drains clear, and here’s why.

Clogged drains can lead to water damage, flooding, and mold growth. And if the clog is bad enough, it could cause your sewer line to back up, leading to an even bigger mess. So, it’s essential to maintain clean drains and fix any clogs as soon as possible.

Call PlumbSure Plumbing & Drains for drain cleaning maintenance to avoid stubborn clogs and maintain free-flowing drains.
What Exactly Do Commercial Plumbers Do?
Commercial plumbers install, repair, and maintain water supply and wastewater drainage systems for a variety of businesses, public areas, building complexes, and high-rise structures. Commercial plumbing is far more extensive and sophisticated than residential plumbing, making it far more difficult.
What Are the Most Common Commercial Plumbing Problems?
The following are the most common commercial plumbing issues:

  • Clogged Drains
  • Leaks
  • Water Temperature Issues
  • Broken Pipes
  • Sewage Odors
How Do I Find the Most Qualified Commercial Plumber?
When hiring a plumber for your business, keep the following 5 factors in mind:

  • Valid License
  • Business experience
  • Price
  • References
  • Warranty

When it comes to the best commercial plumbing services, Plumbsure Plumbing and Drains is the name to trust!
How Often Should You Clean Your Drains?
Even if you do not notice any specific signs that your drains are having trouble with clogs, you should ensure they are cleaned at least once every year.
What Are The Signs Of Clogged Drains?
A clogged drain can be indicated by a number of symptoms. If you notice the water drains slowly in your sinks or tubs, you could have a clog. Likewise, if you flush the toilet and water backs up into your sinks or tubs, a blockage may be preventing sewer water from leaving the house. You may notice excessive gurgling in your pipes in some cases. You may also notice unpleasant odors. The odors may be caused by rodents trapped in the pipes or by rotting biological materials such as hair or food.
What Are the Benefits of Cleaning the Drains?
The most significant benefit of having your drain cleaned and cleared of clogs is the ease of use. Nobody wants slow water drainage when using the sink. Additionally, drain cleaning extends the life of your plumbing. Clogged drains can be smelly because they prevent sewage water from flowing freely. Dirty water in your pipes could cause an unpleasant odor in your kitchen.
What Exactly Is a Hydro-Jetter?
It is a motorized device that was developed in the 1950s. It maintains a high pressure water supply and then sends it out a hose with a nozzle on the end. This is by far the best way of clearing the most stubborn drains, including tree roots.
Is Hydro-Jetting Better Than Using a Drain Snake?
Yes, in most cases. Hydro Jetting is the most effective way of cleaning stubborn drains. Unlike a drain snake, a good Hydro Jetting job will remove almost all debris from a pipe (not just a small section) making it difficult for clogs to reoccur.
Can I Perform Hydro-Jetting on My Own?
No. The equipment is prohibitively expensive for general use. It can also be dangerous in the hands of inexperienced users. For Hydro Jetting services, always hire a professional plumber.
What Is Residential Plumbing?
Residential plumbing deals with services for the home, including water heaters, drains, sewer lines, water lines and every plumbing-related fixture.
What Are the Most Common Residential Plumbing Problems?
The most common residential plumbing problems are clogged drains and toilets, leaky faucets and pipes, water heater issues, low water pressure, and running toilets.
What Do You Look For in a Residential Plumber?
When hiring a residential plumbing company, consider hiring a licensed one. Ask how long the plumber has been in the plumbing industry. The more experience the plumber or company has, the better.
What Is a Sewer Camera Inspection?
A sewer camera inspection is performed when a plumber uses a specialized camera designed to see inside your sewer pipes as to video inspect the inside of your sewer pipes.
How Often Do I Need to Get a Sewer Camera Inspection?
Sewer inspections aren’t just for new homeowners. We recommend getting any home inspected every 3-5 years. The positive side is sewer inspections are not monthly or annual requirements.
How Does a Pipe Inspection Camera Work?
The camera connects it to a portable, closed-circuit display. Its powerful lights illuminate the interior, allowing you to see every detail inside the pipe in real time. As the camera travels to the street and back, your plumber will notice the presence of debris, clogs, and even the smallest cracks.
What Is a Tankless Water Heater?
The majority of people in North America currently use a storage Tank Water Heater to heat their homes. A storage tank water heater keeps water warm around the clock, even when you’re at work or sleeping. A tankless water heater, on the other hand, does not keep hot water in storage. It heats the water as you use it.
How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?
When you turn on a faucet, the flow of water activates the heater. Regardless of whether you use gas or electricity, the powerful gas burners or electrical elements will activate, rapidly heating the water as it passes through the unit.
How Much Money Can I Save With a Tankless Unit ?
Depending on the model of tankless water heater you buy, the size of your current storage tank, and whether it runs on gas or electricity, you could save anywhere from 5% to 69% on your water heating bill or gas bill.
What Is the Most Common Problem With Plumbing Fixtures?
Clogged drains and toilets, leaky faucets and pipes, water heater issues, low water pressure, and a running toilet are the most common plumbing issues. Each of these issues necessitates a unique solution, and we are here to assist!
Why Should I Hire a Plumber if My Sink Is Slow to Drain?
When a sink drains slowly, there is a clog somewhere in the line. The clog could be minor or major, but it must be resolved as soon as possible. You could have a major obstruction that will eventually cause your pipes to leak or burst.
How Many Types of Water Heaters Are There?
There are two types of water heaters on the market today in terms of functionality. The most popular are your standard traditional Tank Water Heaters. The second would be the newer Tankless Water Heater systems which are vastly gaining popularity.
What Is the Best Type of Water Heater for Me?
Traditional and Tankless Water Heaters both have their advantages. Tank Water Heaters are far less expensive to install, making them a better initial cost choice than tankless water heaters. While tankless systems are more expensive to install and repair than traditional models, they are also more energy-efficient because they do not waste energy by reheating your water in a tank repeatedly during use.
Why Am I Constantly Running Out of Hot Water?
If your hot water runs out much faster than it used to, your home may require water heater repairs. While some of these problems are repairable, a new water heater installation may be required in the near future.
How Do I Know My Water Line Is Clogged?
Your water line may be clogged if you notice:

  • Changes in water flow and water pressure
  • Water backing up in odd places
  • A weird smell
  • Water takes too long to drain
What Causes a Water Line to Break?
As the ground around a pipe freezes and warms, the pipes expand and contract, occasionally causing a rupture. When fire hydrants are opened or closed too quickly, pressure changes can occur. This is known as a water hammer. When the pressure inside the water main changes the pipe can burst.
How Long Does a Water Line Last?
Depending upon what the pipe is made of, water lines will usually last anywhere from 20 to 100 years.

We hope this FAQ helped answer some of your questions, and when you need plumbing repairs of any kind, call us at 843-417-0071.