Plumbing Tips & Advice

image11

Holidays

  •   Dinner preparations and visiting families and friends can put extra strain on your plumbing system during the holidays. While you can always call C Les Plumbing for all your plumbing needs, here are a few tips to help you prevent holiday plumbing emergencies this holiday season. 
  • Do not pour fats, oils, and grease down the drain. They easily solidify in the pipes and can cause a major blockage. Things like turkey drippings, bones, extra gravy, celery, and potato peels should all be disposed of in the trash. If you have a garbage disposal, make sure it is running when you put food into it – don’t let it fill all the way up before running it. Use Hot Water If you notice your sink is draining a little slowly, try pouring hot or near-boiling water down the drain. This can help break up any organic compounds or soap scum. Adding baking soda to your sink cleaning can help keep your drains clear! 
  • Extra guests can mean extra strain on your plumbing system. Have guests wait at least 15 minutes when taking turns to use the shower. This not only allows the hot water to recharge but also allows enough time for drains to empty properly. 
  • Mindful Flushing - Remind your holiday guests to be mindful of what they are flushing down the toilet. Many items like paper towels and baby wipes should be thrown away, rather than flushed. They can block the drain line! 
  • We hope these tips are helpful and your holiday festivities are free of plumbing problems! From our family to yours, C Les Plumbing wishes you and your family a wonderful and stress-free holiday!  

Taking care of your drains


  • Watching home improvement shows and reading DIY plumbing blogs,  doesn’t make you a master plumber. Plumbers spend years training and  learning the plumbing trade, it’s best to leave big plumbing issues to  the professionals and save yourself the headache.
  • If you call a plumber right when you first notice a leaky faucet  you’ll likely only need a simple, small repair, but if you wait a few  months, the leak will worsen and cause more damages leading to more  costly repairs
  • Tape is only meant for pipe threads, don’t use tape on compressors or other connections
  • “Plumber’s putty,” can damage plastic and it can leave stains.
  • You can remove that tub ring by sprinkling the tub with salt and taking half a piece of grapefruit and use it as a scrubber
  • Use food coloring to test for a leaky toilet. Place a few drops in  your toilets water tank. Wait a few hours, then check the bowl to see  if there is any color there. If there is, it’s an indicator that you  have a leaky flapper
  • The most common causes of dripping faucets, are worn washers, bad internal seats or worn/faulty faucet cartridges
  • If your water pressure is too high, like over 80 pounds per square  inch for example, it can cause damage to your faucet and create a leak
  • Disposable diapers, feminine hygiene products, hair, coffee grounds,  toothpaste, food particles, oil from cooking and mineral build up are  the most common causes of clogged drains
  • If your drain is clogged you can pour half a box of baking soda and ½ a  cup of vinegar down a the drain, then wait 30-45 minutes and pour  boiling water down the drain. 
  • If your kitchen sink is clogged by grease, you can remove the clog  by pouring ¼ cup of dish soap down the drain, wait about 20 minutes and  then pour roughly a quart of boiling water in the drain
  • Pouring chemicals down your drain will corrode the pipes.
  • The newer, thicker chemicals meant to remove clogs from drains will often cause or worsen clogs. 
  • IF YOU USED ANY CHEMICALS TO TRY AND UNCLOG DRAIN- TELL THE PLUMBER BEFORE HE STARTS WORK!


Toilet Tips

 

  • To stop an over flowing toilet locate the valve behind your toilet and turn it off immediately
  • If plunging doesn’t fix your clogged toilet, it’s time to contact a professional plumber
  • Those toilet flushing tabs, are horrible for your toilet and will create major problems down the road
  • If nothing happens when you flush, it means you have a loose handle or valve
  • Clogged toilet? Let it sit for a few hours or overnight, then try  flushing again. Often times this is all you’ll need to do, to fix the  issue. Just be ready for the water to over flow if this doesn’t work.
  • You can also add some hot or boiling water to your bowl and try flushing, to correct a clog.
  • You can use a wet/dry vac to retrieve items that fall into the toilet 
  • Letting Coke soak in your toilet, is the easiest way to clean your bowl.

Sump Pumps

 

  • A pedestal sump pump has the motor attached to the top of a shaft, this motor is not designed to be under water.
  • A pedestal sump pump works well if you have a smaller diameter basins
  • Sump pumps usually come with an automatic on/off switch for your convenience
  • A float switch is the most common sump pump automatic switches.
  • Sump Pump float switches are design to rise with the rising water  levels your basin and the pump is started after the water reaches a  certain level.
  • Submersible sump pumps are designed to sit in the base of the sump basin, below water level.
  • Submersible sump pumps are more adapted to larger sump basins
  • Submersible sump pumps are typically quieter than pedestal pumps.
  • To determine the size of sump pump you need, you must know ho
  • w much water you’ll need to be pumped, how high the water will be pumped and the length and size of pipe.
  • Do not assume that having a large horsepower sump pump will be the best choice for you, do your research before buying
  • A large horsepower sump pump, in a small diameter basin will cause  the pump to cycle more frequently, shortening your pumps life.
  • Pump capacity charts are available through professional plumbers  and installers or pump manufacturers or they can be found on the web.
  • When installing a sump pump, it is usually recommended that a check  valve be installed, this prevents water left in the outlet pipe from  flowing back into the basin
  • Some check valves can be attached to the sump pump itself, while others are placed farther up the outlet pipe
  • A dedicated electrical circuit should be used for the sump pump. Most pumps have a high amp load when starting
  • Do not use an extension cord to plug the pump into the outlet
  • To maintain a sump pump, periodically check the system.
  • Make sure the float in your sump pump is free of obstructions
  • Observe the outlet on your sump pump to make sure water is actually being pumped
  • Listen for unusual noises when your sump pump is running, strange sounds are signs something is seriously wrong
  • If a sump pump fails, and water gets into the basement, do not  attempt repairs without first turning off the power to all basement  outlets.

How to Fix a Water Heater Leaking from the Bottom

 

Step 1: Find the Leak


Cause #1: Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve

The temperature and pressure relief valve  is designed to release water if there's too much pressure inside the  tank, or if the water gets too hot. The t/p valve is equipped with a  discharge tube that runs from the valve to the floor. The tube is in  place to make sure that any water that leaks from the valve is safely  directed downwards, towards the floor, rather than outwards where it  could be harmful.

 

If you notice a puddle of water at the bottom of your hot water tank,  check the inside of the discharge tube for any moisture. If you find  water, the problem is most likely the temperature and pressure relief  valve.

The valve is either faulty or there is too much pressure in the tank. This problem is usually fixable by either replacing the valve or calling a plumber to deal with the internal pressure problem.


 

Cause #2: Drain Valve

Every water heater has a drain valve at the bottom of the tank. The drain valve is used to drain the tank. It should be drained on a regular basis  to remove the sediment that collects within the internal tank. If the  sediment isn't drained, it will eventually cause damage to the inside of  the tank.

If you notice water pooling around the bottom of your  tank you may have a drain valve leak. There are 2 causes to a drain  valve leak:

  1. A faulty drain valve
  2. A leaky drain valve

A faulty drain valve will need to be replaced, or you may be able to use a brass garden hose cap to stop the leak until you're able to swap it out with a new one. 

If  you notice water seeping out of the edges of the valve, in most cases  the valve isn't water tight and it's simply leaking. Replacing the drain  valve will usually solve the problem.


 

Cause #3: Internal Tank

Most leaks come from the hot water  tank itself. If the tank is leaking, there is an internal problem, and  likely one of the components has sprung a leak, causing water to slowly  leak out and pool at the bottom of the tank.

Usually, the cause of  this is sediment build-up inside the tank. If this sediment is left  long enough it will begin to crack and rust the steel tank, eventually  leading to a leak.

A leak from the tank itself almost always means  the water heater will need to be replaced. In this scenario, you can  either contact a professional plumber to investigate further, or you can simply purchase a new water heater.


 


 

Step 2: Prevent Further Water Damage


Now  that you've located the leak, the next step is to turn off the water  and power to the water heater, this will help prevent further water damage.

Refer  to your emergency shutdown procedure sticker located on your water  heater. If your water heater does not have this sticker, follow these  steps:

 

Turn Off the Power

  • Electric Water Heater  - Turn OFF the breaker for the water heater at the main electrical  panel. Most water heaters use a 240 volt dedicated circuit breaker,  which means that no other appliances will be on the same breaker.
  • Gas Water Heater - Find the on/off dial, located on the side of the water heater near the bottom. Turn the dial to the OFF position.

Turn Off the Water Supply

  • Find the lever or dial located on the water supply inlet.
  • The water supply inlet is located at the top of your water heater. This is where the water enters the tank to be heated.
  • To  turn off the water supply, you simply turn the dial clockwise or turn  the lever to the closed position (usually parallel to the pipe).

Step 3: Decide What to Do Next

Depending on where your leak was, and your comfort level, you may choose to do the repairs yourself, or contact a plumber to make the repairs for you.


If  the leak was originating from the temperature/pressure valve, or the  drain valve, it's highly likely that your water heater can be repaired. 

However, if you find that your internal tank is leaking, you'll most likely be buying a new water heater 

Find out more

Troubleshooting Water Heater Leaks