Plumbing FAQs

Plumbing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Gas Line Plumbing FAQs

Gas Line Repair and Installation

This gas line plumbing FAQs explores common questions regarding gas line repairs and installations. This aims to empower you with basic gas line knowledge and guide you toward making informed decisions for your home’s gas system.

Natural gas is odorless, but a harmless chemical called mercaptan is added to give it a distinctive rotten egg smell. This is the most common sign of a gas leak. 

Other signs include:

  • Hissing sounds near gas lines
  • Bubbles in puddles of water near gas lines
  • Dead or dying houseplants near the leak (gas displaces oxygen)
  • Increased difficulty igniting gas appliances
  • Soot buildup around gas appliance vents
  • Fluctuations in your gas bill (unexplained increase)

Warning: If you suspect there is a gas leak, leave the area immediately. Call your gas company or a licensed and professional plumber like Advantage Plumbing & Rooter for gas leak repair. Do not turn on or off any switches, light cigarettes, or create sparks, as these can ignite the gas.

  • Corrosion: Over time, gas lines can rust or corrode, especially if exposed to moisture.
  • Physical damage: Accidental nicks or dents during renovations or yard work can damage gas lines.
  • Settling of the foundation: Shifting foundations can put stress on gas lines, leading to cracks or leaks.
  • Faulty installation: Improper installation in the first place can increase the risk of leaks.
  • Aging: Gas lines, especially those made from older materials like black iron, have a lifespan and may need replacement after a certain period.

No, gas line repair and installations should only be done by a licensed and qualified plumber. Gas lines carry flammable materials, and improper installation can lead to leaks, fires, and explosions.

Gas leaks pose a serious threat for several reasons:

  • Explosion Hazard: Natural gas is highly flammable. Even a small spark caused by turning on a light switch, using an appliance, or static electricity can ignite a gas leak, leading to a dangerous explosion.
  • Asphyxiation Risk: Natural gas displaces oxygen in the air. Inhaling high concentrations of gas can lead to suffocation and even death.
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Incomplete combustion of natural gas can produce carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless and odorless gas. CO poisoning can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and even death if not detected and treated promptly.

Having your gas lines inspected by a professional and reliable plumber every 3 to 5 years is recommended. This will help identify potential leaks or damage before they become serious problems.

gas piping plumbing FAQs
sewer line inspection
Sewer Plumbing FAQs

Sewer Repair and Installation FAQs

Facing problems with your sewer system? This FAQ sheds light on common issues and sewer line repair methods, and the importance of professional help.

While a clogged drainpipe is usually a localized issue, a clog in your sewer line, which is the main artery carrying wastewater out of your house, can cause problems throughout your entire plumbing system.

Here’s how to tell if you’re dealing with a sewer line clog:

  • Multiple clogged drains: If toilets, sinks, and tubs are all draining slowly or backing up at the same time, it suggests a blockage in the main sewer line where all the drains converge.
  • Sewer backups: This is a sure sign of a major clog in the sewer line. Sewage overflowing from drains or toilets is a clear indication that the wastewater has nowhere to go.
  • Foul odors: Sewer gases trapped by a clog can emit a nasty odor throughout your home.
  • Gurgling sounds: Drains may gurgle as air and water struggle to bypass the blockage in the sewer line.
  • Exceptionally slow drainage: While a slow drain can sometimes indicate a clog in an individual drainpipe, if multiple fixtures are draining very slowly, it suggests a problem with the main sewer line.

It’s generally not recommended. These chemical cleaners can be harsh on pipes and ineffective for sewer clogs. They can also damage your septic system if you have one.

Tree root intrusion, improper disposal of grease and other debris, ground settling, and corrosion of old pipes are all common causes of sewer line damage.

There are several signs that indicates you may need a plumber for residential sewer line repair:

  • Multiple drain backups: If toilets, sinks, or tubs are backing up simultaneously, it suggests a clog in the main sewer line that requires professional attention.
  • Slow drains: While slow drains can sometimes be caused by clogs in individual fixtures, persistent slowness throughout your house points to a potential problem in the main sewer line.
  • Sewage smells: Sewage odors coming from drains or around your property are a clear indication of a sewer line issue.
  • Soggy patches in your yard: Sewage leaks can cause soft, mushy areas in your lawn, especially near the sewer line.
  • Foundation problems: If your foundation is settling or cracking, it could be due to a leaking or damaged sewer line beneath the house.
  • Rodents and insects: Sewer line problems can attract unwanted guests like roaches and rats.
Remodeling Plumbing FAQs

Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling FAQs

This FAQ equips you with the knowledge to approach to remodel kitchen and bathroom with confidence!

Define your budget and scope of work. Consider your needs, wants, and lifestyle. Research trends, materials, and costs.

Most likely, yes. Permit requirements vary by location. It’s best to check with your local building department before starting any major renovations.

Clear out the space of any belongings. Decide on major decisions like layout, fixtures, and finishes beforehand. Research and choose materials. Make arrangements for temporary living or dining areas if necessary.

A typical kitchen or bathroom remodel depends on the size and complexity of the project. A simple bathroom remodel will probably take a few weeks, while a complete kitchen overhaul could take several months.

The cost of a bathroom or kitchen remodel vary depending on several factors, including:

  • Size of the space: Larger bathrooms and kitchens naturally cost more to remodel than smaller ones.
  • Scope of work: A simple cosmetic update will be less expensive than a complete gut renovation that involves changing the layout, plumbing fixtures, and electrical work.
  • Materials: High-end finishes like granite countertops and custom cabinets will cost more than standard options.
  • Labor costs: Labor rates vary by location.
bathroom remodeling
Kitchen Plumber
Kitchen and Drain Cleaning FAQs

Kitchen Faucet, Sink & Drain Clearing FAQs

This FAQ equips you to handle minor kitchen plumbing issues or know when to seek the help of expert plumbers near me for a stress-free kitchen experience.

In some cases, yes. A worn-out washer or cartridge often causes a leaky faucet. These parts are not costly and can be replaced by a DIYer with some basic plumbing knowledge and tools. However, if you’re uncomfortable tackling the job yourself or the leak seems more complex, it’s best to call a professional plumber.

A loose faucet handle can usually be tightened with a wrench or screwdriver. Consult your faucet’s manual for specific instructions on tightening the handle. If tightening doesn’t solve the problem, or there’s damage to the handle itself, a plumber can diagnose and fix it.

Faucet sprayers can malfunction due to clogged nozzles, mineral buildup, or a faulty diverter valve. An expert plumber can clean the nozzle, remove mineral deposits, or replace the diverter to restore the spray function.

Several factors can contribute to a slow-draining kitchen sink:

  • Grease buildup: Grease and cooking oils solidify as they cool, gradually narrowing the pipes and causing slow drainage.
  • Food scraps: Bits of food debris can get caught in the drainpipes or garbage disposal, causing clogs.
  • Mineral buildup: Hard water can lead to deposits accumulating in the pipes, reducing their flow capacity.
  • Clogged vent pipe: A vent pipe allows air into the plumbing system, which helps drainage. If the vent pipe is clogged, it can create a negative pressure that slows down draining.

Unusual grinding noises indicate dull blades, foreign objects stuck in the disposal, or a failing motor. If the reset button and disposal wrench don’t solve the problem, it’s best to call a plumber to diagnose and repair the disposal.

If plunging and natural methods don’t work, if you suspect a deep clog or a broken pipe, or if you’re uncomfortable tackling the clog yourself, it’s best to call a professional plumber.

  • Install a drain strainer to catch food scraps before they enter the drain.
  • Don’t pour oil or grease down the drain. Let grease cool and solidify, then discard it in the trash.
  • Don’t put coffee grounds, eggshells, or fibrous vegetables down the disposal, as they can contribute to clogs.
  • Clean your garbage disposal regularly by grinding ice cubes and lemon peels.

Regular maintenance and preventive measures can help but professional drain cleaning can be beneficial every 1-2 years to remove any buildup that routine cleaning methods might not address. This can help prevent future clogs and ensure smooth drainage.

clogged toilet
Bathroom Plumbing FAQs

Bathroom Plumbing FAQs

Dealing with a clogged toilet can be a frustrating experience, but some telltale signs can help you determine the culprit.

Here’s what to watch out for:

  • Slow draining: This is a common indicator, especially if the water level in the bowl recedes very slowly after flushing.
  • Toilet overflows: If the toilet bowl fills up and overflows after flushing, it’s a clear sign of a clog preventing wastewater from exiting properly.
  • Gurgling sounds: These sounds can occur when air and water struggle to bypass a blockage in the drainpipe.
  • Rising water level: If the water level in the toilet bowl keeps rising significantly after flushing and doesn’t recede normally, it suggests a clog further down the drainpipe.

Flushing foreign objects, excessive toilet paper use, and a buildup of waste and mineral deposits are common culprits.

There are a few methods you can try to unclog a toilet:

  • Plunger: A standard toilet plunger is often effective for simple clogs. Use a flange plunger designed specifically for toilets to create a better seal.
  • Toilet auger (closet auger): This long, flexible metal cable can reach deeper clogs within the toilet trap. Insert the auger slowly and carefully following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Boiling water: For minor clogs, carefully pour a pot of boiling water down the toilet bowl. The heat can sometimes help melt and loosen the clog.

    Caution: Only use this method if the toilet bowl is cool to the touch, and never pour boiling water into a cracked toilet.

If these methods fail to clear the clog, it’s best to call a plumber.

When choosing a new toilet, consider these factors:

  • Flush performance: Look for toilets with a high gallons-per-flush (GPF) rating for powerful flushing, or a low-flow toilet (1.6 GPF or less) for water efficiency.
  • Toilet bowl shape: Round or elongated bowls offer different comfort levels.
  • Height: Comfort-height toilets are slightly taller for easier sitting and standing.
  • Rough-in size: Ensure the toilet’s rough-in size (distance from the wall to the center of the waste pipe) matches your existing plumbing.
  • Features: Some toilets offer bidet functionality, self-cleaning features, or dual flush options.

We recommend consulting a plumber for expert advice on choosing the right toilet for your needs.

Look for visible signs: Check for damp spots around the toilet base, behind the toilet, or on the floor below.

Water meter test: Turn off all water-using appliances in your house. Look at your water meter and note the reading. Wait for 1-2 hours and check the meter again. If the reading has changed, it indicates a leak somewhere in your plumbing system, which could include the toilet.

For a more comprehensive leak detection, it’s advisable to call a plumber who can use specialized tools to pinpoint the exact location of the leak.

A leak at the base of the toilet can be caused by a damaged flange, a loose wax ring (seal between the toilet and flange), or a cracked toilet itself. Do not use the toilet and call a plumber immediately to prevent further water damage.

Hot Water Heater FAQs

Water Heaters FAQs

This FAQ can help you understand your water heater better and identify potential issues before they become major problems.

There are two main types:

  • Traditional tank water heaters: These heat and store hot water in a tank. They are generally more affordable and easier to repair than tankless models.
  • Tankless water heaters: These heat water on demand as you use it. They can be more energy-efficient but are typically more expensive to purchase and install.

The size is determined by factors like the number of people in your household and your hot water usage habits. It is best to ask for recommendations from a water heater expert or an experienced plumber on what size is right for you based on your specific needs.

Leaking around the tank, unusual noises, rusty water, inconsistent water temperature, and running out of hot water quickly are all potential signs of a failing hot water heater.

If you notice any of these signs, contact a reliable water heater expert immediately.

While some basic troubleshooting steps can be done by homeowners (like checking the thermostat), hot water heater repair should generally be left to licensed plumbers like Advantage Plumbing & Rooter.

Hot water heaters contain electrical components and flammable gas (in gas models) and improper work can be dangerous.

Schedule regular professional maintenance (every 1-2 years) to flush the tank and check for potential problems. Also, consider installing a water softener if you have hard water, as it can reduce mineral buildup in the tank.

It’s generally not necessary for short trips. However, if you’ll be away for an extended period, especially during freezing temperatures, draining the tank can help prevent damage. Consult your owner’s manual or a hot water heater expert for specific instructions.