Frequently Asked Plumbing Questions

Sometimes our clients have questions about their plumbing or plumbing fixtures.  Here are some of the most common questions we have encountered at Griffith Plumbing.

Frequently Asked Plumbing Questions - Maryland & Virginia Plumber

General Plumbing Questions

How can I prolong the life of all my plumbing fixtures and water heater?

The best way to prolong the life of your plumbing fixtures and extend the life of your water heater is to install a water softener or water conditioner in your home. These systems are designed to stop scale build-up, protect pipes and fixtures and make all appliances that use water more efficient.

Why does my drain get clogged?

Usually drains are clogged because people are not careful of what they put in them, particularly in the kitchen. Other drains, such as the bathroom showers or sinks, get clogged because of the oil residue from soaps, shampoos and hair. It is recommended that you are conscious of what you put down your drains and consult Griffith Plumbing to help you resolve your clog.

What are the symptoms of a leaking pipe?

There are a few things you can do to detect a leak.  If you live within a municipality and pay for water, visit your water meter and write down the level.  For the period of a few hours, ensure that no one is using water in the household.  Return to the water meter when the time is up and check the level again.  If there is a difference in the readings, you may have a leak.  If you are unsure or have determined a leak exists, contact Griffith Plumbing for an immediate repair!

How can I prevent leaking pipes?

It is important to periodically inspect your pipes. If you observe rust or lime depositing on them, this may be an indication of a leak and you should contact Griffith Plumbing to address the problem. By performing an occasional inspection, you could stop a small problem before it turns into a large one. Leaking pipes can damage floors, walls, and possessions.   Avoid a costly mishap and call us today.

What can cause pipe corrosion?

Water quality is one of the leading causes of pipe corrosion.  A number of factors can cause your pipes to develop corrosion, such as:

  • Water temperature
  • Amounts of oxygen in the water
  • Water pressure & water flow speed
  • Chemicals present in water
  • Water pH

Are hidden leaks a concern?

Absolutely, YES!  The longer the leak exists, the larger the leak becomes and the increase of damage it can create.  Finding a leak in the early stages and seeking a plumber for repairs can curb water loss, eliminate any damage associated with the leak, and diminish the need for emergency repairs.

 

Faucets

What causes my faucet to drip?

The typical leaking faucet is a problem that has a relatively simple solution. The internal mechanisms need to be rebuilt or replaced. This is an easy and inexpensive fix. Did you know that you could extend the life of your washers by turning off your faucets gently rather than forcefully?

You can sometimes repair the faucet leak by using a screwdriver or Allen key to remove the faucet handle.  Check the internal nut to see if it is loose.  If it is, you can use pliers to tighten the nut.  If this does not work and you are mechanically inclined or comfortable with disassembling the faucet, but remember you will need to reassemble it.  Or you could just call the experts at Griffith Plumbing to help you and have your faucet flowing with water without leaks.

Can faucets be cleaned and how can I clean my faucet?

The answer is Yes!  The majority of faucets can be cleaned using a soft, damp cloth.  You may need to consult manufacturer guidelines for newer faucets.  They sometimes recommend particular cleaning solutions to rid stubborn stains.  To avoid scratching the finish of the faucet, avoid using abrasive cleansers or pads.

Toilets

Should I be concerned if my toilet is running?

Leaky toilets can cost almost $100 extra per year on your water bills and are an annoyance.  If the toilet continues to run into the bowl after the toilet is flushed, it indicates that some part of the mechanism needs to be replaced.

Can I fix my running toilet?

It depends on the problem.  If it is as simple as readjusting or bending the float (the plastic or metal ball floating on top of the water), then yes.  But use caution in doing this as the rod can easily break if too much force is used.  Newer toilets, containing a plastic tube for the float to slide on, can stick from debris, sediment or grit.  Manually moving this mechanism can loosen the debris and repair the toilet.

Other issues with toilets can involve the chain and flapper.  Chain length adjustment may be necessary to allow the flapper to properly close.  These adjustments are typically easy to do.  If the flapper has become damaged or is leaking, just replace it with a new one.

Can my leaking toilet be the source of my increased water bills?

Yes it can.  Toilets can develop a slow leak and left undetected, can cause a significant increase in your water bills.  There is a simple way to detect a toilet leak with the use of food coloring.  Place a few drops of food coloring into the toilet’s tank (back portion of the toilet).  Ensure no one uses the toilet for 30 minutes and check the toilet after the time is up.  If your toilet bowl is now colorful, it is time to call Griffith Plumbing to resolve your leak.

Kitchen Plumbing Questions

What can I put in my garbage disposal?

This can be huge problem for homeowners. Here are some tips to keep your disposal in good working order.  First, always run cold water when grinding to move the waste all the way down the drain lines. Fats and grease collect and harden in cold water and can be flushed through the system. Hot water should not be used because it can dissolve fats and grease, which may then accumulate in the drain line.

Almost all-biodegradable food waste can be fed into garbage disposals. However, they should not be used to grind clam or oyster shells, cornhusks or other material with high fiber content. Under no circumstances should you put glass, plastic or metal, non-food materials through a disposal.  We suggest you also avoid disposal grinding of the following items:

  • Fibrous foods such as artichokes, asparagus & celery
  • Bone fragments & eggshells
  • Onion skins
  • Fruit pits & seeds
  • Banana peels
  • Potato skins

If my garbage disposal stops working, can it be repaired?

It is possible to repair the garbage disposal yourself depending upon the problem.  The first thing you should try is inside the drain area for a jam or obstruction.  Please remember to turn off the disposal and disconnect the electric before placing your hand in the drain!  If the blades are unobstructed and moving freely, then reconnect the disposal and locate the RESET button.  Press this button then flip on the disposal switch.  If the garbage disposal is working, great!  If not, check the breaker in your electric panel to confirm the breaker has not tripped.  If you have completed all these steps and your garbage disposal is still not working, call Griffith Plumbing.

Why does water backup into my sink when I run the dishwasher?

The dishwasher and the garbage disposal typically share the same drainage pipes.  When you leave food debris in the disposal without grinding them, the debris clogs your drainage system.  Be sure to clear your garbage disposal of food and debris prior to running your dishwasher to avoid this problem.

 

Other Household Plumbing Questions

What should I do if my water heater is leaking?

You should call Griffith Plumbing right away. Leaking water heaters usually indicate the bottom of the tank has rusted. There are really no good repairs for this problem. You most likely need a new water heater and we can ensure you have the hot water you need.

When should I replace my hot water heater?

The majority of electric hot water heaters have a life-span of 10-15 years and gas water heaters typically survive 8-12 years on average.  Indications of water heater issues include signs of water leakage around the bottom of the water heater, seeing rust colored water flowing from your faucets, and a decline in hot water during use.

Your hot water heater works twenty-four hours every day for the whole year! So when you need to buy a water heater make sure you consider all your options.  The average family has a forty-gallon water tank and uses quite a bit of hot water.   It is worth it to get the better hot water tank and have one of our Griffith Plumbers professionally install it.

How do I know if I need a sump pump?

The answer is simple.  If your basement regularly accumulates water from heavy rains or has any other way for water to flow into your basement, then you need a sump pump.  Griffith Plumbing can install a new sump pump and even pipe old water sources in to the sump pit to eliminate the flow of water into unwanted areas.