Plumbing F.A.Qs

Q: How can homeowners prevent pipes from freezing in the winter?

A: Pipes that happen to freeze in the water often are doing this because they are located in unheated areas of the home and are exposed to cold winds. You can begin to ensure that your pipes do not freeze by having a plumbing inspection by us at A-1 American. We would ensure that your pipes are staying warm by placing insulation wherever necessary.

Q: Can a chemical drain cleaner take care of a clog?

A: Usually homeowners will turn to chemical drain cleaners that you can find at retailers to take care of clogs. One of the disadvantages of using those chemical cleaners instead of calling a plumber is that they pose a danger to the residents of the home due to the toxicity of the chemicals. These chemicals are also strong enough to erode pipes which would cause damage that you would need to repair by calling a professional Hampton Roads plumber.

Q: How can I find the source of a leak that is not apparent?

A: Leaks won’t always occur at the site of your faucet or even in a visible portion of your pipe. Leaks can involve the toilet, which can be located by adding food dye to your toilets tank and watching to see if the dyed water leaks into your toilet bowl within a one hour span. If your leak is underground then it would be a lot harder to pinpoint and the help of a professional plumbers would be absolutely necessary to determine the location of the leak and to fix it.

Q: What causes hot water to have a bad smell?

A: Bad smells are associated with hot water caused by the mixture of sulfur, magnesium and all types of different bacteria and minerals. If you have a magnesium anode rod installed in your plumbing system that could very well be the cause. In this case it would be advised that you replace that rod in order to keep the odors under control. This odor can also be controlled by killing the bacteria that is present in the pipes, let us at A-1 American assist you with this process.

Q: What causes water to become discolored?

A: Discolored water is usually associated with a couple of different plumbing problems. Magnesium and Iron are two of the most common buildups that lead to black water. Even though these minerals are not dangerous, it would be a good idea to contact a company that deals with water softening to discuss how to filter these minerals out of the water. If you are using a water softener and that acquires resin build up then that will also call discoloration.

Q:What is the most effective way to prevent sewer backups?

A: The best way to do this is to install overhead sewers, which run along basement ceilings. They eliminate the connection between the main sewer system and the basement. With these systems, all above-ground sewage flows by gravity into the lateral line. Below-grade sewage is collected in an ejection pit. From here, it’s pumped up to the house sewer line.

These systems can be costly to install, but they’re a good choice for homes with finished basements. However, they need electricity to operate. In the case of a power outage, if there isn’t an alternative power source to operate the pump, the basement plumbing fixtures can’t be used.

Q: Are dissolving liquid drain openers (like Draino or Liquid Plumber) harmful to pipes?

A: Draino and like product are adequate for minor clogs, but do not overuse them, and never use them on a completely clogged drain. The corrosive ingredients will be trapped in your pipes, which can severely damage them. For any severely drained clog we definitely recommend you to contact us to do so. Also, never use dissolving drain openers in a drain that has a garbage disposal.

Q: How bad is a leaky tap?

A: Even a slight drip can waste liters of water every day and that’s money down the drain. Left unattended, a drip can cause internal tap damage and lead to reseating or internal parts replacement. Regular washer changes and swift repair action can save water and cost.

Q: What causes tub stains?

A: Stains result from rusty pipe residue entering through taps, toilets and other appliances. Rust can dull your washing or leave tell tale spots. The most effective solution is to have your plumber investigate pipe condition and replace rusted sections.

Q: What causes my hot water temperature to rise for short periods?

A: Sometimes sediment builds up in your hot water tank. This can result in a faulty thermostat reading that triggers the system to heat. Ask your plumber about flushing the tank, or it may even be better to replace the water heater.

Q: Why does my toilet sound like it’s running after being flushed?

A: It is possible the toilet seal is worn. If so you can hear the valve constantly trying to refill the tank. It’s best to call a professional plumber to confirm and rectify this problem.

Q: What is the best way to unclog my sink?

A: Sinks become blocked for many reasons. The solution will depend on the cause of the blockage and how far along it is. You could begin using water, a plunger or drain cleaner (available from supermarkets and hardware outlets). If the problem persists, call a professional plumber.

Q: How can I fix low water pressure?

A: Step one is to gauge your water pressure and investigate whether this is typical in the area. If there is an issue, clean or flush the water pipes to all taps, shower heads and other outlets. A professional plumber can advise on the best solution to low water pressure.

Q: What is an aerator?

A: Aerators are fitted at the end of a spout and are often used in kitchens and bathrooms. They diffuse water and prevent splashing.

Q: Why must I place traps below my sinks?

A: Sink traps prevent sewer gasses leaching up the drain and into your home. In Australia, they are mandatory under the building code.

Q: What is a plumber’s snake?

A: This device is sometimes called an electric eel. Plumbers use snakes in external drains to cut through obstructions like tree roots and release blockages.

A-1 American provides air conditioning, heating and plumbing services to homes and businesses in the Hampton Roads Virginia cities of Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News and Hampton and north into Williamsburg. A-1 American provides emergency service and repair, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including weekends and holidays. A-1 American charges by the job, not by the hour. A-1 American prides itself on immediate response, punctuality, courtesy and customer satisfaction. Call today 757-425-2400