Recently my water bills appear to be rather high. None of the faucets appear to leak. What else could contribute to a high water bill?
You may want to check to see if a toilet is leaking. First, check the water level to ensure that water is not overflowing the tank by way of the overflow pipe. This is the pipe in the middle of the tank. It has a small tube connected to it. If water is running into the overflow, adjust the fill valve to stop the flow approximately 1inch below the top of the overflow tube or to the water level mark stamped on the side of the tank. Second, put a few drops of food coloring into the tank to test the flush valve mechanism. If the water in the bowl changes color within 15 minutes, this is an indication that water is leaking into the toilet bowl and that the ball or flapper needs to be replaced.
How often should I have my septic system inspected?
Septic systems should be inspected and pumped a minimum of once every three to four years. You may not be experiencing any problem now, but a full septic tank may allow unwanted solids to flow into the drain field, which is the part of the system that consists of a distribution box, with a series of connected pipes. Each pipe allows water to flow into a bed of stone, that drains into the ground. If paper and other solids flow into the drain field it becomes blocked and ineffective. A blocked drain field is costly to repair or replace.
The temperature of my hot water seems to be higher than what I think I need. How can I conserve energy, yet also be sure that there is an adequate amount of hot water?
Most people are comfortable with their hot water set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which is also the new standard that manufacturers use when pre-setting it at the factory. If you have an older model, set the thermostat at medium. On a gas model, there is a dial on the front of the gas valve for setting the temperature. On electric models, the thermostats (there may be two) are concealed behind the two panels on the side of the tank. NOTE: Turn off the electricity before removing the panels. There are exposed wires behind the panels containing HIGH VOLTAGE.
I am getting a foul odor from a bathroom in the basement. We hardly ever use this bathroom except when we have company. This is embarrassing. What can we do?
Plumbing systems are designed to prevent foul odors from entering the house by means of the trap attached to fixtures. Traps contain water to seal out foul odors; if the water seal evaporates, the odors enter the house. To solve this problem, pour a bucket of water in each trap, sink, shower and floor drain. This will prevent the odors from entering the house.
In winters past when the weather has turned to freezing, even if we turn off the water to the outside hose and yard faucets, they still freeze and break. What can we do about this?
Turning off the water is not enough. You must also disconnect the garden hose connected to the faucet to allow the water in the pipe to drain out. This will allow the piping to completely drain and withstand the cold weather.
My shower heads and faucet aerators have a buildup of a white substance around the area where the water comes out. Is there anything I can do other than replacement?
The unsightly buildup is mineral deposits. To remove these deposits from the showerhead, take a plastic bag and pour a cup of vinegar in it. Place the bag over the showerhead and use a twist tie to hold it in place overnight. In the morning, remove the bag and use an old toothbrush to gently scrub the deposits off. You might be able to remove the aerators from the faucets and allow them to soak in the vinegar overnight.
Our kitchen drain has taken longer than usual to drain during the past year. Should we have it cleaned?
There is a product available from your plumber that will help with slow drains. The name of the product is Bio-Clean and you can read all about it at the link on this site. Call us to get more information. 303-232-6611. We do not recommend chemical drain cleaners for maintenance as they usually don’t work and they are hard on the piping. Bio-Clean cleans pipes without harming them. If your kitchen sink is completely stopped up however, you will need to have it cleared first. Visit our Bio-Clean page for more info.
I am hearing a whistle sound that seems to be connected to the plumbing system. It comes and goes at times, but I can’t find the cause of it. What could cause this?
The sound you are describing is usually caused by a toilet fill valve that is slowly leaking. To locate the offending toilet, remove the lid of each toilet tank and adjust the fill valve mechanism until it stops. Once you have found the toilet causing the problem, repair or replace the fill valve.
We need to replace a toilet in our home. We have heard coworkers and friends complain that the new toilets do not flush properly, and that they require multiple flushes. What is the recommendation for toilet replacement?
When the federal government mandated that new toilets use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush, manufacturers had a challenge; to develop a toilet that would achieve this but that would also flush properly (clear the bowl) and carry the waste to the city sewer or septic system. We have done extensive testing and carry 1.6 toilets that flush. Call us for recommendations.
There are four people in our house, two adults and two teens. We are constantly running out of hot water. After a five-minute shower, the water starts to turn cold. This change occurred quite recently. Help!
There are two possibilities. First, the dip tube of the water heater has broken off. This is a tube that forces incoming water to the bottom of the tank so that hot water will be drawn off of the top. When the dip tube breaks, cold water entering the tank mixes with the hot water and cools it down. This can occur in both gas and electric models. Second, if your water heater is electric, the lower element that heats the water may not be operating properly, thus only the upper half of the tank will heat up. The cause of this problem could be a bad element or a thermostat malfunction. This type of problem should be evaluated by a qualified technician.