Plumbing FAQ: The Top 5 Questions Answered!

by | Jul 7, 2023 | Blogs

The average homeowner spends about $6000 on plumbing and maintenance costs annually. This considerable sum covers everything from routine services to unexpected repairs and replacements – but how much of this could be saved with a little insight and understanding? 

Let’s address the top 5 most frequently asked questions about plumbing, providing clear, actionable answers that might just keep your pipes clear and your wallet a little fuller!

1. What is the Safest Drain Cleaner to Use for Pipes?

One often-asked question pertains to the safest drain cleaner for pipes, especially when a new garbage disposal unit is involved. This is a crucial question, considering that harsh chemicals can corrode pipes, cause leaks, and disrupt the overall functionality of your home’s plumbing system.

Choosing the correct cleaner is all about balance. The cleaner must be potent enough to clear clogs and prevent buildup, but also gentle on your pipes.

2. Why is My Garbage Disposal Humming?

Humming garbage disposals can indicate a potential jam in your kitchen sink’s drain. Often, this hum results from hard materials such as coffee grounds or fruit pits accidentally finding their way into the disposal. Such food scraps can create blockages, preventing the garbage disposal from functioning correctly and causing the humming noise as the motor strains without rotating effectively.

How to Fix a Garbage Disposal Unit

Before attempting to fix your garbage disposal, always ensure the power to the unit is off to avoid accidents. Use a flashlight to inspect the sink flange and see if any solid materials are causing the jam. If you find any, carefully remove them.

If this approach doesn’t resolve the issue, your garbage disposal may need a reset. Locate the reset button, usually on the bottom of the unit, and press it. If the humming persists or your garbage disposal leaks, it might be time to replace the unit.

While some issues can be fixed at home, others might require a professional plumber. If the problem continues, don’t hesitate to call our expert team. It’s always better to ensure a well-functioning disposal system than to risk further issues.

What Foods Can I Throw in the Garbage Disposal?

The fruit rinds, skins, and peels of citrus fruits are fine to throw into the disposal, with a bonus —  they offer a naturally appealing scent! 

Coffee grounds can also be discarded, but too much can lead to pipe blockages due to their oily nature. 

Cooked meat leftovers from your plate can safely enter the disposal, provided they’re not large chunks. 

While avoiding bones is best, your disposal can handle an occasional bone or cartilage. 

Finally, uneaten canned pet food is fine in moderation. 

Female plumber fixing toilet

3. How Can I Stop Water Leaking Around the Base of My Toilet?

Water leaking around the base of your toilet is not just unsightly, but it can also seriously damage your home’s plumbing system and flooring. Leakage often occurs due to a faulty seal between the toilet bowl and the floor, which can be resolved by replacing the old rubber gasket.

First, turn off the water supply to your toilet to stop the water flow. Then, flush the toilet to remove the remaining water in the tank and bowl.

Next, loosen and remove the bolts securing the toilet to the floor. You may need to use a hacksaw if they’re rusted or firmly stuck. Once the toilet is loose, carefully lift it off and set it aside. You’ll now be able to access the old rubber gasket.

Remove this worn-out gasket and replace it with a new one from your local hardware store. Ensure that it fits securely to create a good seal and prevent future leaks. Once the new gasket is in place, reposition your toilet, tighten the bolts, and reconnect the water supply line.

Finally, fill the toilet tank and flush it to check for any leaks. If the water still leaks around the base, it’s advisable to call in professional plumbers to inspect and resolve the issue, as it could be related to more complex plumbing issues.

4. What Causes a Running Toilet Tank and How Can I Stop It?

A running toilet tank often results from issues with the toilet flapper not creating a good seal or problems with the fill valve, float arm, or overflow tube. These components play a critical role in your toilet’s normal flush cycle.

The flapper, for instance, might be old and unable to seal properly, causing water to leak continuously from the tank into the toilet bowl. A simple fix is to replace the old flapper with a new one, readily available at your local hardware store.

However, the problem isn’t always limited to the flapper. The issue could be:

  1. The float height causing the tank to overfill with excess water.
  2. A long chain preventing the flapper from sealing correctly.
  3. The refill tube is stuck beneath the water level, causing a constantly running toilet. If you notice water overflowing the tank lid, it might be because of an improperly set float height.
  4. A faulty flush valve.

In such cases, contact an expert plumber to inspect the system and fix these issues, ensuring your toilet stops running and performs optimally again.

Plumber fixing running toilet tank

5. What Can I Do With Clogged Drains in the Kitchen and Bathroom?

Clogged drains can be a common yet frustrating issue in kitchens and bathrooms.

In the kitchen, clogged drains often result from a buildup of food remnants, grease, and other debris in your pipes or garbage disposal unit.

In contrast, bathroom drains frequently become clogged due to hair, soap scum, and other personal care products.

Is It Safe to Use Chemical Drain Cleaners?

Chemical drain cleaners, while they may be effective, are highly toxic and pose risks to health, pets, and the integrity of your pipes. They often carry multiple warning labels indicative of their danger. Frequent use can deteriorate pipes, leading to costly replacements. 

Safer alternatives include enzyme-based cleaners, which utilize ‘friendly’ bacteria to prevent buildup in pipes. While they may require more time to work, these products offer a safer, non-toxic option for your household and the environment. Consider these alternatives for a less harmful approach to drain maintenance.

How to Address a Clogged Drain

A good-quality, biodegradable drain cleaner might be a quick solution for minor clogs, as these cleaners can effectively break down the clog without damaging your pipes. Alternatively, a plunger can often dislodge minor clogs. If your kitchen sink drain is linked to a garbage disposal unit, ensure the unit isn’t the source of the clog. 

For stubborn or recurring clogs, you will need professional help. We use special tools to remove the clog or inspect the pipes for deeper issues that might be causing the blockage. Don’t let a clogged drain turn into a significant plumbing issue. Instead, tackle it early to keep your home’s plumbing system in top shape!

Need Professional Plumbing Assistance? Contact Us Today!

Having plumbing problems can be stressful, but you don’t have to face them alone. At PlumbingWurx LLC, we’re more than just plumbers; we’re a family. With years of experience under our belts, we’re prepared to tackle any plumbing issue you might have, from simple fixes to extensive projects! 

References

  1. Best Plumber Tools List: 27 Must-Have Plumbing Tools — Accessed 5 Jun. 2023.
  2. How to Install or Replace a Sink Drain Flange — Accessed 5 Jun. 2023.

Contact us for a consultation today

Lean on the trusted expertise of your PlumbingWurx family at 1101 Opal Ct, Suite 101, Hagerstown, MD 21740.

Contact us at (301) 264-7577 today!

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