General Plumbing FAQ
The Pipe Surgeons team knows that not every plumbing problem calls for a professional to repair. No two plumbing situations are the same. From needing an emergency plumber at 2 a.m. to deciding if you should rely on a trusted plumber for your weekend project, our technicians are answering the most common plumbing questions. Check out our comprehensive run down of questions we hear most often. Whether you’re contemplating what kind of plumbing repair is best for you or need to know what to look for in a quality plumber, we have you covered.
Offering straight-forward, easy to understand answers is our goal. We want to be your guide through basic plumbing problems and step in when a professional plumber is needed. Leaky faucets and faulty garbage disposals are just the tip of the plumbing iceberg. Let’s dive into the most frequently asked plumbing questions.
What are the most common plumbing problems?
Even in newly built homes, a sudden burst pipe or clogged toilet can cause plumbing problems you never expected. No matter the age or style of your home, plumbing problems are sure to happen. Whether you’re living through the repairs of an older home, or you want to know what to look for in your next home purchase, these are the most common plumbing problems:
- Clogged toilet
- Clogged bath or shower drain
- Jammed garbage disposal
- Leaky faucets
- Leaky pipes
- Low water pressure
- Running toilet
- Sewage smell in home
- Sewer system backup
- Slow draining sink
- Water heater repair
How do I clean my plumbing system?
Despite the countless products for home drain cleaning solutions, the best way to clean your home plumbing system is with a non-toxic Hydro Jetting treatment form your Port St Lucie, FL plumber. Because Hydro Jetting is environmentally-friendly, you can schedule the cleaning process every two to three years without worry that you’re damaging your pipes.
What is Hydro Jetting?
Hydro Jetting does not use chemicals. By forcing water through your pipes at nearly 4000 PSI, the Pipe Surgeons team can remove buildup, debris, and tree roots. The water is sprayed at an extremely high pressure and flushes away the debris, allowing water and waste to flow through your plumbing freely.
What type of pipe material is used in my home?
The age of your home will help you determine the pipe material used in your plumbing system. However, a sewer camera inspection is the only definite way to know what material is laid beneath your lawn and in your walls. Follow our piping guide below:
- Cast Iron: This pipe has a black finish and was used in homes through the mid-1960s.
- Copper: Plumbing in home built from the 1970 into the early 2000s was likely built with copper pipes. These pipes are a bronze color when new and slowly fade to a deep rust or brown color over the years. Copper pipes last about 50+ years.
- Galvanized Steel: If your pipes are a gray metal color, they’re likely made of galvanized steel. This material is cheaper than copper and was often used in homes leading up to the 1970s. The material was used less when builders discovered it only lasted for about 40 years.
- PB (polybutylene): This piping is usually marked with “PB2110.” These flexible pipes are usually gray but can also be black or blue.
- PEX (cross-linked polyethylene): Plastic tubing that is usually white, red, or blue and used to indicate hot and cold lines. Plumbers use this type of material because of its flexibility.
- PVC (polyvinyl-chloride): The white plastic pipes are most commonly seen under your kitchen or bathroom sinks used as drain pipes.
How do I avoid clogged pipes?
Whether it’s a slow-draining tub or a severe blockage in your main sewer line, addressing the problem immediately will help prevent further damage. The best way to prevent clogged pipes is to be mindful of what you put down your drains and toilet. Use these tips as a guide:
- A drain strainer should be used if there is no garbage disposal
- After washing dishes, run hot water to rinse away grease
- Avoid coffee grounds, bones, grease, fruit peels and other fibrous foods in garbage disposal
- Avoid pouring grease or oil down the drain
- Clear drain stoppers in shower and bathtub
- Only flush waste and toilet tissue down toilet
- Pump septic tank every two to three years
- Run cold water when using the garbage disposal
Do I need a plumber to unclog my drains?
Despite the claim on the package, do-it-yourself methods of drain cleaning are never a completely viable solution to your plumbing problems. When you’re dealing with minor clogs, grabbing a bottle filled with chemicals that works as a clog remover is the go-to solution for many homeowners. However, DIY methods of drain cleaning like drain snaking your drain with a wire hanger and pouring harsh chemicals down your drain never come without consequence.
Snaking your drain on your own only reaches surface clogs and blockages and not deeper ones within your pipe that could be causing the actual problems. In addition, chemical drain cleaner use toxic ingredients that create a slime and sludge within your pipes that can stay within your pipe for long periods of time. Your drains are an essential part of your property that should be taken care of with precision and accuracy. Using at-home methods of drain cleaning involve unnecessary guesswork that only temporarily mask your plumbing problems instead of solving them all together. Instead of trying to fix your plumbing problems on your own, call your team of local experts at Pipe Surgeons today.
What is a plumbing emergency?
The Pipe Surgeons team realized that plumbing problems don’t just occur during business hours. When major plumbing issues arise on the weekend, holiday, or the middle of the night, you need emergency plumbing services you can trust. Without proper knowledge of how your plumbing system works, you may be tempted to call an emergency plumber when the issues can wait or wait when an immediate repair is needed. Use our checklist to help you decide if it’s time to call an emergency plumber:
- Can you shut off a water valve to make the problem stop? If you can pause the problem temporarily, wait until normal business hours to call the plumber.
- Does the problem only affect one faucet, drain, or shower? If the problem is secluded to only one pipe, it can likely wait until Monday morning.
- Does the water work? If your water is completely shut off (and it’s not a municipality problem) call the emergency plumber.
- Is flooding occurring? If a burst pipe or water main break is causing flooding in or outside of your home, you’re dealing with an emergency.
Do I have a water leak?
For homes built on a slab or those with pipes that run underground, it can be more difficult to identify a water leak. The most common signs of a water leak include:
- Damp or spongy flooring
- Grass is greener in one part of yard
- Loss in water pressure
- Sound of running water coming from walls
- Unexpected Increase in monthly water bill
If you experience any of these issues, contact your Port St Lucie, FL plumber for leak detection service.
How do you repair a slab leak?
A slab leak is when a water pipe beneath your home’s slab bursts or leaks. If left untreated, an underground pipe leak can cause the soil to become saturated and cause the slab to shift or sink. A spot repair technique is the most common way to repair a slab leak. If the piping beneath the slab is old or suffering advanced corrosion, it may be a better solution to re-pipe or move the plumbing to a different location.
How do I unclog a toilet?
A clogged toilet is one of the most common and problematic plumbing issues. When your toilet can’t dispose of waste properly, the backup can quickly cause a messy health risk to your family. Common household attempts to unclog a toilet include:
- Plunger: Seal the plunger around the toilet drain and plunge rapidly several times. If the plunger doesn’t release the clog, try a plumbing snake.
- Plumbing auger: A plumbing snake can be pushed through the toilet drain to grab a clog.
If neither of these methods work and the water from the toilet is not releasing, call a Port St Lucie, FL plumber immediately.
Do I need a new toilet?
Ongoing problems with your toilet or a higher than normal water bill may indicate the need for a new toilet. Look for these signs that it’s time to replace your toilet:
- Age (toilets 10 years or older aren’t energy efficient)
- Continuous clogs
- Multiple flushes after each use
- Ongoing leaks
Is excavation necessary to repair the sewer line?
Pipe Surgeons utilizes trenchless sewer repair techniques that can complete most sewer line repair work without excavating. Traditional sewer repair creates a double cost to property owners - the sewer line repair and then repairing yard work, driveway, or flooring. Our technicians use advanced equipment during the trenchless sewer line repair work to solve your plumbing problems with minimal invasion to your property.
Types of trenchless sewer repair:
- Pull-in-place lining
- Inversion lining
- Epoxy coating
Each of these processes has as different set of requirements and its own pricing scale.
How do I stop tree roots from invading my plumbing?
Tree roots can break through underground plumbing, blocking the flow of water and waste to and from your home. Tree roots that invade your plumbing can create severe damage if not remedied quickly. To avoid tree root invasion, try one of these methods:
- **Root Barrier: Install a root barrier around any new trees by digging an 18 to 24-inch trench around the root zone. The barrier will keep the roots from invading your pipes.
- **Routine Plumbing Maintenance: Have a camera inspection performed every two to three years to detect invasive roots. You can spot small plumbing concerns before they become expensive repairs.
- **Sewer Line Cleaning: Hydro Jetting is an environmentally friendly way to clean your pipes. The intense water pressure can cut through clogs, debris and tree roots.
- **Tree Removal: If the tree continues to be a problem, have it professionally removed. The cost of tree removal will be minimal compared to constantly repairing your plumbing.
Does homeowners insurance cover burst pipe damage?
Homeowners insurance claims are frequently made over damage caused by broken pipes. Most insurance companies will cover damage caused by leaking or burst pipes if the damage wasn’t preventable. There are steps you can take to avoid broken pipes or leaking appliances:
- Ensure tubs and showers are caulked and sealed properly
- Inspect for leaking faucets indoors and outside
- Insulate pipes if you live in a cold climate
- Routinely inspect appliance hoses on your dishwasher or washing machine and replace as needed
How do I prevent pipes from freezing?
Preventing frozen pipes is easier than you may think. Use this guide to properly insulate your pipes and protect your property.
- Run heating cable along the pipes before covering with insulation. The cable will keep the pipes at a constant temperature.
- Inspect the outside of your home looking for visible cracks near the foundation or basement. Use spray foam or caulking to fill cracks.
- Shut off the water valves to your outdoor faucets. Allow excess water to drain then cover the faucets with an insulated dome to prevent freezing.
- Allow the warm air in your home to reach the pipes beneath your sinks by opening the cabinet doors.
- Have a sewer camera inspection performed yearly to ensure your pipes aren’t already cracked in some places, making extensive damage more probable.
- Allow a small, slow drip to come from your faucets. Running the water even a minimal amount will help prevent frozen pipes.
Pipe Surgeons is Port St Lucie’s leading plumbing and sewer repair company. Our technicians are available to help you through the maintenance of home ownership. We’ll evaluate the problems, explain the situation, and provide you with straight forward solutions that will quickly get your home back to normal. Contact the professional team at Pipe Surgeons today to schedule an appointment for your plumbing or sewer line needs.