Discover tips and tricks to some of the most common plumbing problems.

Question: How long do garbage disposals last?

Answer: An economy disposal from manufacturers such as Kenmore and Insinkerator may have a performance life between 4-6 years. Premium disposal systems of the same brand are designed to perform between 6-8 years.

Question: Why did my disposal just stop working.

Answer: Check 3 areas of the disposal. First check and remove debris lodged between the flat plate and wall blades. Second, check disposals red reset button located at the bottom and push up to reset. Finally check for loss of electrical power at the breaker panel.

Question: Which garbage disposal should I choose?

Answer: Consider the overall cost of operation over a 7 year period. If a units price is cheap, but requires replacement very 3-4 years then the added cost of installation and delivery have to be factored in. Purchase the best quality possible with the best possible warranty.

Question: Why do my drains back up more frequently than my neighbors?

Answer: It all depends on what you are putting down your drain. Drain systems are designed to remove waste by water. If fluid waste begins to coagulate like grease or fat, pipe diameters will diminish. Vegetables such as celery or potato peels become like pulp in a drain system. They simply do not move through older drains like cast iron.

Solution: Rule of thumb. If you won’t eat it, don’t ask your sink to. Egg shells, potato peels, stringy vegetables should be placed in the trash. Large amounts of oat meal, mashed food products and grease should go into the trash. Keep an old mason jar under the kitchen counter for grease. Finally using Enzyme based drain cleaner will help emulsify grease, fat and organic vegetables.

Question: Why does my tub or shower back up when I flush the toilet?

Answer: Tub drains and shower drains represent the lowest drain fixture in the home. You are dealing with a whole house main line stoppage. Three factors may be in place here:

  1. You are experiencing a root intrusion.
  2. Disposable wipes are being used in excess.
  3. Your sewer may be suffering from a major offset of one connection or another.

Solution: Clear main line sewer with a large auger machine. Visually inspect the inside of sewer main for possible root intrusions or off-set separation of drain pipe.

Question: Both my water and gas bills have gone up. My floor also feels warm. What’s going on?

Answer: You may be experiencing a pin hole leak, or slab leak. This is a leak that is found under concrete slab where pipes are laid underground. A leak occurs when calcium develops on the inside wall of a length of copper pipe. Each length runs back and forth to each water fixture in the home.

Solution: Locate the leak. This is a big one which requires the use of specialized equipment for tracing and listening. Some leaks are readily visible by way of cracks in the concrete floor or footing. Furthermore, a pinhole leak can be found on copper raisers service a second floor. Cut and remove concrete. Excavate soil. Cut and remove damaged section of copper pipe. Braze in new material and fittings. Back fill with clean sand. Set and new concrete patch.

Question: Why does my water heater rumble?

Answer: As water heats up, calcium and other particles fall out of the water. They collected at the bottom of the tank. This causes a separation to occur. The base of tank begins to fill up with particles displacing the flame from water. Heating bubbles will appear like boiling water witch makes a rumble sound.

Question: How long should my water heater last?

Answer: Most manufacturer brands are designed to last on average 10-12 years. Water quality is a factor. If your home has a soft water system in-line for your home, expectation range from 6-8 years on a water heater.

Question: Should I flush my tank each year as recommended by the manufacturer?

Answer: This is a good idea in theory, however I found little benefits in the area where we serve. The idea behind this is to flush calcium and other particles out of the tank. The problem lies in the sill cock provided by the manufacturer. It’s 3/8” opening is supposed to covey all sediment from the tank. I found this to be ineffective. You make the call.

Question: Why does my faucet leak?

Answer: Leaks occur due to age and use. Most faucets designed for kitchen, lavatory, or tub and shower, should have a performance life of 10-20 years before service is needed. New products on the market are responding to market demands witch may be cause for concern. Cheaper products are hitting the market, but the maintenance or replacement cost over a 10 year period may far exceed the cost of a good quality product installed by licensed professionals who know how to set them up. Look for faucets that come with a life time warranty. Splurge on your budget for a good faucet. Remember, you are asking your faucet for the next 20 years to flawlessly control one of the most powerful elements in the world. Water.

Question: The Gas Company came and shut off my gas cause of a leak. Now what?

Answer: Gas leaks can be a very serious affair. Professional Plumbers have specialized equipment designed to locate leaks in gas lines in and around the home. Here’s how they do it.

  1. Because the gas has been eliminated to the home, Helium is used to produce an odor that leak detection equipment can pick up.
  2. Rebuild and update a better performing gas system from tables outlined in the Uniform Plumbing Code.

Question: My yard has plants and grass that appear to be dying even though I water them. Why?

Answer: If you have confirmed your regular watering schedule than a gas leak in yard may be the reason. Natural gas kills plant life. Check with your local gas provider for possible loss of gas on your system.

Question: My guest restroom toilet constantly plugs up, especially with embarrassed guests. Why?

Answer: Not all toilets are created equal. Inheriting a bad toilet with a home purchase is a no joy factor! Certain toilet designs are inherently flawed. Choosing the right one can be daunting. We have had great success with the Brand Toto and American Standard.

Question: My toilet constantly runs in the middle of the night. It freaks me out! Why?

Answer: Flush valves, commonly called flappers, have a performance life. They begin to allow small amounts of water from the tank into the bowl below. When the tank gets to low the fill valve activates and refills the toilet tank. Replace the flush valve with a brand like Korkey.

Question: I plunge and plunge but to no avail! What now?

Answer: Professional Plumbers don’t push the blockage down the integral trap. The key to success is to depress the plunger down then rapidly pull once. Be careful to keep waste water in the bowl!

Question: Why is my water pressure so low shortly after I run water through my faucet?

Answer: If you live in areas that have high water pressure in excess of 80 PSI, than you have an pressure regulator. This devise has of course a performance life. You may be at the end of your 12-15 year performance life. It’s time to replace it.

Question: The water pressure in my shower is awful. How can I get better pressure?

Answer: Each fixture in your home has a small screen to catch debris such as calcium and particles from your local water service providers piping system. Remove and clean with an old tooth brush and reinstall. If your head looks old and calcified. Remove the shower head only and soak in a product found in most home improvement stores called CLR. This will break up and dissolve hard water deposits.

Question: Why do I hear a humming sound coming from my walls when I flush a toilet?

Answer: Your toilets flush valve and pressure regulator are causing a hydro harmonic. Adjust your pressure regulator down just a bit. This will not affect your volume.

Question: I hear ticking after using hot water anywhere in my home. It lasts for 7 minutes or so. Why?

Answer: Your home’s copper piping system is secured to a wood frame work. This is a hard one to track down! When copper pipe heats up, it expands. This expansion causes friction released into the wood one tick at a time. Makes you want to pack a pillow around your head at night. I know, I’ve had this problem!

Solution: Tear your house apart until you find the offending secure strap and insulate it from the wood frame.

Question: Are tankless water heaters any good?

Answer: Yes, they are. These systems are designed to provide consistent endless hot water. Not instant hot water. If you are a family on 3 or less than you may want to consider a tank water heater unless space is a factor. If you have a house hold of teenagers, than you are looking in the right direction. Tankless water heater set up is crucial. Location of local gas line and venting needs to be considered. Tank water heaters recovery burn rate is between 32,000 and 34,000 Btu’s. A tankless water heaters burn rate is 199,00 Btu’s That’s a jet engine

Technical Statistics: Most Tankless water heater require 3⁄4” gas pipe with a measurement call a water column. This column needs to be at a minimum of 4 inches. Calculations need to be made by and experienced plumber who understand Cubic feet tables. Next is venting. Conventional water heaters vent through a 3” Single wall to double wall B-vent steel to the outside atmosphere. Tankless water heaters require 4” stainless steel vent or non condensing 4” PVC material to the out side atmosphere.

Finally, Potable tap water from your municipal water district is most likely too hard for a tankless water heaters. Our beta tests show that 2 1⁄2 years of heating untreated water ultimately cause failure. Conditioning of water service for tankless water heaters is the key to success.

Question: What water filtration should I use in the home for my family?

Answer: This question comes with many facets. I hate the answer (it depends). I try not to give it to my customers.

  1. For small drinking water applications, Everpure makes some great products.
  2. For whole house filtration, Pelican products have good reviews and good distribution.
  3. For protection of home appliances and fixtures, a salt water based soft water system is the direction to look.

If you have more specific questions you would like to ask. We would love to talk with you. Give us a call today at 1 (888) 787-4672

"Marty is one of the most hard working and smart plumbers I have ever worked with, or had work for me. And, I've met a lot of plumbers. Does the job right the first time." -David B.

"Marty is amazing! Had a water pipe break which caused part of the dining room ceiling to collapse. He fixed the broken pipe quickly and went above and beyond to help clean up the mess. Can't say thank you enough!!" -Leslie B.

"Thanks Martin Plumbing Company for coming out on such short notice! When all 3 toilets in the house decided to stop working at the same time, I was more than a little stressed out! Thank you for your great customer service, skill, and patience with me in the midst of my stressful predicament!" -Heather G.
"I just want to say that your company lives up to your promises. I had 2 hose bibs replaced and a gate valve replaced. Chris was awesome. He was professional, courteous, answered all of my questions, and he left the two areas cleaner than they were before he got there. Again thanks for all of the work done. I know who I will use for all of my plumbing projects and who I will recommend." -Joe G.