Tips & FAQ

Answering All Your Plumbing Questions

Check out our helpful Q&A below!

Summer Plumbing Tips

1. Clogged Garbage Disposals
Be careful about how you dispose of your trash and waste during the summer. Because many of the foods that we eat during summer can damage the blades or clog up your garbage disposal, it is important to be careful about what you put in your garbage disposal. Hard types of fruits and veggies like corn and watermelon, as well as cooking oils and grease, can be harmful. Running cold water through the disposal before and after using it should help clear out any remaining food. 

2. Sewer Line Backups
Sewer line issues can be hard to see, but you may experience problems if tree roots spread underground and crack the pipes. If your toilet is backing up into the bathtub drains, you may also have a sewer line issue. If you see this, call our plumber as soon as you can. We can recommend replacement if damage is extensive, or regular maintenance if the damage is more minor.

3. Clogged Toilets
Toilets in your house are used more during the summer months; you can thank kids being home for summer vacation for this! Be diligent about using modest amounts of toilet paper and only flush after they use the bathroom. Call an experienced plumber if you’re unable to resolve a clog with a plunger.

4. Washing Machine Maintenance
Summer months lead to more laundry due to kids being home and engaging in outdoor activities (hiking, swimming, vacations) more often. This can lead to added stress on your washing machines! We recommend staying in while you’re doing the wash just in case anything happens and you need to stop the cycle immediately. We also recommend moving the washing machine out from the wall to prevent hose kinks. 

5. Water Heater Maintenance 
Are you going away from home for a week or so on vacation? Turn down your water heater to save energy! Flushing your water heater every year will also extend its typical lifetime of 8-11 years. You should also begin flushing it on a bi-annual basis.
Plumbing FAQS
1. Why does my drain get clogged?
Typically, drains become clogged because people are not always careful of what they put in them. Problems like this tend to occur in the kitchen. Drains in the bathroom tend to get clogged because of the oil residue from soaps, shampoos, and hair. Be conscious of what you put down your drains and regularly use drain treatments that you can purchase from a plumbing professional.

2. Why does the toilet keep running?
The is one of the most common plumbing questions asked. The common reason is that the flap in the bottom of the tank isn’t sealing shut. Take the top off the tank and flush the toilet while watching the rubber flap. Does it completely close? If not, even though water is entering the tank, some of it is flowing out through the unsealed flap and therefore, the water continues to run because the float ball trigger is never activated to stop the flow since water never reaches the fill line. This is why jiggling the handle works to stop the running. The handle is attached to the rubber flap with a chain, and jiggling it will reposition the flap so that it may seal more securely.

3. Why do we run out of hot water so quickly?
Depending on the age and type of your water heater, there are a couple of reasons you don’t have enough hot water:
1) Electric water heaters commonly have two heating elements, one on top and one on bottom. Either of these elements can stop working. If the bottom element goes out, only the top portion of the water heater is being heated. If the top element goes out, there will not be any hot water.
2) There is a reset button that could have been tripped, causing the water heater to stop working. If that reset button has tripped, that is an indicator that something is wrong.

4. My water bill recently appears to be rather high and none of my faucets seem to be leaking. Is there anything else that could be causing the sudden increase?
The first thing you should check is your toilets to make sure they aren’t leaking. Then you can check to make sure your fill valve, inside the tank, is not overflowing through the overflow pipe. There is a small tube that should be connected to it. You want to make sure the water level is about 1 inch below the overflow tube or level with the manufacturers’ mark inside the tank. The last thing you can check is your flapper. You can do this by adding a couple of drops of some food coloring to your tank water, let it sit for about 15-20 minutes and check to see if the water in your bowl has changed color. If it has, then you will need to replace your flapper.

5. If I have a major water leak in my home, what should I do?
First, turn off your water supply at the main shut-off valve. As a homeowner, you should know where this is located and educate your family members as well. Second, always contact a professional plumber during emergencies. Do not touch any wet electrical fittings – call an electrician to deal with that.

6. What can I put down my garbage disposal?
Be sure to run the water when using your garbage disposal, because the moisture helps break up the food, even when disposing of fat and grease. Soft or brittle debris like egg shells, cooked carrots, peas, mashed potatoes and small pieces of meat will be ground up by the disposal and flushed down the pipes, but hard materials like bones and coffee grounds will wear out the disposal and dull the blades. Fibrous materials like corn husks may clog the disposal.

7. What’s the best way to choose a plumber?
As long as it’s not a plumbing emergency, it’s always smart to do as much research as possible before choosing a plumber. Ask and make sure the plumber is licensed in your local area or state. Refer to the Better Business Bureau to learn about complaints filed against the plumber or his or her company, and read any reviews you can find. Ask the plumber for references and follow up with them to get their opinion of the plumber’s work. Finally, ask for a free estimate on the repair job that has caused you to look for a plumber in the first place. Don’t be shy about getting a few estimates. The figures are important, but so is the reputation of the plumber in your community. Or you can just call High Plains Plumb Right!
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