Residential Plumbing Tips
Many minor plumbing problems can be solved quickly and easily without a plumber’s assistance. Our plumbers have put together these answers to their most commonly asked questions.
Hot Water Problems
We are always running out of hot water.
Check to see if any appliances are being used at the same time. It may be just a matter of rearranging the cleaning schedule a little.
For example, do the laundry at night, shower in the morning, and run the dishwasher in the afternoon. Also, determine the capacity of your tank and allow ample time for the water to reheat.
If the water heater was working fine and you just started to lose hot water there may be a problem with a control or the heating element. These problems will require a plumber to come and repair it.
I have no hot water at all.
If you have an electric water heater, try resetting the breaker. If it trips again after resetting it, call your plumber.
If you have a gas heater, the pilot might be out. Just follow the directions on the front panel of the unit to light the pilot. If you are uncomfortable doing this, or it doesn’t work call R.E. Robertson for a plumber.
When I push the toilet handle, nothing happens. Why?
This happens when the linkage between the flush handle and the flush valve becomes disconnected inside the tank. Lift the tank lid and inspect the flush handle and all the connections to the flapper at the bottom of the tank. Make sure they are all attached and try flushing again.
What do I do when my toilet clogs up?
First, do not continue to flush once you see that the toilet is stopped up. This “contaminated” water may damage the flooring and walls if it spills over. Try plunging the bowl six or seven times to see if you can relieve the stoppage. If this doesn’t work, turn off the water to the toilet and call your plumber.
Why do I have to jiggle the handle after flushing to stop the water from continuing to flow into the bowl?
The flapper is getting caught on something. Don’t jiggle the handle the next time this happens. Lift the tank lid off and see what is causing the flapper to not sit down properly. Usually it is hung up on the chain; just shorten the chain a little bit, and this will likely do the trick.
Why does the toilet make a trickling sound all the time?
A leaking flush valve, allowing water to pass through the tank into the bowl, may cause this problem. If this is the case, you will hear the toilet start filling all on it’s own from time to time. This is because as the water leaks in to the bowl, the tank level drops and the toilet thinks it has been flushed, so it re-fills itself.
If the flush valve leaks the flapper must be replaced and the seat it sits on cleaned thoroughly. If that doesn’t work it may be the fill valve. If this is leaking you will see water coming up over the overflow tube and dripping into the tank. Lift up very lightly on the float rod and ball.
If the water stops running, then this is the problem. Hold the rod tightly near the ballcock and bed the rod downward very slightly; too much pressure will break the rod. If neither of these work, shut off the water to the toilet and call your plumber.
There is sewage backing up into the house.
Call the City or County emergency phone number (Public Works Department) to have them inspect their side of the pipes to make sure it is not on their side, then call the plumber.
If you can’t get immediate action from the public works departments, call R.E. Robertson Plumbing & Heating right away at 410-757-0023.
Faucets and Drains
My faucet won’t shut off, what do I do?
Shut off the water valves under the sink. There could be a number of things that could be wrong, so the best thing to do is to call the plumber to repair the leak.
My shower drain is slow.
It could be clogged up with hair and soap scum. Simply lift off the drain cover and remove any visible debris that you can see, and run some water down the drain. If the drain is still slow try a little bit of liquid drain cleaner and let that sit for the recommended amount of time and then run the water. If it is still slow, call your plumber to snake out the drain. Never use hangers or sharp objects to poke around in the drain to clear the clog.
Water heater is leaking.
Turn off valve to the water heater. If it is electric, turn off the breaker.
The water heater relief valve is leaking.
Turn off the water supply valve to the water heater and call R.E. Robertson.
Water pipes are leaking.
Turn off your main water shut-off. It is found at the point where the main water pipe comes into your house.
Water line is leaking between the meter and the house in the front yard. Call the City or County to turn off the water at the street then call a plumber.