TOP 5 Residential Plumbing Questions: Answered

In Google searches there are usually common residential plumbing questions that pop up when you look for answers to your residential plumbing problems as a homeowner. In this article you will find the answers to the top 5 ones.

  1. Where is my main shut-off water valve located? How do I shut off the water to my house?

Residential homeowners often ask where their main water shut-off valve is located and how to turn it off before a plumbing emergency strikes.

Your water shut-off valve is typically located on the main water line serving the house. The valve will most likely be outside the house and close to the exterior wall, attached to it or placed in an accessible underground box. Look around because there is a chance that the valve may also be located in a basement or crawl space.

You should also know about a separate valve that controls the hot water piping in the house. This valve is situated at your water heater, which is typically inside the house. This valve is often faster and easier to access than the house’s main water valve. When water is flooding your home, every second matters, but remember that this valve only controls the home’s hot water piping and it doesn’t shut off water main supply source.

After you have found the main shut-off valve at your home, make sure that all your family members know where it is located, because it can prevent a catastrophic and sometimes irreversible damage to your property.

  1. My garbage disposal stopped working. What should I do?

Three main reasons:        

  • Your garbage disposal could be jammed. If you turn your unit on and it makes a humming noise, chances are that the blades are jammed in there. Take a plunger or a broom, take a wood handle and stick it in and stir around. In this way you are trying to loosen the blades, because they are jammed somewhere. However, if you are not qualified, it would be better to call a professional plumber, who knows how these procedures are properly done.
  • Your garbage disposal needs to be reset. Reach down to the bottom of your unit, if there is a red button sticking out, push it up in there. Sometimes just resetting the garbage disposal is all that it needs. But if you are unsure whether you should do it or not, it is better to call a plumbing professional.
  • Your garbage disposal just needs to be replaced. Signs to look for: it’s leaking, it’s not making any noise, it’s not doing anything. Check out your breaker. Is it on? A good thing to do would be turning your garbage disposal on and off. If it is not working still and you noticed a leak on the top, it can also be rusted inside. All these signs show that your garbage disposal better be replaced and in this case calling a licensed and knowledgeable plumber would be your number one priority. You can find one at Downey Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning.
  1. My water heater is leaking… what should I do?

The first thing to do is to shut off the water valve, that controls the hot water piping at your home (see question 1).

Then follow these steps below to fix your leak:

  • Turn the water and gas supply off to the water heater unit.
  • On the pipe entering the water heater, there should be a valve within a few feet. Turn the lever a quarter turn, or if it’s round, turn it clockwise as much as possible until tight.
  • In a gas water heater turn the gas supply off by finding the valve, located on the piping entering the bottom of the unit. This will help prevent water damage until you can have a licensed and ensured professional check your unit to make sure no other problems occurred.
  • Open hot water taps enough to relieve the excess pressure, this can help limit the amount of water that leaks out.
  • Once the pressure is relieved, turn the taps off, so the unit has a vacuum effect. This will keep the remaining water in until a repair or replacement can be done.

Water heaters, and especially gas water heaters, can be extremely dangerous. Unfortunately, there have been some bad consequences of clients attempting to perform repairs or replacements on water heater units by themselves without undergoing the proper training. Some repairs even resulted in the loss of their homes through fires or serious injury. To prevent this from happening, contact a professional plumber from Downey Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning and we will be more than happy to assist you with your leaking water heater.

  1. Why does my toilet keep running?

There are a couple of things that make your toilet run.

  • The most common reason of a running toilet is that the flapper (located in the toilet tank) has shrunk due to chemicals in the water. This usually takes about 3 to 5 years to occur.
  • Another common problem is that the fill valve wears out and it cannot regulate the water level in the tank anymore, and in this case it must be replaced. There is also the fill tube set, which has a lower gasket that can leak or a leak can emerge from the tube itself.

It’s important to perform regular maintenance on your toilet by replacing the flapper and fill valve to prevent hidden leakage that is not seen or heard.

Drop some food coloring dye into the tank and check your toilet for water flow. Let the dye set for 5-10 minutes and then see if the dyed water seeped into the toilet bowl. If it did, that means there is a hidden toilet water leak.

  1. What can I do for a clogged pipe or drain?

Among the top plumbing problems that homeowners face are clogged drains and pipes. Of course, one should be careful of the things that he/she puts down the drain, but if the clog happened, the simplest way to remove a clog would be using a sink or toilet plunger. Liquid cleaners are also useful but beware of misusing them, since they contain chemicals which can permanently deteriorate your pipes. In some cases boiling water and an equal part vinegar/baking soda mix would be enough. If the mentioned procedures didn’t help to get rid of a stubborn clog, call a professional plumber from Downey Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning.

Residential & Commercial Professional Services

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