The first step in fixing a plumbing problem is knowing what caused it. At Plumb Masters, Inc., we like sharing all the insight and knowledge our Austin plumbers have learned and earned throughout the years with our clients. If you have any questions about plumbing issues, plumbing equipment, or just plumbing in general, be sure to check out our FAQ list for a brief review that might just have the answer you seek. If you have additional questions, or you already know you need our services, please feel free to schedule your service with us today.
What are expansion tanks, and why are they required?
An expansion tank is a comparatively small metal tank added to a water heating system to help absorb and regulate excess water or system pressure, especially in closed systems with no other way to vent pressure. When a water heater’s pressure is too high, it can explode violently. You might be required to have an expansion tank added to your system based on the plumbing codes of your city or region. However, even if you are not required legally to have an expansion tank, it is a worthwhile investment to get one all the same for systems with a closed water supply or no backflow.
When and why are plumbing permits required?
As a homeowner, you are probably used to being able to modify your property as you see fit. This is not always the case for plumbing work, though. You need to get a plumbing permit from your city before conducting any plumbing project that involves water heater replacement, underground piping, hidden piping inside your wall or ceiling, or any emergency replacement or repair that involves more than five feet of new pipework. To save yourself the trouble of knowing what plumbing work you can and cannot do, talk with an experienced plumber before beginning your project.
How to spot a gas or propane leak?
If you are worried there might be a gas leak on your property, there are some telltale signs you can identify. Most notably, you might hear an unidentifiable hissing sound and smell a foul odor similar to rotten eggs. If there is an underground gas line that is leaking, the plants above it will likely die quite rapidly and inexplicably. You should always have at least one carbon-monoxide detector in your home. You should only turn off your gas meter or main gas valve if you are absolutely certain it is safe to do so. Never try to turn your gas back on without the help of a professional.
What is the difference between a tank and tank-less water heater?
A water heater tank stores and heats water in large quantities, allowing for continual hot water usage for the average household, even if multiple people take warm showers in a row. A tank-less water heater does not actually keep any water within its system. Instead, it superheats an exchanger unit that provides heat to water that merely passes through the system. The advantages of a tank-less system are they take up less space, use less water, and tend to last much, much longer. The key disadvantage of tank-less water heaters is that they struggle to provide large quantities of hot water for extended durations.
What does it mean if I see the floor and baseboard near or behind my toilet
or shower is water damaged?
It is not uncommon for stray water to get splashed around a bathroom from regular use. However, if you are noticing floorboard or baseboard damage behind your toilet or near your shower, it is probably indicative of a leaking pipe. The leak might be slight enough to not spill out to the surface but still persistent enough to cause damage to the surrounding area.
I have low water pressure from one fixture, or throughout my whole house
Few plumbing problems are more frustrating than low water pressure, especially if it happens suddenly. If just one fixture has low water pressure, then the likely culprit is a clog somewhere in the pipework leading to just that fixture’s output. If your whole home has lost water pressure, it could be caused by one of your home’s main water shutoff valves being partially closed. If the problem persists after checking for small clogs or a shut valve, call (512) 957-0485 to get one of our Austin plumbers out to your home or business, and we will take care of the rest.
What do I do when my toilet is leaking or making a noise?
A toilet – or commode – that constantly makes quiet leaking or dripping noises probably has an issue with its overflow tube, flush mechanism, float, or flapper valve. All of these components are located in the tank or reservoir. Feel free to take a peek in there to see if anything looks off or out of place.
What can go down my garbage disposal – and what cannot?
Your kitchen’s garbage disposal unit is a powerful tool for mashing up food waste, but that is about it. There is a long list of commonplace items that can cause serious problems for even the best garbage disposal. Be careful to not let bones, coffee grounds, egg shells, grease, and pasta go down there. Hair, jewelry, and silverware are also frequently fished out of broken garbage disposals by plumbers.
How do I turn off really old valves to shut off the water to my entire house?
Extremely old, flimsy, or rusty water valves and water mains in your house will be difficult to shut off without completely breaking them. You need to proceed slowly and cautiously. Be careful not to force a compromised valve to open or close. Using a plumber wrench, you can grip the valve and apply needed force with better control than just your hands in many cases. When in doubt, get a plumber out to your place who will know what to do – and how to fix and replace the old valve, too.
What is the city’s responsibility to maintain my sewer line?
As a homeowner, you might be tempted to tell the city to fix a sewer line problem that is causing issues in your home. However, you are the responsible party for all pipework on or extended from your property that is not the actual sewer main. This means you will have to front the cost for any work done on lateral lines, too.
How do I handle repetitious drain issues?
Trying to continually handle a drainage issue on your own can be less than rewarding. You might seemingly fix the problem with a plunger, drain snake, or drain clearing chemical, only for it to start slow-draining a day later. You may even call a plumber to fix it but still smell the bad odor of stagnant water throughout your house. If this is happening to you, please contact Plumb Masters of Austin. We are licensed and certified to get the job done right the first time.
What does a water softener loop do and should I have one?
You do not want hard water in any of your plumbing lines. By installing a water softener loop into your system, you will not only separate all water for indoor and outdoor use, but you will also soften all water that you use in or around your home. You should have one if you are experiencing pipe or fixture damage throughout your property caused by hard water.
What is a water softener and what are the differences in types?
A water softener is a specialized piece of plumbing equipment that blocks, extracts, or absorbs many types of minerals from your water. Softened water tastes better, is gentler on fabrics and surfaces for cleaning, and is less harmful to pipework. Some systems use salt to complete an ion exchange as water passes through it, negating magnesium and calcium minerals with sodium. Other systems do not use salt or chemicals, but rather an electromagnetic pulse that changes the composition of the minerals in your water, rendering them “softer.” At Plumb Masters, Inc., we tend to prefer the Flow-Tech Home system and NuGen Fusion water softener systems. However, there are many options we would be happy to discuss with you.
Remember: If you have more questions about plumbing, or if you need emergency plumbing services, please call our Austin, Texas plumbers at (512) 957-0485 right away.