Frequently Asked Plumbing Questions

We’re guessing you don’t often think about the plumbing in your home unless there’s a problem. Almost all of your plumbing is out of sight so it’s only natural that it would be far from your mind. You’ve got other more important things to focus on as a homeowner! But sometimes a problem arises and you need to act fast in order to prevent greater damage. That’s why it’s important to know the basics of your plumbing so that you can establish when or not it’s time to call in the professionals should something go wrong. While we recommend giving us a call for most plumbing problems, there are some things you can do to maintain your plumbing and avoid pricey problems as well as a few quick and easy fixes you might be able to do on your own. Our goal is to provide you with our expert service and support when needed but also to give you all the information you need to avoid costly repairs whenever possible.

With that in mind, here are a few of our most frequently asked questions to help make your plumbing less of a mystery so that you’re able to make informed decisions about its maintenance and emergency repairs.

Why does my toilet keep running?

This is one of the most commonly asked plumbing questions. In most cases it is caused by the flapper not closing on or making a proper seal around the flush valve. If the flapper is not closing, try jiggling the handle – that will normally fix the issue.  If the flapper is worn out and not properly sealing, then you will likely need to replace it.  If the flapper does not seal, the water will leak into the toilet and the tank will not fill with water to push the float up and turn off the supply. Replacing the flapper is a fairly easy task you could likely do yourself, but it’s always a good idea to call the experts at Miller’s to make sure the flapper is actually the problem that needs to be fixed and to make sure the new one is correctly installed.

Why doesn’t the water drain from my dishwasher?

It’s quite common for a dishwasher to not drain because either the drain hose or the air gap (if the unit has one) is clogged up. Drain hose clogs commonly occur where the hose is attached to the main household drain line, or where the hose connects with the garbage disposer.

You could try pouring a solution of baking soda and vinegar into the basket at the bottom of your dishwasher. Let it settle for 10-15 minutes and pour a pot of boiling water down the basket to see if that clears the clog. If not, give us a call and we’ll be happy to take a look!

What can I put in my garbage disposal?

Many people think garbage disposals can break down anything, but they are actually only meant to break up soft debris. You should avoid putting things like bones, coffee grounds, egg shells or any hard products into your garbage disposal as they will likely wear the blades and jam the disposal. Remember to always run water to the disposal to help break down the foods and flush through the drain. 

Is it safe to use chemical drain cleaners?

We know they’re convenient, but drain cleaners are REALLY toxic (just take a look on the back of the product at all the warning labels!). They’re not great to have lying around your house, especially have you have pets or kids and they’re incredibly destructive to your pipes. Repeated use of toxic chemical drain cleaners will lead to deterioration and eventually you will need to replace your drain lines. Chemical cleaners are also bad for your septic system as they can kill the helpful bacterias within the system that exist to help break down waste and prevent your septic from backing up. 

Try using a baking soda/vinegar solution in place of chemical cleaners and if that doesn’t clear your pipes, give us a call!

Why do we run out of hot water so quickly?

Depending on the age and type of your heater there are a couple of reasons you may be running out of hot water so quickly. For example, electric water heaters commonly have 2 elements that heat the water – the top element and the lower element. Chances are if you’re running out of hot water quickly the lower element is not working and only the top portion of the tank is being heated. If the top element stops working, then neither will heat and you will have no hot water. It’s also possible that the reset button could trip, which would be an indicator that there is a more serious problem and it’s time to give us a call. 
No matter what type of water heater you have, if the hot water is running out, it’s likely time to call in the professionals.

Why does my drain get clogged?

In most cases drains get clogged because people are not careful of what goes in the drain, especially in the kitchen. Other drains, like in the bathroom, get clogged due to residues from soap and hair. So, the best advice is to be extra careful about what goes down your drains. But sometimes you can do everything right and your drain could still clog – this is incredibly common in old houses with outdated plumbing and relates more to the pitch and placement of your pipes. For a complete plumbing assessment, give us a call so we can recommend the best ways to keep your pipes clear and running properly.

These are just a few of the frequently asked questions we get, but we know there are a million more questions you could have about your plumbing. We are always available to answer your questions, to make suggestions and to get the job done when needed. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have a question, you’d like to book an appointment for a plumbing inspection or you need emergency repairs. (804) 758-4314

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