Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What can I safely put down a garbage disposer?
A: The first thing to mention is to always have the faucet running when the disposer is turned on, as the water will help keep the chopped food moving down the drain. Most soft foods are fine, but we advise against bones, and sweetcorn husks, and bottle tops , which can jam the blades. One item which is not obvious is coffee grinds, as these can dull the cutting blade of a waste disposal system.
Q: What if my garbage disposal is jammed?
A: Most disposers have a hole at the bottom to insert a hexagonal Allen wrench. This can be turned from side to side to help free the jammed blades. If the disposal makes a loud noise but nothing moves, then turn it off immediately as it can easily overheat. A professional plumbing technician should be able to free the mechanism of replace the unit.
Q: Why does my drain get clogged?
A: Most times, drains get clogged because the wrong items have gone down them. It is common in a kitchen to pour hot fat or grease down a drain, which hardens and then causes a blockage. Similarly in a bathroom, a combination of hair and soap residues can build up and clog the sink or tub. Most expert plumbers will be able to unclog the drain and then advise on future prevention to stop it happening again.
Q: Why does our faucet make a banking noise when turned on?
A; Banging noises are usually caused by pressure varying and air-locked in the system. Often a leaky washer in a faucet can be the cause as it can allow air to enter at the wrong time. Even replacing a faucet washer can be tricky as there a so many different manufacturers and models.
Q: When we have been away why do the drains and toilet smell bad?
A: All of the waste water systems in a home use a water trap (U-bend or T-trap) to make a seal between the living spaces and the smell of the drains. These water traps are on every sink, tub and toilet. If the traps dry out by evaporation, the smells of the sewer can easily enter the house. So it is important to flush all toilets and turn on all faucets occasionally to stop the traps drying out.
Q: Do I need a pressure regulator valve?
A: In most cases, they are not required, but if there is ever a failure in the mains supply network, then a higher than usual water pressure could occur. A pressure regulator valve reduces the incoming pressure (which could be as high as 90 PSI or pounds per square inch) to a consistent 60 PS. This rate of 60psi is what most home appliances are designed for, and a pressure regulator will help extend their working life from wear due to excessive pressure.
Q: If our water pressure is too low, do I need a pressure regulator valve?
A: Pressure regulators reduce an incoming supply pressure, not increase it. More likely there is a faulty main shut-off valve or serious leak between the water meter and the home.
Q: Does it matter if the toilet is running?
A: It is surprising how much water a toilet that does not switch off can waste. It can add $$$ to your monthly water bill, as well as making annoying noise. If the problem is just a stuck flapper valve, then shaking the handle may free it up and let it drop down, otherwise professional help may be needed.
Q: Why does our dishwasher not fully drain?
A: Dishwashers are designed to keep a small amount of water at the end of a wash cycle. This is to prevent the heating elements from burning out too fast. If there is a large amount of water remaining, then it may be a blocked drain, or a faulty machine itself. We can check the drain line and install a new machine if required.
Q: What is a tankless hot water heater?
A: Most standard hot water tanks are large tanks (up to 80 gallons) which are kept constantly hot by a heating element. In contrast tankless hot water heaters are designed to just heat the water at the point when the faucet or shower is tuned on.