Quality Services is your trusted industry leader when it comes to residential and commercial plumbing repairs in central and north-western North Carolina. From water heater repair to well pumps, our expertly trained team is equipped with the most advanced technology to solve your plumbing issues. Whether you’re in the midst of purchasing a new home or you’re trying to understand the basics of your plumbing system, our professional plumbers can answer your questions.
The Quality Services plumbing team is here to provide easy-to-understand answers to your plumbing questions and guide you through the basics of common repairs. We’ll cover how to understand the basics of your plumbing system to when it’s time to call a Durham plumber. Let’s dive into the most frequently asked plumbing questions.
How do I avoid clogged pipes?
The best way to prevent clogged pipes is to be mindful of what you put down your drains and toilet. Clogged pipes can be a major inconvenience, but when left untreated, they can become a costly emergency plumbing need. Whether it's a slow-draining tub or a severe blockage in your main sewer line, addressing the problem immediately will help prevent further damage. Use these tips as a guide:
- A drain strainer should be used if there is no garbage disposal
- After washing dishes, run hot water to rinse away grease
- Avoid coffee grounds, bones, grease, fruit peels and other fibrous foods in garbage disposal
- Avoid pouring grease or oil down the drain
- Clear drain stoppers in shower and bathtub
- Only flush waste and toilet tissue down toilet
- Pump septic tank every two to three years
- Run cold water when using the garbage disposal
Why you should call a plumber to unclog your drains
Homeowners often use DIY methods to clean drains. The problem with the store-bought DIY methods is that they're not strong enough to clean the drain completely. The chemical-ridden solution will simply push the clog further into the pipe, potentially causing a more severe issue.
DIY methods of drain cleaning like drain snaking your drain with a wire hanger and pouring harsh chemicals down your drain never come without consequence. Your drains are an essential part of your property that should be taken care of with precision and accuracy. Using at-home methods of drain cleaning involve unnecessary guesswork that only temporarily mask your plumbing problems instead of solving them all together. Snaking your drain on your own only reaches surface clogs and blockages and not deeper ones within your pipe that could be causing the actual problems. In addition, chemical drain cleaners use toxic ingredients that create a slime and sludge within your pipes that can stay within your pipe for long periods of time. Instead of trying to fix your plumbing problems on your own, call your team of local experts at Quality Services.
Does my plumbing system need to be cleaned?
Constant use of your plumbing system causes your drains and pipes to accumulate grease, fat and debris buildup. The best way to clean your home plumbing system is with a non-toxic Hydro Jetting treatment from your Durham NC plumber. Schedule a Hydro Jetting treatment for your home every two to three years.
What is Hydro Jetting Drain Cleaning?
Cleaning your drain with Hydro Jetting is an environmentally friendly way to ensure your pipes and drains are clear of years of debris and buildup. By forcing water through your pipes at nearly 4000 PSI, the Quality Services team can remove buildup, debris, and tree roots. The water is sprayed at an extremely high pressure and flushes away the debris, allowing water and waste to flow through your plumbing freely.
Is there a way to determine the type of pipe material in my home?
Unless plumbing replacement work has been performed, the age of the home is typically a good indicator of the type of pipe material used for your system.
- Copper: Plumbing in homes built from the 1970 into the early 2000s was likely built with copper pipes. These pipes are a bronze color when new and slowly fade to a deep rust or brown color over the years. Copper pipes last about 50+ years.
- Galvanized Steel: These pipes are a gray metal color and are rarely used anymore. This material is cheaper than copper and was often used in homes leading up to the 1970s. The material was used less when builders discovered it only lasted for about 40 years.
- PB (polybutylene): This piping is usually marked with "PB2110." These flexible pipes are usually gray but can also be black or blue.
- PVC (polyvinyl-chloride): The white plastic pipes are most commonly seen under your kitchen or bathroom sinks used as drain pipes.
- PEX (cross-linked polyethylene): Plastic tubing that is usually white, red, or blue and used to indicate hot and cold lines. Plumbers use this type of material because of its flexibility.
- Cast Iron: This pipe has a black finish and was used in homes through the mid-1960s.
What are the most common plumbing problems?
Durham plumbing problems are sure to happen. Even in newer homes, clogged drains or a water leak can show when you least expect it. Whether you're living through the repairs or an older home, or just purchasing a new home and want to be prepared, these are the most common plumbing problems:
- Clogged toilet
- Clogged bath or shower drain
- Jammed garbage disposal
- Leaky faucets
- Leaky pipes
- Low water pressure
- Running toilet
- Sewage smell in home
- Sewer system backup
- Slow draining sink
- Water heater repair
Is my problem a plumbing emergency?
Unfortunately, plumbing problems seem to never occur at a convenient time. Whether it's the middle of the night or over a holiday weekend, leaks and clogs present themselves at the most inopportune times. If you're debating whether to call your local emergency plumber, use our questions as a guide:
- Is more than one faucet, drain, or shower affected? If the problem is secluded to only one pipe, it can likely wait until Monday morning.
- Does shutting off the water valve make the problem stop? If you can pause the problem temporarily, wait until normal business hours to call the plumber.
- Has your home's water supply stopped? If your water is completely shut off (and it's not a municipality problem) call the emergency plumber.
- Is the problem causing flooding inside or outside of your home? If a burst pipe or water main break is causing flooding in or outside of your home, you're dealing with an emergency.
What are the signs of a water leak?
Detecting a water leak can be difficult if your home is built on a slab or your pipes run underground. The most common signs of a water leak include:
- Damp or spongy flooring
- Grass is greener in one part of yard
- Loss in water pressure
- Sound of running water coming from walls
- Unexpected Increase in monthly water bill
If you experience any of these issues, contact your Durham NC plumber for sewer camera services.
Can my damaged well pump be repaired the same day?
Quality Services offers multiple options for well repair same day to give you peace of mind that it's done right the first time. We will take the time to inspect the well pump, determine the issues and offer a same-day solution to get the water supply restored to your home quickly.
Is it time for a new water heater?
Routine maintenance will help extend the life of your water heater, but the typical unit lasts 8 to 12 years. If you have a traditional tank, draining the water heater once yearly will help rid the unit of sediment and minerals that can settle at the bottom. Call a water heater repair company in Durham NC if your unit shows signs of trouble but isn't advanced in age. A simple repair or draining could restore the unit to optimum performance.
What's the best temperature for a hot water heater?
The EPA recommends a water heater temperature setting between 120 and 140 degrees. However, several factors will determine the exact temperature of your family's unit. For homes where several different water sources are typically used at once, you may position the temperature closer to 140. For homes with only one or two residents, 120 degrees should suffice It's important to not go below the 120 setting, as bacteria can grow in water that is too cool, threatening your family's health. If the temperature is set too high, you'll waste energy and risk scalding burns with water usage.
How do I unclog a toilet?
A clogged toilet is a common plumbing problem that can be easily remedied if dealt with immediately. Leaving the problem untreated could put your family's health at risk if waste begins to back up into your home. If your toilet isn't flushing, try removing the clog with one of these methods:
- Plunger: Seal the plunger around the toilet drain and plunge rapidly several times. If the plunger doesn't release the clog, try a plumbing snake.
- Plumbing auger: A plumbing snake can be pushed through the toilet drain to grab a clog.
- If neither of these methods work and the water from the toilet is not releasing, call a Durham plumber immediately.
Do I need a new toilet?
If you continuously have problems with your toilet, it may be time to replace it. A few signs that it's time to replace your toilet include:
- Age (toilets 10 years or older aren't energy efficient)
- Continuous clogs
- Multiple flushes after each use
- Ongoing leaks
How can I tell if tree roots are invading my plumbing?
Invasive tree roots can cause extensive damage to your entire plumbing system. The roots can create blockage and leaks that increase your monthly water bill and decrease your water pressure. The fastest way to determine if your plumbing problems are caused by tree roots is through a Durham sewer camera inspection. The Quality Service team will feed a high-definition camera through your pipes to locate the root problem.
To avoid tree root invasion, try one of these methods:
- Tree Removal: The cost of tree removal will be minimal compared to constantly repairing your plumbing. If the tree continues to be a problem, have it professionally removed.
- Root Barrier: Install a root barrier around any new trees by digging an 18 to 24-inch trench around the root zone. The barrier will keep the roots from invading your pipes.
- Routine Plumbing Maintenance: Have a camera inspection performed every two to three years to detect invasive roots. You can spot small plumbing concerns before they become expensive repairs.
- Sewer Line Cleaning: Hydro Jetting is an environmentally friendly way to clean your pipes. The intense water pressure can cut through clogs, debris and tree roots.
Does homeowners insurance cover burst pipe damage?
Most insurance companies will cover damage caused by leaking or burst pipes if the damage wasn't preventable. There are steps you can take to avoid broken pipes or leaking appliances:
- Ensure tubs and showers are caulked and sealed properly
- Inspect for leaking faucets indoors and outside
- Insulate pipes if you live in a cold climate
- Routinely inspect appliance hoses on your dishwasher or washing machine and replace as needed
How do I prevent pipes from freezing?
Prevent frozen pipes by following these pipe insulation steps:
- Run heating cable along the pipes before covering with insulation. The cable will keep the pipes at a constant temperature.
- Inspect the outside of your home looking for visible cracks near the foundation or basement. Use spray foam or caulking to fill cracks.
- Shut off the water valves to your outdoor faucets. Allow excess water to drain then cover the faucets with an insulated dome to prevent freezing.
- Allow the warm air in your home to reach the pipes beneath your sinks by opening the cabinet doors.
- Have your HVAC system checked annually to prevent your heating system from crashing during the winter months. The freezing temperatures can quickly affect your pipes.
- Allow a small, slow drip to come from your faucets. Running the water even a minimal amount will help prevent frozen pipes.
Quality Service is Durham, North Carolina's leading plumbing company. Our technicians are available to help you through the maintenance of home ownership. We'll evaluate the problems, explain the situation, and provide you with straight forward solutions that will quickly get your home back to normal. Call Quality Service today for your plumbing or well pump needs.