Common Plumbing Issues for Atlanta Homeowners - Home Reports
Plumbing problems can create considerable damage for Atlanta
homeowners and can be time consuming to repair. While some
do-it-yourselfers enjoy fixing even the toughest plumbing problems,
many homeowners leave the dirty work to professional Atlanta plumbing
companies. Before trying to get plumbing repairs done, you should
understand some basic plumbing concepts and problems.
Flooding and Overflowing. The
most important thing you can know to avoid flooding and overflowing is
how to shut off the water supply. It's good to do this before
attempting to do repairs or call an Atlanta plumbing company. Most
homes have a main water shutoff valve located adjacent to the water
meter. All family members should know where the valve is located and
how to use it in an emergency. It's a good idea to periodically check
the valve to ensure it's functioning properly. Additionally, most
fixtures, such as toilets and sinks, have individual shutoff valves
located in their supply lines.
Clogged Drains. Many calls
to an Atlanta plumbing company can be avoided by following a few drain
rules. First, never pour grease down a drain. Next, don't flush larger
items, such as feminine hygiene products, down the toilet. Don't use
the plumbing system until you know where the clog is and its severity.
Drain Cleaning. Depending on
the cause and location of a clog, drain cleaning may or may not be
effective. Additionally, because clogs in multiple places can
contribute to the problem, successfully clearing one problem spot might
not solve all long-term problems.
Kitchen Plumbing. Sink trap
blockages are relatively easy to clear because the trap is easily
accessible under the sink and can be completely removed and cleaned.
This may be something you can do yourself without having to call an
Atlanta plumbing contractor.
Grease clogs. Grease clogs
generally require a plumber. Grease naturally sticks to the walls of
drain lines, which makes it relatively difficult to remove. The grease
usually builds up in the two-inch drainpipe that connects the kitchen
sink to the main four-inch drainpipe that handles toilet waste and
leads to the sewer. In some cases, the most
economically feasible alternative is to replace the two-inch drain
line. However, because of the high cost of replacing the line, the
first attempt at alleviating the problem is to use a plumber's snake to
punch a hole through the grease and remove as much of the grease as
possible. Because this repair cannot remove all of the grease, in time
the line usually reclogs. If the same drain repeatedly clogs, you may
need to replace the line instead of investing more money in additional
Dripping Faucets. Dripping
faucets are usually caused by wear on the tap, rubber washer/O-ring or
valve seat. Since various faucet designs shut off water flow
differently, a variety of components can cause the faucet to drip.
Toilet Issues. Your
run-of-the-mill toilet clog is best handled with a toilet plunger,
which is much less expensive than an Atlanta plumber. If, however, the
clog is difficult to remove with a plunger, plumbers can use special
tools called augers, or snakes. Snakes are long, flexible, spring-like
tools that are inserted into the clogged drain and rotated to manually
break up the clog. Reputable plumbers will have with them the right
tools for the job, tools that won't damage fixtures.
If your toilet runs continually, chances are it's caused by a
flapper or tank valve that does not seat properly after the toilet is
flushed. Until the flapper or tank valve seats properly, all of the
water entering the tank flows directly into the toilet bowl. Sometimes
simply jiggling the tank handle will reseat the flapper or tank ball,
thus allowing the tank to refill and the toilet to stop running. If the
problem recurs, the flapper or tank ball may be out of adjustment, the
chain from the handle may be too long, or there could be a poorly
adjusted refill mechanism. The problem is usually corrected by cleaning
or replacing the flapper or tank ball.
If your toilet won't flush, first check to see if the handle chain
is still connected. If not, reconnecting it yourself may save you an
Atlanta plumber's charges. If that's not the problem, and you see the
tank is empty, it may be that no water is getting to the toilet from
the supply line.
Sewer Line Clogs. One
problem you'll definitely want to call a qualified Atlanta plumbing
company about is clogs in your main sewer line. Generally, the process
happens like this. First, a seal, joint or pipe section breaks. Then
tree roots, sensing a source of water, grow into the line. The roots
gradually fill the line and block the flow of water and waste. From
here you have two options. You can replace the line, which means you
won't have another clog like that until it breaks. Or, you can just cut
the roots out. This option is far less expensive in the short run, but
far more likely to need to be repeated before long. The water is still
pouring out of the breaks in the line and attracting new root growth.
In fact, the damaged roots can shift after being cut and re-clog the
Water Pressure. Water
enclosed in a fixed space increases in pressure as its temperature
rises. By design, a typical home's plumbing system is a fixed space
while the plumbing is not in use. As hot water is used, the water
heater refills with cold water, and the cold water is gradually heated.
If no other parts of the plumbing system are used while the cold water
is being heated in the water heater, the pressure in the home's
plumbing system will increase. To avoid a dangerous pressure level,
plumbing codes require a device to control thermal expansion. A thermal
expansion tank is usually the preferred option, because it relieves
pressure without wasting water. This tank contains a flexible membrane
and a compressible air cushion designed to deform under excessive
pressure, thus maintaining pressure at a moderate level.
Another way a home's plumbing system deals with excess water
pressure is the use of pressure-reducing valves. A pressure-reducing
valve is a bell-shaped device often located in the water supply line at
some point between the high-pressure street main and the water lines in
the house. Many municipal water systems carry twice as much pressure as
is required by the typical house. Because household plumbing is not
designed to handle the excess pressure, the pressure-reducing valve is
very important. A defective pressure-reducing valve can result in water
hammer -- a banging sound heard immediately after flowing water is
turned off -- or cavitation, which is a squealing sound heard when
water flows through a partially closed squealing. A defective valve
could also result in a burst pipe or pipe fitting. Testing the house's
water pressure identifies any problems with the pressure-reducing valve.
Choosing a contractor.
Atlanta plumbers, like any contractor working at your home, should
carry both workers' compensation insurance and liability insurance.
They should also have all the proper permits, install fixtures up to
code and try to get to the root of each problem. Choosing a Best Pick™
Atlanta plumbing contractor will ensure that your plumber has the
proper licenses and insurance.