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Plumbing Services in
Beaufort & Okatie
843-521-2152

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Frequently Asked Plumbing Questions

Why is water leaking down the pipes that connect under the sink to my faucets? It is causing mold.
You might get lucky and solve the problem just by tightening the fittings to the faucet with a basin wrench, which is usually the only tool that can reach up there. If not, replace the connections with braided stainless flex tubing. Once the leak is history, treat the mold with a strong bleach solution (using gloves, eye protection, and ventilation, of course). Then dry out the cabinet. If the wood is rotted, you may have to patch the bottom with plywood or replace the whole cabinet.
What causes my pipes to hammer?
Water rushing through the pipe and out the faucet moves with speed and force. When you shut off the faucet, the water flow is brought to an abrupt halt and that energy has to go somewhere. The result is the ‘pounding’ noise you hear. Products are available on the market to eliminate this problem.
My toilet keeps sweating and the dripping water is ruining the floor. What can I do?
The water on the toilet tank is actually condensation, caused by cold water chilling the tank, which in turn draws moisture from the warm bathroom air. To stop this, you can purchase a tempering valve that allows you to mix a small amount of warm water with that going into the toilet tank. Or there is a tank insulation kit now available to insulate the inside of you tank.
My toilet seems to have a leak but I can't find it. After the tank fills, the water goes down a few inches and it has to fill again.
There are two things to check. First, check that the stopper at the bottom is in good condition. If in doubt, change it, which is easily done. Also check that the chain from the float to the stopper is not hanging down in the drain under the stopper. If all those are okay, check that the small hose that fits in the overflow pipe, which fills the tank, is not sticking down in the water once the tank is full. If it is, it can siphon water back out. If this problem exists, cut the hose shorter and/or bend the float arm down so a little less water goes in the tank. Make sure you keep the refill hose clipped to the overflow spout so it won't work loose and spray everywhere.
 
What is a vent, and what does it do for the plumbing system?
If you look on your roof, you will see pipes sticking out of the roof approx. 12" high. For every pipe that goes down, one needs to go up. The obvious reason we have vents is that sewer gases need to be vented outside of the dwelling. Not so obvious is what happens if they are not included in the waste and vent design. Imagine yourself at McDonalds drinking a soda from a straw. If you put your thumb over the straw, you can pull liquid up from the cup. Remove the thumb and see it instantly drain out! When liquid goes down a pipe, air needs to follow it. Without the vent pipe, the draining liquid will try to suck air through the P-traps on the plumbing fixtures, (tub, sink, etc.) glurp, glurp! If it manages to do so, you may know it from the "smell" coming from the now dry seal on the P-trap. Without vents, draining one fixture may cause another fixture in the house to back up, yuck! A waste and vent system should keep sewer gas out of the dwelling and drain every fixture well.
Why is an air gap important?
Plumbing codes call for a gap between potable water and a drain. This usually looks like the distance between the faucet and the top of the sink or bathtub (one inch or more). Without the "gap", waste water could siphon back into the drinking supply. This "does" happen in situations where a city main is shut off causing a drain-down of the system with plumbing that has been done improperly. Sometimes it is a hose left in a mud puddle, or maybe a hose lying in bleach water. People have died this way. The plumbing code helps protect the general public from these dangers. Current improvements include antisiphon faucets for garden hoses, the air gap for the dishwasher, proper installation of water heater T&P relief drains, and backflow preventers for irrigation systems.
Why does my water heater run out so quickly now?
Several things could happen. First check the shower head volume if shower's are too quick. A new shower head puts out about 2.5 gallons a minute. Some older heads put out 5 gallons a minute. Working with the shower head would double shower length in this case. In some cases, the dip tube on the cold water inlet has broken or worn. When this happens, it creates a short loop for the water, water at the bottom half of the tank will not be used. On electric water heaters, they commonly have two heating elements that work in turns. First the top element heats up the top of the tank, then power goes to the lower element. If the lower element is out, only the top of the tank gets heated. If the top element isn't working, there will be no hot water. Sometimes the Reset button needs to be pushed or reset. If this doesn't get the element working, use a continuity tester to determine if the element has shorted out. Replacement of the element may be needed.
How do I keep from being "shocked" in the shower?
At Rough-In time, It is important to run pipes with enough volume and pressure so that many fixtures can be used at the same time. Another nice item that is plumbing code in many areas now, is the pressure balanced tub and shower valves. A single handle valve that balances the hot and cold water to try to maintain a temperature range plus or minus 2 degrees.

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