FAQ's & Helpful Hints

Frequently Asked Plumbing Questions

How do you fix low water pressure at faucets or showers?
Faucets are designed with aerators at the end of the spout. Debris from the water pipes can often clog these aerators, restricting water flow and creating a low water pressure problem. The same thing can happen with a showerhead.

Remove either the aerator or showerhead and clean out the debris. Turn on the faucet or shower to clear anymore debris and then replace the aerator or showerhead.

What do I do about my faucet or showerhead spraying water in all directions?
This problem is typically caused from lime deposits from hard water. Take a plastic bag filled with enough white vinegar to cover the end of the faucet or showerhead and secure in place with a rubberband. Let this sit overnight to desolve the lime deposits.
What do I do when my garbage disposal jams?
Some disposals (Insinkerator) come with a slot in the middle of the bottom of the unit to assist with the unjamming. Using the wrench that comes with the disposal or an allen wrench, insert this into the slot and swing the wrench back and forth. Once the disposal has been unjammed and is moving freely, remove the item(s) that jammed it with a long pair of needle nose pliers or use a shop vac. NEVER PUT YOUR HAND INTO THE DISPOSAL! Be sure to press the red reset button that may have tripped when the disposal jammed.
Why does my water heater bang and pop after I've used the hot water?
This noise comes from the lime deposits that have settled into the bottom of the water heater tank. Flushing the water heater can sometimes help, but the best solution is to install a water softener.

How do I stop my shut-off valve or hosebib (outdoor spigot) from leaking in the area behind the handle?

Oftentimes the packing nut for valves and hosebibs can come loose through normal use. With an adjustable wrench, tighten the packing nut to stop the leak.

How do I stop my toilet from doing the Phantom Flush?
The “Phantom Flush” actually refers to the periodic filling of the toilet tank by the fill valve. “No one was in the house except me and I suddenly heard the toilet come on for several seconds when I was nowhere near the bathroom!” Many times this is caused because the toilet flapper has become worn and warped from using chlorine tablets in the toilet tank.
The flapper and possibly the fill valve will need to be replaced. It is important to remember to stop using the chlorine tablets to prevent this from happening in the future.
What can be done about a toilet that is constantly stopping up?
Not all toilets are designed or perform the same. Toto toilets are one of the best performing toilets on the market today.
“We were experiencing 2-3 stoppages a month from normal use with the toilet that our builder had installed. When I installed a Toto toilet to replace the one that was stopping up so much, our number of stoppages decreased to approximately 1 every two to three months.
Why is my bathroom sink draining slowly?
Hair is usually the culprit for this. Pulling out the sink stopper will typically allow for the removal of hair build-up either on the stopper or in the drain itself.

Helpful Plumbing Hints

  • Never use a liquid drain cleaner to clear a drain. If you cannot clear a sink with a plunger or a hand snake, call a plumber or drain cleaning company. If a liquid drain cleaner is used first to clear a stoppage and it doesn’t work, most companies will not touch the drain for 24-48 hours to give the acid in the drain cleaner time to dissipate.
  • Never put chlorine tablets into the toilet tank. These tablets will eat away at the rubber parts inside of the toilet tank and cause it to leak.
  • Handles for the toilet or faucet shut-off valves won’t budge? Loosen the packing nut behind the handle. Many times this will help to break the handle stem free. Be sure to tighten the packing nut again once the handle is moving otherwise you will end up with a leak.
  • Always disconnect your garden hose in the winter to prevent the frost-proof hosebib from becoming freeze damaged.
  • Replace your rubber washing machine hoses with stainless steel braided hoses. A rubber washing machine hose that bursts has the potential to dump 500 gallons of water/hour into the house if left unchecked.
  • Use white vinegar to dissolve lime deposits on faucets and showerheads.
  • Sump pump not working? If there are 2 plugs for the sump pump that are plugged into each other, disconnect the plugs. One plug is for the pump and the other for the switch. Connect the plug for the pump into the outlet. If the pump turns on then you now know that you have a bad switch. If you don’t have the 2 plugs as described above, be sure to check your breaker panel for a tripped circuit breaker.

Contact David Heffner at Heffner Plumbing today!

(317) 248-9668

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