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Common Plumbing Questions Our Customers Ask

What is the difference between conventional water heaters and tankless water heaters?

Conventional water heaters are by far the most common type of water heater in the U.S. today. They range in size from 20 to 80 gallons (or larger) and are fueled by electricity, natural gas, propane, or oil. Called ‘storage’ units, these water heaters transfer heat from a burner or coil to water in an insulated tank. The total costs for hot water are three-fold. First, there's the energy cost, secondly the heat transfer efficiency, and thirdly, the heat loss to the atmosphere from storage, or stand-by losses.

Tankless water heating units heat water without the aid of a water storage tank. When water is turned on, the heater senses the resultant water flow, which causes it to fire up. Instantly, the tankless unit begins to heat the cold water resting in the copper coils and is delivered to the open faucet. As soon as the hot water faucet is turned off, the tankless unit immediately shuts down.

What is instant hot water? How does it save me money?

Instant hot water is a hot water recirculation system that circulates hot water in your home. When you open a fixture the warm water is there. There is no need to run water down the drain waiting for hot water to arrive. Hot water recirculation systems save water, energy and money; the average family of four wastes up to 17,000 gallons of water per year just waiting for hot water to arrive. A hot water recirculation system eliminates waste and provides the convenience of instant hot water.

How do I un-jam my garbage disposal?

First, don't put your hands down the throat of the disposal. Some brands allow you to insert an Allen wrench into the bottom of the disposer to help free up a jam.

I have low water pressure in my home; what can I do about it?

There are several things that could cause low water pressure, including a partially closed or malfunctioning shut off valve, a crimped water line, or hard water deposits that gather in older galvanized pipes, shower heads, or faucets. If your neighbors have strong water pressure, the problem is most likely between the water meter and your home. A plumbing technician from Mitch The Plumber will be able to identify the problem and explain your options.

Is there really a difference between hard water and soft?

Yes. In fact, the difference can be damaging to your home and your body. Maybe you have experienced damaged clothing from the laundry, excessive soap consumption, pipe scaling, faucet and fixture deterioration, skin problems, or undesirable tastes or odors from your water. If you have, then you have a water problem. Mitch The Plumber can explain and install a soft water system in your home that will not only provide you with soft water for cleaning and bathing, but also solve your drinking and cooking water issues. You will feel and taste the difference immediately.

What is the most common reason for sump pump failure?

The leading cause for sump pump failure is usually a switching problem. Sometimes the pump can move inside the basin. This movement causes the float that operates the switch to lodge against its side. Debris can also be a factor by interfering with the action of the pump switch. It is important to make sure that your pump switch and float arm assembly move freely. The main thing to remember about sump pumps is that they don’t last forever…even if you never use them. Internal parts wear out and make them virtually useless when you need them most! For flood prone areas and homes that get water seeping in on a regular basis you may want to consider a sump pump backup system. There are non-electric systems that work in the case of a power failure. The non-electric models use the water pressure from your home to drain the sump basket.

I have a foul odor coming from my garbage disposal. What can I do to eliminate this odor?

Foul odors occur from a buildup of food debris within the disposer. Place ice cubes and lemon or orange peels in the disposer and run for 30 seconds to eliminate the odor. Next, squirt a little liquid dish detergent into the disposer while it is still running. Finally, run cold water for about 30 seconds to rinse all the debris away.

I am getting a foul odor from a bathroom in the basement. What can we do?

Plumbing systems are designed to prevent foul odors from entering the house by means of the trap attached to fixtures. Traps contain water to seal out foul odors; if the water seal evaporates, the odors enter the house. To solve this problem, pour a bucket of water in each trap, sink, shower and floor drain. This will prevent the odors from entering the house

We live in Michigan. Winters are cold and we were told to turn off the outside faucets in the fall before the freezing weather arrives. We did this, however the pipes leading to our outside faucet still froze and broke. What did we do wrong?

Turning off the water is not enough. You must also disconnect the garden hose connected to the faucet to allow the water in the pipe to drain out. This will allow the piping to withstand the cold weather.

How often should I have my septic system inspected?

Septic systems should be inspected and pumped a minimum of once every three to four years. A full septic tank may allow unwanted solids to flow into the drain field. If paper and other solids flow into the drain field it becomes blocked and ineffective. A blocked drain field is costly to repair or replace.

My shower head and faucet aerators have a buildup of a white substance around the area where the water comes out. Is there anything I can do other than replace them?

The unsightly buildup is mineral deposits. To remove these deposits from the showerhead, take a plastic bag and pour a cup of vinegar in it. Place the bag over the showerhead and use a twist tie to hold it in place overnight. In the morning, remove the bag and use an old toothbrush to gently scrub off the deposits. You might be able to remove the aerators from the faucets and allow them to soak in the vinegar overnight.

For personal service and the right advice, call Mitch at (734) 995-5063.

Quality is Priority

Licensed Master Plumber # 8377

For your protection, the law requires that a licensed plumber perform most plumbing work. Check to make sure that you are dealing with a qualified professional who is licensed by the State of Michigan.