FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

A:Soldering valves to copper pipe requires a little more heat to sweat because of the thicker walls. But sweating copper is really all the same. Scour both the outside of the pipe and the inside of the cup of the fitting to be soldered. Flux them both and make sure not to touch the cleaned copper with your hands because the natural oils of your hands can cause imperfections in the soldered joints. Apply heat all around the cup and place the flame on one spot (usually the bottom) and apply the solder to the opposite side until the solder flows to the heat (make sure to not overheat). The solder always runs to the heat. You can over heat it – so once the solder flows around to the heat, stop and clean it up with a dry rag (I prefer a rag made from cotton). If you use a wet rag, it can make the job look rather sloppy but it'll also work.

A:You cut the cast iron with a reciprocal saw like a Milwaukee Sawzall. Use heavy metal blades like Lenox 614R type (I start with the six-inchers). It will take several tries to get through the side of the pipe, but it'sll go faster once you have made a cut into the pipe. You’ll need the long metal blades to finish the job. At first it will seem like it will never cut it, but it will. Use Mission or Fernco No Flex couplings, one on each side, to connect the plastic and cast iron. Do not forget the vents!

A:Unfortunately, there’s no way to clean rust out of old galvanized pipes. A plumber can install a filter on the hot water pipe to stop rust from coming in or replace the pipe with a copper one.

A:It’s normal for a many dishwashers to have a little water remaining at the end of each cycle. This is to keep their heating element from burning up. If an excessive amount of water remains, however, your dishwasher’s drain could be clogged.

A:When you notice that the lowest plumbing fixture in your house is backing up until it overflows while another fixture or appliance is draining, a few problems could be to blame. You may need to pump your septic tank, fix a break in the sewer pipe outside of your home, or the main drain is clogged somewhere in the system.

A:The answer is typically because of hair or soap scum buildup. Our plumbers in Temecula can fix drains when no amount of liquid drain cleaner seems to work. Your plumber can use a tool called a motorized drain snake that is sure to clear the vast majority of clogs in any drain. You can try it yourself with a manual drain snake from your local hardware store, but you’re sure to get results from someone who’s done this thousands of times before.

A:Well, typically you can’t – but fixing a tub clog is something a plumber can comfortable do without hurting the tub. Your plumber will first remove the tub’s overflow plate – that’s the chrome fixture on the tub wall above the drain and typically below the faucet. Removing this reveals the tub’s stopper mechanism, which might be tangled up with hair. Your plumber can clear this tangle to get the stop working again.

A:Your tub may need to be reconnected to your home’s drainage system, or there may be a problem with the fixture’s drain. Have a plumber in Temecula inspect your fixture. If a reconnection is required, your plumber will unscrew the fixture’s drain with a special tool to pull it free from the pipe, replace the drain if necessary, and secure the drain with fresh plumber’s putty.

A:Yes and no. A toilet with no vent may not flush the contents out of the bowl, but any other drain will work without a vent, even if vents required by code. In our course of business, we extremely rarely seen vents cause a drainage backup. In one case it was roofers who stuffed the old roofing material down the vents, and in the other was just a stray piece of wood. In both cases the material made its way down into the drainage pipe and had to be removed. No amount of vent cleaning would have done any good.

A:Most of the time, it’s the grout or a bad pan under the shower. If the leak is constant, chances are good it’s coming from pressurized water lines. If it’s happening every so often, your plumber can perform some tests to track it down. We will investigate the tile for weakness in the grout, but if this isn’t the problem, we may fill a tub a bit and drain it to determine whether or not the leak is coming from a drainpipe. For a shower with a lead or vinyl pan, we’ll block the drain and fill the base with water. This will indicate if the pan leaks. Then we remove the shower head and put a half-inch cap on the shower arm and turn on the pressure. This will indicate if there is a leak in the pipe between the shower valve and the shower arm. If no leak has shown up by then, it may be that water is bleeding through the tile due to bad grouting or that water is escaping the shower and going down through flaws in the bathroom floor. We can check this by taping up a plastic drop cloth inside the shower to cover the tile work and have the customer use the shower normally for a day or two. If the leak has suddenly disappeared, then we know it’s coming through the tile. A few cups of water on the floor will show a leak through bad tile or a cracked floor base. If none of this works, it’s time to open the walls.

A:No. It’s illegal to connect any rainwater or ground water outflow to the sewer system.

A:Have a plumber come out to make sure your pipes are fitted properly. Sometimes a previous installation may not have been the right size, or a mixture of metal and PVC was used when it should have been consistent.

A:Moen faucets have cartridges that can be replaced. There is a clip (on top) that has to be pulled up and out before the cartridge can be replaced. Often it seems stuck as if it will not come out. Some replacement cartridges provide a plastic square to turn the cartridge in the valve body about a quarter-turn. This breaks it free from the valve grease that it is stuck in. If, after replacing the unit ,the hot and cold are reversed, re-install with the cartridge turned 180 degrees.

A:You can buy a Delta single handle faucet repair kit with a tool for maybe less than $10. It has all the instructions and is very easy to do.

A:99% of the time when you hear a clunk in any pipe when you turn a faucet on/off – it’s a loose washer in the faucet. When you take it apart be sure you get the old washer and a screw. If you don’t – turn the water back on and flush out the missing part.

A:Again, this could be a loose washer. Water pressure holds it down when no other faucet is running. When they do, the lower water pressure can cause it to rise a bit and release water. As a consequence, this might cause the other fixtures to lose some water pressure.

A:The faucets for these fixtures are typically unique and not used on tubs that are aren’t freestanding. These faucets have centers of varying distances with water connections in the back. Code regulations are now such that you need at least one inch of distance from the faucet spout and the rim of the tub. This is to prevent greywater from flowing into the drinking water supply in the event of an overflow that could otherwise reach the spout.

A:Thanks to high-quality galvanized pipes, this is hardly ever an issue. A plumber may choose black pipe instead, however, because it’s more cost effective and because it can distinguish gas lines from water lines that already use galvanized pipes.

A:There are left and right hand couplings and nipples that take the place of unions. No sealant is required on unions faces – the seal is made by the beveled male/female surfaces. Also do not use regular Teflon tape because there is a separate type of tape for gas lines.

A:Water heaters should be at least 18 inches off the floor. This is because combustible fumes have a chance to sink in the event of a leak, and for proper air intake.

A:There are a variety of reasons. You may have water intrusion or leaks, inadequate ventilation, high indoor humidity, improper pipe installation or repair causing leaks, improper pipe soldering, leaky fittings and connections, or a water hammer effect caused by improper pipe support.

A:

  • Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.
  • There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. The way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
  • If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
  • Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
  • Reduce indoor humidity by venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and dehumidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, washing dishes, and cleaning.
  • Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 48 hours hours to prevent mold growth.
  • Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles that are moldy may need to be replaced.
  • Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces by adding insulation.
  • In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting.
  • Molds can be found almost anywhere. It can grow on virtually any substance as long as moisture is present.

A:The most common reason is a loose faucet or valve. A pipe may also be touching another pipe or a hard surface in the wall. If it’s your water heater, sometimes it’s a screw on top of it that can rattle when you turn on any hot water tap. If it’s in your dishwasher, it could be a water supply pipe hitting the machine or the machine itself isn’t secured.

A:It could be a loose washer in the faucet, and it typically is in all the cases we’ve handled.

A:Up until 10-15 years ago, we put in anti-hammer tubes. Regulators found that the tubes got waterlogged over time, so it’s no longer permitted by the code. In commercial installs, spring-loaded devices are used especially at the end of long runs or at the end of a series of fixtures like urinals. To replace the air in the anti-hammers, drain down the water in the whole house with the faucets turned on. The idea is that when you turn the water back on it will compress the air at the highest point at the end of each pipe. That’s what regulators realized that plumbers were not plumbing for – and home owners would not do.

A:Warning signs that your pool or spa is leaking can look like losing an eighth of an inch of water line in 24 hours. It may be evaporation, but call a plumber to assess a loss this large. Also look for algae forming soon after a chemical treatment – this shouldn’t be happening. You should also check for loose or falling tiles or cracks in the pool deck. If an automatic filler is constantly releasing water, it may indicate a leak. Lastly, cracks and gaps in the pool shell or a settling of the whole pool or spa structure in the ground can be at blame.

A:Fill your pool to its normal level, then fill a bucket to about an inch from the top with pool water and mark this location. Partially submerge the bucket on the first step or two of the pool and shut off the pool pump. Mark how high the pool water comes up to the outside of the bucket, then restart the pump. Wait 24 hours. If the water in the pool drops below the level in the bucket, you may have a leak.

A:Put ice cubes about halfway down your garbage disposal and run it. Flush it with cold water and place a half lemon in and grind that up, too.

A:Your shower stall could be smelling because there’s a leak somewhere causing mold growth, or there’s bacteria feeding on debris stuck in the drainage pipe. Thoroughly cleaning the drain and ensuring the vent is clear can clear up a bad odor.

A:Until 2001, there was a lot of consumer dissatisfaction with 1.6-gallon toilets. The manufactures had to design and build them to meet a government water conservation deadline, and in many cases simply didn’t produce a good flushing 1.6 gallon-per-flush toilet initially. They blamed Congress. The consumer blamed the manufacturer or plumber. Whatever – we were stuck (no pun intended) with ’em. Some in our trade who think about this kind of thing even proposed about using 2.5-inch drain pipes instead of 3-inch main drains. That would make for a higher level of water (think cross section) carrying the waste in the pipe. This points up the first problem. The W/Cs were designed and tested on modern plumbing. That is, 3-inch plastic drains – not older 4-6 inch cast iron. There is very little water (again, think cross section) at the bottom of a 6-inch cast iron pipe to move waste along . Low flush W/Cs do work better in new homes. Other situations that I’ve seen that effect low-flush W/Cs are; where the toilet is in the house and what other plumbing fixtures are available to wash down the drain pipes. Toilets on the end of long runs to the building drain outfall are most likely to plug up. It’s important to keep a constant quarter-inch per foot grade. With plastic drain pipes they must be hung every four feet and it wouldn’t hurt to actually look at them any time you’re under the house to see that they have not begun to sag. *Guest* toilets tend to plug up more often than *master* baths – there is no shower washing the drain down. I really think the code needs to address this issue in pipe design. I know that I am aware of where, and in what order I decide to plug in the drains in the new houses I plumb. It makes a difference where the CWM drain goes now, and the code does not say much.

A:Your toilet flange may not be flush (pun not intended) with the floor and water is escaping through the game. A plumber can install wax rings to fill this space or check the flange itself for proper installation.

A:If high water pressure is causing your toilet to run, a pressure-reducing valve is needed. Other water pipes, connectors, clothes washing machine hoses and your water heater could leak or break if this isn’t addressed as soon as possible.

A:Using sealant won’t work. Call a plumber who can install a large square-cut donut gasket inside to match the shake of the nut on the bottom of the tank. Tighten the bolts down evenly until the tank is fitted snuggly to the bowl but be careful to not over-tighten because this can cause the porcelain to shatter.

A:In our honest opinion, copper rules in most situations. It may not be right for you if you have a low pH or aggressive water, but other than that we prefer them. Over time, plastic can sometimes sag or become brittle. Mice and rats also tend to enjoy chewing on plastic pipes, which presents an obvious problem. When it’s time to repair a plastic pipe, it will have to be glued and water flow is disrupted until the adhesive dries. Copper pipes are more durable and offer more flexibility – your plumber can solder them, run water to check the seal, and make adjustments immediately.

A:The diameter of your pipes can be a big deal depending upon how many people are in your home and how much water can be used at one time. If someone flushes a toilet while someone else is taking a shower, water flow to both fixtures can be reduced if the capacity of your pipes is low. The size of your pipes is usually determined by state codes that are based on how big a building is and how many people are expected to occupy it.

A:If it’s a short run from the house to the street of less than 60 feet, a Type L soft copper pipe should do it. IT’s less likely to break and has no fittings in the ground except at each end. For longer runs, a schedule 40 PVC pipe might be more appropriate.

A:Turn off electric power or gas before doing anything. Damage will result if element comes on when tank is dry. Turn of water supplying HWT. Note that a time switch is NOT a safe place to turn off the electricity! Do it from the circuit breaker, or pull the fuse. 

A:The relative energy efficiency of these systems depends a lot on other factors such as the amount of heat loss from a more traditional storage tank system or the length of time hot water is stored before it is used. In practice, they require a good deal more energy per volume of heated water than conventional systems and they cannot usually provide enough hot water for more than one fixture at a time. The traditional storage tank type of water heater can be quite efficient if the tank and the hot water pipes are properly insulated.

Answers from Our Plumbing Experts in Temecula

Master Plumbing and Leak Detection is dedicated to ensuring our customers are satisfied with our professional plumbing services. We understand that part of your satisfaction comes from knowing your plumbers in Temecula are experienced and knowledgeable in the work they do.

We often get many questions from clients, but we’ve noticed over time that a few tend to come up more often than others. The answers on this page are an effort to respond to our clients’ most common concerns.

If you have a question we didn’t answer here, contact us online for more information.

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