FAQs, AquaTech Plumbing, Serving the Far West Suburbs



 

Tips From Our Plumbers and Frequently Asked Questions

Water Bills

your water bills higher than they should be? Here's how to check:

Faucets
  • Check your faucets for dripping water and under your faucets for moisture. Fix leaky faucets promptly. Even a slow leak can waste as much as 15 or 20 gallons of water a day. And a leak can ruin your faucet or even your cabinets and floors.
  • Leaky faucets are usually caused by seals which are dirty or worn and can be cleaned, replaced, or you may want to replace the faucet.
Toilets
  • Fix leaky toilets right away. A leaky toilet can waste over 30 gallons of water a day. Check your toilet for leaks by dropping a few drops of food coloring or a little bit of Kool-Aid in the tank. After about half an hour, it the water in the bowl has some color in it, the tank is leaking, and the stopper (flapper) and/or flush valve seat may need to be replaced.
  • Clogged toilet and a plunger didn't work? If the water level is low fill a bucket with warm water and pour it from waist high into the bowl. Repeat if necessary after water is low again.
Other Leaks
  • Check for undetected leaks in your home by making sure all water is turned off inside your home, then checking your water meter. If it is still running, you may have an undetected leak.
  • When you know you are going to be gone for a few hours, write down the numbers on your water meter when you leave. If you check the meter when you return and the numbers have changed, there may be a leak somewhere inside your house.

Your water bills higher than they should be? Here's how to check:

Since heating the water in your water heater consumes energy, you may be spending more on gas than you have to.
  • Many people have a water heater that is larger than they need, but more frequently homeowners have one that is too small and allows them to run out of hot water at peak times. If this happens to you, you might want to consider a tankless water heater that heats the water as you need it. (See Tankless Water Heater Section below.)
  • The chart below will help you determine the size regular water heater you need to accommodate your maximum demand for hot water at peak times. Remember that this type of consideration is unnecessary if you intend to install a tankless water heater which heats the water on demand. (See Tankless Water Heater Section.)
Shower 10-15 gallons Preparing a meal 5 gallons
Bath 15-25 gallons Washing Dishes
in Automatic Dishwasher
12-15 gallons
Shaving or Washing
Hands/Face
2 gallons Washing Dishes
by Hand
4 gallons
Washing Hair 4 gallons Washing Clothes with
Warm Wash/Cold Rinse
10-12 gallons
  • Twice a year, open the drain valve at the bottom of your water heater and drain the sediment that has accumulated in the bottom of the water heater into a bucket. Keep it open until the water runs clear, usually 4-5 gallons.
  • If your water heater displays an ASHRAE /EIS rating of 90, it is energy-efficient and you do not need additional insulation.
Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters are small, energy efficient, and deliver unlimited, cleaner hot water. Installing yours is a great way to “Go Green”.

  • In short, here are the reasons you would want to install a tankless water heater.
    • Unlimited hot water when you need it
    • Save money on utility bills
    • Smaller so takes up less room
    • No pilot lights, no leaking, no draining
    • More energy efficient, 8% - 34% depending on size
    • Lasts 2-3 times longer so no need to spend $$ on replacements
    • Selling point when selling your home. Adds value and may sway a buyer.
  • A tankless water heater can save you money on your gas or electric bill since there is no need to keep your water hot 24/7. The water is heated on demand by running through a heat exchanger and being delivered hot to your faucets . . . for as long as you need it!
  • When sized and installed properly, your tankless water heater will give you unlimited hot water so that you will have the ability to run the dishwasher, the washing machine, and take very long showers, all at the same time.
  • The cost is two to four times more than conventional heaters. But the money savings from energy efficiency and not replacing a tank-type water heater over and over again will offset the price. Plus, you never have to worry about having hot water again.
  • When making the decision to install a tankless water heater, make certain to choose the accurate size for your specific house. A good plumber can determine the size you should choose by asking a few simple questions about your lifestyle and the size of your home.
AquaTech Plumbing is a leader in tankless water heater installations and can help you with one to fit your needs. Visit our web-site atwww.aquatechplumbing.com for more information or call us at the numbers listed at the top of this page to set up your appointment for a free estimate.

Sump Pump and Back-Up Systems

Thousands of dollars in valuables and stored memories can be lost if your basement floods. Many people lose their furnace too. And the clean up is a long and expensive process.

  • Be sure your sump pump works properly before a spring rainy season. Unplug your pump and pour several buckets of water in the sump pit until it is full. Plug the pump in and if the pump doesn't turn on, it's time to replace the pump.
  • Is your pump running continuously due to a lot of ground water? This will shorten the life of your pump, because it is continually working or “cycling”. If it wears out, your basement could flood. Adding an additional pump is an extra safeguard against loss.
  • A back-up pump is a must. If your first pump fails, the second pump will step in. The back-up pump must be run separately. Many back-up pumps fail because they are tied into the primary pump line.
  • Our AquaTech PLUS Dual Alternator System with battery back-up system and alarm will alternate your two sump pumps so that neither of the pumps works too hard. It will also keep your sump pumps running in case of a power outage (a distinct possibility in a storm) and alert you if one your pumps fail, so that you have ample opportunity to change it.
  • Pumps in a shallow pit can short cycle. This occurs when a pump turns on, but doesn't run very long, shutting off and making terrible noises. Short cycle doesn't allow the pump to fully start before shutting down. This is hard on your pump and will shorten its life. Make sure your pit is deep enough to handle the amount of water.
  • Make sure your pump discharges far away from your house. If it is too close, water will seep back into the pit, causing your pump to keep running.
  • Be sure your power cord is plugged in to a working electrical outlet. (Sometimes cords get accidentally unplugged.) If the outlet doesn't work, check the fuse or circuit breaker.
  • Be sure your check valve prevents water from coming back into pit after the pump cycles. If water comes back, your check valve may need to be replaced. That's a simple job for a plumber.

Basement Floods

  • DO NOT ENTER a flooded basement or handle anything if your electrical outlets, appliances or furnace are under water. Call the electric company to shut the power off. Then disconnect your house's power supply. If you must step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, get advice from an electrician first.
  • If you suspect a gas leak, leave immediately. Call the gas company.
  • Pump about 1/3 of the water out per day. If done all at once, the basement walls could collapse.
  • If at all possible, cleaning, disinfecting and drying should be done within 24 hours to minimize mold and mildew.
  • Use chlorine bleach as a disinfectant due to sewage or contaminated material hazardous to your health. NEVER mix bleach with ammonia. It produces poisonous gas!
  • After disconnecting electrical, wash floors and walls with detergent and hot water. (Wear plastic gloves and throw-away clothing.) Then clean and disinfect them, your drains, and pipes.
  • If you have wood subflooring, the vinyl, tile floor and carpeting must be removed so that the subfloor can dry. It may take months for it to dry thoroughly. Soaked carpeting should be removed and discarded.
  • Have your furnace inspected by a service person. It may need to be cleaned, dried and reconditioned or even replaced.
  • Check pilot lights and burners on gas appliances. Have electrical appliances dried out and reconditioned. Electric circuit breakers and fuses can malfunction when exposed to water, so discard them.
  • Carefully separate fragile-when-wet documents, books, photographs to let them dry. Clothing and furniture may or may not be salvageable.
  • Check your foundation for settles, cracking or undermining. If you hire repair contractors, be sure they are qualified and insured!
  • Have a qualified, insured plumber install a reliable sump pump and back up system with alarm so this doesn't happen again.

Disposals

  • Use cold water, not hot, when running your disposal and run the water as long as you run the disposal.
  • Fats or cooking oils poured into your sink can solidify in cold drainpipes, trap food, and clog your pipes. Don't put them, coffee grounds, or high fiber foods like celery down the drain unless you want to clog your disposal. Throw them in the trash instead.
  • Notice an odor coming from your disposal? Put lemon peel and ice cubes in and run it for about 30 seconds. Then run the cold water through.
  • If you do clog your disposal, turn off the motor and the water. Go under the sink and insert the service wrench that came with your disposal, or a ¼ inch Allen wrench, into the hole on the bottom of the disposal. Turn it back and forth until it can turn freely in complete circles. Then use tongs to remove whatever caused the disposal to jam. Then press the red “reset” button on the bottom of the disposal.

Drains

  • Use a strainer over your kitchen and bathroom drains if you don't want hair, pieces of soap and other items to clog your drain.
  • Pour a cup of baking soda then a cup of vinegar down your drain every month to prevent clogging. Pour 2-3 gallons of boiling water down each bathroom drain every month to clear out grease and hair.
  • Always unclog a drain mechanically. Don't use chemicals to unclog a drain, especially if your pipes or traps are brass, steel, or cast-iron as chemicals may corrode metal pipes.
  • Remove sink and tub pop-up stoppers and rinse them off every couple of weeks or so.
  • Remove the overflow plate on your tub every 3-4 months, pull up the pop-up assembly to reach the spring or rocker arm to remove the hair and grease and rinse it off.
  • Try your plunger first to unplug a shower drain, and if it doesn't work, either you or a plumber can insert a “snake” down the drain to unclog it.
  • Prevent drain clogs by putting a lint trap on your washing machine discharge hose.

Hoses

  • Twice a year, put new washers in all your hoses.
  • Put a lint trap on your washing machine discharge hose to prevent drain clogs.
  • Hoses will last longer if you run cold water through them after using hot water. Don't leave hot water in kitchen or shower hoses.

Frozen Pipes

  • Avoid frozen indoor faucets by insulating water pipes which are exposed to wind or freezing temps. To get ready for winter, drain water pipes which are not being used.
  • If you have faucets that frequently freeze, try leaving cabinet doors open to allow more heat to reach the pipes. You may also leave water running just a trickle to keep pipes from freezing.
  • Insulate pipes in unheated garages or basements and keep the garage door closed in very cold weather.
  • If your pipes freeze, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve and leave the faucets on to relieve pressure as the ice melts to avoid problems when they thaw out. In some cases, using a blow dryer will thaw frozen pipes.
  • Avoid frozen outdoor faucets by detaching your garden hoses in the fall before freezing temperatures arrive, and by closing the shut-off valve on the pipe that leads to your outdoor faucets. Then open the outdoor faucets to let any residual water drain out.
If you need fast, reliable, licensed plumbers you can trust to help you with any problem you may have, call us at one of the numbers listed on this page, or e-mail us at info@aquatechplumbing.com.

We look forward to serving you.