Plumbing FAQs - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Plumbing FAQs


What causes your toilet to run?

It may be one thing or a combination of factors.

1. Check to see that the flapper is not deformed.  Over time, chemicals in the water may affect it.

2. The fill valve may have dirt in it or worn out.

3. The float ball may be stuck in the down position.


Why do my new faucets and showers have low water pressure?

Several years ago the Federal Government mandated "low flow faucets" restricting the flow of water through the fixture in order to save on water consumption.


Considering new toilets?

You've heard they don't flush as efficiently.

The first generations of “low flow” toilets received many consumer complaints.  We are now on 5th and 6th generation of the new toilets and things have improved.  Keep in mind, as with any product, the less expensive the toilet the less efficient it will work.


What causes bubbling in the toilet?

This is a prelude to a stoppage. The line has a partial blockage.


Do over the counter drain cleaners really work?

They are more for preventative maintenance. Once you have major blockage, it may be too late.  Extremely effective drain cleaners are used by professionals and are not available over the counter.  If you attempt to fix a clog yourself, it is very important that you NEVER MIX CHEMICALS IN YOUR DRAIN like bleach and Liquid Plummer.


What food refuse can NOT go down the garbage disposal?

Avoid seeds, bones, and anything that swells; i.e., pasta, rice, wheat germ, etc.  You should also use common sense and not place any objects that might bend the blades of your disposal.  You can also keep your disposal clean by periodically placing used lime peels in it.


My water consumption bill went up. Do I have a leak?

You could have a leak, or a running faucet or toilet. Check your last 3 months water bills. If you have a major leak the amount of water used will be easy to spot with huge variances in usage.


Our hot water runs out faster than it used to. What causes that?

If you have an electric water heater, this is usually a sign that one of the heating elements is burnt out.  Fortunately this is easily fixed and the parts are usually under $25.  To make sure this is the problem, you should have it diagnosed by a qualified plumbing contractor or electrician.  Do not attempt to open the electric terminal panel on your hot water heater if you are uncertain what you are doing.


Should I drain my water heater periodically?

You should drain your heater at least once a year to prevent buildup of sediment, calcium and magnesium.  All you need is a garden hose and a half an hour.  It could add years to the life of your hot water heater and save you lots of money on costly repair bills down the road.


I bought a new water heater. Why is the temperature of the water not as hot as our last water heater?

The Federal Government has mandated that all new water heaters be shipped at a preset temperature of approximately 120 degrees for the best efficiency possible.  Yours may need adjusting.


Is it true “tankless” water heaters can deliver unlimited hot water?

Yes, because they “flash heat” the water (in as little as 5 seconds) when you turn the hot water tap.  They can save you up to 50% on your utility bills and protect the environment as well.  They work best with natural gas or propane.  Learn more about tankless water heaters.


How can I determine how big of a hot water heater to get?

Use the table below to determine your home’s “peak hour demand” or “first hour rating”.  This will help you determine if you’ll run out during peak usage, usually in the morning when parents and kids are getting ready for work or school.  After you determine the proper size, you may want to consider buying the most efficient unit you can afford.  A higher cost upfront will likely be offset by lowered utility bills over time.


Determing Your Peak Hour Demand
Your Hot Water Heater capacity should be large enough to accommodate your Peak Hour Demand.  The Peak Hour Demand is the maximum amount of hot water all the members (and guests) of your home will use at one time.  Keep in mind that teenagers typically use more water to shower than anyone else so you may want to round up.



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