Neighborhood Plumbing and Drain has proudly served residents and businesses of the Lakeway, Bee Cave, Spicewood, and Austin, TX, neighborhoods for over 13 years. During that time, we’ve helped many people, and as you can imagine, we get a lot of questions. Here are a few that we get the most.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to know when to tackle a home plumbing problem yourself and when to call a professional. We recommend calling a plumber for these common plumbing problems.
Burst pipes can leak hundreds of gallons of water into your home quickly, causing extensive damage. It takes the skill and expertise of a certified plumber to repair burst pipes correctly.
Water & Sewer Line Problems
Water and sewer line clogs and leaks aren’t DIY repairs; they require a high level of experience, expertise, and advanced tools to repair properly. Moreover, if you attempt repairs, you could end up doing more damage not only to the line, but to your home’s internal plumbing system. Finally, water and sewer line leaks bring potential health hazards, so you should always call a professional for your safety.
Low Water Pressure
Another home plumbing problem that’s best left to the pros is low water pressure. Losing water pressure at a single fixture or throughout the house can be frustrating, but trying to fix it yourself can make it worse if you don’t know what’s causing the problem in the first place.
Professional plumbers have experience, training, and advanced tools to quickly diagnose the cause of reduced water pressure, ensuring an accurate repair. Finally, a professional can tell you ways to prevent low water pressure in the future.
Water Heater Repair
Because water heaters are complex appliances, they don’t lend themselves to DIY repairs. A licensed plumber has training in various water heater models to quickly diagnose the problem and know the right solution to fix it. And, if your water heater has given up the ghost, a pro will remove and dispose of the old system so you won’t have to.
When people have a clogged drain, they typically go for a chemical drain cleaner to fix it. However, there’s a lot of conflicting information regarding the safety of these products, and many worry that using them will harm their plumbing. So, here’s what we think.
Drain cleaners can effectively clear clogged drains, but they are not always safe. Most over-the-counter drain cleaners contain harsh chemicals, such as sodium hydroxide or sulfuric acid, that can harm the environment, pipes, and even people. These chemicals can cause severe burns if they come into contact with the skin, eyes, or mouth, and they can also damage pipes, especially if used repeatedly.
Additionally, if you accidentally combine two different drain cleaners (maybe one didn’t work and you tried another), it can release toxic fumes that will burn your lungs, eyes, and throat. Imagine a house filled with chlorine gas, and you get the idea.
Finally, if the product doesn’t work, it can leave the acid sitting in your pipes, which could lead to corrosion and bursts.
While chemical drain cleaners may seem like an easy solution, it is generally safer to avoid them and call a professional plumber to clear your drains using safer and more effective methods.
A water heater should operate silently, but what’s up with those crackling or popping sounds you keep hearing? Is it dangerous? Is it going to explode?
Water heaters make popping or crackling noises because there’s sediment and minerals buildup at the tank’s bottom. These deposits typically happen because of hard water. The minerals settle at the bottom of the tank forming a layer that builds up over time. When the water is heated, the minerals in the sediment expand and contract, making the popping and crackling sounds you hear, often called kettling.
If your water heater is getting noisy, we recommend calling a plumber to flush the tank and perform a maintenance tune-up to ensure everything works properly.
Drain clogs are the most common problem we get calls about. And it’s understandable how frustrating they can be, which is why people repeatedly ask us how they can prevent them.
Before determining how to prevent drain clogs, let’s look at the most common causes.
In the bathroom, hair is the primary cause of clogs in the tub and shower.
Soap residue coats the interior walls of the pipes and builds up, leading to clogs.
In the kitchen, grease, and fat are the most common cause of clogs. Like soap, grease congeals along the pipe’s interior and builds up like cholesterol in an artery over time.
Most toilet clogs happen because people flush things that should go into the trash, like paper towels, feminine hygiene products, baby wipes, cotton balls, etc.
Since most clogs are preventable, the key is to be mindful of what goes down the drain. In the kitchen, pour grease and cooking fats into the trash or a jar to dispose of later. Also, if you don’t have a garbage disposal, use a mesh drain cover to stop food scraps from getting in.
In the bathroom, also use a mesh drain cover in the tub or shower to prevent hair from going down the drain. And only flush human waste and appropriate toilet paper — everything else goes into the trash.
Soap buildup is a bit trickier. We recommend using liquid soap over bar soap because it’s less likely to create a problem. Also, use soap in moderation. Finally, consider using an enzyme-based drain cleaner to break down the organic matter and prevent it from building up. Enzyme cleaners aren’t dangerous like chemical drain cleaners and won’t harm your pipes.
If you’re worried about clogs, it’s worth calling a plumber every few months for professional drain cleaning to save you the aggravation of dealing with a backup.
With energy bills rising, homeowners are looking for ways to save money any way they can. Tankless water heaters are growing in popularity in the U.S., and many people wonder if they’re worth the higher upfront costs than tank water heaters.
So, here are the pros and cons and what we think.
Energy efficiency: Tankless water heaters are more energy-efficient than tank water heaters, as they only heat water when needed.
Space-savings: Tankless water heaters are much smaller than tank water heaters, which can be advantageous in tight spaces or homes with limited storage.
Long lifespan: Tankless water heaters can last up to 20 years, which is significantly longer than the lifespan of a typical tank water heater.
Unlimited hot water: With a tankless water heater, you have a continuous hot water supply, so you never run out.
Higher upfront cost: The initial cost of a tankless water heater is much higher than that of a tank water heater.
Installation complexity: Installing a tankless water heater can be more complex than installing a tank water heater, which can increase costs.
Limited water flow: If you have a large family or use a lot of hot water simultaneously, a tankless water heater may not provide enough hot water flow to meet the demand.
What do we think?
While tankless water heaters aren’t right for everyone, if you want to save energy and don’t use multiple hot water-based appliances simultaneously, tankless water heaters are worth the investment.
You have a problem with your main water line. So, the question becomes, “Do I repair it or replace it?”
Sometimes, the answer is easy. Replacement is the only option if you have a significant leak or break. However, it’s not always cut and dried. Here are our recommendations.
Repair the line if there’s limited damage, and you can fix it without too much property disruption. Also, repairs are ideal when you need a temporary fix because you plan to sell the property or you will replace the whole line later.
Replacement is the best choice if the pipe is over 50 years old and has a history of issues, and if there’s extensive damage when repairing, it would be half or more of the cost to replace it.
That’s it for now; those are the most frequently asked questions we get, and we hope we provided good answers.
If you have a question for us, call 512-266-3566, and we'll be happy to help.