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What do you think about using chemical drain cleaners before calling a plumber?

Answer:  We wouldn't recommend it if the drain is totally clogged.  If it is draining "slowly" we have two very good drain cleaners.  You may choose to use organic additives for maintenance.  These products contain "good" bacteria and enzymes.  They work to keep sludge and grease from building up in the pipes.  However, when you have a drain problem, it's best to give us a call before it gets worse.


My water bill is high.  I don't seem to have any leaking faucets or pipes.  What could be causing this?

Answer:  One of the most common invisible leaks are those inside the toilet tank.  Most of the time, these leaks result from worn parts or misalignment of the flushing mechanism.  Oftentimes they are silent but can push your monthly water bill upwards drastically.  The fix is usually very inexpensive and takes just a few minutes.


How can I tell if my toilet is leaking?

Answer:  One of the most common toilet leaks, and often one of the most difficult to detect, is leakage around the flush valve (flapper) or the tank ball at the bottom of the tank.  If it doesn't seal properly, water will seep out under the flap into the toilet bowl.  Oftentimes, you won't hear anything at all.  A quick test for this is to remove the toilet tank lid and flush.  After the tank refills, add a few drops of dark food coloring or drop in a Fluidmaster leak detector tablet.  Wait for about 20 minutes and then check to see if any of the color has leaked into the toilet bowl.  If has, then you have a leak which could cost you thousands of gallons of water in the course of a month.  Another common type of leak is that caused by an improperly adjusted or broken fill valve.  If the float is set too high or the shut-off valve fails to close completely, water will continue to enter the tank and flow into the overflow tube.  You can observe this problem yourself by simply opening the toilet tank lid and peering into the tank to see if water is flowing into the overflow tube after the tank is full.  An adjustment or replacement would then be in order.  For either one of these problems, you can call us to come out and fix it or we can give you advice and product to fix it yourself.


How do I fix a running toilet?

Answer:  First, check the chain to see if it is too long and gets caught under the flapper.  You may need to adjust it.  Oftentimes, the flapper is worn out and just needs to be replaced.


If I discover a major leak in my home, what should I do first?  How do I turn off the water to stop it before I suffer more damage?

Answer:  The first thing you do is call us.  Don't wait until the water adds further damage to your home.  Your next step should then be to turn off the water at the main shutoff valve.  If you don't know where your main shutoff valve is located, then you can turn off the one at the water meter.  You may also want to call your insurance company if there is damage.  If there are any wet electrical connections, call an electrician and do not touch them.


What is the cost of a gas test?

Answer:  There is no easy chart to follow to give you a definite price.  In the "city limits" we are required to get a permit for the testing.  So it depends on how intensive the testing turns out to be to determine the labor cost.  If repairs are needed, then the cost of the materials that are required is added.  So, the basis of the cost is - (1) Permit, (2) Materials replaced, and (3) Labor Time involved in testing.  Testing outside of city limits does not require a permit so the cost would be (1) Labor Time involved in testing and (2) Materials replaced.


My water heater rumbles.  Do I need to replace it?

Answer:  One reason for a rumbling noise is when cold water hits the buildup of minerals in the bottom of the tank.  The "hotter" the temperature setting, the more minerals will accumulate in the bottom of the tank.  This can sometimes be cleaned out and the hot water heater saved, however, you may want to call us to do the messy job.


Why is my water heater not heating?

Answer:  There are several things that could be wrong.  A heating element or gas burner may not be working properly, sediment may have built up in the bottom, or a control thermostat may have gone bad.  Depending on the age of the unit and cost of repair, you may choose to replace the water heater.


What is an On-Demand Hot Water Heater and how does it work?

Answer:  Demand (tankless or instantaneous) water heaters provide hot water only as it is needed.  They don't produce the standby energy losses associated with storage-tank water heaters, which can save you money.  When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit.  Either a gas burner or an electric element heats the water as it flows.  As a result, demand water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water.  You don't need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water.  However, a demand water heater's output capacity may limit the flow rate or maximum temperature. Typically, demand water heaters provide hot water at a rate of 2 to 5 gallons (7.6 to 15.2 liters) per minute.  Gas-fired demand water heaters produce higher flow rates than electric units.  Sometimes, however, even the largest, gas-fired model cannot supply enough hot water for simultaneous, multiple uses in large households.  For example, taking a shower and running the clothes washer at the same time can stretch a demand water heater to its limit.  To overcome this problem, you can install two or more demand water heaters, connected in parallel for simultaneous demands of hot water.  You can also install separate demand water heaters for a specific appliance such as a clothes washer or specific usage points such one unit for the master bathroom and another for the kitchen/utility area


When I flush my toilet, water comes out on the floor at the base of the toilet.  What do I do?

Answer:  The leak is usually caused when the wax seal has failed.  But in some cases the problem lies elsewhere.  Soak up the water from the floor with a sponge and dry off the toilet with a towel.  Wait until a new puddle appears on the floor, then check to make sure the water is seeping out from under the toilet and not coming from a loose supply tube, faulty shutoff valve, cracked tank, or sweaty bowl.  We can fix the wax seal in a short amount of time, or we can help you with product and advice to do it yourself.


My disposal isn't working.  Is there a quick fix?

Answer:  You should turn on the disposal to see if it has power.  If you hear a humming sound, then the disposal may be jammed.  If you hear nothing, then, it may have tripped a circuit breaker or motor protector, or lost power.  A quick fix for this is to check under the appliance for a "reset" button and try pushing it.  If your disposal doesn't have a reset button, or that doesn't work, then you might want to reset the household circuit breaker that serves the disposal.  If you think it is just jammed, there are some simple steps to free it.  On many disposals, you can insert an Allen (hex) wrench into the bottom of the housing and move the motor shaft and flywheel to dislodge the jam.  If you want to try loosening it from the top, you can try pressing the end of a short broomstick against one of the impellers, and jab in one direction and then the other until the jam breaks loose.  Turn off the circuit breaker that controls the garbage disposal, and reach inside with a pair of long-nose pliers and pull out whatever jammed the machine.  Run cold water into the disposal and operate the unit until it has finished disposing of the garbage.


My toilet "sweats."  Is there anything I can do?

Answer:  "Sweating" is caused by cold water filling the tank in a bathroom with humid air, resulting in condensation forming on the outside of the tank.  If it bothers you, you can insulate the inside of your tank.  There are kits you can purchase to do that.  You can also invest in a tank cover.  In addition, you can also get a mixing valve to put on your cold water supply.  It will add just enough hot water to the cold to warm it up.  The tank won't sweat when it's filled with water at room temperature.


A bad odor is coming from my hot water.  Why is that and how do I fix it?

Answer:  The combined presence of hydrogen, sulfur, and bacteria causes foul-smelling water.  The magnesium anode rod installed in the tank protects the tank surface but generates enough hydrogen to create an odor when it interacts with sulfur in the water or bacteria in the tank.  You can try replacing the magnesium anode rod with an aluminum anode to minimize the problem.  However, the best way to eliminate the odor is to control the bacteria.  As a rule, chlorination of public water supplies kills the bacteria, but some private well systems may need to be purified by the use of chlorine injectors or ultraviolet light.  We can help you with this.


Why do some pipes rattle?

Answer:  Oftentimes, this is caused by the water lines not being properly secured.  You can fix this yourself if your water pipes are easily accessible.  However, most folks don't like crawling underneath homes.  This can be fixed but only if your water lines are easily accessible.  It means that there are one or more places your water lines come in contact with the wood of your floor joists.  You will need to get plastic pipe hangers that go between your water lines and your joists.  A defective pressure reducing valve can also cause some very strange noises.  Contact us for help.


Is a vent for the plumbing system really necessary?

Answer:  Yes!  If you don't have your plumbing system vented, then draining one fixture could cause another fixture to back up.  A properly vented sewer system keeps sewer gas out of the house and helps every drain to function properly.  A vent should extend unencumbered about 12" high on the top of your roof.


Remember: The Experts at Rath Plumbing company are just a phone call away.

Whether it is advice or service, we are glad to help you out. Just give us a call at 979-532-0223.

Rath Plumbing Co. ~ 216 N Richmond Rd ~ Wharton, TX  77488 ~ (979) 532-0223

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