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Why Is My Toilet Running? And Other Popular Plumbing Questions

Answers to Your Common Plumbing Questions

At Intelligent Design, we hear from customers who have questions about their plumbing all the time. Our top-rated plumbers in Tucson offer affordable service around the clock, but sometimes, you just need to know if you really need a plumber or if your problem can wait to be addressed. If you’re concerned about a plumbing issue, our free estimates make it easy to get an idea of the problem and the necessary repairs, but of course, we welcome questions from our customers as well. Here are the answers to some of the questions we hear most often.

Why is my toilet running?

Running toilets are definitely behind a lot of calls to Intelligent Design plumbers. If your toilet is always running, there is a good chance that something is wrong with the flapper. The flapper is a valve, usually made of rubber or plastic, that sits at the bottom of the tank and should seal after a flush. If it doesn’t seal, then the water will keep running.

You can check for yourself by taking the lid off the tank and lifting up the float arm. The water should fill until it reaches about an inch below the overflow pipe. If it doesn’t, then you need to call a plumber in Tucson to replace your flapper. A running toilet can lead to an increase in your water bill, so this is a plumbing problem that is best to address as quickly as possible.

What should I do if my toilet is clogged?

If you have a clogged toilet, there is a good chance you can handle it on your own, without calling a plumber. A toilet plunger is the easiest and fastest way to unclog a toilet. Place the cup of the plunger over the opening in the toilet, and push up and down firmly five or six times. You may need to repeat the series a few times to get the water moving.

If you don’t have a plunger, put dish soap or laundry detergent in the bowl and pour in a pot of boiling water. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes, and try to flush. Both the soap and hot water should break down the clog. If you still can’t get the toilet unclogged, call a plumber to schedule a repair appointment.

How do I know if my toilet is leaking?

One of the surest signs you have a leak somewhere is a water bill that is higher than normal, without changing any of your water consumption habits. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your toilet is the culprit.

There are a few different strategies you can use for a toilet leak.One is to put food coloring into the tank of the toilet. Check the water in the bowl after 30 minutes. If you see food coloring in the bowl, you have a leak. You can also lift the lid of the tank and listen for dripping water or a hissing sound, and you can look at the base of the toilet to see if water is dripping around the base.

If you don’t discover any leaks using these tips, but your water bill has skyrocketed, it’s time to call a plumber. Our Intelligent Design plumbers can check all of your water lines and hoses to find the location of the leak and make the necessary repairs.

Why are my faucets turning on when I’m in the shower?

Diverters in your water lines keep water flowing to the faucets you turn on instead of allowing it to flow to other faucets. Over time, diverters can wear down or fail to close completely, usually because of calcium deposits or a buildup of other minerals.

Diverter failures allow water to flow other faucets, so if you turn on your shower and a diverter doesn’t funnel all the water in that direction, water may come out of one or more faucets. A plumber can repair or replace the diverter and remove any buildup as needed.

Why is my water pressure so low?

Most people notice that water pressure is low when they shower, even when pressure has also been reduced in other faucets as well. In some cases, low water pressure that is limited to the shower can be explained by the type of showerhead being used, but often, low water pressure is due to insufficient water supply in the home.

There are multiple plumbing problems that can lead to low water pressure. Sometimes, the plumbing system that was installed in a home is simply not adequate for the needs of the property. Adding a new bathroom can also render the existing plumbing insufficient. Pipe leaks and patch leaks can also reduce the water supply to the home, causing low water pressure. If your low water pressure coincides with an increase in your water bill, a leak is likely to blame. Schedule a service call with a plumber to pinpoint the exact cause.

Does my bathroom plumbing need maintenance?

Like most things in your home, bathroom plumbing can benefit from regular maintenance. Typically, it is a good idea to have a plumber perform routine maintenance in your bathroom every 18 to 24 months. Maintenance may allow your plumber to catch a problem in its early stages, when repairs are less expensive and intrusive.

However, if there are seemingly minor issues with your bathroom plumbing, such as a slow leak from a faucet, don’t wait for your maintenance appointment to address it. It’s always best to call a plumber as soon as an issue arises, to prevent long-term damage and to stop the issue from becoming worse.

Why does my garbage disposal keep clogging?

Your garbage disposal is more finicky than you may think. Many people think that they can put any food scraps they have down the drain, but in reality, disposals are very sensitive and shouldonly be used for specific types of food waste. Pasta, rice, potatoes, bones, coffee grounds, skins from onions or potatoes, and grease are all common culprits behind garbage disposal clogs. As a general rule of thumb, don’t put anything hard or anything that expands in water down the disposal.

If you haven’t put anything down the drain recently that you think could cause a clog, but the water is still backed up, your clog may have built up over time. There could also be mineral buildup in the drain that could be causing the clog, though this is less likely than a clog caused by food waste.

What should I do if my garbage disposal is clogged?

For a large obstruction, turn off the disposal and use an Allen or hex wrench to remove the clog in the motor of the disposal, located under your sink. Simply inserting the wrench into the motor and moving it around is usually sufficient to dislodge the blockage.

You can also try using a plunger and a mixture of baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water. Pour about half a box of baking soda into the drain. Add half a cup of vinegar. This mixture will bubble up, so use a plunger for about a minute to force the solution back into the drain. After letting the baking soda and vinegar work on the clog for about 30 minutes, pour boiling water down the drain. This should clear the clog. If these methods don’t work, call an Intelligent Design plumber in Tucson for assistance.

What can I do about odors in my dishwasher?

Bad odors in the dishwasher are usually from food that is trapped somewhere in the unit. Start by closely examining your dishwasher, to see if food is stuck in any of the spray arms or crevices of the machine. Remove the food trap and clear out any waste stuck there.

Next, fill your detergent container with vinegar. Run an empty cycle to allow the vinegar to circulate through the machine and get rid of the odor. If the smell comes back, then food is likely trapped somewhere else in your water lines, such as in the garbage disposal lines, and preventing the dishwasher from draining. Schedule a service call with a plumber to address the issue.

Does my kitchen plumbing need maintenance?

Like bathroom plumbing, routine maintenance on your kitchen plumbing can help to prevent small problems from turning into major plumbing issues. Maintenance also helps to ensure that all of your plumbing is working as efficiently as possible.

Make a kitchen plumbing maintenance appointment every 12 to 18 months, or sooner, if you notice signs of leaks, slow drains,or other issues.

Trust Our Skilled Plumbers for Your Maintenance and Repair Needs

Intelligent Design Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Solar is rated number one in Tucson for plumbing services and repair. We boast over 13,000—and counting—5-star reviews and stand behind all of our work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Our licensed and certified plumbers are available 24/7 for emergency services, and we only use the best parts to get the job done. Your diagnostic services are free when you use us for repairs, and we don’t charge extra forappointment times. Whether you need plumbing repairs or maintenance or want a second opinion on a quote you’ve been given by another service, contact us today