General Plumbing Questions

Don't put anything in the toilet or drain that isn't human waste or toilet paper. Don't run the garbage disposal with hot water, always use cold. Never flush tampons or wipes even if they claim to be "flushable". Don't dump grease, coffee, and other fibrous material down the drain.

With our proximity to Chicago, we deal with freezing pipes regularly. Here are a few things you can do to try and prevent the pipes from freezing up on you.

1.) Put the faucet on a trickle. The movement of the water will help prevent freezing in the plumbing line.

2.) Open your bathroom cabinets so warm air can flow and reach the pipes under your sink.

3.) Heating cables that run alongside the pipe can be installed and insulated.

4.) Make sure your HVAC system is working properly. Most pipes freeze because of a furnace going out.

A toilet plunger has a cup shape that will allow you to create a tight seal, a sink plunger doesn't and is made for flat surfaces. Get a toilet plunger, make a tight seal around the drain and vigorously plunge the device up and down. If it's still stuck, we would recommend calling a plumber.

The most likely culprit is rust. Check your kitchen sink for red streak stains, if they're present it's rust. Minerals and contaminants like rust, iron, and oxygen find their way into our water in small amounts. They stain the water an unpleasant color but most of the time it's safe to drink. When in doubt call a plumber.
Dishwashers have removable filters that can be cleaned. Food, grease, and particles build up inside the filter. Over time the appliance will stop cleaning the dishes as efficiently as before and smell might start to develop. To remedy this, check your manufacturer's manual on how to clean the dishwasher filter. Additionally, blockages can develop in the vent or drain pipes inside the wall. This can also cause unpleasant odors.
A conventional water heater is expected to last 7 to 12 years. Most water heater warranties are 10 years long. Routine maintenance can help you get the most out of your water heater.

Anytime you are performing a plumbing repair that use the water line. Additionally, we recommend turning the water off when you go on vacation. Not only to protect your home but to stop the neighbor from using your spigot to fill up their pool (we've seen it happen). 

 

If absolutely no water is coming through then start by checking the water supply line. If it's operating correctly the next item to check is the inlet valve. Before you replace the inlet valve, check the filter for any debris that may be causing the blockage. Most of the time cleaning this filter will put things back to normal. If it doesn't, the next step would be replacing the entire inlet filter. This is a fairly easy and inexpensive repair if you do it yourself. 

Sewer Line Questions

A majority of homeowner's policies will not cover sewer/sewage problems. You'll have to check with your insurance broker for specifics on your policy. However, most of the time, unless you opted for additional coverage or the damage is caused by something sudden (such as a lighting strike), you'll be paying out of pocket. Most policies do not cover normal wear and tear, tree roots, and other sewer related problems.
It can vary depending on the location but in general, the homeowners are responsible for everything from the street to their home. The city is responsible for sewer pipes starting at the main and traveling to and from the municipal's treatment plant. It's common for homeowners to be responsible for both the upper and lower lateral pipes (some of which may not be on your property). For a better answer check with your cities village hall.

Signs of a sewer collapse include:
Frequent backups.
Multiple fixtures clogs.
Plumbing acts weird (Tubs backing up when toilets are flushed).
Wet, waterlogged patches of grass on top of the sewer.
Slow drains throughout the house.

First, locate a drain inside your home. Then, follow it to the central drain line and chase the line to where it exits your home. This line ties into your main sewer line. Most of the time it's a straight shot out from the building. Additionally, you could contact that city for a sewer map of your neighborhood.
The amount of a time a sewer replacement job will take will vary by location. Every property has a different situation that requires a different amount of labor, equipment, and materials. We have replaced sewer pipes 5 feet underground in a single day. Other jobs have taken a few days to rectify. It depends on where the pipes are, what's on top of it, and how badly damaged the sewer pipes are.

It all depends on the material and the conditions but in general:

  • Orangeburg pipe: 30-50 years.
  • Clay pipe: 30-50 years.
  • Cast Iron pipe: 50-75 years.
  • PVC pipe: 100 years +.

Looking for an answer?

Attached to this page is a list of our most common questions and answers. It only covers a small portion of what we do. If you have a specific question that is not listed here, don't hesitate to contact us. We can handle any plumbing-related problem. From faucets and sewer lines to whole house filtration systems, we do it all. You can reach us online or by phone 24 hours a day.

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