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Do you need information about common plumbing problems? Would you like to read some plumber tricks and plumbing fixes from an industry leader? In business since 1956, Milani Plumbing Drainage & Heating takes pride in educating customers through valuable plumbing advice that will save you time and money.

General Plumbing Tips

Read the following plumber tips and learn how you can diagnose and solve problems within your plumbing system. Remember, if the situation calls for more than a simple fix, it’s always best to turn to the professionals at Milani Plumbing Drainage & Heating. Improper repairs can lead to costly damage.

Noisy Pipes

Pipe noises range from loud hammering sounds to high-pitched squeaks. The causes may be loose pipes, water logged air chambers, or water pressure that’s too high. Anchoring exposed pipes is a simple solution; other remedies such as anchoring pipes concealed inside walls, floors or ceilings, may call for a professional.

Water Hammer

This noise occurs when you turn off the water at a faucet or an appliance quickly. The water flowing through the pipes slams to a stop, causing a hammering noise. Check for loose pipes and secure them to the wooden floor joists. Other potential problems could be air chambers within your water piping system or a high water pressure problem.

Leaking Pipes

A higher than normal water bill might be your first indication of a leaking pipe. Or you might hear the sound of running water even when all your fixtures are turned off. When you suspect a leak, check the fixtures first to make sure all the faucets are tightly closed. Then go to the water meter, if you have one. If the dial is moving, you’re losing water somewhere in the system.

Locating Leaks

The sound of running water helps. If you hear it, follow it to its source. You can buy a listening device that amplifies sounds when it’s held up to a pipe. Any wall stain is likely to be below the actual location of the leak and you’ll probably need to remove part of the wall to find it. Remember, if water is staining the ceiling or dripping down, the leak is probably directly above.

Frozen Pipes

A faucet that won’t yield water is the first sign of frozen pipes. If a severe cold snap hits, prevent freezing and subsequent bursting of pipes by following the suggestions below. Even if the pipes do freeze, you can thaw them before they burst if you act quickly. When temperatures fall very low, here’s how to keep your pipes from freezing:

Keep a trickle of water running from the faucets.

  • Beam a heat lamp or small heater at exposed pipes (hair dryers work well too).
  • Wrap un-insulated pipes with newspapers, foam pipe insulation, or self-adhesive insulating tape.
  • Keep cabinets open and doors ajar between heated and unheated rooms
  • Shower Heads
  • Erratic or weak pressure usually indicates mineral buildup. To restore proper flow, clean outlet holes with a pin or unscrew the perforated face plate and soak it overnight in vinegar, then scrub it clean with an old toothbrush.

Sink Sprays & Diverters

A kitchen sink spray has a spray head attached to a hose, which is connected to a diverter valve in the faucet body. When you squeeze the spray head handle, the diverter valve reroutes water from the faucet to the spray head hose. If the flow is sluggish, make sure the hose isn’t kinked. Clean the aerator in the spray nozzle. Continued sluggishness may indicate diverter valve problems.

Water Heaters

If water is leaking from your water heater check the drain valve at the base of the tank, temperature & pressure valve on the side of the tank, hole in the tank or a leak on a plumbing connection. If your hot water is rusty or discolored this could be the result of an accumulation of rust or sediment in the tank. Other potential problems could be scale on the heating elements or a corroded water pipe. If you do not have enough hot water there could be a quite a few potential problems. For a gas water heater, the pilot light may be out, sediment may have formed in the tank or the burner may be clogged. Otherwise, you may have a faulty thermocouple or gas valve. For an electric water heater, the temperature control may be set too low. Otherwise it’s generally a faulty heating element or thermostat. Of course, it could just be that the hot water tank itself is too small.

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Drain Cleaning & Video Camera Pipe Inspection Tips

Clogged drains are a common source of frustration for many homeowners. By reading the following plumber’s advice from Milani, you can learn some basic DIY plumbing techniques and keep minor issues from becoming major problems.

Clogged Toilet

Check for a blockage in the toilet trap or the drain itself. Remove blockage with a plunger or closet auger.

Sink Drains

It’s always best to prevent clogs before they happen. Be alert to the warning signs of a sluggish drain. It’s easier to open a drain that’s slowing down than one that’s stopped completely. Run or pour scalding water down the drain to break up grease buildups. If hot water doesn’t unclog the drain, there could be some object in the drain. To check, remove and thoroughly clean the sink pop-up stopper or strainer. Otherwise, the clog may be further down the drain and may require a professional cleaning.

Clogged Tub Drains

Before trying any drain-clearing methods on a plugged drain, check that the tub’s pop-up stopper is opening fully and is free of hair and debris. If the stopper isn’t the problem, then the drain pipe is probably clogged. Try a plunger. If this fails to do the job, you’ll have to clear the trap with a snake.

Preventing Kitchen Drain Clogs

No plumbing problem is more common or more frustrating than a clogged drain. Kitchen sink drains clog most often because of a buildup of grease that traps food particles. Drains can usually be cleared easily and inexpensively, but taking some simple precautions will help you avoid stop-ups. Proper disposal of kitchen waste will keep sink drain clogs to a minimum.

Don’t pour grease down the kitchen sink.

Don’t wash coffee grounds down the sink. Throw them out. Be sparing with chemical cleaners, particularly if you have brass, steel, or cast-iron traps and drainpipes; some caustic chemicals can corrode metal pipes.

Hair Clogs at Tub & Lavatory Sink Drains

The best way to clean hair from a bathtub drain is to remove the drain grate and take a coat hanger and put a little hook on the end and scoop out the hair. You could also use a pair of needle nose pliers. The easiest way to clean hair from a lavatory sink drain is to remove the pop-up drain assembly altogether and use the same technique as mentioned above.

Shower Drains

Though it may difficult to unclog a shower drain with a plunger, it’s worth a try. If that doesn’t work, it may require a professional to run a snake down the drain opening into the trap.

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