Frequently Asked Questions
VA Plumbing LLC is the trusted name in common plumbing problems in Northern Virginia. Large or small, your plumbing, water line, drain cleaning and property management issues can be handled by the professional plumbers at VA Plumbing. As we reach more homeowners in Northern Virginia with various plumbing issues, we’ve found that we’re frequently asked some of the same questions. In an effort to better serve the residents and business owners or our community, we’re offering professional plumbing answers to the most frequently asked questions.
We’re dedicated to providing the best plumbing solutions for your property, but we know there are small issues you can tackle on your own. Whether you’re trying to determine if your challenge is a plumbing emergency or if you need the pros at all, our answers will give you straight-forward guidance on steps to take and those to avoid.
The VA Plumbing team is here to guide you through the basics of plumbing and provide easy-to-understand answers to your pressing questions. As industry leaders serving neighborhoods throughout Northern Virginia, we want to provide helpful tips that you can use in your own home or business.
How do you know if your situation calls for the attention of an emergency plumber? Inconveniences occur at all hours, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re facing an emergency. Plumbing emergencies in Northern Virginia are generally those that: * Simultaneously clog all drains * Stop all toilets from flushing * Cause raw sewage to seep from drains * Cause flooding (Broken pipe, water main leak) * Create sewage pooling in your yard * Cut off your water supply * Create an unhealthy or dangerous environment for your family You want to protect your greatest investment and keep your family safe and healthy. If you’re unsure if the problem should be treated right away, contact the VA Plumbing team 24 hours a day.
Clogged drains are one of the most common plumbing problems that most homeowners want to tackle on their own. The trouble with DIY drain cleaning methods is that they can cause more damage to your pipes than you realize. Store-bought liquid solutions or even drain snaking methods can cause harm to your plumbing system. Your drains are an essential part of your property that should be taken care of with precision and accuracy. Using at-home methods of drain cleaning involve unnecessary guesswork that only temporarily mask your plumbing problems instead of solving them all together.
Chemical-laden drain cleaners use toxic ingredients that create a slime and sludge within your pipes that speed up the pipe corrosion process, causing more damage in the long run. Solutions like drain snaking your drain and entrance pipe will only reach surface clogs and blockages and not deeper ones within your pipe that could be causing the actual problems. Instead of trying to fix your plumbing problems on your own, call your trusted Northern Virginia plumbers at VA Plumbing.
From the master bathroom to the garage drain, plumbing issues can occur at any point in your plumbing system. While it’s important to be on the lookout for any abnormality in your plumbing, these are the most common problems you may face: * Clogged toilet * Clogged bath or shower drain * Faulty water heater * Jammed garbage disposal * Leaky faucets * Leaky pipes * Low water pressure * Running toilet * Sewage smell in home * Sewer system backup * Slow draining sink
It’s safe to handle small issues, like a faulty flapper, that cause your toilet to leak, but for more complicated challenges, hire a professional plumber. To determine how severe the toilet leak is, first find the source of the leak. If water is coming from the base, try tightening the bolts that hold the toilet to the floor. If that doesn’t help, you’ll need to remove the toilet from the floor and replace the wax rings that sit under the bolts. If the toilet is leaking from the tank, ensure that you have no cracks and that the hose is secured to the base of the toilet. Depending on the age of your toilet, it may be time to replace it, which our team at VA Plumbing will happily do for you.
Even if your toilet seems to be working fine, the age of the stool could mean you’re spending more on water each month than you need to. A few signs that it’s time to upgrade the stool include: * Age (toilets 10 years or older aren’t energy efficient) * Continuous clogs * Multiple flushes after each use * Ongoing leaks
You should take steps everyday to prevent buildup and clogs in your pipes, but Northern Virginia pipe cleaning should be performed by trained professionals. Hydro Jetting is a chemical-free way to rid your pipes of clogs, debris, and invasive tree roots. To avoid major drain clogs and sewer line backups: * Avoid certain foods in garbage disposal (coffee grounds, bones, grease, fruit peels) * Run cold water when using the garbage disposal * Utilize a drain strainer if you don’t have a garbage disposal * Don’t pour grease or oil down the drain * Run hot water to clear grease residue after washing dishes * Clear drain stoppers in tub and shower * Don’t use the toilet as a trash can - waste and toilet tissue only * Have septic tank pumped every two to three years.
Professional drain cleaning in Northern Virginia can be completed in an environmentally friendly way without disrupting your property. For pipes that are comprised of clay materials or are clogged with organic materials and food waste, we will use snaking tools to snag the clog and manually remove it out of the pipe. If we find that the pipe is comprised of PVC or another hard, durable material and is plagued by the presence of hardened grease deposits or tree roots, our experts will recommend hydro jetting as the preferred solution.
Hydro jetting services offered by VA Plumbing will ensure your pipes and drains are clear of years of debris and buildup. By forcing water through your pipes at nearly 4000 PSI, the drain cleaning process will remove buildup, debris, and tree roots. The water is sprayed at an extremely high pressure and flushes away the debris, allowing water and waste to flow through your plumbing freely. Our team will thoroughly explain your plumbing situation to help you understand which drain cleaning process will be better to clear your pipes.
Determining the pipe material in your home and beneath the ground is best estimated by the age of your home. As professional plumbers began to take note of how long material lasted, changes were made in pipe material choices. See our guide to determine your pipe material: * Copper: These bronze colored pipes were frequently used for plumbing systems in houses built from the 1970s into the early 2000s. As they age, copper pipes will slowly fade to a deep rust or brown color. Copper pipes last about 50+ years. * Galvanized Steel: Leading up to the 1970s, plumbing systems were often built from galvanized steel pipes. The material was used less when builders discovered it only lasted for about 40 years. * PB (polybutylene): These pipes are flexible and usually marked with “PB2110.” PB pipes are typically gray, black or blue. * PVC (polyvinyl-chloride): The white plastic pipes are most commonly seen under your kitchen or bathroom sinks used as drain pipes. * PEX (cross-linked polyethylene): Plastic tubing that is usually white, red, or blue and used to indicate hot and cold lines. Plumbers use this type of material because of its flexibility. * Cast Iron: This pipe has a black finish and was used in homes through the mid-1960s.
How long your water heater lasts will depend on the style. Tankless water heaters can last for up to 20 years, while most traditional units have an 8 to 12-year lifespan. No matter the style, routine maintenance will help extend the life of your water heater. If you have a traditional tank, draining the water heater once yearly will help rid the unit of sediment and minerals that can settle at the bottom. Call a water heater repair company in Northern Virginia if your unit shows signs of trouble but isn’t advanced in age. A simple repair or draining could restore the unit to optimum performance.
Your water heater temperature should be set between 120 and 140 degrees. To determine the precise temperature for your unit, consider your water usage. For homes with several family members who constantly have multiple sources of water running at once, setting the unit closer to 140 degrees may make more sense. If the temperature is set too high, however, you’ll waste energy and risk scalding burns with water usage. For homes with only one or two residents, 120 degrees should suffice. It’s important to not go below the 120 setting, as bacteria can grow in water that is too cool, threatening your family’s health.
Invasive tree roots can cause leaks in your underground plumbing, resulting in a high water bill and low water pressure. If left untreated, tree roots climbing into your plumbing can cause extensive damage. The fastest way to determine if your plumbing problems are caused by tree roots is through a sewer camera inspection. The VA Plumbing team will feed a high-definition camera through your pipes to locate the root problem.
As long as the burst pipe damage was not preventable, most home insurance policies will cover the destruction. To avoid a burst pipe, follow these tips: * Ensure tubs and showers are caulked and sealed properly * Inspect for leaking faucets indoors and outside * Insulate pipes if you live in a cold climate * Routinely inspect appliance hoses on your dishwasher or washing machine and replace as needed.
Proper insulation of your pipes can keep them from freezing during the frigid winter months. Follow these steps: * Run heating cable along the pipes before covering with insulation. The cable will keep the pipes at a constant temperature. * Inspect the outside of your home looking for visible cracks near the foundation or basement. Use spray foam or caulking to fill cracks. * Shut off the water valves to your outdoor faucets. Allow excess water to drain then cover the faucets with an insulated dome to prevent freezing. * Allow the warm air in your home to reach the pipes beneath your sinks by opening the cabinet doors. * Have your HVAC system checked annually to prevent your heating system from crashing during the winter months. The freezing temperatures can quickly affect your pipes. * Allow a small, slow drip to come from your faucets. Running the water even a minimal amount will help prevent frozen pipes.
Low water pressure can be caused by several different issues. Whether your water pressure took a major dip all at once or the change progressed over a number of weeks, ignoring the issue may allow further damage to occur. Low water pressure causes more water waste and a higher utility bill because each activity calls for you to leave the water running longer. The VA Plumbing team will inspect the most common reasons for the dip in water pressure and fully explain how we can resolve your issue. The most common causes of low water pressure include: * Clogged Pipe: A clogged water pipe can contribute to low water pressure. Attempting to unclog a water line yourself could lead to water contamination in your home. Hire a professional Northern Virginia plumber to handle the job. * Faulty Pressure Regulator: Every faucet in your home will be affected if the pressure regulator attached to the pipes outside your home fails. Our team can test the regulator to see if it is the problem. * Mineral Buildup: Overtime, your pipes, faucet nozzles, and shower heads will be affected by mineral buildup. If the change in your water pressure happened gradually rather than all at once, having the buildup professionally removed could solve the issue. * Old Pipes: Old iron pipes are especially susceptible to corrosion and can inhibit the flow of water. These pipes corrode from the inside out, so it would be impossible for you to identify this as the problem without a camera inspection from a plumber.
Adding professional pipe inspection to your yearly home maintenance checklist means you’ll be able to detect small issues before they turn into large emergency issues. A professional plumber can see what’s happening inside your pipes, even if you don’t suspect anything is wrong. A thorough inspection will reveal common plumbing problems, like why your drains release slowly, why the water pressure is low, and what makes the garbage disposal constantly smell like sewage. A high-resolution camera is used during the inspection process and can help detect and prevent future plumbing issues.
The VA Plumbing team consists of professional plumbers who take the time to answer your questions. Whether you’re facing a plumbing emergency or just want to schedule routine maintenance, our friendly staff is ready to schedule your appointment.