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Common Plumbing Questions

At Impero Drainage & Plumbing, we’re always there to help homeowners with their plumbing needs. Learn about common plumbing questions and answers and call us if you need further assistance.  

Read the Common Plumbing Questions to find solutions quickly

To fix a leaky kitchen faucet, it is important to locate isolation valves underneath sink to turn off the water. 

Ensure the handle is fully in the off position and you can test to see if the water is turned off with the taps.   

Be gentle when using the faucet to prevent it from getting worse faster. 

Locate any brand or labeling on the faucet to help source the part needed to replace.  

Remove and replace the cartridge. At this point depending on skill level, you may want to contact the plumber to order the part information or determine your skill level to replace the part yourself. 

When troubleshooting the reasons that are causing low water pressure in your home, there are a number of options to rule out. 

Low water pressure in your home can be affected from:

  • A faulty Pressure Reducing Valve or PRV that may need replacing. 
  • The Main water valve is not fully open
  • Valves at fixtures are not fully open
  • Dirt/debris have clogged the aerators of faucets or toilet fill valves
  • Water main coming in to home has a leak or has become clogged with mineral build up(usually galvanized piping)

Work through through this list and contact a plumber if you need help troubleshooting or locating this specific valves that can affect water pressure in your home.

Normally the first point of action is to use a plunger on a toilet to unclog a toilet. 

If the problem persists, you might have a clogged toilet drain which could mean the toilet apparatus needs to be removed and depending on your skill level and attitude towards sewage, you might want to contact a local plumber at this point.

A clean plunger may be used on a sink however leaks often occur underneath afterwards. 

You can disassemble the p trap underneath a sink and see if there are any blockages inside (leaking may occur after p trap is reassembled also)

The chemical drain openener may be used if the blockage is believed to be grease 

The chemical drain opener does not work well against solid organic matter or hair and can damage old piping.

Never use chemical drain openers in toilets.

Even in our mild Canadian winters in the lower mainland and Vancouver, from time to time, our temperatures can go below 0 degrees in Vancouver. When freezing temperatures hit Vancouver, always turn off outside hose bibs from the inside. This is a good rule of thumb as we do fall cleanup around the house to prep for winter.  

Using an insulator cover over your outside hose bib can help protect against colder weather. 

Make sure that all piping that may be exposed to freezing is insulated and you can also upgrade outside hose bibs from regular to frost free.

As a last resort during extreme cold weather snaps, leave a few faucets slightly running at minimal water flow during the night to keep water flow moving.

Replacing a toilet should always be done by a professional plumber if you feel you do not have the skill set to complete this task completely. 

Replace a toilet plumbing tips to prep for a toilet replace are: 

  • locate water shut off valve for toilet and turn it off
  • disconnect the water supply hose from toilet
  • remove the nuts that tighten the toilet to the floor 
  • carefully remove toilet
  • Clean flange of any old wax 
  • Place new wax seal on flange with new floor bolts
  • place new toilet on top of flange making sure the wax squishes 
  • install supply hose, turn on water and test for leaks

First, remove the existing one with a smooth jawed plyer. Add teflon tape to the male threads of the shower arm. Now screw on the new shower head using the smooth jawed plyers/wrench to not mar the finished chrome finish. Finally test for leaks.

There a couple of causes for a running toilet.  A running toilet can be caused by either a faulty flapper or fill valve or both. 

While troubleshooting the cause of the running toilet, turn off the water to toilet. Remove and replace the fill valve and test or continue and remove and replace the flapper. The parts identification number can often be found on underside of toilet lid. Most toilet parts are a universal fit fortunately.

  • Shut off main water valve
  • Call a plumber

Calling a plumber can generally be the quickest way to help fix a burst pipe to reduce further damage to your property.

An outline of tasks to repair a burst pipe include: 

  •  Cut and remove the damaged section of pipe
  • Install coupling and add a replacement piece of pipe 
  • Turn water back on and check for leaks
  • different pipes require different types of fittings and procedures to install them
  • Proceed with discretion and keep your house insurance requirements top of mind. Call a certfiied plumber if you need insurance certifications.

A water heater involves the gas valve. Call a plumber to ensure proper installation of the water heater to keep your family safe from gas exposure.  

An outline of tasks to prep to replace a water heater include: 

  • Shut off gas valve and water supply valve
  • Drain the tank fully until it is light enough to remove 
  • Remove tank and all old piping 
  • Install new tank with a plumbing company

The average lifespan of a water heater is 5-10 years typical for new generation tanks. Yearly maintenance such as draining and flushing the tank will help with longevity. 

Also, keeping the heat at a minimum temperature will also help with longevity to reduce wear and tear on the unit.

To best ways to prevent water damage in your home is to know where your main shutoff valve for water is to your home or apartment. Be sure that the main valve actually works too.  

Be familiar with where the shutoff valves are for each fixture in your home. Make sure plumbing fixtures and valves are up to date and are in good working order. 

Be careful of what goes down the drain to prevent back ups and overflowing drains

Be cautious when drilling holes into walls for tv mounts or furniture. You do not want to hit a pipe or live wire when drilling. 

Make sure the pressure regulator to your home is in good working order to prevent high pressure fluctuations that may cause pipes to leak and fixtures to wear out faster.

This tasks should be performed by a professional as it involves electricity. Electricity can cause death and injury if you are careful. 

General tasks to install a garbage disposal include:

  • Turn off the electricity in your house. 
  • Remove one of the basket strainers on the kitchen sink
  • Install garburator bracket and mount garburator 
  • Hard wire the garb or plug it in to a local receptical 
  • Garburator requires a 120v outlet

To replace a kitchen sink, here are the general tasks involved:

  • For an undermount kitchen sink the brackets or strapping underneath must be removed and the layer of silicone around bottom of the countertop must be cut out
  • The new undermount gets put in to position using jacks and secured with new strapping or brackets. silicone must set for before use.
  • For an overmount sink the sink gets removed by loosening the brackets from underneath the sink. 
  • No silicone has to be removed just a rubber gasket on the underside of the sink. 
  • The new sink must match the countertop cut out in order to fit properly 
  • After new sink is in the drain must be reinstalled

The most common cause of sewer back up are:

  • Most common is tree roots entering the sewer system in older clay/cast iron piping 
  • Typically in older homes the main sewer is plumbed in clay/cast iron piping the connections between the lengths of pipe are a bell and spigot fitting, the lead sealant around the bell and spigot wears out with age allowing tree roots to enter the system. Toilet paper and debris build up on the roots causing the backup.
  • When the ground underneath a sewer drain pipe settles or sinks for whatever reason it can create either a separation in the connection between the lengths of pipe or a belly in the sewer line. this will cause toilet paper and debris to back up and overflow 
  • Improper use of the toilet such as flushing inappropriate items down the drain. This can be a common cause of a sewer backed up too. 

Typically a shower drain only gets clogged with hair so chemical drain openers will not work 

A small snake around 1/4″ in diameter must be used to clear away the hair

Calling professional plumber could be quicker if you have no experience in plumbing. Here are the common tasks to replace a bathtub. 

  • Remove the layers or tile and drywall to access the concealed edges of the tub
  • Remove the screws that secure it to the studded wall and disassemble the drain so that the tub can be removed 
  • The shower diverter may have to be removed in order to create enough space to remove the tub

Here are the common list of tasks to help you fix a leaking shower. Call a plumber if you need further assistance.  

Always ensure the water is off before removing/replacing cartridges

  • Similar to a leaking faucet the shower valve also has a cartridge that will eventually wear out and begin to drip even when the valve is in the off position
  • The valves escutcheon plates have to be removed in order to access the cartridge
  • Depending on the model of the valve it may or may not have built in shutoff valves, if there are no built in valves then the water has to be shut off at the main
  • Some brands of showers have very expensive and hard to replace cartridges

The benefits of a tankless water tank are:

  • Less space is taken up in the room where it is installed 
  • You do not have to wait for the water tank to warm up.
  • The water is heated only when there is a demand for the hot water so it saves money on energy consumption. The water is always hot when you want it. 
  • The Government of BC offers rebates for high efficiency appliance installations

Here are the common tasks on how to install a water softener

  • Water test to determine the type of water issues you have
  • The type of water softener to be installed has to be determined by what type of water is entering the home. 
  • The softener can either be installed where the water main enters the residence, this will filter all of the water that is being used in the home 
  • There are types of softeners that can be installed at the point of use such as underneath a kitchen sink

A gas leak is easily detected by the smell of rotten eggs. If you smell gas have no experience, turn off the main source of gas to your home and go outside to breath fresh air. 

Gas poisoning can cause death. 

Always install a carbon monoxide detector in your residence if you are using gas in your home. 

Mercaptan is used to make natural gas small like rotten eggs so that if a leak occurs it will be noticed,

A soapy water solutions applied to gas pipes can help detect leaks as bubbles will begin to form where the leak is occurring. 

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