Bennett Plumbing San Mateo, CA

Serving the San Mateo - Bay Area with Plumbing and General Contracting Services

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FAQ'S

(frequently asked questions)

Foul Odors

Foul odor coming from a garbage disposer.

Foul odors occur from a buildup of food debris within the disposer chamber. To eliminate this odor, place ice cubes and lemon or orange peels in the disposer and run for one minutes. Next, squirt a little liquid dish detergent into the disposer while it is still running. Finally, run cold water for about 30 seconds to rinse all the debris away.

Foul odor from a bathroom in the basement.

Plumbing systems are designed to prevent foul odors from entering the house by means of the trap attached to fixtures. Traps contain water to seal out foul odors. If the bathroom is hardly used the water seal can evaporate and the odors enter the house. To solve this problem, pour a bucket of water in each trap, sink, shower and floor drain. This will prevent the odors from entering the house.

Gneral Contractor

Root Growth

How does root growth effect home and property plumbing?

Tree and shrub roots require oxygen and water to grow. How fast roots grow varies and is dependent on soil depth, water supply, aeration, mineral supply and temperature. Roots, in the search of water find pipes alluring and can sometimes break pipes accessing a water supply. Most roots can be found in the top 6 to 18 inches of soil, where water, nutrients and oxygen are found.

Roots generally extend up to two or three times the height of the tree, but can extend as far as seven times the height of the tree. Large, mature trees may have thousands of feet of root system searching for nutrients. Roots will be less extensive in clay soils than in sandy or well-drained soils.

During drought conditions and in the winter, roots will travel long distances in search of moisture. When trees and shrubs get thirsty, they follow the trail of moisture vapors escaping from small cracks, holes, or poorly sealed joints in the water and sewer lines. The roots penetrate the opening to reach the nutrients and moisture inside the pipes.

If not disturbed, the roots will completely fill the pipe with multiple hair-like root masses at each point of entry. The root masses quickly become clogged with toilet tissue, grease and other debris flowing from homes and businesses to the main sewer, resulting in reduced flow and slowed drains. A complete blockage may occur if the roots are not removed and root growth impeded.

Once roots have entered the pipe, they continue to grow and expand, exerting considerable pressure at the crack or joint. The increased pressure often breaks the pipe and may result in total collapse, which requires repair or replacement.

Some pipe materials are more susceptible to root intrusion than others. Clay tile pipe is easily penetrated and damaged by tree roots. Concrete pipe and PVC pipe may also allow root intrusion, but to a lesser extent than clay pipe. PVC pipe usually has fewer joints and the tightly fitted joints are less likely to leak as a result of settlement around the pipe.

Strange Noises

Rumbling sound coming from the water heater.

Rumbling sounds coming from a water heater are an indication that sediment has built up on the bottom of the water heater. What you are hearing is water that is trapped in the sediment and is boiling. This is an indication that the water heater is not operating efficiently. Sediment will not allow the heat to transfer to the water in the tank, which sends the heat up the flue.

You may try draining a few gallons of water off the bottom of the water heater tank. This is done by attaching a drain hose to the valve at the bottom of the tank. Allow it to drain for about five minutes.

WARNING: HOT WATER IS DANGEROUS. DISCHARGE THE WATER INTO A FLOOR DRAIN, LAUNDRY TUB OR BATHTUB. HOT WATER WILL KILL YOUR GRASS IF DISCHARGED ONTO THE LAWN. HOT WATER WILL CRACK A TOILET BOWL IF DISCHARGED INTO THE TOILET.

Many newer models of water heaters have a new feature that prohibits the buildup of sediment in the tank. If your heater is an older model, it may be cost effective to replace the water heater if the buildup is severe.

Whistle sound that seems to be connected to the plumbing system and is inconsistent.

The sound you are describing is usually caused by a toilet fill valve that is slowly leaking. To locate the leaking toilet, remove the lid of each toilet tank and adjust the fill valve mechanism until it stops. Once you have found the toilet causing the problem, repair or replace the fill valve.

Toilet Replacement

What is the recommendation for toilet replacement?

When the federal government mandated that new toilets use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush, manufacturers had to develop a toilet that would achieve this but that would also flush properly (clear the bowl) and carry the waste to the city sewer or septic system. Some of the early models did not do this properly. Since then, the complaints have forced the manufacturers to develop new ways of flushing toilets. One new way is the use of a pressurized toilet tank. This model looks like a regular toilet, but it has a pressure tank inside. When flushed, it works like a commercial toilet. A large surge of water enters the bowl and clears the bowl of any waste. These toilets work well, but are not as quiet as a conventional model.

When considering a new fixture for your home such as a toilet, we recommend that you choose a fixture that conserves water. Learn More Energy Saving Tips...

Water Temperature & Water Bills

How can I conserve energy, yet also be sure that there is an adequate amount of hot water?

Most people are comfortable with their hot water set at 120°F, which is also the new standard that manufacturers use when pre-setting it at the factory. If you have an older model, set the thermostat at medium. On a gas model, there is a dial on the front of the gas valve. On electric models, the thermostats (there may be two) are concealed behind the two panels on the side of the tank.

NOTE: Turn off the electricity before removing the panels. There are exposed wires behind the panels containing HIGH VOLTAGE.

Learn More Energy Saving Tips...

Water bills appear to be higher than usual.

You may want to check to see if a toilet or faucet is leaking. First, check the water level to ensure that water is not overflowing the tank by way of the overflow pipe. This is the pipe in the middle of the tank. It has small tubing connected to it. If water is running into the overflow, adjust the fill valve to stop the flow approximately one inch below the top of the overflow tube or to the water level mark stamped on the side of the tank.

Second, put a few drops of food coloring into the tank to test the flush valve mechanism. If the water in the bowl changes color within 15 minutes, this is an indication that water is leaking into the toilet bowl and that the ball or flapper needs to be replaced.

 


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