Plumbing brings hot and cold water to the home or business and removes wastewater. Problems can occur over time anywhere in the system. Common problems include:
- Clogged drains, toilets, or sewer lines
- Leaks in water lines
- Failed water heaters
- Leaky faucets
- Toilets not shutting off completely
- Sewer line failures outside the home
- Sewage smells inside the home
- Low water pressure
- Jammed or failed garbage disposer
Plumbing has changed over time as new materials have been developed. The type of plumbing in your home will depend on its age and whether any re-plumbing has been done in the past. We will list some materials from old to new to give you an idea of what may be in your home or business.
Cast Iron — Cast iron was used in many homes until the 1960s. It is usually has a black color, is very heavy, and will attract a magnet. It was commonly used in drain and sewer lines.
Galvanized Steel — This is steel with a zinc coating for corrosion resistance that gives it a silver or grey color. It will also attract a magnet. It was used into the 1970s but was found to have a shorter life than other materials.
Copper — Copper pipe became the most popular plumbing material from the 1970s until the 2000s. It is more expensive than steel but has a useful life normally over 50 years. Copper is very shiny when new and eventually takes on a dark brown hue with age. It is non-magnetic and is easily cut and connected with soldered fittings.
Polybutylene (PB) — PB is flexible and normally a grey color, although it can come in other colors. It normally will have “PB2110” stamped on it.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Cross-Linked PVC (CPVC) — PVC plumbing has been very popular over the last 20 years or so. It is a plastic pipe that is easily cut and connected with glued fittings. CPVC is rated for hot water use. Both are white and will have a stamp stating which type of PVC is present. PVC plumbing can be used both for water supply lines and sewer lines because it is strong yet lightweight and can be buried without as much concern for it being crushed.
Cross-Linked Polyethylene (PEX) — PEX is a flexible plastic pipe that is very popular in new construction and re-piping today for water supply lines. It can be placed within walls or existing structures with fewer openings needed to connect it. It can be found in different colors, but commonly blue is used for cold water and red for hot water. It is easily connected with compression fittings.
Most do-it-yourself drain unclogging involves either putting a flexible snake into the drainpipe or adding a corrosive chemical to break up the clog. Both of these methods can create problems and can even damage your plumbing. Always call Ryan’s Plumbing to sort out your clogged drains.
A clog may not be located near a tub or sink that is draining slowly. If you use a snake you can simply push the clog further down the pipe. This can cause problems and water backups elsewhere in the home.
Drain chemicals are corrosive. Over time they can damage your plumbing and if not removed completely can leave a gummy residue that can make a clog occur more quickly. There are also safety hazards to using some of these chemicals so they should be avoided.
Ryan’s Plumbing recommends hydro-jetting your drains and sewer line. This method uses water at increased pressure that safety and completely flushes all debris down the sewer line as it moves forward through the plumbing. It can even remove tree roots from underground sewer lines and will leave the piping very clean.
There are some things you can do around the house to minimize the chance for clogging a drain:
All plumbing problems are annoying but some may not be an emergency. A slow drain can be handled during normal business hours as long as water isn’t backing up into the home. There are plumbing issues that should be considered an emergency:
You should know how to shut off your main water supply in the event a pipe breaks. Shut off the water immediately then call Ryan’s Plumbing. We have 24-hour emergency service available.
Water leaks can be difficult to detect, but anytime you see water where it doesn’t belong you should suspect a plumbing problem. In Florida, a roof leak can also cause water in the home so let Ryan’s Plumbing determine if the leak is plumbing-related. Other signs include:
Many Florida homes are built on a concrete slab, and the piping and other utilities were placed inside the slab during the initial construction. Over time piping can fail and result in a slab leak. This can show up as wet spots on your floors, or evidence of water outside the home. Ryan’s Plumbing can determine where the leak exists and recommend either a spot repair or a re-piping if the slab plumbing has deteriorated to the point it needs to be replaced.
In most cases, water damage not caused by you is covered but you should discuss the details with your insurance agent. You should remain vigilant and regularly look for water problems before they become insurance issues:
Winter weather in Florida can occasionally reach freezing temperatures, particularly the further north you are in the state. Most homes with slab foundations are protected from freezing because the plumbing is buried in the slab. However, you might have a bathroom sink or other water line on an outside wall. If you are concerned about it you may wish to open the wall and insulate the water lines. Another option is to let the faucet drip to keep water moving through the pipe in freezing weather. This wastes water but may be necessary if you can’t get access to the plumbing.
If you leave your home in the winter shut off the water and release the water pressure by opening faucets. Never shut the heat completely off in your home when you are gone, as this can make the home damp as well as increasing the risk of a frozen pipe. These techniques should minimize any chance of frozen plumbing.