Plumbing Tips

Do you have any plumbing questions? BEST Plumbing Services in Cincinnati provides answers to some commonly-asked questions below. If you don’t see the answer to a question you have, please fill out the form on our Contact Us page and we will be in touch with you or call us today at 513-793-2378

General Plumbing Tips

How do I know if I have a plumbing emergency?

True plumbing emergencies that require immediate attention usually come in three types: gas leaks, water leaks, or sewer backups.

GAS LEAK: Immediately exit the building and call 911 and Duke Energy at 513-651-4466. Don’t take chances! If you smell a natural gas odor, leave the premises immediately and go to a safer location to call 911 and the gas company.

WATER LEAK: Water leaking can be contained and shut off until help arrives. If the leak is localized near a faucet or fixture, look for a shut-off valve near the faucet or fixture. If this is not readily available, go to the basement of the building, or where the main water supply enters the building and look for a valve to shut off the water to the entire building.

SEWER BACKUP: If your sewer is backing up, immediately stop using any plumbing in the home, which will help limit additional damage to your property. If water is still rising without using any plumbing in the home, call City of Cincinnati Metropolitan Sewer District at 513-352-4900.

These steps will help you minimize damage and control the problem until one of the plumbers from Best Plumbing can come to your home and fix the problem once and for all.

My water bill just went up - what should I do?

Water rates are usually consistent. Therefore, if you suddenly experience a drastic increase, generally that indicates symptoms of a bigger problem. If you notice that your water bill increases by more than 20% without explanation (such as guests or a new bathroom having been installed) in any given billing period, you need to determine the cause.

In particular, if you notice an incredibly sharp increase in your bill, more than likely there is a leak somewhere. Check your house thoroughly, as well as your property to see if water is coming up from a water line somewhere. Whether you are able to locate the problem or not, you should contact a licensed plumber like Best Plumbing early to prevent potential damage to your property.

Top 10 reasons Why you should call a plumber
  1. Wet areas: have you noticed wet spots underneath your bathroom sinks, either along the pipes or underneath. If so, you could potentially have a leak.
  2. Low water pressure: have you noticed low water pressure in either your shower or kitchen? If so, it could be an indication of a defective shower valve or possibly build-up on the pipes.
  3. How is your water heater? You should consider the age of your water heater and see if there is rust or corrosion on it or the pipe connections. You want to prevent any potential hazards before they occur.
  4. Gas leaks: if you spray some soapy water onto the gas shut-off valve by the water heater and see bubbles, you could potentially have a gas leak.
  5. Mold detection: If you notice wet areas in crawl spaces or attics or see or smell mold, you could have a leaking pipe. If a leak goes undetected, harmful molds are often the result.
  6. Check all of your shut off valves and hose bibs. Do they turn easily without leaking? Do your valves need to be fixed or replaced? Could you shut them off in an emergency?
  7. Check your toilet water tanks. Do you see any rust or green build up? Is your water tank leaking? Are you flushing gallons of water down the toilet without knowing because your tank is leaking?
  8. Noisy pipes: Do you hear a noise of a bang in the pipes when you turn your water faucets on full power and then shut them off quickly? If you have noticed this, you could potentially have a “water-hammer.” A simple device can usually take care of this problem.
  9. Valve and meter checks: Do you know where your water meter and main water shut off valve are located? Turn your main water shut off valve to off and look at the water meter. If the meter is still running, you could potentially have a water leak. You might notice high water bills if this is the case.
  10. Drippy faucets: If you have handles that are hard to turn or have any faucets that are dripping, you could have calcium deposits or other build up causing your faucet to malfunction. Either repair or replacement is necessary.
Why should I call you and not one of the other 100 plumbers in the phone book?

In addition to getting repairs right the first time, Best Plumbing has been in business 30 years on a referral basis only. And, our plumbers have a salary (not commission-based). You can trust that the advice given by a Best licensed plumber is based on the situation at hand, and not an attempt to earn more commission. Our pricing is honest and transparent. There are never any hidden costs.

Our company has a lot of experience especially with new construction and remodels. Best Plumbing is dependable, too. There have been projects we have solved that others had already given up on!

Save yourself time, hassle and headache. Call Best Plumbing for your plumbing repair and replacement needs. We want what you want for your home: a safe, healthy and clean environment.

What is your hourly rate?

Best Plumbing Service in Cincinnati does not charge by the hour. Instead we charge by the job, and YOU will know how much we are charging for each job BEFORE we start any work. We value our customers and believe in standing by our estimate. Even if the job takes longer than expected, you will not pay more.

Faucets

Can old faucets be repaired?

Sometimes old faucets can be repaired, but it depends on the faucet. Typically, Best Plumbing can fix any faucet. However, sometimes it is more efficient to replace an old faucet with a new one. We provide our best recommendation after we take a look.

Garbage Disposals

My garbage disposal stinks - what do I do?

There are different things you can try if your garbage disposal smells bad. Place a cup of ice cubes into the disposal and run it. This will clean the blades and anything stuck to the walls of the unit. You can also grind up lemon peels, or put some lemon juice into the unit.

Should I let water run while using the disposal?

You must always have water running while the motor is running in your disposal. We also recommend letting the water run even a few seconds after you have switched it off to help food pass through the pipes.

What is safe to put down my garbage disposal?

Make sure that you only put non-fiberous foods down the garbage disposal. Meat, eggs, eggshells, apples, citric fruit peelings, coffee grounds, etc. are safe for most garbage disposals. Avoid placing fiberous foods (celery, asparagus) pastas, potato peels, and any non food items in your disposal.

Why isn't my garbage disposal working?

Garbage disposals are a necessity these days, and when they aren't working properly, it can be a large inconvenience. If your garbage disposal isn't working properly, it could be a couple of minor things. If it is not making any noise when the switch is flipped try and hit the reset button. It is normally located under the body of the disposal. If the disposal is making noise when the flip is switched, but nothing is happening, it could be jammed. You can first try inserting an Allen wrench in the bottom of the disposer, and “crank” it to get it free. If this does not work, then do not use the disposal. It could cause damage to the motor inside the disposer. Best Plumbing can usually fix a jammed up disposal. If we cannot repair it, then the unit will probably need to be replaced. Our licensed plumbers can give you the BEST advice and service.

Sump Pumps & Drains

If I have a clogged drain, do I have to call one of those national rooter chains?

No. We would recommend that you call a qualified, trained and certified plumber. Why? The water pipes inside and outside your home can be very delicate. In an older home, pipes wear thin from the inside out making them appear sound but in fact are very brittle. Best Plumbing consists of licensed plumbers only. If you have an unqualified and unskilled rooter company address your problem, potentially extensive damage could occur to your pipes and your home.

The highly trained and certified plumbers at Best Plumbing will take the time to properly diagnose the problem and utilize the right tools and techniques to solve the problem. Should there be unforeseen problems or issues after we begin the job, our expert plumbers will immediately take action.

What is the most common reason for sump pump failure?

The leading cause for a sump pump to fail is a switching problem. Sometimes the pump can move inside the basin. This movement causes the float that operates the switch to lodge against its side. Debris can also be a factor by interfering with the action of the pump switch. It is important to make sure that your pump switch and float arm assembly move freely.

Another thing to remember is that sump pumps do not last forever, even when unused. Internal parts wear out and they will eventually stop working! Best Plumbing can test, maintain or replace any brand of sump pump. For flood prone areas and homes that get water seeping in on a regular basis you may want to consider a sump pump back up system. There are even non-electric systems that work in the case of a power failure.

Toilets, Showers & Tubs

Do I need a pressure balanced shower valve?

Best Plumbing recommends pressure balanced shower valves in households with multiple bathrooms and people for many reasons. Have you ever taken a shower in a house or motel and suddenly the water becomes freezing cold or burning hot? Or, perhaps the water temperature drastically changes when the toilet is flushed or a faucet is turned on?

A pressure balanced shower valve will take care of that issue by regulating the water temperature of the shower. So, there are no issues if someone else in the building is using water elsewhere.

How do I know if my toilet is leaking?

A leaking toilet can go unnoticed for a long time. Aside from an expensive water bill, there are other signs that your toilet might be leaking or is in need of repair:

  • Water continues to run from the tank into the toilet bowl after it has been flushed. You might also notice a little trickle down the toilet bowl sides.
  • The handle is loose.
  • After flushing the toilet the tank won’t refill with water, and you cannot flush again.
  • You have jiggle the toilet handle to make the toilet stop flushing or running.
  • You have to hold down the toilet handle while flushing in order for the flushing process to be completed.
  • There are water spots or mold along the wall behind the tank.
  • Your toilet runs on without your flushing it (also known as phantom flushing).
  • A toilet that is not being used should be silent. Any noise coming from it could indicate a problem or a leak.
I am losing water pressure in my shower - what could be the problem?

One of the most common reasons for loss of water pressure in the shower is a shower head plugged with water deposits such as rust and dirt from your pipes. You can try to remove the shower head from the pipe coming out of the wall and check it for deposits. We recommend that you clean the shower head gently with an old toothbrush and rinse it to remove all the dirt. Also run the shower without the shower head on to possibly remove any leftover dirt in the pipes to prevent the shower head from plugging up again.

If this process does not help with the water pressure, you will want to call Best Plumbing. It could be a problem with either your shower valve or a shower valve cartridge that needs to be replaced.

Please note, if water pressure seems low in several areas in your house, there could be a more serious problem. Homes older than 40 years old usually have galvanized pipes throughout the house, which tend to deteriorate and cause rust build up inside the pipes. That will slow down the water flow through the pipes.

Valves & Water Pressure

Do you know how to shut off a valve in an emergency?

Make sure you know exactly where the valves in your home are located, especially your gas valves. If you don’t know, you should have a plumber show you.

What causes low water pressure, and what can I do about it?

There are multiple causes for low water pressure: a partially-closed or malfunctioning shut off valve, a crimped water line, or deposits that gather in older galvanized pipes. If your neighbors have strong water pressure, then the problem is most likely between the water meter and your home.

Water Heaters

How do I maintain my water heater?

One of the best things you can do to help maintain your water heater is to drain it periodically. Draining the water heater will clean the bottom of the water heater tank from harmful build ups, which can cause the tank to overheat and shorten its life.

How long does a water heater last?

Water heaters last anywhere between 5-12 years, depending on the model/brand and maintenance of the water heater.

A 5-year model will last anywhere from 5-7 years. A 10-year model can last up to 12 years. Your water heater will last longer if your home has good water quality, and if the unit is installed properly.

Best Plumbing recommends that you check your water heater on a regular basis for any rust or corrosions around the valves and pipe connections. That will give you a good idea about the condition your water heater is in.

My water heater sounds like a bubbling hot tub - is there something wrong with it?

The sound of bubbles rising up from the bottom of the tank could be a warning sign that it might be time to replace your water heater soon. When you hear this sound, the water heater bottom is covered with sediments and is overheating: when water starts to boil, the bubbles rise to the top. At this point you should try to carefully drain the water heater and see if this solves the problem. Or, call Best Plumbing Service in Cincinnati for an assessment.