Do you have questions about plumbing or our services? We'd like to help! Check our Frequently Asked Questions for possible answers. If you can't find an answer here, please contact us for additional help or to schedule service.

Frequently asked questions

My plumbing is making strange noises. What could be the problem?

Noisy pipes can be annoying with all that banging, squeaking, and squealing. This noise could indicate a plumbing problem. A common banging sound occurs when water flow stops - making the pipe at the end rattle. This problem can be remedied by installing a hammer arrestor.

What temperature should my hot water be?

Water heaters pre-set the temperature of water heaters to 120 degrees - which is sufficient for most residential uses. You can adjust the temperature of your gas or electric water heater to meet your needs. NOTE: Be sure to turn off the electrical supply to the water heater before performing any maintenance. Contact Keith McDonald Plumbing for assistance with your water heater.

My water bill is through the roof! What could be the problem?

Surprisingly, a running toilet can cause an extreme loss of water. Check the water level in the toilet tank to see if it is perhaps overflowing the overflow pipe (in the middle of the tank). If so, adjust the fill valve to stop the flow at a point about one inch below the top of the pipe. Keith McDonald Plumbing can provide periodic maintenace to ensure proper operation.

Can roots get in my drain lines and if so, what problems can they cause?

Believe it or not, roots from shrubs and trees can penetrate and completely fill drain lines. Root masses become clogged with debris such as tissue and grease. When roots grow and expand, they can exert pressure on cracks and joints - often breaking or collapsing the pipe. Some pipe materials, such as clay, are more succeptible to damage than others. Keith McDonald Plumbing can camera your drain lines to examine what issues you may have.

My garbage disposal just plain stinks. What can I do?

When food builds up in the disposal, there may be a foul odor. You can get rid of these odors by first putting ice cubes and lemon peels in the disposal and running for about 30 seconds. While the disposal is still running, squirt a little dish detergent in the disposal and turn the water on. Let it run for about 30 more seconds. This should help with that stinky odor.

When I run my washing machine, my shower and toilet overflow. What would cause this?

More than likely your septic tank needs to be pumped. Other causes could be a sewer line break or a plug in the main drain line. A less common cause could be that the washer waste ties into the waste of another fixture too close downstream from the problem fixture. This causes the water to rush by the suds at a high rate, pushing ahead of the suds. This will result in the suds seekig the closest place of relief (toilet, etc.).

How can I prevent my well from freezing?

The first line of defense to protect your well from freezing would be to enclose the pump in a well insulated wellhouse with a built in source of heat such as a heat lamp. Routinely inspect the wellhouse for holes, leaks, etc. Make sure there is proper weather stripping and caulking and inspect the roof for leaks. Here are some other options:

  1. Turn on a faucet when temperatures drop. A dripping faucet is far less apt to freeze. Turn up the flow at the first sign of a slowing drip rate. Keep in mind, however, that this will cause your pump to kick on more often.
  2. Put an incandescent light bulb in the well house near the pump and leave it on during cold weather. Take care to assure that the light can’t get knocked over or set something on fire.
  3. Put heat tape on the pump and plumbing. Heat tape made specifically for this purpose is available at most hardware stores. Heat tape will be pretty reliable as long as the power stays on.
  4. Install a thermostatically controlled space heater set to 45-50 degrees.

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