Plumbing Challenges Which Can Become Emergencies

When you hire a plumbing contractor for a plumbing challenge, rest assured that At Your Service Plumbing, will perform the job correctly and up to standard. We are committed to quality service.

There are many different types of challenges we face as a Tacoma area plumbing contractor, however 5 common ones which can cause the most inconvenience or property damage are clogged drains, toilets, water heaters, leaks, and faucets.



Foreign objects in the drain line:
  • While uncommon, the object can cause an obstruction and clog up your drain.
  • Flushing anything besides human waste and toilet paper many times causes the toilet to become clogged. Are flushable wipes really flushable? No! And we have seen them cause all kinds of trouble in homes. If they get outside your home they cause a lot of grief at the sewer treatment plants!
  • Putting too much food waste down your kitchen drain, even with a disposer, may cause the drain to clog.

Avoid putting the following items down your kitchen drains/garbage disposer:

  • Grease, cooking oil or fat – these can coat the pipes and create sludge. To dispose of, pour into a container, wait until it congeals and then throw it away in the trash. Do not dispose of in the toilet.
  • Poultry Skin
  • Fruit Peels and Rinds
  • Egg Shells – when egg shells are ground up, they become sand-like, which can clog your drains
  • Anything starchy, stringy or fibrous such as: rice or potato peels, celery, coffee grinds, corn husks, onion skins, asparagus, artichokes – these items can expand in the garbage disposal and wrap around the blades

Fats, oils and greases collect on the inside of your drain piping and then collect hair, skin, lint, dirt, and soaps/detergents which build up until it reduces the water flow to very slow or totally blocked!

Imagine if you have a tub in your home which was used every day by several people and you never cleaned it. After several weeks what would the tub look like? If you pictured a ring of scum with hair and dead skin stuck to it, you would be correct. This is exactly what happens to the inside of your drain lines.

Hopefully this leads you to ask “how do I clean the inside of my drain pipes?!” Doesn’t sound pleasant, does it? Actually we have a product which is environmentally safe, approved by the EPA and safe for your family and pets! When used monthly, at night before you go to bed, the micro-organisms will begin eating away at the fats, oils and greases and doubling in number as they do.



Toilets are Vital!


Sometimes we need to show our toilets a little love and appreciation because they are a huge component of getting rid of stuff none of us want to deal with! Why do you think we call it the throne?!

Clogs: As discussed under Clogged Drains nothing besides human waste and toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet, not kleenex and certainly not “flushable wipes!” Dental floss, hair, cotton swabs, any type of wipes, feminine products, kitty litter, paper towels and tissue should never be flushed down your toilets. Some of these items cannot get caught in the piping and then collect toilet paper and waste causing a clog. None of them will break down like toilet paper.


Constantly running: Many toilets have what is called a flapper which can wear out or become warped. When this occurs water will continuously escape into the bowl causing you to waste water. Beside the sound of it annoying you, the chlorine treatments, available mainly in tablet form, can cause damage to the flapper over time. There are products available which do not come in contact with the parts in the tank while helping to keep the bowl fresh. Call and ask about them!

What You Need to Know Before Changing a Toilet Flapper

How to Change a Toilet Flapper

Water showing up outside the toilet: Water can leak from between the tank and the bowl and around the base of the toilet. Between the tank and the bowl, it could mean the parts securing the two have worn out and need to be replaced.

The toilet is secured to the floor with a wax seal to be sure the water, when flushed, goes down the drain. Sometimes this seal can be broken. What might cause this?

  • If the floor becomes uneven for any reason or the toilet may have move when used and the seal was broken.
  • If you have a main drain line clog and water is backing up it will always go to the lowest point. If that point is a toilet it can break the seal as the back up puts pressure on it attempting to release itself somewhere.
  • If the toilet was not installed or secured properly and begins to rock or move when used, it can break the seal.


Water Heaters – No Cold Showers!

The two biggest challenges with water heaters is no hot water and leaks! To learn more about water heaters
in general click the button below however a couple of quick tips. . .

No hot water on an electric water heater check these two items:

  • Did the circuit breaker/s to the water heater get turned off?
  • Behind the upper thermostat panel you will find a red reset button which may have popped.

If either one of these challenges happened involuntarily then there could be another issue and it should be investigated by a plumbing contractor, certified plumber, and possibly an electrician.

No hot water on a gas water heater check these two items:

  • Did the thermostat get bumped and turned down?
  • Did the pilot light go out?

If the thermostat is turned down, the easy remedy is to turn it back to the standard spot which should yield 120 degree hot water and would meet state law. If the pilot light is out you might ask yourself why however watch this video to learn how to relight it. For More Information on Water Heaters, click here!


Water Causes Damages – Stop Leaks!

Do you see water showing up somewhere it is not supposed to? Is there a good reason to believe it is coming from your plumbing system? It is smart to determine this and stop the leak as soon as possible. Mold can form in wet environments in 24 to 48 hours.

If you can determine the leak is from a water line then watch this video to see how to shut down either the individual fixture or the whole house.

If you can see the leak is from a drain line then stop using that fixture until it can be repaired. What if you cannot see the leak because it is behind a wall? Click here to Meet Flo! This device can easily be installed by our professional plumbing contractors and will help you learn about leaks in a water line even when it is behind a wall!

Tip: You can sometimes determine if you have a leak in your water system by monitoring your water meter. Be sure no water is running in the home, including flushing a toilet, then check your meter to see if it is still moving. If so then water is passing through it and because nothing is being used it is leaking out somewhere!

Water travels the path of the least resistance so it could be showing up one place but originating from another place, several feet away. Besides the possibility of property damage and the formation of mold, leaks waste water!


Drip, drip, drip goes the faucet!

Facts about your faucets. . .
  • One of the most common challenges with faucets is not shutting off all the way and continuing to have an annoying drip. The constant dripping noise can interfere with sleep as well as cost you a lot of money over time!
  • Depending on the age and the manufacturer of your faucet will determine if it can have the parts inside replaced and increase the longevity of your faucet. Older faucets and off brands are sometimes not easy to find parts for however At Your Service Plumbing has many resources.
  • Faucet handles sometimes get stiff and sticky. If they can be taken apart, cleaned and lubed then this could remedy your challenge.
  • Many bathroom sink faucets have what is called a pop-up assembly which sometimes must be replaced in order to hold water and drain water effectively.
  • Tub and shower faucets must currently be “pressure balanced”. Many of the older two and three handles ones are not and you could experience a drastic fluctuation in water temperature when a toilet is flush or a dishwasher is operated.
  • The shower head and the tub spout is separate from the faucet so therefore can be replaced without having to do anything to a faucet which could be operating properly.
  • Kitchen faucet side sprays can typically be replaced separately from the faucet. A pullout or pulldown spout spray can sometimes also be replaced independent of the faucet body. And sometimes a leak at the kitchen sink is the faucet head to hose connection. Watch this video to learn how to check.
Pullout Kitchen Spray Challenges

Hope these facts have informed you a little about what to look for and what might be repairable. If you have any questions about the information contained in these top five challenges, please give us a call. Or if you know you need the assistance of a plumbing contractor or professional plumber then click this button and request service.

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