Your Licensed Neighborhood Plumber
FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers from Our Licensed Rochester Plumbers

With over a decade of experience, our team at Pride Plumbing of Rochester has an abundance of knowledge and expertise to help you better understand your home’s plumbing system. Whether you want to learn more about water heaters, or you don’t quite understand how a valve works, we’ve got answers to commonly asked questions.

For more information, or to schedule service today, call us at (585) 332-4550 or send us a message online.

Water Heaters

What is the difference between a traditional tank, a tankless water heater, and a hybrid water heater?

A traditional tank water heater stores water in a large tank and then heats it. Every time you use a house utility involving water, you are using pre-heated water from the tank. Your water source will refill the tank as hot water is used and the cycle will continue.

A tankless water heater is also known as an on-demand or instant water heater. Rather than pre-heating and storing water, it heats water as it flows through the unit.

A hybrid water heater, also known as a heat pump water heater, is essentially a combination of a traditional and tankless unit. It has a traditional storage tank, but it requires a heat pump, which is a device that moves heat from one area to the other, to heat the water.

What impact does the size of the water heater tank have on my hot water?

To get an accurate answer, you would have to calculate how much hot water you use, decide what fuel source you need, think about the number of people in your household, and determine how much hot water each person uses.

For a loose estimate, we would recommend getting:

  • A 30-40 gallon water heater for 1-2 people
  • A 40-50 gallon water heater for 2-3 people
  • A 50-60 gallon water heater for 3-4 people
  • A 60-80 gallon water heater for 5 or more people

What is better— a gas or electric water heater?

It depends! Sometimes, people do not have a choice between which type of fuel to use due to not having both gas and electricity to choose from. Both of them have pros and cons, but here are short descriptions of each type of unit. Contact us; we can fully explain your options and recommend the best water heater for you and your home.

Gas Water Heater

Gas units are designed to burn natural gas or propane and most manufacturers offer a natural gas model and a propane model. Gas water heaters could be beneficial for large families with high hot water needs. However, these units are higher maintenance and less energy efficient.

Electric Water Heater

Electrical water heaters are easier to troubleshoot and are extremely energy efficient. Currently, gas prices are lower than electricity prices, but electricity prices tend to fluctuate less than gas prices.

Which brands does Pride Plumbing of Rochester carry?

We only carry high-efficiency water heaters. Below are the specific types and brands that we carry.

Traditional Tank:
  • AO Smith: These water heaters are designed to be eco-friendly, reduce energy consumption, and lower carbon emissions.
  • State: These water heaters are designed to be durable and rugged while being energy-efficient.
Tankless:
  • Navien: These tankless water heaters are Energy Star rated and have a very small carbon footprint, which saves energy and money in the long run.
Hybrid:
  • HTP: This brand’s heat pump water heater has an energy factor that’s more than two times better than a standard electric water heater. This increases efficiency and saves money.

What is a T&P valve and why is it important?

The T&P (Temperature & Pressure) relief valve protects your water heater from excess pressure and ultimately catastrophic failure. If your T&P valve is damaged, plugged, or blocked, it can result in this happening. A licensed professional should inspect the T&P relief valve at least every five years to ensure there’s no damage caused by corrosive water, mineral deposits, or other problems.

How often does my water heater need to be replaced?

We recommend replacing your water heater every 10 years. Waiting too long to replace your water heater can result in costly damage to your home.

Signs that it is time to replace your standard water heater include:

  • It runs out of water quickly
  • The tank is rusty
  • There is water around the tank
  • The tank is rumbling and noisy

Your tankless water heater can last 20-25 years with routine care and maintenance.

Bathroom Fixtures

What type of advanced features do some toilets include?

Certain toilets can include:

  • Comfort stool height: For individuals with mobility issues, these toilets make it easier to sit down and stand back up.
  • Dual-flush action: Have you ever seen those toilets with two buttons on the tank? These toilets have dual-flush action, which gives you the option for a full flush (recommended for solid waste) or a lighter flush (recommended for liquid waste). By using the lighter flush, you will be more efficient and save money.
  • Heated seats: Many toilets come with heated seats, and who wouldn’t want that?
  • Integrated bidets: Bidets are excellent personal hygiene tools and some even come with their own remote control. There are bidet seats that can be attached to almost any toilet.
  • Motion-activated seats: Do you keep getting in trouble for leaving the toilet seat up? Well, with motion-activated seats, you won’t get in trouble anymore! There are sensors that raise the lid as you approach it and when the toilet is unoccupied, both the seat and lid automatically lower.
  • Automatic deodorizer: Automatic air fresheners can be built into some toilets or added to an existing toilet.
  • Built-in night lights: Do you sometimes have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night but you don’t want to turn all of the lights on? With the built-in night lights on the toilet bowl, you won’t need to turn on any lights!

At Pride Plumbing of Rochester, we have comfort height bowls on hand. If you want any other toilets with other advanced features, we can special order just about anything for you!

How many years is a toilet good for? What’s the average lifespan of a toilet?

Toilet bowls themselves generally only need to be replaced if they are cracked, although different parts within the toilet may need to be replaced more frequently.

These parts include:

  • The toilet handle: There is no specific lifespan for your toilet handle, but it should be replaced if you have to jiggle it to stop it from running, your toilet won’t fully flush unless you hold it down, or your water continues to run without you flushing.
  • Flappers, trip levers, fill valves, and plumbing connections: These all have a similar lifespan of about four or five years.
  • Wax seals: These tend to last around 20-30 years.

What are some advantages of modern-day faucets?

First, they save water! Modern-day faucets compared to older style faucets have improved water efficiency. If you have a leaking or dripping faucet, it can waste between 300 ml to 1 liter per hour!

They also cause fewer germs. If you invest in a touchless faucet, sensor activation will keep your faucet clean while also reducing water use and cost.

Newer faucets also allow for better controls so you won’t have to constantly move the hot and cold handles and waste water while trying to get the perfect temperature.

Gas Lines

How do I know if my piping is installed properly and according to code?

Give us a call at (585) 332-4550 or schedule an appointment online. Our technicians will do a whole home inspection and make sure everything is looking good and meets local codes.

What are the common causes of a gas explosion?

The common causes include:

  • Improper use of a gas furnace, stove, or appliance
  • Old, worn-out, rusty gas lines
  • Defective gas equipment
  • Violation of codes and standards
  • Accidentally digging into a gas line

Where is the shut off for my main gas supply located?

Gas valves can vary in location depending on the age of your house.

You could have a street-side valve which is located right before the gas meter.

A house-side valve could be located on the inside of your house where the pipe enters it.

If you have a newer home, you may have a high-pressure gas system. If this is the case, your main shut off valve is likely located near your water heater or furnace.

Drains & Sewers

I’ve heard a lot of people use Drano. Is that a safe drain cleaner to use?

No! Drano damages plumbing systems. Using it in a toilet can crack the bowl. PVC pipes can soften and may break. Drano can also damage old, corroded pipes and can eat away at the glue holding pipes together.

Drano is also not safe for you to use because it can burn your skin, irritate your eyes, and hurt your lungs. If combined with other products or equipment, it could create toxic fumes.

Instead of Drano, our Rochester plumbers use Bio-Ross drain cleaner, a completely safe drain cleaning solution.

What are the benefits of having a sewer cleanout?

As our drains and sewers page states, if you have a sewer cleanout installed, you will not have to take responsibility for the pipes between the cleanout and the main sewer line which will save you a lot of money if there is ever a problem with your sewer line. The municipal authority will take care of it for you.

Having a sewer cleanout helps facilitate the inspection process of any clogged or broken pipes. It gives visual access for video inspections as well as an above-ground point for snaking or flushing clogged pipes.

Shower Valves

Do I really need an anti-scald valve? Do that many injuries actually happen?

Yes! Hot water scalds account for 20% of burns and more than 2,000 American children are treated each year for scalds. Anti-scaled valves are so important that most U.S. states mandate some form of them in building codes.

What type of anti-scald valve should I get? A thermostatic mixing valve or a pressure-balance valve?

It depends on your preference and budget.

Below are some pros and cons of each valve:

  • Thermostatic mixing valve:
    • Pros: A maximum output temperature is set on the valve, so if you want your hot shower to be exactly 100 degrees every time, it has that temperature memory and will not go any higher than 100 degrees. Water conservation is easy because you can change the flow volume without affecting the temperature. This also means there is increase energy-efficiency. Your water heater can be set to 140 degrees, but you can still have absolute control over your shower.
    • Cons: They are more expensive and can only protect one fixture.
  • Pressure-balance valve:
    • Pros: They can have a lower initial cost, they provide scald protection, and they provide moderate comfort.
    • Cons: They have no temperature memory, you have to fiddle with knobs to achieve your desired temperature, and they have no additional scald protection.

Sump Pumps

What causes primary sump pumps to fail?

The most common reason for a sump pump to fail is a power outage, not a problem with the pump itself. Sometimes the pump fails even if the power stays on. Sump pumps that are cheaper tend to be too small to handle the flow from a major downpour or fast melting snow. Inexpensive pumps are also built with less durable materials, which means they are not very efficient. The pumps could run more often but burn out easily. Even if you have a great sump pump that works incredibly efficiently, if the power goes out, you could still need a backup sump pump to ensure your home is safe. Other reasons it could fail are due to the float switch being stuck or broken, a tripped circuit breaker, a blown fuse, or a clogged exit pipe.

Why should I get a backup sump pump?

As we just learned, there are many reasons that a primary sump pump could fail. Then what would happen? The area around your sump pump could collect water or you could end up having a full-on basement flood. A backup sump pump will also let your mind be at peace. Rochester and the surrounding areas get a lot of rain and snow. If the primary sump pump can’t handle it, your mind will be at ease knowing you have a backup in place. Backup sump pumps can save you the risk of your basement flooding, which would then prevent costly damages to your home and losses of personal belongings.

Which backup sump pump is better—battery or water-powered?

We know you only want the best for your home, and if your sump pump fails, you want an effective and efficient backup sump pump.

A battery backup sump pump is a simple device that removes water from your home to the outdoors. It is powered by a strong, long-life battery that can hold a charge for a long time. Battery backups can operate continuously for 4-5 hours or intermittently as long as a day. A basic battery sump pump will move in excess of 2,000 gallons of water waste per hour. Battery backup sump pumps work faster than a water-powered backup and remove more water per square inch.

Water-powered backup sump pumps do not need an external electric power source. They are powered by the municipal water supply. Since the water is constantly flowing, the pump will continue to operate during an extended power outage. However, a water-powered backup sump pump rarely operates, so it is off most of the time and uses no water or energy at all during its “time off.” Water-powered backup sump pumps are very efficient, but they are more expensive. They also use a considerable amount of potable water to move wastewater from the sump basin. Estimates range from half to three-quarters of a gallon of fresh water for every gallon of wastewater. For 800 gallons per hour, that is 600 gallons of fresh water being wasted.

Water-powered backup sump pumps may have some advantages, but the advantages of the battery backup outweigh them. At Pride Plumbing of Rochester, we encourage battery backup sump pumps.

Kitchen Plumbing

What could happen if I don’t get my plumbing pipes inspected before covering them with drywall or flooring?

Moisture and leaks are the most common plumbing issues that can happen if you do not get your pipes inspected before covering them with drywall or flooring, which would eventually create mildew. If you get drywall or flooring before getting your pipes inspected, water could leak, which would create more damage over time. Even the smallest leak can lead to massive water damage if given enough time. The problem with hidden leaks is that you most likely don’t know where the leak is until the damage is done. Make sure to call Pride Plumbing of Rochester at (585) 332-4550 or schedule an appointment online if you want to redo your kitchen but need an inspection first.

How do you maintain a garbage disposal?

We recommend using cold water. Using hot water won’t damage the parts, however cold water is better while running the disposal. If you use hot water, it will liquefy greases and fasts, and while they are in liquid form they will adhere to the blades and build up.

We also recommend using lots of water. After you hear the grinding of the motor soften, let the water continue for about 10-20 seconds. The running water will take any remaining items out of the disposal and will better flush the pipes.

Do not put hard or fibrous food down it. Disposals are for foods that grind up into pieces easily, which hard or fibrous foods do not. The reason we tell you to stay away from putting such things down the disposal is that they could wrap themselves around the blades and cause your disposal to jam.

Clean it regularly. Over time, it is common for sludge to build up within your disposal. Do not use harsh chemicals or cleaners with chemicals in them because they can damage the disposal. Instead, you can clean your disposal by putting baking soda down the drain and pouring vinegar on top of it.

Do not put your hands down the disposal. When food is removed, the release of tension can make the blades spring into action, which could cause an injury. If something is stuck and you cannot find a safe and harmless way to remove whatever is in your disposal, call Pride Plumbing of Rochester.

Water Filtration

What are some signs that my tap water might be contaminated?

  • Unusual taste: If your water has a fishy, oily, bitter, or metallic taste, it may be time for you to buy a filter.
  • Chlorine smell: If your water smells like a swimming pool, you may want to consider investing in a water filter. Chlorine is added to public water to remove bacteria, but it can make beverages unappetizing.
  • Sulfur smell: Sulfur is a naturally occurring mineral that smells like rotten eggs and is prevalent in some water systems but isn’t typically harmful. As with chlorine, the sulfur smell can be eliminated with a filter.
  • Lower than usual water pressure: If your kitchen faucet seems to be running slower than usual, you could have clogged pipes. This can happen when the pipes become corroded and then fill up with sediment and scale. If sediment is clogging your pipes, getting a water filter to avoid the remnants in your drinking water is a good idea.
  • Cloudy or foamy water: Many water systems do not filter out minerals from drinking water and these harmless compounds can give water a cloudy or foamy appearance. If this does not disappear after letting the water settle for a minute or so, it could be caused by bacteria. In this case, you should have your water tested and invest in a filter.
  • Dirt and sediment: If you run your faucet and see dirt or sediment coming out, it is time to install a filter.

What is the difference between a whole house water filtration system and an under-the-counter water filtration system?

The whole house water filtration system filters water for the entire home. If you do not have any special contamination issues, then a whole house carbon filtration system would be recommended for general multi-purpose whole house purification. This system could be used for the water in your bathroom, shower, cleaning, and gardening.

An under-the-counter water filtration system is also called a reverse osmosis or RO system. It is the most convenient and effective method for water filtration. RO systems are the same filtration used for bottled water and were first designed to desalinate seawater. They are placed underneath the sink and store purified water to be readily available at all times. This system filters up to 99% of all contaminants that are in water including nitrate, arsenic, chromium, fluoride, radon, and other contaminants that whole house filters cannot remove. This will leave you with the purest water quality possible. They are low maintenance systems that only require annual filter change and are designed to provide purified water for a lifetime. However, it is not practical to be using RO systems throughout the entire home because it would essentially be flushing bottled quality water down the drain. This is where a whole house filtration system can be used in combination to provide filtration for the entire home.

If you have a specific problem with your water—for example, there is orange or brown staining, which indicates there is iron in your water—the whole house water filtration and the RO system have two different jobs. An RO system could treat the iron staining issue but only at the point of use drinking faucet. Whole house systems are point of entry systems that are able to protect pipes and appliances to reduce the orange staining throughout the home.

Video Inspection

Where does the video inspection start?

It depends! If you have a leak in your basement, we will run a video camera through a pipe in your basement. If you have a leak in your kitchen, we will put the video camera through your kitchen drain. As the technician conducts the video inspection, he can see the footage in real-time, so the condition of your drains and pipes can be assessed immediately. The camera also has a transmitter which allows the technician to easily find the blockage point.

What is a storm drain and what is a sanitary drain?

A storm drain and a sanitary drain can be easily confused. However, the difference between the pipes is extremely important. If these drains are confused with one another, it can have damaging effects on the systems built within them as well as on the environment.

A storm drain is designed for carrying rainwater or melting snow. You can find these built into roadside curbs, alleys, or basement floors. They often carry this water through an underground system that ends up in nearby rivers or creeks. A storm sewer contains untreated water. This means that the water that flows into the gutter goes into a storm drain directly into a natural body of water, without anything being done to it.

Sanitary drains, or sanitary sewer systems, carry sewage from underground pipes to a wastewater treatment plant. These originate from bathrooms, sinks, kitchens, and other plumbing sources. Before the water is released from the source, such as rivers, it is treated at the wastewater treatment facility. There are standards and regulations mandated by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) to make sure that the water is safe enough to discharge after it is treated.

We need to keep hazardous material and debris out of the storm drain and it is essential to keep rainwater out of the sanitary drains. Motor oil, gasoline, paint, and cleaners can damage our environment and also be harmful to wildlife. Items like grass clippings, leaves, or garbage can clog up storm drains and potentially cause flooding. Avoid littering, repair vehicle leaks, recycle motor oil, properly dispose of hazardous waste, and never pour anything but water into a storm sewer drain. We all want to be happy and healthy individuals while also taking care of our environment!

What is a storm trap?

Storm traps are underground storm water detention systems that manage and control the volume and discharge of storm water runoff. They temporarily store runoff in large underground chambers. Storm traps will hold the water there before releasing it at a controlled rate to mitigate harmful effects such as erosion and flooding. Storm traps are efficient and effective in managing runoff, protecting waterways, and improving the use of your property.

Our Service Agreement

Why should I have a service agreement with Pride Plumbing of Rochester?

Our service agreement allows you to:

  • Have your entire plumbing system checked
  • Avoid unexpected plumbing emergencies
  • Be proactive with your plumbing
  • Get your peace of mind

Will having a service agreement save me money?

Yes! You will get 15% off (up to $125) for any service we perform.

Are there any other benefits to a service agreement?

Yes! You will also have priority scheduling and an extended warranty on interior drain cleaning (one year rather than one month). Additionally, your technician will tag emergency water and gas shut off valves so you and the plumber will have easy access and knowledge in case of emergency.

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