The Waterworks

The Waterworks: (614) 25-DRAIN

Got a question? We’ve got the answer.

The following questions are the ones we get asked most frequently about our company and about plumbing, drain and sewer issues in the home or business. If your question is not listed here, simply ask our technicians, and we’ll be happy to give you custom, expert advise in 24 hours or less. Or give us a call right away—we may be able to solve your problem over the phone.

About The Waterworks

Q. How quick are your response times?

A. The Waterworks provides around-the-clock emergency service to customers 365 days a year. When you call us at 614-25DRAIN, you’ll get an immediate, live response. When you schedule online, we’ll confirm your appointment within 24 hours or less. Our operators have state-of-the-art computerized dispatch hardware and software at their fingertips to help measure the priority status of your call and to provide you with an accurate timeframe for service.

Q. Which areas do you serve?

A. The Waterworks serves Central Ohio including Franklin, Delaware, Fairfield, Licking, Madison, Pickaway and Union counties.

Your Pipes

Q. What should I do about a leaking pipe?

A. Turn off the isolation or shut-off valve to the main source of water. Most sinks, toilets and even appliances like washing machines and refrigerators have individual shut-off valves. This will isolate the problem and minimize the inconvenience to the home or business. Once a pipe leaks, however, it most likely needs to be replaced.

Q. What if a pipe freezes?

A. Frozen pipes are typically a matter of heating and insulation. If a frozen pipe is in a wall, you can take steps to warm up the area around the pipe – but using a space heater is dangerous. Use it only if you are present to ensure no damage is done to the wall or carpet. DO NOT use a kerosene heater. If a pipe freezes once, it will most likely freeze again. Property damages due to frozen pipes typically exceed the plumbing expense to fix the pipe. If you suspect that your pipes are frozen, call a professional immediately.

Q. Do I need to remove outdoor hoses during the winter?

A. Remove all hoses from outdoor bibs (or spigots) before winter’s first freeze. If the hose is left attached and the water freezes in it, that frozen water will back up into the spigot and into the house, creating the possibility that a pipe will burst inside your home.

Q. Should I use acids or chemicals to clear clogged pipes?

A. DO NOT use acids or chemicals as they are dangerous for the pipes. They do not break through or dissolve clogs. Instead, acids cause the pipe to heat up and expand to clear a clog. Repeated use of such chemicals can lead to a ruptured pipe.

Your Drains

Q. What should I do if I smell an odor coming from one of my drains?

A. A drain that emits an odor is a sign that a clog is about to occur. And that clog is usually right below the drain, stopper or pop-up assembly. Regular cleaning of the drain will prevent clogs.

Q. Is a total home drain inspection necessary?

A. Preventive maintenance allows you to identify potential problems before they become expensive emergencies. The Waterworks can perform a total home drain inspection to ensure the integrity of your home drain system.

Your Hot Water Tank

Q. What can I do to prevent sediment build-up in my hot water tank?

A. A hot water tank has a normal life expectancy of 8 to 12 years. During that time, sediment build-up – especially in areas that have hard water – will take place at the bottom of the tank. The amount of sediment can reduce the amount of hot water the tank produces. Once a year, drain 5 to 10 gallons of your hot water tank to clear sediment build-up in the bottom of the tank.

Q. What should I do about low water pressure?

A. If your entire home or business is experiencing low water pressure, the problem could be in the main water line. Check for standing water in your front yard, which would could signify a main water line break. If a single fixture – a shower or sink – has low water pressure, you should inspect the shower head or faucet aerator to make sure there are no clogs or sediment build-up. If you are experiencing low water pressure during the winter months, your pipes could be frozen.

Q. At what temperature should my hot water tank be set?

A. For your safety most hot water tanks are preset to 125 degrees. DO NOT change the temperature setting on your hot water tank. The risk of scalding or burns increases dramatically if the temperature on the tank is set above 125 degrees.

Q. Why is the relief valve on my hot water tank discharging?

A. If the relief valve is discharging, the water temperature and/or pressure may be too high. The relief valve is a safety mechanism; DO NOT cap it!

Q. What should I do if the pilot light on my hot water tank goes out?

A. Some hot water tanks today have an automatic pilot light that turns on when the water in the tank needs to be heated. Most heaters still have a traditional pilot light. If the pilot light is out, your hot water heater requires professional attention.

Your Toilets

Q. Why is my toilet constantly running?

A. If your toilet runs or makes any kind of noise except when it is flushed, you may have a problem with the flapper or fill valve. Even a small leak can cause a substantial increase in your water bill. You can test a leaking toilet by dropping a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the water in your toilet bowls turns color, you are losing water down the drain.

Q. Why is my toilet flushing slowly?

A. If a toilet is slow to flush or it takes more than one flush, it may not be clearing properly. You may need to adjust the water level in your tank. Avoid flushing large amounts of toilet paper, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, or wipes down the toilet as these items can cause the sewer line to back up. Use a plunger to eliminate any clogs.

Your Garbage Disposal

Q. How can I fix a jammed garbage disposal?

A. Turn off the disposal immediately so the motor does not burn out. Shine a flashlight down the disposal to check for any visible jams. With the power turned off, pull out any visible obstructions. There are two quick solutions to fixing a jam. First, try pushing the red re-set button underneath the disposal. Second, unlock the blades by using the wrench that came with your disposal to turn the bolt on the underside of the disposal.

Q. What should I do about a leaking garbage disposal?

A. If your garbage disposal leaks, that generally means it will need to be replaced.

Q. Which food items should never put down a garbage disposal?

A. Grease and starchy foods (potato peels, rice, beans, etc.) can swell and overload the pipes by preventing other waste from going through the disposal.

Q. What should I do if I smell an odor coming from my garbage disposal?

A. Try putting ice cubes in the disposal to dislodge any food that may be stuck in the impeller blades. DO NOT use acids or chemicals on your pipes.

Q. Should I use hot or cold water when running my garbage disposal?

A. Run your disposal as you add waste to it. Always use cold water and allow the water to run for at least 30 seconds during and after running the disposal. Do not let your sink fill up with water before you turn your disposal on!

Your Sump Pump & Downspout Line

Q. When is it necessary to perform tests on my sump pump?

A. Sump pumps discharge water up and out to the underground pipes leading to the street or culvert. So it’s important that those lines be cleaned, especially in the in the spring and fall to make sure they are clear for the sump pump to work at its best. Ask The Waterworks to test your sump pump each spring and fall.

Q. How do I know if I need a battery back-up for my sump pump?

A. If you have a finished basement, invest in a battery back-up for your sump pump.

Q. How do I know if I have a clogged downspout line?

A. If you notice water leaking through your basement walls, you may have a clogged downspout line that is preventing water flow from your house to the street.

Q. How often should I have my downspout line cleaned?

A. Cleaning the underground portion of the downspout is important to the performance of the sump pump, which must pump the water around the foundation of your home up and out through the downspout. It is especially important to clean the downspout in the spring and fall to make sure it is clear from any debris.

Q. What can I do to prevent downspout line clogs?

A. Clean out the gutters in the spring and the fall to help prevent clogs.

Your Heating & Cooling Systems

Q. How often should I have my heating and cooling systems inspected?

A. It is recommended that you have your heating and cooling system inspected twice per year – once in the spring prior to the cooling season and once in the fall prior to the heating season. Comfortworks offers a 12-point checklist that explains the inspection process. Most manufacturer warranties require that you have your system inspected twice a year to maintain coverage.

Q. How often should I change the filter in my heating and cooling systems?

A. Changing the furnace filter is essential – it helps the system run better, reduces allergic reactions, saves money on your energy bills and can be a simple solution to a poor performing system. Comfortworks recommends you change the filter four times per year. If you have pet(s) in the home, you have more animal hair and dander getting into the filter. Change the filter six times per year and be sure to inspect the filter frequently.

Your Gas, Water & Sewer Lines

Q. How do I know if I’m experiencing a main water line break?

A. If you notice water emerging in your yard, you are most likely experiencing a main water line break. As the homeowner, you are responsible for any water line repairs in the area between your home and the curb; the municipality is only responsible for repairs beyond the curb.

Q. How do I know if I’m experiencing a gas leak?

A. Natural gas is odorless but it has a sulfur smell added to it to detect leaks. Call Columbia Gas or The Waterworks immediately if you smell gas in your home. You may consider leaving your home if the gas smell is overwhelming.

Q. How often should I have my sewer line cleaned?

A. The Waterworks recommends having the sewer line cleaned on an annual basis – especially in older neighborhoods. It should be done every other year to make sure tree roots haven’t cracked into the line and that there are no other obstructions. This kind of prevention is far less expensive than having your yard, the street or sidewalk dug up to replace or repair a sewer line.

Your Lawn Irrigation System

Q. What is a backflow device?

A. If you have an underground irrigation system, you were required to install a backflow device. This device ensures contaminated water will never enter your home. Backflow devices MUST be inspected annually to ensure proper operation.

Q. What are deduct valves?

A. Some areas permit you to install deduct valves on your sprinkler systems. The deduct valve monitors the amount of water you use for lawn care. This will allow the sewer company to separate your lawn care and in-home water usage, which could save you hundreds of dollars on your sewer bills annually. For more information, inquire with your local municipality about the prevailing regulations on deduct valves and backflow preventers. Call a professional irrigation company to perform spring start-up and fall shut-down procedures on your sprinkler system.

Your Water

Q. What are the benefits to installing a reverse osmosis systems in my home?

A. The Waterworks staff can perform a thorough water analysis upon request. A reverse osmosis treatment system in your home will provide you with numerous benefits including, but not limited to: better tasting water, purified cooking water, clear ice cubes, and the removal of hazardous or unhealthy products.

Q. What are the benefits to installing a water softening system in my home?

A. We live in an area with hard water – that’s a fact. A water softening system will reduce scale build up in your water heater, help you to save money on soaps and detergents, make your clothes brighter and softer, and provide less spotting on shower doors and dishes.

Energy Saving Tips

Q. What are some simple energy-saving tips I can use at home?

A. You can save 3% to 5% on your energy bills by decreasing (winter) and increasing (summer) your thermostat setting by a few degrees. Maintaining a set temperature also helps conserve energy.

Use the programmable feature on your thermostat to regulate the air conditioning or furnace based on your usage. Avoid adjusting the temperature up or down by more than two degrees when you leave or return to the home or office.

Keep fireplace dampers tightly closed during the winter until you are ready to light a fire. An open damper can let as much as 8% of your heat escape out the chimney.

Energy efficient windows can result in cost savings of as much as 15% a year.

During the summer months use ceiling fans to circulate air through the house.

Consider purchasing an energy-efficient fixtures and appliances.

Water Saving Tips

Q. What are some simple water-saving tips I can use at home?

A. Faucets and showerheads all have regulating mechanisms built into them to prevent an unnecessary amount of water use; thus, saving you money. You can save more money on your water bills by alleviating all dripping faucets and running toilets.

Consider changing your water-usage habits to eliminate extra expense and wasted energy. You may consider taking shorter showers and turning off the water when lathering up. Don’t let the water run continuously when you’re brushing your teeth, shaving, or doing dishes.

Avoid using the toilet as a trash can; every toilet flush you eliminate can save between 1.5 and 7 gallons of water per flush.

Set your washer’s load size to the exact size of the load and try to wash only full loads. You can also save energy by using cold water. When purchasing a new washer, look for one that conserves water and energy and has a suds saver attachment.

Be mindful of the dishes you use while cooking and let pots and pans soak before scrubbing to reduce dish washing time.

Shut of your main water valve and turn your hot water tank temperature down to the “vacation” setting before you leave the house for an extended period of time.

Extended Warranties & Documenting Serial Numbers

Q. What are the benefits to purchasing extended warranties?

A. You may consider purchasing an extended warranty on big ticket items such as furnaces, hot water tanks, air conditioners, sump pumps and water softening systems. An extended warranty can save you a great deal of money if you should need to repair the appliance after the manufacturer warranty expires or during the manufacturer warranty period as many manufacturer warranties do not include labor. The Waterworks offers extended warranties on all of the items mentioned above and its warranties include any necessary labor and most materials.

Q. Why should I document serial numbers for my fixtures and appliances?

A. A lot can be learned about a furnace, hot water tank, air conditioner, water softening system from their serial numbers. Documenting these numbers and providing them to a technician before a service call can ensure that the technician is carrying the necessary parts for a repair.

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