Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common plumbing issues homeowners face?

Homeowners most often face stoppages (clogs) in drains, leaking pipes, and hot water heaters failing. All three problems can be addressed by a licensed plumber. In Arizona, homeowners often also suffer from the effects of hard or bad tasting water, which can be addressed by the addition of water softeners and whole home filters.

How much does it cost to hire a plumber?

In the Phoenix area, hiring a licensed, bonded, and insured plumber will cost you somewhere around $250-$350 per hour. Most companies charge by task performed now rather than hourly (sort of like taking your car in for service), so the cost will depend on the time and difficulty of the work being done.

How do I know if I have a plumbing emergency?

The general rule of thumb is “if you see water where it shouldn’t be, call a plumber.” Even small leaks or backups can quickly turn into something more serious.

Can I attempt to fix a plumbing problem myself or should I always call a professional?

I’ll admit, even plumbers sometimes use YouTube now, so of course there are some DIY things. Regular cleaning of pop-up drains, replacing a flapper in a toilet, or even tightening a plastic pipe under a sink are pretty straightforward if you’re mechanically inclined. We typically recommend anything that deals with water supply, sewer, gas, or a piece of equipment that comes with a warranty to be addressed by a licensed plumber.

How can I prevent plumbing issues in my home?

The best ways to prevent issues are to make sure any installations and repairs are performed by a licensed plumber, have someone perform preventative maintenance or regular check-ups, and then use common sense. Be careful about what you put down drains, remember that “flushable wipes” aren’t really flushable, and be mindful if you’re doing any DIY that might come near plumbing systems. Systems are designed to be long lasting and resilient, so proper care and maintenance goes a long way.

How often should I have my plumbing system inspected?

Sign up for an annual maintenance plan offered by a local licensed plumbing and HVAC company that includes twice annual checkups of plumbing and HVAC systems. Getting an expert set of eyes helps catch things before they become emergencies and generally comes out to $25/month.

What is the average lifespan of plumbing pipes and fixtures?

For water supply, copper should last around 50-60 years, PEX might be a bit shorter at 30-50 years, and galvanized steel is around 25 years (and sometimes impossible to repair). On the drain side, cast iron will last you around 75 years and ABS or PVC will last at least that long.

How do I unclog a drain without using harsh chemicals?

Simple plungers and small cables (“snakes”) can work for easy stoppages or stoppages located near the drain. Plumbers have larger and longer cables, bio / enzymatic liquid drain solutions, and even hydrojet (like a pressure washer) that can clean the inside of pipes.

What should I do if my water heater stops working?

If you have an electric heater, you can check if the circuit was tripped but if it continues throwing the circuit you should call a plumber. For a gas heater, check to make sure the pilot light is lit. If the unit is getting power but still not heating water, a plumber can run a series of diagnostic checks to see if a component can be replaced or if the whole unit needs to be replaced.

How can I improve the water pressure in my home?

A plumber can check water pressure for you and adjust it if you have a pressure reducing valve that has been improperly adjusted. Although it’s never really an issue in the Phoenix area, there are pressure boosting systems that can be installed. Keep in mind, though, that often what people perceive as low pressure is actually just newer eco-friendly restrictions built into fixtures.

What is the best way to deal with frozen pipes?

The best thing to do is always leave your faucets dripping slowly (very slowly…even just a couple drips a minute) when the temperature gets really cold. If you do have a frozen pipe, you can slowly use a hair dryer to start from the faucet end of the pipe and work your way back while keeping the faucet open.

How do I find a reputable and reliable plumber in my area?

The best way to find a reputable plumber is to as friends, family, and neighbors for a reference. Online, you can check for someone who has good reviews
anything over 50 consistently good reviews is usually enough of a consensus. Finally, be sure to check their license number on your state’s Registrar of Contractors website to make sure their license is active and in good standing.

Can you explain the process of repairing or replacing a sewer line?

Usually, a plumber will uncover an issue using a camera and locating device. If a sewer line needs to be repaired or replaced, the plumber will either dig to expose the pipe then replace the damaged section, or they will use what’s called a trenchless option. Trenchless repair involves creating a new pipe inside the damaged one and is less invasive but more expensive and many plumbers do no not have the equipment for this option.

What are the benefits of installing a tankless water heater?

Tankless water heaters heat water on demand and often have a recirculation pump so they provide near-instant, unlimited hot water. There is typically a significant energy savings (up to 34%), a longer lifespan, less flood risk, and they take up less space.

How can I determine if I need to replace my old plumbing pipes?

Depending on the age of your home, you can start to think about good opportunities. Copper pipes last around 50 years, so if you’re remodeling and have the walls open or if you’re having multiple leaks springing up, you may want to take the opportunity to repipe. Sometimes, a water leak under a foundation may be so costly or invasive to repair that people also choose to repipe a home, often in PEX pipe instead of copper.

What should I do if I have a sewer backup in my basement?

Call a plumber who will ask if all of the toilets and drains in your house are backing up or if it’s just one location. They will come with the appropriate equipment to clear the pipes, either with a cable (“snake”) or a hydrojet machine, which is like a pressure washer for pipes. Either way, try not to use the drainage system in your house and steer clear of any potentially contaminated water. A plumber can put you in contact with a restoration company if necessary.

Can you provide tips for maintaining a garbage disposal?

Monthly maintenance can be performed by unplugging the disposal, pouring down a 50/50 mix of baking soda and vinegar, then putting the plug on. Wait a few minutes then rinse with hot water. You can also scrub the splash guard and inside the chamber while the disposal is still unplugged.

How often should I have my septic system pumped?

Like any other component of your plumbing and HVAC systems, have your septic system inspected at least annually to catch issues early. Pumping intervals vary based on the number of people living in the home and the size of the tank, but a good rule of thumb is every 3-5 years. Ask a licensed plumber for specifics about your home.

What are the different types of water softeners and their benefits?

Water softeners perform ion exchange and remove minerals like calcium that can cause buildup, leaving you with water that’s better for your skin as well as your plumbing. Water conditioners (salt-free) can improve the taste and smell of your water by removing chemicals and contaminants but they don’t actually soften your water they just make the calcium less adhesive. Types of water conditioning systems include reverse osmosis (RO), carbon filters, and UV sterilizers. A licensed plumber can discuss the pros and cons of each and help you create a system that meets your needs.