ABC Blog

My Hot Water Heater Is Not Working

a water heater that is not working

Have you ever been in the middle of a nice warm shower or finishing a load of dishes and had the water turn cold? The first thing that probably comes to mind at such a time is “Uh oh! The water heater!” What isn’t as immediately obvious is why the heater isn’t doing its job.

You don’t realize how important a water heater is until it stops working. So, it makes sense that you want to get it functioning again as soon as possible. As with many appliance issues, there isn’t just one reason your water heater would stop warming up the water.

Thermostat

This part isn’t usually a big problem, but you should consider it when you have no hot water in the house. An issue with the thermostat in a single-element unit will mean that your home isn’t getting any hot water. In a double-element unit, the upper thermostat will shut … Read Full Post »

How To Fix a Clogged Shower Drain

a shower head

Everyone has likely experienced a slightly clogged shower drain at least once in their lifetime. Often, the clog isn’t severe, and you can take care of it yourself with little fuss. Other times, you will need to contact a professional plumber.

Let’s look at the best ways you can clear a clogged drain yourself first. Your clog might be from debris such as hair, grease or soap, or it could be from a buildup of minerals in the drain, depending on how hard your water is. It could even result from little tree roots pushing through the pipes. Start with the easiest method to get things moving again and progress from there if you don’t have success.

Take Off the Drain Cover

The first thing you will want to do is remove your drain cover. Some drains have a pull-up stopper that can be easily removed so you can access the larger opening. … Read Full Post »

What Is a Water Softener Salt Bridge?

a water softener

Hard water contains high levels of dissolved minerals in the form of ions, most often magnesium and calcium. These hard water minerals seep into our water supplies from the ground, and that water leaves behind mineral deposits known as scaling.

If you find a stubborn, whitish build-up on your faucets, drains or other areas that come in contact with your water supply, like shower doors or toilets, it’s likely to be mineral scaling left behind by hard water.

To help prevent issues from these mineral deposits, many homeowners install water softeners or water conditioners to treat the incoming water and reduce the impact.

What is a Water Softener Salt Bridge?

A salt bridge is a hard, crusty layer of salt that forms in your brine tank. What makes this problematic is that it gives the appearance that the tank is still full when, in fact, you may be low or even completely out of … Read Full Post »

I Have a Slow Flushing Toilet: What Should I Do

a bathroom with a slow flushing toilet

Few things are as alarming to a homeowner as a slow flushing toilet. It certainly is not something you want to happen when guests are on the way! A slow-flushing toilet can be unpleasant to see and cause an unpleasant bathroom odor. Several things generally cause a toilet to flush slowly, and they are something you might or might not be able to handle on your own.

Lower Water Level in Tank

Your toilet’s tank needs to have just the right amount of water in the tank for it to flush correctly. Too little water in the tank means the toilet doesn’t have enough power to empty the bowl completely. If your toilet is only emptying part way or you notice that your toilet won’t flush at all, look in the tank. The water level inside should be about a half-inch below the toilet’s overflow pipe. It’s a quick and relatively simple … Read Full Post »

Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

a toilet leaking at the base

If you find water pooling on the floor around your toilet, you want it fixed as soon as possible. Any water leak is cause for concern. Water leaks can damage flooring, baseboards and cabinets and drive up utility bills. Fortunately, if you find your toilet leaking at base, it can be fixed relatively easily by a qualified plumber. This is also a job that capable DIY homeowners can often handle on their own.

If your toilet is leaking at the base, it’s important to make sure you know exactly where the water is coming from. Sometimes, you’ll see water on the floor around the toilet and assume it’s coming from the base. But really, it’s dripping down from the tank. It may also be coming from the water supply lines that run between the toilet and the wall.

One way to check that the water is actually leaking from the base of … Read Full Post »

My Garbage Disposal Is Spinning but Not Draining

a garbage disposal that is spinning but not draining

A garbage disposal is one of the most valuable conveniences in the modern kitchen. Mounted below the sink drain, the garbage disposal uses several blades that spin like propellers to grind solid food waste into bits. These small bits are washed away through a grey-water plumbing system.

The garbage disposal reduces waste odors and makes kitchen clean-up significantly quicker and easier.

Until it stops working, that is.

There are a number of reasons that a disposal might stop working. Luckily, most have simple fixes that a homeowner can troubleshoot themselves. More severe issues may require the help of a licensed professional, who can do so quickly and with minimal disturbance.

A garbage disposal that has stopped working will often prevent your sink from draining. And, unground matter in the unit can clog your system until it has been cleared.

Sometimes a garbage disposal will sound like it’s working properly (you can hear the blades spinning). … Read Full Post »

What Are the Benefits of Water Softeners?

a shower head

So what does “hard” water really mean? 

When rain falls, it is pure water. Once it seeps into the ground, it picks up minerals like calcium and magnesium. Water that has collected a large amount of such minerals is called “hard.” In fact, about 85 percent of water in the United States can be classified as hard water.

Is a water softener worth it? It’s important to first see if you are noticing the signs of hard water. Seeing stains on your sinks and tubs or on your kitchen utensils? It’s a good bet you have hard water. Seeing scale deposits on kitchen appliances and plumbing is another sign. Are you having to use more soap than usual? Hard water doesn’t lather well, so you have to use more. Hard water will also face your clothing and make your skin and hair feel dry after a shower. 

Water also has a continuum of … Read Full Post »

My Toilet Won’t Flush: What’s Going On?

a toilet that won't flush

Panic can quickly set in when your toilet won’t flush. What could have gone wrong and is there anything you can do to fix it?

Fortunately, there are some easy fixes for this problem. Unfortunately, others will require the help of a licensed plumber.

Let’s dive into these common issues and their fixes.

The Water Shut-off Valve Is Turned Off

In order for the toilet to flush, the water shut-off valve that feeds water into the tank of a toilet has to be on. Occasionally, something can hit the shut-off valve or it can get adjusted while cleaning. When this happens, the toilet only has one or two flushes before it runs out of water.

To check if this is your issue, look behind the base of the toilet. Your shut-off valve should be a few inches off the floor. Make sure the valve is turned all the way to the left. If it’s not, … Read Full Post »

Toilet Bubbles When Flushed: What’s Going On?

a toilet in a house

If your toilet starts making a gurgling noise, or there is bubbling when you flush it, you could be facing issues with your plumbing or septic system.

Slow draining, bubbling or gurgling toilets are common signs of a blockage somewhere in the pipes. These are warning signs of bigger, and even catastrophic plumbing issues down the road, as drainage is blocked and mounting pressure begins to damage your plumbing.

Toilet Clogs

The most common issue behind a noisy or bubbling toilet is a clog somewhere in the system. Waste or other non-flushable materials can get caught and continue to build up, restricting flow and leading to a backed up or overflowing toilet or even pipe damage.

Because of both the expenses and unsanitary conditions this can cause, possible toilet clogs should be dealt with at the first sign of trouble. A few bubbles may not seem like much at first, but they can be … Read Full Post »

What To Do When Your Main Drain Keeps Clogging

a kitchen with stainless steel appliances

When your toilet doesn’t flush well or your shower starts draining slowly, it can be more than an annoyance. All these situations can be a sign that you have a clog forming in your sewer or septic system. And if wastewater is backing up in your fixtures, it’s a sure sign that your main line is clogged.

What Is a Main Drain?

Your main drain is where all of your homes’ plumbing connects to either a city sewer or a septic system. Branch drains that connect to some of your fixtures, such as all the toilets in your home or the kitchen and bathroom sinks, all meet up at this main drain.

If the water is going down slowly in one sink or a toilet, you probably have a clog in a branch drain. But if you have water coming up in your bathtub, sinks and toilets or all your fixtures are draining … Read Full Post »