Author Archives: James Armstrong Plumbing

How Do You Fix a Leaking Underground Pipe?

burst water pipe

How do you know if you have a water leak underground?

Plumbers are just as busy with water line repairs in the summer as they are in the winter some years, especially here in North Texas.  As the temperatures get hotter and the rain comes less, the grounds shift and that causes underground water pipe bursts. 

If you believe you may have an underground water leak, you can’t ignore it. Out of sight, out of mind isn’t a good theory because water leaks can do serious damage to your home. Water line repairs are costly and repair of the damage they leave behind is costly. How do you know if you have an underground water leak? Keep reading for things to look for: 

If you have any of the following inside your home, you could need underground water line repair: 

  • Water pressure has noticeable drop while using your plumbing appliances
  • You hear hissing, splashing sounds but there isn’t any water running
  • Dirty or rusty water is coming from the faucets
  • You notice mold and water-loving insects increase in and around your home
  • Moldy odors or sewage smell 
  • Water bill has increased steadily over the last billing cycles

If you any of the following outside your home, you could need underground water line repair: 

  • Puddles and wet spots in your lawn when no rain or sprinkler has been on
  • Sinkholes
  • Sewer smells
  • A super green lush spot in your lawn compared to the rest 
  • Breaking and cracking concrete or paved areas like the driveway, sidewalks
  • Flood around a sprinkler head 
  • Water bill has increased steadily over the last billing cycles

How do plumbers find leaks?

Plumbers and water line repair contractors have technology and water line repair tools available to them today with leak detection equipment. This technology allows them to accurately and quickly find where a waterline is leaking so they can get the water line repair done faster. Using acoustic ground microphones and listening discs, they can amplify a leaking sound that is normally a quiet leak. 

Another method plumbers have to find water leaks underground is by video. Technology has given them plumbing cameras that enables them to pinpoint the precise area that needs water line repair by viewing the leak on a monitor. With this technology they are able to perform water line repair without digging up your landscaping. 

What is the best pipe for water lines?

Today, building contractors and plumber are touting the use of PEX plumbing,  aka cross-linked polyethylene. It is an inexpensive but durable way to plumber and even better, it is a universally accepted material that is accepted by building codes and comes with a twenty-five year warranty. However, there are plumbers that will still swear by other plumbing pipes for install and water line repairs. 

For Longevity: Copper piping is still the premium choice without a question. It is hard to beat something that has been around over 80 years and is till going. Copper plumbing is safe for water consumption and copper is recyclable, but where it comes from is environmentally damaging.  Cost is high and still going up. 

Tricky Retrofit: PEX is flexible and can be snaked around corners or obstructions to get where it is needed. No soldering of joints is necessary because the fitting are all snapped on. PEX does contain a toxin that is found in gas, so environmentally speaking, not the best choice. Inexpensive and durable are on its side though. 

For A DIYer: CPVC is similar to PVC and safe for water consumption, with a 40 year history, it has proven to be perfect for the DIY homeowner. Manufacturing of this material is highly polluting, and it is not recyclable. Chemical solvents are used to join the sections, all of this making it non-enviro friendly. 

leaky pipe unearthed for repair

How deep is the main water line?

It can actually depend on the type of pip and where you live.  Plastic pipe is generally installed a minimum of eighteen inches deep under the soil surface. In northern climates, building codes require any water pipe to be buried four feet or deeper to pass code inspection.

As a homeowner, you want to spend as little as possible for repairs around your home. However, you also want it fixed right so that you don’t have to do this again anytime soon. Of course when you call a plumber, he inspects the problem and tells you what is needed, to repair a water line underground, your first question will be, “How much does it cost to fix an underground water leak?”

This is an area that can vary from region to region, but on the average, a water line repair underground can cost as little as $300 and has high as $1500 or more. Most plumbers will charge by the hour plus the parts. An average hourly rate can be between $70/per hour and up to $120/per hour. Call (214) 414-3705 today for your main water line repair in Mesquite, TX.

What is considered a plumbing fixture?

Sink plumbing fixture

What are examples of fixtures?

Plumbing has many components in a home or commercial structure, for example plumbing fixtures and plumbing fittings.  What’s the difference between a fixture and a fitting, or is there a difference?  Yes, there is a difference between plumbing fixtures and plumbing fittings, read on for clarification: 

Plumbing fixtures are things like the faucets in the kitchen or bathroom as is the showerhead. The plumbing fittings are what is needed to make the fixtures “fit” and connect where the fixtures are installed. Plumbing fittings, also referred to as adaptors are what connect your plumbing fixtures in house like the drains and pipes. 

Plumbing fixtures are important components of the plumbing system in your home, and for the most part, taken for granted. With plumbing fixtures, water would be spraying out in all directions from the plumbing pipes. Some plumbing fixture examples are: 

  • Bidet
  • Faucets
  • Shower
  • Showerhead
  • Sinks
  • Toilets
  • Tubs

Fixtures have a primary function to access water from the main water source for those plumbing components to work. Each plumbing fixture has a specific purpose and use, like the toilet is for disposing human waste and the tub, tub faucet, and showerhead deliver water for bathing.  The kitchen sink and faucet are where water is delivered for cooking meals and household cleaning.      

Is a shower a plumbing fixture?

Yes, one of the most common and used plumbing fixture is the shower. The shower has been a standard plumbing fixture since late in the 19th century and remained almost the same. It is a simple plumbing fixture with a shower head that streams cold and hot water out while you stand under it and bathe. They are in a stand-alone set up or they are part of a bathtub set up. 

While the basic shower has remained the same for the most part since the 19th century, there have been an expansion of types of the standard showers and their fixtures: 

  • Water shower: The common household shower used daily.
  • Electric shower: Akin to the water shower but operates from ‘on-demand’ water heating system.
  • Air shower: Operates by pressurized air stream that blows off excess dirt and dust and is used in a ‘clean room’ environment.
  • Steam shower: A expensive water shower version that humidifies steam in addition to spraying water. 
  • Bucket shower: An outside shower using only cold water while a person stands in a bucket and the plumbing fixtures are coming from another bucket.
  • Beach shower: A simple faucet with cold water streaming over anyone that desires to have sand and ocean water rinsed off. This type of shower is often found in public swimming pools too. 
plumbing fixtures along a blue background

What are the different water supply fixtures?

There are different types of water fixtures in your home. Each is exposed to water daily for long periods of time and because of this, they must be made of durable materials.  Water supply plumbing fixtures can be made of materials that erode, rust, or stain easily because of water usage.  The most common plumbing fixtures in a home are: 

  • Bathtubs
  • Bidet
  • Showers
  • Sinks
  • Toilets

Each of these take additional fixtures to get the water to them from plumbing fittings and pipes to faucets, handles, and shower heads. While toilets have been made of porcelain since the concept was invented, the other water supply plumbing fixtures now come in other materials in addition to porcelain, such as: 

  • Copper
  • Fiberglass
  • Glass
  • Marble
  • Plastic
  • Stainless steel

Things we use today have came from crude beginnings, like the bathtub. There wasn’t any question about plumbing fitting vs fixtures when bathing was done in creeks and rivers. Even after bathing was elevated to using a wooden barrel or a horse trough, plumbing fixtures and plumbing fittings weren’t any concern. 

The same can be said about sinks, we haven’t always had a choice between one large sink, a double sink setup, or a three sink setup in the kitchen with fancy plumbing fixtures. For many years, dishes were washed in metal tubs on a tabletop where a pump was located (sometimes) that pulled water from the well into the house. Kitchen counters didn’t even exist back in those days, and there certainly weren’t garbage disposals. 

Today, the newest trend is having the “old fashion” farm sink in the kitchen. One large sink with a bib comes down in the front of the counter. It may or may not have the rippled side wings for draining dishes, but one thing for certain, it will have modern plumbing fixtures like a spray nozzle and maybe a built-in soap dispenser. All of that will be connected and secured by proper plumbing fittings that have been designed for that sole purpose. Call (214) 414-3705 today for your plumbing fixture replacement needs in Mesquite, TX.

Can you patch a sewer line?

damaged sewer line

What are the signs of a broken sewer pipe?

It is aggravating when the city has to tear up the street for a sewer line repair isn’t it? Even more aggravating is when you have to hire a plumber for your own sewer line repair, especially when it is the sewer line to house from the city connection. 

There is a lot of pride in owning a home. There is also a lot of expenses and worries, like a broken sewer pipe. This is even worse than the water heater going out, but even with the cost of the HVAC system needing replacement. 

However, when a broken sewer pipe is detected early enough, sewer line repair is possible, and may not be as expensive as you imagine. Here we have listed ten indications that you may need to have a plumber check your sewer line. If you choose to ‘ignore’ these signs, you could experience a collapsed sanitary line, which will start pushing up wastewater into your house. 

  1. Strong odor: When you notice a strong and unusual odor coming up through the drains, it may be nothing more than a clogged pipe. However, if you’re smelling that odor in the basement, from under the house, or in the yard, that could be a broken sewer pipe. 
  2. Gurgling Toilet: After you flush your toilet, if you hear unusual gurgling coming from the toilet, this is often because of a broken sewer line. That sound is from trapped air that has been abruptly repaired. This is a job for a professional sewer line repair contractor. 
  3. Slow drains: An isolated clog isn’t that big of a problem, but if all of the drains in the house are draining really slow, it could be an indication that you need sewer line repair by a professional. There could be something clogging the space between the sewer line and main, like a tree root.
  4. Sewage backup: When your toilet or tub has wastewater backing up in them from a toilet flush or washing machine drain, it may be time to call a plumbing contractor for a sewer line repair. 
  5. Mold or mildew: When there are mildew and mold growing on the walls in the basement or behind the plumbing, this means there is extra moisture that is probably coming from a broken or cracked sewer line. 
  6. Cracking walls: If a wall has a crack, you need to find out why. If the sewer line under your home is leaking, then your foundation is cracking and getting weak. 
  7. Pest Invasion: Insects of all types and some critters can get through the smallest crack in a sewer line. Then they nest, clogging the line, and find their way into your home. When you start seeing a lot of insects or rodents in your home, even after a pest control treatment, call your plumber for an inspection to see if you need sewer line repair.  
  8. Greener patches: When you see oddly located patches of green grass, there is likely a broken sewage line in that area of the lawn fertilizing the grass.
  9. Lawn indentations: An underground leaking sewage continuously saturates the ground, oozing a lot of extra moisture that causes the soil to be displaced, the top layer sinking. When you see these spots around the lawn, you likely need sewer line repair. 
  10. Sewage pooling: Yup, this is a sign you need sewage line repair. 

What does a broken sewer line smell like?

Sewer gas is a lot like natural gas with a sulfuric odor, but it smells closer to rotten eggs where natural gas has been described as smelling like a skunk.  The ammonia, methane, sulfides, and other inorganic compounds get backed up, causing that odor. While it is unpleasant, it isn’t harmful. 

How long does it take to repair a sewer line?

There isn’t any specific time frame for sewer line repair jobs. Most can be completed in one to three days but depending on certain factors like where the pipe located, the size of the pipe, and the damage the contractor has to work with, it could take as long as five days. 

sewer line repair

How do you replace a sewer line without digging?

Technology has advanced plumbing a great deal over the past few years, and with trenchless sewer line repair method, the lawn excavation or jackhammering the foundation is almost unnecessary now because contactors can now replace sewer line without digging.

After the plumber has inspected the situation, attempted to clear clog with a  sewer line auger, they will do a video inspection. This allows them to see if there is an actual blockage, clog, or is there a busted sewer line. 

I have never given this much thought, but apparently, it has been asked before, “How long can a sewer line be?”  and the answer is about like I expected.  There isn’t a length limit for a sewer line run. However, the fall from the sewer line and mainline must be maintained by the property owner on one side of the meter and the city on their side. Call (214) 414-3705 today for your sewer line repair in Mesquite, TX.

Can a Toilet Fill Valve Be Repaired?

A Plumber Repairs a Toilet Tank.

Can a toilet fill valve be repaired?

One of the most common types of toilet repair consists of either replacing or adjusting the fill valve. Also known as the ballcock, the fill valve delivers water back into the tank for the next flush. They are typically fairly easy to repair.

Several types of fill valves exist:

  • Plunger ballcock: This is an older type with the float ball attached on one end of a long arm that’s connected to the fill valve. Usually a repair just requires a new rubber washer placed on the valve stem.
  • Diaphragm-style: Also has a float ball controlling a diaphragm seal that’s inside the plastic stem. People often replace worn diaphragm fill valves with float-cup valves.
  • Float-cup: These are the most common in newer toilets. It has a float cup that moves up and down to regulate the water levels in the tank. Typically repairs involve replacing the inner seal inside the fill valve.
  • Floatless: It sits at the bottom of the tank and a diaphragm senses the water level. Because these valves siphon water to the fresh water supply, they are often not allowed by building codes and need to be replaced.

Whenever you need toilet repair or any other plumbing fixture repair in Mesquite, TX, count on the professionals at James Armstrong Plumbing. Get fast, effective help by calling (214) 414-3705.

How do I know if my toilet fill valve is bad?

Usually, if your fill valve is worn or malfunctioning, your toilet will run continuously, although a continually running toilet could also indicate a bad flapper. Other signs your fill valve is bad and toilet repair is required include:

  • Toilet will not flush or the flush is weak: To confirm that the fill valve is causing the weak flush, bend the float arm upward. The float shut off might be set too low. If the fill valve is blocked or broken the toilet won’t flush.
  • Tank refill takes a long time: A blockage might be causing water to slow down when passing through the fill valve.

How long should a toilet fill valve last?

The fill valve typically lasts six to seven years. Harsh chemical cleaners, water quality, as well as heavy usage might affect the valve’s longevity.

Why do toilet flappers go bad?

Another common toilet repair is replacing or adjusting the flapper, which regulates water passage in the overflow pipe. If your toilet is continuously running it’s normally a problem with either the flapper or fill valve. Malfunctioning flappers are also the leading cause of toilet leaks.

Flappers can get waterlogged by taking on extra water through everyday use, which will prevent it from floating like it’s supposed to. This usually means you have to flush several times to make sure the toilet bowl is emptied and enough water is leaving the tank. If the flapper is ever exposed to hot or even warm water over an extended period, it can crack and deteriorate quickly and not drain correctly. Frequently using drop-in tablets to clean the tank will cause the flapper and other parts to deteriorate quicker than normal. Cleaners attached to the side of the bowl are much safer.

How often do toilet flappers need to be replaced?

In time your toilet flapper will need to be replaced because it will eventually deteriorate or become waterlogged. This is most often when leaks occur. To prevent this, replace the flapper every three to five years.

Can you repair toilet bowl?

Cracks in toilet bowls can create a complicated toilet repair in some cases, depending on where the crack is. If it’s below the water level and in the area that retains water you’re better off replacing the toilet. Cracks above the water level can sometimes be fixed. A hairline crack can be sealed using waterproof epoxy. You can also try sealing a crack below the waterline, but if the repair doesn’t stop the leak, the only option you’ll have is to replace the toilet.

Toilet repair or replacement

Many times a simple repair will be all that’s required for a toilet. This is usually the case if the toilet is constantly running or won’t flush, which often means you have a bad fill valve or flapper. These are common repairs that are only needed when the parts wear out, around three to seven years. Other problems like clogs, if they are infrequent, are usually easy to repair.

Cracks in the tank or toilet bowl are much more complicated, depending on the location of the crack. If you have cracks visible below the water level in the toilet bowl, the best option is to replace the toilet. If you are having to frequently unblock the toilet or you’re putting out money frequently on repairs year after year, then it’s probably time to replace the toilet. You can also save money on water bills by replacing older toilets with more efficient low-flow toilets.

Toilet repair basics

While plumbers like those at James Armstrong Plumbing always appreciate your business, there are some basic toilet repairs you can make that can save you money. One persistent complaint that occurs is that the toilet won’t stop running. While this could be caused by several things, more often than not, the problem can often be traced to the flapper. The flapper covers the overflow pipe and helps regulate water flow in the tank. The first thing to do is to check the flapper for its consistency. It should be relatively soft. If it has hardened, it will need to be replaced because it’s not creating a proper seal.

Sometimes the chain that connects to the flapper gets caught on another part. Make sure the chain isn’t caught on anything. If it is rusted, you can replace it. The flapper can also get pinched at the hinges, causing a jam and keeping it from sealing correctly. If the flapper has become dislodged it needs to be seated over the drain.

A Plumber Repairing a Toilet.

Toilet repair near me

Whenever you have problems with your toilet and need fast, effective toilet repair in Mesquite, TX, you can always rely on James Armstrong Plumbing. We offer a wide range of plumbing repairs. Get a prompt response to your service request by calling (214) 414-3705.

Do All Frozen Pipes Burst?

A Burst Frozen Pipe

Do all frozen pipes burst?

Winter is coming and when it does, it means your pipes are at risk of freezing. What’s worse, this also means many pipes are going to burst. Although not all frozen pipes will burst, it’s still a major concern when the temperature drops below 32 degrees. If your pipes aren’t thawed slowly, it’s possible they will burst. If the pipe ends up bursting, you want to slowly shut off the main water valve and then shut off all faucets. Follow up by opening up the lowest hot and cold faucet to drain the water so the pipe doesn’t spray water. Afterward, call a plumber. If you need frozen burst pipe repair in Mesquite, TX, this is an emergency plumbing repair and James Armstrong Plumbing is available 24/7 to help. We can be reached at (214) 414-3705.

Will frozen pipes thaw on their own?

When your pipes freeze, they will eventually thaw on their own. However, allowing pipes to thaw on their own is not a good idea. By the time they thaw, the damage to them is normally already done and frozen pipe repair will be required. To keep frozen pipes from bursting, you want to thaw them slowly.

Will pouring hot water down drain unfreeze pipes?

While pouring hot water over many frozen surfaces can cause serious problems, pouring it down a frozen drain is one form of frozen pipe repair that will unfreeze your drains. Other ways to unfreeze drains include: 

  • Heating the pipe: Use a hair dryer or space heater to heat the pipe. You can also wrap it with a damp towel or heating pad.
  • Adding salt: Pour table salt down the drain to melt the ice or you can even pour heated water with salt in it down the drain.
  • Calling a plumber: To ensure the best results, call professionals like those at James Armstrong Plumbing. Plumbers will have the right equipment to thaw the drain without damaging it.

Should you turn off water if pipes are frozen?

If you have frozen pipes, and one or more of the pipes have burst, it is a good idea to shut off the main water valve before calling a professional for frozen pipe repair. You might also consider shutting off the water if you are traveling out of town when a freeze is expected to prevent water from freezing in the pipes while you are gone. Of course, before a freeze, you should allow some water to trickle from faucets to keep the pipes warmer than outside temperatures. Before freezes, outdoor pipes and other exposed pipes should be insulated. 

How do you unfreeze PEX pipes?

Although PEX piping is designed specifically to withstand both hot and cold temperatures, it can freeze in extremely cold weather. You can thaw frozen PEX pipe in a similar way you would thaw other types of frozen pipe. To thaw PEX:

  • Look for any cracked lines. Frozen pipe repair will be necessary if cracks are present.
  • Shut off the water. In older homes you will need to shut off the main valve. In newer homes you can shut off intermediate valves to isolate the frozen pipes.
  • Open up faucets connected to frozen lines so the water can drain and lower pressure in the pipe.
  • Use a blow dryer to thaw the pipe. You can also wrap the pipe in towels or bath cloths and pour hot water over them to thaw the pipes without damaging them.

Freezing pipe to repair it

While having a frozen pipe can cause serious damage, some repair techniques plumbers use require them to freeze the pipe to make a repair. This type of frozen pipe repair involves using a special repair kit in which CO2 or a similar refrigerant is used to create a block of ice in the pipe to shut off the flow of water when no shut off is available or it’s impractical to use a shutoff valve. Once the ice shuts off the water flow, the repair can be made normally.

Is frozen pipe covered by insurance?

If you have a frozen pipe burst, the damage is usually covered if the damage was caused by a sudden and accidental discharge from the pipe. “Sudden and accidental” have to be part of the language of the policy, and the property owner must have taken proper steps to protect the property from damage. This usually means the property has to be heated or a certain temperature has to be maintained even if the property is vacant.

A Plumber Repairs a Burst Pipe.

Frozen pipe repair near me

If your pipes have burst after a freeze and you need frozen pipe repair in Mesquite, TX, you just need to turn to the professionals at James Armstrong Plumbing. We offer a wide range of plumbing repair solutions. To get help fast, all you need to do is call (214) 414-3705.

What is a slab leak symptoms of slab leak?

slab leak damage

How is a slab leak detected?

Many homes in this area are built on a slab foundation or a pier and beam. With the pier and beam, the house will have crawl space. If slab foundation, no crawl space or basement. So, with a slab foundation, this means the plumbing runs through the slab. If the plumbing busts within that slab, a slab leak can become a big issue, even a nightmare.    

Emergency plumbing service is expensive, and the panic of trying to find a contractor in an emergency is frustrating. The longer you let a leak go, the more chance of mildew and mold growth, so the sooner you notice a leak and have it taken care of, the better.    

There are a few common ways as a homeowner that will tell you if there is a possible slab leak:

  1. Water Bill Surges Up. If you notice a sudden upward surge in your water bill that can’t be blamed on visitors or a change in your household routine, check your water meter with all the water turned off inside the house. If the meter isn’t moving, you have a plumbing leak somewhere.
  2. Hotspots On the Floors. If there are hotspots on the floor of your home, in one room or several areas, that is a critical indicator that you have a slab leak from a hot water line. 
  3. Exterior Areas Wet. Walk around the exterior of your home, and if you notice standing water in areas near the house, there could be a slab leak there.
  4. Ceilings and Walls Cracking. Houses will settle over time only from settling. However, the hairline cracks that keep appearing on the ceiling and walls usually indicates a slab leak. 
  5. Constant Running Water. If you are hearing water running when there isn’t any turned on, that is probably plumbing in the slab leaking. 

Slab leaks can have other symptoms not listed here, but the bottom line is, where there is a symptom, there is a problem. A phone call to your local plumber is the best way to find out what’s going on. 

What causes a slab leak?

Slab leaks are the result of a plumbing failure.  That failure could be a problem with the installation, water lines weakened, chemical reactions of metals, shifting soil, tree roots, critters that live underground, and more.

Older homes tend to be water lines weakened, or tree roots have busted through the water lines. Sometimes requires the tree to be cut down and a tree stump and root removal service to get the offending tree up and out. 

If the tree has been cut down, why tree stump removal? Because if the stump isn’t removed or killed out, the roots will continue to grow. Roots that continue to grow can hit the water line again and cause the same problem, maybe worse. 

Is a slab leak dangerous?

If you suspect you have a possible slab leak, ignoring it or putting it off can be problematic. The supporting structure will begin rotting, and the slab will begin to buckle, crack, and shift, affecting the supporting structure, including the roof. The moisture will create mildew, and mold will begin to grow, affect everyone’s health living in your home.

A slab leak means there is a crack somewhere where the water is leaking. That hole is inviting for critters, insects, and rodents. Once they make their way into the slab, it is just a matter of time before they chew their way into your home. Having those critters, insects, and rodents will bring bacteria and disease into your home.

How do you stop slab leaks?

If you notice indications of a slab leak, don’t despair. It may not be a slab leak, or it may not be as bad as it sounds. The best way to find out is to call a professional plumber to inspect the situation. Once they have found the leak, it could be fixed with an epoxy filling, long-lasting and straightforward. Or your entire house may need to be re-piped.  As we mentioned earlier, it could be tree roots which require the tree to be cut down and the stump removed. Regardless of what the slab leak is from, it would be best if you acted quickly in getting it inspected and repaired. The longer the leak goes, the damage could be significant and expensive. 

new slab made for home

How do you fix a leak under a slab?

Once the plumber has identified the slab leak and evaluated the situation, they will make their recommendation. Hopefully, it is where they can repair it easily. Unfortunately, it is sometimes replumbing the entire house. If there is galvanized plumbing there now, repairing it is a waste of money. The remaining pipes will bust as they age too. 

After the leak is located, it may require the plumber to jackhammer the floor where the leak to gain access. Once they have repaired the plumbing, the plumber will replace the fundamental part of the floor, but any refinishing or replacing the floor covering will be up to you. Get started on your expert slab leak repair in Mesquite, TX by dialling (214) 414-3705.

What causes a toilet to continue running?

toilet leaking and in need of repair

Repairing your toilet

Water is a natural resource and here in Texas, we realize how important that water is during the hot summers. So, when a faucet, pipes, or toilet needs repair, we get it done fast. Leaking faucets and busted pipes are self-explanatory as to what needs to be repaired, but what is toilet repair?  

Toilet repair is usually inside the tank, but other toilet repair options may be under the toilet, where it connects to the sewer line under the house. The toilet repair inside the tank is fairly easy, even for a homeowner that has never done any type of DIY repair. The big box home improvement stores have classes that will show you How to toilet repair. Additionally, the store staff in the plumbing department are a helpful resource too. 

Will a running toilet increase water bill?

Yes! A high water bill during the summer can be blamed on the need to water the lawn, the kids out of school and home, and the kid’s outdoor water activities. The rest of the year however, a common reason for a high water bill is because of the toilet constantly running

A running toilet wastes as much as two hundred gallons in one day!  That’s 10,000 gallons a week, keep doing the math and you’ll see why your water bill has jumped up recently. If you’re not sure whether a toilet is the cause of your water bill rising, keep reading to learn how to do a DIY toilet assessment and toilet repair. 

How do you fix a toilet that keeps running?

Don’t let minor household plumbing intimidate you, it is easier than you think, and once you’ve made a few minor repairs, like a toilet repair to stop the running water, you’ll feel confident to move on to bigger projects. 

  1. Check the flush valve, aka flapper that is at the bottom of the tank by flushing the toilet with the tank lid off and watch the flapper. If it isn’t going back into position and sealing properly, there’s your water leak and now you know what toilet repair needs to be done.
  2. With the tank lid off, flush the toilet and if the tanks fills up with water up to the point where it is going into the overflow tube. This toilet repair will require the fill valve, aka ballcock, to be adjusted or replaced. 

 How do I replace a toilet flapper?

  • Turn the water off going to the toilet. There should be a valve under the tank on the back side of the bowl. If there isn’t, you’ll need to turn the water off at the main.
  • Next, you need to drain the tank of water. Do this by flushing the toilet. With the water off, it won’t refill.  
  • Now, unhook the current flapper and use it as a sample of what the new one needs to be.
  • New parts like flapper usually come with basic instructions. If not, you can ask the staff at the hardware or home improvement store. You can also find several videos online that show how to do this minor toilet repair. 
  • Once you have the new flapper chain connected to the flush arm, leaving a little bit of slack, turn the water on and test your work. 

To adjust this valve, you can bend the floater arm until the water stops filling. When it is at half to one inch under the overflow pipe opening, it should quit running. If not, the following steps are easy to follow and complete this toilet repair: 

  • Turn the water off going to the toilet. There should be a valve under the tank on the back side of the bowl. If there isn’t, you’ll need to turn the water off at the main.
  • After you have disconnected the water supply line, unscrew the locknut on the fill valve and lift the old one out. 
  • Place the new fill valve in the tank following the manufacturer’s directions, then turn the locknut tight, then a half a turn more.
  • If the fill valve is at maximum height and the overflow pipe higher, using a hacksaw, shorten the overflow pipe so that it is one inch under the fill valve mark. 
  • Attach the fill tube on one end to the fill valve nipple and the other end to the enclosed angle adapter. If kinked, shorten the tube.
  • Snip the angle adapter on the overflow pipe then attach the flapper chain to the level.
  • Last, turn the water back on and test the toilet by flushing and the toilet repair is complete if all goes well.  
toilet in a bathroom

Is a hissing toilet bad? and Why is my toilet hissing?

Toilets make all types of noises like gurgling, hissing, or screeching. These are all caused by air or water movement. Hissing is usually related to the fill valve or flapper valve. Either way, either valve isn’t closing properly, and is probably leaking. A hissing toilet is annoying, but it isn’t a danger concern. That is a pretty common issue for older toilets. Even somebody with novice plumbing skills and a few tools can do this toilet repair following the steps we provided above. A hissing toilet is usually the fill valve or flapper valve. These two parts are the more common ones to wear out and replacing them as a toilet repair vs toilet replacement is less expensive. 

Drying Up This Leaky Topic

Regardless of whatever is causing your toilet to leak water, it isn’t something you should ignore. That water is just going to waste, causing your water bill to rise, and depleting a natural resource that we all benefit from. If you’re not confident that you can do your own toilet repair, call a professional plumber. Call (214) 414-3705 today for your toilet repair in Mesquite, TX.

Can You Patch A Sewer Line?

sewer line repair

Can You Patch a Sewer Line?

If you need sewer services, it will be important for you to determine the extent of the problem. One of the best ways to move forward with your sewer line services is to contact a reliable and accurate plumber. A good plumber will be able to tell you the extent of the problem without mincing words. When a pipe breaks in your home, it may be possible to repair only the section that is exhibiting issues. If you own an older home, the best course of action may be to repair the whole line from the home to the main sewer line.

How Long Does it Take to Replace a Sewer Line?

According to leading estimates, it takes approximately three to five days to complete a sewer line replacement. More specifically, a back pitched sewer that needs a complete replacement can be replaced in that increment of time. The length and size of your pipes will also be a factor in how long it will take to replace your pipes. If you have larger pipes, for example, it will take longer to replace them.

How Do You Know if Your Sewer Line is Broken?

Are you wondering if your sewer line is truly and irreparably broken? One of the first things that a homeowner should do is troubleshoot the issue. Please review the following signs and symptoms of a broken sewer line.

  • Sewage backups and blocks. If your sewer is blocked up or is regularly backing up, it will be important for you to consult with a plumber as soon as possible.
  • If a sewer gas odor is persistently present, it could be a critical sign of sewer line breakage.
  • If a mold problem has presented itself in and around your bathroom fixtures or outside, you will want to investigate further.
  • If your drains and toilets are slow to drain, a professional plumber will be able to diagnose whether the issue stems from a broken sewer line or a clog.

What Happens If Sewer Line Breaks?

If your sewer line has broken, then it will result in standing pools of water. The water will have a foul odor since it is coming from the sewage line of your property or household. It is important to consider that if the sewer line runs under a driveway, that there can be asphalt damage due to the fact that there is soggy soil underneath the structure. If the sewer line breaks, then the sewage will be allowed to run rampant underground. This is, of course, a bad thing since sewage needs to be taken care of properly.

How Often Should I Clean My Sewer Line?

Are you looking for a great way to keep track of your plumbing? A solid preventative measure is to have your sewer lines cleaned once every eighteen to twenty-two months. In addition, if your home has been experiencing lots of plumbing problems with your sewer lines, you have the option to contact a plumber and schedule a sewer video camera inspection.

How Does Trenchless Sewer Line Work

Are you wondering how trenchless sewer lines work? As an innovative and interesting form of plumbing, it is important to understand how trenchless sewer lines work. A flexible tube that resembled neoprene is coated with resin and pushed into the old sewer pipe. Next, compressed air is blown into the sleeve. This accomplishes the goal of pushing the sleeve outward against hte inside walls of the old pipe.

What is Trenchless Sewer Line Repair

If a plumber has recommended trenchless sewer line repair, it will be important for you to investigate further. Trenchless sewer repair is a methodology that involves repairing the sewer pipes by restoring the interior of the existing pipe. This process is far less messy and disruptive than traditional sewer line repair. That is because a new lining can be installed inside the old pipe. This means that your sewer line will remain intact and that minimal digging will be necessary.

Sewer Line Repair and Replacement

Are you wondering what the difference is between sewer line repair and replacement? If you have noticed sewage backup or if you are aware of leakage in and around your property, it will be important for you to move forward with alacrity in finding and locating a responsible plumber. Sewer line repair is defined as repairing cracks or holes in your sewer line. It the amount and severity of the damage to your sewer line is dramatic enough, it will be important for you to consult with a responsible plumber.

sewer line repair

Sewer Line Repair Companies Near Me

If you need to locate a sewer line repair company, it will be important for you to do a little bit of research first. Type in the relevant terms into a search engine. Review the results, and please feel free to ask questions. The more questions you ask ahead of time, the more you’ll have a firm understanding of what is going to commence on your property.

If you need sewer line repair in Mesquite, TX, it will be important for you to locate an exceptional plumber. Please give us a call at (214) 414-3705.

How can I get natural gas in my home?

gas powered stove burner

Is natural gas a liquid?

Many people like having an all-electric home and others like to have both electric and natural gas energy power in their home. Sometimes we have a choice, sometimes we have to work with whatever type of energy is in the house. If you have the choice between all-electric, natural gas or propane, which is your preference?  If you prefer Natural gas, line installation may be possible, you’ll just need to do some investigating and researching.

Yes, and no. What consumers use as a natural gas isn’t how it comes out of the ground when drilled, natural gas is primarily composed of methane. However, raw natural gas originates from three kinds of wells: oil wells, gas wells, and condensate wells that then goes through a processing that separates the various fluids and hydrocarbons from the pure natural gas. This process gives us the “dry” natural gas we use in our homes and businesses with the natural gas line installations.   

How safe is natural gas in the home?       

Natural gas line installation and use is an efficient and safe source of power when used correctly. Yes, there is a potential for fires, and it can be poisonous when inhaled. So can other forms of energy sources like electricity and gasoline. Natural gas isn’t any more dangerous than those other forms of energy, and you can purchase a natural gas detector for the home that will alert you when there is a natural gas leak. 

Is natural gas heating dangerous?

We use natural gas line installation for heating most homes in this country, commonly with a gas boiler or gas furnace. Yet, there is still a high level of caution and concern when a heat source is gas-powered. There is a fear of exhausts and explosions, yet no fear of electric heat and fires.

Natural gas line installation and the gas heaters made today operate with a very minimal danger level. The biggest concern to have when using natural gas heat is carbon monoxide leaks. Carbon monoxide, a byproduct of the combustion of gas, is toxic, but because they design furnaces to vent through a flue, the chance of it leaking into the home is slim. 

Even though gas boilers and furnaces made today are held to high safety standards, and they hold Natural gas line installation to strict safety standards and environmental standards, when maintenance or the boiler or furnace is ignored, they can become unsafe quickly and with little warning. The older a gas heater, the more likely the chance of carbon dioxide escaping. Therefore, experts and professional recommend having your gas heating inspected once a year and perform regular maintenance yourself, or have maintenance performed on a monthly basis.

What natural gas is used in homes?

A home that has natural gas installation, the gas is delivered through pipelines or tanks deliver it as compressed natural gas). Most of the natural gas installation that is consumed in homes is for space heating and water heating. We also use it for powering clothes dryers, light fixtures, ovens, stoves, and other appliances.

gas pipeline

How do you find out if I can get natural gas?

As we have discussed it, gas is the least expensive energy source, but for some homeowners, their homes are set up as all-electric when they move in. So, does this mean that electricity is the only option they have? This depends on their property and some important things that must be considered:

  • Check with the local municipality if natural gas installation is available to your house.
  • Call the local natural gas company, in the case of Mesquite Texas, that would be Atmos Energy.
  • How close is the nearest natural gas line?
  • Has the property ever had natural gas installation?
  • Do any of the neighbors have natural gas installation?

Once you have confirmed there is natural gas installation available to your home, there is more than just plugging in a toaster. The following steps will need to be followed to assure the gas is run properly, connected to your home correctly, and there are no leaks. 

Schedule Natural Gas Installation Service

Next, the local natural gas company will come locate the underground lines for all utilities to your home and mark them. They will then layout the best way for the natural gas lines to be laid to service your home. They will install a gas meter, connect it to the gas supply line, and pressure check the system.

Piping Your Home for Natural Gas

Once the underground gas lines are complete, you must find a gas plumber to pipe your home for your natural gas installation. They will run the pipes from the meter to each outlet inside your home where gas is needed, such as appliances, furnace, and water heater.

Time to Install the Appliances, Furnace, Water Heater

Now time to install your appliances, furnace, and water heater. You can have the gas plumber do this, or you can yourself, based on regulations of the local municipality. We always recommend having a professional gas plumber complete your natural gas installation. They will check for any gas leaks or other issues and make it right. If you don’t have natural gas installation available, but you are curious about it, you’ll find it to be a cleaner way to cook and heat, and less expensive.  Appliance for natural gas is typically less expensive than electric appliances too! Let’s get started on your natural gas line installation in Mesquite, TX! Call the experts at James Armstrong Plumbing at (214) 414-3705.

Should you Repipe your house?

whole house repiping

How do plumbers repipe a house?

Repipe is what it says it is: replacing pipes in your home.  A whole house repipe job is replacing the entire plumbing system in your home. This is a large undertaking and will take, on average, three to five days to complete.

Once a whole house repipe job is completed, you will immediately notice the change in how the water flows, the water pressure, improved water bills, and less clogged pipes or leaks.  The best part of a repiping a house, it will last you forever. That alone can justify the house repipe cost and the time it takes for the job to be completed.

The first thing plumbers do before they start a whole house repipe job is to inspect all the plumbing to get an idea of how much and what type of materials are needed.  They have already done this have already when you were given an estimate, but they will examine the job again to verify this information.

As we mentioned earlier, the whole house repipe job will take between three to five days, depending on the size of the home and the age of the existing plumbing (older piping could take longer to remove). The water to the house will be turned off for a few hours each day while the plumbers are working. 

They will use plastic sheets to cover their work areas to prevent any harm to the house and the furnishings. They will make surgical-type cuts into the ceiling and drywall to gain access to the existing pipes. Once the whole house repipes job is completed, they will patch and smooth over the areas they had to cut into. Whether they repaint any areas will be something discussed with you during the estimate. Many plumbers have a third-party painter to come in behind them to do this type of work.

There may pipe that needs more extensive work, like a repiping house on slab requires excavation to gain access to pipes that were laid before they poured the slab. This sometimes requires removing major fixtures, which will be replaced as the job is finished up.

Do I need a permit to Repipe my house?

There are national codes for plumbing with the goal of standardizing the work performed by plumbers. There are also building codes and regulations for city, county, and state, which supersede any national codes.

Before having a whole house repipe job started, check with the local governing office where you are located and check if there are any building and plumbing codes or laws.  Experienced plumbers will know the codes and laws, and many will file for any permit for you. 

Large plumbing jobs like a whole house repipe job will require a building or plumbing permit before starting the work. Smaller plumbing jobs like changing out faucets or replacing the internal parts of a toilet usually do not, but it is wise to check with the local governing office first. Replacing a water heater or installing a new bathroom will probably require a permit.

Should I Repipe my house with PEX?

Most houses have copper pipes run to the main water line and waste lines, and whole house repipe jobs are replaced with copper in those areas. From your house to the main lines, they use plastic pipes for branching off to the fixtures inside your home. Whole house repipe with pex plumbing has become a popular choice in recent years for several reasons:

  1. Flexible piping makes installation easier
  2. Less expensive
  3. Don’t corrode or freeze

A drawback is the history of copper pipe is 50 years or longer lifespan. PEX has only been around 30 years, so it does not have a history to compare. To date, though, it is neck and neck with copper when compared.

Does Repiping a house add value?

A whole house repipe job won’t directly add extra value to your homes like a master bath or an updated kitchen would. However, it will bring it up even with market value, especially in an older house. An older house with original plumbing is a red flag for prospective buyers. While plumbing pipes should have a long lifespan, there really isn’t a way to assign a definitive timetable for a whole house repipe job. 

Other than you have a 100-year-old house with original plumbing, how do you know if your home could use a whole house repipe job? We have a list of six indications you should know in your home: 

  1. Aged and Unsafe: Besides the age of your house and its plumbing, the climate and the wear and tear are important factors. Another factor to consider is the type of pipes used in your house. Galvanized steel and lead piping need to be replaced due to their being unsafe. If the pipes in your house clack, clang, or rattle every time water is turned on, a whole house repipe job is needed. 
  2. Leaking Pipes: Replacing leaking pipes is common sense, but if you’re having to repair the same area of pipe repeatedly, a whole house repipe job may be the answer to your plumbing problems. 
  3. Corrosion: If you’ve noticed corroded pipes in your home, discoloring or flaking, indentations, and dents, it is time to consider having your whole house repipe.  A corroded pipe will be more likely to burst or leak if it hasn’t already. 
  4. Poor Water Pressure: Several factors can cause low or poor water pressure. The most common is caused by corrosion or sediment buildup. Both block water running through the pipe and unneeded pressures some areas of piping. A dishwasher, shower, or washing machine have little pressure are indicators a whole house repipe job could be the answer. 
  5. Discolored Water: If the water in your home comes out brownish, reddish, or yellowish from the spigots, you have major rust and sediment buildup and need a whole house repipe job.  If it is only when running hot water, this would indicate it is the water heater, not the whole house plumbing.
  6. Smell and Taste Bad: If the water tastes bad in your home or has an odor, the plumbing is likely on its last bit of life and a whole house repipe job is needed.
copper pipe pierced and leaking

What causes a pinhole leak in a copper pipe?

When copper plumbing gets old, it is common for pinhole leaks to happen on an increasing frequency. You may think that the leading cause for this is aging, but don’t be so quick to decide that. Another reason that has been determined by plumbers is the municipal water system has chloramines. If your water heater is getting old, it will start creating particles of corrosion which will begin eating at the pipe’s insides, causing pinhole leaks. Any house with copper piping would benefit from a whole house repipe job to eliminate the problem. If you’ve decided that you need a whole house repipe, get several quotes and compare them. You want to get a plumber that offers a warranty on their work, and the materials used. If you sell your house later, a whole house repipe will only help add to the value. 

Is it time for a whole house repipe in Mesquite, TX? Call (214) 414-3705 today!