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How to Detect a Plumbing Leak

Severe plumbing problems can be easily overlooked, especially if you don’t know how to identify plumbing issues. Some plumbing problems are easy to fix while others can lead to serious damage and major financial liability. To save time and money, our guide will outline the best ways to detect plumbing leaks.

For more helpful plumbing tips and services from a professional plumbing service in Los Angeles, contact New Generation Plumbing.

Water Meter

The best way to check if you have a leak in your plumbing system is to check your water meter. If you do not know where your meter is located, you can call the billing department in your district to get your meter location.

• Make sure no water is on inside or outside of your house.
• Locate your water meter and check the leak indicator to see if it is moving. If the dial in the meter is moving, chances are, you have a leak.
• You can also take a meter reading and wait 1 or hours and take another meter reading. During this time, make sure no water is used. If the reading changes, you have a leak.

If you identify a leak in the house, the next step is to determine if the leak is inside or outside the house. Once identified, locate your home’s main shut off for the water supply that’s causing the issue. This is usually located at the valve at the base of behind your commode. If you cannot locate this, just turn off the main water valve – typically located in the basement or outside your house. In larger emergencies such as flooding, you’ll want to turn off the main valve right away. To turn off the valve, most water valves will require you to turn the knob clockwise to shut off.

Leaking Faucets

If you have a leaking faucet, the cause is likely due to worn rubber washer. The washer on a sink is usually located under the handle. This typically requires replacement, which will require shutting off the water under the sink or at the main valve and removing the handle.

Leaking Toilets

Toilet leaks, even the smallest leaks, can add up to a lot of wasted water and money over time. To help determine if you have a leaking toilet, remove the tank lid and place a few drops of food coloring in back of the toilet tank. Wait about 30 minutes, without flushing, and then look in the toilet bowl. If the color is clear, water is not leaking. If you see food coloring in the blow, you have a leak.

In most cases, you will need to replace the toilet flapper or filling mechanism. If you aren’t familiar how to, call your plumber for professional service.

Other Water Leaks

Some leaks can be very obvious while others are silent. Wastewater, for example, is usually moved by gravity and is not under pressure. This makes wastewater leaks much harder to detect. If you suspect wastewater leak, call your Maintenance and Operations department for help.

Other ways to identify leaks include wet, warped or discoloration stains on your ceilings, floors, walls and woodwork.

Professional Plumbing Service in Los Angeles

Our plumbing technicians will assist you in targeting and treating the plumbing problem at hand. Conveniently located in Highland Park, our licensed and insured plumbing contractors readily serve clients in Northeast Los Angeles, San Gabriel Valley and San Rafael Hills with distinction. We service the cities of Highland Park, Pasadena, Eagle Rock, Altadena, and all of Northeast Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley.

New Generation Plumbing is a premier plumbing service in Los Angeles ready to service all your plumbing needs. We offer a variety of specials, so you never have to pay more. Schedule your service today for a free estimate with appointment, 24/7 emergency repair service, licensed and certified technicians and a 90-day warranty on all replacement parts.

Most Common Plumbing Mistakes

Plumbing Mistake #1: Vents and Traps

Basement fixtures need to have appropriate vents. Check your local or state building code. It is also important to add a vent to every trap. When there is no trap, water can be siphoned out, leaving the trap dry and useless. Remember not to use an S-trap for the sink drain; a P-trap is the right one for this application.

Plumbing Mistake #2: High Slopes

If you think having a higher slope is a good idea, think again. A high slope means that liquids will move faster than solid, leaving solids behind causing major issues later during normal operations. Ideally, ¼ inch per feet should be enough.

Plumbing Mistake #3: Not Turning Off the Water

If a pipe has a leak or if you’re pressed for time, it’s easy to forget to shut off the water. No matter how minor the repair and no matter where it is in a home, always shut off the water before attempting a repair. This will minimize extra damage to pipes as you reconnect them before more water escapes.

Plumbing Mistake #4: Improper Clean Outs

Often, the cleanouts are in the wrong location. It is important to have the required clearance to service the line when it gets clogged.

Clean outs are not required by code above the first floor but you might want to consider how the line was designed and add some cleanout just to facilitate servicing the line. Clean outs are also required at the base of each sanitary stack.

Plumbing Mistake #5: Space Around Toilets

You need enough clearance space. Toilets must be at least 15 inches from the side wall and at least 18 inches from the wall in front of the equipment. It must also be located at least 18 inches from the front wall.

Plumbing Mistake #6: Pressure Relief Valves

When it comes to pressure relief valances, the drain line must be a full-size pipe, sloped to drain without valves between the drain and the outlet. The fitting must be located at the end of the line, and not contain any thread. The distance from the floor should also be carefully observed.

Plumbing Mistake #7: Matching Pipes

Matching pipes is a commonly repeated mistake that can lead to serious plumbing problems. For example, a galvanized metal pipe cannot be connected to a copper pipe because these materials will interact with each other, and will corrode very quickly.

Plumbing Mistake #8: Using Too Much Drain Cleaner

Commercial drain cleaners are great at clearing away clogs and getting rid of built-up residue, but be careful of using too much or too often. Drain cleaners typically included harsh chemicals that break up solid waste and scour pipes clean; overuse can eat way the walls of the metal and PVC pipes.

Plumbing Mistake #9: Using Drain Cleaner in the Wrong Places

When it comes to draining cleaners, be cautious. Most commercial drain cleaning products are safe to use on bathroom and kitchen sinks as well as tubs and showers, but toilets can be damaged if you use the wrong type of cleaner. To avoid these problems with drain cleaners, make sure to carefully read all labels before use.

Plumbing Mistake #10: Leaving an Outside Hose Connected in Winter

During the winter months, if a hose is left connected to an outside faucet, it can cause your water lines to freeze and burst. If this happens in your house, this could lead to thousands of dollars in water damage before you notice any symptoms. To avoid this problem, always disconnect your outside hoses before the winter months.

Plumbing Mistake #11: Not Hiring a Professional Plumber

There are some common plumbing mistakes you can easily fix (i.e. installing a new faucet, making minor repairs to a toilet or dealing with minor pipe blockages). But any extensive common plumbing mistakes should be left to a plumber. While the cost of hiring a professional will be more than the materials of your DIY effort, the money paid is assured by the experience and accuracy.

For all your plumbing needs and serious repairs to common plumbing mistakes, trust in the professionals at New Generation Plumbing.

How Do You Know if You Need a New Water Heater?

In-home access to hot water may not have always been a luxury (or even possibility) for the average family, but today it’s an essential part of daily life. Nowadays, a broken water heater is a major inconvenience at best and at worst can cause thousands of dollars in damages. It can also be difficult to know that your water heater is having problems before disaster strikes and repair, especially for an older water heater, is not always an option. Fortunately, Nautilus Plumbing has your back with a few telltale signs that you may need to start looking for a new water heater.

Age

It may seem like determining the age of your water heater could be difficult or even impossible, especially if it was already installed when you purchased your property, but there is an easy method to find out exactly how old your water heater is, all the way down to the month. Simply look for the manufacturer’s sticker on the top portion of your water heater, then identify the serial number on the sticker. The serial number should look something like this: “F051052638.” F represents the month, but don’t get confused, it’s not referring to February. F is the sixth letter of the alphabet, so it’s referring to the sixth month of the year, June. The next two digits tell you the year that your water heater was manufactured in. So, this water heater was manufactured in June of 2005. Codes may vary between manufacturers, so check your water heater’s manufacturer’s website to make sure you’re interpreting the serial number correctly.

Water heaters are generally recommended for replacement every 10 years, but depending on the type this can vary from 6 to 12 years. If your water heater has reached the end of its predicted lifespan and is in a place where it could cause serious damage to your home or business should it fail, it should probably be replaced. On the other hand, if your water heater is not showing any other signs of a problem and is in a place where it the only damage it will cause if it breaks is the inconvenience of replacement, you may want to hold off on replacing it, depending on your property’s hot water needs.

Ineffectiveness

The whole point of a new water heater is to, obviously, heat up your water, so if your water heater is no longer doing this effectively then it may be time to replace it. Ineffective water heating can manifest in water not getting hot enough, inconsistency in the heat of the water coming out of your faucets and showerheads, and quickly running out of hot water. This is often the result of a pilot light that’s gone out, so don’t panic before checking it, but in many cases, this is the result of a dirty water heater, not a failing one, but a dirty water heater can fail without proper action. As your water heater does its job, the minerals in the water separate and sink to the bottom of the tank where they build up and form a barrier between the burner and the water in the tank. As the heater works harder to get the water hot, the heater strains, eventually leading to the tank or control failing.

You can have your water heater cleaned annually by a licensed plumber. It can be tempting to try a do it yourself solution, but an unlicensed person risks damaging their water heater further, causing their heater to go from just dirty to needing replacement.

Noise

Is your water heater making rumbling, crackling, hissing, sizzling, or popping noises, particularly while it’s heating up? This is a pretty sure sign that your water heater is nearing the end of its road and needs replacing soon, likely due to the sediment build up we have just discussed. These noises are made when the heating elements strain to heat up the water, causing the tank to overheat and the metal of the tank to fatigue, and leading to its eventual failure. In some cases, just having the water heater flushed and cleaned is enough to keep it functional for a few more years with careful maintenance, but often your best bet is to simply replace the water heater rather than risking catastrophe when your water heater eventually fails.

Weird Taste, Smell, or Appearance

Even pleasantly hot water isn’t very helpful if it has an unusual odor, unpleasant taste, or unappealing appearance. Cloudy water with a metallic taste or strange odor can indicate that those mineral deposits have made their way out of the water heater and are traveling through other parts of your plumbing. Eventually this can clog the screens of the aerators in your faucet and impede water flow. Rusty water can indicate the depletion of your water heater’s anode rod, which is used to prevent corrosion. Once the anode rod is gone, the tank itself begins to corrode instead. However, rust can also indicate rusty pipes, so have a plumber examine your water system before making major decisions.

Plumbing Solution in Los Angeles

New Generation Plumbing is Los Angeles’s most honest and affordable plumbing company. For over 50 years, our licensed plumbers have been servicing both residential and commercial properties. If you live in Downtown Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Culver City, Marina Del Ray, Pasadena or the Valley, New Generation Plumbing is the only choice for your plumbing needs. Whether you are interested in a new tankless water heater, a traditional new water heater, or any other plumbing need, contact New Generation Plumbing to get your plumbing needs taken care of.