Frequently Asked Questions About Plumbing

Bathtubs

Q. I have replaced the caulking around my bathtub 3 times and it keeps peeling away from the walls. What do I need to do to stop this from happening?

A. The peeling away of the caulking is caused by the weight of the full bathtub stretching the caulking too much. To stop this from happening, fill the tub with water before you apply the caulking.

Q. My bathtub is old and grubby looking but I do not want to renovate the bathroom just yet. Are there alternatives?

A. The best thing to do is replace the bathtub. As you are not ready to renovate, there are companies that can refinish bathtubs. Generally the finish is not as durable as the original. The length of time the finish will last will depend on the type of finish and the quality of the application.

Q. I have heard of bathtub relining. What is this and is it a good idea?

A. Bathtub relining is a lower cost alternative to replacing the existing bathtub. A special liner designed to fit in and around your existing bathtub and is glued over the existing tub. The drain is reconnected, sandwiching the liner in the middle of the seals. These liners have been around a number of years and the technology has improved as has the installation. Individuals must decide for themselves if installation of a liner is a good idea. Provided the installation was done well, the liner should work just fine.

Costs

Q. How much will my job cost?

A. Due to the nature of plumbing work, and the extreme differences of individual homes, we are unable to provide estimates or job costing without a plumber having first assessed the job site. The DS Plumbing technician will happily come to your house, assess the job requirements and then give you a price prior to starting.

Q. Do you give discounts for cash?

A. No. There are a number of reasons that we do not discount cash sales. The biggest is that our technicians become personally responsible for any discrepancies or counterfeit bills.

Q. Should I try and fix my plumbing myself to save money?

A. We don’t recommend it – here’s why. We have noticed that the City of Ottawa has some rebates happening, though, so that will help with the cost.

Drain Cleaning

Q. I sometimes use chemical drain cleaners to keep my drains running. Is it okay to do this?

A. If there are no problems with your drains, it is probably a good idea not to use these chemicals. Use of harsh chemicals in piping can cause significant damage and other problems. Doing so may cause you to need professional assistance sooner than anticipated. Most of the chemicals on the market are caustic and not biodegradable and although diluted in the drains their use eventually affects water quality in the local river.

Q. My drain runs very slowly, I have put down some drain cleaning products and its effect was minimal. What else can I do?

A. Most drain cleaning products are designed to clear blockages, so if the drain has been emptying slowly their use is generally not as effective. The chemicals will drain away just as the water and will usually eat away a small channel in the grime at the bottom of the pipe; but it will not clear the whole pipe. This will mean that the drainage may only improve for a short period of time.

Q. What drain cleaning product can I use that is environmentally friendly?

A. Here at DS Plumbing, we recommend BioOne, which is a natural biological drain line, septic and grease trap maintainer. It works by releasing naturally occurring bacteria that thrive on grease, oil and stubborn organics found in every wastewater system.

Q. How do I prevent the city sewer lines from backing up into my home?

A. Over the last couple of years, there has been a lot of press on city sewers backing up into peoples home. This is caused by more rain than the sewers can cope with and this occurs particularly in spring with the run off. Installing a back water preventer onto your main waste pipe in your basement can help prevent damage to your home.This has a yellow plastic float flap integrated into the unit, which lifts up when the sewage volume from the road rises, thus blocking the entry into your home.

Q. I’ve noticed a smell coming from my drains. What could be causing this?

A. You can read a full article on drain smells here.

Leaks

Q. I have some marks on the ceiling below my main bathroom, how can I find out what is causing this?

A. If there are no signs of leaking from any of the fixtures in the bathroom, the only way to precisely locate the leak is to open the ceiling and see where it is coming from. Depending on the cause, a number of openings may need to be made to find and repair the source of the leak.

Q. I have a leak above my kitchen ceiling and understand that I may need to have the ceiling opened. If this is the case, do I have to fix the ceiling?

A. In all probability the ceiling will need to be opened to ensure that the leak is fixed. The technicians at DS Plumbing can arrange to have the walls and ceilings repaired so that you are not left with a gaping hole in your home for a number of weeks.

Q. I have water continually dripping from my ceiling. The taps and bathtub are not running. What should I do?

A. If the leak does not appear to slow down or it seems to be getting worse; the leak is probably in the water supply line. Close the main water shut off valve (located near your water meter) and call us.

Showers

Q. My shower head does not have the power it used to. What could be causing this?

A. Providing that the water pressure in the rest of the house is good, then the reduction in pressure is going to be caused by the shower control or the head itself. Unscrew the shower head to see if the water flow is any better with it removed. If it is, the shower head needs cleaning or replacing. If this does not solve the problem, than the shower control is most likely the cause and should be looked at.

Q. When I have finished in the shower, I find that there are wet spots on the floor. I keep looking at the shower door, but it appears to be closed properly. What else could it be?

A. I would check the condition of the caulking around the shower. It is possible that the caulking has become detached over time in some places. If the caulking looks to be in good shape, it could be that there is caulking in the wrong places. A lot of shower door manufactures have specific openings to allow water to drain from the base of the doors. If these openings become plugged, water will often find another way out.

Q. What is a “scald prevention valve” and do I need one?

A. You can find out here.

Toilets

Q. I’ve noticed my toilet has started to wiggle/rock, is this issue serious?

A. If you are noticing any movement of the toilet, it will only be a matter of time before it leaks. So have it looked at as soon as possible: your plumbing professional will be able to say whether or not it was leaking at that point and also inspect the condition of the rest of the toilet.

Q. I can hear water running when I enter the bathroom but I cannot find any taps running or any signs of a leak. Is this something I should worry about?

A. Chances are the toilet is the source of the water running. Water can run from the tank to the bowl without any signs of a problem. While this isn’t a leak, it is a huge waste of water. You should have the parts inside the tank looked at or you could end up with a large water bill. You can learn more about noises to watch out for in this article.

Q. I have heard some people complain about the poor flushing of low flush toilets. Is there really a problem with them?

A. There were some problems with the early low flush toilets, but now most toilets work well. Expect to pay more for a toilet that will stay trouble free for longer. You can learn more about finding good quality toilets on our toilet installation page.

Q. What are the benefits to getting a low flush toilet?

A. There are a number of benefits to getting low flush toilets. Firstly, the new standard is a 4.5 litre toilet where as the older standard was 13 litres, so you are using much less water and so reducing your home water bill. There are toilets that use a lot more water, normally in much older homes.

Q. My toilet tends to clog easily. Why?

A. We’ve got a full article on the possible reasons here.

You can also read some things you can try for simple toilet issues here.

Water Supply

Q. The water coming out from my kitchen tap has dropped to just a dribble recently but all my other taps work great. What could cause this?

A. If only the one tap is affected, the aerator is probably plugged and needs to be replaced or cleaned.

Q. Where would I find the valve to shut off the water to the whole house?

A. The main water shut off valve is located by the water meter; this is normally located on the wall nearest the road in the basement.

 

We hope you enjoyed reading our Frequently Asked Questions page!