Ask Dave

Welcome to ASK DAVE, our exciting new question and answer column.

Do you have plumbing questions? Do you need plumbing advice? This is the place to get answers to plumbing questions, big or small.

Just post your questions here below on our ASK DAVE column, and David Parker, master plumber and president of ER Plumbing Services, will answer questions and give advice.

Dave will be covering questions about:
• Plumbing brands and products
• Plumbing services
• Plumbing maintenance issues
• Who to hire to perform specific services
• What kinds of plumbing jobs are safe to tackle on your own
• Plumbing How-To questions and DIY plumbing projects

Feel free to ask questions about:
• Hot water heaters
• Water filtration systems
• Garbage disposals
• Washing machines
• Dishwashers
• Toilets, showers and bathtubs
• Leak detection and repair
• Drain clearing
• Pipe work
• Sewer and water line installation and repair
• Gas logs installation

We want to answer your questions so you can make educated decisions as you tackle your plumbing projects and concerns.

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This entry was posted in Ask Dave Plumbing Questions, Charlotte Emergency Plumbing. Bookmark the permalink.

105 Responses to Ask Dave

  1. Bonnie says:

    What should I be doing to maintain my water heater? How often should I do what?

    • David Parker says:

      The water heater is one of the most important fixtures in the house so it’s great you’re even asking. I would have your water heater drained at least once a year to help remove the sediment that builds up if your anode rod fails. I would have a professional out every three years for a full service. We do a lot of internal cleaning and external checks for gas pipe and flue leaks.


      • Bonnie says:

        Thanks, Dave. But how do I drain it? Do I cut the power off? Do I shut the gas off? Is it safe to do this on my own?

        • David Parker says:

          Let’s start with an electric heater. The breaker panel will need to be shut off to perform this task because we don’t want to burn out the elements. The hose will need to be hooked up at the bottom of the heater and ran to a drain or outside. The valve can be turned off at the top of the heater and the relief valve on the heater will need to be opened so the heater will drain. We can do the same thing with a gas heater by turning the gas off but you will have to relight the heater after completion. The drain valve can then be closed after the heater is drained and the shut off’s on top of the heater cut back on. I also want to mention to let the air out of the faucets as your filling it back up until no more air is present. We are now ready to turn the power back on at the panel and relight the heater if it’s gas?

  2. Kyle says:

    My toilet is leaking at the base. What should I do?

    • David Parker says:


      It sounds as if the toilet will need to be pulled up and a new wax ring installed. I would first make sure nothing is leaking around the supply valve and tubes? The tank to bowl nuts and washers should be checked as well.


  3. Kyle says:

    What if it is leaking around the supply valve and tubes? Can I fix that myself, or should I have someone come out and look at it?

    • David Parker says:


      That’s a comfort issue! I would always hire a professional when dealing with water. We get most of our weekend calls from homeowners trying to solve issues themselves. We are always here if you do run into problems!

  4. Tina says:

    Hi Dave,
    Every so often, usually after running the dishwasher, there is a smell like sewer coming from the sink area. I also seem to get that same smell from our upstairs bathroom as well. It’s not all the time, but when it happens, it’s horrible! What would cause this and what can I do?
    Thank you!

    • ER Plumbing says:


      Are you on a Well System? if so it could be the hot water tank anode rod failure and a bacteria issue. The hose that comes from the dishwasher and connects to the garbage disposal drain needs to be looped up high under the cabinet as well. I am leaning towards the water heater because of the stench in the other sink. The other things that come into play are the venting system or food and scum buildup in the lines. We could address this with friendly bacteria products.


  5. james davidson says:

    My water heater pilot light went out. I noticed water in bottom of tank, i.e. a leak. A plumber told me gas and direct ventr were most expensive; w/o looking at installation ! Any difference in cost of waters heaters, direct vent vs other? Jim D

    • David Parker says:


      The heater sounds like it has an internal leak causing the outage. The year of the heater can usually be identified by the first few serial numbers. The direct vented heaters that penetrate the wall sideways with the flue are more expensive for sure. The heater cost more because the way it vents. The heater brings air in from the outside for proper combustion and exhausts through the same penetration. I would go tankless if it fits your budget and you plan on living there a while? I would go back with the same heater that’s currently installed for ease of installation if your trying to keep costs down? We cannot install a standard heater in a direct vented hole it would have to go through the roof.


  6. David Parker says:


    Are you on a Well System? if so it could be the hot water tank anode rod failure and a bacteria issue. The hose that comes from the dishwasher and connects to the garbage disposal drain needs to be looped up high under the cabinet as well. I am leaning towards the water heater because of the stench in the other sink. The other things that come into play are the venting system or food and scum buildup in the lines. We could address this with freindly bacteria products.


  7. Natalie says:

    Hi Dave,

    My dishwasher isn’t draining all the way. What should I do to get it to drain? Do I need to replace it? Is this a dishwasher problem or something wrong with my plumbing overall? Advice, please!

  8. David Parker says:


    You could have a few different issues going on? I would first of all want to make sure the drains at the sink are working? I would also make sure the strainer at the bottom of the dishwasher is clean. If both those items are clear and free you need to make sure the drain hose is not kinked and is looped up high under the cabinet before it ties into the drain to prevent a back siphon. The hose could also have food waste stuck in it creating a partial or full clogg. If all these items have been checked you may want an appliance man for repair if it’s worth repairing. I would say if it’s got some age on it put the money in a new one instead of repairing an item like the dishwasher pump which could be costly?


  9. Anthony says:

    My pipes are moaning when we use water. Should I be concerned? What can I do about it?

  10. David Parker says:


    The pipes are probably moaning from the pressure reducing valve. The valve protecs the home from extreme pressures. A failed valve can make this noise on both the hot and cold side. I would have it checked out because you don’t want to much pressure in the house and the noise can be a nusiance.


  11. Kim B in Huntersville says:

    The sink in my master bathroom is draining slowly. We haven’t had problems with any other sinks in the house, just this one. Any advice? Any drain cleaners I should use?

    • David Parker says:


      Sinks are a pretty common stoppage and the first thing we check is for hair and soap buildup in the pop up drain. The way to disconnect this is from underneith the cabinet. The way to free the pop up is by lifting it out and this can be done from the middle of the drain assembly where it attaches to the rod coming down from above in the cabinet. We just loosen that one nut and pull the rod out that attaches to the drain enough to pull the stopper out. We use a hanger at this point if the hair is deeper down the drain and create a hook. The job is complete after cleaning it out, and replacing the stopper and rod assembly. I bet there is a You Tube video on this precedure? I would allways do a paper towel test after this by running water and having a paper towel in place below to make sure no leaks are present after the repair.I would also say drain cleaners can be dangerous and caustic so be careful if going that route. We see hair causing most problems unless your bald like me?

  12. Catie says:


    Thank you for taking the time to look at my post. I’m desperate for an answer to my shower issue. I recently bought a house that was in the middle of renovations. The old owner had moved the electric hot water tank out in the garage for more space in the house. Since the garage isn’t attached we decided to have the plumber install a recirculating pump so that the 50 gallon electric hot water heater didn’t have a problem getting water to the house quickly. I finally moved in and realized that I have hot water in both of my sinks, but only about 30 seconds of hot water in the shower. Originally we thought maybe the cartridge was bad in the single handle shower control so we replaced that as well as took it apart to make sure the red scalding thing wasn’t set too low. When that didn’t solve the problem we decided to look at the dip tube in the hot water tank thinking it needed to be replaced or that a heating element wasn’t working right on the tank so we weren’t getting all 50 gallons. Well, our contractor ended up messing up the dip tube so we bought a brand new Whirlpool 50 gallon hot water tank. Still no hot water….I’ve been taking cold showers for a month now and I don’t know what else to do. As soon as I get out of the shower I can turn on the sink and have hot water there so it’s really mind boggling. The plumber who did the work isn’t returning phones call to come back out, so I’m resorting to the internet to see if someone can help…I’m hoping someone can help me so I don’t have to keep boiling water for my son’s bath!!!!

    Thank you for your time!

    • David parker says:

      Catie, The shower should be connected to the same water heater. I would say if you have hot water in the sinks you should have hot water at the shower. I’m concerned the plumber crossed the lines in the shower or has the valve upside down in the wall? I am also concerned that the plumber never tied the hot into the valve if it’s new? The thirty seconds of hot may just be from the water circulating system? The problem is either within the valve installation or the way the plumber piped the lines. I would say if the house is on a crawlspace you can trace the lines to make sure there tied in correctly underneith. I would also say if the bathroom is upstairs it’s going to require some drywall removal to verify what was done. The bottom line is if you have hot water everywhere else it’s not the heater. The water heater will give you 75% usage before it tempers down at 120 degrees if that’s what the heater is set at? The amount you should be getting from a 50-gallon heater with just turning the hot side on is about seven 5 gallon buckets full before it starts loosing temp. Hope This Helps!


  13. Kelly says:

    Hi Dave,

    What is an on demand water heater? Are they any good? If we need a new water heater, what kind do you recommend?

    Thanks for the advice,

    Kelly in Matthews

  14. David parker says:


    The term on demand is getting hot water when your asking for it! The tankless heaters do this,an example would be when you turn the hot side of the faucet on for any hot fixture it senses flow,ignites,and starts heading towards you. The great thing with tankless is multiple fixtures can be ran at the same time and everyone has all they need,as long as they need it! We like Rinnai and Noritz units and I actually have one at the house. We can give a free estimate if you ever need one? We need to have a look at the current installation and layout of the house to determine the best fit.


  15. Roberta says:

    Dear Dave,

    My family has been considering a water filtration system for a while because our tap water doesn’t really taste that great. What kind of water filtration systems are the best? Is there much latitude in what kind of water filtration system are available? What factors should I consider when choosing a water filtration system?

    • David parker says:

      I would first have to ask you if your on city or well water? The treatment really depends on what your water quality test comes back like. I would say a good pre-filter and carbon system will handle most city water systems. The pre-filter will handle things like sediment and rust. The pre-filter also can be managed by the consumer every three to six months with ease. A carbon system can give the house great quality water for several years without any maintanance and removes items like chorline. We like to purchase water filtration systems that taste great, keep us healthy, and little maintenance is required. I also know it’s a great investment knowing what your family is consuming and bathing in.

  16. Tom says:

    Hey Dave,

    I appreciate you giving our free plumbing advice here on your site – it’s very helpful. I have a question for you. I’m thinking about renovating my master bathroom (in fact, I think my shower has been leaking for a while – the caulking is pretty bad)and I’m wondering: Is this a job I can tackle myself? How will I know if there is water damage or not? How tough is it to replace a shower by myself? I’m pretty handy, but I’ve never tackled anything like this before. Thanks for the advice.

  17. David parker says:


    I would say doing the demo should save you some money but be careful, and where your safety equipment! Having the right tools will make a differance as well. I would say when it comes to shower bases leave it to a professional the potential damage is not worth the headache if improperly installed. The water damage would be easy to spot after pulling up the tile and old pan material. The flooring may need new wood if it’s leaked for a while? and keep an eye out for any discoloration a professional may have to deal with.


  18. JR says:


    I’m thinking about a whole-house water filtration system. However, the main water supply comes to a cut-off valve located in a closet in the interior of my house. My assumption is that any sort of whole-house filter will need to be inserted at this main supply line. Because I want the filter to actually be located in my garage, does that mean that the main water supply needs to be re-directed to the garage and what all is involved with that?

    • David parker says:

      We see this a lot where the water main is in a closet inside the house. I would say if you have a crawlspace we can move it with no problems. We just extend the piping to the garage, pipe it through the filters, and return the line back into the main distrabution system. I know you will need to change the pre-filter at some point? The garage makes since and gives you ease of access for any filter replacements needed.

  19. Pat McConaha says:

    Nice site! I may need your help as we remodel this old ranch house of ours!

    My first question has to do with a hammering that we get at our kitchen sink. We get the hammering when hot or cold is used. The hammering stops as soon as we use the sink sprayer. Any thoughts?

    We are also looking at redirecting our grey water and having the toilet be the only thing that drains to the septic. Are we asking for trouble with that?

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts or advice you may have!


  20. David parker says:

    Pat, I think the diverter in the faucet is the issue causing the hammer noise. I would find out what brand of faucet it is and have a diverter shipped to you. We can help with the install or order if we know the make and modelof the faucet. The grey water system is a complicated issue depending on the layout of the house? A two story for example is much harder to achive the goal. A one story house with a crawlspace is best case senario. The systems very and we see some installs that reclaim the water and fill the toilet tanks back up for a new flush. We would have to look at the job and see what your looking to do for sure.


  21. Helen says:

    Last time we had plumbing work done, the tech said our water pressure was too high, so he adjusted it. Now all three toilets don’t do a good job of flushing sometimes, if you get my meaning. We have to carry a bucket of water to add to the flush. Embarrassing! What can be done to correct this?

    • David parker says:

      Helen, The water pressure should not be higher than 80psi in the house. The toilets should still perform if they are decent quality? We can turn the pressure back up as long as we don’t exceed the 80psi. I have the Toto toilets at my house and have low pressure because were on well water. We have no issues and the pressure is 65psi. I think you may want to consider changing the toilets if they are not performing under a safe pressure level and all three are performing the same?

  22. jamey says:

    pressure release valve has been leaking. Changed the release valve twice and got a expansion tank but it is still leaking. We checked the psi and in the kitchen it is at 60 but at the washer and dryer it is 120. What could be the problem and why are they so different and what should I do?

  23. David parker says:

    Jamey, I would have you test the pressure at the hose connection at the back or side yard. The pressure would be different at the two fixtures because of water saving devices installed in the faucets. I would also make sure the expansion tank is set to the right pressure and is not water logged. You can check the pressure tank by pressing the valve at the top where you would fill air. We should have no water coming out of that area when being pressed. The only other we would check for is weather the water heater is getting very hot or set to a high temp? The control valve could be out of calibration and causing it to over heat and run the relief??


  24. Mardy says:

    Hello Dave i just replaced the valve stems in my bathroom but know the shower diverter is not working when i turn it water still comes out of the faucet and very little from the shower head what can i do……

  25. David parker says:

    If the diverter pull out is on the tub spout change the spout. I would say if you have good pressure the diverter should transfer. We do need some decent water pressure so hopefully the system is not galvenized? The faucet will sometimes have diverters in the wall and if that’s the case you would have three stems? I would change out the diverter stem if you have that type of application?

  26. Wayne Crocker says:

    I think my first post timed out and disconnected. If this question is a repeat, just ignore it. My question is about kitchen sink strainer installations. The rubber washer that is used on the underside of the sink when installing a strainer, is it really necessary and what is its purpose. Does not the plumbers putty used on the topside provide all the leak prevention? Thanks.

  27. David parker says:

    The basket comes with a black rubber gasket that seals underneath the basin, a thick paper washer, and a die-cast metal lock nut to clamp the basket onto the basin. There is also a smaller lock nut that connects the sink tail-piece (the first part of the drain system) to the basket. The cardboard washer would be for friction. The putty on the top is the main sealant for sure and the rubber would be a backup and vibration barrier when the garbage disposal is used.


  28. Gary says:

    Hey Dave,

    I wanted to know if I can run a copper tee horizontally off of the hot water inlet for a shower valve?


  29. Charlotte says:

    I put on a hand held shower and now when I use it cold water continues to run from the tub spout. Is it the shower head or is it the spout or is it the taps that are the problem? Had new washers put on the taps and a new spout recently, before the shower head was installed.

  30. Jocelyn says:

    Hey Dave. I’m having a bit of toilet trouble. I believe that a piece of cardboard got flushed down the toilet and now it is clogged. I tried a plunger but it didn’t seem to help and I tried feeling for it but nothing. What should I do?

  31. David parker says:

    I would get a small Closet Augger Snake for the house from Lowes or Home Depot if your handy? The cardboard is probably lodged in the trap or throat of the toilet and a plunger can’t retreive the item.


  32. Ron says:

    I have a complex issue. We live in an upstairs apartment, and have had the same problems for almost 2 years. Periodically, but often our kitchen sink will back up into our bathtub. We have snaked it, used expensive drain cleaners, dawn dishsoap (that my landlord swore would work), but still this is a problem. It seems like the kitchen sink, bathtub and bathroom sink are all connected. Our landlord hasn’t done anything to fix the issue and we’re getting really irritated. If we run water in the kitchen sink it will slowly fill up. As it fills in the sink the water starts to come out of the bathtub drain and fill up the bathtub also.

    • David Parker says:

      Ron, I’m sorry to here the owner is not taken care of the issue properly. The kitchen line is probably full of grease and needs a proper cleaning. The system is attached in some way on the same branch to be coming up in several areas. The only way to address this issue is with a proper snake and a freindly bacteria product that eat’s waste and helps clean the lines.

  33. Katie Bauer says:

    I am replacing my shower fixtures from Moen Monticello to Moen Kingsley Moentrol (R). Do I need to replace the shower valve, or can I use the existing one?

    • David parker says:

      I’m not sure which Monticello you currently have the posi temp or the Moentrol? How do you turn your handle when you asking for water? Do you pull it out and turn it left to right or in a counter clockwise motion?

  34. Justine says:

    Hi Dave,

    I’ve got my sanitary/storm/water line coming into the house at the front fondation wall. I need to know how I can go about covering these up so that I can finish my basement with a new renovation. Can I build out a ‘closet’ around them or do they have to be totally accessible?


  35. David Parker says:


    I don’t think you would have a problem boxing them in? The access needed would be for the water main shut off or a pressure reducing valve if it’s in that area? You can always install an access panel if you ever need to reach those items?


  36. Mark says:

    When I shut off the cold water intake for my hot water tank, cold water started flowing from my bathroom tub faucet. How/or why?? Really puzzling. Thank you, Mark

    • David parker says:

      Mark, I’m not sure besides maybe you have a pressure balancing valve which needs equal pressure on both sides to work properly? I would have my cartridge replaced because we change heaters all the time turning the shut off at the heater and don’t have water running out a valve on it’s own. I know you should still have cold water but no hot to the shower valve once it’s shut off at the heater unless something is crossed. I would test it again and see what happens but it seems cartridge related?

  37. I Rice says:

    Our house has a Rinnai tankless hot water heater with a propane fuel source. We are converting to natural gas and wonder whether our propane model can be converted or whether we have to buy a new water heater. The model number is R85i, REU2532FFU-US and was manufactured in 2005.

    • David parker says:

      Yes, The unit can be converted with a kit that would have to be ordered and installed by a certified Rinnai Service Tech. We can help you with that if your in our area?

  38. Dave, Here are a couple of questions.

    1. Do you want to do a guest blog post on Grow Plumbing? Maybe an “ask Dave” for other plumbing companies?
    2. Do you want a free profile on Grow plumbing?


  39. Bonnie Jones says:

    Another Bonnie posting here…
    Your plumber noticed that the pressure from Charlotte’s water system is extremely high in our neighborhood. Couple this with the fact that our house was built in 1985 with plastic piping and we know that’s a disaster (although I’d like to understand the problems with this litigated system that’s installed). Anyway, our neighbors had an upstairs pipe burst while on vacation. Made me think I should look into it further. Any suggestions?

    • David parker says:

      Bonnie, It sounds like your referring to poly pipe which does have issue. I find more issues with the fittings that were used if they are plastic? I would just have my system looked at if you have known issues in the area? I don’t think the law suits are ongoing anymore and have been closed out? I know if you have that piping I would make sure my pressure is regulated to below 80psi but that doesn’t mean you cant still have a problem?


  40. peter says:

    One of my two gas water heaters (Rheems model 41V40s-40. The upstream heater is not even on. The downstream heater is leaking at the rate of a drop every ten seconds. Will flushing it, (I flushed out about a gallon or so but it still leaks)alleviate the problem .

    • David Parker says:

      Peter, The water heaters are tied in series and the first heater is the most common one to fail as it works the hardest. The draining if the heater won’t help anything at this point it sounds like it has a crack of some sort? The second heater may just need the pilot lit but is probably the same age as the other heater? I would turn off the leaking heater and drain it if it’s in a location that can cause damage. The heater that is not lit right now would have to be piped in by itself if you try and use it alone and if it’s repairable?

      Hope this helps?

  41. timnichols says:

    need to remove hot water heater from attic 3 stories where is the best place to put new tankless heater

    • David parker says:

      That depends on the layout of the house and would be something we need to look at? We sometimes just build a wall and install the unit in the attic if the gas is sufficient. We also like to install them anywhere outside if you have a crawlspace or even under the crawlspace if you have at
      least 4ft of height? We also can put them in garages or storage closets? We just need to get some eyes on it and walk you through the process of what works for us and you!!


  42. Russ Bullock says:

    Merry Xmas to you and your’s Dave,

    We have moved from 609 White Oaks Circle, Monroe,NC to 6922 Cinnamon Circle, Mint Hill, NC. You did a great job on replumbing my old home. What is the charge for installation for a new natural gas vent free fireplace. I have natural gas water heater(located right behind the wall where the fireplace is located to tap into.)
    Thanks for your expertise again,

    Russ Bullock

    • David parker says:

      Hey Russ,

      I can have a tech come look for free it really depends on the type of fireplace you have? The inserts are harder to pipe than a brick fireplace. I would just give us a call and have us stop over for a free assessment…

      Merry Christmas

  43. Ann says:

    How do I clean a drain if I can’t get the plug to come out of the drain? Is there some trick to getting the plug out of the drain? Any sort of drain cleaner I can pour down there to obliterate the crap that’s plugging up my drain down in the pipes? Thanksin advance for any and all advice.

  44. David Parker says:

    Ann, I need to know what kind of drain your referring to? A bathroom sink drain need the stopper removed from underneath the sink. I am guessing hair may be the issue if it’s a tub or sink? We carry something strong that can burn through the hair but would never recommend a homeowner application that would need to be a professions for safety reasons.
    A coat hanger works best if trying to hook and retrieve hair.


  45. Robin says:

    Dear Dave,

    I live in a Charlotte condo and just had a new electric hot water heater installed last month by my friend who is an electrician. I was thinking everything was ok, but now I find that my washing machine which is less than 6 months old is running cold water when the warm water selector has been selected.The water in the shower and kitchen sink gets hot water, so I am not sure what the problem could be. The water in the bathroom sinks does take a little longer to heat also. I will appreciated your knowledge and help. Thank you, Robin

    • David Parker says:

      Robin, I guess my first question would be does it ever get hot to the washer? And have you checked if the cold setting is actually the hot? We have some clients cross the hoses in the back of the washer. If you have hot water everywhere else something is happening at the fixture. I would say if it just takes time to get to the washer run a fixture close by before starting the hot cycle. I would also recommend a return pump if it’s just a matter of travel time?


  46. Loyce Dettman says:

    Tankless gas water heaters – I’ve heard they do not handle calcium buildups very well and need to be flushed out every 6 months. Is that true or is there a brand that handles that issue?

    • David parker says:


      All Tankless units need to be flushed once or twice a year depending on water quality? A storage type heater recommends the same thing. A water softener will help with buildup as well. The process is very simple and takes roughly 30 minutes.

  47. Jackie Duick says:

    There is a plumber name Dave,
    who may cost a lot but in the long run you save;
    His workers are diligent and nifty,
    and can fix your problem in a jiffy;
    So call on Dave the “plumber man”,
    if they can`t fix it no one can.

    P.S. Dave
    I hope you and your family are doing well.

  48. Richard Blair says:

    Hi Dave: I have a natural gas tankless water heater, (it is functioning as it should ), I have at least a 45 second waste time waiting for hot water, also shut off the hot and turn it on again and get the cold water surprise. Have talked about recirculating pumps, passive loops and a point of use water heater (small size) connected to the cold water line before entering the Rannia. What would be the most efficient way to go, so as not to waste water or electricity or natural gas. And what would such a system cost, +/- ? Thanks Rich

  49. David parker says:


    It sounds like a small storage tank with a Grundfos Comfort System would be better suited for you? The pump has a timer and returns from the cold water side at the furthest point of the house. The tank will help with the cold water sandwich your experiencing. The pricing would depend on the layout of the current system and how many bypasses we need under the sinks.


  50. Carrie says:

    How can I tell if my hot water heater is not working so well any more? I think my hot water heater is getting old but I can’t tell if needs replaced or if I’m just impatient with how much hot water we get. Sometimes we run out if two of us take showers at the same time. Do tankless water heaters take care of that problem or is a regular hot water heater okay?

    • David Parker says:

      I’m not sure if your heater is gas or electric? I would say if it’s electric an element may be burned out? The electric or gas heaters will build up sediment after time and you have thermal loss. The Tankless units will give hot water and keep on giving. I have one and love it!!

      • Carrie says:

        Thanks, Dave. I may be calling you soon. My heater is gas so I think it must be sediment build up. It may be time to bite the bullet!

  51. joann says:

    when the toilets are flushed , its backing up into the tub and shower, when the water is running in the sink ,if flows into the tub I know I have a blockage ,but where

    • David Parker says:

      Joann, It sounds like your main line which could be stopped up outside somewhere. I would say if you have a cleanout outside unscrew the cap and see if it’s full?

  52. Nirman Mulalic says:

    Dear Sir,

    I’m not sure if this is something you can give an answer to, but I don’t know in which category this belongs.

    What is the difference between parallel piping supply and series piping supply. I cannot paste a drawing of the piping that I did, but I will try to explain it. However, I split 1″pipe in 3/4” and 1” pipe. Length is about 50 meters. I connected the pipes in a manifold which supply building 3/4” pipe, and the pool 1-1/4”. I had water in the building, but almost no water in the pool. When I blocked 3/4” supply pipe to manifold and left only 1” pipe, a got water both in the building and the pool. I don’t understand what happened. Was it due to parallel piping or something else.
    Thank you.

  53. Susan says:

    We have well water. Sometimes the water is off when I get home from work, the store, just being gone a couple hours. It will also shut off while we are using it. If we go downstairs and flip the switch back on [sometimes this takes several tries] the water will start back up and work fine, until the next time it shuts off again. Do I need a new switch, tank, pump? Please help, I’m getting tired of jumping out of the shower to turn the water back on. Thanks for any help you can offer.

    • David says:

      It sounds like a pressure switch issue? It could also be a at the pump in the well casing underground which may be overheating for some underlying issue? I don’t know if you live in Charlotte but McCall Brothers is who we use when a pump has to be pulled. We can deal with things above ground but leave the pumps to the well guys.


  54. art person says:

    I am planning to buy an 1100 square ft two-level condo–I have learned that one other unit (out of 15 in this 1989 vintage building) had an issue where copper plated steel straps reacted with the copper piping and caused serious leaks and extensive water damage. The piping is in the floor on each of the two levels. What would be the best way to handle this if I end up closing on the unit? I assume replacement of the pipes? What would be the best and least expensive way and very roughly what price range would I be looking at? Thanks Dave!

    • David says:

      We would have to look at something like this! A re-pipe can be tough depending on the layout? We cannot provide a quote without knowing what were up against otherwise were shooting from the hip and may be way off. I would have someone look at this before purchase if you have a concern. We can provide a free quote but need a site visit.


      • art person says:

        Thanks Dave. A follow up question: have you run into this problem involving this kind of strapping reacting with copper piping and eventually causing leaks? Is it (was it)common? Because I was wondering why that kind of strapping would ever be placed with copper piping.
        I appreciate anything you can tell me.

  55. Linda James says:

    Hi Dave,
    Several months ago you gave info on how to keep the garbage
    disposal smelling clean and fresh. I remember the “rock salt”, but what was the other ingredient? Thanks.
    P. S. Your company is the BEST!!

    • ER Plumbing says:

      Rock salt and ice – run cold water as you grind it all up! Try five cups of ice with 1 cup of rock salt.

      You can also try baking soda and ice or white vinegar and ice – all work great!

      Thank you!

  56. Michael says:

    What kind of valve should be used to replace a water main shut off?

  57. David says:

    Michael, We like to use Ball Valves! The valves are easy to turn and quicker to shut off!

  58. Jim G says:

    Hi Dave – I have a moentrol mixer valve with a tub spout diverter – I’m converting to a shower-only system and need to get rid of the push button diverter stem. Can I just remove and plug, or…? I know I need to plug the tub outlet.

    • David Parker says:

      Jim, You could actually just cap off the tub spout. Are you working in the wall? If so the proper shower height is 4ft to the handle so the valve would need to be raised and If that’s the case change the valve to todays standard which is an anti scald valve. That way when someone flushes the toilet you don’t get burnt!


      • Jim G says:

        Hi Dave – was hoping not to have to replumb, and guess I forgot to mention that the problem is that I can’t fit a shower-only escutcheon plate with the diverter stem in the way. Was thinking that I could just cut off about 1 1/2 inches, don’ think there are any water-pressure-exposed parts in the protruding stem.

  59. Jim G says:

    Decided to go ahead and replumb, turns out that the new escutcheon/handle kit had the wrong screw hole pattern anyway even though it was made by Moen and supposed to be a Moentrol replacement.

  60. Ellie says:

    Hi Dave,

    I’ve looked through some of the questions people have asked but none are what I need answered.

    I live in S. Fla in a second story condo for about 15 years now. I’ve never had plumbing or water & sewer issues but for the last couple of years I’ve noticed a foul odor under my kitchen sink. It used to be sporadic but it’s all the time now and the smell is getting stronger but I don’t have any problems with drainage, stoppages, moisture or leaks. In that sink, I have a garbage disposal and my dish washer drains into it. I hardly ever use my dish washer but in the last couple of weeks I’ve used it a lot and it doesn’t seem to make it any better. Anyway, my concern has increased because one of my downstairs neighbors just had they main line snaked out. They had to use over 60 feet of snake to break through the stoppage(this is the 3rd time in less than 2 months). They are not directly below me but I guess I wonder if their issue could be somehow related to the odor I’m getting in my sink. The cleaning out of their line didn’t help my odor issue at all.

    • David Parker says:


      You may have a studer vent under the sink which is something commonly used instead of a vent through the roof? I would look underneath the sink and see if you see that type of application? If so change the vent it is a mechanical fitting and can fail. I would goggle it so you know what it looks like. I don’t know how old your building is but if the waste arm is cast iron or galvenized it could rot from sugers and create a hole in the arm which will give off a smell as well and could leak? I would also say slow drains can create back pressure and contribute to smells but that would be from above the sink. The last thing is to make sure all the waste nuts to the p-traps are tight where it comes through the wall. Any friendly bacteria you apply down the drains will help with smells from inside the pipes and garbage disposal before it gets to the trap seal.


  61. Leigh says:

    My toilet was leaking from tank, seem like from bolts, but only 10 minutes after toilet was flushed and only a couple of teaspoons. Had a plumber come out, he replaced everything in tank and piece between tank and toilet. Did not leak when he was here after several flushes but then 30 minutes later there was a teaspoon of water. Now is leaking from right side bolt. Lots of air bubbles around bolt head. Plumber says might by crack in tank. What do you think? Thank you so much for this service. Leigh

    • David says:

      I guess if the plumber has changed all the gaskets and bolts it could be a hairline crack in the tank. I’m not sure what brand of toilet you have but some of the old American Standard toilets use specific bolts and washers.


  62. andrea says:

    hi I have water from the kitchen sink back up into the dishwasher then I cut the dishwasher on and then it back up back into the sinks, I have snake the drain and used two drain cleaner. The hose
    for the dishwasher is hanging up high, what else can I try. please help

    • David Parker says:

      Andrea, The drain still seems clogged you may not have snaked far enough? I would run more cable down the line. I’m guessing the sink drains slow or none just running the faucet correct?

  63. Ashley says:

    Hi Dave,

    My husband and I are building a home. The builder agreed to put the water heater in the garage at our plan meeting. Without our knowledge he placed it in the attic. No drywall is up yet. Is it costly to relocate the water heater or should this be a fairly easy fix?

    Thanks for any advice!

    • David Parker says:

      The relocation of the heater expense would vary on location, gas and water connections, venting, type of heater, and slab or crawlspace? A crawlspace would be the most desired for a relocate you can access things easier. You have an advantage because drywall is not up so anything can be done now with limited costs. The real issue becomes where it’s placed if you can get it on an exterior wall in the garage it can be vented through the side of the house assuming it’s gas? A back left or right hand side of the garage is the way we see most installs. If the heater has to be vented through the roof it gets more expensive. I would never want my heater in my attic we see to many damages when it eventually fails. I would also mention any new heater made after April this year will be two inches wider which will be an issue for anyone with pull down stairs to get into attics. The heaters now are around 21″ wide soon to be 23″ or so for greater energy efficiency.


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