Mr. Expert Plumbing Reviews

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Freezing Pipes / Winterization


Winters are cold and we were told to turn off the outside faucets in the fall before the freezing weather arrives.  We did this, however the pipes leading to our outside faucet still froze and broke.  What did we do wrong?

Turning off the water is not enough.  You must also disconnect the garden hose connected to the faucet to allow the water in the pipe to drain out.  This will allow the piping to withstand the cold weather.

Our cold water faucet filters are all clogged with small yellow/orange balls.  We have purged the lines and it appears to be corrected but we'd like to know what were they?

In addition to something unknown, a couple of things come to mind.  When a water softener screen fails, the resin beads can get out of the softener and into the water system.  Every water softener is filled with small zeolite resin beads.  These beads are designed to remove calcium and minerals from the water and replace then with sodium or potassium ions.  When the filter that holds in the beads develops a hole the resin beads can flow through the water supply system.  Inside every water heater there is a plastic tube that takes the inlet cold water and runs it down through the hot water to the bottom of the water heater, so the cold water doesn't mix with the hot water and prevent you from getting hot water.  Unfortunately, some types of water actually dissolve the plastic and cause it to flow out into the water system.  If you are now getting lukewarm water instead of hot water, that is your problem.

DO YOU GIVE FREE ESTIMATES?

YES!  We will have a Technician come to your home or place of business, assess what needs to be done, and give you a Free, No Obligation Estimate.

WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE?

MR. EXPERT Plumbing charges by the Job, NOT by the hour, and THAT saves you Money!  We pride ourselves on our upfront pricing policy.  Estimates are always free and our Technicians always wait for your approval prior to starting anything.

My sewer is backed up. I tried clog remover products and we also used a drain cable to clean the main sewer.  It took all 100 feet of the cable and the sewer is still backed up.  Might the problem be in the city's sewer main? What else can I do?

When you have run a main line cable down your drain and it is still backing up, it is time for a camera inspection.  Many times when people rent equipment, they break through the clog, but don't remove all of the roots.  It takes an experienced technician to do a thorough job.  The roots simply grow back again or fall back into place because they were just moved aside by the cleaning equipment and not cut out.  Pipes need to have all of the roots scraped off of the full interior diameter of the pipe and pushed out to the sewer main.  It is possible that the city sewer is backing up but not as likely as what I've described above.  In addition, if you have roots in your piping, I would have a professional run a video inspection camera down your line and the two of you can examine the condition of the piping by looking at the video monitor.  Many people resist paying the extra money for the camera inspection, but you will learn the exact condition of the piping, any damage caused by roots and how much longer your pipes will last.  Just remember the sewer line in your yard is your responsibility, it doesn't belong to the city.  A camera inspection will show you if the problem is inside the house or out in the yard.  The camera will also measure the distance between clean-outs and even locate missing clean-outs you didn't know were there. With a camera, you can see the vertical riser for a clean-out coming off the pipe and locate it exactly with the radio transmitter on the end of the camera head.

What drain cleaning product could I use to get my drains flowing better?


We recommend an enzyme-type drain cleaner, such as MR. EXPERT Plumbing enzyme Drain cleaning product, the natural enzymes eat the grease and hair and keep the pipe from filling with sludge.  Used as directed, these products turn the sludge into a liquid that will flow out of the pipes and into the main sewer.  Pipe Shield's exclusive formula uses natural bacteria to breakdown deposits, so it's safe for the environment. When used as directed each month, build-up can be prevented for up to 30 days.

My drain lines are in a crawl space under my house.  A pipe is open and lets all of the water drain under my house.  Is this a problem?

Generally when you have an open pipe under a house and the pipe is not blocked, you never know because the water drains out to the street and not out the hole.  But when you have an open pipe and a blocked drain, the water flows out under the house and creates an unsanitary mess.  You need to have your drain line cleaned and have the drain cover put back on the clean-out.  The area under the house should be disinfected or you could build-up harmful bacteria and molds under the house which could cause health hazards.  Contact a plumbing professional to discuss your options for drain cleaning, clean-out or pipe repair, and the cleanup of the area under your house. 

We will be gone for about six months and no one will be living in the house.  We have a caretaker to check on the house and we will shut off the water.  How can I keep roots from growing in the sewer pipes.  Do toilets need to be flushed?  What other recommendations do you have?

RV antifreeze in toilet bowls and sink traps will not evaporate and keeps the sewer gas in the pipes.  Be sure to shut off the water heater or put on vacation setting.  Shut off the water to the washer because washer hoses can break while you are gone and cause flooding.  Open cabinet doors to allow air to circulate around pipes and set the thermostat setting no lower than 55 degrees to prevent frozen pipes.

I have a shower head with a hose attachment that sprays water where the hose attaches to the faucet.  Tightening the connection does not help.  How do I stop the spray?

Generally there is a rubber gasket inside the nut that tightens onto the shower head arm.  Often this gasket gets damaged or pushed into the shower head arm and does not seal properly.  Remove and reinsert the gasket, or replace for a better seal.

BioClean










When the drainage from one fixture backs up into another, it means that the two lines are connected on one branch line before it enters the main drain. Water always seeks its own level so it will come up in a lower fixture or another sink at the same level if the branch line connecting the fixtures has a blockage after the connection.  Sink lines get filled up with lint, hair and soap scum from the fixtures. As the water goes down the drain, a film is left on the inside of the piping, eventually building up so thick that they reduce the internal diameter of the drain and slow the water flow. A hand snake is designed to open minor clogs in small traps or branch lines. A hand snake can punch a hole in a clog, but it is often like punching a hole in jello. The sludge builds up so thick, when you pull the snake back the sludge just fills back in. Hand snakes are not designed to open piping under the floor, so if the clog is there, you'll need a plumber.  Once the line is cleaned you can use an enzyme-type drain cleaner like MR. EXPERT Plumbing enzyme Drain clean Product to eat away biological material and prevent it from sticking to the inside of the piping, which keeps the line open and flowing. You can buy this from MR. EXPERT Plumbing, please click on our product info.

The sewage is backing up a drain pipe in the house when we do laundry or take a shower and the water barely moves when we flush the toilet.  How do we remedy this problem?

Once you get to a point where the water is backing up in multiple fixtures it means either the main sewer line from the house to the city sewer or septic tank has a blockage. Once these lines get filled, a small hand snake is ineffective.  The same with chemical clog removers. You're way past that point. Right now you are at the stage where you need a professional.

My shower head and faucet aerators have a build-up of a white substance around the area where the water comes out.  Is there anything I can do other than replace them?

The unsightly build-up is mineral deposits.  To remove these deposits from the shower head, take a plastic bag and pour a cup of vinegar in it.  Place the bag over the shower head and use a twist tie to hold it in place overnight.  In the morning, remove the bag and use an old toothbrush to gently scrub off the deposits.  You might be able to remove the aerators from the faucets and allow them to soak in the vinegar overnight.

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I own a small shopping center with two restaurants.  I have the lines snaked every three months or so.  Should I have the lines jetted and will they be clean longer?

Jetting equipment cleans a sewer line better than a snake.  Jetters use varying degrees of water pressure to cut through grease and other debris that build up in drain pipes, especially in restaurants, and draw it back where it can be vacuumed out, providing a more thorough cleaning.  Enzyme-type drain maintenance products drain and Grease Trap Treatment can be automatically injected into the line to help keep grease and food waste from building up in the line.  The enzyme eats the grease and turns it into a liquid, which washes away with water, preventing most backups.

​​​  MR. EXPERT FAQ IN SALT LAKE CITY & UTAH

FAUCETS

I have a couple of drops of water coming out of the spout in the bath tub.  What is your opinion on it being new washers behind faucets and diverter?

Drops of water coming out of a tub spout can be normal if it has a diverter or it can be a leaky washer in the shower faucet.  If it continues to leak all day, then it's a leaky washer. If it leaks for an hour or so, but then quits, it's water draining down from the shower head and emptying into the tub.

The dishwasher is retaining water in its basin. I run it and not use it for days but water seeps into the bottom of the dishwasher. How do I fix this problem?

Generally when you have water that is seeping back into the dishwasher it is because the hose that discharges to the kitchen sink was not installed properly. Dishwasher hoses need to travel uphill from the dishwasher to the underneath side of the counter top, then run downhill to the kitchen sink where it's tied in above the sink trap, creating an upward loop which prevents water from the kitchen sink draining into the dishwasher. If the loop is up as high as possible under the kitchen sink, the water goes down the drain. If the dishwasher hose is installed correctly, then the inlet water solenoid valve is not functioning properly. An appliance technician should repair or replace the valve. Other cause of standing water in dish washer base could be failure of DW motor in this case your best option will be have it check by the appliances repair man.

My Toilet doesn't flush everytime we use it and the water flows to the top.  It doesn't overflow, but water rises to the top and takes a while to go down, then it bubbles.


Gurgling or bubbling is an indication of a blocked branch line off the stack or main drain or a blocked vent.  When water goes into a pipe, it pushes the air through and if there is no place for the air to go, it comes up the trap of the fixture or another fixture.  The line needs to be cleaned to remove the blockage.  If the blockage is far down the line, a hand snake may not have the power and the proper end to open up the pipe.  Liquid drain cleaners don't work on long horizontal pipe sections, because the cleaners settle on the bottom of the pipe and clean only the lower portion of the pipe.

Do you drain pipes to winterize homes?  What else should be done?

When we winterize a home, we remove the meter and use air pressure in all of the water pipes to empty the lines.  We then drain the water heater and shut off the burner.  We empty the toilets and tanks and fill all the traps in the home with RV antifreeze.  If there is a dishwasher, we flush out the supply with air.  Even with everything shut off, you have to supply heat to the meter area to keep the inlet water supply from freezing.  This can be done with a 100 watt light bulb.

We have water backup problems from the sewage line in our basement when there is heavy rain.  What is the best way to prevent it from happening again in the future? Does it work all the time?

If the water is coming in from the outside and it is coming in from the city sewer line or the septic system, you can install a backwater valve on the line inside the house or just outside the house.  A backwater valve has a flapper that only allows the water to travel out of the house, but shuts down when it tries to reverse.  If the problem is occurring because you have water coming in from the outside alongside the foundation from the rain itself, then you need to waterproof your foundation.  This often requires installing a sump basin and drain tile around the foundation to collect the water and pump it outside to a low area where it can run away from the home.  In addition, you should raise the landscaping around the foundation so the water runs away from the house and not towards the house.  You may also want to install rain gutters to collect the water and run it to a lower spot in the yard away from the house.  If the water is coming in from any other source you will have to determine the cause and then repair it to prevent infiltration.

Do you drain pipes to winterize homes?  What else should be done?

When we winterize a home, we remove the meter and use air pressure in all of the water pipes to empty the lines.  We then drain the water heater and shut off the burner.  We empty the toilets and tanks and fill all the traps in the home with RV antifreeze.  If there is a dishwasher, we flush out the supply with air.  Even with everything shut off, you have to supply heat to the meter area to keep the inlet water supply from freezing.  This can be done with a 100 watt light bulb.

Our two bathroom sinks drain very slowly and water comes up in the other sink.  What could be the problem?

Do you need a special tool to remove the waste water drain to install a new tub and drain?

There are all kinds of tools for extracting the lower chrome drain in the bottom of the tub, but many plumbers use a simple sharp steel chisel.  Remove the plug in the bottom of the tub, leaving the chrome ring that seals the shoe to the bottom of the tub.  Turn the basket counterclockwise to remove it from the shoe.  A sharp chisel will notch the face of the chrome and turn the basket 1/4 turn (but don't hit too hard or you will cut right through the brass).  Repeat every quarter turn.  Eventually the basket will come out of the tub and you can remove the parts below the tub and replace them with a new waste and overflow.  Follow the directions in the new waste and overflow box for installation.

The water line from the street to my house is about 40 years old.  I think it is corroded and partially restricting the water.  Can this be cleaned or does it need to be replaced?

Over time, galvanized pipes fill up with calcium and minerals, and there is no code-approved way to clear the line.  Calcium and minerals are leeched out of the water and bond to the inside of galvanized pipe, it forms a rock-like substance.  These minerals begin to choke off the inside of the pipe and slow the water down.  As water slows down, more calcium is removed from the water.  Eventually the inside diameter is reduced so much that water does not flow freely.  The best solution is to replace the line with High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) pipe, which will provide better pressure and volume.

Can you use trenchless technology on a bellied line?  Is it just putting a new line into the same problem?  Does it need to be dug up and repaired?

Trenchless technology cannot be used on a bellied line because the sleeve will simply follow the existing pipe and end up with a belly.  The line has to be dug up at the belly and repaired with a new section of pipe to correct the belly.  There are other techniques for running a new line alongside the existing sewer line with directional boring or with a pneumatic gopher.  Both of these technologies, however, might encounter problems with rocks or underground cables if they are in the path of the bore.


DRAIN CARE PRODUCTS


MR. EXPERT Plumbing enzyme product


Pipe Shield® is safe for garbage disposals and other plumbing fixtures because it is enzyme-based.  Pipe Shield is a mixture of good bacteria and natural enzymes which break down bio-degradable material, but are harmless to inorganic pipe materials like steel, copper and zinc.


MR. EXPERT Plumbing RootX product, is something I can flush down my toilet or is that something that should a plumber professional handle?


We recommend hiring a professional to apply RootX.  However, you can do it yourself, but please read the instructions carefully before using.  Putting products down the toilet can cause additional problems if not done carefully.  This product works best when applied through a sewer clean-out port with the water running.  A two pound container is only effective in the first 50 feet of a 4-inch sewer main.

DRAIN AND SEWER LINES

There is rusty water in both sides of my kitchen sink and water does not drain and stays in the sink.

You probably need to have the drain line professionally cleaned. These lines get clogged with grease, and food particles. Eventually the build up is so thick that the internal diameter of the drain is reduced and water cannot pass quickly through the pipe, total stoppage may occur. MR. EXPERT Plumbing enzyme product regular treatment will eat away the grease and biological scum inside the pipes and extend the time between cleanings.