How do I get a municipal water report?

The 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments require that all municipal water systems provide customers with an annual report on the quality of their drinking water. This is called a Consumer Confidence Report. These reports are usually posted on their websites. Visit to locate your local water utility company. Download more information on Consumer Confidence Reports.

My water smells like rotten eggs?

This is caused by hydrogen sulfide in water, produced by bacteria in deep wells and in low-use stagnant water mains. It is highly corrosive, so other problems may accompany the smell. Odors such as this can be removed or reduced simply and cost effectively with a combination oxidizing filter, sediment filter and carbon filter. Note in some cases your water heater anod rod could be deteriorated causing likewise smell.

Does my water softener treat my water?

Water softeners use an ion exchange process. Typically sodium chloride is exchanged for hard minerals like calcium and magnesium, which makes water “soft”. Hard minerals cause scale on plumbing fixtures, and are difficult to remove if prolonged untreated water persists. Softener systems are usually comprised of a resin tank, where the ion exchange process takes place, and a brine tank where the salt solution is created. A softener can exchange other contaminants depending on the resin used, for example it can help remove iron from water. However, a softener does not filter the water, so many contaminants such as dirt, cysts and particles can pass through a softener resin bed.

What is reverse osmosis?

Science class taught us that osmosis is a natural process by which water and nutrients are supplied to living cells. The cell membrane is a natural, semi-permeable membrane, meaning only selected materials can pass through, and others cannot. An osmotic membrane allows only water to pass through easily, while restricting the passage of all kinds of contaminants. If such a membrane separates two water solutions with different concentrations, osmosis will cause water to move from the diluted solution into the more concentrated solution, as if to dilute it.

Because Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) cannot be removed with mechanical filtration or standard carbon filtration, a Reverse Osmosis system is one of the most effective means of filtration. With an RO system the TDS level increases on the high pressure side of the membrane as water permeates through the membrane to the low pressure side. The high TDS water is flushed down the drain, and the water that has passed through the membrane now has very little TDS and is available for immediate use.

Semi-permeable membranes are critical for reverse osmosis to be effective. Today, the most common artificial membranes are made from cellulose acetate, cellulose triacetate or aromatic polyamide resins. These membranes are tough enough to sustain the higher water pressures needed for maximum contaminant removal efficiency. Unlike ion exchange systems that need to be regenerated often, the average RO membrane can last two or three years before replacement.


Reverse Osmosis systems are also more expensive than traditional filtration, and require more maintenance. And, because a portion of the water supply must be used to flush the contaminants to drain, there is a waste factor that can represent a significant portion of the total water use. Another drawback to Reverse Osmosis is it produces clean water at a slow rate, and therefore requires the use of a holding tank so water is available during peak usage periods.

Can I increase the water pressure in my bathroom faucet?

First, check the emergency shutoff under your sink to make sure it’s fully open. If rubber washers or seals have begun to deteriorate, you’ll also lose water pressure, so check those. Calcium and lime buildup in your aerator will also cause low water pressure.

What should I do to take care of my faucets and sinks?

Even small drips can waste thousands of gallons of water, as much as 150 gallons a day! Be sure to check under sinks for moisture or small leaks. And always repair leaky faucets right away to avoid paying for wasted water, and also to avoid water damage to your fixtures and pipes. Remove and clean your faucet aerators/screens annually to ensure an even flow of water, or more often if water flow has decreased. Make sure overflow holes on tubs and vanities are clear and open to prevent water damage to floors and ceilings.

Can I replace my two-handled faucet with a single-handle faucet?

Usually, faucet dimensions and sink openings are standard throughout the plumbing industry, so the answer is usually yes. There are a few exceptions, so check the size of the sink opening before you buy new fixtures.

How can I prevent clogged drains?

Do not rinse fats or cooking oils down the kitchen sink. Liquid fats solidify in the cold pipes and create clogs. To help prevent clogs, fit all your tubs and shower drains with a strainer that catches hair and soap chips, and clean the strainer regularly. Ask us about our product BioClean.

What causes my kitchen sink and washing machine drains to clog?

In most homes, the kitchen and laundry drains are connected. When the lint from the laundry drains meets the grease buildup from soap and food products, a nearly solid substance is formed, causing blockage. Using filters and strainers will help, but you’ll also need to get the drains snaked periodically as well.

Should I close and open the main water supply shutoff valve periodically?

Yes. You want to make sure they’re not stuck in the open position just when you have a water emergency! Do the same periodic check for the shutoff valves on your sinks, tubs, and toilets, too.

Why do I hear a vibrating noise in my pipes?

Noises can be fairly common in plumbing supply lines. If a washer in a faucet or valve is loose, you’ll hear it rattling or knocking. If the sound occurs when you open and close faucets rapidly, it generally means pipes are loose, and can be corrected by anchoring pipes more securely. If it really bothers you, you can add air chambers at the end of long pipe runs. Their installation will probably require a plumbing professional.

What can I do about a sewer line blockage?

The main culprit is tree roots, and once they’ve blocked the line, there is very little you can do. A plumbing professional can snake the line to get it as clear as possible, and then use copper sulfide products to kill the remaining vegetation. But odds are the sewer line will most likely need to be replaced.

Are caustic liquid drain openers (like Drano or Liquid Plumber) harmful to pipes?

For minor clogs, they’re fine, but never use them on a drain that is completely clogged. Once the caustic ingredients are trapped in your pipes, it can severely damage them. If you can’t snake the drain yourself, contact us to do so. Never use caustic drain openers in a drain that has a garbage disposal.

Why doesn’t my old water heater work as well as it used to?

This is usually due to a sediment buildup in your tank. As water heaters grow older, they accumulate sediment and lime deposits. If these deposits are not removed periodically, the sediment will create a barrier between the burner or heating element and the water, greatly reducing the water heater’s performance level. At least once a year, drain water from the tank. Draining a gallon or so on a regular basis helps remove the sediment. You should also periodically inspect your water heater burner. The flame under the heater should appear blue with yellow tips. If it’s mostly yellow, or if it’s sooty under there, your flue may be clogged, which is a dangerous situation. Contact a professional to check it out. At least once every two years, have your water heater inspected by a service technician. He or she will also check the drain valve for signs of leakage, and the anode rods for corrosion.

What’s the best way to extend the life of my garbage disposal?

Always use plenty of cold water when running your disposal, and avoid overloading it. Never dispose of very hard items like bones or corn husks. And never use a caustic drain opener. You can extend the life of your hands by never using them to remove items dropped inside – use tongs instead!

What should I do if my garbage disposal stops working?

Before calling a professional, be sure to try the reset switch located on the bottom of most disposals.

What’s the best way to check for toilet leaks?

Toilet leaks can be wasteful and expensive. At least once a year, check your toilet for leaks by adding a small amount of red food coloring to the tank, and then check the toilet bowl later. If the toilet bowl water is colored red, water is seeping through from the tank. If it is leaking, you should replace the tank ball.