FAQs

Q?

I have black water coming out of my faucets, what does it mean?

A.

There are several possible reasons for discolored water, but ultimately water testing will be critical in diagnosing the cause of the problem. Minerals, including iron and magnesium, algae, pipe degradation and resin beads can all cause black water.

Magnesium is often found in water and when mixed with oxygen, turns black. If you look in your toilet tank and the inside is black, then you have magnesium and probably iron in the water. In either case, they are harmless to you. But if you want them gone, you will have to filter your water. Call a water softener company to analyze your water and determine what you need to remove the color. If the piping in your house is steel or galvanized, you could be getting mineral flakes from exposed iron (rust). Under the right conditions, with the right natural minerals and elements in the water (like magnesium), then you could get black water out of the faucets. Natural resin beads from your water softener are often black in color, like charcoal. Sometimes the water softener can break down and the resin beads can get our and into the water system. Roto-Rooter can properly diagnose the problem and offer some solutions.

Q?

A pipe snake got stuck in our bathtub drain, what should we do?

A.

With drain problems like this, you’ll need to open the access panel and remove the trap, then clean the drain through the branch line. Often times the overflow pipe is too small to clear the branch line properly. Even if you do get through, because the turn through the trap is so tight, the snake often gets stuck.

Q?

Can I use Roto-Rooter Pipe Shield in a kitchen sink that has a garbage disposal?

A.

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

Q?

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?

A.

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.

Q?

My shower head has a build-up of a white substance around the area where the water comes out. Is there anything I can do or do I need to replace it?

A.

The unsightly build-up is mineral deposits. To remove these deposits from the showerhead, take a plastic bag and pour a cup of vinegar in it. Place the bag over the showerhead 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.

Q?

We have low water pressure, is it caused by calcium build-up in our copper pipes?

A.

A calcium build-up in copper pipes is a rarity, though it is possible with extremely high levels of calcium. If this happens, you'll need to install a water softener to treat the water. This will not only save your pipes, but also your washing machine, dishwasher and toilets. As far as removing the calcium from the inside of the copper pipes, there is nothing you can put into the pipes that you would want to drink later. No governmental agency will allow plumbers to treat the inside of copper pipes because of the hazards involved.

You could use vinegar in the pipes, but it would take a lot of vinegar and you would have to leave it in the pipes at least 24 hours. You would have to remove all of the water in the pipes and replace it with vinegar. Vinegar dissolves calcium and minerals. Then you would have to flush your pipes. The vinegar taste may be in the pipes for some time afterwards, but it is completely harmless.

A better solution is to simply replace the pipes with PEX plastic pipes. Plastic is completely resistant to any mineral build-up and provides higher pressures and water flow rates than copper pipe. A ROTO-ROOTER plumber can evaluate your pipes and give you some options.

Q?

I recently had my water heater replaced and now I have water leaking from the pressure relief tube, what should I do?

A.

Pressure and temperature relief valves are designed to go off whenever there is an increase in pressure in the water system. This would include every time the water heater begins to heat the water, since the water is expanding and increasing tank pressure. If there is no check valve on the house, the water expands into the city water supply pipe and the pressure is relieved. But if there is a check valve serving the entire home, then you will need to install an expansion tank to absorb the pressure. Roto-Rooter has licensed plumbers who can handle this for you if you are not equipped to do it yourself.