Ask The Expert

Proper Garbage Disposal Usage

Question:
My husband and I are having a debate pertaining to what can be put into the garbage disposal. My winning this debate is in your hands. What can be put in a garbage disposal?

Elaina J.

Answer:
The rule of thumb for what can be put in a disposal is, any food can be put in the disposal that you can chew with your teeth. Now, a fork or a steak bone will not generally be consumed by a human so those items would not be allowed. The real problem begins after the disposal in the waste piping. Oil and grease are things NOT to put in the disposal as they will adhere to the sidewalls on the inside of the piping and start choking down the flow. If I had to put grease in the piping, I would put it down with cold water to try and solidify the grease. Potato peelings and such should be placed in the disposal in small portions with a lot of water.

Wes Rosenberg, Owner/Master Plumber

Refrigerator Water Dispenser/Ice Maker

Question:
My mother just purchased a new refrigerator with a water/ice maker on the door. She doesn’t have water feeding into it right now. What does it take to hook up the water to this unit?

Anthony L.

Answer:
State code states that a needle valve/clamp on a saddle valve is illegal for the installation of an ice maker. An actual tee with a valve needs to be installed on a cold-water supply pipe in the basement. They have kits available for this, however, they are furnished with plastic tubing. I like to use copper tubing for my installations. The reason I prefer copper is because over a period of time, the chlorine in the water makes the plastic brittle and it can easily break, which could cause extensive financial damage to floors and finished basements. When installing, I also like to have a couple loops of slack behind the refrigerator in case I need to pull the fridge out without ripping apart the connection in the back. If you need a hand, please call me!

Wes Rosenberg, Owner/Master Plumber

AC and a Clammy Home

Question:
Hello, my wife and I had a new air conditioning unit installed in our home earlier this year, (not by your company). The new AC unit keeps the house cool, but now it's always kind of clammy in our home. Is it because of the type of refrigerant used in our specific unit? What can be done about it? The old unit didn’t do this.

Lance H.

Answer:
When we get this time of a complaint, a few things come to mind. One thing is that the unit could be oversized, or the unit is not set up properly. In the case of it being oversized, the unit will not run long enough to pull the humidity out of the space and technically, be short cycling. Bigger is not always better. You could run a separate dehumidifier in your home as well to get rid of some of the humidity. Please call us if you would like us to assess the set up of that unit.

Wes Rosenberg, Owner/Master Plumber

Check Valves & Discharge Pipes

Question:
With all this rain, my pump keeps turning on and the piping keeps blowing apart inside the house spewing water everywhere! This may be a stupid question with a simple answer, but I’d like to know how you keep that check valve from blowing apart? I’ve tightened it as much as possible using tools.

Tony S.

Answer:
From what you’re telling me it seems the check valve is tight enough. What I think is happening is that the discharge pipe is going outside above the ground, then turns down into the ground and runs underneath to a place of termination. I believe with all the rain and current snow melt, your discharge pipe underground may still be frozen and not allowing water to escape to the termination area. The pump can’t pump the water out and the check valve is the weakest joint in the system, thus blowing apart at the point. That pipe outside should be disconnected (temporarily) until the ground thaws, and then reconnected. In the event you need help with this, please call us!

Wes Rosenberg, Owner/Master Plumber

Submersible (Sump) Pumps

Question:
I have a sump pump on a pedestal. I want to get a new one, however, what is out there? Are there better options for me?

Bill S.

Answer:
I prefer a submersible pump. A submersible pump is cooled by water in the crock so it won’t overheat. I also suggest to have a separate float/switch that is detachable from the pump. This gives the customer the ability to set the run time to be the most efficient. Many submersible pumps have the float/switch as part of the pump. This brings up (2) potential problems. One, if the switch goes bad, you have to change the pump too! The other problem is, you can’t adjust the run time to work efficiently. You usually are fighting mother nature and the pumps are running too often. We also have a battery back up system that sisters our pump and is very user friendly. Call us to help you out and to set up your pump correctly.

Wes Rosenberg, Owner/Master Plumber

Sewer & Septic Advice

Question:
I live out in the country, in a small home with no basement. I woke up one day and my bathtub was full of water and had washed over onto the floor. I didn’t use any of my plumbing. What is going on? I don’t want this to happen again!

Annette R.

Answer:
I believe your sewer is plugged or your septic tank needs pumping out. You gave me a clue! You said that you lived in the country. I bet you have an iron filter or water softener. Softeners and iron filters are usually programmed to backwash during early morning to not bother you during the day and be ready for daily water usage. I believe your softener went into backwash mode due to the plugged sewer. Be grateful that the tub reservoir collected most of the water. A tub full of water could have caused great financial damage. If you need your sewer unplugged or pumped out, please call, we can help you with that.

Wes Rosenberg, Owner/Master Plumber