Mon- Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm; Sat:9:30am - 4:30pm; Sun: by appointment - (586) 775-1046
Mon- Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm; Sat:9:30am - 4:30pm;
Sun: by appointment -
(586) 775-1046

Frequently Asked Plumbing Questions

Foul Odors:

I have a foul odor coming from my garbage disposer. How can I eliminate this odor?”

See Disposal Maintenance under General Plumbing Maintenance Tips.

I’m getting a foul odor form a bathroom in the basement. We hardly ever use this bathroom except when we have company. This is embarrassing. What can we do?

Plumbing systems are designed to prevent foul odors from entering the house by means of the trap attached to fixtures. Traps contain water to seal out foul odors. If the water seal evaporates, the odors enter the house. To solve this problem, pour a bucket of water in each trap, sink, shower and floor drain. This will prevent the odors from entering the house.

I have a foul odor coming from my garbage disposer. How can I eliminate this odor?

See Disposal Maintenance under General Plumbing Maintenance Tips.

Freezing Pipes:

Q. We live in northern Ohio. 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?

A. (See Fall Tips) Turning off the water isn’t enough. Allow the water in the pipes to drain out by disconnecting any garden hoses connected to the faucet. This keeps the piping free of water that can freeze and expand.


Q. How do roots grow?

A. Roots require oxygen and water to grow. Root growth is determined by the soil depth, water supply, aeration, mineral supply and temperature. Root systems are comprised of large, permanent roots for support and stabilization and small feeder roots and root hairs. These small roots are the primary water and nutrient absorbers. Most roots are found in the top 6 to 18 inches of soil. Roots usually extend up to two or three times the height of a tree but can extend as far as seven times the height of the tree. Large, mature trees may have thousands of feel of room system searching for nutrients. Roots are less extensive in clay soils than in sandy or well-drained soils. During drought conditions and in the winter, roots will travel long distances in search of moisture. When trees and shrubs get thirsty, they follow the trail of moisture vapors escaping from small cracks, holes or poorly sealed joints in the water and sewer lines. The roots penetrate the opening to reach the nutrients and moisture inside the pipes.

Q. What happens when roots grow into my pipes?

A. If not controlled, the roots will completely fill the pipe with multiple hair-like root masses at each point of entry. The roots can quickly become clogged with toilet tissue, grease and other debris flowing from home and business out to the main sewer, resulting in reduced flow and slowed drains. Completed blockages may occur if the roots are not controlled and removed. Once the roots have entered the pipe, they continue to grow and expand exerting considerable pressure at the crack or joint. This increased pressure often breaks the pipe and may result in total collapse, which requires repair or replacement. Clay tile pipe is easily penetrated and damaged by tree roots. Concrete pipe and PVC pipe may also allow root intrusion, but to a lesser extent than clay pipe. PVC pipe usually have fewer joints and the tightly fitted joints are less likely to leak as a result of settlement around the pipe.

Q. How can I control roots in my pipes and avoid costly problems?

A. If roots have already entered your pipes, a G&P RootRaider technician can remove the roots using powerful cutting blades. Your technician will recommend the application of a root control product to retard future toot growth. This product will kill only the roots growing in the pipes and will not affect the rest of your tree’s root system.


Q. We need to replace a toilet in our home. We have heard complaints from friends that the new toilets do not flush properly, and that they require multiple flushes. What do you recommend for toilet replacement?

A. In an effort to conserve water, the federal government mandated that new toilets use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. The manufacturers had to develop a toilet that would achieve this but that would also flush properly and carry the waste to the city sewer or septic system. Some of the early models failed to accomplish this goal. Complaints have forced the manufacturers to develop new ways of flushing toilets. One new way is the use of a pressurized toilet tank. This model looks the same as a regular toilet, but it has a pressure tank inside. When flushed, it works on the same basis as a commercial toilet. These toilets work well, but are not as quiet as the conventional model. When considering the purchase of new fixtures for your home, we suggest you choose a fixture made by one of the major manufacturers, such as American Standard, Kohler or Eljer.

Q. Recently my water bills appear to be rather high. None of my faucets appear to leak. What else could cause high water bills?

A. Check to see if the toilet is leaking. First, check the water level to ensure that water is not overflowing the tank by way of the overflow pipe. This is the pipe in the middle of the tank with small tubing connected to it. If water is running into the overflow, adjust the fill valve to stop the flow approximately one inch below the top of the overflow tube or to the water level mark stamped on the side of the tank. Second, put a few drops of food coloring into the tank to test the flush valve mechanism. If the water in the bowl changes color within 15 minutes, this indicates that water is leaking into the toilet bowl and that the ball or flapper needs to be replaced. (See also General Plumbing Tips).


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