Fixing your Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal is an indispensable appliance in your kitchen and will definitely cause you some major heartache if it goes out.  A regular garbage disposal can work properly for about 10 years with proper maintenance to avoid possible issues than can turn to be a major inconvenience.

Some of the most common problems that you will face with your disposal are  clogging, slow draining and leaking. Even solving these types of issues can be easier than you may imagine and there are several tips you might want to consider to avoid having to deal with them: Use cold water every time you use your garbage disposal, it is very important that you assure a good water flow so food remains get properly shredded. Avoid overfilling your disposal and using it to dispose of bones, glass or metal.

But if these preventive measures don’t get you free from any of the problems mentioned before, here are some repair tips that will help you through solving them. But before we get into fixing your disposer you need to know the golden rules:

  1. USING your bare hands to fix it is OFF LIMITS! Remember that flywheels are extremely dangerous and can cause a lot of damage even when your unit is off and unplugged. Always try to use tools that can help you get issues fixed without risking your own safety.
  2. Every time you have to fix your garbage disposer TURN IT OFF or unplugged if you feel safer. By doing this you are reducing unnecessary accident risks. By doing this you will prevent blades to turn on and cause some more severe damage to the unit and will be way more dangerous to fix it if it’s on.

Is your garbage disposal clogged?

The first thing you will notice when your disposer is jammed is that it will not shred any food remains your throw in your sink or it will be extremely noisy.  Usually this type of problem is caused by un-shredded materials like glass, rubber, metal or even any type of bone you might have disposed of without noticing. Once you notice the clogging, the first thing you will need to do is unplug your disposer, making sure there is not energy source that can turn it back on.

The next step will be to remove the objects obstructing the blades, and you can do it in several ways: check if your unit has a special hex hole that can fit a hex wrench to force blades to turn clockwise until you feel they start to turn freely, which will mean you got rid of the material stuck in it. In case your disposer doesn’t allow you to use a hex wrench, you would want to try using a broom stick to unjam blades from the top of the disposer through the drain hole in your sink. You might also want to try identifying the material that is causing the clogging, and that way you can use a pair of tongs to remove it. Another way to unclog your garbage disposal can be by trying to turning your disposer on and off several times with an abundant water flow until you free all stuck items that may be causing the problem. This last tip might work, but if not you can always go back to alternative fixing procedures.

What if your Garbage Disposer is leaking?

Have you noticed that under your sink you start to feel moisture, or have you noticed small amounts of water under your sink? These questions might be very usual in a home, but is it an issue indicator? Definitely the answer is yes, it can be an indicator that you have a leak going on that has to be taken care of as soon as possible.   This might be one of the easier issues you will be facing, as it might be caused by a superficial damage easy to detect. Turn your unit off and get under the sink, check if every plumb and bolt is adjusted correctly and pay attention to the way your disposal is installed to the sink. Once you have done it, you will be able to identify the leak source.

If the problem is related to bolts, re-adjust them and make sure they are fulfilling their duty by keeping connections tight. If the case on the other hand is caused by a loosen bolt, you can try to tighten connections between them to avoid any further complication. If your leak problem comes from the flange between your sink and your disposal, your best weapon will be plumbing putty, as you can use it to seal the union between the sink flange and the sink.  Re-adjust the bolts and remove any extra putty surrounding the area you have worked in.

If your garbage disposal brings you additional issues you might want to ask for professional help or either get a replacement unit or have a professional repair. Take into consideration that most of the times extra repairs may be more costly than replacing your whole disposal unit in the long run. One of the best recommendations you must keep in mind is that the best way to safeguard your investment is prevention; so make sure everybody at home understand how a garbage disposal works and how to avoid possible damage. Reduce the risk of problems by increasing the maintenance tracking over your disposal to reduce the possibility of clogging, leaking and other issues.

Preventing Rust in Your Water Heater

Nothing is more unpleasant than getting into your shower in the morning only to find that there is brown water pooling at your feet. Most water heaters are manufactured primarily using steel, copper and brass parts, and when you add water into the equation, the most likely problem you will encounter is corrosion. Rust building up in the pipes, vents, or directly inside the water heater tank will not only result in repulsive brown water, but it will greatly reduce your unit’s lifespan and could even be potentially dangerous to your home.

There are several components in your water heater that you should inspect to identify corrosion and clean or replace them periodically. Such a fundamental appliance in your home should always be maintained and tuned-up frequently to avoid potentially harmful and damaging results. Take the necessary precautions, and grab a flashlight; the following components should be carefully checked:

 

  • Check the condition of the sacrificial anode and replace it if has dissolved

 

The sacrificial anode is a small rod, usually made of aluminum, placed at the top of the water heater, and its precise function is to attract rust and prevent it from accumulating on the bottom of the tank. It is called sacrificial because it literally slowly dissolves while attracting rust until it disappears, therefore, it is meant to be replaced after some time. Another issue could be that the anode rode has been covered with calcium buildup, especially if your home experiences hard water problems, and therefore it is not able to attract rust. If your anode rod has dissolved or is covered in scale, you can purchase an inexpensive replacement in your local hardware store and install it yourself. Specialists recommend getting a magnesium anode for best results. Check your sacrificial anode a couple times a year and make it a habit of replacing it regularly for the best way to prevent rust buildup in your tank.

 

  • Check the electrical components and replace for galvanized unions

 

One very damaging problem that is common with electrical water heaters is when electrolysis happens when the steel on the outside of your heater reacts with the copper or brass components inside when they are wet. This will lead to what is called galvanic corrosion, which with time will make the vital heating element of your water heater to stop working altogether. Galvanized unions usually have steel nipples, so the best way to prevent corrosion is to install plastic nipples.

 

  • Inspect the vent pipes and call for assistance if you find holes

 

Another important component that should be inspected regularly is the vent pipe your unit uses to vent out the gas that flows through to heat up your water. Since this is also a metal component, it is prone to corrosion and wear through time, so you should grab your flashlight and carefully check for holes or cracks around the seems. Unfortunately, fixing a leaky vent pipe is not something you can do on your own, so if you do find a leak, immediately turn off the gas supply to your heater, don’t turn on any switches or light any flames; vent out the room, and call an emergency service to fix up your vent as soon as possible. The gas that comes through the leak is highly flammable and toxic, so you shouldn’t wait to have it repaired.

 

  • Examine the combustion chamber and call for assistance if corrosion is found

 

Your water heater’s combustion chamber is another common spot for corrosion and other problems that should be checked a couple times a year. In order to inspect your unit’s burner chamber at the very bottom of your tank, you should wear protective gear for your hands and eyes, turn your heater to pilot mode and remove the chamber’s cover or look through its sight glass; be careful since it might be hot. Use your flashlight for signs of rust, foreign objects or soot inside. If any of these are present, it can be dangerous for you to deal with them, so you should call a professional plumbing service to come clean it as soon as possible.


Corrosion can become a slow killer inside your water heater that will significantly damage all the components in your unit and eventually make the entire system fail. Your water heater requires yearly inspections in order to give it the maintenance service it needs to work efficiently and safely, so these are good opportunities to ask your plumbing professional to point out potential corrosion sources and to guide you through the modifications you should make to prevent potential problems. Don’t neglect such a fundamental part of your daily life, especially during the colder months in which a cold shower won’t be welcomed; follow these tips and you will be on the right track towards healthy and clean water.

How to Quiet Banging Pipes

Water hammer refers to a specific banging noise your pipes make when fast rushing water that goes through them is brought to an abrupt stop when you shut off a faucet or an appliance closes off the water supply suddenly. You might have been experiencing loud, repetitive banging noises coming from somewhere in your walls, especially so when your washing machine or dishwasher are running. These appliances have valves that open and close very quickly, so when the pipes haven’t been properly secured to the walls or proper installation of cushions and air chambers haven’t been made, the water flowing through will suddenly stop and will make the pipes shake and rattle against wood and metal around it, which will cause the loud banging noises. This can also happen when the water pressure is too high and there is not enough air to slow it down and avoid shaking your pipes.

Not only is water hammer annoying, but it can also wear down your pipes and cause cracks that could lead to leaks and burst pipes. For this reason, if you hear your pipes banging loudly, don’t wait any longer and follow these steps in order to put a stop to the noise and protect your pipes from damage:

 

  • Lower your water pressure with a pressure regulator:

 

As we mentioned earlier, if the water pressure in your home is too high, it can cause pipes to crack and fittings to burst if left unattended for long. You can purchase an inexpensive water pressure gauge at a local hardware store and attach it to the hose spigot to measure your home’s current water pressure. The maximum pressure recommended for homes is 80psi, so anything over that can cause real damage to your pipes. The easiest solution in this case is to purchase a pressure regulator and attach it to the main supply line, and set it to a number under 80psi that will still be enough to supply your home and especially second-story rooms.

 

  • Drain the water chambers

 

Your pipes should have had air chambers installed throughout your plumbing to reduce the surge of water and cushion its sudden stops, however, these chambers can flood with water with time, especially if you have high water pressure. If lowering your water pressure is not an option or is not an effective one, you can try draining the chambers to get air back in as a cushion. Assuming you can access your plumbing’s air chambers in your basement or crawlspace, turn off the water supply behind the chamber, and open the faucet for the chamber to drain completely. If the chamber is located below the water outlet, you will have to shut off the main water supply and fully drain the lines to allow air to fill the chambers again. Take the opportunity to pop the cap off the air chamber and clear out any scale or debris buildup that can be putting a strain on your pipes.

 

  • Secure pipe straps

 

Another reason why your pipes might be banging around is due to poorly secured pipe straps. These straps attach the pipes to framing, and when they become loose they can bang or shake against wood and metal around them and cause the noise. Inspect the area where the noise is coming from and make sure pipes are properly fastened. You can purchase pipe straps for a few bucks at a local hardware store and install them on unsecured pipes.

 

  • Install water hammer arrestors

 

If your noisy pipes are behind a wall and you are unable to access them to drain the chambers or fasten the pipes, you might want to consider purchasing a water hammer arrestor. You can find them for about $10 at your local hardware store, and you will see that there are several options to make it easy for you to simply attach them between the shutoff valve or faucet and the water supply line. It is a very good option to get arrestors that can be easily screwed onto your washing machine or dishwasher to reduce water hammer due to their quick shutoff valves, or to attach one under sinks to prevent banging when you close a faucet.

 

Loud banging or any other noise coming from your pipes usually indicates there is a problem, so the noise should not be ignored for long or it could lead to worse problems. Your pipes carry many gallons of fast-moving water, and the constant strain can take a toll on them, resulting in vulnerable fittings and potential cracks. If you hear noise coming from your pipes, act quickly and try to find a solution on your own. If you are not able to fix the issue, a professional plumber will be prepared to come to your home and assess the situation.

Plumbing Repairs

In times where you cannot repair your own plumbing issue, you can call a reputable plumbing company to take care of the problem for you.  Our company can help relieve you from the stress of future plumbing issues by making yearly check-ups to ensure your system is running properly.  It is very important that you remember to take action quickly when you notice something wrong with your plumbing system, no matter how big or small the issues is so that you can avoid costly repairs.  Sadly, plumbing repairs can become extremely expensive if the problem is left unattended.

Before hiring a plumbing company, check your water-heater, faucets, and shower heads so you can ask for possible replacements and don’t be afraid of replacing the entire system.  If you ever notice any part of your plumbing system not working correctly you should consider having those parts replaced.  Replacing a system can be considered a wise investment.  It is always better to spend the money to have your system replaced with a new, functioning one than to have to continuously pay to have your system repaired time and time again.

When you cannot repair your own fixture, you are always welcome to contact us for our service.  Know that when you call Righway Plumbing, day or night, we guarantee to dispatch one of our insured and fully qualified, licensed plumbing experts to come aid you in your plumbing needs immediately.  Do not hesitate to call our company when you’re in need of help.

 

 

 

 

 

Cheap Plumbing Repairs

Plumbing repairs can be quite expensive.  The tears and breakage in a fixture can happen at any given moment and can leave you unaided with no one to help you fix them.  We all want to fix the problems on our own and sometimes we can, depending on how big the problem is.

Minor problems left unattended can turn into much bigger problems down the road. Take for an example a leaky pipe – take the time to have it repaired.  Not taking care of a problem early on can lead to an expensive problem later on.  No one wants to spend unnecessary money, so definitely stay on top of things when it comes to your plumbing system.

There are a few simple plumbing tips that you can do on your own to avoid the expenses.  It is always important to remember that all problems, no matter how big or small, must be fixed right away.  Some small repairs such as changing the washer or cartridge do not require a professional plumber and you can actually do it yourself.  With that said, if you feel like these small repairs are beyond your skills, call for help immediately.  Some ways to help avoid problems altogether is by taking care of the material that might cause your draining system to clog up.  In order to do this you must take care of the buildup of grease and oil that clog up your sink by collecting the excess grease in separate containers and dispose of them when it solidifies.

Fixing your plumbing system does not have to be an expensive process, just always remember to check up on the parts to make sure they are all running correctly.  Again, if you feel like the problem is too much for you, do not hesitate to hire a professional.

 

Ask us your Questions

The staff here at Rightway Plumbing would not call themselves geniuses by any stretch of the imagination. I doubt we can get your email set up on your new smart phone or tell you when to jump into the stock market.

But there is one thing we know – plumbing. We humbly consider ourselves plumbing experts and are more than happy to share our knowledge with you.

If you have a specific question about your plumbing needs, please feel free to post them here. We will give you a clear and concise answer and let you know one way or another whether you need professional plumbing help for the issue you are having.

 

 

 

Prevent Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes can be a real issue for homeowners. Even in an area as mild as Charlotte, your pipes can freeze if exposed to the weather.

There are several tricks you can do to reduce your chances of your pipes freezing.

1. Pipe Insulation

This is simple foam or rubber tubing that fits easily around your pipes. You will need to know the diameter of your pipes before you purchase. A slit down the side allows you to wrap around the pipes and a bit of duct tape will keep it in place.

2. Spigot covers

These handy little devices will snap on to the end of your outdoor spigots, keeping the cold out and reducing the chances of water freezing just inside the faucet.

3. Set your spigot to drip

This is an old tried and true method for those cold nights. Turn your spigots so a slow, but steady drip of water is coming out. The moving water will prevent your lines from freezing up.

 

 

Plumbing Tip of the Week

Bath & Shower Drains

Bath and Shower drains need a strainer to stop soap and hair from going down the drain. The strainers should be cleaned regularly (once a month) to avoid clogs.

 

Plumbing Tip of the Week

Water Heaters

Your water Heater works hard over the winter. Here is an easy step to give it a helping hand.

Sediment buildup causes corrosion which will shorten the life of your heater as well as reducing its heating efficiency.

Once a year flush and remove sediment buildup by draining several gallons from the faucet near the bottom of the tank. This will ease sediment buildup and allow your water heater to work at peak efficiency.

Welcome To Our New Site

Welcome to the new home of Rightway Plumbing! We hope you like our new website and look forward to hearing feedback and comments on it. As always, we are thrilled to bring you the best service in Charlotte for all your plumbing needs.