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Plumbing FAQs

Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling is the leading plumbing, heating and air conditioning in Bucks and Montgomery Counties. Get answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding home plumbing systems below.

Bathroom Remodeling Questions

How long does it take to remodel a bathroom?

At the risk of sounding elusive, we really must say that "it depends". The scope of the bathroom remodeling dictates how long the project will take. For example, if you are relocating your fixtures, reconfiguring and retiling the room, the actual construction will obviously take a little bit longer.

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What do I need to do to prepare for my bathroom renovation?

You can start by getting a good idea for the type of look and style you want. Of course this is not necessary, but it does help if you do. If you don’t know yet, look at some magazines, websites or watch some home remodeling shows to get some design ideas. Then, contact us for a free bathroom design consultation. You will be instructed by one of remodeling consultants as to what exact steps you need to take, but generally speaking, before construction begins, you’ll want to clear out the area being worked on of all your personal belongings that can be removed.

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What type of return on investment can I expect from remodeling my bathroom if I sell my home?

Bathrooms typically get the best return on investment in a remodeled home. Realtor Magazine reported that for the year 2005, the national average return on investment for bathroom remodeling was between 93.2% and 102.2% depending upon if the budget is upscale or moderate.

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Will I have an operational bathroom during my renovation?

While your bathroom may not be completely operational during the renovation, we will never leave you without at least one functional toilet in your home. That is a guarantee. If necessary, we will disconnect and re-install your toilet every day until the project is complete. Our goal is get your bathroom renovation done quickly and with very little hassle.

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Drain Cleaning & Video Camera Pipe Inspection Questions

What is a sewer clean out?

A main line sewer clean out is one or two pipes that normally stick up out of the ground, usually in the front or back yard of the home, and typically in the flower beds around the home or within 2 to 4 feet of the edge of the foundation. This clean out is one or two pipes that tee directly into the main sewer line, its purpose is to allow for something, normally a sewer machine cable to be inserted into the sewer line to unstop a clogged sewer as necessary. We use these clean outs in order to insert a rubber inflatable test ball into the sewer line, or a sewer camera for testing purposes.

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What is the best solution for a clogged bathtub or sink drain?

This is a very common problem and there is no definitive answer as each drain could be clogged for a different reason. The best thing to do is to make sure that the drain is not clogged with hair or soap chips. You can do this by visually inspecting the bathtub or sink drain. The best way to clean hair from a bathtub drain is to remove the drain grate and take a coat hanger and put a little hook on the end and scoop out the hair. You could also use a pair of needle nose pliers as well. The easiest way to clean hair from a lavatory sink drain is to remove the pop-up drain assembly altogether and use the same technique as mentioned above.

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What is the proper way to plunge a bathtub drain?

A bathtub drain is difficult to clear if you have a trip lever because as you plunge the water could push up the trip lever riser. So the best way to use a plunger in a bathtub is to push the plunger in fast and forceful to try to get as much pressure as possible into the p-trap. Plunging a bathtub is not going to work for every clogged drain, and most times you will need something stronger like a snake.

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I have a clogged toilet, what should I do?

The household plunger is frequently the first defense mechanism used to unclog a toilet. Before using a plunger you will want to turn off the toilet’s water shut-off valve. Turning off the emergency shut-off valve will prevent accidental flushes, which can lead to an overflow. Once you have the water turned off, you are ready to unclog the clogged toilet. The rubber end of the plunger should be soft, flexible and have no cracks. To unclog, place the rubber end of the plunger over the clog and push down with a fair amount of pressure. The clog should eventually break, allowing the water to drain.

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I am plagued with slow draining pipes and repetitive clogs, what can I do?

A video camera pipe inspection allows for a real-time visual inspection of underground sewer lines and other piping in order to determine the condition inside the pipe. This state-of-the art technology uses a flexible fiber optic cable with a high-resolution video camera on the tip that transmits images back to the camera operator who can make an informed diagnosis of any problems found. As the cable is inserted through the pipe, equipped with powerful lights it is able to record its findings which can be saved to CD for a permanent record. Our professionally trained technicians are able to pinpoint problems with broken, cracked or collapsed drains that require repair or replacement.

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General Plumbing Questions

What is that white substance that builds up on my shower head and what can I do about it?

The white substance is actually mineral deposits. To remove the mineral deposits from the shower head, pour a cup of vinegar into a plastic bag and then place the bag over the shower head fixture and leave it in place overnight. The next day, remove the bag and use an old toothbrush to scrub off the deposits.

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My toilet fills up every 10 minutes. What is the problem?

This usually indicates that the flush valve in your toilet tank is not seating correctly and water is leaking from the tank into the bowl. This could be the result of the lift chain being tangled, faulty flapper or a problem with the flush valve itself.

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I am getting no hot water from my electric water heater.

The high temperature cutoff may have been tripped, and may need to be reset. Otherwise it’s generally a faulty heating element or thermostat.

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I am not getting enough hot water from my electric water heater.

The temperature control may be set too low. Otherwise it’s generally a faulty heating element or thermostat.

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I am getting no hot water from my gas water heater.

The pilot light may be out, or you may have a faulty thermocouple or gas valve.

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I have poor water pressure at my kitchen sink faucet.

Try removing the faucet aerator at the end of the spout and cleaning the screen of any dirt and debris. The faucet aerator is designed to diffuse the water to prevent splashing, but it can become clogged over time.

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Why does my water smell like rotten eggs?

It could be the anode rod in your water heater. Which leads to the question...What is an anode rod? On the top of your water heater you will find a plug fitting screwed into the tank. Suspended from that fitting is a solid metal rod of magnesium, aluminum or zinc. The sole purpose of these rods is to slowly corrode away so the tank will not. Also referred to as sacrificial anodes, the rods sacrifice themselves to protect the steel tank from rusting. When the anode is no longer able to give sufficient protection, the steel tank will begin to rust. Anode rods can be changed to aluminum in cases where certain chemicals in your water supply cause undesirable odors. Depending on your water conditions, you should have your rods checked every 2 to 4 years to insure tank's longevity and your peace of mind.

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What causes rattling pipes?

This problem is usually caused by the water lines not being properly secured. It can be easily fixed but only if your water lines are easily accessible. It means that either in one or many places your water lines come into contact with the wood of your floor joists. All you need to do is get copper or plastic pipe hangers that will secure your water lines to your wooden joists.

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Plumbing Maintenance Questions

What is the Carney Care Club?

The Carney Care Club is our comprehensive plumbing maintenance agreement. Our plan offers complete protection with a one-time complete home inspection of your home with half off on all repairs at this time, 10-15% off all service calls, preferred scheduling, guaranteed pricing, specials, savings and more! The CCC provides complete security for the plumbing system within your home.

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Why do I need the protection of a plumbing preventative maintenance agreement?

A plumbing maintenance agreement gives you the peace of mind that your plumbing system is operating both reliably and efficiently. Our comprehensive inspection identifies potential problems before they become inconvenient and costly emergencies. We will save you money by locating and repairing any leaks within your plumbing system. The Carney Care Club offers half off on all repairs at the time of your maintenance inspection!

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Tankless Water Heater Questions

At what temperature should the tankless water heater set at?

Our trained, professional installers will discuss this with you based on your specific wants or needs.

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Will tankless water heaters give me instant hot water results?

Tankless water heaters will supply 'endless' hot water and can offer 'instant' hot water at the same time if used with a recirculation system.

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Where should I have the tankless water heater installed?

Our tankless water heaters are so small that you can have them installed just about anywhere in your home. A conventional tank-type water heater is about five-feet tall, while a tankless water heater is less than a third of that.

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Should I install the tankless water heater myself?

No! Improper installation will void your warranty and could have a potentially harmful effect on you and your family.

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Am I eligible for a tax credit with a tankless water heater?

Yes! Perhaps the greatest benefit of our tankless water heaters is that The Federal Government is issuing tax credits of 30% (up to $1500) to homeowners that replace their tank-type water heaters. Please note: This is not a deduction, but rather full dollar-for-dollar credits (the $1500 tax credit is like earning $6000 of income with no taxes if you are in the 25% tax bracket). In addition, homeowners can potentially receive up to $300 in PECO and/or manufacturer rebates through the end of the year when they replace their old, inefficient tank style water heaters.

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Water Conditioning Questions

What is hard water?

Hard water is the most common problem found in the average home. Hard water is water that contains dissolved hardness minerals above 1 GPG. Calcium, manganese and magnesium are the most common hardness minerals.

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What is hard water?

Hard water is the most common problem found in the average home. Hard water is water that contains dissolved hardness minerals above 1 GPG. Calcium, manganese and magnesium are the most common hardness minerals.

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Why should hard water concern me?

For many uses, it would not matter. For instance, to put out fires, water your lawn or wash mud off the streets, water would have to be pretty hard to cause a problem. However, for bathing, washing dishes and clothes, shaving, washing your car and many other uses of water, hard water is not as efficient or convenient as 'soft water'. For instance:


  • You will only use half as much soap when cleaning with soft water.

  • Hard water and soap combine to form ‘soap scum’ that can’t be rinsed off, forming a ‘bathtub ring’ on all surfaces and dries leaving unsightly spots on your dishes.

  • Soap scum remains on your skin even after rinsing, clogging the pores of your skin and coating every hair on your body. This crud can serve as a home for bacteria, causing diaper rash, minor skin irritation and skin that continually itches.

  • When hard water is heated, the hardness minerals are re-crystallized to form hardness scale. This scale can clog your pipes and water heater, causing premature failure, and repair or replacement.

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I have a water conditioner and now my water feels "slimy"?

When the hardness minerals are removed from your water, soap no longer forms soap crud, or ‘bathtub ring’ on your skin, clogging your pores, clinging to every strand of hair. You are now truly clean. That slick “slimy” feeling is your natural body oil without the soap scum. The old saying that you get “squeaky clean” is a myth; the feeling is caused by the soap scum on your skin. Furthermore, that soap scum provides an excellent place for bacteria to hide and grow, causing numerous skin ailments.

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Can I get properly treated water with just any softener, or do I need a special system?

Water quality can vary from town to town – even from well to well in the same neighborhood. That’s why we highly recommend testing your water before purchasing any water treatment system. That is also why we carry a broad line of water conditioning systems and filters. Each is designed to effectively treat different water problems. Our wide choice of proven systems makes it easy to match the right system to your specific water quality needs.

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Can bacteria really be growing in my present household water system?

Yes. Iron and sulfur bacteria can enter your household plumbing from a well. Once introduced, this bacteria usually remains and multiplies within your plumbing system. The result can be unwanted odors, along with red, slimy stains on plumbing fixtures.

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Is there anything I can do to protect my family from arsenic and lead in ground water?

Regional testing continues to reveal ground water contaminants of all kinds. Even municipal water supplies are not immune to treatment failures or accidental contamination. Your best safeguard against contaminants is a point-of-use water treatment system. Not all systems, however, remove the same contaminants.

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Well System Questions

What is a water well?

A well is an artificial opening in the ground made for the purposes of extracting and using ground water. Water wells are usually drilled into either unconsolidated sediments or bedrock.

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I have no water, what should I do?

First, check the power source (fuse box/circuit breaker box) to see if a fuse is blown or a breaker is tripped. If it is, simply replace the fuse or reset the breaker.

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Why should I test my well water?

Safe, clean water is one of the most important substances in our lives – for drinking, cooking bathing and cleaning. It’s one of the simplest things you can do to take care of the health and well-being of your family. Professional testing will reveal levels of unwanted minerals, hardness and PH imbalance, as well as other contaminants. You can’t see these things with the human eye. Testing is the only way you’ll know for sure. Our expert, highly trained water treatment consultants can provide proper testing and proven solutions to any water quality problems you might have. We offer FREE water testing!

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What is that steel pipe that sticks out of the ground?

All wells require a casing to seal off possible contaminants at or near the ground surface. This is a board of health requirement so that ground water runoff does not enter the well.

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What is the purpose of a well storage tank?

Well pumps are not designed to run continuously, and they don’t operate each time you use a faucet or flush a toilet. That is where your well storage tank comes into play. In order to allow consistent water pressure at the plumbing fixtures within your home and to relieve the unnecessary stress of the well pump turning on and off, the water is first moved to a well holding tank. Inside a well storage tank is an air bladder that becomes compressed as the water is pumped into it. The pressure in the tank is what moves the water through the household plumbing system. When the pressure reaches a preset level, which can be anywhere from 40 to 60 psi, a switch stops the pump. As water is used in the home, pressure within the tank begins to drop until the pressure switch turns the pump on and the cycle is repeated.

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