Our Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you need a plumber for clogged drain repair, clogged toilet repair, water heater failure, burst pipe repair, or anything in between, you can trust the professionals at Fitzgerald Plumbing in Lakewood, CA. Call 562-328-7369 for a quote or to book your appointment.

With over a decade of serving Lakewood, CA homeowners with top-rated plumbing service, you can imagine we get a lot of questions. So, let’s dive into the ones we get the most and answer them for you.

We get it; you have a frustrating clog or slow drain and want it fixed as quickly as possible. If you’re like most homeowners, you go to the store to buy a drain cleaner, pour it down the drain, and hope for the best.

While chemical drain cleaners are inexpensive, popular, and seem to be effective in the short term, the question is: Are they safe to use?

In a word, no, and here’s why.

Chemical drain cleaners contain strong acids and bases. They can damage your pipes and are hazardous to your health if you are exposed to the fumes or if you spill them on your skin.

Using chemical drain cleaners can also cause other unseen problems in your plumbing system, like corroding pipes due to prolonged exposure to the chemicals. Over relying on drain cleaners wears out your pipes, weakening them, which can cause them to burst.

If you use a chemical drain cleaner and it doesn’t work, the problem may still exist because the clog has moved further down the pipe because these products don’t remove the obstruction but break it up. You’ll likely end up with repeated calls and expenses for multiple clogs caused by a single clogged area in your pipe. Chemical drain cleaners do not solve the problem; they just break apart some of the material, causing the blockage.

There is no substitute for good old-fashioned snake work or hydro jetting when it comes to clogged drains. Chemical drain cleaners are dangerous for two reasons: one, they do not always work, and two, they create a hazardous situation in your home that could lead to burns or other injuries.

Your water heater should operate in silence, so if it begins making odd noises, you probably wonder what’s causing it and what it means.

Let’s look at the most common sounds and determine what’s happening.

If you live in an area with water that has a high mineral content, you must deal with the mineral deposits it leaves behind in your appliances, like your water heater. When mineral deposits and sediment build up in the tank, the water pushes through these layers as it heats, causing the sediment to shift, making rumbling noises.

Like rumbling, popping noises usually result from sediment buildup in the tank, but in this case, it’s steam bubbles coming up through the sediment layer that’s causing the sound.

Hissing or Sizzling Noise
Hissing or sizzling noises are most common in electric water heaters, and they’re relatively common if they happen occasionally. However, if this noise persists, it could be an issue of something obstructing your system’s heating element. If you have a gas water heater and hear these noises, it’s usually moisture buildup that’s the culprit.

Screeching sounds usually come from loose valves letting air out of the tank, and while they can be alarming, they’re generally nothing to worry about. However, check the pressure release valves and the system’s temperature valves to make sure they’re set to the correct settings as per the manufacturer.

You can resolve many of these issues by calling a plumber for annual water heater maintenance to flush the tank, clear out the sediment, and inspect the valves and other components for proper function.

Most people don’t give a second thought to their drains until there’s a clog, and then they spend a lot of time using plungers, coat hangers, home remedies, or drain cleaners to fix the issue.

People don’t realize that hiring a plumbing professional for routine drain cleaning prevents clogs and slow drains by removing the material before it becomes impacted.

If you’ve never considered preventative drain cleaning, here are a few reasons you should.

It’s not uncommon for clients to call us after their drains have stopped working, but there are a few reasons why calling us for preventative drain cleaning is always a good idea.

It Prevents Foul Drain Odors
You don’t want to be the one with the kitchen or bathroom that smells like rotten eggs or worse. Having your drains cleaned regularly alleviates this problem by keeping them clean and free of buildup that causes foul odors like grease and food particles.

It Prevents Future Problems
Grime, hair, and other debris can build up in your home’s pipes over time, causing clogs that lead to expensive repair costs. Having your pipes cleaned regularly helps you avoid these issues so you won’t have to hire an emergency plumber in the middle of the night because of a burst pipe or rapid water leak.

It Saves Money on Utility Bills
Pipes that are clogged or partially blocked take longer to drain, which means more water is used each time you turn on the faucet or flush the toilet. By having your drains cleaned regularly, you can make sure they flow freely, cutting down your water usage.

It Extends the Life of Your Plumbing
Using chemical drain cleaners every time you have a clog takes its toll on your plumbing and can cause pipes to fail more quickly than they should. Repiping a home is expensive, so it’s best to take precautions to protect your plumbing system and ensure it lasts as long as possible. And the best way to do that is through preventative drain cleaning.

Many people have had this experience: They flush the toilet only to watch the water spin around the bowl instead of going down the drain. Maybe you’ve tried using a plunger or adjusting the water level in the tank with no success. This is a common problem, but what’s causing it, and how do you deal with it?

The Toilet is Clogged
The most common reason a toilet won’t flush is that it’s clogged. Sometimes, people go overboard with the toilet paper or flush things that should go into the trash, like personal wipes, paper towels, or cotton balls.

The Water Level is Too Low
Another common reason your toilet won’t flush is that the water level in the tank is too low. You should set the water level to be about one inch below the top of the overflow tube. Try adjusting the water level and test flush to see if it solves the problem.

The Flapper is Worn Out
The rubber flapper releases water when the tank is flushed and then closes over the intake hole to refill the tank. Because most flappers are made from rubber, they become brittle, wear out over time, and stop sealing correctly. Inspect the flapper, and if it looks worn out, bent, or warped, replace it.

The Chain is Loose
The toilet handle is connected by a chain to the flapper. So, if the chain is too loose, the flapper won’t stay open long enough for the toilet to flush completely. Check the chain and ensure it’s the right length, or consider replacing it.

Mineral Buildup in the Inlet Holes
Many people think there’s only one hole in their toilet, which is the drain, but actually, there are more. The inlet holes are located under the bowl’s rim and allow water to come in after flushing. It’s common for mineral deposits to build up and clog these holes, causing incomplete flushing.

Call a professional plumber when you have flushing problems if you’re not handy or want to be sure your toilet is fixed correctly.

Low water pressure makes everyday chores like showering, washing dishes, and cleaning a hassle. But, there are many reasons why your water pressure might not be optimal.

The first thing to determine when you have low water pressure is if it’s a problem affecting your neighbors or just your house. If the whole block has this problem, it’s usually a water main break or some other issue within the city’s system, and you’ll have to wait it out.

However, if the problem is localized to your home, a few things could be going on, including a blockage or leak in the main supply line coming into your house. If the problem is isolated to a single fixture, it could be the aerator or a clog in that particular pipe.

In many cases, low water pressure is traced back to clogged pipes. Your plumbing system is complex, so even a minor clog in one section can cause problems throughout the house. The quickest way to determine a clog’s location is to hire a professional plumber.

Another common cause of low water pressure is damaged pipes. Piping materials have changed drastically throughout the years, and pipes made from galvanized steel, which was common in the 70s, are usually in bad shape today and need to be replaced.

Lastly, if you have a pressure regulator that measures how much water comes into your home to deliver the appropriate pressure for your plumbing system, look at that to see if it has malfunctioned using a pressure gauge.

Low water pressure isn’t normal, and it can make life frustrating. If you’re dealing with this issue, it’s best to call a certified plumber to determine the cause.

Garbage disposals are handy in the kitchen because they make cleanup after meals quicker. However, there are certain materials you shouldn’t put in the garbage disposal because you risk damaging the unit or clogging the drain.

The good news is that garbage disposals are powerful and can handle a lot of waste material. As a general rule of thumb, if you can tear something apart with your hands, like vegetable and fruit waste, it’s safe to put it in your garbage disposal.

However, although these systems are powerful, there are materials you should avoid, like fat, grease, and oil, because they solidify and will clog your drains. Also, don’t put hard objects like bones, shells, or fruit pits because they can damage the blades. Lastly, don’t put fibrous material in, such as banana peels, corn husks, artichokes, or fibrous fruits, because they can tangle around the blades and motor and damage the system.

Those are the most frequently asked questions we get, but if you have others, please call us at 562-328-7369, and we’ll be happy to help.