Frequently Asked Questions

Bad garbage disposal odors are caused by food debris building up in the disposal. To get rid of the odor, place sliced lemon or orange peels in the disposer and run for 30 seconds. Squirt a bit of dish detergent into the disposal while it is running and run cold water for 30 seconds to wash away the debris. Good as new!

That chrome thing that looks like an upside-down glass on your sink is the air gap. The air gap prevents dirty water from entering your dishwasher drain line and contaminating the dishes there. It also protects the water you use for drinking and showering. Air gaps are required by plumbing code to be installed on all drain lines to protect homeowners from contaminated water. There are many varieties, and a plumber should be consulted to help you choose and install the correct one.

During the winter or if it is very dry during the rest of the year, a tree's roots will go looking for moisture anywhere they can find it. The roots follow the moisture vapor coming through tiny holes, cracks or seals in pipes. Once found, the roots will penetrate the opening and insert hair-like root masses into the pipe. Waste from your home such as toilet tissue or food debris catch on these root masses and clog up your pipes. Some pipes are more susceptible to roots than others. Clay pipe is most vulnerable while PVC pipe has joints that are more tightly sealed and less likely to leak moisture.
Once roots have penetrated your pipes, it really is best to call a plumber to have them removed. With enough root penetration, pipes can completely collapse and cause a great deal of water damage. Mike Ingrilli Plumbing uses a sewer camera system to identify the specific problem and then will use a Ridgid K-1500 or K-7500 sewer machine to remove the debris from the pipe. We will even give you a flash drive with the video we took of the pipe.

The amount of time a water heater lasts depends on how well maintained the heater is, water quality, amount of use and whether it was installed properly. In general, water heaters will last 8-12 years before they need to be replaced. If one of the factors above was more extreme (i.e., water quality caused extreme buildup of sediment in the tank), then the water heater would need to be replaced sooner.

The size of water heater that a home requires is calculated based on the number of family members, number of bathrooms, the number of dishwashers, washing machines and whirlpool baths, and taking into account any other activity that requires high water usage. For the average single-family home with two bathrooms, a dishwasher and a washing machine, a 40-gallon water heater is usually sufficient while 50-gallon and 75-gallon models are also available.

For the average family, setting the temperature of your water heater at 120° F is sufficient. This prevents wasted energy (which means cost savings for you) and also decreases the possibility of scalding water burns. If you run out of hot water on this setting, contact Mike Ingrilli Plumbing for a solution.

A comfort height toilet, also referred to as an ADA compliant toilet, is a toilet bowl that is 1 1/2" - 2" higher than the average toilet. Comfort height toilets are approximately the same height as a table chair and are easier to sit on, especially for the elderly or disabled. Comfort height toilets not only make life easier for individuals with disabilities but are becoming more popular with all homeowners due to their convenience. If you're thinking about installing a comfort-height toilet in your home, be sure to double-check the space you have for a toilet. Comfort-height toilets require more front-to-back space than regular toilets do.

A leaking toilet is the number one cause for higher than usual water bills. Even tiny cracks can waste hundreds of gallons in a month. A leaking toilet is often not noticeable which is why many homeowners check their dishwasher or washer first when they receive a high water bill. To check if your toilet is leaking, place a few drops of blue food coloring in your toilet tank. (Don't flush the toilet.) After a few minutes, check the bowl. If the water has a blue tinge, your toilet is leaking. Other signs that a toilet is leaking include having to jiggle the handle to make the toilet stop running, sounds coming from a toilet that isn't being used, having to hold down the handle to empty the toilet and water trickling down the sides of the toilet bowl after it has been flushed. If you suspect that you have a leaking toilet and the immediate cause is not apparent, a good plumber can assess the situation for you and give you recommendations. The worst case scenario is that your toilet bowl is cracked. It is generally not possible to repair a toilet bowl that is already cracked; it should be replaced. However, if you have a multiple-piece toilet, it is possible to replace only that part that is cracked.

It is possible to get parts for your toilet whether it is old or new. It is just a matter of knowing where to find the part. Mike Ingrilli has been a plumber for over 30 years and has a vast network of contacts, retailers and wholesale vendors to call on to find the right part for your toilet, even if it was installed 25 years ago.

There are a couple of options you can explore if water is coming out of your showerhead at very low pressure. First, remove the showerhead from the angled pipe coming out of the wall. Once the showerhead is off, turn on the water to see if you get a reasonable amount of water coming out of the pipe. If you do, then the problem lies with your showerhead. Check that mineral deposits (i.e., hard water scale) have not built up on or in your showerhead over time. These are usually white deposits that are clogging up the holes in your showerhead. To remove the deposits, soak the showerhead overnight in white vinegar. In the morning, scrub the showerhead with a toothbrush to remove the deposits. If cleaning the showerhead itself does not work or there is not a good flow of water coming from the angled pipe as described above, the underlying problem is with the pipes themselves. At this point, a plumber would recommend to flush the water lines in your house to remove debris that is restricting the water flow. Flushing the lines in your house should be done by a professional as damage can occur to fixtures such as faucets and pipes if done improperly.

Ask Mike

Mike Ingrilli has been a plumber since 1985 and a master plumber since 1989. Use this form to ask him any questions you may have about residential or commercial plumbing.