General Plumbing FAQ



Better Busines Bureau Accredited

Lanthorn Plumbing is the trusted name in common plumbing problems in Suffolk, Virginia and the surrounding communities. From basic plumbing repairs and fixture replacement to trenchless sewer line repair and excavation services, our Suffolk plumbers are skilled in handling jobs small and large. For homeowners dealing with ongoing plumbing issues to house hunters who want the plumbing inspected before moving in, our team can handle the job. With each project we complete, home and business owners ask a variety of plumbing questions. The professional plumbers with Lanthorn Plumbing make it more than our mission to complete quality plumbing work, we want our customers to feel informed and confident in the care of their system.

As industry experts, the technicians with Lanthorn Plumbing understand that you have questions. From plumbing challenges you can handle yourself, to the middle-of-the-night call to an emergency plumber, we have answers. We don’t just want to fix the plumbing problem, but we also want to equip you with the knowledge to ensure your system will run smoothly well into the future.

The Lanthorn Plumbing team is here to guide you through the basics of plumbing and provide easy-to-understand answers to your pressing questions. As our highly-skilled technicians service homes and businesses throughout Suffolk and beyond, we want to provide helpful tips that you can use in your own home or business.

How do I avoid clogged pipes?

Clogged pipes can quickly cause emergency plumbing repair needs if left untreated. Routine plumbing maintenance is the best way to avoid clogged drains or pipes. Whether you’re trying to retrieve a small toy that’s been flushed down the toilet or you’re facing a severe sewer main blockage, Lanthorn Plumbing can treat your problem immediately. To avoid blockages in your pipes, follow these tips:

  • A drain strainer should be used if there is no garbage disposal
  • After washing dishes, run hot water to rinse away grease
  • Avoid coffee grounds, bones, grease, fruit peels and other fibrous foods in garbage disposal
  • Avoid pouring grease or oil down the drain
  • Clear drain stoppers in shower and bathtub
  • Only flush waste and toilet tissue down toilet
  • Pump septic tank every two to three years
  • Run cold water when using the garbage disposal

Do I need a plumber to unclog my drains?

Handling a clogged drain when you first recognize the problem is essential to ensure the rest of your plumbing system isn’t damaged. While they’re a popular DIY drain cleaning solution, chemical-filled liquid cleaners are not the best options for your drains. The chemicals can intensify the corrosion process in your pipes and carry the blockage further into your plumbing system, contributing to even more problems. Snaking your drain on your own only reaches surface clogs and blockages and not deeper ones within your pipe that could be causing the actual problems. In addition, snaking the drain yourself may put too much pressure on your pipes, damaging the joints. Instead of trying to fix your plumbing problems on your own, call your team of local experts at Lanthorn Plumbing.

How can I clean my plumbing system?

Over time, your Suffolk pipes will build up with grease, fats and oils. If your pipes have never been cleaned or you’ve just moved into a property and you’re unsure of the condition of the plumbing system, a professional drain cleaning solution will help remove the unwanted debris. The Lanthorn Plumbing offers different forms of Suffolk drain cleaning, but hydro jetting is the most effective solution.

What is Hydro Jetting Suffolk, VA?

Cleaning your drain with Hydro Jetting is an environmentally friendly way to ensure your pipes and drains are clear of years of debris and buildup. By forcing water through your pipes at nearly 4000 PSI, the Lanthorn Plumbing team can remove buildup, debris, and tree roots. The water is sprayed at an extremely high pressure and flushes away the debris, allowing water and waste to flow through your plumbing freely.

What are the most common plumbing problems?

Plumbing issues occur in every home. Whether you’re enjoying a new-construction property or own an older home, you will eventually face common plumbing issues. Problems with your system can strike when you least expect it. Whether you’re living through the repairs or an older home, or just purchasing a new home and want to be prepared, these are the most common plumbing problems:

  • Clogged toilet
  • Clogged bath or shower drain
  • Jammed garbage disposal
  • Leaky faucets
  • Leaky pipes
  • Low water pressure
  • Running toilet
  • Sewage smell in home
  • Sewer system backup
  • Slow draining sink
  • Water heater repair

Will a home inspection reveal the type of pipe material in my home?

While a traditional home inspection can reveal some issues, it will not tell you the pipe material used in your home. A piping guide will help you determine where your system likely lies on the timeline, but a sewer camera inspection can determine with certainty your pipe material.

  • Cast Iron: This pipe has a black finish and was used in homes through the mid-1960s.
  • Copper: Plumbing in homes built from the 1970 into the early 2000s was likely built with copper pipes. These pipes are a bronze color when new and slowly fade to a deep rust or brown color over the years. Copper pipes last about 50+ years.
  • Galvanized Steel: If your pipes are a gray metal color, they’re likely made of galvanized steel. This material is cheaper than copper and was often used in homes leading up to the 1970s. The material was used less when builders discovered it only lasted for about 40 years.
  • PB (polybutylene): This piping is usually marked with “PB2110.” These flexible pipes are usually gray but can also be black or blue.
  • PEX (cross-linked polyethylene): Plastic tubing that is usually white, red, or blue and used to indicate hot and cold lines. Plumbers use this type of material because of its flexibility.
  • PVC (polyvinyl-chloride): The white plastic pipes are most commonly seen under your kitchen or bathroom sinks used as drain pipes.

How do I prevent clogs in my drains?

Many emergency plumbing calls derive from clogged drains and pipes. Whether it’s a surface clog that can be removed by the Lanthorn Plumbing team with a plumbing snake procedure, or your sewer main line is blocked, a clog can quickly stop all plumbing use in your home or business. Addressing the problem immediately will help prevent further damage. The best way to prevent clogged pipes is to be mindful of what you put down your drains and toilet. Use these tips as a guide:

  • Run cold water when using the garbage disposal
  • Pump septic tank every two to three years
  • Only flush waste and toilet tissue down toilet
  • Clear drain stoppers in shower and bathtub
  • Avoid pouring grease or oil down the drain
  • Avoid coffee grounds, bones, grease, fruit peels and other fibrous foods in garbage disposal
  • After washing dishes, run hot water to rinse away grease
  • A drain strainer should be used if there is no garbage disposal

How do I know if I’m dealing with a plumbing emergency?

If you’ve never dealt with a plumbing problem, it can be hard to determine if the situation mandates a call to your local emergency plumber. While issues occur at all hours, it may be ok to wait until Monday morning to seek a Suffolk plumber’s help. Plumbing emergencies in Suffolk, Virginia are generally those that:

  • Cause flooding (Broken pipe, water main leak)
  • Cause raw sewage to seep from drains
  • Create an unhealthy or dangerous environment for your family
  • Create sewage pooling in your yard
  • Cut off your water supply
  • Simultaneously clog all drains
  • Stop all toilets from flushing

You want to protect your greatest investment and keep your family safe and healthy. If you’re unsure if the problem should be treated right away, contact the Lanthorn Plumbing team. Our team of plumbing professionals is able to provide emergency plumbing services to your home or business 247. We value the health and sustainability of your pipes, so call us today for reliable, high quality service.

How long does a water heater last?

The style of your water heater will determine the projected life of the unit. Routine maintenance plays a vital role in how long the water heater lasts. Tankless water heaters can last for up to 20 years, while most traditional units have an 8 to 12-year lifespan. If you have a traditional tank, draining the water heater once yearly will help rid the unit of sediment and minerals that can settle at the bottom. For Suffolk water heater repair, the Lanthorn Plumbing team can recognize signs of corrosion and disrepair. Depending on the condition of your unit, water heater replacement may not be necessary. Our technicians will make an effort to repair the unit to restore it to optimum performance before suggesting a new water heater.

What’s the best temperature for a hot water heater?

To determine the precise temperature for your unit, consider your water usage. Your water heater temperature should be set between 120 and 140 degrees. For homes with several family members who constantly have multiple sources of water running at once, setting the unit closer to 140 degrees may make more sense. If the temperature is set too high, however, you’ll waste energy and risk scalding burns with water usage. For homes with only one or two residents, 120 degrees should suffice. It’s important to not go below the 120 setting, as bacteria can grow in water that is too cool, threatening your family’s health.

Can tree roots cut through my pipes?

Invasive tree roots can lead to a multitude of problems if not handled properly. The problem is many tree roots issues aren’t detected right away. If you suspect an issue with your plumbing because of an unexpected increase in your water bill, low water pressure or water pooling in your yard, contact the Lanthorn Plumbing team to perform a sewer camera inspection. A camera inspection is the fastest way to determine if your plumbing problems are caused by tree roots.

Is burst pipe damage covered by homeowners insurance?

The majority of home insurance policies will cover damage caused by burst pipes as long as the pipe damage wasn’t preventable. To avoid a burst pipe, follow these tips:

  • Ensure tubs and showers are caulked and sealed properly
  • Inspect for leaking faucets indoors and outside
  • Insulate pipes if you live in a cold climate
  • Routinely inspect appliance hoses on your dishwasher or washing machine and replace as needed

Can I prevent my pipes from freezing?

Proper insulation of your pipes can keep them from freezing during the frigid winter months. Follow these steps:

  • Allow a small, slow drip to come from your faucets. Running the water even a minimal amount will help prevent frozen pipes.
  • Allow the warm air in your home to reach the pipes beneath your sinks by opening the cabinet doors.
  • Have your HVAC system checked annually to prevent your heating system from crashing during the winter months. The freezing temperatures can quickly affect your pipes.
  • Inspect the outside of your home looking for visible cracks near the foundation or basement. Use spray foam or caulking to fill cracks.
  • Run heating cable along the pipes before covering with insulation. The cable will keep the pipes at a constant temperature.
  • Shut off the water valves to your outdoor faucets. Allow excess water to drain then cover the faucets with an insulated dome to prevent freezing.

Do gas lines require professional repair?

Depending on the nature of your gas-based appliances, strange odors emanating from vents and furnaces can indicate a malfunction with your gas lines. There are a number of ways to determine if your gas lines require repair from a sewage and drainage professional like Lanthorn Plumbing. Problems with your heaters, stovetop ranges, or fireplaces can also be indicators of a leak in your gas lines. If you notice these symptoms in your home or business, contact a full-service plumbing professional as soon as possible. The inherent dangers of working on a gas line means only certified professionals should complete the job. Never attempt to repair the gas lines in your home or business.

Why should I schedule a professional pipe inspection?

Detect small plumbing issues before they become large-scale emergency problems by partnering with Lanthorn Plumbing for a professional pipe inspection. A professional plumber can see what’s happening inside your pipes, even if you don’t suspect anything is wrong. A thorough inspection will reveal common plumbing problems, like why your drains release slowly, why the water pressure is low, and what makes the garbage disposal constantly smell like sewage. A high-resolution camera is used during the inspection process and can help detect and prevent future plumbing issues.

Choose Lanthorn Plumbing for All of Your Plumbing Needs

The Lanthorn Plumbing team consists of professional plumbers who take the time to answer your questions. Whether you’re facing a plumbing emergency or just want to schedule routine maintenance, our friendly staff is ready to schedule your appointment.

What Services Do You Need?

Sewer Camera Inspections

Sewer Camera Inspections

Drain Cleaning

Drain Cleaning

Water Heaters

Water Heaters

Gas Line Repair

Gas Line Repair

Gas Line Installation

Gas Line Installation

View All Our Services

View All Our Services

For complete plumbing services call our plumbing company in Suffolk, Virginia. We are family owned and operated.

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