Plumbing - Frequently Asked Questions

These Plumbing FAQ's should help you answer many questions that you might have about your plumbing system or maybe a plumbing problem that you might have at the moment. Remember, if you have a plumbing emergency, questions, or a problem and would like to speak to a certified technician or plumber now, call us 24 hours a day 7 days a week (403)-836-3636.

After receiveing a lot of the same plumbing problems and drain questions over and over, we at Akal Plumbing Ltd. decided to use this plumbing FAQ page to help you with some easy questions. It contains questions and answers to some the most common plumbing and drain questions. If you do have a question that isnt contained here, please feel free to contact us - We will do whatever we can to answer your question with the best of our knowledge.


Question: How often should I inspect my septic tank system?

Answer: Septic systems should be inspected and pumped a minimum of once every three to four years. You may not be experiencing any problem now, but a full septic tank may allow unwanted solids to flow into the drain field, which is the part of the system that consists of a distribution box, with a series of connected pipes. Each pipe allows water to flow into a bed of stones, which drain into the ground. If paper and other solids flow into the drain field it becomes blocked and ineffective. A blocked drain field is costly to repair or replace. Make sure to get your tank inspected whenever you feel neccessary to prevent this costly maintenance.

Question: Why is the airgap for your sink, drain, or garbage dispoasal important?

Answer: Plumbing codes call for a gap between potable water and a drain. This usually looks like the distance between the faucet and the top of the sink or bathtub (one inch or more). Without the "gap", waste water could siphon back into the drinking supply. This "does" happen in situations where a city main is shut off causing a drain-down of the system with plumbing that has been done improperly. Sometimes it is a hose left in a mud puddle, or maybe a hose lying in bleach water. People have died this way. The plumbing code helps protect the general public from these dangers. Current improvements include antisiphon faucets for garden hoses, the air gap for the dishwasher, proper installation of water heater T&P relief drains, and backflow preventers for irrigation systems.

Question: What does a vent do for the plumbing system?

Answer: plumbing system vent is basically used to "vent" the plumbing system in your home or commercial building. If you would like to see a plumbing vent, look on your roof, you will see pipes sticking out of the roof aprox 12" high. For every pipe that goes down, one needs to go up. The obvious reason we have vents is that sewer gases need to be vented outside of the dwelling. Not so obvious is what happens if they are not included in the waste and vent design. When liquid goes down a pipe, air needs to follow it. Without the vent pipe, the draining liquid will try to suck air through the P-traps on the plumbing fixtures,(tub, sink, etc.) glurp, glurp! If it manages to do so, you may know it from the "smell" coming from the now dry seal on the P-trap. Without vents, draining one fixture may cause another fixture in the house to back up. A waste and vent system should keep sewer gas out of the dwelling and drain every fixture well.

Question: What causes the water temperature to change in the shower when someone flushes the toilet or runs another water appliance in the house?

Answer: At the time of install, it is important to run pipes with enough volume and pressure so that many fixtures can be used at the same time. Running only two fixtures on a 1/2" line; so a standard bathroom would have a 3/4" line for cold until one fixture is taken off. A 1/2" line for the hot is fine. A nice follow guide now-adays is the plumbing code in many areas now. Get a pressure balanced tub and shower valve, which is a single handled valve that balances the hot and cold water to try to maintain a temperature range plus or minus 2 degrees.




Question: What makes my plumbing & drain pipes rattle all the time?

Answer: This problem is usually caused by the water lines not being properly isolated. It can be easily fixed but only if your water lines are easily accesible. 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 plastic pipe hangers that go beetween your water lines and your joists. For Help installing them please give us a call.

Question: My toilet randomly empties itself of water. What would make the toilet empty itself without anyone flushing it and how can I fix it?

Answer: Their are a couple answers to this question, but this solution fixes it 99% of the time. Poor venting or no venting of the fixture. Vents allow for air flow to the toilet sewage system. Without the vent, air pockets form in the waste branches witch can cause what is called back-siphonage. The air in the system which, without a vent, can only ecscape through the sewer. It can pull the water in the trap of the toilet with it.

Question: How do you get water in the toilet tank to stop over flowing?

Answer: The fill valve in the tank has a leak in it. Also, if the fill valve has been replaced recently it is possible that it has been set too high. If the fill valve is old, it could do you no harm to replace it. Sometimes the shaft or wire that is used to set the level, corrodes off. By replacing it your problem should be fixed.

Question: Is there anything I can do to get the scratches out of my toilet bowl?

Answer: Yes, you can have your toilet refinished, which is kind of a pain to do. It requires taking the toilet out and having it out of commission for a while. If you do decide to do this make sure you contact a professional and have a back up restroom available.

Another option is to buy some porcelain patch and do it yourself. Just shut off your angle valve and flush the toilet until it is almost empty. DO NOT turn the water back on until the patch is completely dry.