ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electric ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electric
Emergency 24/7 Service
Servicing the Chicagoland Area & Suburbs
Emergency 24/7 Service
 
Plumbing

Plumbing (145)

Tips and advice to keep your home's plumbing system working smoothly.
While the EPA has worked to remove lead from drinking water over the years, it can still exist in trace amounts in drinking water. Here are the most common sources of lead in drinking water.

If your home was built prior to the 1980s, it's likely to have lead solder connecting the copper water pipes. Lead found in tap water often comes from corrosion of plumbing fixtures or the solder connecting the pipes. Today's plumbing fixtures must pass rigorous tests and be certified to contain levels of lead that are below safety thresholds.

Some major U.S. utilities use lead pipes to supply water from to homes and businesses. Because the pipes have been in use for a long time, they have formed a natural oxidation barrier that prevents lead from leeching into the water. Utilities will often add lime or orthophosphates as an additional barrier to prevent lead from getting into drinking water.

If you're concerned about lead in your home's drinking water, regular testing can help ensure that levels are safe to drink. In addition, EPA has an online guide called “How to Identify Lead Free Certification Marks for Drinking Water System & Plumbing Products” that can help you choose the right plumbing fixtures for your home.



















In response to water conservation concerns in the 1990's, low-flush (or high efficiency) toilets were introduced to significantly reduce the number of gallons used per flush (GPF). Low flush toilets use 1.3 gallons per flush, while a regular toilet 1.6 or more gallons per flush. The average US home will save US$90 per year, and $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilet, according to the EPA. To be eligible to the EPA's Water Sense label, a toilet cannot be more than 20 percent less than the maximum allowed.

As the name suggest, a dual-flush toilet is uses two buttons or handles to flush different amounts of water. Depending on the design, the amount of water can be cut in half. While they can save a significant amount of water, the downside to dual-flush design is added complexity with more parts, as well as higher initial cost.

Have questions about low-flush toilets or other high-efficiency plumbing fixtures? Call ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric. We can can help with all your home plumbing installation, repair and maintenance needs.


If you’ve ever come home to a burst pipe or a flooded house you’ve probably wished you knew where your main water valve was located. And even if you already had an idea about where it was, you may not have known how to turn it off which could have prevented you a huge headache. This is one of those things every homeowner should know in case of an unexpected emergency.

Where is the Main Water Shut-Off Valve?

It all depends on the type of house you have:
  • If your house is on a slab, the main water valve is likely located near your water heater tank. Take a look underneath it or on top of it - it should be shaped like a ring or it could be a lever.
  • If your house has a basement, this is likely where you’ll find the valve. Picture where you would attach a hose to the outside of the house and the valve is usually located on the opposite wall.
  • If your house has a crawl space, this is where the valve might be located. Check the front wall of the house underneath the crawl space.
Still can’t find it? This could mean the water has to be shut off from the main city water line which can usually be found at the front of your house in a covered box. Check coat- or bathroom closets near the front door.

How do I Turn the Water Off?

If you find the circular-shaped valve, turn it clockwise until you can’t spin it any further. If it’s a lever, turn it so it’s perpendicular to the pipe.

The plumbing system in your home is complicated and one of the most important parts in providing comfort and making life easy for you and your family. One call to ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric and the problem is taken care of quickly and professionally. Our plumbers are the best of the best in the Chicagoland area, so you know you can count on us!
If you're noticing that your water heater is not getting the water hot enough even after turning up the thermostat, there are a number of possible causes.

1. The Dip Tube Is Broken

Cold water enters the water heater through the dip tube where it is forced to the bottom of the tank for quick heating. When the tube is broken the water remains at the top of the tank, where the hot water outlet is, causing it to return cold water with the heated water.

2. Sediment Has Built Up at the Bottom of the Tank

Over time, minerals in the water can build up at the bottom of the water heater tank where the burner is located. This causes a gradual reduction in heating efficiency that will make the water heater work harder and eventually resulting in less hot water. Flushing the tank annually will prevent sediment build up.

3. The Heating System Is Malfunctioning

Most water heater problems occur with these systems:
  • Thermal switch
  • Thermostat
  • Heating element
A licensed plumber should inspect the water heater and repair the pasts as needed.

4. Hot Water Heater Is Too Far From Where It's Needed

If the water eventually heats up, the problem is sometime a hot water tank that is too far from where it's needed. In the cold months in particular, pipes will cool the hot water before it reaches the faucet where it's needed. Insulating the pipes can help reduce heat loss.

5. The Water Heater Tank Is Undersized

If you have recently noticed that your water heater suddenly seems to supply less hot water, or runs out suddenly, it could be that your water heater tank is too small to keep up with demand. Installing a larger tank or tankless water heater will ensure that you have all the water your household needs.

Have questions about your hot water heater? Call ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric.
If your tap water smells like rotten eggs, or sulphur, it's often a sign that there is hydrogen sulfide gas present. Because heat will allow the gas escape into the air more easily, the odor will usually be strongest when running hot water in the shower. In higher concentrations, hydrogen sulfide can corrode metals, causing yellowing or black stains (metallic sulfides) on metal plumbing fixtures. It can also affect the appearance and taste of drinking water and food cooked in water. Fortunately, the levels of hydrogen sulfide found in drinking water are small enough that they are not harmful to humans.

What Causes Hydrogen Sulfide In Water?

There are a couple of reasons your home's water may smell like rotten eggs from hydrogen sulfide, they include:

1. Well water with decaying organic material or soil that causes chemical reactions of sulphur-containing minerals.

2. Water heaters that generate hydrogen sulfide gas through the magnesium anode rod, which supplies electrons that sustain the reaction of sulfate to hydrogen sulfide gas.

Solving Hydrogen Sulfide Problems in the Water Supply

When the problem is occurring with the water supply itself, such as a well, installing a whole-house water treatment system is usually the most effective long-term solution. If the odor is a result of the hot water system, modifying the hot water heater may reduce the odor. The process involves replacing the water heater’s magnesium anode rod with one made of aluminum or other metal may improve the situation.
If you're seeing pink stains on the inside of your toilet, bathtub or shower, it's usually not a problem with water quality, instead it's likely the result of airborne bacteria that finds a home on moist surfaces. The film is usually found as a ring that accumulates at the water line in the toilet bowl or on shower doors, sink drains and bathtubs.

The bacteria that causes these pink stains is Serratia Marcescens, which is found naturally in the environment. The airborne bacteria thrives on moisture, dust, and phosphates. The best way to eliminate the bacteria is to use a bleach-based toilet bowl cleaner. Occasionally flushing toilets that are not used very often can also help reduce the bacteria growth.
Tips To Protect Your Plumbing System While Your Away From Home

If you plan to travel to warmer climates this winter, it's a good idea to take a few steps to protect your plumbing while you are away. Here are some tips to avoid wasting water and damage from frozen pipes.

1. Leave the Heat On

At first thought, it may seem like you could save significant money on your heating bill when your away by turning the thermostat way down. However, this is an invitation for disaster. Unless you go through the trouble of draining the water from your plumbing system and shutting off the water main, there is a lot of standing water in your pipes that can cause extensive damage if the temperature drops. So play it safe and keep your thermostat set at 60 degrees or higher.

2. Check the Water Heater

Inspect the area around the water heater for leaks or signs of corrosion. If you see any water on the floor near the water heater, call ABC for assistance.

3. Fix Leaks and Clogs

If there are slow drains or dripping faucets, it's a good idea to have them repaired before leaving home for an extended period of time. Standing water and stagnant drains can cause unhealthy mold and mildew and could also attract unwelcome guests like insects and rodents.

4. Make Sure the Sump Pump Is Working

Pour a bucket of water into the pump pit. The sump pump should turn on and remove the water.

For all your home plumbing repairs, ABC is the only call you need make.
Plumbing traps, or P-Traps, are designed to perform two duties. First, they prevent sewer gases and odors from entering the home. Second, they are designed to trap debris from the sinks to prevent clogs from forming further down the plumbing system. In addition, if you have ever dropped something down the sink drain, you'll appreciate that the trap can also help you recover the item by simply removing the clean-out section of the trap and emptying the contents into a bucket.

Why Is It called a P-Trap?

The P-trap combines two 90 degree joints with a horizontal overflow pipe, giving it the shape of the letter “P.” One of the 90 degree joints exits the drain and then is joined to another which contains standing water that seals the pipe to allow water to flow down the overflow pipe, but not backward toward the sink. This prevents the backflow of water odors.

Have plumbing questions? Call ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric, we're here to help.
One of the best ways to extend the life of your water heater and ensure it operates efficiently is to flush the tank annually to remove sediment buildup. The process is straightforward, here are the steps:
  1. Shut off the water supply. Locate the cold water supply valve at the top of the water heater and turn it to the off position.
  2. Turn off the water heater. If you have a gas water heater, simply turn the thermostat knob to the “pilot” setting. If the water heater is electric, turn off the power at the breaker panel.
  3. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve located near the bottom of the tank. Place the other end of the hose near a floor drain, in a bucket (have several large buckets to empty into and rotate them if needed) or outside the home. CAUTION: Even though a water heater may be off for hours, the water in the tank may still be hot enough to scald.
  4. Open a hot water tap. Open a hot water tap on a floor above that is nearest the water heater. This will relieve pressure in the system, helping the water drain from the tank.
  5. Open the drain valve.  After all the water has drained from the tank, turn the cold water supply at the top of the tank back on for a moment. This will clear out any remaining sediment. Repeat this step until the water runs clear.
When you're finished draining the tank, return it to operating condition by following these steps:
  1. Close the drain valve
  2. Remove the hose
  3. Turn on the cold water supply and refill the tank.
  4. Return to the hot water tap you opened earlier. Once cold water begins to flow from the tap, turn it off.
  5. Turn the gas valve back on from the pilot position or turn electricity back on to the tank.
  6. Check the valve opening to ensure it's not leaking.
IMPORTANT: Always read and follow all manufacturer’s directions and warnings for your particular water heater. Some water heater tanks need to be completely filled to avoid damage to the gas burner or heating elements.

Need help maintaining your water heater? Call ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric. We can help with all your home plumbing needs.
If your ice maker has stopped making ice, here are some things to check:
  1. Check the Water Supply Line and Valve. The water supply line runs from the ice maker to a valve located behind the freezer, under the sink, or in the plumbing lines below refrigerator. Check that the valve is open enough to supply enough water. In most cases, it is recommended that the line be opened just enough to provide water pressure to fill the line. Check the line for pinches or kinks that could be obstructing flow.
  2. Check the shutoff arm. The arm should be in the down (on) position when making ice, and raised (in the off position) when the ice maker is filled.
  3. Check the Freezer Temperature. The freezer should be around 5 degrees (F) and the refrigerator around 36 degrees (F). The temperature controls can be found inside the freezer or refrigerator. To ensure the temperature is accurate, place a container of alcohol or cooking oil with a cooking thermometer inside the freezer and let it sit for about 2 hours. Because the oil or alcohol will not freeze, it will allow for an accurate measurement.
If none of the above items work, and you have confirmed that water is reaching the unit, it may a malfunction of one of the ice maker itself. Test the following parts for proper operation.
  • Ejector gear
  • Ejector motor
  • Ice mold heater
  • Holding switch
  • Thermostat
  • Inlet Valve
Need plumbing help? Call ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric.
Page 1 of 11
Relax, It's As Easy as ABC
Emergency 24/7 Service
Schedule Anytime!
24/7 Service
At ABC we offer convenient service hours for inconvenient problems.

You will be contacted to
confirm your appointment.
No Surprises Pricing

Worry Free Guarantees

  Convenient Scheduling
ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric • 220 W Campus Dr, Arlington Heights, IL • 60004 • 888-903-4070 • State of Illinois Plumbing License Number 055-013536

Copyright © 2016 ABC Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Inc. All Rights Reserved.