Good Information Makes for Better Decisions.


If plumbing were as simple as replacing a shower head or a washer, pretty much anyone could be a plumber.

Obviously, that’s not the case. In fact, plumbing is a highly complex profession that requires many years of study, training, experience, and then continuing education to stay up-to-date on the latest plumbing technologies and products.

Our purpose here is not to teach you the business, but to help you make more informed decisions when it comes to your family’s improved comfort, convenience, and safety. If you’ve come to our Resource Center today looking for something in particular but don’t see it here, send us an email. We’ll answer your question directly and add the information to our web site.

We hope you find your time here well spent.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes water discoloration?

Discolored water can reflect more than one problem. Iron and magnesium buildups, for example, lead to black water. Although not dangerous, these and other minerals and chemicals can be eliminated with a water filtration system.

Is it a good idea to use chemical drain cleaners?

Homeowners often turn to chemical drain cleaners because they’re right where you buy all your other household cleaning products, groceries, and more. They’re easy to get to. But that doesn’t make them a good buy, especially over the long haul. They’re hazardous and also dreadful for the environment. They all contain warning labels because they’re harmful. You certainly wouldn’t ingest them because they’d kill you. They do the same thing to your plumbing system. Ask Norhio Plumbing about Bio-Clean, a safe and effective organic substitute. Bio-Clean has no warning label and is safe to be around your family and pets.

How can I find a leak that I can’t see?

If you suspect that your toilet tank is leaking, put a few drops of food dye into it and then check your bowl roughly a half hour later. If the water is tinted with the same color as the food dye, you’ve located the leak. Underground or in-wall leaks are harder to pinpoint and most likely will require the services of a professional plumber.

What causes the foul odor in hot water?

Storage tank water heaters come equipped with a magnesium anode rod that attracts magnesium, sulfur and bacteria. So if your hot water suddenly develops an unpleasant odor, the solution might be as simple as replacing the anode rod. At Norhio Plumbing, we also have ways in which we can remove the bacteria fromnyour water to prevent the problem in the first place.

Why is my faucet “clunking” when I turn it on?

Most of the time, that irritating noise is caused by a loose washer, one of the easiest fixes of all.

How can I stop or prevent unpleasant odors coming from my garbage disposal?

Step one: grind up a bunch of ice cubes in the disposal. Step two: grind up a half lemon, peel and all.

What should I not put into my garbage disposal?

Fibrous foods like lettuce, celery, potato peels, corn husks and meat bones should all be thrown out with your trash; otherwise, they can jam up and/or cause damage to the unit’s blades. Grease is another item to keep out of your garbage disposal and drains as it adheres to pipe walls and eventually will cause a clog.

What do I do if I’m losing water pressure in my sink?

First, check the emergency shutoff under your sink to make sure it’s fully open. Check your washers, too. If they’re cracked or showing signs of wear, water pressure can be reduced. Water pressure can also be affected by built-up deposits of calcium and lime.

How does a tankless water heater work?

As soon as you turn on a hot water faucet, cold water enters the system’s wall-mounted unit. There, a flow sensor detects the water and automatically ignites the burner. The water then circulates through the heat exchanger which in turn instantly heats the water. When the hot water faucet is shut off, the system shuts down until the next time there is a demand for hot water.

Do water leaks get bigger with age?

Yes! So wherever you spot a leak or signs of a leak, take quick action to get it fixed. Plus, keep in mind that the “out of sight” water leaks are usually the most destructive of all. And one great hiding place for leaking water is under your refrigerator, caused by a crack or leak in the line leading to your ice maker. To keep an eye on things, pull your refrigerator away from the wall once a month during normal cleaning. It’s also to note that the smaller the puddle (if you find one), the greater the potential for structural damage, as that could mean that water is leaking into your floor boards and beyond. While your back there, dust your refrigerator coils, too, to help prevent the appliance from freezing up.

Plumbing Videos

image003Tankless Water Heater
Homemade Drain Cleaning Solutions Preventing Water Damage to Your Home

Plumbing Glossary

For anyone who wants to know a little more about everyday plumbing terms, and what they mean, this glossary is for you!

  • ABS: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. A black plastic pipe used in plumbing for drains and vents.
  • Absorption Field: A leeching or seeping field engineered to receive septic tank effluent.
  • Adjustable Hot Limit Stop: Restricts hot water output in single control faucets and showers to protect against scalding by limiting the swing to the hot side.
  • Aerator: A screen-like insert screwed onto a faucet outlet. It mixes air with the flowing water to reduce splashing.
  • Air Gap: In the drainage system, the unobstructed vertical opening between the lowest opening of a waste line and the flood level of the device into which it empties. Its purpose is to prevent backflow contamination.
  • Auger (or Closet Auger): A bendable rod with curved end used by plumbers to remove clogs from a toilet’s trap.
  • Back Pressure: Pressure that resists the flow of fluid in a piping system.
  • Backflow: When water traveling from one system backs into any part of the main distribution system, usually by siphoning.image004
  • Backflow Preventer: A device to prevent back flow, especially into a potable water supply. Required for sprinkler systems, handheld showers, pullout faucet spouts, and kitchen sprayers.
  • Backup: Overflow of a plumbing fixture due to drain stoppage.
  • Baffle: An object placed in an appliance to change the direction of, or slow down the flow of air, gases or water.
  • Balancing Valve: A water heater valve that controls water flow and balances heat distribution to different locations.
  • Ball Check Valve: A valve that uses a ball to seal against a seat to stop flow in one direction.
  • Ball Joint: A spherical assembly in shower heads that allows the head to pivot and rotate.
  • Ballcock: A valve in the tank of a gravity-operated toilet that controls refilling of the tank. It is connected to a float via a metal arm. After flushing, the toilet refills until the float rises high enough to shut off the valve.
  • Bidet: A plumbing fixture similar in appearance to a toilet bowl used for personal hygiene. It is floor mounted, usually next to a toilet, and consists of a washing basin, faucet and sprayer.
  • Black water: Waste water from a toilet.
  • Bleed: To drain a pipe of excess air by opening a valve at the end of the pipe.
  • Blow bag: A drain-cleaning device consisting of a rubber bladder with a hose fitting on one end and a nozzle on the other. The device attaches to a water hose and is inserted into a clogged drainpipe. As water is introduced, it expands to grip the pipe, and releases pulsating bursts of water through the nozzle, forcing water through the pipe to clear the obstruction. Also known as a blowfish.
  • Boiler: A sealed tank where water is turned to steam for heating or power.
  • Boiler Feed: A check valve controlling inlet water flow to a boiler.
  • Brackish Water: Water containing bacteria between 1,000 and 15,000 ppm of dissolved solids.
  • Burst Pressure: The internal pressure that will cause a piece of tubing to fail.
  • Branch Drain: Plumbing fixture drain that leads to the main drain line.
  • Bushing: A fitting that’s threaded inside and outside that joins pipes of different sizes.
  • CPVC: Stands for chlorinated polyvinyl chloride. A black plastic pipe that can handle high temperatures. Mostly used in water supply systems.
  • Cleanout Plug: A plug in a trap or drain pipe that provides access for the purpose of clearing an obstruction.
  • Closet Bend: A curved waste pipe fitting under a toilet that connects the closet flange to the drain.
  • Closet Flange: A ring that anchors the toilet to the floor and connects it to the closet bend. Also known as a Floor Flange.
  • Collar: A galvanized sheet metal restricting device used in conjunction with plastic pipe. Its function is to direct and control the intumescent action of the fire-stopping material.
  • Coupling: A short fitting used to join two pieces of pipe.
  • Cowl: A short fitting used to join two pieces of pipe.
  • Dam: A barrier in the trap way of a toilet that controls the water level in the toilet bowl.
  • Diaphragm: A flexible membrane in a valve that deflects down onto a rigid area of the valve body to regulate water flow from the supply lines. This eliminates the possibility of debris build-up within the valve.
  • Diffuser: A device used to reduce the velocity and increasing the static pressure of a fluid passing through a system.
  • Dip Tube: A tube inside the water heater that sends cold water to the bottom of the tank.
  • Diverter: A faucet valve that redirects water from the tub faucet to the shower head.
  • Drain-Waste-Vent System: A pipe system that drains wastewater from the bathroom and vents the drain system.
  • Effluent: Septic system liquid waste.
  • Elbow: A curved fitting, usually 90° or 45°, used to change the direction of a pipe run. Also called an “ell.”
  • Fitting: Any part that joins together two sections of pipe. Comes in many shapes, sizes & connection styles. Examples: elbows, couplings, bends, wyes, etc.
  • Flange: The rim or edge at end of a pipe shaft that aids in connecting it to another pipe or anchoring it to a surface.
  • Flapper: A rubber flap with ball-like shape in the bottom of a toilet lifts to allow flushing and seals off the tank for refilling. Allows water to flow from the tank into the bowl.
  • Flow Control Valve: Device designed to reduce water flow to a plumbing fixture. Often used to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs.
  • Flow Rate: Measurement of water flow through a plumbing system in gallons per minutes (GPM) or gallons per hour (GPH).
  • Float Ball: A floating device connected to the ballcock inside the toilet tank to activate or shut off the ballcock.
  • Galvanizing: The process of applying a coating of zinc to the finished product to provide corrosion protection. The coating can be applied by hot dipping or electrolytic deposition.
  • Gasket: Flat device usually made of fiber or rubber used to provide a watertight seal between metal joints.
  • Gauge: The thickness of stainless steel and is commonly used in reference to quality grades on certain types of lavatories and sinks. 10 and 20-gauge stainless steel sinks go through a number of polishing and buffing operations to ensure a beautiful finish.
  • GPF: Stands for Gallons Per Flush. The rate of water flow by which toilets and flush valves are measured and regulated. Current law requires maximum of 1.6 GPF. Older styles were usually 3.5 GPF.
  • Gravity Operated Toilet: A toilet which relies on the natural downward pressure of water in a toilet tank to flush the toilet effectively.
  • Gray Water: Waste water from fixtures other than toilets.
  • Grease Trap: A device that captures grease entering a system before it reaches the sewer lines. Usually used in commercial applications such as restaurants or cafeterias.
  • Hard Water: Natural water containing impurities in various proportions. Traditional hardness is a measure of calcium, minerals or dissolved solids in a solution, measured in parts per million. Hard water generally ranges from 100 to 250 ppm.
  • Hanger: A device used to support pipes.
  • Hose Bibb: An outdoor faucet, also used to supply washing machines.
  • Interceptor: A device for separating grease and oil from drainage systems.
  • Leach Lines: Pipes that carry effluent from the septic system out to the leach field, a porous soil area where treated waste is emptied.
  • Low Consumption Toilet: A class of toilet designed to flush using 1.6 gallons of water or less. Also known as “water-saving” toilets.
  • Main: The primary artery of the supply or drain system to which all the branches connect. Referred to as the Main Vent in the vent system.
  • Manifold: A fitting that connects a number of branches to the main; serves as a distribution point.
  • MCL: Maximum Contaminant Level – The maximum level of a contaminant allowed in water by federal law.
  • Nipple: A short piece of pipe installed between couplings or other fittings.
  • Non-ferrous: Not containing iron.
  • Overflow Hood: On a bath drain, the decorative hood concealing the overflow.
  • Overflow Tube: The vertical tube inside a toilet tank that directs water into the bowl in case the ballcock malfunctions and prevents potential water damage caused by a tank overflow.
  • O-Ring: A rubber washer that is round instead of flat. Used in valve stems to create a watertight seal.
  • PB: Stands for polybutylene. A bendable plastic tubing most often used to supply water to bathroom fixtures.
  • PEX: Stands for cross-linked polyethylene. A flexible plastic supply line that is stronger than PE. In bathrooms, it is used for water supply lines.
  • Plumber’s Putty: A dough-like putty that seals joints between fixture surfaces and metal pieces, such as the drain.
  • Plumbing Snake: A thin, flexible length of spiral-wound metal, which is inserted into a drain and rotated to clear anything that is clogged in the pipes.
  • Plunger: A rubber suction cup approximately 6″ in diameter attached to a wooden dowel handle used to free drain clogs. Also known as a “plumber’s helper”.
  • Pop-Up Drain: Remote control-drain assembly. Also known as a “trip lever drain” for tubs.
  • Potable Water: Water that is suitable for consumption.
  • Pressure Balance Valve: A shower valve that monitors fluctuations in pressure to maintain balance between hot and cold water so that temperature remains constant.
  • PVC: Stands for polyvinyl-chloride. A rigid white plastic pipe used for bathroom drain, waste and vent pipes.
  • Relief Valve: A valve that opens to relieve excess temperature and/or pressure in the system.
  • Return: A plumbing fitting with a 180-degree bend.
  • Riser: A supply line pipe that rises from one story to the next; also, the short vertical pipes that bring water from the branch to the fixture.
  • Scald Guard: A valve designed to prevent extreme water temperature changes through pressure balance technology. When there is a drop in hot or cold water pressure, the scald-guard valve shifts back and forth behind the shower handle to compensate for the sudden change.
  • Scale: A thin coating or layer, usually calcium on the bottom of a tank or interior parts that may prevent heat transfer.
  • Sediment: The substance that settles on the bottom of a water tank. Also known as lime.
  • Shutoff Valve: Valves installed under sinks and toilets used to shut off water supply in the event of a malfunction or repair. Also called an Angle Stop, Straight Stop or Supply Stop.
  • Siphoning: The suction or pulling effect that takes place in the trap way of a toilet as it is filled with outgoing water and waste.
  • Sleeve: A pipe which is passed through a wall for the purpose of inserting another pipe through it.
  • Soft Water: Water that has been treated so that it has low mineral content.
  • Soil Pipe: A pipe that carries waste from toilets.
  • Sweep: A pipe bend fitting used in drains to permit smooth passage of waste.
  • T&P Valve: Temperature and pressure valve. A valve that opens to release excess pressure and temperature in a system.
  • Tee: A plumbing fitting in the shape of the letter “T,” used to connect three sections of pipe.
  • Trap: A curved section of drain that traps a small portion of water to prevent sewer gases from escaping into the bathroom. “P” traps and “S” traps are the types of traps most commonly found in bathrooms.
  • Valve: A device that regulates the flow of water.
  • Valve Seat: The immovable portion of a valve. Water flow is stopped when the movable portion of the valve comes in contact with the valve seat.
  • Vent: A vertical or sloping portion of drain pipe that allows sewer gasses to escape from the house into the outdoor air and lets air into the drain system to keep air pressure balanced and prevent water in traps from being siphoned off.
  • Water Hammer Arrestor: A device installed near a fixture to absorb the hydraulic shock that happens when a fixture’s supply is suddenly shut off, causing water hammer, a loud banging noise in the pipes.
  • Wax Ring: A seal located between floor flange and toilet to prevent leakage and fumes.
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