Welcome to our Plumbing FAQ section! We have tried to put the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that we get asked, here to help you.


Water Heater FAQ

Q. How long do Water Heaters generally last?

A.  Usually 10-15 years, depending solely on the quality of your water and the water pressure that is within your home.

Q. Why is my electric water heater not producing enough hot water for my requirements?

A. The recovery rate for an electric water heater is not as fast as with a gas water heater.  You may need to wait longer for the electric water heater to warm up your water, or perhaps even consider switching to a gas water heater if appropriate.

Q. What are some examples of issues with water heaters where I might need to call a plumber?

  • Water leaking out underneath the water heater.
  • Water heater is taking longer than 1 hour to fully heat up.
  • Your water heater is making a "rumbling" noise.
  • You are no longer getting as much hot water from your water heater as you used to.
  • You have no hot water at all!

Sump Pump FAQ

Q. How long do sump pumps generally last?

A. 5-10 years, depending on how often the sump pump runs or how little the sump pump runs

Q. Is it possible to have a battery backup installed with a sump pump?

A. Yes, depending on the size of the pit that the sump pump can fit into.  The battery backup sump pump can protect your house from flooding if your power goes out.

Q. How do I know if my sump pump has failed?

  • A humming sound might be coming from your sump pump
  • Your sump pump will make no sound at all
  • You could possibly see a flooded basement from a failed sump pump

Garbage Disposal FAQ

Q. Can I put food leftovers down my garbage disposal?

A. MJW Plumbing Company recommends minimal, if any, food be put down a garbage disposal.  This can help to prevent stoppages in the garbage disposal and/or kitchen waste line.

Q. Why is my garbage disposal making a strange noise even though there is nothing obviously lodged in it?

A. Your garbage disposal might be starting to fail.  This would be a good time to call a plumber to check your garbage disposal out.

Q. What can I do to maintain my garbage disposal at home?

A. You can put a small amount of ice down your garbage disposal while it is running to help sharpen the blades and clean out any debris that may be stuck inside the unit.  You can try putting a very small amount of lemon or orange peel down the garbage disposal, with it running, to help reduce any unpleasant odor.


Toilet Repair FAQ

Q.  Why is there water on the floor by the base of my toilet?

A. It could be a couple of different things.  The wax ring might be bad below the toilet, which would require the toilet to be pulled and reset onto the flange.  The other possibility, if the toilet is a two-piece toilet, the tank to bowl could be leaking causing the water to leak onto the floor.

Q. Why does my toilet sound like it is frequently running even when it has not be flushed recently?

A. This can be caused by failure of the internal parts of the toilet. This would require a professional assessment on site.

Q. My toilet is blocked, what should I do?

A. If you cannot plunge the blockage out of your toilet, you should wait 24 hours, without using the toilet, to see if it unblocks.  If it is still blocked after 24 hours, call a plumber!


Faucet Repair & Faucet Replacement FAQ

Q. Why is my faucet dripping?

A. This could be due to the faucet cartridge internal parts beginning to fail.

Q. What happens if my faucet cartridge internal parts start to fail?

A. They should be replaced by a plumber.


Drain Cleaning FAQ

Q. Why is my bath draining really slowly?

A. This could be caused by hair or something else causing a blockage.  Call a plumber to snake the drain.

Q. Why is my bathroom sink draining slowly, what should I do?

A. This could be many different things.  Soap can clog up your sink, as can hair.  A plumber can also snake your bathroom sink.

Q. My kitchen sink is draining slowly, what should I do?

A. You can attempt to clear the blockage with a small amount of warm water.  If this doesn't work, a plumber can also snake your kitchen sink.


Sewage Ejector Pumps

Q. What is a sewage ejector pump?

A. A sewage ejector pump is a pump that pumps waste up to grade.  They are found in the basement floor where the homeowner has a sewer line above the finish floor.

Q. How do I know if my sewage ejector pump is failing?

A. Usually water will have leaked on the floor.  There is a foul odor near the pump.

Q. What should I do if my sewage ejector pump fails?

A. If your sewage ejector pump fails, call a plumber immediately and stop using the basement plumbing until they arrive.


Main Water Shutoff Valve FAQ

Q. What is a main water shutoff valve?

A. Every home has a main valve that shuts down all the water entering the home.

Q. My main water shutoff valve appears to be leaking, what should I do?

A. If you think your main water shutoff valve might be leaking, don't touch anything and call a plumber immediately.


Hose Bib FAQ

Q. My Hose Bib is dripping, what should I do?

A. Call a plumber and see if they can repair the hose bib or if it needs to be replaced.

Q. What is the difference between a hose bib and a frost proof hose bib?

A. Frost proof hose bibs take the water farther back into the home.  They can help a faucet from freezing in early winter before temperatures drop too much.

Q. Should I winterize my hose bib?

A. Yes. Every hose bib should be winterized, frost proof or regular.

The process to winterize your hose bib is:

  • Shut off the water going to the faucet
  • Remove the garden hose from the outside faucet
  • Open up the outside faucet to the water on position

Contact Us

Contact us today to discuss any concerns or issues you might be experiencing with your plumbing.

MJW Plumbing Company Service Areas in Northern Virginia:

Vienna, Falls Church, Oakton, Fairfax, Fairfax County, Ashburn, Sterling, Reston, Great Falls, McLean, Arlington, Arlington County, Loudoun County, and much more!

If you don't see your area above and you live in Northern Virginia, please don't hesitate to contact us to see if we are currently taking on residential plumbing service work in your area.