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Frequently Asked Questions


Click questions below for answers

Our water bill has been very high recently. The county utilities office asked if we had checked for a leak. How do we do that with accuracy?

One preliminary way to check for a leak is to turn off all the fixtures in your home and put dark food coloring in all of your toilet tanks (not the bowl), then check the reading on your water meter. After about an hour, re-check the toilets and the meter. If the water in any toilet bowl is colored, you have a leaking toilet. If the water in the toilet bowl is still perfectly clear, but the reading on the water meter has moved, you probably have an underground leak. Ernie’s Plumbing & Sewer Service can get to the source of any leak and repair it for you.

A foul, offensive odor fills the house every time we flush the downstairs toilet. What might be the cause and what should we do?

Between the toilet and the floor there is a “wax ring” that when old, cracked and unsealed will allow gaseous air from the pipe out into the room instead of being forced down by the force of the flush. The toilet and wax ring will need to be resealed to the floor and all vents should be checked for debris. This typically solves the problem. Installing a new wax ring is a routine job for a plumber, and Ernie’s Plumbing & Sewer Service can save you the dirty work without draining your bank account!

How frequently should I have my septic system inspected?

At least once every three to four years you should have your septic system professionally inspected and pumped. When completely full, a septic tank can become backed up and allow unwanted solids to flow into the drain field, blocking its intended draining actions into the ground and preventing the natural, healthy microbial ecosystem from functioning correctly. Ernie’s Plumbing & Sewer Service has over four decades of experience with septic systems of all types, and we can put yours on an effective program of preventive maintenance.

There are small flies around my tub and shower that a friend told me were “sewer flies.” How do I get rid of them?

When there is no water in the water trap (“goose neck”) area of your tub’s drain pipe due to cracks, lack of use, or a venting problem – the liquid barrier that prevents flies (and gases) from coming up through the drain is missing. Pouring hot water and bleach into the drain may do the trick, but it may turn out to be a temporary fix. Likely there is something wrong with the trap or the venting – call the pros at Ernie’s Plumbing & Sewer Service – we’ll come to your home, diagnose the problem, estimate the repair (usually very affordable for routine problems like this) and fix it – for good!