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Common Water Heater Problems and How to Fix Them

Are you having problems with your water heater, or think you may need your water heater replaced? Contact us at The Pipe Doctor today to get your hot water back on and flowing normally again soon. Here’s what you need to know about some common water heater problems so you can get things fixed fast!

water heater repair Alexandria VA

No Hot Water

This is one of the top water heater problems. The issue may be different depending on the type of water heater you have. No matter what, though, it will likely take a professional to properly diagnose and repair these problems.

Not Enough Hot Water

This can be caused by a number of issues, including:

  • Your tank is too small
  • Your temperature is turned down too low
  • If you’re having tankless water heater problems, your heater may not be powerful enough

You can try turning the temp up on your own. If that doesn’t help, you’ll likely need to call for professional help.

The Water isn’t The Right Temperature

Do you have plenty of hot water but it’s either too hot or too cold? Try changing the temperature on the heater itself. If this doesn’t take care of it, it’s likely that your hot water heater problems stem from a faulty temperature-pressure valve, which requires the services of a pro to fix.

The Water Takes Too Long to Reheat

This common water heater problem can be caused by a number of different issues. You can check to see if there is sediment buildup in your tank and try to flush it. If that doesn’t work, bring in a professional to do further testing.

The Water Tank Leaks

If your tank leaks are actually caused by pipes that you can access, tighten them and see if that stops the problem. If your hot water heater problems come from the tank itself, though, get it replaced ASAP. It could cause catastrophic water damage if you let it go!

The Water Heater Makes Unusual Sounds

If your water heater problems include unusual sounds coming from the heater itself, try draining it and descaling it. If that doesn’t help, call and ask for professional help.

Water is Rusty

Rusty water indicates corrosion inside your tank. However, you may be able to drain the tank and replace the anode rod to take care of the problem. Try this before you call us about your hot water heater problems.

Water is Smelly

Smelly water can indicate a bacterial infection in your tank. Drain it, fill it with water and hydrogen peroxide, let it sit for three hours, then drain it again and let it refill. If the water still smells, you may need a stronger treatment or a new tank. Either way, bring in professional help.

Contact The Pipe Doctor for Water Heater Services in NoVA or Fredericksburg

Stop wondering who to call for water heater repair and contact us at The Pipe Doctor whenever you have hot water problems in NoVA or Fredericksburg, VA or the surrounding areas. We’ll get to you fast and get everything fixed ASAP so you can use your hot water normally again soon.

What is Cured in Place Piping and Is It Right for You?

cipp cured in place pipe alexandria va

Are you looking at replacing part of your sewer line and you’re not sure how to get the results you need? Has your plumber recommended CIPP or cured in place pipe and you’re not sure what that means? Here’s what you need to know to decide if a cured in place pipe liner is the best way to solve your sewer problems.

What is Cured in Place Pipe?

A cured in place pipe liner is a flexible, robust pipe liner that can be pulled into place, then cured to the edges of existing pipelines. It hardens, forming a new lining for a broken or a damaged section of pipe.

Because CIPP can be pulled into place through existing pipe lines, these sewer repairs require little to no digging. Instead, they are performed using technology and your current sewer access points.

How Do You Install Cured in Place Pipe?

If you’re interested in cured in place pipe, we’ll start by sending a camera down your sewer line. This gives us an accurate picture of what is going on in the line and allows us to be sure that a cured in place pipe liner is a good solution.

If we can fix your pipe with a CIPP solution, we’ll let you know, then bring in the equipment we need. We’ll find the best place to access your sewer line and get to work. Our team will coat the pipe liner with the resin that will hold it in place, position it properly, then make sure it cures according to manufacturer specifications.

We’ll test your new pipe before we leave to make sure that we solved your problem and that you shouldn’t have any more issues with your pipeline. We can even send a camera down the line again, if there are any questions about how well the pipe is working or whether it solved your sewer problem.

Is Cured in Place Pipe the Solution You Need?

If you’ve just found out that you need sewer repair, don’t panic! Call us at The Pipe Doctor and schedule an appointment with one of our skilled sewer experts for cured in pipe service in Alexandria. We’ll come out, evaluate the line, and let you know what we find. If cured in place pipe is the solution you need, we’ll get your sewer fixed ASAP. Rely on our team of skilled experts to repair your sewer today!



How Long Should a Water Heater Last?

How Long Should a Water Heater Last?

We talk to a lot of homeowners who aren’t sure how long their water heater should last. Most people want to be responsible and replace the heater when it needs it, but they aren’t sure when that is.

How long should a water heater last

While different water heaters have different lifespans, most last somewhere between 6 and 13 years. In fact, we tell people that anything over 10 years is amazing and they really can’t expect more than that.

The exact lifespan of your water heater depends on the quality of water running through it, how often you perform or call for water heater maintenance, and whether you call for water heater repair right away when you need it. If you’re not sure how old your water heater is or it’s current condition, our experts can take a look at it and let you know.

How Do I Know if I Need a Water Heater Replacement?

If your water heater is broken, the first thing to do is to call for a water heater repair. If you need a water heater replacement instead, our team will let you know. You can also look for the following signs, which may indicate that you need a new water heater.

  • Your hot water is an unusual color. If it looks like it is tinted yellow, orange, or even red, there’s a good chance your water heater has rust inside of it that is getting into your water supply. The best way to deal with this is usually to get a new water heater.
  • Your water heater makes popping or gurgling sounds. This often indicates that sediment has built up inside the heater and is impeding the flow of water through or out from the appliance. Sediment is hard to remove when it gets this bad and you may need to replace the entire heater.
  • Water is pooling around the bottom of the heater. Call us right away because a water heater leak can cause catastrophic damage!

At The Pipe Doctor, we replace water heaters all the time and we would love to help you get the best new heater for your home. Contact us today and we’ll match you with a water heater replacement that should work well for you for many years. We’ll make sure it comes from a reliable manufacturer, then get it installed and test it for you, too. If you make your appointment today, you’ll have a new water heater soon!

How to Descale Your Drain Pipes

How to Descale Your Drain Pipes

Scale refers to the layer of minerals and other substances that can build up on the insides of your pipes. The most common mineral in scale is calcium, though others can be present, too, depending on the mineral composition of your water.

pipe descaling services alexandria va

If you notice that the amount of water coming out of your pipes is less than it used to be, it’s time to descale your plumbing pipes. It is particularly important to descale cast iron pipes, because of how the iron can interact with these minerals.

You can call us at The Pipe Doctor and ask about pipe descaling, or you can tackle the job yourself. If you choose the latter, here’s what you need to know.

Choose Your Drain Cleaner

You can choose between chemical drain cleaners, like Drano, or natural drain cleaners, like a combination of vinegar and baking soda. If you are on a well, you will need to use natural cleaners because they can find their way into your drinking water.

Natural drain cleaners will take longer to work but you may not need gloves and other safety gear when handling them. Chemical cleaners can also be bad for plastic or PVC pipes, as they can weaken the pipe as they work. Call our experts if you need advice on what to use.

Steps to Descale Plumbing Pipes

Once you know what you want to use to descale your plumbing pipes, here are the steps you should follow to get the job done.

  1. Find several large pots, buckets, or jugs and fill them with water. You should have at least one for every drain you want to clean.
  2. Turn off the main water valve for your home.
  3. Turn off your hot water heater.
  4. Turn on all of your faucets and flush your toilets. This empties any water left in your pipes. Close the taps when you are finished with this step.
  5. Pour your chosen drain cleaner into your pipes and wait. A chemical cleaner will tell you in the instructions how long to wait. You may need to wait several hours for a natural cleaner to finish working.
  6. Boil all of the water. Make sure to use stove- or microwave-safe containers.
  7. Pour the boiling water down your drains. You should pour at least one large container of water down each drain.
  8. Turn your water and your hot water heater back on.
  9. Open all of your faucets as much as possible. All of the mineral deposits that came loose during your pipe descaling process should flow out of them. Turn them off when you don’t see anything else coming out of your pipes.

If this doesn’t descale your plumbing pipes, call us at The Pipe Doctor. We’ll come out, find the problem, and get your plumbing working again soon!



Hydro jetting sewer cleaning in Alexandria

There is a new method of combatting deep-rooted plumbing problems called hydro-jetting. This process is more intensive than using a plunger or a plumbing snake, and is usually used when there is a complex clog located within your line. The experts on staff at Pipe Doctor offer hydro-jet drain cleaning for our customers who are having serious issues with their septic system. To find out if hydro-jetting could solve the problems you are experiencing at your property, read on to learn more about this service.


The process involves using powerful hydro-jet drain cleaning equipment to blast away any obstacles or blockages that are creating issues inside your plumbing pipes. It uses high pressure jetting, breaking up clogs and washing away any scale or sediment that has built up on the interior walls. When you hire a professional plumber like ours to do hydro-jetting, in no time at all you end up with completely cleared out pipes.


If you are dealing with a particularly tricky plumbing problem, it may be the best possible option to get it taken care of. Sometimes measures such as plunging or trying to snake the drain cannot reach the extent of the issue, and other methods like chemical drain cleaner are dangerous and bad for the piping. Hydro-jetting is a safe, convenient way to get any type of plumbing issue handled. THE BENEFITS OF HYDRO-JETTING

  • It works on the toughest of clogs – Using the high pressure jetting is a great way to combat any kind of clog, from food and waste to tree roots and trash.
  • It is completely safe – Unlike some of the chemicals that are used for drain cleaning, hydro-jet drain cleaner is totally safe for your pipes, because it is just using water.
  • It’s a fast solution – With the powerful streams of water, hydro-jetting is a great way to quickly take care of even the most stubborn plumbing problems.
  • It is cost-effective – For being a relatively new and modern method of plumbing repairs, hydro-jet drain cleaning is affordable and convenient. Talk with our staff to learn more about pricing!

Call The Pipe Doctor for Hydro Jetting in the Alexandria & Fredericksburg areas!

More and more of our customers are realizing what a convenient technique hydro-jetting is. If you are interested in having hydro jetting in Alexandria or Fredericksburg, the Pipe Doctor staff can come out to your property and assess the situation to see if you are a good candidate. Reach out to The Pipe Doctor today for more details!

Is My Sewer Line Broken or Clogged?

Is My Sewer Line Broken or Clogged?

Do you think you’re having sewer problems but you’re not sure? Unless there is sewage actively flowing into your home, it can be hard to tell if you’re having a sewer problem or not. Here are a few signs that it’s time to call a plumber. Our team at The Pipe Doctor can diagnose your sewer problem and fix it fast so you can get back to your regular schedule soon!

Sewer Backups

If your sewer is actively backing up into your or your plumbing frequently has backup problems, it’s time to call for clogged sewer repair. We’ll send an expert to your home to confirm that the problem is in your sewer, then find a way to fix the problem with minimal hassle for you

Mold & Mildew

If you have recurring mold and/or mildew that you can’t get rid of, call to have us check on your sewer line. If there’s a leak behind a wall or one that is oozing into your walls, it can fuel mold/mildew growth that won’t stop until you take care of the sewer problem.

Green, Lush Lawn Spots

Lush spots in your hard can indicate a broken sewer line. When the line breaks, sewage oozes into your yard. The nitrogen and other chemicals in sewage promote plant growth. If one part of your yard is more green and lush than the others, it may be time to check for sewer issues.

Sewer Smells

sewer smells alexandria

Do you smell sewage in your home or whenever something goes down the drain? Your sewer is designed to keep both smells and actual sewage away from your home. Smelling sewage is significant in the list of broken sewer line symptoms.

Lawn Indentations

Do you have sunken spots in your yard or certain pavers or sections of the sidewalk that are lower than others? When sections of soil get wet, they can sink down and pull whatever is on the surface down with them.

Slow Drains

Your drains may not back up but, if they run slow, it’s time to look at sewer line repair. We will get those drains flowing freely once again.

Rely on us at The Pipe Doctor to fix all of your sewer line problems. Whether you need sewer line repair or clogged sewer repair, we’ll take care of everything so you don’t have to worry about your sewer anymore.

How Does a Well Pump Work?

How Does a Well Pump Work?

Do you use well water in your home? If you do, then you likely have a well pump and a pressure tank. It’s important that you understand the basics of how your well water pump works so that you know when to call for help and how to keep your drinking water safe.

At The Pipe Doctor, we have well pump experts on staff for you. Call us with your questions or to make an appointment and we’ll help you keep your well running, no matter what.

What is a Well Pump?

Most home water systems have a pump that is submerged under the water level in the well. This well pump transfers water from the well to your home. Some systems have a jet pump. This pump sits on top of the ground and draws water out of the earth for use in your house.

In addition, well water systems need a way to pressurize the water that you use so you can make it as forceful as you need it. Some systems use gravity to pressurize the water. Other systems pump water into a storage tank, where it stays until you need it in your house. This tank is attached to a pressure tank. The water passes through the pressure tank before it arrives at your faucet. The tank allows water pressure to build until it is at the levels you desire.

How a Well Pump Works

how does a well pump work?

There are many types of well pumps. The one that works best for you will be compatible with your system and will get you all the water that you and your family need. Each pump works slightly differently, so it’s hard to explain how a well pump works without knowing exactly what you have installed.

If you need some help with a well water pump, give us a call at The Pipe Doctor. We’ll send one of our well experts to your home fast. Your expert will examine your system, let you know what kind of pump you have, and get you all the information you need to know your system well and make wise decisions about it.

Well Water Pumps in Fredericksburg

When it comes to well water systems, you want to make sure that you have experts you can call on whenever you need well pump service in Fredericksburg. After all, this is your drinking water you’re talking about! You don’t want to mess with possible problems, contamination, or any other issues. Contact us at the first sign of an issue or with any questions and we’ll get you the answers you need fast. Make an appointment online here!

What is Pipe Descaling?

Descale Plumbing Pipes

Have you heard about pipe descaling and you’re wondering if it’s right for you? Or maybe a plumber has told you that you need to consider having it done but you don’t know what that means. No matter your reason for seeking more information on descaling a sewer pipe, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s what you need to know to understand pipe descaling and decide if it is the right option for you.

What is Scale?

what is pipe descaling alexandria va

Scale is a substance that builds up on the inside of your pipes. It is made up of all sorts of things: mineral deposits from your water, grease that hardens, other things that get stuck in the abovementioned buildup.

Over time, all of these things harden together to become a substance that can block your pipes. This substance is called scale and, given enough time, it can fully line the insides of pipes. Cast iron pipes tend to get scale buildup worse than other kinds but most pipes have the potential of developing scale.

When it comes to descaling a cast iron pipe or any other type of pipe, we’ll make sure that the job gets done safely and quickly.

Why Does Scale Need to Be Removed?

Scale can block the flow of water and waste through your pipes. If it builds up on an incoming water pipe (which is less likely), you’ll have trouble getting the water you need to go about your daily routines.

If it builds up in your sewers or in your drain pipes, you’ll end up with blocked sewer lines and frequent backups. In fact, scale can be a top cause of blocked sewer lines in some areas. Since you need your sewer line to drain well, you’ll want our experts to get to work descaling your sewer pipe fast!

How Does Pipe Descaling Work?

There are many possible ways to descale a pipe. One of the most common is to just hydro jetting. We’ll spray a concentrated stream of water toward the areas of your pipes where scale has built up. It should remove the scale and leaver your pipe looking brand new!

If hydro jetting won’t work because your pipes are fragile or otherwise damaged, we’ll find a way to get rid of your scale so you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Before long, our Alexandria plumbers will have your home back to normal!

Call us at The Pipe Doctor whenever you have scale buildup or your sewers and drains aren’t working. We’ll find out what the problem is ASAP. If you need pipe descaling in Alexandria, we’ll get straight to work and finish the job as soon as possible. Our goal is always to get your family back to their normal routines fast!

Call us or click here to make your appointment for descaling your sewer pipes in Alexandria today!

Keep Your Pipes From Freezing This Winter

Keep Your Pipes From Freezing This Winter

One of the most common winter plumbing problems happens when your pipes freeze. This can create too much pressure inside the pipe. Then the pipe bursts and, once the water thaws, you have a mess on your hands and water damage to clean up in your home.

Avoid this by keeping your pipes flowing all winter long. Here’s how:

Keep The Heat On…At Least a Little

You don’t have to turn your heat all the way up for it to help keep your pipes thawed. Try setting your thermostat to at least 50 degrees even when you’re out of town. This helps reduce your energy usage but keeps your home warm enough that pipes shouldn’t freeze. Note that you may still need to take extra precautions with pipes that run along an outside wall or that are in an uninsulated space.

Let it Drip

If there’s a pipe that you’re especially worried about, turn on that faucet that the pipe feeds and let it drip. This alleviates the pressure. Even if the pipe does freeze, the water is less likely to build up inside and cause it to burst. Then you can thaw the pipe without risking damage to your home.

Open (Doors) Wide

If you’re concerned about pipes that are located inside cabinets, open the cabinet doors to optimize airflow. That way, more of the heated air in the room will end up in the cabinet. This may not seem like it would help much, but it can make a huge difference!

Seal it Up

If there are cracks or holes where pipes run through walls (especially from inside to outside), seal these up. Use caulk to fill them in or try spray foam for larger openings. Whenever possible, seal from both the inside and the outside. All of this sealing keeps cold air from outside from getting in and freezing your pipes.

Try Heating Tape

Wrap pipes that tend to freeze in heating tape. Try to find tape that turns on when it senses that heat is needed, then turns off again when things warm out. Another kind of tape stays on all the time and must be plugged in. This can be a fire hazard and is usually used to thaw frozen pipes, not keep pipes from freezing in the first place.

Insulate, Insulate, Insulate!

Add insulation to areas where you have a lot of pipes. Think particularly about basements, attics, and garages. These areas tend to be colder than the rest of the house and may not be properly insulated to protect pipes. You can either insulate the entire space or put insulating sleeves on the pipes to protect them. Either way, keep as much heat on those pipes as possible.

Contact us at The Pipe Doctor if you have concerns about your pipes, need some help protecting them this winter, or if you end up with a pipe that bursts. We’ll be there soon to help you out!

The Most Common Winter Plumbing Problems and How to Avoid Them

common winter plumbing problems

Some plumbing problems are way more common in the winter than at other times of the year. There are a number of reasons why this is true; the important thing is that -as a homeowner- you know what to look for and how to address any problems that might come up.

If you do experience plumbing difficulties this winter, call us at The Pipe Doctor in Fredericksburg to take care of things fast!

Frozen Pipes

When temperatures drop, the water in your pipes can freeze. This usually happens with pipes that are run along outside walls or ones running through uninsulated areas, like attics, basements, or garages. When water freezes, it expands. If it creates too much pressure, it can crack the pipe. Then, when things thaw out, you have a watery mess to clean up and a pipe to fix.

Avoid this by wrapping problematic pipes with insulation and keeping your heater set to at least 50 degrees even when you go out of town!

Water Line Breaks

Sometimes, pipes freeze even when you do your very best to keep them thawed. This can cause anything from a tiny leak to a huge one with water praying everywhere. As soon as you notice a leak, it’s time to turn off your water, then call to get it fixed. After all, cleaning up from water damage can be difficult and expensive.

Disappearing Hot Water

When your hot water has to travel through cold pipes to get to wherever you’re using it, it can seem like your water heater isn’t working. Turn up the temperature on your water heater or let the hot water run for a couple of minutes before you try to use it.

If you have a lot of people visiting over the holidays, you may need to schedule hot water usage so that your water heater has time to produce plenty of hot water for everyone. That way no one is left taking a cold shower!

Clogged Drains

With all of the holiday parties and family visits that happen over the holidays, it’s no surprise that drains tend to clog up. Make sure that any long-term guests know the specifics of using your plumbing so that this doesn’t happen. Remind them, for instance, not to flush feminine products or to put their coffee grounds in the trash can and not down the garbage disposal.

If you do get a clogged drain, don’t panic. Call us at The Pipe Doctor in Fredericksburg and we’ll send someone out to fix the problem. Before you know it, the clog will be gone and you’ll be back to your celebration.

No matter what goes wrong with your plumbing this winter, rely on the skilled plumbers at The Pipe Doctor to make the necessary repairs as soon as possible. We’ll work with you to get your home running normally again fast. Stop feeling anxious and get our team working for you ASAP!

Have an Emergency? Call The Pipe Doctor.


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