Mid City Frequently Asked Questions

We accept most major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. We also gladly accept cash and checks. For more information, please contact us.
We'd be glad to. Our staff has the skill and knowledge to not only answer your questions, but they can make suggestions and recommendations, provide best-cost alternatives, and provide advice on how to get your job done most efficiently.
We try to maintain a liberal policy in accepting the return of unused merchandise. A restocking charge to help cover the cost of handling will be assessed on stock items. Items that must be returned to the manufacturer will be handled according to the rules and charges of the manufacturer in question. We reserve the right to refuse to accept merchandise not in a resalable condition.
Absolutely! We work with many contractors, for both new construction and existing structure renovations. Plus, our staff has the skill and knowledge to work with you to deliver the best possible solution.
A sauna is a dry heat bath in a well-insulated room lined with untreated, kiln-dried soft wood. Using an electric sauna heater with special rocks placed on a grill, heat is generated. The sauna temperature will be in the range of 160° to 190°F, maintaining relative humidity between 10% and 20%.

A steam bath is a shower space that has been created or modified to be a personal steam area. These differ from saunas in that heated water resulting in steam is used as the source, rather than dry heat. Steam generators, plumbing and electrical connections (similar to those of a common residential water heater), and a sealing entry door are all that are required to deliver true steam bath comfort within your existing shower enclosure.
Although many health benefits have been attributed to the sauna, the primary advantage is thorough relaxation and cleansing derived from the sauna's soothing heat. It deep cleans the skin for a healthy glow, relaxes muscles, reduces aches and pains in joints, relieves congestion, and rejuvenates the body while revitalizing the mind.
First, make sure the tub pop-up stopper is opening fully and is free of hair and debris. If the stopper isn't the problem, then the drainpipe is probably clogged. First, try a plunger or a chemical drain cleaner. If neither of these succeeds in clearing the plugged drain, you'll have to clear the trap with a "snake", as follows:
  • Most tubs have a "P" trap in the drain. In some homes, the tub may have a drum trap in the floor near the tub instead (it will have a removable metal cover and a rubber gasket).
  • If you have a drum trap, first try snaking it clear through the tub overflow.
  • If that doesn't work, bail all the standing water from the tub.
  • Then, using an adjustable-end wrench, unscrew the trap cover slowly.
  • Have plenty of rags ready for any water that wells back up.
  • Remove the cover, bail the water out, and clean the trap.
  • If, after this, the water does not well up, snake toward the tub; if water does well up, snake toward the drain.
  • If you cannot reach the clog from the trap, it's likely deeper in the main drain, and will require a professional drain cleaner or plumber to clear it.
Click here to see a variety of pre-designed systems. These designs picture some of the most popular shower configurations, and list the components required for each one.
Well, sort of. Though it might be difficult to unclog a shower drain with a plunger, it's worth a try first. If that doesn't work, maneuver a snake down the drain opening and into the trap. As a last resort, you can use a garden hose, as follows:
  • Attach the hose to an indoor or outdoor faucet with a threaded adapter, securing it tightly.
  • Push the hose deeper into the drain and pack rags into the opening.
  • Turn the water on in short, hard bursts. This should free the blockage and open the drain. WARNING: Never leave a hose in any drain. A sudden drop in water pressure could siphon sewage back into the fresh water supply.

Here are some helpful hints to keep your household drains clear of clogs:

  • Don't pour grease down the kitchen sink; pour grease into an unused container and wait for it to harden. Then, scrape the grease out into the trash.
  • Don't wash coffee grounds down the sink; discard them in the trash.
  • Keep your floor drain strainers clean. Some tubs, showers, and basement floor drains have strainers that are screwed into the drain opening. You can easily remove these strainers and reach down into the drain with a bent wire to clear the debris. Be sure to scrub the strainer when re-inserting it.
  • Clean pop-up stoppers in the bathroom sink and tub regularly. Lift out sink pop-ups once a week and rinse them off.
  • Every few months, remove the overflow plate on the tub and pull up the pop-up assembly to reach the spring or rocker arm. Remove accumulated hair and rinse thoroughly.
  • Keep sewer pipes from the house free of tree roots. If roots are typically a problem in your yard, contact a professional to ensure your drains remain clear.
Experts agree that routine use of chemical drain cleaners to prevent clogs may eventually damage your pipes. However, for occasional use in clearing clogs (i.e., no more than once every few months), they work quite well. We recommend using a plunger to open a drain clog before attempting chemical drain cleaners, especially if standing water is present. If plunging has failed to clear the clog, a chemical drain cleaner may be used. Here are some tips when using these cleaners:
  • Be sparing with chemical cleaners, especially if you have brass, steel, or cast-iron traps and drainpipes.
  • Use caution when using these cleaners, and always use them in a well-ventilated room. Some chemicals can cause metal corrosion.
  • Never use a plunger if a chemical cleaner is present in the drain; splashing caustic water on you or others can be extremely harmful.
  • Always wear rubber gloves to prevent the chemical from burning your skin.
  • Don't use a chemical cleaner if the blockage is total, especially if the fixture is filled with water. It will not clear the blockage and you'll now face yet another problem of how to get rid of the caustic water.
  • Never use a chemical cleaner in a garbage disposal.
  • Read all product labels and match cleaners with clogs. Remember: Alkalis cut grease; acids dissolve soap and hair.
  • Never mix chemicals - mixing an alkali cleaner with an acid cleaner can cause an explosion.
  • Never look down the drain after pouring in a chemical. The solution often boils up and gives off toxic fumes.
Many times, a simple fix is all that is needed to save your leaking showerhead. A leaking showerhead can not only be annoying, it can waste many hundreds of gallons of water a year, and cost you hundreds of wasted dollars. Here are some helpful tips to help salvage your leaking showerhead.
  • If your showerhead leaks where it meets the arm, you might just need to replace the washer. To do this, loosen the collar using rib-joint pliers wrapped in tape (to protect the surface from scratches).
  • Erratic or weak water pressure usually indicates mineral build-up. To restore proper flow, clean outlet holes with a pin or unscrew the perforated faceplate and soak it in vinegar overnight, then scrub it clean before replacing it.
  • If the showerhead pivots stiffly, check the washer for wear and coat the swivel ball with petroleum jelly before reassembling.
Properly preparing your plumbing system for winter can be a cost-free precaution to save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in damages from frozen or burst pipes. Follow these simple and effective tips to help winterize your home:
  • Turn off the main shut off valve or have the water company turn off service to the house.
  • Starting at the top floor, open all faucets, both indoors and out.
  • When the last of the water has dripped from the taps, open the plug at the main shutoff valve (you may have to contact the water company to do this), and let it drain.
  • Turn off the power or gas to the water heater and open its drain valve.
  • Empty all toilet bowls and tanks.
  • Remove the clean out plugs on all sink traps or remove the traps completely. Replace these and fill them with automotive antifreeze mixed with water in the proportions specified for your car in your climate.
  • You will not be able to drain tub and shower traps, so add a full quart of antifreeze to them instead.
  • If you have a basement floor drain or main house trap, fill each with full-strength antifreeze.
  • NEVER put antifreeze into a dishwasher or clothes washer.
A faucet that will not yield any water is the first sign of frozen pipes. Frozen pipes can be damaging to a home and its contents and occupants if not handled properly. Use extreme care when dealing with frozen pipes, and rely on a professional if you need. Here are some helpful tips if you have a frozen pipe:
  • Shut off the water at the main shutoff valve and open the faucet nearest to the frozen pipe so it can drain and thaw.
  • Waterproof the area with containers and plastic drop cloths in the event of leaks.
  • Gradually warm up the frozen pipes by working from the faucet toward the iced-up area using one of the following methods:
    • Propane Torch: The flame-spreading nozzle of the torch will quickly thaw the frozen pipe. CAUTION: Shield flammable areas with a fireproof sheet; don't let the pipe get too hot to touch.
    • Hair Dryer: Used like a torch, a dryer will gently defrost the pipe.
    • Heating Pad: Wrap a length of pipe with a heating pad.
    • Heat Lamp: For pipes behind walls, floors, or ceilings, beam a heat lamp 8 or more inches from the surface.
    • Hot Water: If no other method is available, wrap the pipe in rags and pour boiling water on it. DO NOT use this method for plastic pipes.
You just might be able to take care of this yourself. While there are many causes for this problem, in most cases it can very easily be fixed. Here are some helpful tips to stop your run-away toilet:
  • Bend the float arm down or away from the tank wall.
  • Replace the ball with a new one.
  • Adjust the stopper guide rod and life wires/chain. Replace potentially defective stopper.
  • Scour the valve seat or replace it with a new one.
  • Replace tube or install new flush valve assembly.
  • Oil the trip lever, replace faulty washers, or install an entire new ball cock assembly.
Put less in your toilet in between flushes would be the first recommendation. And remember to flush often. Recent federal regulations to conserve water in toilet usage requires that all toilets use a maximum of 1.6gpf (gallons per flush). This is far less water pressure than used with many of older less water-saving toilets you or your house guests may be used to. Remembering this can save you from frustrating clogs. If you find that you still have flush problems, even when there is little in the toilet bowl to be flushed away, you might have a problem with low-pressure flushing. Here are a few tips to help resolve this problem:
  • Tighten the setscrew on the handle linkage, or just replace the handle.
  • Adjust the stopper guide rod and lift wires/chain.
  • Tighten tank bolts or couplings; replace gasket.
  • Check for and clear obstructions from drain passage with wire.
Pipe noises generally range from loud hammering sounds to high-pitched squeaks or squeals. Pipes are typically anchored with pipe straps every 6 to 8 feet for horizontal runs or 8 to 10 feet for vertical runs. As a general rule, only hot water pipes squeak or squeal, due to the pipe moving in its strap and the resulting friction caused from this movement. Conversely, cold water pipes can bang or hammer. These usually result from loose pipes, water logged air chambers, or water pressure that's too high. Normally, proper pipe anchoring and cushioning will solve the problem of loose pipes causing squeaking, squealing, banging, or hammering. Sometimes faulty air chambers are to blame rather than pipe anchors. Lengths of pipe, typically installed behind fixtures and appliances, hold air that cushions the shock when flowing water is shut off. These chambers can fill with water and lose their effectiveness. To restore air to the chambers, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve. Open all the faucets to drain the system, and then close the faucets and turn the water back on again; the air chambers should now fill with air. Finally, higher than normal water pressure might be the culprit behind your noisy pipes. To lower the pressure, you'll need a pressure-reducing valve, normally installed by a professional plumber.
When someone turns on a hot water faucet, heated water is drawn from the top of the tank and is replaced by cold water that is carried to the bottom through "dip tubes". When the temperature of the water in the tank drops, a thermostat activates the heat source. This heat source is typically a gas burner in a natural gas powered water heater, or two heating elements in an electric powered water heater. A gas water heater will have a flue running up the center and out the top to vent deadly gases; an electric heater needs no venting whatsoever. As water is heated, it will rise to the top of the tank and exit upon demand. In both, anti-corrosion anodes help to attract corrosion that would otherwise adhere to the tank's walls and cause damage to the interior of the unit.

Click here for information on how to "size" a water heater.
Maintenance on a water heater to ensure it remains in good operating condition is minimal. But please use caution: water stored in the water heater can be extremely hot and can exit from the unit at a great force, causing severe burns. Here are some tips to continued proper operation of your water heater maintenance, as well as some helpful tips on troubleshooting some basic problems that may occur with your water heater:
  • Open the drain valve at the bottom of the unit every 6 months, letting the water run into a bucket until it looks clear (usually about 5 gallons). This will prevent sediment accumulation on the bottom of the tank and keep the water continued clean and clear.
  • Test the temperature/pressure relief-pressure buildup annually by lifting or depressing the handle and draining the water from the overflow pipe. If water doesn't drain out, shut off water to the heater, open a hot water faucet somewhere in the house, and replace the valve.
  • If steam or boiling water ever comes out of the valve or the hot water faucets, shut the heater off immediately. If you ever hear a rumbling sound, assume the heater is overheating and turn it off.
  • If temperature appears low throughout your house, check that the temperature control is on and set correctly (normally 120°F is the lowest thermostat setting from the factory). If you suspect a faulty control, test it by opening a hot water faucet for 3 minutes. If the heater doesn't turn on, reset the control to a lower temperature and test it again. If it still fails, you may need to have the unit replaced - call a professional for further assistance.
  • If there doesn't appear to be enough hot water for your home, check that the thermostat is working and is set high enough, that the hot water pipes are properly insulated, and that the water heater (or heating element for electric-powered units) is actually big enough to support the needs of your home. Call a professional for further assistance.
  • If the water seems too hot, check that the setting of the thermostat and make sure it is functioning correctly. Check to ensure that the exhaust vent (for natural gas powered units) is free and not blocked. You may need to adjust the thermostat, or call a professional for further assistance.
  • If the water heater seems noisy or the hot water pipe appears rusty or discolored, it may have scale, rust, or sediment built up inside the tank or on the elements of the tank. Turn off the electric or natural gas supply to the water heater, and drain the tank completely. Then, resume power to the unit and allow it to fill and heat the fresh water. If this doesn't work, the elements inside the unit may need to be removed and cleaned or replaced; call a professional for further assistance.
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MidCity Supply Company, Inc., Plumbing Fixtures, Parts, Supplies  Wholesale & Mfg, Elkhart, IN