Caring for Your Hot Water Heater

Caring for Your Hot Water Heater

Fix That Leaky Shower Yourself

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If your shower drips after use and you can’t adjust the handle to get the drip to stop, it’s time for a DIY project to fix that leak. If your shower is the single-handle type, with a few simple tools and a couple of hours, you can stop that drip. Here are the steps to repair a leaking single-handle shower. Supplies You’ll Need flat-blade screw driver pocket knife Phillips screwdriver channel lock pliers couple of rags for cleanup From the home improvement or plumbing supply store: plumber’s grease replacement cartridge for your shower – These vary by manufacturer, so once you have removed the old cartridge, take it to the store to get the matching cartridge. Removing the Old Cartridge Turn the water off to the shower. If there isn’t a separate shutoff valve for the shower, you’ll have to shut the water off to the house. Use the flat-blade screwdriver or pocket knife to remove the cover over the screw at the center of the handle. Remove the screw and pull the handle off. If the handle sticks, wedge the screwdriver under the edge of the handle and pry up to loosen the handle. Remove the stop tube on which the handle rested. Find the spring or clip used to secure the cartridge in place. Which one is used varies by manufacturer. Remove the spring or clip by pulling it up and away from the cartridge. Grab the end of the cartridge with the pliers and pull it straight out. You may need to wiggle the cartridge from side to side as you pull it out. Wipe off the cartridge and the hole in which it was installed. Take the cartridge to the store and have them match the right one for you. Installing the New Cartridge Wipe off the new cartridge. Place a small amount of plumber’s grease on the washer at the end of the cartridge. Insert the cartridge into the hole in the wall and turn it slightly until it slips in completely. Insert the spring or clip down into the cartridge to secure it in place. Slip the stop tube over the cartridge and push until secure. Push the handle in place over the end of the cartridge and secure it with the screw. Snap the cover on the handle over the screw. Turn the water on and test your shower. Problems You May Encounter If you can’t get the handle off, you may have to buy a special handle puller that clamps onto the handle and forces it off. Cartridges can sometimes resist being removed because of corrosion. A cartridge puller is available to make that job easier. If you still have difficulty removing these parts to fix the shower, put everything back together and have one of your local plumbers from a place like Roto-Rooter Sewer And Drain Service come out and finish the work. They have all of the tools to do this quickly and...

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Basic Toilet Flush Issues And Solutions

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There are some toilet issues that are relatively simple to solve, and require few tools and very little mechanical ability. These problems include: Flush handle problems  Your flush handle is connected by a small chain to a rubber flapper which controls the flow of water from the toilet tank to the bowl. When the handle is pushed down, it lifts the flapper from atop the tank’s drain hole. When the tank is emptied, the flapper falls back down to cover the opening as the tank fills. Occasionally, the chain may become bound or twisted, which shortens the length of the chain. This will cause the flapper to open farther than normal. When the flapper’ angle exceeds ninety degrees, it will not fall back into place over the tank drain. This will cause the water to run continuously through the tank without allowing it to fill. To solve this issue, remove the lid from the tank and unhook the hook attachment on the chain from the plastic arm of the flush handle. Straighten the chain if necessary. The interior plastic arm of the flush handle has a series of holes into which the chain hook may be attached. Attach the hook to a hole that is closer to the round rubber flapper (to which the other side of the chain is attached). Flush the toilet and observe the flapper. If it falls back into the tank drain after the tank empties, then the problem is solved. If not, move the chain closer on the flush handle arm until the flapper closes correctly. Replacing the flapper The flapper may close correctly, but still allow a small stream of water to flow continuously into the tank. This is caused by a worn flapper. The signs of a worn flapper include the faint noise of running water or an excessively high water bill. Luckily, replacing a flapper is simple and inexpensive. Flappers are universal in size and design, and can be found at home improvement or discount stores. To remove your old flapper, you will first unhook the flush handle chain. You will then detach the flapper by pulling the side flaps from the posts attached to the overflow tube in the center of the tank. Before attaching the new flapper, clean any buildup around the edge of the tank’s drain hole. Attach the side flaps of the flapper by pressing them into the posts on the overflow tube, connect the flush handle chain, and you’re finished. If neither of these solutions seems to fix the problem you’re having, reach out to a local plumbing company, like Vincent J Cestaro & Son Plumbing, Heating, & Air Conditioning, for more information on how to...

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Beyond The Box: 7 Not-So-Square Shower Design Ideas

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If you were to picture the typical bathroom, you’d likely imagine a sink, toilet, tub and a square or rectangular shower enclosure. While these traditional shower designs, with their 90-degree angles and reliable design certainly serve an important purpose — and can even be dressed up using fine finishes like glass tile or natural marble walls — they rarely make a statement or stand out among other showers. If you want your shower to serve as a focal point within your space, contact a skilled plumber and consider these seven design ideas that will get you thinking outside of the box. Hydrotherapy Shower Think of a hydrotherapy shower as a jetted bathtub minus the tub. These showers use a dozen or more shower heads to spray your body, massaging you with water from every angle, and allowing you to adjust the pressure of the water for a soothing spray or an invigorating massage. Freestanding Shower A freestanding shower combines a freestanding bathtub and elegant shower into a single unit by positioning a rainfall shower head into the ceiling over the tub, where it will pour water over you as you shower. Some control water through careful placement of the shower head while others require a curtain that wraps around the tub. Steam Shower Steam showers consist of pre-built enclosures, which come in almost any shape you can dream up. They contain standard shower heads, but also feature a steam feature to create your own personal sauna, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of steam at home. Many feature some form of seat or bench so you can relax and enjoy the heat. The Open Shower If you design your bathroom properly, there’s no reason that your shower has to have any enclosure at all. Using the right floor and wall finishes and angling the spray into a wall or corner — or one carefully placed glass partition — transforms an entire area of your bathroom into a functional shower. This is a great way to open up a small space or allow light to travel through a relatively dark or closed in room.  Circular Shower Circular showers are all smooth curves, eliminating the sharp angles and hard lines of traditional showers. They range from freestanding glass enclosures that lend a futuristic look to your space to tile or stone showers crafted with a curved wall to eliminate the need for curtains or doors.  Folding Shower If you have limited space in your bathroom, a folding shower allows you to keep clean without wasting floor space. Some resemble traditional shower boxes, but fold up against the wall when not in use. Others eliminate the need for a floor drain by including a fold-up bottom, which tucks up against the wall after you’ve finished washing. Futuristic Shower Designer Teuco has developed a bowl-type shower design that hangs on the wall, easily transitioning from shower to tub with a simple spin. The bowl features a lip at one end, which serves as a tub when it’s positioned at floor level. At the opposite end, the bowl is flat, making it a perfect shower ceiling when it’s directed upwards. This option not only looks cool, but offers plenty of versatility in a relatively small space. Contact a local plumber, like Allright Plumbing Heating & Air...

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5 Signs That Your Toilet Has A Leak

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A leaky toilet is never a good thing. A toilet that has even a minor leak can cause your family to waste a lot of water, which is obviously bad if you are trying to maintain a household that is eco-friendly. Plus, toilet leaks can cost you a lot of money in either property damage, water bills or both. Some toilet leaks are obvious, but some aren’t quite so clear if you don’t know what you are looking at. These are five signs that you should hire one of the local plumbing services to come out and check your toilet for leaks. 1. Your Last Water Bill Was High If you receive a water bill that is much higher than what you are used to and there isn’t a good explanation — such as filling up a swimming pool — then there is a strong chance that you have a leak somewhere. If you haven’t found any leaks anywhere else or if you toilet is showing other signs of leaks, then there is a good sign that it is the culprit. 2. You Hear Your Toilet “Running” Although your  toilet will obviously make some noise when it is flushing and refilling, it should be completely silent when it is not in use. If no one in your family has recently used the toilet but you hear it running, it’s a sign of a leak. 3. Your Toilet Doesn’t Have a Strong Flush When you press the lever, your toilet should flush completely. If you notice that you have to hold down the handle, or if the toilet has a weak flush that might not flush everything down at once, then it might be due to a leak. The leak can cause your toilet to not have enough water in the tank to flush, which is what will cause this type of problem. 4. It Fails the “Dye Test” In some cases, toilet leaks aren’t quite so obvious. One way that you can test your toilet is by putting food coloring in your tank. Make sure that you don’t flush your toilet for about an hour. In fact, it’s a good idea to add the food coloring right before everyone leaves for school or work. Then, if you notice that the water in your toilet bowl is colored with the food coloring, you’ll know that it’s because of some sort of leak. 5. Your Bathroom Floor is Wet If you notice that your bathroom floor is damp around your toilet, it’s probably because your toilet is leaking. Some people chalk up minor leaks to moisture in the bathroom from the bathtub or shower and assume that toilet leaks will cause significant amounts of water, but this is not the case with minor...

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3 Reasons Why Your Bathroom Is Overly Moist

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As you probably already know, excessive humidity in the air can pose a few different issues. It can cause mold and mildew to grow, for example, and the excessive moisture can even cause problems for your flooring, walls and cabinets. If you have noticed the signs of excessive humidity in your bathroom — such as if your mirror stays fogged up when it shouldn’t be, you notice water spots on your walls or there is mold or mildew growing — then you probably know that it’s important to take care of the issue. These are some of the potential things that could be causing an excess of moisture in your home’s bathroom. 1. Not Using the Exhaust Fan Frequently Enough Every time that you take a shower or turn the sink faucet on for more than just a couple of minutes, you should be turning the exhaust fan on. The exhaust fan is the most effective way of wicking moisture out of the air in your bathroom before it can cause any problems. Make sure that all of your family members know to use the fan, since this is a group effort. Some people go so far as wiring their bathrooms so that the bathroom light and the exhaust fan comes on at the same time each time that you flip the switch. 2. Taking Too-Long Showers It can be relaxing to hop in a hot shower after a rough day, but taking too-long showers can cause wasted water — which isn’t good for the environment or your pocket when you receive your monthly water bill — and can also cause excessive moisture in the bathroom. Although it’s okay to take a long shower every now and then, it’s best to keep showers short whenever possible. If necessary, consider investing in a new shower head so that you can get the most out of your shower while you’re in there. A new shower head can also help reduce the amount of water that comes out while you’re in the shower, which can cut down on the humidity. 3. Plumbing Leaks That Haven’t Been Tended To Don’t assume that plumbing leaks will only cause problems directly around the source. A leaky pipe underneath your bathroom sink can release moisture into the air all day long, along with causing damage to the area of your bathroom around the leak. If you can’t find any potential leaks, you should call a company such as Sunset Professional Plumbing Services Inc. to come out for professional plumbing leak detection. An overly moist bathroom is never a good thing. If this is an issue you are dealing with, it’s smart to look into these three potential causes so that you can get rid of the source of the...

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Troubleshooting Your Plumbing: Clogged Drains

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If you have a clogged drain, then you might not know whether you need to call a professional. To help you troubleshoot the problem yourself, here is a quick breakdown on some of the most common methods for dealing with a clogged drain: Visually Inspect and Probe for the Clog A clogged drain can either be incredibly simple to deal with or incredibly difficult. If you are lucky, then you can easily handle the clog on your own. Your first step in diagnosing the extent of the clog is to remove the drain cover and look down into the drain with a flashlight. If you can see a clog, then you can probably fish it out. If you can’t see it, find a long, thin instrument to probe into the drain. A wire hanger is an excellent choice because it can be bent into the ideal shape: that of a cane. Use your implement to probe around for the clog. If all you feel is water, then the problem will require a little more work. Utilize a Plunger Next, you should try using a plunger if the problem is in your toilet or shower drain. Run a bit of water over the clogged drain so that it forms a thin layer and then plunge about 15-20 times. If this doesn’t loosen up the clog, wait a minute and try again. If the clog remains after several rounds of plunging, then you might need to resort to more extreme measures. Baking Soda and Vinegar Before calling a professional, you should try baking soda and vinegar. The expansion of the reaction between the two could knock the clog free. First, add about 1/2 a cup of baking soda to the clogged drain. Pour a bit of hot water down the drain and wait. Then add 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar (white vinegar is fine) and a cup of very hot water. The reaction should cause some foaming; this is perfectly normal. Wait about 15 minutes and then check to see whether the clog is clear. Run some hot water down the drain for about a minute to see if the clog is totally gone. If the clog is still there, don’t worry. Repeat the process several more times and there is a good chance that your clog will clear up. If it doesn’t, then it might be time to call a professional. You don’t want to pour harmful chemicals down your drain or to start dismantling your plumbing, so it’s best to leave such things to the pros. For more information on plumbing, contact a professional like Allcounty Plumbing Heating & Air...

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What Do I Do If I Suspect My House Has A Leak?

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If you’ve noticed that your water bill is higher than usual despite your attempts to conserve water, there’s a chance you may have a leak somewhere in your house. Not all leaks are easy to find; if you have a leak in a water-using appliance, you may not notice a difference because there is no flooding. If you think you have a leak, but aren’t completely sure, you can find out by narrowing down potential causes and sources for a leak. Shut Off Your Water The first step is to find out whether a potential leak is inside your house or whether it’s behind the shutoff valve. To do this, locate the shutoff valve that controls the supply of water to your house. This can be near the side of your house’s foundation, in your garage or in your basement. Once you’ve shut all water off completely, locate the water meter. This is sometimes by the shutoff valve, but it could also be under a lid by the street. When water is moving through the meter, the dial will move. If the meter isn’t moving now that you’ve shut off the valve, it means the leak is inside your house. If the meter is still going, the problem is outside your house, and you’ll need to call a plumber to fix it. You can also call your water supplier for help locating the leak. Looking For Leaks Inside To find your leak, you’ll have to turn your water back on, so open the shutoff valve once again. At this point you’ll want to take things step-by-step. Toilets: Toilets are a very common source for leaks. Listen closely for any hissing or dripping noises coming from the tank which will give away running water. You can also put a few drops of food coloring into the tank. After a few minutes, look at the water in the bowl. If any of the food coloring is now in the bowl, there’s a leak in the toilet fixture. This can be caused by a flapper valve leak or a flush level bar problem. Sinks: When checking your sinks for leaks, look both under the sink and at your faucet fixture. Many leaks can be caused by worn rubber washers or if your handle no longer shuts off water completely. Also take a look at the flex lines leading to your faucet, as these can start to leak with wear. Water heater: Check your water heater for any signs of leakage, such as a hissing or dripping sound. Also look at the overflow pipe; some dripping is normal, but a steady drip or even small flow of water can indicate that water pressure inside your tank is too high. This in turn means more water being used and dripping out of the tank. Looking For Leaks Outside Leaks can also show up outside, and may not immediately be noticeable if the source is a faucet or hose you don’t use often. Look at the hookups for your sprinklers, hoses and other watering tools. Most leaks will come from the faucets or water valves, but you can also look at the ground covering the pipes; if any area is consistently damp or has a large growth of weeds, there is water there that shouldn’t...

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How To Replace A Bathroom Sink

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Replacing your bathroom sink isn’t technically difficult, but it may require some contortionist abilities when the time comes to hook the supply hoses to the faucet. However, if your back is in relatively good shape, you should be able to handle the project. What you will need: The sink: If you have limited bathroom space, you must measure the width and depth of your old sink before choosing a new one. This will give you a general idea of the maximum size of sink that will fit into your space. The faucet:  You may choose to use your old faucet or purchase a new one. Most new sinks have four inches of space between the handles. If your old sink is very old, the space between the handles may be more than the four inch standard. If this is true, you cannot use the old faucet. The drain: Although some sinks include the drain flange and pipe, many do not. You can remove the old drain by unscrewing the large plastic nut that connects it to the sink. When the nut is removed, check out the black washer between nut and sink. If it looks worn or cracked, buy a new one. Adjustable wrench:  This will be needed to connect the supply lines. Pipe tape: This thin plastic ribbon is used to seal the threads on the supply lines.  Plumbers putty: This clay-like material is used to seal the faucet and sink drain. Removing the old sink You will first turn off the valves to the hot and cold supply lines by turning them clockwise. Next, you will remove the supply lines from the bottom of the sink by turning the connecting nuts counterclockwise. Access to the nuts may be difficult, because they will be located in a small recessed area and you will be lying on your back in an awkward position. When they are removed, you will need to remove the flat or wing nut in the center that holds the faucet in place. Turn it counterclockwise. When all connecting nuts are removed, lift the sink from its bracket on the wall. Lift it high enough that the drain pipe slides out of the sink trap below it. Installing a new sink Before you begin, check the wall bracket to see if it is compatible with your new sink. If not, install the bracket that accompanied your new sink according to manufacturer’s specifications.  Before installing a new drain or the old drain, apply a thin bead of plumbers putty to the recessed area of the sink opening where the drain will be placed. Roll the putty between your hands until a long bead is formed and press it into the recessed area Slip the drain pipe through the opening and press the metal drain into the putty, then add the washer and large plastic nut to the outside of the sink. Hand tighten the nut only, because over-tightening may crack the porcelain sink. Scrape off any excess putty with a razor blade. Place the sink atop the bracket, making sure that the drain pipe is seated firmly in the “j” shaped sink trap. Apply a thin bead of putty to the inside of the faucet housing, then push the faucet into place.  Wrap pipe tape around the threads on the faucet...

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Four Summer Plumber Bummers And How To Avoid Them

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Summertime can bring on a more relaxed schedule for you and your family, but this can also lead to some unexpected plumbing issues around your home. If you can avoid common problems, you won’t need to resort to plumbing repair as often. Here are four common plumbing issues you might run into over the summer months and how to avoid them. 1. Sprinkler Flooding If your sprinklers start out the dry season without a proper cleaning and inspection, these might turn your yard into a puddle if you aren’t careful. If you haven’t used your sprinklers in months, be sure to clean sprinkler heads in case any mud or debris has accumulated. Don’t just turn on sprinklers and hope for the best. Do an initial supervised test of your sprinklers turned on all the way to make sure that your system is good to go with no leaks or clogs. 2. Garbage Disposal Clogs Summertime can be a great season for barbecues and entertainment. If you will be cooking at home more often and entertaining larger groups, try to give your garbage disposal a break. If you are worried that an overzealous guest prepping or cleaning up in your kitchen might abuse your garbage disposal, put in a drain catch and put tape over the on switch during your party. 3. Washing Machine Woes In the summer months, your kids might be getting their clothes dirty faster than you can clean them, or poolside towels may seem to be in the washing machine full time. You may be overworking your machine, which can lead to drain backup. Make sure that your machine is away from the wall so that drain pipes aren’t bent or crimped. It is a good idea to have your machine serviced in the spring before it is put to work over the summer. 4. Toilet Clogs If your family is home for the summer, your bathrooms will be working overtime. Young kids might still be getting the hang of their bathroom routine and may be overloading the system with toilet paper. Make sure to give your family a reminder that only toilet paper goes down the toilet, and to only use what is needed. If you have a toilet that keeps clogging or if water backs up through the sink or shower, call in a plumber, like Aalco-The Drain Doctor, for emergency repair. Plumbing issues in general can be a bummer, but if you can get prepared for common mishaps in the summer, you can take proper steps to avoid these. If you do run into a problem that you cannot fix on your own, calling in a service to help fix your plumbing problems will be in...

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The Advantages Of Updating Outside Water Spigots

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There have been significant advancements in the design of outdoor water faucets in recent years. Even though the basic spigot is still available, the enhanced features of newer models provide compelling reasons to replace older spigots. Homeowners can improve both the effectiveness and safety of outdoor water use by installing newer faucets. Also referred to as a sill cock, a spigot contains both an inlet and an outlet for water flow. The water inlet is threaded, and the spigot is screwed onto the threaded end of a water pipe. The most important enhancement in spigot design is visually apparent and is intended to protect the integrity of the water system itself. Backflow protection An additional valve on newer spigots ensures that outside water is not accidentally pulled back into your water supply system. Backflow is the reversal of flow, caused by a sudden drop in the water supply pressure. The additional valve is intended to instantly allow air into the spigot and eliminate any siphoning of water back into the supply system. Backflow occurs for various reasons. A rapid drop of pressure in a municipal water supply can be the result of a ruptured pipe or an opened fire hydrant. Without a protective valve, the water within a hose attached to your spigot may be siphoned back. The potential danger arises because some residential yards contain mixtures of herbicide, fertilizer, or harmful bacteria. The protective valve is referred to as an anti-siphon valve and is described as a vacuum breaker. Another improvement in spigot design allows you to stop worrying about the possibility of a frozen spigot in winter. Freeze protection In a traditional spigot, the entire faucet assembly is located on the exterior of the structure. In newer models, the spigot assembly is extended so that the rubber washer valve is located on the interior side of the wall or foundation. The extended housing serves a dual purpose. Water flows through the housing, and it contains a long metal stem that extends from the handle to the rubber washer. Whenever you turn the spigot off, water flow is blocked by the rubber washer. The extended spigot housing then completely empties. The interior pipe is better protected from weather conditions and is less likely to freeze in winter. Any plumbing procedure also presents the opportunity to determine if you need additional shutoff valves. Contact a professional plumber to update your outside water faucets for added safety and...

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