Plumbing 101

02/12/13 8:13 AM

plumbing tipsWhy would a plumber give you plumbing tips?  Wouldn’t it be in my best interest to have you totally dependent on me for every plumbing need?

I want customers who call me when they need my expertise and, more importantly, trust me all the time.  I don’t make a penny more if your basement is flooded with a few feet of water rather than a few inches.  And I’d rather have helped you avoid a real flood if I could.

Avoiding a Flood

Saw that coming, did you?  Think of water like you would a vampire.  It can only enter your home when invited.  Save your neck by refusing entry to a vampire at the front door and avoid unwanted water by using the shutoff valve where the water enters the house.

The main valve is usually in a basement and, if you have a well, near the tank.  Righty tighty, lefty loosy.  Once the water is shut off, you have plenty of time to evaluate a leak that has sprung up in the house or call Classic Plumbing by Reno.  The panic is over.

If you know the leak is at a particular sink or toilet, you can use the shut off valve next to the fixture and keep the rest of the plumbing up and running while you address the problem.

No tools are necessary to shut off the water, just a hand.

You can also call me to talk about a flood alarm.  I can give you some good tips on installing one.  They’ll tell you if there’s a problem early on.

Avoiding Clogs

Got a crochet hook?  They’re really great for getting hair out of a tub drain just where it enters.  That’s a whole lot easier than trying to get a clog farther down the line.  Do this regularly… it takes minutes and saves not only a bottle of drain cleaner but the horrific cost of replacing pipes that were eaten by the drain cleaner.  (Really, avoid that.)

Toilets can clog, too… and not just where you think.  Lift the lid on the tank and take a peek in there.  You should see the overflow holes and be able to make sure they’re clear.  Jiggle the chain and flapper while you’re there.  There should be enough tension so the flapper wants to close but opens smoothly when you press the handle.  It’s really easy to replace these pieces if your toilet is “running.”  In fact, take them off and bring them with you to a local hardware store so you get the right size parts.

Avoid Drips

A plumber’s wrench is a low investment and can help avoid smaller water problems.  If there is water under the kitchen sink, try tightening the nuts around the P trap.  DO NOT overtighten because that can make a small leak into a big leak.

Avoid Jewelry Loss

In fact, don’t be afraid to use a plumber’s wrench to unscrew the P-trap, say when you drop valuables down the drain.  Put a shallow pan under the pipes to catch water.  Chances are good that it’s still there if you stop using the sink immediately after the drop… don’t run a lot of water!

Or, if you have a shop vac, get a one inch flexible hose from the hardware store and attach it to the vacuum hose (think duct tape).  You can often suck valuables out of the P-trap… again using a shop vac rated and not a vacuum hose.  You will pull water from the pipe!

Well, that’s it for Plumbing 101.  Do these things and you will only need to call Classic Plumbing by Reno for the big jobs!

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