Archive for April, 2012

Install a new toilet yourself

Apr. 25th 2012

Save your back by installing your new toilet the same way you removed the old one; in pieces.

If the closet bolts are the type that slide into the flange, put them in place parallel to the wall behind the toilet.  If they screw into the floor, you will have to replace the old bolts with new ones.

  • Put a towel or rug on the floor then put the new bowl upside down on the rug.  Find the waste horn (this is the protrusion at the base of the toilet that extends into the flange).  Install a wax ring in the waste horn.  The wax ring will have a tapered end which should face the toilet.  Tip: a warm wax ring that is softer is easier to work with so if you had it in the cold let it warm a bit before installing.
  • Remove the plug from the waste drain hole.  Carefully put the toilet in position on the flange.  Install the retainer washers and nut, loosely.  Remember to install the tapered washer’s right side up.  The manufacturer’s instructions will tell you exactly how to install them.
  • Once you position the toilet over the flange press down gently with a slight rocking motion making a seal with the wax ring between the waste horn and flange.  When the bowl is in place tighten the closet bolts alternating one side then the other to equally distribute the pressure.
  • Put the bolt caps on the closet bolts.  Check for leaks.  If there are no leaks seal the base of the toilet with tub and bath silicon sealant.  Smooth the bead with your wet finger.

Installing the Tank

  • Position the large rubber gasket over the outlet at the bottom of the tank according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Push the tank mounting bolts and rubber washers through the mounting area from inside the tank.
  • Position the tank on the bowl and tighten the nuts alternating from side to side. Be sure not to over-tighten the bolts.
  • Install the toilet seat following the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Connect the water supply line.  If you are using rigid line bend the line gently to make it fit. Be careful that the bends do not crimp the line causing the flow of water to be obstructed, or worse a break in the line.  Flexible line is easy to install, simply slide the line in place and tighten the fittings; no bends to worry about.


Adjusting the Flushing Mechanism

Now that your toilet is installed flush it to see how it works.  You may need to make some small adjustments to the flushing mechanism.  Changes are simple when you follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Posted by plumber | in DIY, Toilets | No Comments »

Unclogging Your Drain Without Using Chemicals

Apr. 20th 2012

You don’t have to use harsh chemicals once you encounter a clogged drain. In exchange for the short-term fix of unclogging the drain, the chemical agent may enter the water system or septic tank and badly affect the septic system, as well as the environment around you. In fact, chemicals usually don’t work when there is a completely stopped up drain, or no drainage situation. A clogged drain may be best serviced using a solution that is chemical free.


1) Use baking soda if the drain is slowly draining, in order to make it drain faster, and apply until it clogs by coming up from the drain. Pour in vinegar slowly at that point. The two ingredients will wash away the baking soda as it creates foam. When baking soda no longer bubbles, stop pouring. Debris and other junk should be cleaned from the pipe this way.

2) Unblocking clogs is best done with a plunger. Once the sink is filled with water, the plunger to be placed above the drain, pushed down in order to begin producing a suction action, then firmly up. The cost will go down the drain in most cases because the suction action causes it to get pulled backwards through the pipe in order to dislodge it. The drain should flow freely once the plunger’s suction action is repeated

3) Snake the drain. You can go to any hardware store to pick up the same kind of snake device that plumbers utilize. The snake should be pushed into the drain pipe once the basin is filled with water. This action should be done while turning the handle of the device. Once it reaches the clog as a result of feeding out the device into the drain, it should bore through the clog in order to clear it. Pull out the snake once the sink is draining, and a clog free pipe should be the result.

Precautions and pointers

  • Devices like the drain king increase the apparent pressure of the water by expanding within the drain, thus pushing the clog out of the blocked area and through the piping.
  • If there are cross beams or a basket that keep clogging material from going through the drain, the kitchen sink or drain cannot be serviced using a drain king.
  •  Hot water can be run through the drain king after you dislodge the blockage, and this allows grease to be cleaned from the pipes.

If using a drain king, being mindful of other open parts of the piping. The toilet, other sinks, etc., should be observed by yourself or someone else. Excess pressure in some cases can cause water to spew out from another opening, as result of the pressure pushing the clog out through those openings, particularly the toilet.


Posted by plumber | in Clogs, DIY, Pipes | No Comments »

Quick Fixes for Leaking Pipes

Apr. 14th 2012

Temporary Repairs for Leaking Pipes

These fixes are a quick repair to get the water back on in a pinch. Remember you will need to get a permanent fix later.

  • Push a sharpened pencil point into the hole. Break it off, leaving the point in the hole. Wrap the pipe with electrical tape. Put plumber’s epoxy over the tape to seal any leaks. After the plumber’s epoxy has set, about a half hour, turn the water back on.
  • Wrap an old inner tube or other piece of rubber around the pipe, covering the hole. Then use hose clamps over the rubber to seal the hole. If you don’t have hose clamps you can use a couple small blocks of wood and a C clamp to seal the hole and keep it from leaking.
  • Cut a piece of garden hose to cover the hole and about 2-3 inches on either side of the hole in the pipe. Make a slit down the length of the cut hose and slip the hose over the pipe. Use hose clamps to hold the hose in place and stop the leak.

Permanent Repairs for Leaking Pipes

Permanent repairs for your leaky pipe will take some planning and a bit more time. But these repairs will fix you leaky pipes once and for all.

  • Your home store will sell you a specially designed pipe clamp for leaky pipes. The clamp is a rubber gasket with a clamp affixed or sealed inside that is specifically designed to fit around the leaky pipe. Slide the clamp around the pipe, covering the hole tighten and your leak is gone.
  • One more option is flexible/braided metal tube with compression couples at each end. This permanent fix allows you to fix longer split pipe and even elbows. The repair tubes are flexible so they can be bent gently to follow the path of the pipe. Flexible/metal tubes are available in several different lengths accommodating a number of situations.
  • Installing a flexible/braided metal tube is pretty simple. Start by draining the damaged pipe. Center the repair tube on the damaged section of pipe. Measure one inch in from each end of the repair tube and mark the damaged pipe. Cut the section of damaged pipe between the marks out. Push the tube over the ends of the pipe, forming any elbows if necessary. Tighten the compression fittings and turn on the water. Check for leaks.


Thankfully leaks in copper pipes don’t happen very often. But if you ever need to deal with a leaky pipe any of the above quick fixes will have your water running again quickly. If you have older pipes you may have to deal with these issues much more often.


Posted by plumber | in DIY, Leaks, Pipes | No Comments »

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