Plumbing Tips

Tools Necessary For Success With Plumbing

A lot of people ask me what tools I use and what tools I would recommend they buy if they want to be successful doing plumbing on their own.  That is a good question.  I have a lot of my own thoughts, as I’ve been doing plumbing for a long time now, but I did come across this good video that is pretty all-encompassing.  Check it out to learn what this guy has to say about it.

The man in the video is British, so perhaps some of the terminology and tools will be a little different from if you were in, say, the US.  However, I think the guy does a good job of explaining which tools he likes to have with him and why.  I hope you enjoyed the video and got something out of it.

Sewer Pipe Repair- Your Options

If you live in an old house, then at some point you will inevitably have to confront the fact that your sewer line that connects to the town’s main is probably going to have to be replaced.  This is unfortunate, but it’s sort of the cost of doing business when you own an older home.  Traditional methods of replacing your sewer line are very expensive.  They can run up to over $20,000, depending on you location.  They also involve a length of time where the plumbers have to dig up your front yard, which can be rather unsightly for everyone involved.

Is that your only option though?  It is not.  There are two types of “trenchless” sewer line repairs that don’t involve ripping up your entire front yard.  One method involves taking a tube covered in resin and matching it to the area of damage on the sewer line.  The resin hardens over the pipe and causes a pipe within another pipe effect.  This is a very efficient method and involves just having one fairly small access point.  Nightmares will not arise when using this method.  The second method involves pipe bursting.  You can read more about it from this Angie’s List article.

Most people don’t know that these methods are available.  They can save you a whole bunch of time, so I would strongly recommend looking into this if you haven’t heard of it already.  Depending on your particular situation, using old-school methods involving trenches may still be the best option, but trenchless methods are becoming more and more popular as time moves on because they are more cost-effective and they are so much less disruptive to the appearance of your property.  Give this fairly new method a look if you haven’t done so already!

Replacing Your Toilet Chain And Flapper

There are definitely certain issues that you can fix yourself when it comes to your home’s plumbing, and the toilet is generally no exception to that.  A lot of people don’t have any idea what to do when their toilet stops being able to flush.  Even if they think they do, they think the toilet water is really messy and they don’t want to stick their hand in the water.  Well, the water really isn’t dirty, and it’s actually quite easy to fix the situation.  Plumbers generally have probably gotten tons of avoidable phone calls just so they can fix someone’s toilet, when the people could just easily fix things themselves.

What happens when your toilet chain and the associated flapper needs to be replaced though?  Well, that’s a different situation entirely.  The biggest sign that something needs to change and you should replace your toilet chain is when it becomes discolored.  You should check every 6 months or so to see if that is the case with each one of your toilets.  How should you replace it though?  Well, check out the video below for more information on that subject, as I think the guy in the video does a really good job explaining what to do.

You definitely don’t need a plumber to do this.  You can just do this yourself very easily if you just follow these basic steps that the guy in the video lays out.  Cheers!

Avoid Clogging Your Garbage Disposal

People take advantage of their garbage disposal all the time.  They think it has some sort of mystical powers and can handle any amount of food and/or substances and it will be just fine.  Then they find out the hard way that this is simply not true and their disposal becomes clogged.  You should seek to avoid this situation if at all possible (see here for a video on how to fix a clogged disposal if you need it).

Overall, you should be careful about what you put into your garbage disposal.  The biggest mistake I see people make is putting grease down the drain.  That is the easiest way to get your drain clogged up and surprisingly lots of people still put grease down the drain at all times.  If you are cooking something and you have grease run-off that you need to get rid of, collect it in a cup and pour it outside.  Don’t take the easy way out and just pour it down the drain.  That is a mistake and is a guaranteed way to see your kitchen drain get clogged up.  Again, that’s no fun and is something that you will definitely want to avoid, if possible.

clogged garbage disposal

You will also want to avoid putting fibrous food like celery down the drain.  That kind of food is hard to break down and is another way to clog up your drain.  It’s also best practice not to put a large quantity of food down the drain.  It’s best to break the food up into smaller pieces and then slowly put the pieces down the drain while running cold water.  If you can do that, then you will generally be okay.

Follow this advice, and you should be able to avoid most of the problems that people face when it comes to your garbage disposal!

Common Toilet Issues

People generally don’t understand toilets.  They think they can flush more things than they actually should down the drain.  This is a big mistake and can lead to major plumbing issues down the road.  What are the mistakes that people make when it comes to toilets?  Let’s run through a couple of the major issues.

People tend to flush too many things down the toilet.  Too many things would include items like feminine hygiene products and cat litter.  Even if the label on the product says that it is safe to flush down the toilet doesn’t mean that you actually should do that.  Depending on the exact product in question, in a lot of cases it probably won’t disintegrate quickly enough and potentially if you flush enough things down the toilet, you can clog the drain pipe.  That is a situation that you will definitely want to avoid.

Another thing people do that can be potentially harmful to your toilet and to your plumbing in general is using certain kinds of toilet fresheners.  The tablets especially contain chemicals that can potentially wear out parts inside the tank.  They can also get in the way of the toilet flushing properly.  It may seem like you are doing something good, but just keep this in mind and be wary of the specific product that you use and make sure it will be safe to use in your toilet over the long-term.

You should lastly get a general understanding of the toilet chain because it can get tangled really easily.  It’s almost always an easy fix, but more people than you would think have no idea what to do.

Those are some common toilet problems.  You can avoid having to call a plumber so often if you can just keep basic advice like this in mind.  It will end up saving you a lot of money and headaches along the way!

To Use Drano Or Not To Use Drano? That Is The Question

The average homeowner knows what Drano is and probably uses it every time that there is blockage in a shower, kitchen, or sink drain.  It is certainly easy to go to CVS, buy Drano, pour it in the drain, and wait to see what the results are.  A lot of plumbers, however, don’t recommend using Drano.  Here are the arguments for and against using it.

Doesn’t Solve The Cause– One of the issues with using Drano to solve the situation is that it doesn’t get to the root cause of why there was a clog in the drain in the first place.  If you don’t do anything different going forward, you are just going to have to use Drano again.  Using Drano is considered the easy way out, but it’s also a guaranteed way to run into the same issues over and over again.

Harmful Chemicals- The chemicals used in Drano and like substances are very harmful to humans.  You have to be very careful when using it and make sure that you don’t let any of it touch your skin.  The chemicals over time could harm the drain pipes as well.  If you use Drano every few months, this can become an issue over time.  It may be best to use safer tactics than Drano.

Doesn’t Get The Job Fully Done– Usually Drano and similar products will get the job partly done but not fully done.  You may be able to temporarily alleviate the situation, but oftentimes you’ll find yourself in the exact same situation a few months later.

It’s better to prevent the blockages from even happening in the first place.  It’s easy to shave and rinse the facial hairs down the drain.  It seems innocent at the time, but the hair will slowly build up and block the drain at some point.

Instead of using Drano, just try to prevent the situation from happening in the first place.  Aside from that.  You can get into the plumbing and manually pluck the problem (probably hair buildup) away.  This is a more natural and permanent solution than using chemicals.

Be Your Own 24 Hour Plumber

A lot of people run into basic plumbing problems at all hours of the day and just don’t know what to do.  It could be something as simple as a sink that gets clogged up.  If you are a guy, or even if you are a girl, it’s highly likely that the reason the sink got clogged up is because hair built up over time.  If you are a guy, you probably shave over the sink and let the hair go down the drain.  It seems like such an innocent thing, and it is, but it does happen all the time.  You can proactively try to prevent something like that from ever happening by making sure never to let your hair go down the sink.  You can also just buy Drano and pour it down the drain to break up the hair that gets clogged.  A lot of people won’t surprisingly won’t even know what to do at that point and they just want to call a plumber.

This is just one very basic scenario.  That might be the simplest situation where you can be a do-it-yourself plumber at all hours of the day.  Another example of something simple that you can figure out for yourself is when the toilet doesn’t flush properly.  A lot of times, all you need to do is pop open the lid on the back of the toilet, and you’ll probably see that the chain that links the flushing mechanism to the pump has just simply gotten tangled up.  All you would have to do in that circumstance is figure out how to untangle the chain.  See this site for some basic tips to help get you started.

Are there other situations where you can be your own 24 hour plumber?  Whether you are in NYC or out in the middle of the country, there are plenty of situations where you can avoid the cost of getting a plumber.  You can do a surprising amount of things very easily by yourself.  You’d be very surprised that just by going onto Youtube and watching some very basic videos, you can do a ton of plumbing on your own.

24 hour plumber

Getting a plumber is definitely very costly.  Even if you have a very simple issue that requires 10 minutes of work on the plumber’s end, their company probably has a minimum that they require in order to get them to come out to your place.  If you are looking for a 24 hour plumber in NYC, for example, this can be a few hundred dollars depending on where you live.  If you can avoid a giant hassle and not miss out on a few hundred dollars, isn’t it worth the time and investment?  I certainly think so.

The worst situation happens when it’s night time and not during normal hours.  If something happens related to your plumbing during that time, it’s often very difficult to get a plumber on the phone.  At the same time, even if you can manage to get a plumber on the phone, it’s really quite difficult to find one that will actually come out to your house or apartment after dinner time.  If you have a job that doesn’t have a lot of flexibility, it can be very difficult to actually get a plumber to your place.  The best thing you can do is empower yourself and learn some basic tips so that you can be your own plumber.

This video provides some very basic advice on how exactly you can do this.  I would recommend watching it and I would then say you should watch a whole bunch of similar videos.  It may seem annoying at first, but it can definitely save you a lot of time and money in the future.  I can pretty much guarantee you that.  Good luck!

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