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Drain Stoppages: Causes & Prevention

Your drainlines in your home work on a very simple principle — gravity. Basically, all your drainlines slope downward, through all their connections, joints, and fittings until the whole system connects with the city sewer, usually under the street in front of your home. I like to compare it to a tree, with a fixture at the end of each branch, and the whole connected to a trunk.

Your drainlines in your home work on a very simple principle — gravity. Basically, all your drainlines slope downward, through all their connections, joints, and fittings until the whole system connects with the city sewer, usually under the street in front of your home. I like to compare it to a tree, with a fixture at the end of each branch, and the whole connected to a trunk.

When the system works, as it usually does, it works invisibly. Most people never give a thought to their drainlines. They take it for granted that their toilets will flush away their waste, that their showers will drain, that their kitchen sinks will make the remains of their meals disappear. It is only when these conveniences stop that the drains are given any thought at all.

Every drainline in your home has limitations. Toilets can accommodate only so much paper and waste at one time; garbage disposers cannot handle everything and anything you may try to put down them; tub drainage will be restricted by shampoo bottle caps and hair, and children’s toys.

CLEANOUTS

It is because drainlines tend to get pushed to their limits, and beyond, that most drains have cleanouts, which are extra branches on the drainline “tree.” These extra branches are there only to allow drain-cleaning machines to run through and clear out blockages. This way, if your kitchen sink is stopped, we can run a larger, longer and stronger snake through the cleanout instead of through the sink drain. Also, it allows you to open up the cleanout outside, and allow the water to drain out outside, where you can clean up with a hose instead of a mop.

Likewise, if your mainline is stopped up, a mainline cleanout allows us to put our largest, heavy-duty machine to use. Plumbers used to go on the roof, and run a snake down one of the vent pipes which poke up. This would clear the drain, but because the vent pipes are smaller than the drainlines, the job was less effective. For this reason, and also because we don’t want to damage your roof or our technicians, we will always recommend installing a cleanout if one is not present.

SLUDGE

Besides foreign objects blocking drains, over the years a thick coating of organic sludge forms on the inside of the pipes, decreasing the drains’ inside diameters, obstructing their flows, and diminishing their performance. Consider that the older kitchen sink drain line is about one and a half inches across: when this gooey sludge builds up, and the surface is rougher, the waste flows slower, so that the disposal output and the grease don’t flow as far or as fast, and end up making more sludge.

Often, the laundry line is also putting lint and detergent into the same line, because the kitchen and laundry often connect to each other. And now the washer manufacturers have increased the pump outputs on their newer machines, so laundry lines which used to work fine now overflow. Nobody worries about this when buying a new washer, because, as I said earlier, people take their drainlines for granted.

Traditionally, plumbers have run their snakes down these lines, and punched holes through the sludge, which allow the lines to drain again. The problem is that, even though the line is draining, it’s at only about one-third of its capacity, because most of that sludge is still there.

For this we offer three solutions. The first two you can do yourself, as routine maintenance in your home, and they’re as simple as pouring water down your sink. The first product, called Bio-Clean, is a formula of microbes and enzymes that eat up grease, protein, and vegetable waste. It’s also entirely harmless to people and pets, and a typical one-year supply is less than a dollar a week; much less than a plumber’s visit, and without the panic attacks. We also offer a de-greasing product which smells like Pine-Sol, which melts the grease in your drainlines.

Finally, we offer hydro-jetting, in which an intense jet of water, under high pressure, scours the inside of your pipe to make it run at full efficiency again.

If only it were so easy to do this with our arteries!

ROOTS

What else can go wrong? Older drain systems in the home were made from cast iron and steel. Outside the house, the cast iron connected to clay. The problem is, the older joints in the clay sewer line could not flex, so when tree roots, earth movement, or earthquakes shifted things, the lines broke. Now, when a sewer line five feet underground breaks, you don’t have a problem immediately. The small amount of water that seeps out is, after all, five feet down, and you’re not likely even to know about it.

The problem isn’t what gets out, it’s what gets in ­ roots. And even roots don’t become apparent immediately; after all, the sewer outside your home is four inches across its inside, and even half-blocked it will allow you some drainage, until you have company or a party and the sinks and toilets work overtime. And then you have an emergency. Again, this situation didn’t develop overnight. It usually takes many months, or years, for the roots to get so bad that they stop up the line, and even more time until the line is rendered useless.

VIDEOS OF YOUR SEWER

So how can you tell what’s going on underground? Peet Plumbing now offers a video inspection service, that will show you the condition of your sewer line, what the problems are, where they are, and allow us (or anybody else) to make an informed bid to correct the problem and allow you to forget about your sewer again.

A snake will not restore a drainline to its original performance. It can remove some sludge, some hair, some roots; but it cannot restore your drain to 100%. So, sooner or later, a drainline may need replacing. It may leak sewage under your home, or be hopelessly blocked, or need to be snaked too frequently. These services, too, we offer, and we will try to help you make an intelligent and informed decision if you have a problem line (see Videotaping Your Sewer: America’s Grossest Home Videos on this site).

TRENCHLESS SEWER REPLACEMENT

It used to be that, if you had to replace your sewer, a trench had to be cut from your house to your street. Besides making your lawn look like a battleground, it can also do harm to your driveway, your landscaping, or that ancient oak tree.

Peet Plumbing now offers trenchless sewer replacement. Basically, we make two holes, one at your house and the other near the street. Then, with a powerful motor, we pull new pipe through the ground, and connect to the places where your old pipe was attached. The new pipe is flexible, strong, and virtually unbreakable. This can all usually be done in one day, and for less money than the old way. All around, a great deal (see The Ins and Outs of Trenchless Sewer Replacement on this site).

RELY ON OUR EXPERIENCE

Because your drain system caused few headaches, you may have taken it for granted. However, maybe now you have a problem. Ask our technician what caused it, and what can be done to prevent its recurrence. He can give you valuable help here. You may have to make small changes in your approach to drainlines, such as running more water when your disposal is on, or taking better care to prevent toothpaste caps from falling down the drain, or putting a strainer on a basin or tub to prevent hair from going down the drain. He may recommend that we perform routine maintenance snaking of your drain, so that a problem doesn’t flare up at an awkward time — say, when your house is full of company on a holiday weekend.

If you do have a problem, though, it’s good to know that our technicians are available to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays. Do we charge extra for emergency service? Of course; our people want to spend time with their families too.

All of this free guidance is to help you, so you don’t have to call us out again for your drainlines. As your neighborhood plumber since 1920, we have kept our neighbors’ interests close to our hearts, believing that educating our customers to help them make wise decisions is the best policy of all.

We hope you understand all this, and understand the impossibility of our offering our normal warranty for stoppage work.

Fixing or Replacing Fixture Supplies and Stops

Replacing Supply Stops

  1. Supply stops come in a wide variety of sizes. The sizes can be divided into two categories: inlet and outlet size.
  2. Inlets are most commonly either 1/2 inch FPT (female pipe thread) IPS (iron pipe size) or 1/2 inch copper compression (NOM COMP) which is the same as 5/8 O.D. compression.
  3. Outlets come in 3/8 and 1/2 inch O.D. compression or 1/2 inch IPS.
  4. Which type you need depends on what type of pipe is coming out of the wall, either copper, or threaded pipe and what size outlet you need to mate with the fixture supply riser.
  5. When replacing copper compression stops, use two crescent wrenches, one on the nut and one on the valve body. Turn the nut clockwise as you look at it. You probably won’t be able to remove the nut without a special tool because of the ferrule ring which has tightened to the copper. Put thread sealant on the ferrule and the valve threads. Use two wrenches again, tightening the nut onto the new valve.
  6. Replacing a threaded pipe stop is just like replacing a standard fitting. Remove the old stop. Use Teflon tape or thread sealant on the threads. Then tighten the new stop with a crescent wrench.

Replacing Fixture Supplies

  1. When replacing fixture supplies or risers stainless steel braided supplies are recommended.
  2. When sizing supplies you will have to take into account the inlet size, outlet size, and length.
  3. Inlet sizes come in 3/8″ compression, 1/2″ compression, and 1/2″ IPS. 3/8″ comp. and 1/2″ IPS are most common.
  4. Sinks will have an outlet size of 1/2″ IPS. Toilets will have an outlet size of 7/8″ Ball Cock.
  5. Be sure you don’t buy supplies that are too short.
  6. Pre made supplies require no thread sealant because they have washers.


 

Removing and Replacing the Toilet

Removing and Replacing the Toilet

  1. Turn the water supply off to the toilet. Flush the toilet. Remove all water from the toilet with a large sponge or wet vacuum.
  2. Remove the caps from the closet bolts holding the toilet to the floor.
  3. Remove the nuts from the closet bolts. If the bolts spin, use a pair of pliers on the nuts giving them upward pressure when removing them. If need be, cut the bolts with a hack saw or Sawzall.
  4. If the toilet is caulked to the floor the caulking will need to be broken with a knife.
  5. Prepare a place to set the toilet by laying down a rag or a piece of cardboard.
  6. With hands on either side of the toilet seat hinge area, gently lift the toilet out of place.
  7. If you are reinstalling an old toilet, the wax will need to be removed from the bottom with a small putty knife.
  8. Inspect the closet flange for damage to the area the bolts hold onto. If the flange is broken it will need to be replaced.
  9. Install new closet bolts on the flange. If there is a hole under the place the bolts go they will need to be secured to the flange with a stainless or brass nut and washer.
  10. Install a new wax ring with a plastic insert onto the flange. If the floor level is above the flange you may need to add an extra plain wax ring.
  11. Lower the toilet directly in place so that the bolts go through the holes. You should feel the toilet rest on the wax and crush the wax ring as it is secured to the floor.
  12. If you have two piece bolt caps, place the base on first. Next place the metal washer and secure it with a nut. After the toilet is securely fastened, check it to see it doesn’t rotate or move in any way. If need be, shim up the bottom to keep it from rocking.
  13. Attach the water supply. If need be, replace the washer on the toilet connection. If the supply is corrugated copper the washer will need form fitting threads on the inside.
  14. Turn on the water and test for leaks flushing the toilet several times.
  15. Cut off the excess closet bolts with a hacksaw or sawzall being careful not to damage the porcelain. Install the bolt caps
  16. Caulk the base of the toilet and install the seat if needed.

Hiring a Plumbing Pro

General Tips

  1. The most important thing when hiring a professional is trust. You need to be able to trust that they will keep to their word. You need to be able to trust that they will not overcharge you, and you need to be able to trust that they will be able to solve your problem in a timely manner without creating more problems.
  2. Be courteous to your plumber and he will be courteous to you. Offer him a soft drink or lemonade; it will go a long way.
  3. A plumber you hire should be licensed and insured for your own protection. Insurance and bonding ensure you that accidents will be taken care of.
  4. Plumbers charge in two ways: flat rate or time and material. A flat rate charge is a charge for a specific task no matter the time and material it is the same price. Be aware that flat rate charging for repairs can be more expensive, however if a time and material job takes longer than it should it can be more expensive.
  5. Be sure you know the rate before they begin work.
  6. It may be a good idea to get several bids before settling on a contract.

Drain Cleaning Tips

  1. Remember that when hiring a plumber to do drain cleaning that you can hire your regular plumber and you don’t need a drain specialist. Most plumbers do drain cleaning.
  2. The plumber may discover that you need to replace the building sewer or drain pipes. You may be able to get by with a cleaning for now and replace the pipes on your own later with this do it yourself guide or just have them cleaned on a regular basis. If tree roots are the problem you may try to treat the source by removing the suspected tree.

Emergency Tips

  1. Try to downgrade your problem so that it is not an emergency. You may find tips in this site to help you.
  2. Some plumbers charge the same rate 24 hours, but these are usually more expensive and you may not save any money. Know the rate before allowing work to begin.

Remodeling Tips

  1. As always know exactly what the plumber will install and what the cost will be before work begins.
  2. With remodeling jobs it is usually best to get a flat price for the work.
  3. Unless you know who you want to do the work, get three bids and pick the one you are most comfortable with.
  4. Do not be afraid to ask for references.

Unusual Pipe Noises

Pipes banging or rattling

  • You should check your water pressure. It should be 60-80 PSI. If you have excessive pressure install  a regulator or repair the existing one at the building supply.
  • Pipes banging or rattling is known as “water hammer.” Water hammer is caused by a quick stopping of quickly flowing water which shocks the pipes.
  • Water hammer can be fixed in several ways. First you should install a water hammer arrestor. A water hammer arrestor is a manufactured device that acts like a shock absorber. If you cannot find a water hammer arrestor, install an 18″ vertical capped piece of pipe near the water heater.

Pipes honking, groaning or whistling

  • If you have a pressure regulator it may need to be repaired or replaced.
  • If you have pressure over 80 psi you will need to install a pressure regulator valve.
  • Pipes honking, groaning, or whistling is caused by something vibrating in the system. This is usually a toilet when it is almost full or a faucet.
  • First try turning down the supply to the fixture causing the problem. This may solve it.
  • If the toilet is causing the problem, replace the float valve with a fluidmaster float valve. Also replace the flapper with a korky brand flapper.
  • If a faucet is causing the problem replace the faucet or rebuild the faucet stems. The stems must be repacked or the packing nuts must be tightened.

Piping Repair

Slab Leak Repairs

  1. Slab leaks can be repaired in one of two methods. You can repair the leak under the slab, or you can reroute the pipe above the slab.
  2. Rerouting above the slab is the better choice if you don’t want to tear up the floor and you want to be sure you don’t have to repair the pipe under the slab in the future.
  3. When water piping is run under concrete it has no connections under the slab. Pipes come up in walls or cavities and are manifolded above grade.
  4. Try to determine where the leak is and what pipe is in need of repair. At the manifold, cut the leaking pipe and join it to the new pipe going to the fixture or manifold that the old pipe served.
  5. The other method of repairing the pipe underground requires removing the flooring and opening the concrete with a jack hammer.
  6. Once you have exposed the bad pipe, you can determine what needs replacement.
  7. When repairing copper under slabs remember that it needs to be replaced with type “L” copper and must be brazed. When finished, be sure to protect the pipe with PVC pipe wrap or equivalent.

Underground Plastic Pipe Repairs

  1. Plastic pipe presents a problem to repair if there is no lateral movement.
  2. For water pipes you can use a telescoping coupling or install four 90s
  3. For drain piping you can install Fernco rubber couplings.

Leaks in Copper Water Pipe

  1. Water pressure must be cut off completely and drained to repair copper. As a last resort, if the water cannot be isolated at the meter, disconnect the meter to insure no water is flowing into the building system. Open faucets throughout the system to drain any water from those branches. For very slow, persistent leaks, stuff the pipe with bread to stop the leak.
  2. Remove any bad pipe and fittings by cutting out the old pipe. Remove any burrs left by cutting the pipe with a deburring tool.
  3. When you can’t get pipe movement to install a coupling, use a repair coupling without a stop in it.
  4. Clean pipe ends with emery cloth and fittings with a wire fitting brush. Apply flux soldering paste to the outside of pipe and the inside of the fitting with a brush. Do not leave flux on pipe more than a few hours.
  5. Heat the fitting with a torch. Hold the torch so that the hottest part, the tip of the blue flame, touches the metal you want to heat. Get the copper hot enough to melt the lead free solder being sure it is liquid to the deepest part of the socket. The copper should melt the solder and not the flame. The solder is drawn into the fitting by capillary action.
  6. A half inch joint should require about a half to one inch of solder.
  7. Sometimes it seems as though the solder is not adhering to the copper. Take the flux brush and brush the joint as it is hot.
  8. Wipe the joint with a cloth after it has cooled to clean off excess flux.

Leaks in Steel Water Pipe

  1. Emergency clamps are available in case a quick fix is needed and will be repaired at a later date. Emergency clamps require that the outside of the pipe is relatively smooth and not over corroded.
  2. To remove and replace steel water pipe first turn off the water to the pipe.
  3. Cut out the old pipe with a hacksaw, a sawzall, or a portable grinder.
  4. You will need a nipple and a union to join the steel pipe.
  5. Always use Teflon tape or a pipe thread sealant when joining threaded pipe.

Joining Different Types of Water Pipe

  1. When joining copper to steel pipe the accepted method is to use a dielectric union. A dielectric union separates the dissimilar metals to prevent electrolysis corrosion. A water heater flex is a dielectric union for use on water heaters.
  2. When joining PVC to metal pipe the best method is to use a copper female pipe thread adapter and half of a schedule 80 PVC (gray) nipple. Schedule 80 nipples are much stronger than schedule 40 (white) male adapters.
  3. Flexible Polyethylene pipe (black or blue) is joined with a barbed type fitting. Special fittings are made for flexible polybutylene (gray) pipe.

Gas Leaks

  1. An offensive odor is added to otherwise odorless natural gas so that leaks are easily detected by smell. Leaks can be pinpointed by spraying soapy water on suspected leak areas such as joints. When a gas leak is detected the main should be shut off at the meter immediately. All gas shutoff valves operate with a quarter turn. When the handle is perpendicular to the pipe the valve is off.
  2. New gas pipe in excess of four feet should be tested and inspected. To test gas pipe all outlet valves except log lighter valves should be removed and capped. Log lighter outlets should be capped. A test gauge is installed and the system should be pressurized to 10 to 15 PSIG. The system should hold pressure for an hour. If it looses pressure, check for leaks.
  3. A good pipe thread sealant should be used on gas pipe and joints should be tight. Do not install unions inside walls, underground or other non accessible areas.

Leaks in PVC/CPVC Plastic Water Pipe

  1. Flexible plastic pipe is not PVC or CPVC. Flexible pipe cannot be glued and must have a barbed adapter or a compression fitting made for flexible plastic.
  2. PVC comes in schedule 40, schedule 80 and 200 psi. PVC comes in nominal pipe sizes like steel pipe. the outside diameter of 1/2 inch pipe is about 3/4 inch. The outside diameter of 3/4 inch is about 1″ . Schedule 40 water pipe is typically white and schedule 80 is gray and may be threaded. PVC glue comes in clear, blue, and gray. I recommend the blue PVC glue for water pipe.
  3. CPVC is ivory colored and is sized like copper pipe. 1/2 inch has an O.D. of 5/8 inch. 3/4 pipe has an O.D. of 7/8 inch. CPVC glue is yellow.
  4. It is a good practice to use purple primer on PVC and CPVC before gluing the pipe.
  5. When working underground or in a place where you can’t get the horizontal movement to join a coupling, use four 90s or an expansion coupling.

Leaks in ABS/PVC Drain Pipe

  1. ABS and PVC pipe should not be confused with Polypropylene that tubular p-traps and drain pieces are made with that use mechanical joints. These pipes cannot be glued.
  2. ABS is black, nominal sized pipe commonly used in DWV (drain, waste, vent) systems. ABS must be glued exclusively with ABS cement.
  3. PVC is white and is not common in DWV systems in the Western U.S. PVC should be glued with PVC cement.

Leaks in Cast Iron/Steel Drain Pipe

  1. Cast iron pipe up until the 1970s was joined exclusively by leaded hub joints or threaded joints. Now it is also joined with neoprene couplings with stainless bands around them known as No Hub Bands or Fernco Bands.
  2. In the old days a tapped tee was installed for trap arm connections and a galvanized steel nipple was used for a trap arm. These trap arms can be removed and replaced with steel, copper or plastic pipe.
  3. Plastic pipe is easily joined to cast iron with a no hub band.
  4. Cast iron is most easily cut with a portable grinder but can be cut with a sawzall.

Leaks in Clay/Cement Sewer Pipe

  1. Clay and Cement building sewers are common in homes built prior to the 1970s. Tree roots easily work their way into these types of pipe.
  2. Fernco makes a coupling to join clay to plastic or cast iron pipe.
  3. Cut clay and cement pipe with a portable grinder.

Joining Different Types of Drain/Sewer Pipe

  1. There are basically two methods to join different types of drain pipe. One is with a No Hub/Fernco type of coupling, the other is with threads.
  2. Pipe thread adapters can be installed on plastic or copper pipes. Otherwise the best method to join different pipes is with a No Hub or Fernco coupling.

General Toilet Plumbing Information

Plumbers refer to toilets as water closets or “closets” for short.

A typical toilet has the following identifying parts

  1. A tank that sits atop the bowl and is attached by tank bolts and sealed with a sponge gasket
  2. A trip lever handle that operates the flush valve
  3. A flush valve with a flapper located in the center of the tank. Some make a flapper less flush valve now.
  4. The tank has water that the level can be adjusted to the proper level, a half inch below the top of the refill tube on the flush valve.
  5. A Float cock that opens to refill the tank and bowl. The float cock is on the left side of the tank and has a small tube going to the refill tube on the flush valve.
  6. Bolts that hold the toilet to the flange. These are called closet bolts and closet flange respectively

Toilet Constantly Runs

It’s the old problem of the toilet stopping and going all night. It can drive you crazy! You have probably done a little of your own investigating already.

  1. By lifting the lid of the tank you can see what is going on. On a typical toilet there is a apparatus in the center where all the water drains out to flush the bowl. It is called a flush valve.
  2. There is a rubber part that seals the valve and opens when the chain is pulled, it is called the flapper. The flapper must be in good condition to seal the tank. You most likely will need to replace the flapper. When you go to buy a new one, by a Korky brand flapper. They make the best one. Kohler toilets and some other brands may require original replacement parts such as a large rubber washer that fits on a plastic flapper.
  3. The seat on which the flapper sits must be absolutely clean and smooth. Use a Scotch-Brite scrub sponge or pad to clean the seat before replacing the flapper.
  4. The chain connecting the flapper to the handle must be properly adjusted. A small amount of slack is just right.
  5. If you still have problems with water escaping into the bowl chances are you need a new flush valve. To be certain this is the problem before proceeding, turn off the water supply to the toilet and see if the tank drains on its own. If you replace the flush valve, you will want to replace the tank bolts and sponge gasket at the same time. The tank bolts may need to be cut to be removed.
  6. Another problem that occurs in the tank is the apparatus on the left side known as the float cock. The water in the tank should be about a half inch below the top of the flush valve fill tube, also known as the hush tube. A standard float cock with the ball on the end of the rod can easily be adjusted by bending the rod. If the float cock needs replacing, I recommend using a Fluidmaster brand float cock. It is easy to install and adjust.
  7. Please refer toreplacing supplies and stops if needed.

Toilet Overflows

  1. If the toilet overflows or gurgles when other drains are used you probably have a clogged main. If not, proceed to the next step.
  2. By now you hopefully have stopped the toilet from overflowing, but if not be sure the water is off to the toilet.
  3. Always attempt the easiest fix first. The Plumber’s Helper, the good old plunger. The proper plunger for a toilet is shaped more like a rubber ball than a cup. The correct action on the toilet plunger is the downward stroke to force the water down the drain. Be aggressive.
  4. If the plunger doesn’t clear the toilet, the next easiest is the Closet Auger. The closet auger is a short snake designed to clear an object from the toilet itself. If you don’t have a closet auger, and most don’t, you can always remove the toilet and check it for objects.

Toilet Leaks

  1. Toilets leak from one of three places: the base, the tank, or the supply connection.
  2. Leaks from the base are fixed byremoving and replacing the toilet.
  3. Leaks from the tank require removing and replacing the tank
  4. To remove the tank turn off the water to the toilet, empty the tank, and remove the tank bolts. Cut them if you have to.
  5. Remove and replace the old sponge gasket sealing the tank to the bowl. Replace the tank bolts with new ones. If you can’t get the tank bolts to stop leaking, install an extra rubber washer, brass washer and nut between the tank and bowl.
  6. If the supply connection is leaking refer to repairing supply lines.

Toilet Doesn’t Operate

This section is for if you operate the handle and nothing happens.

  1. Open the lid of the tank.
  2. Check to be sure the chain is connected between the flapper and the flush handle.
  3. Adjust the chain so that there is a tiny bit of slack.
  4. If the handle is broke or droops replace it with a new one
  5. Remember the toilet handles nut has a left hand thread and is removed by turning it clockwise or to the right, the opposite of a standard nut.

Toilet is Loose

  1. Remove the caps from the closet bolts (floor bolts).
  2. Tighten down the floor bolts.
  3. If that doesn’t fix the problem you will need to remove and replace the toilet..

Plumbing Systems (Residential)

Toilets

  1. As with all plumbing fixtures toilets must be kept clean in order to last. Two simple methods of cleaning a toilet are with a brush and toilet cleaner or for more difficult stains a good cleanser and Scotchbrite sponge. Try to keep up under the rim as clean as possible as this is a place for the buildup of calcium deposits and mildew.
  2. Avoid using bleach or blue tablets in the tank as this is hard on the rubber parts. If you must use them expect to be changing the flapper regularly.
  3. Be sure to keep caps on the floor bolts or they will corrode quickly.
  4. Wipe down the sides and around the base with a light detergent or other cleaner.
  5. Caulking around the base of the toilet is recommended for a neat appearance. Caulk must be kept clean to last.

Faucets

  1. Keeping a faucet clean will help it keep its shine for a lifetime. A daily or regular wipe down of a faucet will do wonders occasionally you may need to use a general purpose cleaner or a cleanser for tough stains.
  2. One way to protect the finish of a faucet is to give it a car waxing.
  3. Chrome will far outlast other finishes because of its nature. Polished brass finish may loose its luster because contaminants get under the protective coating. Avoid purchasing polished brass fixtures.
  4. Occasionally you will need to replace the aerator to obtain a nice aerated flow.

Tub/Showers

  1. Take care of the chrome and brass in the same manor as a faucet, wiping it down daily. Clean with a non abrasive cleaner. Protect with car wax.
  2. An important part of tub/shower maintenance is the caulking. Clean caulking regularly with a bleach based mildew killer. Replace the caulk if it is separating from the fixture as soon as possible. Be sure to caulk around the faucet controls and tub spout. see recaulking.
  3. Scrub walls and base with a non abrasive cleanser such as comet.
  4. Seal tile grout on a regular basis as recommended by the manufacturer of the sealant..
  5. To keep clear glass shiny, use a squeegee after every shower.

Drains

  1. Never put anything down the drain except water, soap, toilet paper and human waste. Avoid allowing food down the drain, even with a garbage disposal.
  2. Treat trouble drains such as the kitchen sink drain with an enzyme made for drains. The bacteria will dissolve buildup before it clogs the drain.
  3. Try to keep hair out of the shower drain with a strainer.
  4. Pour bleach into drain and let stand for five minutes to destroy odors.

Tools

  1. Keep tools oiled for rust protection.
  2. Sharpen tools that need sharpening
  3. Inspect electrical tools for wiring defects and have them repaired.
  4. Take care of your tools and they will take care of you.

Dos And Don’ts Of Home Plumbing

Here are some of the things I have removed years of home plumbing calls:
• Small bottles yo-yo ‘ s
• tooth brushes
• toys of all kinds
• wire odor tablets
• cigarette lighters
• golf balls
• lids and caps
• car keys
• hair curlers
• false teeth
• cream jars
• wallets
• combs
• knick-knacks
• pens and pencils
• DO – Keep these items away from the toilet.
DON’T – Let the children play in the bathroom with toys small enough to go down your toilet trap.
DO – Get in the habit of putting the back of the toilet seat down before flushing.
But if you haven’t put into affect my DO’s and DON’Ts, and you flush the toilet and the water in the bowl starts coming up and not down, quickly remove the tank lid, reach into the middle bottom of tank and push the rubber ball or flapper back down over the outlet. Then shut off the water supply.
Now if you are sure you haven’t let something like the above listed objects fall into the toilet, you can usually use a plunger to open the toilet. But if you are missing something from the toilet area that could be in the bowl, you will have to use a toilet auger to try and retrieve the object. If you can’t remove it with the auger, the toilet will have to be lifted.
DO – If you have a water leak from below your bathroom directly below Your bath tub shower, and it only leaks when YOU take a shower, here’s what to look for:
DO – Check the entire tile wall on the inside area of the bath tub for cracks, etc. To repair, use a tube of tub & tile caulking seal.
DO – Check the wall, especially around the handles and the spout of the faucet, seal all openings with caulking.
DO – Check the inside edge of the shower door track.
DO – If the water leak is below the toilet, first check the water pipe where tank and bowl are connected together. If there is no sign of water on the floor around the pipe, chances are your toilet needs to be lifted and a new wax ring installed (refer to toilet installation).
DO – If you go on vacation or are away from home for a few days, always shut off your water supply to your home.
DO – Keep heat on where water pipes and drain pipes are located in your home, when temperature is 32 degrees or colder.
DO – If you can’t put heat in an area where water pipes are, use an electric heat tape.
DO – If your kitchen sink is located on an outside wall, leave cupboard doors open in severe cold weather.
DO – Shut off all outside faucets in cold weather if they are not of the frost proof type.
DO – If you are closing up a home in the wintertime and there will be no heat in the home, shut off the water supply at the street or in the basement.
DO – Open all faucets in the home and leave them open.
DO – Open drain at bottom of hot water tank and drain.
DO – Remove all water from toilet tank and bowl.
DO – Put permanent Anti-freeze in toilet bowl and a small amount in the bottom of the toilet tank.
DO – Put anti-freeze in all sink drains and bath and shower drains, enough to fill the traps.
DO – If you wish, remove traps on sinks, but be sure and plug up open line, to keep out sewer gas fumes.