Author Archives: William Lopez

A Basic Plumbing Tools Checklist For DIYers

Plumbing repair and maintenance, just like other types of house maintenance and improvement, can get very pricey, especially if you hire a contractor. However, as a homeowner, you always have the option to go the DIY way to save money in the process. If you want to take the DIY route when it comes to plumbing care and maintenance, here are some tools that you should have in your toolkit to do a successful job:

  • Tongue-and-Groove Pliers. This is one of the most basic tools that you should have in your plumbing maintenance toolkit. This will be very handy when you need to tighten, loosen, twist, hold, pull, or grab a pipe or something. You will not see plumbers without this tool. When you buy one for your toolkit, make sure that you buy a 10-inch tongue-and-groove pliers and one that is 12 inches.
  • Propane Torch. This is very useful when you are dealing with fittings and copper pipes. This type of propane torch will ignite by squeezing the trigger, which you will find more convenient than the ones that are lit with matches or a striker.
  • This is very useful when you want to cut metals. This tool is used for cutting through nuts, bolts, hardware, and plastic pipes. When using this type of tool, make sure that the blades secured properly, especially when cutting tough materials. Having an extra blade around will be very handy.
  • Metal File. After cutting metals, the edges would need to be smoothed. Metal files will come handy on this occasion. This will help smooth out the edges of any metal that have just been cut. This will help prevent accidental skin cuts in your house. Make sure that you have two metal files around. You can purchase a half round metal file and a rat-tail file.
  • Basin Wrench. If you are working around your sink, having a basin wrench will be very helpful. This will help keep faucets in place. In addition, this can be used to tighten nuts. This is also very helpful when reaching nuts behind narrow sinks.
  • Pipe Wrench. This tool is used to loosen or tighten fittings, nuts, and threaded pipes. Make sure that you buy two of this tool as you will need one for holding (gripping) and the other one for turning. With its serrated teeth, it will be easier to hold pipes or nuts. A 10-inch and a 14-inch pipe wrench should be enough in your basic plumbing tool kit.
  • Hand Auger. This tool is also known as a plumber’s snake. The tool got its popular name because it is used mostly in clearing obstructions in showers, sinks, tubs, and toilets. Its long and flexible steel cable that extends up to 25 feet makes it possible to do the job.
  • Adjustable Wrench. This is useful when you have to work on supply lines, compression fittings, and other parts of your plumbing system that is hex-shaped. When you are buying one for your home kit, make sure that the jaw of the adjustable wrench can grip tightly and that it won’t loose that easy. Just like some other tools listed here, it is best to have two handles. A 6-inch and a 10-inch adjustable wrench should be enough for your basic tool kit.
  • Tubing Cutter. This tool looks like a C-clamp. This tool is very helpful if you want to achieve a quick and clean cut through a copper pipe. Buy a standard tubing cutter and a mini-cutter, which can work in tight places.
  • This is probably the most basic tool listed here. This is an indispensable tool that every household should have. This is the first tool that you can grab whenever you want to unclog your tubs, toilets, showers, floor drains or sinks.
  • Fire-Resistant Cloth. This cloth is very useful especially when you are soldering combustible surfaces and when you are using your propane torch. This will not only protect nearby surfaces but will also protect you. When you budget permits it, it is also a good decision to have a fire extinguisher nearby.

With these basic tools, it will be easy for you to give your plumbing system the maintenance and repair that it requires. Having a well-maintained and working plumbing system does not have to be costly. You can always rely on these tools to do the job on your own.

A Checklist For Your Plumbing Maintenance

Having a working plumbing system all year round can be achieved with regular plumbing upkeep and maintenance. Plumbing maintenance should be done on a regular basis as it does not take a lot of your time. Doing so will also help prevent any plumbing problems that may cost you more than just maintaining them.

Bathroom Maintenance Checklist

  • Check for leaking showers and faucets. Remember, everything starts with just a little. That little leak in your faucet and shower can potentially become a humongous plumbing problem in no time. Not attending to these small leaks will also lead to gallons of wasted water. This will also increase your monthly utility bill.
  • Cleanup your drains. Make sure that you include your drains when ticking off your bathroom maintenance checklist. A slow drain can be caused by small debris that is stuck. This slow drain will become slower over time if the drainage is not cleaned up. Drainage cleanup should be done three or four times a year. If you can, you can also have this done every other to make sure that nothing is stuck in your drains.
  • Check faucet aerators. Over time, calcium will start to build up in these aerators. This can obstruct water flow which can also cause pipes to burst out. In addition, calcium buildup will also cause water pressure to slow down. Removing the aerators and cleaning them should help solve the problem.
  • Address running toilets. If your toilet handles are starting to stick whenever you push it down, then it would be time to have it checked and cleaned. If this is not fixed, your toilet will continue on running water. This will not only waste water, but will also increase your water bill. Fixing this does not require a lot of time and money. Thus, it should be incorporated to your bathroom maintenance checklist.

Kitchen Maintenance Checklist

  • Check your sinks. Your kitchen sink is used on a daily basis and can be one of the causes why leaks happen. Leaks can come from faucets, strainers, garbage disposal, or any kitchen sink accessory that you may have. Make sure that you go through from top to bottom of the sink to make sure you are not missing out. This should be done on a regular basis.
  • Check your garbage disposal and determine the maintenance it needs. Leaks can also be caused by damage in garbage disposals. This can go unnoticed and it is for this reason that you should not forget to check this part of your kitchen to make sure no leaks are happening in from this area. If maintenance is needed, it is recommended that you refer to the manufacturer’s maintenance tips.
  • Sink drain cleanup. There are sink drainers that you can use to make sure that nothing is clogged in your sink drain. But, you can also make your own formula to have this done. Often, a handful of baking soda plus vinegar and hot water helps a lot. They are natural ingredients that can be found in your kitchen which will not corrode the surfaces of your sink and drains.

Septic System And Sewer Maintenance Checklist

  • Septic System. This part of your home should be maintained on a regular basis. Pumping your septic system may not seem an important and regular thing to do. But, you should still check whether your septic system needs to be relieved or not. Without regular checking, there is no way for you to determine when this is needed or not.
  • Sewer System. Sewer stoppage can be averted if you do regular maintenance of your sewer system. If you notice sewer stoppages, make sure that you also observe how the time between each stoppage. Tree roots can be a cause of sewer stoppages. If you have a lot of trees surrounding your house, it would be a good idea to have a snaking sewer system to avoid any stoppage. Also, it would not hurt to look out for any signs of stoppage to help prevent it from getting worse.

General Plumbing Maintenance Advice

Checking for your water pressure on a regular basis would also help prevent any plumbing problems. Make sure that your water level is in the safe range. With a pressure gauge, you will be able to determine how strong or weak your water pressure is. If your pressure is above the recommended pressure level of 55 PSI, then you should have it controlled with a pressure regulator.

5 Plumbing Trends To Consider When Renovating Your Home

Are you planning to improve the plumbing of your home? If so, you are on the right page. Here, you will find out the five different trends in plumbing that will not only increase the value of your home, but will also make your living standards better.

  1. Hands-free Faucets. Touchless or hands-free faucets is one of the latest trends in home improvement right now. They are not only found in public facilities, but are not available at residential homes and bathrooms. This new trend is very good for people that are concerned with bacterial contamination in public bathrooms and even at home. With touchless faucets, you don’t have to manually turn it on or off. Water will automatically run when your fingers or hands come in close proximity of the faucet. This is one benefit of advance technology that everyone should be enjoying, not just in public places, but also at home.
  1. Frameless Wet Rooms and Showers. More and more people are becoming more minimalistic as years go by and this has given rise to the use of frameless showers and wet rooms. Frameless showers and wet rooms are chic to look at, especially the former with the designer floor-to-ceiling minimalist glass design. It is virtually without any framing, accents, or hardware. On the other hand, wet rooms are a level higher to frameless showers. Wet rooms do not have shower walls. It is a designated space in the bathroom delineated by architectural steps, tiered drainage, and minimalistic tiling effects.
  1. Dual Flush Toilet. Dual flush toilets, as the name suggests, has two flush settings. One setting lets you flush the toilet with a large volume of water, while the other setting allows you to flush the toilet in a lesser volume of water. Having the second option is good as it allows and encourages water conservation. This technology has been around for a while, that it is only now that is becoming a trend as a result of its water conservation benefit.
  1. Flexible Water Pressure. In terms of shower heads, seeing a movable shower head is something that is not foreign in the residential and commercial world. However, a shower that offers different shower pressure settings is something that is new. Flexible water pressure settings will allow you to set the water pressure whenever you take a shower. You can choose to have a vigorous blast or a soft mist with just one twist of the shower handle.
  1. Shower Sound System. Technology is continuously evolving, which gives rise to different improvements at home and all over. With this comes shower sound systems, which allows you to listen to your favorite band or singer while having your shower. You can listen to your favorite songs without worrying about electrocution. The shower sound system can be operated via an LCD screen, which is mounted on the shower wall. Showers with sound systems can also have flexible water pressure system, temperature control, and steam control. Nothing could possibly go wrong with this new shower technology.

How To Prepare Your Plumbing For The Spring

The winter season has finally run its course. The spring season has officially begun. This means that it is time again to give your plumbing its seasonal check to make sure everything is working just fine. The list below will help you start with your spring plumbing check. This will also help prepare your plumbing for day-to-day use in the spring season all through summer.

Drains, Spouts, and Gutters

You should start your plumbing checkup with the three basics: your drains, spouts, and gutters. If you want April showers to bring May flowers, then you should make sure these three are clean. If your drains, waterspouts, and gutters are not properly maintained, they will be eventually get blocked by all the debris caught in between. A blocked drainage system, waterspout, and gutter could encourage mold buildup. This will also eventually cause leaks and water damage. Make sure that no leaves or any debris are obstructing your drains, gutters, and spouts which may have settled all winter.

Check Your Garden Hose Bib

If you have mistakenly left your hose attached to the bib, then leaks are highly present. The winter season can cause the hose to expand and crack. You can check it by opening your hose bib so water can flow through it. If you don’t see any crack, then you are lucky. But, this is unlikely. It is for this reason that you are always advised to keep your garden hose in your house or the garage.

Check Your Sump Pump

If you have a water-collecting sump basin in your basement, then you have to make sure that your sump pump is in its optimum. You can check if it is working the way it should be by pouring water in the pit. You will know that it is working properly if it turns on a few seconds after you have poured water in. It should automatically shut itself off as well. If your pump does not do this, then you should have it checked and repaired.

Prevent Clogs

To help maintain your drainage and plumbing system, it is recommended that you keep filters. Filters in the opening of your drains will help keep your hair, toothpick, Q-tips, food, and other debris (small or big) to be stuck in your drain. This will also help keep your drain unclogged. In case you have a clogged drainage, you can unclog it by pouring in baking soda and vinegar in it. You can then clean it with warm water.

If you don’t have the time to do all this, then it is recommended to find a good plumber to have everything checked for you. Once this is done, you can be at ease to know that everything is spring ready and working well. Enjoy your spring plumbing cleaning.

Proper Drain Cleaning And Maintenance Tips

If you have a home and you own it, then it is important for you to learn how to take care of your drain and how to properly maintain it. Knowing what to do will help you save your money, time, and effort. You have to know that unmaintained drains will eventually get clogged, which means calling the plumber and having it fixed. But if you know what to do when this occurs, then you don’t have to spend anything to get it fixed. However, prevention is always better than cure. Thus, you should also know how to take good care of your drain before the need of fixing it arises.

The Little Things

For you to give your drains proper care and maintenance, it is important that you keep it clean. Drain clogs are caused by the littlest of things that can be found in your house. If you have experienced cleaning your house drains before, then you would not be surprised to see things like Q-Tips, coffee grinds, tea bags, toothpicks, cooking grease, paper towels, etc. These things are possibly the things you thought that will not clog your drain. But, it’s sad to say that you are wrong. It is for this reason that properly disposing of your garbage is a must. Little things can go a long way, and you throwing inorganic stuff the proper way is one of the many things that you can do to avoid clogged drains.

Outdoor Drains

Besides disposing of your organic and inorganic wastes properly, cleaning the drains outside of your house will go a long way. If you have a clean outdoor drain, you will have cleaner indoor drains, too. You have to remember that most of the plumbing system in a house are interconnected through the drains. This means that if the drain outside your house is blocked, the indoor drains will be backed up. This will cause plumbing problems, which will cost you more than cleaning your indoor and outdoor drains. You might end up replacing your plumbing system because of this. Thus, it is recommended that you follow a regular schedule when it comes to cleaning and maintaining your indoor and outdoor drains. One is as important as the other.

Natural Drain Cleaners

Whenever you can, it is recommended that you clean your drains the natural way. It always sounds so easy to just buy store-bought cleaners with strong chemicals to dissolve any material that has clogged your drain. Having these chemicals at hand sound so convenient. However, the downside of these chemicals is it will eventually cause corrosion. It can also lead to plumbing and drainage problems in the long run. There are natural methods that you can try to have a clean drain at home. You can always use baking soda and vinegar to have this done. Having these two kitchen ingredients will be very handy in the house. They can clean anything from toilet bowl stains to unclogging your drains. Vinegar and baking soda are natural ingredients that will not harm your drainage.

The most important thing that you need to remember is that regular drain cleaning and maintenance will help avoid any plumbing and household problems. When you can, make sure that it is included in your monthly general cleaning routine, if you cannot do it on a bi-weekly or on a weekly basis.

Leaky Pipes and Carpet Damage

leaky pipes lead to floor and carpet damage

Leaky pipes are one of the many things that homeowners may face on a regular basis. However, an increase in the bill charged for this utility may not be the only one that you may be facing. If you have carpet installed all over your house and have water leak happening somewhere, there is a huge possibility of carpet damage due to this leakage.

 

Leaking Pipes

The first thing that you want to do is check where the leakage is coming from. There is no point cleaning and drying up your carpet if the water leakage is not addressed because you will end up doing the same process. Thus, it is important that you do this process first thing.

Locating where the leak is coming from should not be that difficult. The water stain on your carpet should tell you where the leak should be coming from. It could be directly above the carpet or below it. However, there are instances where the leakage is a distance away from where the carpet damage is. This happens when the pipe is on an inclined and the water is dripping from the higher point to a lower point. If this is the case, you must be patient in locating the source of the leak.

Once the leak is located, you now have to work on how to fix it. There are several things that you can use to have this fixed. You can either use a clamp with a sheet of rubber to stop the leak. This fix can help stop your leakage for months. However, in the absence of C-clamps or a sleeve clamp or an adjustable hose clamp, you can always use an epoxy putty. When using this, make sure that the area is dry for the epoxy to adhere and work. In the occasion that these two suggested fixes are not available, you can also try stopping the leak with the use of a pencil point.

 

Damaged Carpet

Now that the leak has been patched, it is now time for you to assess the damage caused on your carpet. It is very important that you address the leakage as soon as it is detected to prevent any mold or mildew from appearing on your carpet. The formation of mold and mildew on your carpet is a big no-no because of the different health-risk factors that they impose. With the presence of black mold, you are at risk of having frequent respiratory infections or asthma attack. You may also suffer from fatigue and depression because of this. In other times, your ability to concentrate will also be affected. Thus, it is a must that you dry your wet carpet as soon as possible.

There is a time frame of 48 hours for you to make your carpet dry. If your carpet has been wet for over two days, there is a high possibility of mold build-up already happening on your carpet. With this in mind, you may have to do more than just drying up your carpet. On the one hand, if you were able to detect the leak earlier and your carpet is not wet for more than two days, then you can simply have your carpet dried using dehumidification equipment together with a water extraction equipment. The two equipment will help remove moisture from your carpet making it free from any mold formation. The good thing is, if you don’t have these instruments at hand, you can easily rent one out.

Once the carpet is dry, you can thoroughly clean it with a HEPA vacuum. This will ensure that no mold spore and bacteria is left on your carpet. However, if the problem is more than what you can handle, you can always ask the help of experts who are surely capable of giving your carpet a thorough cleaning. Professionals also have the expertise on how to properly handle a carpet with molds and mildew and should know what cleaning process is best suited for the type of carpet that you have.

For carpet that is seriously damaged and in need of repair, leave it to the hands of the expert rug cleaners. Visit Silver Rug Cleaning.

Three Simple Tips To Prepare Your Pipes for the Winter

prepare your pipes for winter

It is that time of year again when the weather starts to get cold and leaves start to wither. Winter is coming! That line must be very familiar to you, especially if you are an avid fan of the series Game of Thrones. In the series, the Starks are preparing for the coldest winter ever in the land of Winterfell.  Every clan in Winterfell knows what comes with winter. And thus, they prepare months ahead for whatever comes with the coldest season head on. As they say, it is fatal to go to war without the will to win it. This means that you should also get prepared for what worse may come during winter. This applies to your home and everything in it. Be like the Starks and be prepared. In this post, you will learn three simple things to protect your plumbing from the cold weather and shy away from unforeseen damage and money loss this winter.

Periodic Inspection for Leaks. Prevention is better than cure! It is a must that you periodically inspect your pipes for leaks, not just in the winter season but all the seasons. A leaking pipe will surely cost you hundreds of dollars. Thus, preventing it will save you the trouble of replacing it or hiring the professionals, which will surely cost you even more. What you can do to check for leaks is to use dry paper. If the paper gets wet, then you would know that there is leak in the pipe. To avoid the leak from progressing, you can cover the area with a sealant. And to prevent the pipe from freezing over the winter, you can use a heat tape to insulate the pipe.

Insulation. Insulating your plumbing may not totally keep your pipes from freezing, but it will help slow it down. Thus, using heat tapes, insulation sheets, or insulation foams is a must. Installing insulation does not only apply your exterior plumbing, but also to your interior plumbing. Pipes installed in your attic, basement or crawlspace also need insulation. Installing insulation may need some plumbing knowledge to have it done properly. Thus, plumbing know how comes in handy. If you don’t know how to do it, there are a lot of tutorials online that you can follow. However, if you are not that comfortable doing it yourself, you can always hire expert hands to have your plumbing winter-proof. Consulting the professionals will also give you an idea of what type of insulation material can be used in mildly cold winter or very cold winter

Drain Your Plumbing of Water. It is a must that you drain your plumbing, especially the ones outside your house, of water. Keeping water inside your plumbing will attract freezing. You have to remember that your goal in this season is to keep your plumbing from freezing and bursting. Thus, draining your pipes and plumbing of water is a must. Also, remember to remove hoses from spigots. Hoses also retain water after being used. Keep your hoses in your house or in your tool shed. Doing so would assure you that it is safe from freezing.

There are other things that you can do to better prepare your plumbing for the winter. However, the three simple tips mentioned above are the most basic things that you can do to start the ball rolling.

DIY Plumbing Mistakes: When to Call a Pro

when-to-call-a-plumber

When we encounter problems with our faucets and pipes, it is easy to think that we can correct the problem on our own – even when we do not have any knowledge or training with plumbing. Although there are times where we are successful with the fix, oftentimes we end up making another problem out of the initial problem. If you are one of these people, keep the things below in mind the next time you find yourself self-diagnosing and fixing your pipes.

Joining Dissimilar Pipes or Metals

Certain metals cannot be properly joined without special fittings. When they are forcibly attached, leaks can happen, something that you might fail to detect until the leaks have become very extensive. Once this happens, the whole structure will have to be replaced. Corrosion can also happen when two metals are joined without the right coupling, which can build up and clog the pipe over time.

Overusing on Drain Cleaners

Drain cleaners can actually come in handy during minor clogs. However, some homeowners abuse the use of these substances. In the long run, its chemicals can actually damage pipes. As an acceptable fix for clogged drains, professionals recommend that homeowners use natural drain cleaners like vinegar and baking soda. Other solutions include hand auger and drain snake.

Failing to Turn the Water Off

When undergoing a plumbing project, almost always, the first step is to turn off the water supply. Otherwise, a huge spray of water awaits the DIYer. Also, a special wrench is needed to twist the knob that turns off the water supply. The conventional wrench found in most households might not be strong enough to get the job done.

Performing Plumbing on Renovations

With the basic plumbing skills, some homeowners can actually pull off the job in minor renovations. However, many of these DIYers have very little or even zero knowledge of building codes in their locality. When homeowners do unpermitted piping changes in their home, they might end up doing unknowing errors that can stay undetected for months until the damage becomes widespread.

Indeed, some things are better left to the knowledgeable. If you insist on doing things on your own, you might end up inflicting more damage on your pipes which will undoubtedly cost more to fix than the initial problem. If you experience any plumbing problems, it is best to call a reputable plumbing company. By doing so, you are assured that your utilities are in the right hands and will be back to normal functioning in no time.

Winter Tips For Protecting Your Plumbing

winter plumbing tips

The winter season can be rough on your plumbing, so here are some tips that might help:

1. Water Faucets Located Outdoors. First get the hose disconnected, and then shut off the shut-off valve inside to the faucet. Drain out all the water in the pipe to the faucet by opening up the faucet, then leave the faucet “open” for the rest of the winter. Just be sure that the level of the house pitches away from the house, or all the water will just drain back into the pipe. This keeps the pipes from freezing and bursting.

2. Tune Up Your Water Heater. During the winter, more water heaters fail than at any other time of the year. The reason is that the water that comes into the water heater is much colder than normal, requiring the water heater to work harder. Make the time for the tune up for your water heater in the fall, before it really gets cold.

3. Make Sure The Outside Pipes Don’t Freeze. Most of the situations that cause freezing pipes are avoidable. Just take a look around the areas where there are any exposed pipes, and you will see immediately if any areas need to be looked into. If there are pipes, for example, under exposed floor boards, put some insulation between the joists and cover up the pipes. You can even wrap the pipes with a heated coil to keep the water in them from freezing. You can even open the faucets and let the water drip out. It is much more difficult for water to freeze if it is moving.

4. Dealing With The Sump Pump Discharge. Your sump pump is a very hardy piece of equipment, and it will run even when the ground is frozen or the pump is covered with snow. Keep an eye on this because if the pump does freeze and will not discharge the water that it is supposed to, you could end up with a flooded basement. If there is a long discharge hose attached to the pump, you should replace it, if possible with a shorter hose that is less likely to freeze. If you sump pump is on a ground level that is pitched back toward the house in any way, it can also lead to freezing as the water backs up. One of the most difficult issues to deal with is a sump pump running too long, and then burning out, causing a flooded basement.

Summer Plumbing Tips – Do’s and Dont’s

Plumbing Tips

One of the best ways to ensure your plumbing is running properly is by scheduling annual maintenance inspection. This is a great way to avoid and prevent water damages to your assets. Here are a few more tips:

Did you know that one of the best ways to save energy and money while on vacation is turning down the temperature of your water heater and turn up that of the refrigerator? However, you should consider removing perishable produce such as meat, produce and others.

When the weather changes and increases in humidity, the ductwork may sweat due to condensation. This may be as a result of poor drainage system or drains blocking. If the seam is leaking, it will cause condensation. If you have installed an attic, make sure that water is drained properly. In case you see signs of water, call a plumber right away to prevent damage in your ceiling.

Take extra care of what you put down the kitchen disposer after preparing your meal. A majority of these units do not have the power to handle banana peels, cornhusks and other fibrous foods. You should also make sure that you stay away from disposing fats and cooking oils through these systems because they will log the pipes.  It is wise to run cold water while it is at full pressure for at least 15 seconds after and before placing anything down the disposer.

Summer outdoor fun means more dirty clothes. For this reason, it is important to make sure that you have checked your laundry machine pipes for leaks, bulges or cracks. Also, make sure that you are removing dryer lint often. NOTE: a washing machine hose should be replaced at least after every 3 years.

Ensure you washing machine is at least 4 inches from the wall. Doing this will prevent hose damages and kinking. You should also avoid leaving the house while the washing machine is running.