Archive for August, 2013

13038107_sWater can leak and drip not only from the spout of your non-compression faucet, but from other parts of the faucet assembly as well.  If you have a faucet with a swing spout, it is possible for the swing spout to leak around the base.  You will see this as drops of water, or sometimes as a tiny rivulet in the case of a bad leak, running down the fixture and into the sink.


Before doing this repair, close the valve controlling water flow to the faucet.  Check to make sure it’s closed by turning the faucet handle to its open position.


Rotate the connecting ring counterclockwise.  You can use a wrench for this, but channel-lock pliers will be better and easier to work with.  To keep from marring the finish of the fixture, put a strip of adhesive tape around the connecting ring.


After you have loosened the connecting ring sufficiently, you will be able to remove the swing spout just by lifting it.  At the base of the swing spout you will find an O-ring.  Get a new O-ring at your local (CITY-ANY CALIFORNIA) plumbing supply or hardware store, but make sure it is the same size as the old one.  Coat the new O-ring with some heat-resistant grease and then reassemble your faucet.


Plumbing Pro Tip:  If your faucet has a plastic ball, replace it with a metal one. Plastic types can wear out in less than a year, which means that you’ll be doing this repair again before you know it.


There’s a reason they call us Mr. ™


Adding a Deck or Patio Kitchen

August 23, 2013 2:54 pm
posted by Bob Gallup

18856959_sMost decks and patios have a grill.  Adding a small sink with a faucet helps with food preparation and reduces trips in and out of the house.  And a gas barbecue unit that’s built into a tiled countertop gives the cook plenty of convenient cooking and preparation space.

Construct the cabinets and countertops to resist weather.  If you have freezing winters, install plumbing that can be drained in the fall.  Be sure you can shut off water from inside the house.  The drain line will run to a simple dry well and needs no venting.  It is acceptable for the graywater that a prep sink produces to be plumbed onto the ground a few feet away.

An alternative to bringing hot water all the way from the house, install a hot water dispenser.  This simple plug-in unit fits easily in the cabinet.  With it you need only run a cold water line outdoors; a saddle tee and branch line run to the dispenser.  It is designed to supply near boiling-hot water, but you can turn the thermostat down to 140 degrees, which is within the range of normal tap water.


Dealing With Clogged Pipes

August 15, 2013 7:04 am
posted by Bob Gallup

4958739_sA drain that runs sluggishly or is completely stopped up is usually clogged with grease, soap, hair, or a solid object.  The pipes themselves are usually all right.  As a preventive measure always use the toilet, not a sink, to dispose of semisolid waste.  However, even a toilet cannot handle large objects, i.e. small rabbits discarded from a cat.  Occasionally, a small mouse left at your doorstep may be disposed of by flushing it down the toilet.


Food that has been ground in a garbage disposer can form a thick paste, especially if grease is part of the mix.  Keep grease out of the sink whenever possible.  Use cold water when running the disposer, then run hot water for a few seconds to clear the trap.


When diagnosing and unclogging, if only one fixture is sluggish or stopped up, the clog is probably in the fixture’s trap or the branch drain line.  If more than one fixture is affected, the problem is farther down the line – most likely in a drainpipe or even the stack.  If all the fixtures on the first floor are sluggish or stopped, the main drain may need to be augered – a job for a plumbing professional.


6925245_sMany plumbing projects and repairs can be completed with basic hand tools the homeowner probably already owns.  Adding a few simple plumbing tools will prepare you for all the projects you may encounter.


Indianapolis plumbing and drain specialists use specialty tools, such as a snap cutter or appliance dolly – which, a homeowner may be able to rent from the local home improvement center.


When buying tools, invest in quality products and care for them properly.  Clean tools after using them, wiping them free of dirt and dust with a soft rag.  Prevent rust on metal tools by wiping them with a rag dipped in household oil.  If a metal tool gets wet, dry it immediately, and then wipe it with an oiled rag.  Keep toolboxes and cabinets organized and make sure your plumbing tools are stored securely.


8 Common Tools for Plumbing


  • Caulk gun:  designed to hold tubes of caulk or glue.
  • Flashlight:  indispensable plumber’s helper for inspecting pipes and drain openings.
  • Circuit tester:  important for safety allowing the user to test for live current in an electrical outlet or plumbing appliance.
  • Ratchet wrench:  used for tightening or loosening bolts and nuts.
  • Hacksaw:  used for cutting metal pipe, plastic pipe and has replaceable blades.
  • Small wire brush:  used for cleaning metals without damaging surfaces and has soft brass bristles.
  • Cold chisel:  used with a ball peen hammer to cut or chip ceramic tile, mortar, or hardened metals.
  • Utility knife:  razor-sharp blade for cutting a wide variety of materials.

How to Use Transition Fittings

August 1, 2013 5:46 am
posted by Bob Gallup

11916960_sWhen connecting plastic to cast iron with banded couplings, use rubber sleeves to cover the ends of pipes to ensure a watertight joint.  Sometimes a homeowner will find it necessary to connect plastic pipe to threaded metal pipes with a male and female threaded adapter.  A plastic adapter is solvent-glued to plastic pipe.  Threads of pipe should be wrapped with Teflon tape.  Metal pipe is then screwed directly to the adapter.

A common transition connection that could be presented to a homeowner is connecting copper to galvanized iron with a dielectric union.  A dielectric union is threaded onto iron pipe and is soldered to copper pipe.  A dielectric union has a plastic spacer that prevents corrosion caused by an electro-chemical reaction between dissimilar metals.  When connecting metal hot water pipe to plastic with a hot water transition fitting – prevent leaks caused by different expansion rates of materials.

Plumber Tip:  Metal pipe threads are wrapped with Teflon tape.  Plastic pipe is solvent-glued to fittings.


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