Archive for October, 2013
Bathroom drains get gunky with all of the hair and grooming products that slide down the pipes. To prevent clogs, and prevent the need to go through the acrobatics of working under the sink to remove the pop-up stopper, keep the stopper closed when grooming and once a month pour boiling water down the drain to keep them flowing.
The handle of the lift rod sits on top of the sink between the faucets and (usually) behind the spout. When the handle is raised, the pop-up drain closes; when the handle is pushed down, the drain opens. Underneath the sink, the lift rod attaches to a perforated metal bar called the clevis by means of a clevis screw, which is loosened or tightened by hand or by screwdriver.
Also attached to the clevis with a spring clip is a pivot rod, which passes through a retaining nut into the drain. Beyond the retaining nut, the rod also passes through a pivot ball, a plastic gasket, and a washer. It then passes through a small loop in the tail end of the pop-up stopper.
Mr. Rooter Tip of the Week
Tip #1 Loosen the clevis screw (with your fingers, a screwdriver, or an adjustable wrench, depending on the type of screw).
Tip #2 Push the stopper down by hand to close the drain.
Tip #3 Tighten the clevis screw. Once you make this adjustment, the stopper should close snugly.
If the pop-up stopper doesn’t stay open when you push down the lift rod:
Tip #4 Squeeze the spring clip, and release the pivot rod from the clevis.
Tip #5 Move the pivot rod to the next hole up on the clevis, holding it in place with the spring clip.
There’s a reason they call us Mr. ™
Every day, an average family of four uses about 400 gallons of residential water. When you take into account water used outside on the lawn and garden, that figure can rise even further. Quite a bit of this water goes to waste, circling down the drain or running into the sewer without benefiting anyone.
Try giving your child a stopwatch to time their showers. Have them keep a chart – rewarding for breaking records from the previous day. Give kids a ruler and a bucket on a rainy day to measure rainfall, then explain how long it takes for an inch or two of rain to fall. Just by doing the following 5 suggested Mr. Rooter Tips For Kids from your local Indianapolis plumber, it is possible to save up to one-third on your water bill each year. Think how much might be saved if the whole family changes some of their water-use habits.
Mr. Rooter’s Family Tips to Save Water
1. Turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth. Leaving it running while you brush wastes several gallons of water.
2. Take shorter, 5-minute showers, instead of baths. Filling the bathtub completely uses about 70 gallons of water.
3. Time yourself while taking a shower to see how fast you can get clean. With an efficient shower head, a five-minute shower uses only 12 gallons of water. Save additional water by turning off the shower while you soap up and wash your hair.
4. Drink water from a container in the refrigerator. Running the faucet until the water gets cold enough to drink is wasteful.
5. Wash your bicycle or your family’s car with a bucket and sponge rather than using a hose for the entire operation. Leaving the hose turned on for an extended period uses far more water than the amount needed to fill the bucket.
PLUMBING TRADE SECRETS: Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator. This ends the wasteful practice of running tap water to cool it off for drinking.
There’s a reason they call us Mr. ™
Japanese rain chain history is rather interesting. If you are going to have a Japanese rain chain hanging from the edge of your home in place of a downspout, your friends and neighbors will notice – and it’s good to be prepared with “the rest of the story” in case they ask about it.
The Japanese rain chain originated hundreds of years ago. Here in America, we often see a rainy day as a negative thing, an inconvenience, something to be avoided. The people of Japan, being very much in touch with nature, sought to live in harmony with all weather conditions. Rather than avoid the rain or just tolerate it, they embraced it and saw the good that it offers. This is how the Japanese rain chain came about.
They called it kusari-doi, and that name remains today. The Japanese rain chain was seen as something that could serve on many levels.
First, they saw that it could serve as a functional alternative to the downspouts that were already in use. The rainwater would fall from the sky to the house, perhaps first serving to water a rooftop garden. From there, it makes its way to the gutter at the edge of the roof. Once there, gravity causes the water to travel a slight downhill path to the end where there is a hole in the bottom. This is where the Japanese rain chain is attached, and it guides the water as it continues toward the ground. From a purely functional standpoint, the transportation of rainwater is handled quite efficiently.
But the Japanese saw this as more than just an object that served a purpose. To them, it was not just a thing to be used for a particular service; they saw it as a form of artistry as well. The Japanese culture is one that takes great joy in the beauty of simplicity and universal balance (it may help to think yin and yang, the popular Buddhist practice of using opposites to balance each other). Look at the Japanese flag as another example of simplicity: a plain white background with a bright red circle in the center. So the Japanese rain chain was (and still is) viewed as a way to live simply and in harmony with the natural elements of the world.
The Japanese culture is steeped in rich history, and they are a people that place great value on continuing many of their traditions. This is why, on many of the homes owned by people of Japanese heritage, you will find a Japanese rain chain (or several). It fits in well with the architectural style and the other elements of home decoration in use, such as choice of wood, arrangement of furniture, etc. You will even see rain chains on some new homes being built today, as developers are seeing them as a way to distinguish their homes from the others that have the “traditional” downspouts. Your local Indianapolis plumber will be able to guide you to proper installation and purposes served by this alternative method of rain collection (harvesting).
One thing should be noted. Some have said that the use of a Japanese rain chain contributes to the feng shui of a home. Feng shui is based on the concept that the home must have a balance and “flow” of positive energy based on the geographical layout (which way a door should face, where a mirror needs to be hung, what color the flowers in a particular room should be, etc.). Many followers of this philosophy build their home based on it, and even have a feng shui “master” come in and advise them on various related issues. However, please be aware that feng shui originated in China, not Japan. So while it may be a good practice to follow in terms of living in harmony with nature and the environment, rain chains are not directly related to feng shui.
There are many times that a homeowner can clear a clogged drain. Pouring hot water and baking soda is one method. Most homeowners will use a drain cleaning liquid. Usually these products are strong enough to partially dissolve a drain blockage. However, this may not end the problem because most drain cleaners only dissolve away part of the blockage. If this happens, the blockage can reoccur.
Tip #1 To rod a drain line, it will be necessary to find and open a cleanout closest to the clog.
Tip #2 Very carefully and slowly open a small crack to see if there is any fluid underneath. If none, remove the plug.
Tip #3 Insert a sewer tape into the line.
Tip #4 Rent a high-powered rodding machine (very expensive by the hour and extremely aggressive to operate). A rodding machine will send a cutter head into the line. A foot switch (inset) is mandatory for safe operation. This procedure may take two men to operate, at best.
Tip #5 If you are successful in clearing the main sewer line inside of your home or business, run a hose in the line full force for several minutes. This requires the pressure of your water to be reasonably high – professional plumbers use a Hydrojetting machine especially for this purpose. Your local Indianapolis plumbing professional offers video inspection to investigate the sewer line from your cleanout to the street where the sewer connects to either the septic tank or the municipal service.
WHAT CAN GO WRONG: After following this expert plumbing advice with no success in unclogging your sewer drain the problem most likely is between your house/business drain and the street. Consult a professional Indianapolis plumber.
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