Plumbing Info

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Types of Toilets

Gravity Tank Toilets:
Gravity two piece tank toilets are the most common toilet used in residential settings. They also are in some commercial/business settings. They depend on the volume of water (today generally about 1.28 – 1.6 gallons) in the tank to flush wastes and usually require water pressure of at least 15 psi (pounds per square inch) to operate properly. The tank and bowl are usually two separate pieces, although this is not obvious once they are in use. A few one-piece toilets are also available and these don’t always flush as well and are mostly chosen for their looks.

Pressurized Tank Toilets:
This design uses water line pressure to achieve a higher flush velocity. Water is not stored inside the tank, but in a tank that compresses a pocket of air and releases pressurized water into the bowl and out the trapway. They generally require at least 25 psi of water pressure to operate well. Retail prices for these toilets are generally over $200 and does not recommend these types of toilets.

Flush Valve Operated Toilets:
This is the type of toilet usually found in many public and commercial restrooms. These toilets have no tank. Instead of a water storage tank, this toilet uses a valve directly connected to the water supply plumbing of a building. This valve controls the quantity of water released over time by each flush. Flushometer valves are typically made by one manufacturer and the china bowl by another. It is important that there is a proper match between the valve and the bowl when purchased. Unlike tank-type toilets, flushometer valve toilets must accommodate different water pressures at different points in a building.

Blocked Toilet

Most toilet stoppages can be fixed with a plunger. Always keep one in your home.

Also, learn some quick and easy tips for unclogging a toilet.

A few more quick tips:

Threaded Pipe Fittings

Don’t overtighten threaded pipe fittings. Turn fittings just tight, then test. If they leak, tighten them a quarter-
turn more.

Old Fittings

Don’t use old, corroded pipe fittings. They probably will not come apart cleanly. For removing 1/2″ compression sleeves, we recommend using the Ultra Compact Sleeve Puller It grabs the compression nut from the front, not the back, so you don’t have to worry about damage to the wall or escutcheon finish.

Water Supply

What if you shut off the water supply, then can’t turn the water back on? Prepare for this possibility. Draw some water for basic needs. Fill a tub so you’ll have water to bucket-flush toilets.

Kitchen Drain

The top eight foods that will stop up your drain are:

  • Egg shells
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Grease
  • Potato peels
  • Banana skins
  • Celery
  • Coffee grounds

Garbage Disposal Smell

Try this to get rid of a bad garbage disposal smell:

  1. Grind up several ice cubes (a couple of trays) in the disposal.
  2. Flush the disposal with cold water.
  3. Grind up half a lemon in the disposal.

You can grind up any citrus fruit (such as orange or grapefruit) peel to help maintain a pleasant smell.

Angle Stops

Angle stops are valves under your toilets and sinks. These valves will turn off the water when you or your plumber work on your toilets and faucets. Replace angle stops every ten years so they work properly when you need them.

Tub and Shower Drain

Clean the shower drain cover often.

Sewage Backup

If the sewer backs up into the house:

  • Call for help.
  • Plug your nose.
  • Don’t pour water down any drain in your home.

Aerator/Reduced Water Flow

If water flow from the faucet is reduced: Unscrew the aerator from the spout. Clean or replace it.

Please note: clogged aerators are big causes of stopped-up drains. That is because a garbage disposal needs so much water to work efficiently. If an aerator is clogged, water flow is reduced, and the drain is not flushed thoroughly.

Reduced Water Bill

You might want to deliberately reduce your water flow in order to reduce the water bill. If so, replace your faucet aerator with a water-saving aerator.

Water Temperature

If your dishwasher has an internal water heater, set your water temperature to 140 degrees. Higher temperatures can increase heat loss from your water heater and make appliances work harder, but any lower and you create a breeding ground for Legionella and other bacteria. Install anti-scald valves at fixtures to help prevent burns.

Doing It Yourself vs. Hiring a Pro

Before you try to save money by doing your own plumbing work, ask yourself the following: Do you need to buy or rent tools? Do local codes require that the work be performed by a licensed plumber who is insured? Is your level of experience adequate? Can a plumber buy hardware you need at less cost? Do you really want to do it yourself, especially when the job’s as disagreeable as, say, snaking a smelly sewer? Do you have the time?

Time to Do It Yourself

Calculate the amount of time it will take you to do a plumbing job yourself.
Consider the time it will take to find the correct parts.
Honestly consider how long it will take you to perform each step, remembering that all jobs, even for professionals, involve the unexpected.
Total these hours.
Double that.