Category Archives: Plumbing

The Leaky Faucet Gets the New Parts

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I have been surprised at how often new things don’t work like we expect them to. As a remodeling contractor our plumbers install lots of faucets. In a recent project we had two of them start to leak within a few months of installation at the kitchen sink. Warranty Anyone? As a warranty item this is not big deal in the big picture. That we buy from a reputable wholesale supply house makes it so much easier to resolve. With a phone call we had parts shipped to us no argument or issue. I replaced the parts myself as a…

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Faucets Should Not Leak

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Fixing them may or may not be easy. One important thing to remember is that you need to turn off the water supply to work on them with out the possibility of making a big mess. Every home has a main shut off, (I have not run into one without one) In fact you need to label it and test it before an emergency happens, (Sames goes for electricity and gas). You just need to know where to look. Some have gate valves, other ball valves. I prefer ball valves hands down. Gate valves are prone to failure and cause…

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Braided Steel Water Heater Supply Lines

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As a contractor I get into all sorts of things. It’s like the saying on the shirt. Recently I was called to attend to an emergency, the homeowner had contacted her friend and realtor who happened to have me on speed dial. They were watching water spray our of her braided steel supply line. “The home warranty people can’t get a plumber our here for days”. (Worthless insurance IMHO) I dropped everything and headed out. Damsel in distress Yes, you had a 50-50 chance, it was the hot water side. To no ones surprise both of the gals were spun…

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Failed Toilet Tank Seal

By | Fixing things, Plumbing | No Comments

Toilets with separate tanks have a seal that is usually not an issue. In this situation I was called to replace the wax ring because they found water on the floor near the toilet. Naturally I told them to stop using it until I could get there. I bought a new wax ring kit and responded on the weekend to replace it. As is often the case, I dove right in to replace the wax ring, then paused to evaluate the situation when it did not make sense. I shut off the water and flushed noticing that the tank was…

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Electric Water Heaters

By | Electrical, Plumbing | No Comments

Electric water heaters come in many sizes and shapes. (I recently found one in a basement of a 1938 home that looks like a washing machine). Most are cylindrical. They all provide years of service and have gotten much better insulated. This alone is a good reason to replace an old one. If you get over 10 years of service you have gotten your moneys worth. The sure sign of failure is a leak, usually trouble free, they can have some tricky to diagnose issues. Gas water heaters recover quicker as a rule, be sure your heater is ample for…

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Delta Shower Valve Not Getting Hot Enough

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I had 2 new Delta Shower Valves installed by my plumber and the darn things would to get hot enough. Yes there was plenty of hot water available in nearby faucets. The plumber told my client that there must be something wrong with the valve. On his return they told the client they had to put a part in backwards and that it was as good as it was going to get. Well my friends, that is not good enough for me. The plumber was fired for being an idiot. I attacked the problem knowing that there was a solution…

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Sewage Ejector Pump Problem

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I installed a sewage ejector pump in a home I remodeled for myself 15 years ago. I needed it to evacuate the basement water from the laundry and a 3/4 bath. It worked fine for all that time, then it started acting up. It was staying on and not shutting off like it should. It was getting stuck on. By the time I took the cover off everything was OK. I discovered a failed float. Changing the pump would have been far more expensive. ($375.00 ish) wholesale. I ended up lifting the pump our to make sure it was free…

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Gas Water Heater Failure

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No hot water is the symptom but what could be the cause. I responded to the home of a client that we did a major remodeling project work for in 2012 which 5 years after installation. What could be wrong? Its a gas water heater, for cryin’ out loud, such simple technology. My typical triage shenanigans out of the way over the phone, the client confirmed that she had paid her gas bill and the unit was plugged in “Ha Ha”. I decided to respond on a Sunday evening imagining that the pilot had gone out and that it would…

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Sulfur Smell From Hot Water

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I recently diagnosed a new electric water heater emitting a nasty sulfur smell from it. The darn smell would not go away so I asked my Father-In-law Bob the retired plumber what he thought. “Anode rod must be bad” he said. Whatever the cause, it was a very nasty smell that could not be ignored. After researching the issue, I discovered that sulfur gas that is not harmful was being formed by an aerobic bacteria that was attacking my sacrificial anode. Perhaps we did not flush it enough at the beginning, who knows the point is that the smell was…

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Can you flip a p trap?

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I recently came across a problem that is fairly common in remodeling kitchens. A client remodeled their home after 35 years and ended up with a nicer, under mount sink. The sink bottom ended up about 4″ lower than the previous one too, so the connections to the wall needed to adjusted to make it all work. This usually comes as a surprise to everyone and if your kitchen cabinets have backs it can be a real problem to fix. If you are gutting the kitchen, always lower the sink drain. Shit goes down hill The first rule of plumbing…

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