Plumbing problems are unavoidable and unpredictable. Whether you’ve moved into a new home or refurbished your home, sooner or later you’ll have to deal with dripping faucets, leaking pipes, and clogged sinks. Calling your plumber to fix every clog and repair every leak may turn out to be expensive. So what do you do? You have to invest in a home plumbing tools kit. Here’s a couple of handy tools that we recommend highly.
1.) Adjustable pipe wrench – without a doubt, a plumber’s best friend and the most versatile plumbing tool in a DIY tool kit. This wrench has a fixed jaw and a movable serrated jaw. Very handy for opening nuts, compression fittings, and gripping pipes while plumbing. The 6-inch retails for $12 while the 10-inch costs $15-$20.
2.) Tongue-and-groove pliers – also known as water pump pliers or channel locks, tongue and groove pliers have a serrated jaw that’ll come in handy when turning, holding, twisting, or loosening bolts, nuts, and pipe fittings. The 10-inch pliers costs $10 while the 12-inch pliers about $20.
3.) Plungers: vital tools for dislodging clogs from sinks, showers, tubs, and floor drains. We recommend the cup plunger for unclogging your sinks and tubs and the flange plunger for toilets. Also consider the bellow plunger, it’s a good alternative. The cup costs roughly $4, the flange $10-15 while the bellow plunger retails for $8-12.
4.) Hacksaw – another handy tool for cutting through metal or plastic pipes, nuts, and hardware. Retails for roughly $15-$25. The cutting edge is replaceable. Before using it, make sure the blade is tight.
5.) Caulking gun: a nifty tool for applying caulk to seal the seams on the edge of your tub or sinks. Retails for $15-25.
6.) Metal file – to remove blurs, get a metal file. It’s a handy tool for smoothening the edges around the metal pipes after cutting them. We recommend that you get both the round metal file and the flat metal file. You can get either for roughly $8-$10.
7.) Hand Auger: commonly referred to as a plumber's snake, this 25-ft. steel cable comes in handy when clearing clogs or obstructions from the toilets, showers, sinks, and drain pipes when the plunger fails. The hand auger retails for roughly $20-$30.
8.) Tubing Cutter: this tool resembles the C-clamp. It comes in handy when cutting through copper cut. We recommend the standard-size tubing cutter which retails for $10-$15 and the close-quarter mini-cutter which costs roughly $15-$20.
9.) Basin Wrench: has a characteristic long shaft and swivelling jaw. Very useful for tightening nuts that hold the kitchen faucet in place. Invaluable too when working behind narrow space behind the sink. A standard basin wrench costs roughly $10-$20.
10.) Allen wrench set: the L-shaped tool comes with hexagonal heads off various sizes. It’s very useful for fixing stuck garbage disposals. A set of wrenches retails for $10-$15.
It's a great idea to have these tools on hand to help fix a minor problem in a jiffy. If you don't know how or don't feel comfortable using tools on the piping in your home never hesitate to call a professional. Without the proper knowledge and training, a simple fix can turn into an even stickier situation so always make sure you know what you're doing or have someone around who does. For first rate advice and professional plumbing services visit us at Plumbing Plus. We'll help you fix your plumbing problems promptly. With 24 hour emergency services, we're here when you need us the most!
In honor of Earth Day coming up this month, we thought it would be a perfect time to blog about water conservation, why it is so important and how we all can help. Conserving water is not only important, but will save money on the utility bill and will help stop pollution in local lakes and rivers. Another huge benefit from water conservation is the extended life your septic system. Using less water means there is less water/sewage flowing through the system, which can lessen the risk of pollution. If an entire community can maintain water conservation it can even prevent sewage system expansion in a community. Here are a few tips for adults and a few tips that kids can get excited about to conserve water.
1.Check for leaks
Leaking faucets, toilets or pipes will increase utility bills and can waste anywhere from 20 gallons of water to hundreds. A quick check a couple times per month can ultimately save you money and conserve water at the same time.
2.Check your water meter
The water meter for the house can show you when there is a leak as well. Check the meter and do not use water for a couple of hours. Then check the meter again and if is not the exactly the same there is a leak.
3.Upgrade to water-saving faucets and shower heads
Installing water-saving faucets and shower heads in your home will save water and save money. Most of the water-efficient add-ons are inexpensive and will pay for themselves within the first couple months.
How to get you kids involved?
One of the best ways to get your kids involved is to make learning about water conservation fun and interesting. Here are a few quick tips to help out.
1. Online water conservation resources geared toward kids of all ages and are a great way for them to learn while having fun. Here are a few great links for the kids.
2. Get your kids involved and have them help you check for leaks throughout the house. It can quickly turn into a fun and interesting time together.
3. One of the best water conservation experiences I remember as a kid was visiting the local dam. It was amazing and a great way to not only have a wonderful day with the kids, but teach them about water conservation at the same time.
Water damage can be one of the most costly and inconvenient effects of plumbing problems. It can lead to mold, rust, rotting wood, and other structural decay issues. Some damage might not even be immediately perceptible or apparent, so it’s best to recognize the warning signs before it’s too late. Knowing the different types and classes of water damage will help you know what precautions to take and who to call if the damage gets bad enough.
Water damage type refers to the source of the water damage and what kind of health risk it poses to humans. This is important to know because it will tell you how urgent your situation is and how safe it is to be around it.
- Clean Water: The water source doesn’t pose a health risk to humans and usually involves broken water lines or sink and tub overflows.
- Grey Water: Poses a slight to moderate health risk to humans due to contaminants in the water that can range from urine to bacteria. Examples come from dishwasher and washing machine discharge or overflowed toilet bowls with urine.
- Black Water: Contains a high level of contaminants that pose a significant health risk to humans. Sewage, seawater, floods, standing water, and toilet backflows (originating from beyond the toilet trap) can all be considered as sources for black water damage.
The class of water damage refers to how fast the water can be evaporated based on the kinds of materials that were affected. This information will help you determine what kind of equipment and services will be needed to mend the situation.
- Slow Evaporation: Water damage affects only a small part of the room and a minimum amount of moisture is absorbed by the affected areas.
- Fast Evaporation: Water damage affects the entire room under a height of 24 inches.
- Fastest Evaporation: The source of the water damage has typically come from overhead and the entire room is being affected.
- Specialty Drying: The materials being affected by the water damage absorb very little moisture (hardwood floors, concrete, crawlspaces, plaster) and require low, specific humidity to complete the drying process.
While all of these situations require attention, some are more urgent than others and some are more preventable. Black water damage, for example, is a more urgent situation than clean water damage due to the risk posed to human health. Similarly, the fastest evaporation class is more urgent than a slow evaporation class due to the potential for infrastructure damage. However, water damage doesn’t always have to require emergency plumbing services. By having regular inspections and replacing old pipes and water systems, you can prevent water damage before it has the chance to turn into any type or class.
Regardless of your situation, Plumbing Plus provides both 24/7 emergency services and thorough preventative measures to make sure water damage doesn’t harm you or your home.
Every household has different needs, so it is important to know how to choose the right water heater to keep from getting overwhelmed with all of the options. There is a formula that will help point you in the right direction, and we will give you that formula to help you feel confidant when selecting the right water heater. Say you have a 4 bedroom house and you have 1 person in each room. To determine what kind of water heater you will buy, take the first hour rating (FHR), this measures the amount of hot water the heater will generate during the busiest time of the day, which is the first hour in the morning. Take the given amount, which is usually 12 gallons per person, and then look at the number of bedrooms and add 1. In this case we will use 5 (4 bedrooms + 1) and multiply by 12 (gallons per person). The product given is 60, which is the minimum FHR your home needs.
Say what?! Okay, to make things a little more simpler for those of you who hate math, start with the fuel source you have; solar energy, propane, natural gas fuel, oil, or electricity to find water heaters that will work. Now, we have all heard that size matters, and it could not be more true when it deciding on how to choose the right water heater. You don’t want something too big, because you are heating water that will never be used, and you will waste money this way. Likewise, you don’t want something too small because you will run out of hot water in the middle of your shower. The rule of thumb is that water heaters generally last about 10 years, and the reason most need to be replaced is due to corrosion on the heater itself. Look at the product reviews, the longevity of the warranty, and how expensive the warranty is. The longer the warranty usually points to a better product. A shorter warranty usually means you could have costly repairs in a shorter time. Compare the cost of the water heater you want with a more expensive, and less expensive one and compare the costs with energy efficient models.
One last consideration to keep in mind is that there are also Hybrid water heaters, tankless water heaters and condensing water heaters on the market. While these all sound like great products, they aren’t always a practical solution for your HOT water needs. You will need to consider upfront costs, plumbing upgrades and what your main desire of the heater will be…we know you want the heater to make hot water, but what other benefits could you gain? Energy cost savings? Space savings? Endless hot water for a large family? These are all factors that will ultimately decide if your 10-20 year investment will pay back in any way or just consume energy to produce hot water. Don’t just replace what you’ve got with what you’ve got. Take the time to decide before your water heater leaks and you don’t have the time to make this decision. To minimize the confusion and feeling overwhelmed, please let our experts at Plumbing Plus help you decide.