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Vertec Plumbing, Drains & Sprinklers

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Many plumbing problems can be resolved quickly and easily without special equipment or expertise. At Vertec Plumbing, Drains & Sprinklers, we provide helpful advice on DIY plumbing.

How to Properly Use a Toilet Plunger

Every household should have a good toilet plunger. The cheapest plungers cost $4-5 but are often worthless. We recommend investing a little more for a plunger that won't let you down. For a high-quality plunger, you can expect to pay $10-20. The plunger may not be the glamorous tool around the house, but when you need it, you'll find yourself grateful you have one.

On a low-priced plunger, the rubber on the flange can be quite flimsy and tend to roll over when working the plunger. When this happens, it splashes unwelcome water onto the floor and possibly on the person working the plunger. On a good plunger, the rubber flange is significantly more solid, and the odds of creating an unwanted mess are greatly reduced. Be sure to choose a plunger with a funnel-cup. This is a rounded piece on the bottom of the plunger's cup. A funnel-cup creates a better seal around the bottom of the toilet bowl where the opening is located.

To use the plunger, try to get the best seal possible on the bottom of the toilet bowl, then work the wooden plunger handle up and down. This causes a pressure wave on the downstroke and a suction effect on the upstroke. This increase and decrease in pressure is what loosens the clog and gets the toilet draining again. Sometimes it takes just a couple of up and down moves to clear a clog, and other times it can take some effort. On a particularly tough clog, try to remove as much air from the plunger cup as you're able before starting the up and down motion. This creates more force since a liquid cannot be compressed.

Clogged Sinks

The clogged sink is another common plumbing problem. Clog often occur in the trap or "gooseneck." Before you call the plumber, take off your trap and clean it out. If this does not solve the problem, your drain is likely clogged and you will need to get your drain cleaned.

Running Toilets

A running toilet can cost you as much as $1,000 a year in wasted water if not properly fixed. The most common causes of running toilets are:

1) A Bad Flapper
2) A Malfunctioning Ball Cock
3) A Cracked or Loose Overflow Tub

Leaking Toilets

Does your toilet leak around the base? The most common causes of this problem are:

1) Deteriorated Seal or Wax Ring
2) A Backed Up Sewer Line
3) Both

Fixing Toilet

Leaky Faucets

A leaky faucet can add $250-750 to your annual water bill. If your faucet is leaking, try replacing the seats and washers. The seats can often cause the washers to go bad; therefore, changing the washers without changing the seats may result in the same problem recurring within a short time period. If the faucet is more than 10 years old, replace the whole thing.

Leaky Water Heaters

A leaky water heater can cost you $500-1,000 on your water bill. The most common causes of water heater leaks are:

1) Malfunctioning T&P Valves 2) Old Tanks

Other Plumbing Troubleshooting

The first thing to know about your plumbing is the location of the main water shut-off valve. Whether you have a broken pipe, leaky faucet, or backed-up sewer drain line, turning off your main water shut-off valve will stop the flow of water to the entire house. This will give you adequate time to call a plumber and have the problem taken care of.

Troubleshooting your plumbing, sprinkler, or your swamp cooler is an essential first step in making a successful repair. If you have not identified the correct cause of the plumbing problem, you may spend unnecessary time and money. It is always a good idea to get a fixed cost for doing the job and let the plumber solve your problem.