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These are answers that speedball1 has provided in Plumbing

Question/Answer
mickeyrory asked on 04/16/06 - locating main drain

Hi Tom,
I have located the main stack that comes from the second floor down to the basement. Can I assume that it takes a 90 degree turn under my basement floor? The toilet drain from the first floor and the drain for the a/c runoff both go in the direction of the center of my basement and if the main drain from the second floor did indeed take a 90 degree turn the other drains would meet it there. What do you think?

Thanks,
Mickey

speedball1 answered on 04/17/06:

Hi Mickey,
We try not to install 90 degree turns under the cement. Try to find out where the main exits the house and draw a straight line between the two points. That should put you pretty close to the main. good luck, Tom

mickeyrory rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Question/Answer
mickeyrory asked on 04/12/06 - locating main drain

Tom,
I just read an answer you gave on another site about the outside cleanout and I understand what you were telling me. Unfortunately, I have been around my house several times and cannot find any. I do recall my previous homes having them. I will search again. Thanks.

Mickey

speedball1 answered on 04/15/06:

What I meant was to locate where the main exited the house and where the first floor main comes down to the basement. We try to keep our drainage in a straight line so it would figure that the main would run somewhere between the stack and the exit point. Good luck. Tom

mickeyrory rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Question/Answer
mickeyrory asked on 04/12/06 - locating main drain

Tom,
sorry for being such a novice but what do you mean when you say you locate the cleanout and work backwards. The only cleanout I can locate is the one for the drain coming off the first floor toilet. Any other cleanout is hidden by walls the previous owner built.

speedball1 answered on 04/15/06:

What I meant was to locate where the main exited the house and where the first floor main comes down to the basement. We try to keep our drainage in a straight line so it would figure that the main would run somewhere between the stack and the exit point. Good luck. Tom

mickeyrory rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Question/Answer
mickeyrory asked on 04/10/06 - locating main drain

Hello Tom,
I am ready to begin cutting thru my basement floor to locate my drain. I think I've made assumptions about where it would be located but am having doubts. I have the drain coming down from my first floor toilet and naturally thought it would immediately turn towards the street after it went through the basement floor. Now I am thinking it could go in a different direction to hook up with the main drain, wherever that is. The reason I think this is because when I inserted something into the drain for the runoff from the a/c and humidifier the drain had a turn I assume would take it to the main drain. Should I be looking for the main drain or be trying to hook into the drain that comes from the first floor. If I am to locate the main drain, how would that be done without blueprints? Appreciate your help.

Mickey

speedball1 answered on 04/11/06:

Hey Micky,
As long as you vent the fixtures you may connect into ether one. I locate the main drain by first locating the cleanout and working back from there. regards, Tom

mickeyrory rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Question/Answer
mickeyrory asked on 04/05/06 - venting in attic

Hello Tom,
I have finished running the pvc for my bathroom venting into the attic but didn't hook it into the existing vent yet. I can turn and go ten feet to my existing vent or simply go throught the side of the house which seems easier to me. Does it matter whether it exits through the roof or can it indeed go out the side.

Mickey

speedball1 answered on 04/06/06:

Hi Mickey,

Sections 1404.4 and .5 Of the Standard Plumbing Code, (Extensions Through Wall) allows you to extend vent terminals through a wall providing that,
1- No vent terminal shall be located directly beneath any door, window or other ventilating opening of the building.
2- No vent shall be located within 10 feet horizontally of such a opening unless it's at least 2 feet above the top of such opening.
In short, you may connect to a existing VTR (vent through roof) or take it out the side after conforming to code.
Good luck, Tom

mickeyrory rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Question/Answer
mickeyrory asked on 04/03/06 - venting

Hello Tom
does it matter how much distance my vent pipe traverses horizontally before I take it up to the attic? Also the same question once I get to my attic to hook it into existing venting? If not, I have found a way up with minimal damage to walls. Thanks.

Mickey

speedball1 answered on 04/03/06:

No, a dry vent isn't limited by length. Go for it!! Tom

mickeyrory rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer
labman rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Question/Answer
mickeyrory asked on 04/02/06 - venting for basement bathroom

In taking a closer look at the pipes that come down from the upper floor I noticed something that I had overlooked. What I thought was the main drain is actually the drain for the toilet on the first floor. Immediately below the floor it goes horizontal to a 3in. drain which comes down through my basement floor. However, just where it turns down there is a 2in. pipe attached that goes up through the floor. Would this be the vent pipe? If it is, would connecting everything in my basement bathroom to it be the easiest solution to venting? I assume that this pipe would go up above the highest fixture in the house. What do you think?

speedball1 answered on 04/03/06:

Hey Mikey,
Yes,if the 2" pipe is indeed a dry vent this would be the place to vent your bathroom group. However you need to track the pipe back to be sure it's a vent and not a drain.
If it's a drain you need to revent back into it at least 6" over the fixtures flood rim that the pipe's vanting. Cheers, Tom

mickeyrory rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Question/Answer
mickeyrory asked on 03/27/06 - venting bathroom fixtures

I will be installing a bathroom in the basement and would like to know if the venting for the toilet, shower and sink can all be vented to an existing venting pipe in a bathroom on the first floor.

speedball1 answered on 03/28/06:

Hi Mickey,

You may revent back to the first floor bath ONLY if you extend the basement venting up to over 6" of the lavatory rim in the first floor bath. Then AND ONLY THEN can you revent back into the existing dry vent. The reason for this is that the pipe in the basement isn't a vent any more. It ceased to be a vent once the discharge from the first floor bath entered it. From that point down it ceased to be a "vent stack" and became a "stack vent". Code forbids connecting a bath group vent to a stack that carries a discharge. You MUST vent through the roof or revent back to a dry vent. However, there is a bright note. If local codes allow you may install a AAV, ( Air Admittance Valve) cheater vent on the basement sink and not have to run a vent up anywhere. If you would like to check out AAV's click on; http://www.studor.com/ Good luck, Tom

mickeyrory rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Question/Answer
bartonsa asked on 03/21/06 - Slow Draining Sink in Kitchen

I have a double sink in my kitchen with a garbage disposal and dishwasher hooked up to the pipes underneath. The kitchen sink has been draining slowly for awhile now, and has started getting worse. Just running enough water to wash your hands in the sink will cause the water to back up into the other side of the sink.

I have already tried liquid plumber (about a month ago) and it didn't seem to help at all. I tried a plunger which will cause the standing water to go down quickly, but next time I run the water, it backs up again. I have pulled apart the plastic pipes under the sink and found them to be all clear. Next I brought out my plumber's snake (25 ft.) and tried that. The snake went down with few snags and didn't seem to hit a clog.

I am at a loss at this point - and would rather not call a plumber. The water is still draining slowly and backing up in both sides of the sink. When the water does finally drain out of the sink (after several minutes depending on how much water there is) there is a relatively loud gurgling noise that comes from the sink.

I would love to hear your thoughts/suggestions. Thanks! Sarah

speedball1 answered on 03/22/06:

Hi Sarah,
It sounds like the kitchen vent's blocked. Snake the vent from the roof and then wash it out with a hose. If there's still a problem then remove the trap and snake out the drain line in the wall. Let me know how you make out. Cheers Tom

Kim11115 rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Question/Answer
ityson904 asked on 03/19/06 - tank and pump air pressure

Hi Speedball1,

You helped me last week with moving my pumps and tanks, now I have a question about the air pressure.

I have a 2 pump system with 2, 20 gal Wellmate pressure tanks and 2 1hp meyers pumps. ( one pump goes from the well to aerator, the second from aerator to house) I would like to know if both tanks shoud carry the same amount of pressure and should one pump be delayed, if so how should I set this up to make one come on before the other.

Your help has been great and very much appreciated.

Thanks
Irene




speedball1 answered on 03/19/06:

Hello Irene,

Both tanks should be set according to the control box settings. Let me explain. To set the air pressure in a bladder tank, look at the cut-in pressure on your pressure switch. Now drain the line down with the pump off. When there is no more water comming out of the hose bib, set the pressure 2 lbs. below the cut-in pressure. Check it with a tire gage. If your presssure control is set to come on at 20 PSI and go off at 40 PSI then your gage should read 18 PSI.
It's not necessary to "stagger" Your pumps turn on or off time. They are controled by
the control box settings and the demand the system asks of it. Good luck, Tom

ityson904 rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Question/Answer
thelargeglass asked on 03/17/06 - toilet troubles

hello. i am experiencing toilet troubles above and beyond anything i have ever dealt w/ before and i can find no help on the internet or from home-savvy relatives. here's the problem: a member of the household flushed today and the toilet didn't flush--figured it was a simple clog and left it to go to work. came home, forgot, flushed and had an overflow. all clear water and everything. bailed some of the water out and started plunging. rather than the normal effects of plunging happening (ie water draining out, clog going away), with each push of the plunger dirty water, including waste solids, are coming out of the holes around the rim. i have augered w/ a cheapie, bailed and plunged, and there is no movement--just continual refilling from the rim holes. would love ideas as to the problem and possible ways of fixing it myself. or is it a sewer problem? (fyi--i live in a third floor apartment.) thanks.

speedball1 answered on 03/18/06:

You have a complete blockage and when you plunge instead of pushing the clog past the flange into the system it simply pumps the dirty water up and out of the rim holes.
Augering the toilet and still having a problem woukd seem to indicate that the drain line's clogged and loaded with water.
if this were my job the first thing I wouldbdo in pull the toilet and check the drain line. If there's standing water in the line then it should be snaked out. Let me know what you find. good luck, Tom

labman rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Question/Answer
ityson904 asked on 03/08/06 - drinking water aerator system

we are moving our well water pumps and aerator tank to a new location. the way it is set up now is a jumbled up mess. can you driect me on how best to run the piping from the well to the 1st pump ( and air tank) and into the aerator tank and then to the 2nd pump (and air tank) and into the home.

thanks so much, have looked everywhere for this info and can't seem to find it.

irene

speedball1 answered on 03/10/06:

Hi Irene,
This will instruct you on how to hook up the well pump. Be advised that you have a shallow well pump and I have no idea how deep your new well is. The bladder tanks will be hooked up in the usual fashion
http://www.femyers.com/pdf/pdf.ws/ws%20manual/13800a71.pdf This pump will connect to the aerator tanks inlet.
The house pump will hook up to the aerator tank the same way it was hooked up before and then to
the house supply. To tell you more I would have to be there. good luck, Tom

ityson904 rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Question/Answer
ityson904 asked on 03/09/06 - Drinking Water Aerator System

we are moving our well water pumps and aerator tank to a new location. the way it is set up now is a jumbled up mess. can you driect me on how best to run the piping from the well to the 1st pump ( and air tank) and into the aerator tank and then to the 2nd pump (and air tank) and into the home.

thanks so much, have looked everywhere for this info and can't seem to find it.

irene

speedball1 answered on 03/09/06:

Hi Irene,

Your asking me to set up a system without giving me a shred of information about what you have in the way of equipment? Your faith in my ability is very flattering
However, I need details. What type of system do you have? Open tank? Closed tank?
List the different pieces of equipment by brand name and discription.
You have given a bare bones discription of how it should be set up.
The well water will go from the well to the 1st pump ( and air tank) and into the aerator tank and then to the 2nd pump (and air tank) and into the home.
What else do you wish to know? To give you a connection by connection rundown I'll need all the information I requested.
Regards, Tom

Question/Answer
mickeyrory asked on 02/28/06 - locating closest vent pipe

I plan on putting a bathroom in my basement and would like to know the best way of locating an existing vent pipe to connect to, with the least amount of damage to upstairs walls. I have a bathroom directly above the area where I plan the new bath. Any advice?

speedball1 answered on 03/01/06:

You have options here. You will vent your bathroom group off the lavatory. You may run the vent up to the attic and revent back to a existing roof vent or take it out the roof. Or you can run it up and revent back into the first floor vent at least 6" over the levatorys flood rim. Or you can use a AAV (Air Admittance Vent) cheater vent and not have to run a vent pipe up anywhere. Your choice.
If you wish instructions on how to lay out the drainage click on back with more details.
Good luck, Tom

mickeyrory rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Question/Answer
jsg712 asked on 02/25/06 - Bubbling Toilets

All three toilets in my house have been bubbling occasionally. This occurs at the same time in all three toilets. The plunger has fixed the problem but ever couple of days the problem returns. Where should I start the snaking process? Is this a job better left to a plumber? On one occassion the water did back up in the master shower. I can also hear gurgling in the the sinks in the master bathroom when I use the plunger. I used a drain cleaner in the master shower but the problem is still occuring.

speedball1 answered on 02/26/06:

Bubbles and Gurgles. I see both of those names in your complaint. However they both indicate a different problem. "Bubbles" and "Gurgles". They are both indicters that something's going on in your drainage system.
A "bubble" indicates a clogged line while a "gurgle" indicates a blocked vent. let me explain. When you flush the discharge drains down the pipe untill it hits a partial clog. Then it rebounds back sending a "bubble" of air ahead of it. When you flush a toilet or drain a bathtub a suction is created by the water rushing down the pipe. This suction is relieved by a open pipe that runs to the outside called a vent. When a vent's stopped up the suction has to relieve itself somwhere, in this case your toilet. The noise you hear is the air being pulled through the trap by suction, (gurgle).
So I have to know. What is it? bubbles or gurgles? regards, Tom

retiredmanvan rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Question/Answer
tzimmerman8 asked on 02/19/06 - Sump pump for toilet in basement

I would like to change my sump pump in my basement for my toilet and clothes washer water. The pump I have now is a teel 1 hp and 3in. discharge and working fine. The lift is around 7 feet from the bottom of sump. I'm going to be retiring in the next years and want to update all my things while I can afford it. My question is what kind of pump and size do I really need? I think the one I have is an over kill. Can a 2in. work in its place and does it have to be a grinder pump? What's the difference between a sewage and grinder pump? Thanks for reading these questions. Tom

speedball1 answered on 02/20/06:

Installing a toilet and washer in your basement isn't going to be as simple as piping to a open sump. You will have to have a closed holding tank a grinder/sewage pump, two vents, one of then dedicated to nothing but the holding tank. That's just the start. The cement will have jack hammered up and drainage both to band from the holding tank installed. The vent from the holding tank is dedicated. That means that nothing may be connected to it on its way to the roof. The washer vent may be a AAV, (Air Admittance Valve) "cheater vent" if local codes allow. Then you will still have to cut into and pipe to the existing sewer from the pump. The only thing you will be able to use will be the hole left by the sump and chances are it will have to be enlarged to accommodate the installation of the holding tank.
This will be major surgery and expensive on your part. This is not a DIY project for the average home owner. You'll need to bring in out side help. If, having been informed of the difficulties and expense of the project that you're planning,wish to continue, click on back and we will go into systems. But be advised, you will need plumbing expertise, tools, cement finishing skills and a fist full of bucks to pull it off by yourself. Waiting on your reply. Tom

tzimmerman8 rated this answer Average Answer

Question/Answer
tbernazz asked on 01/29/06 - rusted disposal needs relief

old house, old disposal (10 plus years sears kenmore)now completly rusted around the threads that allow it to be removed. tried wd 40, vinager and force to no avail. any help would be appreciated.

speedball1 answered on 01/30/06:

When I'm faced with this situation I use a Saws-All,(reciprocating saw) to saw off the bolts holding the drain. good luck, tom

Question/Answer
martikhan asked on 01/06/06 - Gradual Decrease in Water Pressure throughout

Is there any way to clean sediment or build up from pipes that aren't visible? We live in Fl on a well with water softener system. A few months ago we replaced our well bladder tank after the bottom rusted open. (how many floods and hurricanes? it was time) Even after the installation, we had fine prssure. in the last week or so our pressure has gradually declined to near nothing at all faucets/ washer etc. I know our well water carries a good bit of crud with it, if we dont keep our salt tank regularaly filled the tubs and toilets go rust in just a few days. As we are in FL all of our plumbing is run undergroud except just by the sinks. I would guess this is a sediment issue. is there any way we can flush sediment and/or build-up from our pipes without replacing them? or is it likley our well is running dry? they do keep draining our aquifer into neighboring developments...
thank You!

speedball1 answered on 01/06/06:

Greetings from Sarasota,

You didn't say so I'm assuming that both hot and cold are affected. You also neglected to tell me what kind of water pipes you have and the pressure the pump cuts off at. Have you considered a whole house sediment filter? Untill you stop it before it gets into your hose system there's not much use in flushing the lines and cleaning out the faucets and aerators.

"they do keep draining our aquifer into neighboring developments."
At the rate thry're building condos on the Gulf Coast we'll be drinking treated Gulf water in 20 years. Let me know your thoughts on the filter. regards, Tom

labman rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Question/Answer
traccolema asked on 01/06/06 - Plumbing

I have a bathroom sink that is clogged so bad that the slow drain now takes about 6 hours for the sink half full of water to drain. I've taken apart the curvy drains under the sink and cleaned them out properly but still have the problem. The clog is in the pipe that goes into the floor under the house. Can I clear this with a snake or will I have to contact an expensive plumber?

speedball1 answered on 01/06/06:

That "curvy part" of the trap is called a "J" bend. If you're the least bit handy you won't have to call in outside help. Clogs are seldom found in the trap. Most are in the laterial, (horizontal)drain line and are caused by rotting hair matted in with grease from the soap. To clear the drain purchase a snake, (The kind that's powered by a drill are best). Now remove the "J" bend and send the snake unto the wall through the traps tail. Put out 15 to 20 foot of snake and reasamble the trap and test the drain. If it drains flush it out with a few large pans of boiling eater. If you are still clogged then you didn't put out enough snake and you're go,
gonna hafta do it again. Good luck, Tom

labman rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Question/Answer
pete4187 asked on 12/29/05 - sump pump: water-powered vs battery powered

I'm installing a backup sump pump. The primary runs off electricity. What's the better choice for a backup, battery powered or water powered?

speedball1 answered on 12/29/05:

Both are good back ups but my personal choice would have to be the water powered one. You most always will have water pressure and you won't have to keep recharging or changing batterys. The least expensive water powered sump pump will pump out 750 gph and that should suffice for the average home. Regards, tom

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Question/Answer
deafcad asked on 12/08/05 - Mildrew problem in drain pipe/lavatory overflow sink

I never had that problem till I live in my new house for almost two years now. I have geothermal heat pump (closed loop system) that gives free hot water to electric water heater (peak time in summer and winter). The shower tub has roof dome and vinly curtain which not much moisture air comes out after using shower unless letting curtain opens. The shower's drain pipe gets black/dark green/brown inside of it - have to clean it out every 6 months - I think it is because not enough moisture to escape unless vinyl curtain opens after using. My biggest problem is the bathroom's lavatory overflow sink. After living 6 months, the drain was almost completely blocked with mildrew (dark green/black slimy). I have been through by cleaning it out, etc. Even get prof. plumbers and city inspector to come out and look at it. Said that is normal because of soap, mouthwash, oil from our body, etc that causes it to be developed. I don't buy that. I ended up to have lavatory overflow sink and faucet to replaced and get another one lavatory with overflow (plumber thinks the first one has defected around the drain's overflow that cause to trap and developed the mildrew inside the overflow and bring it to the drain pipe, etc). It comes back again with same problem. So, I will plan to replace lavatory sink with no overflow and drain with no hole for overflow. Before, I move on with that plan. I am more eyeballing to the HVAC unit that provides free hot water to the water heater. I did call HVAC service and even manufacturer about it - they said no (didn't cause mildrew developed from it). One time, I get strange black, sticky insulated foam (like the one for insulate the copper pipe) that comes through from hot water line's valve under bathroom's cabinet - have to replaced faucet three times to clear out any black residue with sticky in it). It was about 1 1/2 years ago. That caused me to point to the HVAC unit or water heater. I get my water from city water.

I hope that some of you may able to answer to that problem I have with mildrew in the drain.

Thanks,
Mark

speedball1 answered on 12/08/05:

Any timeI've had a mold or mildew problem bleach always seems to cure the problem.
Ifyou have PVC pipe for drainage and are not on a septic tank consider flushing out your drainage with 20% muritic acid. you have to get it all otherwise it will just come back. Please keep me informed as yours is a most unusual complaint and if I ever get another like it I sure would like to tell them how you solved it. I'm sorry but I'm all out of suggestions. Good luck, Tom

Question/Answer
msteinho asked on 12/08/05 - Water leak into house

I live in Florida and, of course, it rains alot. I have a home which is about 2 years old and is concrete block with stucco. I noticed, everytime it rains hard, water comes in at the baseboard levels in both front and rear bedrooms. Enough to get the carpet wet and smell. There is no staining on the walls or ceiling. The roof and windows have been ruled out as the problem. The sprinkers were checked and there is no leakage underground.

speedball1 answered on 12/08/05:

I also live in Florida, (Sarasota).
If this problem has been ongoing every time it rains from the time you moved in then it should have been addressed when your home was covered by a new home warrenty. The site the slab sets on should have been graded to slope away from the slab.
About all you can do now is install a french drain around the area that the water enters. A french drain ls simply a trench filled with rocks that collects the water and lets it leach awaybefore it enters your home.

French drains
A French drain is a drain with no pipe. The water collects in a gravel or stone filled channel that starts from the surface of just below it. The advantage of a French drain is that is easy to construct and with the use of modern ground fabrics very efficiant.
Stage One
First you need to dig a trench behind the house about 15cm wide and as deep as required with a fall off 1 in 100 so that the water flows. Next the trench should be linned with ground sheeting which is avaiable at most builders merchants. This sheeting allows water to pass through but not the soli particles such as silt and clay that often block drains after a number of years.
Stage Two
Fill the trench inside the sheeting with a clean stone, 20mm is ideal or clean broken bricks. The trench can be filled to the surface or as shown in our photo it has been filled to about 10cm below the surface and the sheeting wrapped around it. Then backfilled with topsoil over the top.
Stage three
The drain will needed to end in a soak away. This is a large cube shaped hole linned with ground sheeting and filled with clean gravel or clean rubble. The idea is that when the drain is working the water runs into the soakaway and over a few hours soaks into the surounding ground soil. For this reason it is best to pick an area of land that drains freely !
Good luck, Tom

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Question/Answer
msteinho asked on 12/08/05 - Water leak in bathroom

I noticed water in the bathroom vanity this am and it ran out to the bathroom floor. It was enough to get a towel very wet in the vanity and on the floor. I dried things out and used the sink this morning. I didn't see any drips under the sink nor did I see any additional water on the floor. At least, not noticeable. I'll check again when I go home. There is some water stains on the wall under the sink. Last night when I went to bed, there was no water. There is no water on the ceiling in the kitchen which is directly under my upstairs bathroom.

speedball1 answered on 12/08/05:

If there were a leak in the water supply it would already be leaking through the kitchen ceiling. This leaves two possibilities, a drainage leak or splash. Your job will be to locate and pinpoint the leak. Mine will be to tell you how to fix it. Cheers, Tom

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Question/Answer
DTHEMAN asked on 03/12/05 - pressure checking

How is the water pressure checked on a tank, gas water heater?

speedball1 answered on 11/12/05:

Sorry, I must have missed seeing this question. You install a pressure gauge on a tank. The pressure in a gas hot water tank will be the same as the pressure in the house. if you have a pump readthe house pressure off that. If not you can install a gauge where the water enters the house. Tom

Question/Answer
retiredmanvan asked on 09/10/05 - Drain Clogs

Hi Tom,

What do you think about using a product call Drain care
once a month to help keep drains clean and clear?

I have used it for years and I have never had the first drain problem. Not even roots growing ithe the drain pipe joints.

Regards, Van

speedball1 answered on 09/11/05:

Hi Van, Long time ect.

Drain Care made by ZEP doesn't tell me the ingredients that are in any of the 9 products that they show and you didn't tell me which of those products that you're using.
As you know from AskMe and other sites I am no big fan of pouring chemicals down your drainage system, especially if a septic tank is involved. However if it works for you then go for it. But it does bring up the question in my mind.
"How does Van really know that the chemicals he's pouring down his drains are doing any good at all? Perhaps if he had never used them he wouildn't have any pipes clog up at all."
But we'll never know will we?? Just a observation on my part.
You have youself a great weekend and it's been great hearing from you. Regards, Tom

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Question/Answer
Bradd asked on 09/10/05 - Sluggish Sink Drain

Sluggish Kitchen Sink Drain

Double sink in kitchen - each sink has a drain that U's into a common drain. When I run the water (either sink) it rises above the drain opening and slowly fills the bowl. Then, water off, the drainage is slow.

Over the last few days, I've tried two servings of Liquid Plummer (2 different times), and one of Drano. Neither has worked.

Thanks.

speedball1 answered on 09/10/05:

Question Details Asked By Asked On
Sluggish Kitchen Sink Drain Bradd 09/10/05
(This isn't about politics, but plumbing doesn't appear on the home page, and if I leave it there, it will die a slow death).


Double sink in kitchen - each sink has a drain that U's into a common drain. When I run the water (either sink) it rises above the drain opening and slowly fills the bowl. Then, water off, the drainage is slow.

Over the last few days, I've tried two servings of Liquid Plummer (2 different times), and one of Drano. Neither has worked.

Thanks.




Hi Brad,
Happy to see you made it over here. I answered over in the politics page but will do the same here. For openers I'm no fan of putting harsh chemicals in your drainage system. You have a partial blockage. As a rule this occurs in the lateral,(horizontal) drain pipe that runs in the wall from the trap to the kitchen vent stack. This must be snaked out to clear it. First remove the trap and insert the snake in the stubout. After about 4" into the wall you'll run into a elbo, crank and work around it and you'll have less then 5' to go before you're finished. After about 5" tou'll run into a sanitary tee and it will be hard to continue. This will be the kitchen vent stack. You're done snaking. Pull it out, reassemble the trap and pour two large pans of boiling water down the drain to flush out any crud and grease left in the line. The boiling water is important so don't skip it. And do me a favor. If you have any more plumbing questions please post them on the plumbing page. I would have missed this if I hadn't got a E-mail. Hope this helps and if you have more questions I'm as close as a click.

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Question/Answer
katiy asked on 08/29/05 - HI!

Thanks for being here! You have a lot to offer. What is your take on the water problem New Orleans is about to undertake?
Katiy

speedball1 answered on 09/01/05:

I think that they are doing all they can in a difficult situation. They must repair the levys, (see my post in the experts forum) before they can even began to pump out the city. You and I can't began to imagine the misery and suffering that must be happening on the Gulf Coast. I was kidding about selling my house but I am going to be looking into reinstating my flood insurance. I let it drop some years back when I got my house paid off. Tom

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Question/Answer
katiy asked on 08/29/05 - HI!

Thanks for being here! You have a lot to offer. What is your take on the water problem New Orleans is about to undertake?
Katiy

speedball1 answered on 08/31/05:

I feel so sorry for the people left in New Orleans. The levys were breached the city's under water and it's still coming in.
The authorities ordered a total evacuation which is going on as we speak. They were never prepared for what came at them from the Gulf. I don't think anyone can prepare for a category four hurricane except to "get da hell outta Dodge".

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Question/Answer
katiy asked on 08/29/05 - HI!

Thanks for being here! You have a lot to offer. What is your take on the water problem New Orleans is about to undertake?
Katiy

speedball1 answered on 08/29/05:

Looks like the worst might be over for the Big Easy. Not much news since the levy was breached on the north side. 35 foot storm surge in Ala? Unbelievable!! I was here for Donna back in 1960. That was bad but the surge that came ashore in Fort Myers Beach was 16 foot. That was the worst that we have had on the west coast. I have lived in Satasota for the last 50 years and have gone through a lot of storms I can only imagine what a 35 foot surge would do.
My home sets 12 foot above sea level and I live a mile across Sarasota Bay from Long Boat Key on the Gulf. I'm tuned to the Weather Channel but not much out of New Orleans. Just had a report from Coveington North of New Orleans and Lake Ponchatron(sp.) rose 4 feet. New Orleans has to be flooded out. How much Is anybodys guess at this time. The eye did pass to the East of them which is good since the wind came from the lake and not from the Gulf. Regards, Tom

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Question/Answer
marij asked on 08/09/05 - Vent collar

When constructing a new home, is it gernerally the responsibility of the plumber or the roofer to install the vent collar on the roof?

speedball1 answered on 08/09/05:

We call the "vent collars" flashings. They can be plastic or made out of sheet lead. At the time we run the stacks and vents through the roof we install the flashings. The roof crew then shingles or tile them in permanently. Hope this answers your question. Tom

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Question/Answer
axshinjaxn asked on 08/06/05 - Water Heater Venting

Hello!

Today my brother and I installed a new gas water heater in our mother's home. Everything went well right up until we filled it and lit it. After it was lit, we quickly noticed that it seemed to be venting WAY too hot. The duct became too hot to touch, and it actually began to melt some of the plastic rings around the holes where the water pipes go into the top of the heater. The temp was set to the manufacturer's 120 degrees (although we tried again several times, lowering the temp all the way down to 90 -- same results).
When I held a match right under the heater's raised vent (that connects to the duct), the heat actually blew the flame out, rather than "sucking" it upward towards the duct with the rest of the exhaust.
As far as we know this was not a problem with the previous heater, although that is not entirely conclusive.
The only thing we can think of is that the duct is blocked somewhere, and it is not venting properly.

Any ideas? It is currently not operating until we can figure this problem out, because we are seriously concerned that it is a fire hazard -- it is THAT hot!

Thanks for any input.

Jack

speedball1 answered on 08/06/05:

Good morning Jack,

The heat is being trapped in the flue and can not vent. You must not run the heater untill you clear out the blocked vent. It might be soot build-up or a dead critter but what ever's blocking the heater flue must be cleared.
I see your question has been posted in AllExperts.com so my answer will be the same. Clear the flue. Good luck, Tom

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Question/Answer
marij asked on 08/01/05 - Lav Riser

What is a Lav Riser? Can a Lav Riser on a sink break due to a loose fitting and flood the bathroom?

speedball1 answered on 08/01/05:

Lav is short for lavatory, (bathroom sink)
"raiser" is a generic term.
A "raiser" is any vertical pipe while a "lateral" is any horizontal pipe.
If you would discribe the pipe you're concerned with and tell me what it's connected to I'll be glad to answer your question. Regards, Tom

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Question/Answer
curiousz asked on 07/29/05 - Sink garbage disposal

Ok, one more thing (as u can tell, i am doing some house upkeeping)... are most kitchen sink disposals the same size? I think one of my blades in my unit broke, so it makes a bad sound (one time i dropped a bone in there, decided to chop it up, who knew bone was harder than steel???) and it vibrates a lot. So i was wondering, is it better to just get another one like on ebay (saw a similar unit there, my in-sink-erator 3/4 HP for about $60, maybe $70 after shipping) and put that in, or should i try to find a replacement blade and take it apart and replace just the blade? Any other thoughts would be appreciated, thanks!

speedball1 answered on 07/31/05:

To answer the first part of your question i would need the brand name and model number of your disposal. You will not be replacing the blades per-se. you will be replacing the rotating table that contains the blades. It would be impossible to answer the second question without having knowing your degree of expertise and the unit part number. I have removed disposals from the sink drain and pulled the jacket to remove a metal object that was caught between the table and the wall. I believe the entire job from removing the disposal to reinstalling it took less then 2 hours.
Hope this answers your question. Tom









Question/Answer
curiousz asked on 07/29/05 - Sink garbage disposal

Ok, one more thing (as u can tell, i am doing some house upkeeping)... are most kitchen sink disposals the same size? I think one of my blades in my unit broke, so it makes a bad sound (one time i dropped a bone in there, decided to chop it up, who knew bone was harder than steel???) and it vibrates a lot. So i was wondering, is it better to just get another one like on ebay (saw a similar unit there, my in-sink-erator 3/4 HP for about $60, maybe $70 after shipping) and put that in, or should i try to find a replacement blade and take it apart and replace just the blade? Any other thoughts would be appreciated, thanks!

speedball1 answered on 07/30/05:

You do have a choice here. If you like to "tinker" then you can replace the disposal floor, (blades). But if you plan on replacing try to replace with the exact same one. That will save you the hassle of having to remove and reinstall the drain assembly. The new unit will simply snap into the old drain. You may always keep the old unit for repair parts. Good luck and thanks for rating this answer. Tom

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Question/Answer
curiousz asked on 07/23/05 - Tub crack

Another thing... I have 2 very small cracks in my tub, i think it is metal... each crack is less than a cm wide, more like a hole. My friend told me i should use that tub repair kit, and i have it, but the dumb thing is, it didnt have the hardener, only that solvent and sandpaper. So should i just get a whole new kit or is there anything i can use that can replace the hardener? I hear that if u leave this too long it will get bigger and then get very expensive to fix... thanks again....

speedball1 answered on 07/24/05:

Retiredmanvan suggested a tub liner. This would give you a new looking tub but in your case I think it would be overkill. Since I don't hear complaints about water leaking from the cracks I'm going to assume all that has cracked is the enamel coating on the metal. If this were in my house I would dry off the cracks using a hair dryer and then purchase a bottle of porcelain repair paint in the same color as the tub and cover over the cracks after I sanded them smooth. good luck, Tom

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Question/Answer
curiousz asked on 07/23/05 - Tub crack

Another thing... I have 2 very small cracks in my tub, i think it is metal... each crack is less than a cm wide, more like a hole. My friend told me i should use that tub repair kit, and i have it, but the dumb thing is, it didnt have the hardener, only that solvent and sandpaper. So should i just get a whole new kit or is there anything i can use that can replace the hardener? I hear that if u leave this too long it will get bigger and then get very expensive to fix... thanks again....

speedball1 answered on 07/24/05:

Before you can start to repair your tub you have to know what material you're repairing. Plastic or metal. What caused the cracks? Dropped something? Just showed up? In plastic the cracks may be repaired without too much fuss, however, with metal you must probe the cracks to be sure the edges aren't rotten. Let me know for sure what you have. Regards, Tom

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Question/Answer
curiousz asked on 07/23/05 - Clogged sink

I have a clogged sink in my bathroom... it has been clogging too often, and it was never that great from the start since i moved here, as if the pipes are real small or something. I did use liquid plumber or something and that did help but i dont wanna keep using that stuff... some owners i knew did not like using chemicals down the drain... so what do u think the problem is? it cant be hair or anything, all i do is wash my hands and face there. Should i get one of those wire brushes and see if i can get some gunk out? Any suggestions would help or tell me what u would do.... thanks!

speedball1 answered on 07/24/05:

First let's nail down where the clog's at.
Remove the stopper and shine a light down the drain. About 8 inches down you will see a small rod sticking out of the pipe wall. If there's hair built up then you must fish it out. If the lavatory still runs slow then remove the "J" bend from the trap and run a small hand snake up the tail of the trap into the wall for at least 6 feet. Now put the trap back together and tonight pour 1/2 gallon of bleach down the drain and let it set overnight. Next morning flush it out with two large pans of boiling water,(this is importent). Since grease from soap and rotting hair make up the bulk of bathroom clogs the bleach will began to desolve the hair and make it slippery and the boiling water will loosen the grease and wash it away. Now see if your sink doesn't both drain and smell better. Good luck and thank you for rating my reply. Tom

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Question/Answer
retiredmanvan asked on 07/14/05 - Oxygen requirements to work in a septic tank

Hi Tom It has been a long time since I have been able to get on line until now and it feels good to be back on line again with my fellow experts.

last week I read an article in our newspaper about one man employed by a well known septic tank company in our area that had to open a small door in a septic tank and and enter the tank to replace a valve in the tank. he stayed in so long that a co-worker went in to rescue him and found him deseased in the tank from a gas that is present in the tank. Two days later the co-worker died in the hospital from the same problem.

Are there not any regulations reguarding using masks or oxygen when this type of work is preformed?

Warm Greetings, Van

speedball1 answered on 07/15/05:

Hey Van, Welcome back!!
Sewer gas has methane content that's both toxic and explosive. It's been over 40 years since I worked at a shop where we had to take turns on the "honey truck". Common sense keeps you from climbing inside a septic tank alone and without air flow. If your pumping one out you don't need to climb inside and if you have to repair it you take a ventilating fan and blow it down one of the inspection ports to maintain a constant flow of fresh air. I don't know about now but back then there were no rules about a oxygen mask. Good to have ya back Van, it's been a while since we were on AskMe together hasn't it? Regards, Tom

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Question/Answer
Ccl471 asked on 07/14/05 - Septic Tanks

I remember when watching the movie "Meet the Parents," that Jack told Greg that his septic tank was almost full, so they should not flush the toilet.

Well, Greg forgot and flushed the toilet, and then afterwards Jack's backyard was a mess.

I thought when you flushed the toilet that it goes down underground into the city's sewage system.

Or does it get stored in your septic tank which needs to be emptied out every once in a while?


Many thanks,

C.L.

speedball1 answered on 07/14/05:

You have combined two septic systems into one. If you are on a city sewer the discharge from your home goes out into a main, then to a pump lift station and then into a sewerage treatment plant.
if you have a septic tank the discharge first goes into a large tank where bacterial action breaks the solids down. The liquid gets dispersed through a filter bed that puts it back in the ground. What's left in the tank is called "sludge" and this can build up and have to be pumped out. If you want more information read the post just before yours. I covered the subject of septic tanks pretty completly. Does this answer your question? If not I'm as close as a click. Tom

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Question/Answer
curiousz asked on 07/08/05 - One Flush Septic Energizer

I just got an email about this product.... is it legit? can i do anything else to upkeep my toilet, or does it even need anything? (I've never had to do anything before)...

With One Flush Septic Energizer your entire septic system is totally protected by simply flushing the product into your system each month. One Flush Septic & Plumbing Treatment Concentrate is the most potent and effective bacteria available! Each pre-measured, water soluble package contains 56,000,000 beneficial bacteria, 8 genetically engineered strains, more bacteria than thousands of powders, and more bacteria than gallons of liquids. This product is easy to use. Once a month, drop a package in the toilet and flush. The septic energizer saves water, goes down in just one flush. Since it's concentrated and it reduces packaging, waste, and storage by over 90%. In addition, the product saves money by preventing costly digging, plumbing, and replacement. One Flush contains only natural ingredient and bio-degrades while destroying toxic pollutants ordinary products can't touch. The product rejuvenates septic tanks, leach fields, drains, and cesspools. Calendar reminders are also included to notify you when a treatment is needed.

speedball1 answered on 07/09/05:

Good morning,
As a plumber with over fifty years experience I take a very dim view of "miracle cures" of any kind. Most are just rip-offs that take your money without producing any results. Let me give you a few pointers. Since the septic tank is such an essential part of a sewage system, here are some points to remember about the "care and feeding" of that part of the onsite sewage treatment system.
A "starter" is not needed for bacterial action to begin in a septic tank. Many bacteria are present in the materials deposited into the tank and will thrive under the growth conditions present.
If you feel that an additive is needed, be aware that some may do great harm. Additives that advertise to "eliminate" tank cleaning may cause the sludge layer to fluff up and be washed out into the drainfield, plugging soil pores. Some additives, particularly degreasers, may contain carcinogens (cancer-causing) or suspected carcinogens that will flow into the ground water along with the water from the soil treatment unit.
Send all sewage into the septic tank. Don't run laundry wastes directly into the drainfield, since soap or detergent scum will plug the soil pores, causing failure.
Normal amounts of household detergents, bleaches, drain cleaners, and other household chemicals can be used and won't stop the bacterial action in the septic tank. But don't use excessive amounts of any household chemicals. Do not dump cleaning water for latex paint brushes and cans into the house sewer.
Don't deposit coffee grounds, cooking fats, wet-strength towels, disposable diapers, facial tissues, cigarette butts, and other non-decomposable materials into the house sewer. These materials won't decompose and will fill the septic tank and plug the system. To use a 5-gallon toilet flush to get rid of a cigarette butt is also very wasteful of water. Keep an ash tray in the bathroom, if necessary.
Avoid dumping grease down the drain. It may plug sewer pipes or build up in the septic tank and plug the inlet. Keep a separate container for waste grease and throw it out with the garbage.
If you must use a garbage disposal, you will likely need to remove septic tank solids every year or more often. Ground garbage will likely find its way out of the septic tank and plug up the drainfield. It is better to compost, incinerate, or deposit the materials in the garbage that will be hauled away. As one ad says, "You can pay me now, or pay me later."
Clean your septic tank every 1 to 3 years. How often depends on the size of the tank and how many solids go into it. A rule of thumb is once every 3 years for a 1,000 gallon tank serving a 3-bedroom home with 4 occupants (and with no garbage disposal).
Using too much soap or detergent can cause problems with the septic system. It is difficult to estimate how dirty a load of laundry is, and most people use far more cleaning power than is needed. If there are lots of suds in your laundry tub when the washer discharges, cut back on the amount of detergent for the next similar load. It's generally best not to use inexpensive detergents which may contain excessive amounts of filler or carrier. Some of these fillers are montmorillonite clay, which- is used to seal soils! The best solution may be to use a liquid laundry detergent, since they are less likely to have carriers or fillers that may harm the septic system.
Each septic system has a certain capacity. When this capacity is reached or exceeded, there will likely be problems because the system won't take as much sewage as you want to discharge into it. When the onsite sewage treatment system reaches its daily capacity, be conservative with your use of water. Each gallon of water that flows into the drain must go through the septic tank and into the soil absorption unit. Following are some ways to conserve water that should cause little hardship in anyone's standard of living:
Be sure that there are no leaking faucets or other plumbing fixtures. Routinely check the float valve on all toilets to be sure it isn't sticking and the water isn't running continuously. It doesn't take long for the water from a leaking toilet or a faucet to add up. A cup of water leaking out of a toilet every minute doesn't seem like much but that's 90 gallons a day! So be sure that there is no water flowing into the sewer when all water-using appliances are supposed to be off.
The most effective way to reduce the sewage flow from a house is to reduce the toilet wastes, which usually account for about 40 percent of the sewage flow. Many toilets use 5 to 6 gallons per flush. Some of the so-called low water use toilets are advertised to use only 3.5 gallons per flush. Usually the design of the bowl hasn't been changed, however, and often two flushes are needed to remove all solids. That's 7 gallons! Toilets are available which have been redesigned and will do a good job with one gallon or less per flush. Using a 1-gallon toilet rather than a 5 gallon toilet will reduce sewage flows from a home by about a third. This reduction may be more than enough to make the sewage system function again. While prices may vary, 1.6 gallon toilets can usually be purchased in the $200 range, far less than the cost of a new sewer system. Baths and showers can use lots of water. "Setting up camp" in the shower with a shower head flow of 5 gallons per minute will require 100 gallons in 20 minutes. Shower heads that limit the flow to 1.5 or 2 gallons per minute are available and should be used. Filling the tub not quite so full and limiting the length of showers will result in appreciable water savings.
Is the water from the faucet cold enough to drink? How long do you let it run to cool down? Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator. Then it won't be necessary to run water from your faucets in order to get a cool drink.
There may be other ways to conserve water that you can think of in your home. The main idea is to consider water as a valuable resource and not to waste it.
Following a few simple rules like not using too much water and not depositing materials in the septic tank that bacteria can't decompose should help to make a septic system trouble-free for m, too! any years. But don't forget the septic tank does need to be cleaned out when too many solids builtreatment system.
With a water meter you can determine how much water your automatic washer uses per cycle. Many washers now have settings to reduce the amount of water used for small loads. Front loading washers and suds savers use less water than top loading machines. If your sewage treatment system is reaching its maximum capacity, try to spread the washing out during the week to avoid overloading the sewage system on a single day. Septic tanks need tender, loving care too.
Hope this helps and thank you for rating my reply, Tom
-

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Question/Answer
gissout asked on 06/13/05 - Kitchen sink's Slow running water

Help!The water pressure of my kitchen sink has slowed down all of a sudden.Today I bought "ZEP Drain Cleaner".
Should I use it? Is there something else I can do before calling a plumber?

speedball1 answered on 06/14/05:

You are comparing apples to oranges when you use a drain cleaner to fix a pressure problem. The two aren't related. Save the drain cleaner for when the sink stops up.
The first thing to check is the aerator on the end of the spout. Unscrew it and check and clean the screens. With the aerator still removed turn the water on. Do you get a strong stream now? if not click on back and we'll go to plan"B". good luck, tom

Question/Answer
jfischer1 asked on 05/10/05 - New Home water pressure problem

I have just moved into my new home which was just finished being build 2 weeks ago. The first thing that I noticed about the house is that it has low pressure. First a little information...My new home is located immediately next to a brand new 125 foot water tower that was installed for this subdivision. My water meter is 5/8" and the main line to the house from the meter is 3/4". The house is a single story 3 bedroom 3 bath house with a full basement. When I measure the water pressure at the front hose connection on my house, I get 40 psi. I called the water company and they came out and told me that they showed 50 psi measured on the same connection. I went and bought a new psi gauge and measured again. Still 40 psi even with the new gauge. Now I know that 40 is not that bad, but my last house had over 55 psi and the difference is killing me. My builder told me to install low-pressure shower heads and this would solve my problem. I refuse to do this. Even if I did, the water pressure at the kitchen sink, washer, outside hose connections, etc would still have low pressure. I have taken apart the shower head and remove the "water saver" plastic disc and this helped a little, but not enough.

I have spent many hours reading other posts and doing research and now I am not sure if the problem is low pressure or low flow. How can I tell? I also asked about a larger water meter with thoughts that it might be restricting the flow, but the water company told me that the 5/8" meter should be fine. I am at a loss and not sure what to do now. Should I install a pump to boost the pressure? If so, what exactly do I need? Is the meter and supply line the correct size?

Any help that you can offer would be greatly appreciated!

speedball1 answered on 05/10/05:

As Labman has told you in another site , (I was going to answer first over here in AskMeHelpDesk.com but decided to post on Answerway instead.) the pressure from a 125' water tower at .434 pounds to the foot should be about 57 3/4 PSI when you facter in 8 foot more for the underground service.
Since you're located next to the water tower there should be no line loss what so ever. I'd be asking some technical here. Like why their pressure gage reads 10 pounds more then the two gages you have.
And I'd sure like to be a fly on the wall when they attempt to explain a loss of approximately from, (according to whose gage you believe) Over 5 PSI to over 17 PSI from the tower to your house. As far as your builder telling you that installing low pressure shower heads would build the water pressure up in the rest of the house I want a few hits off that joint he smoked just before he told you that.
You say , "I am not sure if the problem is low pressure or low flow. How can I tell? I also asked about a larger water meter with thoughts that it might be restricting the flow."
It's not low flow,(volume) simce you're setting right next to the water tower. If it were a volume problem you would have pressure untill you began to run out of volume and then the PSI would start to fall. So if it were "low flow" then you would read a high PSI at first falling off as the volume decreased. Increasing the volume, ie: a larger meter, will not give you more pressure. You must realize that all if not most of your fixtures are choked down to 1/4"or 3/8" on the ports of your faucets and the seats of the angle stops. As the4 average house pressure is 45 PSI in most areas you're not all that bad off. However if you really wish more pressure and the utilities company can't give you anything but a song and dance the only thing you can do is install a check valve, ( if you don't already have a backflow preventer at the meter) on the incoming service line behind a small centrifugal "booster" pump and a bladder type pressure tank. that way you can regulate the house pressure yourself.
I'll post this over at AskmeHelpDesk also just to be sure you recieve it. Good luck, Tom

Question/Answer
keon14 asked on 04/22/05 - teflon tape

Hello I am confused about which way you wrap teflon tape. Say you have a male bolt ( i am just using a bolt for an example). it is a right handed thread, the bolt goes on clockwise, the nut goes on clockwise to, it just depends on the way you look at it, which end you look at. Now someone has told me that when you finish wraping the bolt it, the end of the tape should be pointing opposite the way you are screwing in the bolt. But on the internet I read that it should go on clockwise but the bolt is going in clockwise too, which is right. thank you

speedball1 answered on 04/23/05:

Let's say you have a threaded pipe in your right hand and a roll of teflon tape in your left. you would start the tape counter clockwise,(left) to the thread. In other words the finishing edge of the tape wants to point to the left when you thread the pipe in. If it pointed to the right you would be threading against the twist.

"Now someone has told me that when you finish wraping the bolt it, the end of the tape should be pointing opposite the way you are screwing in the bolt."
He was correct, I question the internet explaination. Good luck and thank you for rating this reply. Tom

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Question/Answer
sallie00 asked on 04/21/05 - Problems with outside house faucet.

My handle for the outside house faucet that I attach my water hose to won't fit the faucet any longer because the threads are worn.

What't the easiest and most cost effective solution?

Thanks in advance.

speedball1 answered on 04/22/05:

Labman gave you good advice. Let me add to it.
While you didn't say, I'm betting the splines have worn down and the handle just turns round and round. They make a universal replacement handle in two forms. A one handle and a cross. These replacement handles have a set screw with a pointed end that bites into the brass stem securing the handle. Most hardware and plumbing stores sell them. Good luck, Tom

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Question/Answer
keon14 asked on 04/07/05 - jacuzzi

what is the best jacuzzi (whirpool) air or water jets for health reasons. Thank you

speedball1 answered on 04/08/05:

I'm gonna hafta back outta this one.
I'm a plumber not a salesperson. I've never climbed into a whirlpool tub and used it. You'll have to search the web to check them out. if you need links just put "Whirlpool Tubs" up on your search bar and check out the different advertisements.
Good luck, Tom

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Question/Answer
DTHEMAN asked on 03/27/05 - glue

Speedball
what kind of glue do you use to stick the one piece cultured marble bathroom sink onto the vanity?

speedball1 answered on 03/28/05:

what kind of glue do you use to stick the one piece cultured marble bathroom sink onto the vanity?

We use Dap Tub and Tile Caulk either white or clear. This is a water soluble adhesive that is applied under the rim and the excess may be wiped off with a damp rag. Let set over night to cure. Good luck, Tom

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Question/Answer
DTHEMAN asked on 03/24/05 - Faucetts

Can you recommend a faucet for my bathroom sinks that will last? The salesman today told me the cheaper ones don't last and will leak as oppose to the more expensive ones that won't. The ones that are currenly on there are 20 years old and have a very small leak that is noticeable due to the mineral deposit build up.

speedball1 answered on 03/26/05:

I wish I could help but I'd have to be there. Not knowing the labor rates for your area or the degree of skill the man that will do the job prevents me from making a "ballpark guess". Replacing the caninets also or just the bowls? Regards, Tom

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Question/Answer
DTHEMAN asked on 03/24/05 - Faucetts

Can you recommend a faucet for my bathroom sinks that will last? The salesman today told me the cheaper ones don't last and will leak as oppose to the more expensive ones that won't. The ones that are currenly on there are 20 years old and have a very small leak that is noticeable due to the mineral deposit build up.

speedball1 answered on 03/25/05:

The company I worked for used nothing but Moen faucets. One cartridge fits all Moen faucets from sink to tubs and showers. If you keep up the finish, replacing the cartridge completly rebuilds the entire valve and you have , in effect, a brand new faucet. Good luck, Tom

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Question/Answer
DTHEMAN asked on 03/13/05 - disposing of wh

Hello speedball

where are old water heaters disposed at. Can they be taken to the dump?

speedball1 answered on 03/15/05:

Good morning,
The $148.00 was averaged out.

"Are any tools required when installing a water heater? No adhesives of any sort? Just check for gas leak with soapy water?"

If the pipes are soldered in you will need soldering equipment and skills to replace the heater. There are flexible connectors available that you should check out. This will save you the hassle of soldering fittings required to make a bend. The gas fittings should be flare fittings and connect without any change or reconfigurationto the gas line.
good luck, Tom

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Question/Answer
DTHEMAN asked on 03/13/05 - disposing of wh

Hello speedball

where are old water heaters disposed at. Can they be taken to the dump?

speedball1 answered on 03/13/05:

Yes the dump will take old water heaters

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Question/Answer
DTHEMAN asked on 03/12/05 - changing from gas tank water heater to tankless

What is involved in changing from a gas tank hot water heater to a tankless gas one?

speedball1 answered on 03/13/05:

What is involved in changing from a gas tank hot water heater to a tankless gas one?
I'm looking into purchasing one from Sears. Any comments on Sears water heaters?

Nothing special is needed. Just reconfigure the water and gas lines to connect. Test all gas joints with soapy water for bubbles which will indicate a gas leak.
Kenmore,(Sears) has all sizes of tankless heaters. Which one are you interested in?
Cheers, Tom

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Question/Answer
DTHEMAN asked on 03/12/05 - pressure checking

When a gas, tank water heater is installed, how is the pressure checked?

speedball1 answered on 03/13/05:

"When a gas, tank water heater is installed, how is the pressure checked?"

House pressure can be checked several ways.
If you're on a well the pump will have a pressure gage.
If you're on a meter then several methods can be used. Call the water department and ask what the pressure is out in the main, that will be the pressure that enters your house. If you wish to check the the water heater tank pressure you can cut in a pressure gage at the hot water outlet or tee out from the T&P valve opening and install the gage in the branch of the tee.
I made up a "test gage" I took on service calls. I took a 0 to 100 PSI gage and Screwed on a 1/2 X 1/4" reducing coupling.
This left me with a 1/2" female threaded end on the gage that I could then take and screw into a shower arm after I removed the shower head. When I opened the tub valve and diverted the water to the shower I had a reading on the house pressure.
Hope this helps and have a great weekend. Tom

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Question/Answer
jerogers asked on 02/04/05 - root in sewer

I have one small place where the roots get into the line. I have been told that if I would take a rod and punch some holes around the place and pour some DEISEL into it one time a year it would kill the root.
I live out in the country and not on the city sewer.
Does any body agree on this or not, would appreciate some imput on this,Thank you
Jackie

speedball1 answered on 02/04/05:

Hi Jackie,

Whoa !! STOP!!! You're going to punch more holes in your sewer pipe for more roots to grow into? Not a good idea. if the opening is small or in a joint then patch it with cement or epoxy. Get some copper sulfate from a garder supply Company to kill the roots but don't load up your septic system with deisel fuel.
Let me give you a few pointers. Since the septic tank is such an essential part of a sewage system, here are some points to remember about the "care and feeding" of that part of the onsite sewage treatment system.
A "starter" is not needed for bacterial action to begin in a septic tank. Many bacteria are present in the materials deposited into the tank and will thrive under the growth conditions present.
If you feel that an additive is needed, be aware that some may do great harm. Additives that advertise to "eliminate" tank cleaning may cause the sludge layer to fluff up and be washed out into the drainfield, plugging soil pores. Some additives, particularly degreasers, may contain carcinogens (cancer-causing) or suspected carcinogens that will flow into the ground water along with the water from the soil treatment unit.
Send all sewage into the septic tank. Don't run laundry wastes directly into the drainfield, since soap or detergent scum will plug the soil pores, causing failure.
Normal amounts of household detergents, bleaches, drain cleaners, and other household chemicals can be used and won't stop the bacterial action in the septic tank. But don't use excessive amounts of any household chemicals. Do not dump cleaning water for latex paint brushes and cans into the house sewer.
Don't deposit coffee grounds, cooking fats, wet-strength towels, disposable diapers, facial tissues, cigarette butts, and other non-decomposable materials into the house sewer. These materials won't decompose and will fill the septic tank and plug the system. To use a 5-gallon toilet flush to get rid of a cigarette butt is also very wasteful of water. Keep an ash tray in the bathroom, if necessary.
Avoid dumping grease down the drain. It may plug sewer pipes or build up in the septic tank and plug the inlet. Keep a separate container for waste grease and throw it out with the garbage.
If you must use a garbage disposal, you will likely need to remove septic tank solids every year or more often. Ground garbage will likely find its way out of the septic tank and plug up the drainfield. It is better to compost, incinerate, or deposit the materials in the garbage that will be hauled away. As one ad says, "You can pay me now, or pay me later."
Clean your septic tank every 1 to 3 years. How often depends on the size of the tank and how many solids go into it. A rule of thumb is once every 3 years for a 1,000 gallon tank serving a 3-bedroom home with 4 occupants (and with no garbage disposal).
Using too much soap or detergent can cause problems with the septic system. It is difficult to estimate how dirty a load of laundry is, and most people use far more cleaning power than is needed. If there are lots of suds in your laundry tub when the washer discharges, cut back on the amount of detergent for the next similar load. It's generally best not to use inexpensive detergents which may contain excessive amounts of filler or carrier. Some of these fillers are montmorillonite clay, which- is used to seal soils! The best solution may be to use a liquid laundry detergent, since they are less likely to have carriers or fillers that may harm the septic system.
Each septic system has a certain capacity. When this capacity is reached or exceeded, there will likely be problems because the system won't take as much sewage as you want to discharge into it. When the onsite sewage treatment system reaches its daily capacity, be conservative with your use of water. Each gallon of water that flows into the drain must go through the septic tank and into the soil absorption unit. Following are some ways to conserve water that should cause little hardship in anyone's standard of living:
Be sure that there are no leaking faucets or other plumbing fixtures. Routinely check the float valve on all toilets to be sure it isn't sticking and the water isn't running continuously. It doesn't take long for the water from a leaking toilet or a faucet to add up. A cup of water leaking out of a toilet every minute doesn't seem like much but that's 90 gallons a day! So be sure that there is no water flowing into the sewer when all water-using appliances are supposed to be off.
The most effective way to reduce the sewage flow from a house is to reduce the toilet wastes, which usually account for about 40 percent of the sewage flow. Many toilets use 5 to 6 gallons per flush. Some of the so-called low water use toilets are advertised to use only 3.5 gallons per flush. Usually the design of the bowl hasn't been changed, however, and often two flushes are needed to remove all solids. That's 7 gallons! Toilets are available which have been redesigned and will do a good job with one gallon or less per flush. Using a 1-gallon toilet rather than a 5 gallon toilet will reduce sewage flows from a home by about a third. This reduction may be more than enough to make the sewage system function again. While prices may vary, 1.6 gallon toilets can usually be purchased in the $200 range, far less than the cost of a new sewer system. Baths and showers can use lots of water. "Setting up camp" in the shower with a shower head flow of 5 gallons per minute will require 100 gallons in 20 minutes. Shower heads that limit the flow to 1.5 or 2 gallons per minute are available and should be used. Filling the tub not quite so full and limiting the length of showers will result in appreciable water savings.
Is the water from the faucet cold enough to drink? How long do you let it run to cool down? Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator. Then it won't be necessary to run water from your faucets in order to get a cool drink.
There may be other ways to conserve water that you can think of in your home. The main idea is to consider water as a valuable resource and not to waste it.
Following a few simple rules like not using too much water and not depositing materials in the septic tank that bacteria can't decompose should help to make a septic system trouble-free for m, too! any years. But don't forget the septic tank does need to be cleaned out when too many solids builtreatment system.
With a water meter you can determine how much water your automatic washer uses per cycle. Many washers now have settings to reduce the amount of water used for small loads. Front loading washers and suds savers use less water than top loading machines. If your sewage treatment system is reaching its maximum capacity, try to spread the washing out during the week to avoid overloading the sewage system on a single day. Septic tanks need tender, loving care too. Good luck, Tom

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Question/Answer
webtrain1 asked on 12/09/04 - faucet drip

i have a constant drip in my bathroom faucet. I noticed that when I put my finger inside of the faucet head there is that washer or filter that is missing. Can it be replaced with any washer for the faucet?

speedball1 answered on 12/10/04:

. MAle female? How do you tell with a faucet?
If the faucet has threads on the outside then it takes a female aerator, if there are threads on the inside of the spout then it takes a male aerator.
Remove the old faucet and clean the area. Since they both have the same centers you should be able to use the existing supplies to connect the water.
Mount the faucet and secure it from underneith following the enclosed instructions with the faucet. Reconnect the supplies and you're back in business.
I'm assuming you're leaving the existing pop-up stopper and drain. Good luck, Tom

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Question/Answer
minstrale asked on 12/03/04 - washer and dryer hookup

Hi Speedball,

You' already answered a bunch of my questions about installing a washer and dryer hookup under a house. Now I' considering building a small closet and installing a washer and dryer hookup about 8 feet from a kitchen sink.

There is already a dryer vent and plug installed. I assume it' okay to tee off the sink for supply but was wondering if it' okay to tee off the sink drain as well. And if so, would I tee off the riser beneath the sink or would that be too much pressure? I also have the dishwasher drain to consider. I' assuming I would install a 2" P-trap with riser near the washer and dryer. If this sounds okay, would I simply reduce to 1-1/2" or 1-1/4" at the sink P-trap? Also, can I wet vent off the sink drain or do I need to install a Studor vent?

Thank you kindly,
David

speedball1 answered on 12/04/04:

Good morning David,
Our code let's us cut studs up to over 60% leaving a third of the stud intact but if you're worried why not install a drainage tee with a 2" branch looking out at a 45 degree sngle and bring the washer drain outside the wall and line it up with a 45 degree bend? If you could keep it outside the wall that would save you the hassle of tearing up and replacing the wall. Sound OK to you?? Tom

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Question/Answer
minstrale asked on 12/03/04 - washer and dryer hookup

Hi Speedball,

You' already answered a bunch of my questions about installing a washer and dryer hookup under a house. Now I' considering building a small closet and installing a washer and dryer hookup about 8 feet from a kitchen sink.

There is already a dryer vent and plug installed. I assume it' okay to tee off the sink for supply but was wondering if it' okay to tee off the sink drain as well. And if so, would I tee off the riser beneath the sink or would that be too much pressure? I also have the dishwasher drain to consider. I' assuming I would install a 2" P-trap with riser near the washer and dryer. If this sounds okay, would I simply reduce to 1-1/2" or 1-1/4" at the sink P-trap? Also, can I wet vent off the sink drain or do I need to install a Studor vent?

Thank you kindly,
David

speedball1 answered on 12/03/04:

Hey David, Nice to see you again.
I'm afraid the discharge velocity would be too much to tie into the tailpiece of your sink. However if you can position the 2" washer trap and standpipe 5 or 6' from the kitchen vent you may tie into that without having to vent. Open up the wall and cut in a drainage tee 6" off the floor. If this is a problem get back to me and we'll go to plan"B". cheers, Tom

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Question/Answer
minstrale asked on 10/25/04 - Washer and Dryer

Hi, we just bought a 2BD/1BA investment property in Tacoma, WA (built 1908). While there isn' room in the house for a washer and dryer, there is plenty of room beneath the house (you have to duck to get under there, but once in can easily stand up), near the water heater. I' like to tie the washer drain into the grey-water line beneath the house. Problem is that line suspends several feet off the ground. Would I need to install some sort of pump to push the water draining from the washer into the grey-water line? And, if so, do such pumps prevent water from the grey-water line draining back into the washer? As for supply to the washer, is it okay to tee off the pipes connected to the water heater?

Thank you kindly,
David

speedball1 answered on 11/04/04:

BTW what is a drainage short?

I don't know either. How did I use the term? Tom

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Question/Answer
minstrale asked on 10/25/04 - Washer and Dryer

Hi, we just bought a 2BD/1BA investment property in Tacoma, WA (built 1908). While there isn' room in the house for a washer and dryer, there is plenty of room beneath the house (you have to duck to get under there, but once in can easily stand up), near the water heater. I' like to tie the washer drain into the grey-water line beneath the house. Problem is that line suspends several feet off the ground. Would I need to install some sort of pump to push the water draining from the washer into the grey-water line? And, if so, do such pumps prevent water from the grey-water line draining back into the washer? As for supply to the washer, is it okay to tee off the pipes connected to the water heater?

Thank you kindly,
David

speedball1 answered on 11/01/04:

In the overhead trap you will need at least a 18" stand pipe. If you haven't room for that go with the horzontal line. Install the Studor Vent just after the trap and a 2" Drainage short or long sweep 90 degree elbo is acceptable. Start the trap and drain pipe about to 12 inches off the floor. Run up a 36" stand pipe from the trap and slope the drain pipe to the vertical ABS at 1/8 to 1/4" to the foot. At 20" your total fall at 1/8" would be 2 1/2". At 15 feet it would be 1 7/8". Good luck, Tom

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Question/Answer
minstrale asked on 10/25/04 - Washer and Dryer

Hi, we just bought a 2BD/1BA investment property in Tacoma, WA (built 1908). While there isn' room in the house for a washer and dryer, there is plenty of room beneath the house (you have to duck to get under there, but once in can easily stand up), near the water heater. I' like to tie the washer drain into the grey-water line beneath the house. Problem is that line suspends several feet off the ground. Would I need to install some sort of pump to push the water draining from the washer into the grey-water line? And, if so, do such pumps prevent water from the grey-water line draining back into the washer? As for supply to the washer, is it okay to tee off the pipes connected to the water heater?

Thank you kindly,
David

speedball1 answered on 10/30/04:

There are no "adjustable tees". A 4X2 drainage tee will do nicely. I'm a Florida plumber. I've never worked on heating systems. Down here we heat with reverse air or electric heat strips. If you don't get a responce at this site go over to allexperts.com and try. Good luck and it was fun helping you. Any more questions and I'm as close as a click. Regards, Tom

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Question/Answer
minstrale asked on 10/25/04 - Washer and Dryer

Hi, we just bought a 2BD/1BA investment property in Tacoma, WA (built 1908). While there isn' room in the house for a washer and dryer, there is plenty of room beneath the house (you have to duck to get under there, but once in can easily stand up), near the water heater. I' like to tie the washer drain into the grey-water line beneath the house. Problem is that line suspends several feet off the ground. Would I need to install some sort of pump to push the water draining from the washer into the grey-water line? And, if so, do such pumps prevent water from the grey-water line draining back into the washer? As for supply to the washer, is it okay to tee off the pipes connected to the water heater?

Thank you kindly,
David

speedball1 answered on 10/29/04:

Hi Dave,
You just can't the hook of the washer hose directly into the 2" trap. There must be a raiser on it to direct the water through the trap seal. As for a vent, what's draining into the gray water line and how far would the washer trap be from the nearest vented fixture? I'm figuring on a wet vent for your washer. A wet vent uses the space in the gray water line to vent back the through the nearest vented fixture.
As for the platform height, I would hook up a extension hose to the washer and see how high the pump will lift. I gave you a ballpark figure on how high the head of water would be.
Since different makes of pumps are used some will pump higher then others. You may find out you won't have to platform the washer at all.
A gray water line carries discharge from, sinks, tubs and showers, washers, ect, while a sewer line carries the dischatge from toilets. Hope this isn't too confusing. Tom

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Question/Answer
minstrale asked on 10/25/04 - Washer and Dryer

Hi, we just bought a 2BD/1BA investment property in Tacoma, WA (built 1908). While there isn' room in the house for a washer and dryer, there is plenty of room beneath the house (you have to duck to get under there, but once in can easily stand up), near the water heater. I' like to tie the washer drain into the grey-water line beneath the house. Problem is that line suspends several feet off the ground. Would I need to install some sort of pump to push the water draining from the washer into the grey-water line? And, if so, do such pumps prevent water from the grey-water line draining back into the washer? As for supply to the washer, is it okay to tee off the pipes connected to the water heater?

Thank you kindly,
David

speedball1 answered on 10/28/04:

Since the washer pump's good for a 4" head you can platform the washer and cut in a drainage tee, trap and stand pipe and omit the lift pump. However you will have to install a check valve as close to the washer as possible to prevent the discharged washer water from draining back down the hose on your clean clothes when the washer pump shuts off. Let me know what you decide. Regards, Tom

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Question/Answer
minstrale asked on 10/25/04 - Washer and Dryer

Hi, we just bought a 2BD/1BA investment property in Tacoma, WA (built 1908). While there isn' room in the house for a washer and dryer, there is plenty of room beneath the house (you have to duck to get under there, but once in can easily stand up), near the water heater. I' like to tie the washer drain into the grey-water line beneath the house. Problem is that line suspends several feet off the ground. Would I need to install some sort of pump to push the water draining from the washer into the grey-water line? And, if so, do such pumps prevent water from the grey-water line draining back into the washer? As for supply to the washer, is it okay to tee off the pipes connected to the water heater?

Thank you kindly,
David

speedball1 answered on 10/25/04:

Good morning David,
They only problem I could see in cutting in a 2" trap and runing a stand pipe up few inchs or so over the lip of the washer would be venting it. The washer pump is powerful enough to lift the discharge up and into the stand pipe so you wouldn't need a extra "lift pump". The gray water couldn't drain back into then washer from the gray-water line unless the line were higher then the washer itself. They make a spring loaded mechanical vent called a Studor Vent that would vent your job without having to run a vent out the roof.
You could cut in a 2" drainage tee into the gray-water line, install a Studor Mechanical Vent followed by a 2" trap and stand pipe and your drainage's complete.
You may tee off from the hot and cold lines at the heater to supply the washer. Install shut off valves on each line. Good luck and thanks for rating my reply. Tom

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Question/Answer
violet0019 asked on 07/29/04 - TOILET DRIPPING! DOWNSTAIRS CEILING WET! HELP! ADVICE,INFO.,SUGGESTIONS APPRECIATED PLEASE!

I live in a duplex and the downstairs owners are complaining of their ceiling showing water spots.I did a test and turned the water off and did not use the toilet, and the ceiling dried up.My toilet seems to be always dripping, inside the bowl area after it is flushed, as if the water is constantly going on and on, and never still - just continually running.There are spots, after years of continually dripping,around on the upper ledge,from where the water drips (from the hard water),in the toilet bowl.I tried to change the"Toilet Tank Self-aligning ball", and used it a few days,but heard complaints that there is water on the ceiling again. So I have turned the water OFF and am not using this toilet again. CAN ANYONE GIVE ME ANY SUGGESTIONS OF ANYTHING ELSE THAT I COULD DO, BY MYSELF, THAT IS "EASY"? OR ANYTHING TO CHECK?(I noticed on the toilet tank ball package that there is an illustration of a "flush valve".And also only now noticed on the package directions,advising to "clean the flush valve seat with steel wool"....I NEGLECTED THIS STEP!Is there any possibility that if I would have done this step the leaking would have stopped? Can there be any other place to check or replace a part - that might stop the leaking? Any info.is greatly appreciated.Will I have to have the entire toilet replaced for a plumber to find out the problem, or does anyone know what could be the cause. THANK YOU!

speedball1 answered on 08/26/04:

Thanks Violet, Sorry that it couldn't be a simple repair. I could walk you through the flapper,seat and linkage but there's no way that I could walk you through resetting a toilet. Good luck. Tom

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Question/Answer
DILLIGAS asked on 08/19/04 - Smell from water in house

Hot water in my home smells like rotten eggs. I have been activated charcoal and standard resin tank on my well system. The contractor that installed the water softener was out three months ago and replace the activated charcoal, flushed the system, and did the yearly maintenance. When I called him to explain the problem of the overcoming from hot water he told me there should shut the water off my house, and the hot water heaters, and poor in five gallons of unscented bleach.

I have to 48 gallon water heaters set up in parallel one above the other.

Does this make sense to do?

speedball1 answered on 08/19/04:

Hin Dill, Welcome back. The bleach will remove the bacteria but not the cause. Bacteria and mineral in the well water reacting with the anode rod can produce a "rotten egg" smell and make your water taste bad. To correct this problem you must change the old magnesium rod for a aluminum one.(You may have to change out both of them. Then you must drain and flush the tanks and flush out ALL the hotwater lines. You must also remove and clean ALL aerator screens. TIP: Leave one intact so you can put them back the same way. They will not work otherwise. The anode rod is located under the large hex nut on top of your heaters. If you need instructions on how to flush your heaters, click on back. good luck and thanks for rating my reply. Tom, Tom

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Question/Answer
violet0019 asked on 07/29/04 - TOILET DRIPPING! DOWNSTAIRS CEILING WET! HELP! ADVICE,INFO.,SUGGESTIONS APPRECIATED PLEASE!

I live in a duplex and the downstairs owners are complaining of their ceiling showing water spots.I did a test and turned the water off and did not use the toilet, and the ceiling dried up.My toilet seems to be always dripping, inside the bowl area after it is flushed, as if the water is constantly going on and on, and never still - just continually running.There are spots, after years of continually dripping,around on the upper ledge,from where the water drips (from the hard water),in the toilet bowl.I tried to change the"Toilet Tank Self-aligning ball", and used it a few days,but heard complaints that there is water on the ceiling again. So I have turned the water OFF and am not using this toilet again. CAN ANYONE GIVE ME ANY SUGGESTIONS OF ANYTHING ELSE THAT I COULD DO, BY MYSELF, THAT IS "EASY"? OR ANYTHING TO CHECK?(I noticed on the toilet tank ball package that there is an illustration of a "flush valve".And also only now noticed on the package directions,advising to "clean the flush valve seat with steel wool"....I NEGLECTED THIS STEP!Is there any possibility that if I would have done this step the leaking would have stopped? Can there be any other place to check or replace a part - that might stop the leaking? Any info.is greatly appreciated.Will I have to have the entire toilet replaced for a plumber to find out the problem, or does anyone know what could be the cause. THANK YOU!

speedball1 answered on 07/29/04:

I wish I could give you better news. The leaking into the bowl from the tank's a easy one. Check the flapper. The flat side should have no wavey edges. If it has, replace it. Also run your fingernail around the seat. There should be no rough edges or nicks in it. Make sure the linkage has 1/4" of play and isn't tight when the flapper's seated. To test, put some food coloring in the tank at night and check the bowl in the morning.
That's a repair that you can make yourself. However the leak from the bottom's another story. Unless you can run your hand around the outside of the bowl and locate a wet area that might be the leak that's the ceiling leak the entire toilet must be pulled and the wax seal, the integrity of the bowl and the subfloor checked for damage. I don't believe you will have to replace the toilet. They don't wear out, but pulling a toilet is a dirty messy job and best left to us dirty messy plumbers. Good luck, Tom

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Question/Answer
webtrain1 asked on 06/15/04 - toliet bowl flush

i hope my question is not to dumb, but i have been wondering and i am no expert in plumbing.

My toilet bowl use to flush all the water from the bowl refilling with good water.

then some parts in the tack of my bowl broke and the water was not filling up. A friend of mine installed new tank parts for me and now the tank fills nicely. But, when i flush the water spins around and only half of the water in the bowl goes down and it fills up again. Basically the flushing part is weak.

What causes the water to flush completely and why all of a sudden would the water in my bowl slowly drain and only half is drained?

I tried liquid Drano during flush but it did not seem to help.

speedball1 answered on 06/16/04:

Here's one that most repair plumbers miss. Look down at the bottom of the bowl. If there is a small hole, then that is a jet that starts the syphon action. If it's clogged the water will just swirl around and slowly go down leaving solids behind. Take your finger,(UGH!!) and run it around the inside of the opening. Over the years minerals build up and cut down on the syphon (flush) action. If it is rough or you feel build up, take a table knife and put a bend in it to get around the curve in the bowl and chip and scrap it clear. Next take a coathanger and clear out the holes around the rim. They start the swirling action. And last, check the water level in the tank. It should be 1/2" below the top of the white over flow tube. Also check that the 1/8" bowl fill tube that runs from the ballcock is connected to the white over flow tube and is working. If none of the above works for you click on back and we'll explore other possibiltys. Hope this helps and thank you for rating my reply. Tom

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Question/Answer
SCOOBY asked on 04/01/04 - tub stopper lever sticks

the tub stopper lever in my bathtub sticks in one or the other position (open or closed position). I've removed the stopper to examine it and it works fine outside the tub but once I install it and screw it back in, the lever doesn't work. Any suggestions?

speedball1 answered on 04/02/04:

Hi Scoob, Sounds like the lever may be binding up. Have you lubed the lever action with oil so it moves back and forth easily? Also grease the stopper so it there is no possibility of it binding. And lastly, when you replace the assembly make sure the lever is in the up position. Now line up the plate with the screw holes. If you feel resistance or the lever tries to move down the linkage is set too long and must be adjusted. When you put everything back together it should fit smooth with no binding. Hope this helps and thank you for rating my reply. Tom

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Question/Answer
SCOOBY asked on 04/01/04 - tub stopper lever sticks

the tub stopper lever in my bathtub sticks in one or the other position (open or closed position). I've removed the stopper to examine it and it works fine outside the tub but once I install it and screw it back in, the lever doesn't work. Any suggestions?

speedball1 answered on 04/02/04:

Hi Scoob, Sounds like the lever may be binding up. Have you lubed the lever action with oil so it moves back and forth easily? Also grease the stopper so it there is no possibility of it binding. And lastly, when you replace the assembly make sure the lever is in the up position. Now line up the plate with the screw holes. If you feel resistance or the lever tries to move down the linkage is set too long and must be adjusted. When you put everything back together it should fit smooth with no binding. Hope this helps . Tom

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Question/Answer
leslarus asked on 03/14/04 - Copper Tubing exiting the house

I have to two small copper tubing (about .5 inch diameter) coming out of my house. One of the locations is opposite my kitchen sink and the other next to my second hot water heater. The one near the hot water heater has a small stream of water coming out of it all the time. What are these used for and should I have water flowing all the time????

speedball1 answered on 03/15/04:

Hi Les, I bet you have a older home. If you have two water heaters then my guess would be that the two 1/2" lines are discharge lines from both temperture and pressure valves located on top of your heaters. To double check on this stand outside and have some one lift the lever on the T&P valve. There should be a stream of water out the 1/2" line when each lever is raised. Take notice of which valve is connected to the line that flows all the time. That will be the T&P valve that's faulty and should be replaced if you can't get it to stop by squirting WD40 on the shaft and working the lever up and down. If that doesn't stop the flow of water the T&P valve must be repkaced. This is costing you money in both water and power. More questions? I'm as close as a click. Tom

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Question/Answer
sallie00 asked on 01/31/04 - Finding clean and funny jokes

Could you tell me some websites that have clean funny jokes.

Thanks in advanc.

speedball1 answered on 02/01/04:

It's a little out of my line but paste www.jokes.com up on your address bar for thousands of them. Cheers,(and smiles) Tom

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Question/Answer
sallie00 asked on 01/31/04 - Buying a new toilet

I have to buy a new toilet.

Anything I should keep in mind when buying a new toilet to get the most for my money, or for water efficiency.

Thanks in advance.

speedball1 answered on 01/31/04:

Hi Sallie, You have any number of styles to choose from. Two piece, one piece, power flush ect. The best buy would be a two piece toilet. Water efficiency is assured with the mandated 1.6 gallon tank. However, be advised that there have been some complaints that a 1.6 gallon tank doesn't save much water if you have to flush it twice to get solids to go down. Hence the power flushers. Toilets come in both elongated and regular, (round front) bowls. The elongated offer better hygiene then the regular so that's the one I would go with. More questions? I'm as close as a click. Sorry!! I don't know any jokes, (whisper) clean ones that is!!!

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Question/Answer
loni5472 asked on 11/29/03 - Clogged kitchen sink

what can I do to unclog my kitchen sink when draino didn't work?

speedball1 answered on 11/29/03:

I am no fan of harsh chemicals to clean clogged drains, especially if you are on a septic tank. Most bathroom lavatory and kitchen sink blockages occur in the lateral,(horizontal)line in the wall, behind the fixture, leading to the vertical stack. You will need a plumbers snake. Remove the trap "J"bend. Now insert the snake in the "tail" of the trap that goes into the wall. You will hit a 90 degree bend a few inches in from the wall, crank and work the snake around the bend and you now have a straight shot all the way to the stack. It won't be over 5' away so put out 6 or8 feet of cable to be sure. Replace the trap and run hot water to test your job. If that doesn't get the clog its in the underground line leading to the house main sewer line. To snake out that line you will have to come down the kitchen vent stack located on the roof. For that you will need to rent a power snake from your local Rent-All. Drop your cable down the stack untill it reaches the 90 degree bend at the base. Now start rotating and feeding the snake and put out at least 20 feet. That should be enough to get you into the house main and clear the line. Hope this helps and thank you for rating my reply. Tom

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Question/Answer
tpapaleo9 asked on 11/17/03 - Stand pipe for wash machine backs up

My wash machine empties into a stand pipe right behind it. All of a sudden when it goes into a spin cycle I hear the water back up in the pipe and it shoots out the top. I thought the pipe was clogged so I heated it up with a torch, removed it and found no clog. I then ran an auger into the drain pipe and after feeding about 6 ft of wire found no blockage. I took the hot water inlet hose off of wash machine and stuck it in the drain pipe and turned it on wide open and it never backed up once. I reattached the stand pipe, stuck the hot water inlet in that for about 10 minutes and that never backed up either. I hooked washer back up to see if it would work and as soon as it started the spin cycle water came out again. I am totally confused now. Any help would be appreciated.

speedball1 answered on 11/17/03:

Hey Tony, The sink and washer are vented some where, however since you have a cleanout in your basement you can save a trip to the roof and go in through the Cleanout. I am a Flordia plumber. We don't have basements on the West coast so as a rule when we snake out a interior line we do it from the roof. I have a tendency to forget about things like basements and cold weather. Just run out enough cable to get past the clog and into the house main. Good luck and thanks for the rate. Tom

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Question/Answer
tpapaleo9 asked on 11/17/03 - Stand pipe for wash machine backs up

My wash machine empties into a stand pipe right behind it. All of a sudden when it goes into a spin cycle I hear the water back up in the pipe and it shoots out the top. I thought the pipe was clogged so I heated it up with a torch, removed it and found no clog. I then ran an auger into the drain pipe and after feeding about 6 ft of wire found no blockage. I took the hot water inlet hose off of wash machine and stuck it in the drain pipe and turned it on wide open and it never backed up once. I reattached the stand pipe, stuck the hot water inlet in that for about 10 minutes and that never backed up either. I hooked washer back up to see if it would work and as soon as it started the spin cycle water came out again. I am totally confused now. Any help would be appreciated.

speedball1 answered on 11/17/03:

First let me explain what's happening, then I'll tell you how to fix it. You have a partial blockage in your underfloor drain line. Your washer pump discharges water with greater force and more volume then your hot water hose. The washer pump water hits that clog with greater force plus more water and backs up. The hot water hose with less pressure and not as much water in the same time will slip past the clog without backing up. Once you understand what's happening fixing it is easy. You were attempting to snake out the line from the trap and 6 foot out with the snake doesn't begain to get it. Both wrong moves. Rent a power snake and go on the roof and come down the washer vent, (which may be the kitchen sink vent stack also). Drop the snake down the stack untill you hit the 90 degree bend at the base. Then start augering and feed out at least 15 or 20 feet. After you run out 15/20 feet If there is someone who can help, have them run a tub full of water and discharge it while you run the auger. That flushes the line out. Use a spade tip on the auger. Hope this helps and thank you for rating my reply. Tom

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Question/Answer
capepuffin asked on 11/07/03 - Losing hot water in shower rapidly!

What is going on? First off, it takes forever for the water to get hot. Then rather quickly it gets luke warm to cold. We have a furnace that is also our hot water heater. we use oil. The furnace is 15 years old. Our heat works fine. Nothing is leaking. We are on well water. Any advice before my husband gets in there and rips the whole thing apart? Trust me, we don't want him touching anything!

My husband says ideally we should have a seperate hot water heater, but that sounds really expensive.

any help would be greatly appreciated!

speedball1 answered on 11/08/03:

Good morning Puff, I had a handle on your problem. Ahha! Lower element burned out on the water heater. And the I ran into the part about oil fired home heating system. I am a Florida plumber. In our area we heat our homes with heat strips or reverse air. I have never worked on a home heating system. I'm hoping one of the other experts will jump on this. If not get back to me with more information,ie: Hot air with a heating coil and a holding tank? Hot water heating system? What's the brand name of your system? A model# would be nice also. If you don't recieve a answer from one of our experts on this page get on back to me with the information I requested and I'll put you in touch with a home heating expert on a different site. Again, sorry I couldn't be of more assistance. Tom

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Question/Answer
rojohn asked on 11/05/03 - How deep is my septic tank buried?

I just bought an acreage - early 1950's vintage -, 2 stories and basement with toilets on all three levels.
The basement floor (thus toilet base) is seven feet below ground level and the main cast iron sewer pipe goes
down through the floor near an outside wall and appears to go 16-18 inches down before turning into the
yard. I was told appx. where the septic tank is located and have probed four feet down looking for the tank
or better yet a riser with no success. The system works fine but I know has not been pumped for at least
19 years and possibly never and I would like to find it so I can put in a riser in case I ever do need to pump it.
Most places built in this area during that time period did not have a leach field but drained into a field tile, or so
I'm told. I am assuming that the elevation of my basement toilet dictates that the septic tank must be buried
even deeper than the seven feet from ground level to floor plus 1 1/2 feet below floor plus a few inches of
drop to the appx. 20 feet to where I think the tank is located. If the tank is 5 feet from top to bottom then it
would seem the tank was placed at the bottom of a 14 foot hole. (There is no pump to move the sewage).
Does that seem feasible? If so, is there any way to positively locate it without haphazardly digging around
with a backhoe? I have access to a locator from the municipality where I work. Could I energize the cast iron
pipe (I tried unsuccessfully to fish a metal tape through the cleanout) and follow it to what I assume is the
concrete tank or is everything buried too deep for the locator to pick up? I'm tired of fussing over this and
am tempted to just ignore is as previous owners obviously have but sure would like to get and stay on top of
it. Any hints, thoughts and ideas would be appreciated.

speedball1 answered on 11/06/03:

You are correct in assuming that tank lies at least 8 1/2' below ground level. However you are wrong by thinking a tile drain set over gravel isn't a drain field. Our home's 50 years old with a tile drain field that's still working. The first thin I would do would be to run out a snake untill it will go no futher. That will be the septic tank tee and the front of the tank. Now mark the cable and measure how much you've put out. That will give you some idea of how far out the tank is from the house. Take your metal locator and follow the cast iron pipe. Where the reading ends will be the front of the septic tank. It's suggested that you pump every three years, however, It's been 30 years since ours has been pumped and it's still working. If it ain't broke, don't fix it! Since you may be new to a septic system let me give you a few tips. Let me give you a few pointers. Since the septic tank is such an essential part of a sewage system, here are some points to remember about the "care and feeding" of that part of the onsite sewage treatment system.
A "starter" is not needed for bacterial action to begin in a septic tank. Many bacteria are present in the materials deposited into the tank and will thrive under the growth conditions present.
If you feel that an additive is needed, be aware that some may do great harm. Additives that advertise to "eliminate" tank cleaning may cause the sludge layer to fluff up and be washed out into the drainfield, plugging soil pores. Some additives, particularly degreasers, may contain carcinogens (cancer-causing) or suspected carcinogens that will flow into the ground water along with the water from the soil treatment unit.
Send all sewage into the septic tank. Don't run laundry wastes directly into the drainfield, since soap or detergent scum will plug the soil pores, causing failure.
Normal amounts of household detergents, bleaches, drain cleaners, and other household chemicals can be used and won't stop the bacterial action in the septic tank. But don't use excessive amounts of any household chemicals. Do not dump cleaning water for latex paint brushes and cans into the house sewer.
Don't deposit coffee grounds, cooking fats, wet-strength towels, disposable diapers, facial tissues, cigarette butts, and other non-decomposable materials into the house sewer. These materials won't decompose and will fill the septic tank and plug the system. To use a 5-gallon toilet flush to get rid of a cigarette butt is also very wasteful of water. Keep an ash tray in the bathroom, if necessary.
Avoid dumping grease down the drain. It may plug sewer pipes or build up in the septic tank and plug the inlet. Keep a separate container for waste grease and throw it out with the garbage.
If you must use a garbage disposal, you will likely need to remove septic tank solids every year or more often. Ground garbage will likely find its way out of the septic tank and plug up the drainfield. It is better to compost, incinerate, or deposit the materials in the garbage that will be hauled away. As one ad says, "You can pay me now, or pay me later."
Clean your septic tank every 1 to 3 years. How often depends on the size of the tank and how many solids go into it. A rule of thumb is once every 3 years for a 1,000 gallon tank serving a 3-bedroom home with 4 occupants (and with no garbage disposal).
Using too much soap or detergent can cause problems with the septic system. It is difficult to estimate how dirty a load of laundry is, and most people use far more cleaning power than is needed. If there are lots of suds in your laundry tub when the washer discharges, cut back on the amount of detergent for the next similar load. It's generally best not to use inexpensive detergents which may contain excessive amounts of filler or carrier. Some of these fillers are montmorillonite clay, which- is used to seal soils! The best solution may be to use a liquid laundry detergent, since they are less likely to have carriers or fillers that may harm the septic system.
Each septic system has a certain capacity. When this capacity is reached or exceeded, there will likely be problems because the system won't take as much sewage as you want to discharge into it. When the onsite sewage treatment system reaches its daily capacity, be conservative with your use of water. Each gallon of water that flows into the drain must go through the septic tank and into the soil absorption unit. Following are some ways to conserve water that should cause little hardship in anyone's standard of living:
Be sure that there are no leaking faucets or other plumbing fixtures. Routinely check the float valve on all toilets to be sure it isn't sticking and the water isn't running continuously. It doesn't take long for the water from a leaking toilet or a faucet to add up. A cup of water leaking out of a toilet every minute doesn't seem like much but that's 90 gallons a day! So be sure that there is no water flowing into the sewer when all water-using appliances are supposed to be off.
The most effective way to reduce the sewage flow from a house is to reduce the toilet wastes, which usually account for about 40 percent of the sewage flow. Many toilets use 5 to 6 gallons per flush. Some of the so-called low water use toilets are advertised to use only 3.5 gallons per flush. Usually the design of the bowl hasn't been changed, however, and often two flushes are needed to remove all solids. That's 7 gallons! Toilets are available which have been redesigned and will do a good job with one gallon or less per flush. Using a 1-gallon toilet rather than a 5 gallon toilet will reduce sewage flows from a home by about a third. This reduction may be more than enough to make the sewage system function again. While prices may vary, 1.6 gallon toilets can usually be purchased in the $200 range, far less than the cost of a new sewer system. Baths and showers can use lots of water. "Setting up camp" in the shower with a shower head flow of 5 gallons per minute will require 100 gallons in 20 minutes. Shower heads that limit the flow to 1.5 or 2 gallons per minute are available and should be used. Filling the tub not quite so full and limiting the length of showers will result in appreciable water savings.
Is the water from the faucet cold enough to drink? How long do you let it run to cool down? Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator. Then it won't be necessary to run water from your faucets in order to get a cool drink.
There may be other ways to conserve water that you can think of in your home. The main idea is to consider water as a valuable resource and not to waste it.
Following a few simple rules like not using too much water and not depositing materials in the septic tank that bacteria can't decompose should help to make a septic system trouble-free for m, too! any years. But don't forget the septic tank does need to be cleaned out when too many solids builtreatment system.
With a water meter you can determine how much water your automatic washer uses per cycle. Many washers now have settings to reduce the amount of water used for small loads. Front loading washers and suds savers use less water than top loading machines. If your sewage treatment system is reaching its maximum capacity, try to spread the washing out during the week to avoid overloading the sewage system on a single day. Septic tanks need tender, loving care too.
Hope this helps and thank you for rating my reply, Tom

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Question/Answer
jayhowes asked on 10/20/03 - low water flow at tap

After installing a new kitchen tap/faucet I have extremelty low flow from the cold water side; hot water is fine. The replacement involved cutting 1/2 copper lines and attaching feeder lines w/ compression nuts. No dirt in the valves or anything of that sort

speedball1 answered on 10/20/03:

Hi Jay, You may have disturbed something in the line that is blocking the seat on a two handlke faucet or a cold water inlet port if a one handle faucet. However I don't have enough information to answer your question. The brand and model# of the faucet you installed. Why did you have to cut into the 1/2" lines? Isn't this a replacement? Please explain the repipe. Any compression stops? Plastic flex supplies of copper? Any kinks? I'll wait on your reply and answer ASAP. Regards, Tom

Question/Answer
jiml904 asked on 10/04/03 - Hot water in sinks but not showers

I have an oil fired burner which supplies domestic hot water and heat via baseboard heating. This is a tankless water heater with no separate water heater (tank). The house is only approximately 3 years old. In both bathrooms, I get hot water in the sinks but barely warm water in the showers. I have been told that the furnace supplies hot water at approximately 4 gallons per minute and my sinks draw approx. 3 gals per minute while the shower may draw as much as 7 gallons per minute, therefore the furnace cannot keep pace with the showers' requirement. I have installed low flow shower heads on the shower and this has improved the situation only slightly. Are there any other options (adjustments) besides getting a bigger furnace or adding a water heater to the system? Thanks for your assistance. Jim

speedball1 answered on 10/04/03:

Hi Jim, You can do the numbers as well as I. Your supply is 4 gpm while the only fixture that will begain to keep pace with your supply is the sink. However you neglected to facter in the heat dissipation to the water caused by the baseboard heating. This will also draw on the available hot water. Short of upsizing the water heater the only way I can see to get hot water to your showers would be to cut in a tee close to the hot water outlet of the heater and run a 1/2" branch to the showers. That way they would get first draw but the downside is that you will still have a undersized heater that you will have to watch to see you do not exceed the output when you use a fixture. You have already installed water saver shower heads. Short of reducing the whole house draw or installing a 40 gal. "kicker heater" I can see no way to increase your hot water. Sorry I couldn't be more helpfull and I thank you for rating my reply. Tom

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Question/Answer
lisacp asked on 09/23/03 - washing machine is emptying, I hear gurgling sounds from the commode

When the washing machine is emptying, I hear gurgling sounds from the commode. Please Help!

I am very fustrated with this. It happend several months ago. I got the Septic tank pumped and the problem is back.

Thanks Lisa

speedball1 answered on 09/23/03:

Hi Lisa, The problem isn't with the septic tank. You have a vent that's blocked. When the water discharges and runs down your pipes it creates a suction. This is why there are vent pipes to relive the suction and allow the water to run smoothly. When a vent pipe is blocked, the suction vents through the nearest fixture. In this case your commode. The sound you hear is the air being pulled through the water in the bowl of your toilet. Has the washer drain just been installed? If so It needs to be vented. If it has been working and this problem just started, your going to have to get on your roof and snake the existing vent. But before you snake the line get up on the roof and inspect the vent pipe. I have found everything from birds nests to dead critters blocking the pipe. Shine a light down there. You may be able to clear it without the hassle of snaking it out. Hope this helps and thank you for rating my reply. Tom

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Question/Answer
dcvezzani asked on 09/10/03 - My Toilet gurgles when I run the shower

We are finishing our basement and have run across problem after problem. We had to install a sewage pump since our main sewer line is 3 ft above the floor. The builders had already put in the rough-in pipes for the plumbing drains. We checked the drains before sealing off the pump to make sure they all empty out in the pit. We attached the vent to the location where the builder wrote "future vent." When we installed the shower/tub unit, it drained beautifully, without trouble and the pump activated just fine. We just barely installed the toilet this evening. When we flush it by itself, it works just fine. However, when we tried running our bath/shower, and the toilet started "gurgling" or bubbling as the bath drained. When the sewage pump finally activated, all of the water in the toilet bowl sucked out. It really is frustating. Please help!!!

Dave

speedball1 answered on 09/11/03:

Good Morning Dave, It sounds like you installed the drainage correctly, KUDOS to you for taking on a rough job for a homeowner. However, no matter where the builder told you the "future vent" is, your system is unvented. The gurgling sound you hear is the system venting through the nearest trap, in this case the toilet. The sewage pump generated so much suction when it kicked on that it just didn't pull air through the trap in the toilet making the "gurgle" you heard, It pulled the water right out of the trap AND the bowl. But don't panic just yet. This could be just as simple as the builder capping off a unused future vent and all you have to do is to is remove the cap and your system is vented. However I look at the "worst case scenario" when I answer a question and try to give you alternatives. Let's say the builder left you a "dummy vent" that went nowhere and you are faced with trying to figure out how to run a vent from the basement through the roof. Again, don't push the panic button just yet. They make a spring loaded mechanical vent that installs inside your house and you won't have the hassle of running a outside vent. Let me tell you about Studor Vents. That is a mechanical vent that lets air in to vent but prevents sewer gas from escaping. With a Studor vent you could terminate inside your wall. You wouldn't have to tie it in to anything. Might be worth thinking about.

Air Admittance Valves by Studor®:
pressure sensitive valve
opens upon fixture discharge
admits air into drain, waste and vent systems
closes to prevent foul air inside
should not be exposed to outdoor elements
considered "the standard" by some
two different sizes to choose from
no roof penetrations


Mini-Vent® for 1 1/4" -1 1/2" or 2" pipe - #AUTOVENT2 = $25.95

Maxi-Vent® for 3" or 4" vent stack - #AUTOVENT3 = $36.95
(for 3" vent - a hubless coupling will be needed)

Air Admittance Valves by Oatey®:
pressure sensitive valve
opens upon fixture discharge
admits air into drain, waste and vent systems
closes to prevent foul air inside
no roof penetrations
NSF compliance listing to NSF Standard 14
glues into both 1 1/2" and 2" PVC (& threads into 2")
ANSI/ASSE 1051 rated for 1 1/2" thru 4" diameter
handles up to 15psi positive pressure
does not need cold weather protection
should not be exposed to outdoor elements
mfr. recommends at least one vent stack to open air
not as large as the Studor Maxi-Vent® (above)

Sure-Vent® - #AUTOVENT5 =$32.95

We recommend using non-mechanical venting wherever possible.
In other words, please don't use the above if at all possible,
and plumb your vents to the outside, per your local codes
- these are not codes in all areas -

the Studor® valves may not be returned
Studors have a one-year warranty

Search PlumbingMart:
We are a member of The PlumbingSupply Group. The most trusted and well known
Internet mail-order plumbing supply group in the world since 1995.
Copyright © PlumbingMart.com
Check out Studor Vents,(mechanical or automatic vents) at the following link. Mechanical Vents from the popular PlumbingMart's inventory.
http://www.plumbingmart.com/autovent.html
I offer this not as a recommendation, but as a alterative. Good luck and thanks for rating this reply. Tom

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Question/Answer
jbdawson asked on 09/06/03 - My faucet is stuck in the on position!

My boyfriend just ran a bath only to find that the hot water tap seems to be completely stuck in the on position. It will no longer turn in either direction, any quick tips for people who have no clue about plumbing whatsoever? As it's a Saturday we're not optimistic about finding a plumber, but would settle for a solution that would conserve water until Monday. We're trying to turn off that water just now and will hopefully manage that but this is proving to be an entirely separate problem.

speedball1 answered on 09/06/03:

Look for shut off valves for your tub faucet. If you can't find them, go to the water shut off in the flat and shut the whole thing down. Have you tried putting a pair of pliers on the stem and turning it off that way? One handle or two?? Hang in there, Tom

Question/Answer
jbdawson asked on 09/06/03 - My faucet is stuck in the on position!

My boyfriend just ran a bath only to find that the hot water tap seems to be completely stuck in the on position. It will no longer turn in either direction, any quick tips for people who have no clue about plumbing whatsoever? As it's a Saturday we're not optimistic about finding a plumber, but would settle for a solution that would conserve water until Monday. We're trying to turn off that water just now and will hopefully manage that but this is proving to be an entirely separate problem.

speedball1 answered on 09/06/03:

You failed to say the name of your tub faucet or if it's a one or two handle so I'll just help you with turning it off. Behind every bathtub is a access panel. This panel is required by code so that work can be performed on the faucets or drainage. You will find two shut off valves back there. Shut them both off untill you can call in outside help or un till you get back to me with the make, a model# (would be nice), or the aprox age of the faucet. if the boyfriend's handy with tools I might just save you the cost of a plumber. If there is no access hole, remove the Knob(s) and cover plate. On each side of the valve body where the water comes in there will be a screwriver stop. Just turn the left one counterclockwise to shut off the hot water side. Hope this helps and thank you for rating my reply. Tom

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Question/Answer
sayres asked on 08/28/03 - sink aerator gets clogged with small white pieces

I just moved into a house and my kitchen sink's aerator keeps getting clogged with these small white pieces of something; I'm not sure what it is. The pieces are no larger then 2-3 millimeters and are yellowish on the two flat sides and white in the center. They also crumble to dust if pressed. Any ideas of where they are coming from and what to do to stop it.

thanks, David

speedball1 answered on 08/28/03:

Hi David, The white pieces that you see are pieces of the plastic dip tube in your water heater that has disintegrated. A dip tube is a white plastic tube that fits just under the cold water inlet on your water heater. Its function is to direct the cold water coming into the heater to the bottom of the tank so it doesn't temper the hot water on top. What has to be done is to shut off the power and the water and remove the fitting from the cold water inlet. You will see a small white collar setting in the inlet. This is the top of the tube and it will just pull up and out. You will also, in addition to replacing the dip tube, have to flush out the plastic particles in the bottom of your tank. After the new tube's installed and everything checks out attach a hose onto the boiler drain at the base of the tank. Now WITH THE WATER ON open the boiler drain and flush out the tank. Clean up your areators and this should put you back in business. Hope this helps and thank you for rating my reply. Tom

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Question/Answer
misty1 asked on 08/24/03 - hot water tank

I am trying to drain my hot water tank because the water is dirty.I shut the power off then the cold water inlet valve. then I opened up a hot water faucet. then when I connected a hose to the drain at the bottom of the tank no water came out. Also tried this without a hose. Just a little would come out. Figured that maybe it is clogged. But when I open the cold water inlet valve and then tried the drain.....water flowed out. what could be the problem? something to do with water pressure? I live in a trailer. I also tried this with several faucets opened? thanks

speedball1 answered on 08/24/03:

Hi Misty, The reason you drained slow was because you were airlocked. To flush,(not drain) the tank leave the water inlet valve on. Attatch a hose to the boiler drain at the base of the tank and let the water run for a few minutes. You say the water was dirty. Explain, rusty in color? Dirt in the water? Are you on a pump or is there city water in your park? If the water was dirty then unscrew the areators from the spout of your faucets and clean the screens. Keep one intact to guide you in putting everthing back. They MUST go back exactly the same way they were removed. More questions? I'm as close as a click. Hope this helps and thank you for rating my reply. Tom

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Question/Answer
rovers asked on 07/24/03 - toilet doesn't flush

I have the same problem only with my main toilet since we remodled. Toilet doesn't flush all the way. Basement toilet works fine we have redone all of our septic pipes and have run a snake nothing in there. Plunge it and it might work a day or two? Anyone have any ideas?

speedball1 answered on 08/03/03:

Sorry I'm late in answering. Answerway wouldn't let me in. Both Van and Voice Guy gave you good answers. Here's one more you should check. Here's one most plumbers miss, and the one I would check first. At the bottom of the bowl you will see a small hole. This is the jet that starts the flush action. If it clogs up with mineral build up the water will just swirl around, build up and slowley go down leaving the solids behind. Take and run your finger around the inside of the hole. Is it rough or blocked? If so take a old table knife and put a bend in it to get around the curve of the bowl and chip and scrape the opening clear. Now flush and see if that isn't better. BTW. The chain should have 1/4" of play when the tank is full and the flapper is seated and the water level in the tank should be 1/2" below the top of the white over flow tube. Hope this helps and thank you for rating my reply. Tom

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Question/Answer
mikesoneill asked on 07/22/03 - Speedball1

On my block the sewer lines are not very deep. As a result, many people have had their sewer lines replaced due to roots getting into the line. I am going to replace mine soon. Can you tell me if PVC or Cast Iron is better at keeping out roots. Both are acceptable to the local code and both cost about the same. Thanks. Mike

speedball1 answered on 08/03/03:

Sory I'm so late in answering. Answerway wouldn't let me in. PVC is the way to go. A lead annd okum joint in cast iron can shrink over the years and roots can find there way in. Also PVC is cheaper. Good luck, Tom

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Question/Answer
michaelg asked on 06/20/03 - Toilet wont Flush completly

Toilet wont flush

Public Board 06/11/03
I am having a problem with my guest toilet- I recently replaced the valve in the tank due to excess running and now the toilet wont flush all the way (although I had this same problem prior to the replacement). If I pour any type of liquid cleaner down as I flush it will go down as normal but otherwise it just partially flushes- any suggestions??

Thanks!!

Clarification/Follow-up by michaelg on 06/17/03 1:35 am:
Van-

Thanks for the reply-

I attempted to flush the toilet and check the slack and it seems that there is enough slack in the chain. I lifted the flapper and held it open for a few extra seconds and the toilet still wont flush completly.

Thanks,

Mike

Clarification/Follow-up by retiredmanvan on 06/17/03 2:27 am:
Hi Mike;

How much water is left in the tank after the flush ?

Does the water have a problem running out of the bowl ?

If the water does not have a problem running out of the bowl you must have a blockage between the tank and the bowl. For example if some foreign object got into the tank and slipped into the drain from the tank to the bowl by accident this would cause a decrease in the flow of water from the tank to the bowl and slow or stop the water flow which would keep the water from completely draining from the tank.

I will await your reply, Van



Clarification/Follow-up by michaelg on 06/17/03 2:30 pm:
Van-

The tank almost empties completly- then the flapper goes back down and the toilet dosent completely flush. I used some toilet cleaner and poured it into the toilet after the first flush it will completly flush as normal. It very strange- it alway happens no mattter if there is waste in the toilet or not- I flush it, it wont go down, I reflush after I pour the cleaner in (small amount) and it goes down- I am puzzled.

I appreciate all your help!!



Mike

Clarification/Follow-up by michaelg on 06/19/03 1:46 pm:
Thanks Van- I have reposted as per your suggestion-

Mike


speedball1 answered on 06/20/03:

Hi Mike, There are a few things that would cause your problem. (1) You could have a partial clog, in which case you purchase a toilet auger and auger out the bowl. OR,(2) Here's one most plumbers miss, and the one I would check first. At the bottom of the bowl you will see a small hole. This is the jet that starts the flush action. If it clogs up with mineral build up the water will just swirl around, build up and slowley go down leaving the solids behind. Take and run your finger around the inside of the hole. Is it rough or blocked? If so take a old table knife and put a bend in it to get around the curve of the bowl and chip and scrape the opening clear. Now flush and see if that isn't better. BTW. The chain should have 1/4" of play when the tank is full and the flapper is seated, too much slack and the flapper is pulled down by suction and cuts off the flush and too tight a chain won't allow the flapper to raise above the verictal and it will get also be pulled down. Also the water level in the tank should be 1/2" below the top of the overflow tube when the tank is filled.Hope this helps and thank you for rating my reply. Tom

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Question/Answer
retiredmanvan asked on 06/10/03 - Roots!

Speedball;

How do you feel about putting Roundup in drains to kill roots that grow in the cracks where the drain lines are put together ?

It's a thought, What could it hurt?

Regards, Van

speedball1 answered on 06/11/03:

I never thought of that Van. Might work, couldn't hurt. Of course the only answer to roots would be to dig up the line and replace the cracked fittings and pipe. However for a quick fix to kill the roots untill a proper repair can be made I recomend pouring copper sulphate down the line. Nice to hear from you again Van, Do you ever miss AskMe.com ?? If your looking for more action and since you're a expert in more then one field, (as opposed to me) let me invite you over to check out AllExperts.com Cheers, Tom

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Question/Answer
webtrain1 asked on 06/10/03 - toilet handle

The handle on my toilet came loose and is coming off. How can I reattach it? Do I need to buy another handle. I don't know what held it in place.

speedball1 answered on 06/10/03:

Tank handles are inexpensive. You can purchase them at any hardware store. A few tips. When you go to replace the old handle bear in mind the nut securing it on the inside of the tank has a left hand thread. That means you will have to turn it clockwise to get it off and counterclockwise to tighten it. Also the link,(chain) should have 1/4" of play when the flapper is seated. Good luck and thank you for rating my reply. Tom

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Question/Answer
Cindy71 asked on 05/21/03 - Mildew in painted celler.

Speedball, you suggested I purchase "AQUA CHEM spa care SHOCK TREATMENT. You said it was a white powder and the active ingredient is Lithium Hypochlorite, 29%. It is sold as a chlorinating shock treatment for spas and hot tubs and you will find it, or an equivalent, at any pool chemical supply. You can purchase 16 ounces for $5.97 at Walmart. 16 ounces should supply enough mildew remover to pour down all your drains and overflow." We went to Walmart and they sell Shock Treatment, but the active ingredient isn't Lithium Hypochlorite. Does it really matter?

Also, the reason I'm writing today is because my grandfather wants to know if you know of any solution that would work on clearing out the mildew in a small cellar (about 10 feet in length, by 3 feet wide by 3 feet tall). It's basically painted cement. He has tried adding the charcoal bags (to absorb the smell), and it didn't work. He has a light fixture in there, but I believe it's never turned on.

speedball1 answered on 05/21/03:

Hi Cindy, I answered this once but don't seem able to retrive it so I'll try again. My primary site is ALLExperts.com so I'm not to familiar over here. The last time I answered you I found it repeated three times. Did the shock treatment work for you? If so paint the cellar walls with it. If not then hunt around for AQUA CHEM with Lithium Hypochorite 29% and follow directions. A few tips,
Mix in the ratio of one level teaspoon of powder to one gallon of water. That teaspoon full doesn't look like it will be enough in that big gallon of water but don't be tempted to put more in - the powder is super concentrated and this ratio works very well.
The solution should be kept in a sealed container, plastic bottles with a screw cap work well. Label well to avoid accidents. Transfer as required to a spray bottle but don't store it in the spray bottle since the air vent seems to allow the strength to weaken in a few days. Even in the sealed container it lasts only a few weeks but it is so cheap compared to commercial preparations - go ahead, make another gallon.
On smooth surfaces - paint, vinyl, varnish etc., - spray on, leave a few seconds to work, and wipe off. You can even wet a paper towel and just wipe slowly and it will work. There is no need to rinse the surface, in fact I think the residue inhibits the re-growth of mildew. Hope this helps and thank you for rating my reply, (hope it goes through this time, this site's a hassle to answer on.) Cheers, Tom

Cindy71 rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Question/Answer
Mark128 asked on 05/06/03 - Possible crack in sewer line

I recently had a blocked sewer line so I rented a pipe snake to break up the blockage. Snake would only run about halfway out of the house due to a bend and cleanout half way. My concern now is that I have a sewer like smell as I come in to my family room and I am concerned that maybe the snake cracked the pipe. How can I check for this without cutting up the floor. (NOTE: The blockage was removed about a month ago and have not had a problem until today)

speedball1 answered on 05/06/03:

Something has to be open to smell. Open up the access hole. Is the smell stronger? Is there a crawl space under the floor or are the pipes under cement? It sounds like they are under cement but I just thought I'd check. Are there any fixtures close by that you haven't mentioned? How bout the floor drain in the workshop? Any fixture that might have a faulty trap? Any work done lately besides snaking out the line? Some where the smell has just got to be stronger. Let's nail it down. Cheers, Tom

retiredmanvan rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Question/Answer
Mark128 asked on 05/06/03 - Possible crack in sewer line

I recently had a blocked sewer line so I rented a pipe snake to break up the blockage. Snake would only run about halfway out of the house due to a bend and cleanout half way. My concern now is that I have a sewer like smell as I come in to my family room and I am concerned that maybe the snake cracked the pipe. How can I check for this without cutting up the floor. (NOTE: The blockage was removed about a month ago and have not had a problem until today)

speedball1 answered on 05/06/03:

Good morning Mark, I would be more inclined to look at the fixtures in your family room. Is there a floor drain? Are there any fixtures that arn't used much? Give your family room the "sniff test". If you have a unused floor drain fill the trap with motor oil. That way nothing will evaporate and let sewer gas escape. Was the blockage inside or outside the house? Do any of your traps "gurgle" when you drain or flush anything? Are you saying a month passed between snaking out the line and the bad smell? It's doubtful that you have a broken line. I've asked a lot of questions but I'm trying to localize your problem. Get back to me with all the information you can give me, (Location of your family room, ect.) and we'll go into your smelly problem in detail. Regards, Tom

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Question/Answer
Cindy71 asked on 04/14/03 - bathroom mildew smell

I have a huge problem I can't figure out. First of all, I had sinus surgery about 7 years ago which now causes me to be very, very sensitive to all kinds of smells (not always a good thing).

Anyway, for about 6 months now, every time I turned on the water in the bath tub at home, I would smell a funky mildew smell. I noticed the overflow drain had mildew/mold oozing out of the hole one day (by the way, I never take baths, just showers) and I did my best to toss water in the hole (with lid still on) to remove the mildew/mold. It worked, but it didn't stop the smell. I checked the curtain and found no mildew, but washed the whole tub anyway. That didn't work, so I decided to remove the overflow drain cap and sure enough, the white pipe, was loaded with mold/mildew. I added bleach, vinegar, OxyClean and baking soda to it and scrubed it out (as much as I can). It once again helped, but now, about 2 months later and I can smelled it again. It's much stronger when I turn the hot water on. I've added bleach to the tub drain and it hasn't worked. The smell only occurs when I turn the water on so I'm thinking it has to be coming from the drain, but can't figure out why. I even went down to the basement and took off the ceiling tile (located right below the but drain), and there is a very slow leak (like 2-3 drops per week). About a year ago, we noticed a water stain on the tile (located below the tub drain) so we replaced it and added a shallow plastic plate to catch any drops (to stop the stain). The plate wasn't wet, but there was a calcium water stain on the plate. I know we have to sooner or later repair the leaky pipe, but I don't think that is causing my current problem. The bath tub is made of fiberglass, therefore, unlike grout, mold can't grow without it being obvious.

This is seriously driving me crazy. I've called my husband in the room when the smell is strong, and from time to time he can pick it up, for the most part, he says it's not that bad, but not only do I think it's bad, I want to tear the bathroom apart to fix this little annoying problem.

Could it be coming from the water pipe or simply from the drain and if it is, what can I do to fix it once and for all? I purchased another bottle of bleach yesterday, but I'm not sure how safe pouring bleach down a PVC pipe would be.

Have you heard of mold/mildew growing in drain pipes or do you think it's something else (other than just being something in my head).

Oh, one other thing, in my husband's shower, if he doesn't clean the shower head, there is a redish smily film that covers each and every hole in the shower head... but I've never had that problem in my shower, in fact, I've never experienced seeing any mildew/mold at all.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you provide.

speedball1 answered on 04/16/03:

Him Cindy, I meant leave the water on the hot water tank when you flush it out. I ran across this little ditty on the internet. It doesn't explain much but it sure discribes your situation. There's a little black spot in my sink today
There's some mildew and gunk in my drain
Tried to clean it out but I had no luck
I used Oxi-Clean, Pine Sol and Lime Soft Scrub

I have stood here, trying to clean out my clogged drain
I have used Mr. Clean that smells like scented rain
And these stupid cleaners cause me nothing but pain
But it's my destiny to clean this stupid drain

There's a little black spot in my sink today
There's some gunk in there
There's some mildew and gunk in my drain
There's some gunk in there
Tried to clean it out but I had no luck
There's some gunk in there
I used Oxi-Clean, Pine Sol and Lime Soft Scrub
There's some gunk in there

I have stood here, trying to clean out my clogged drain
I have used Mr. Clean that smells like scented rain
And these stupid cleaners cause me nothing but pain
But it's my destiny to clean this stupid drain

I have done everything, like spraying 409
There's some gunk in there
I've tried Lysol that smells strongly of Lemon-Lime
There's some gunk in there
I have used to cleaning power of blue Tilex
There's some gunk in there
Orange-Glo doesn't work, neither does Windex

I have stood here, trying to clean out my clogged drain
I have used Mr. Clean that smells like scented rain
And these stupid cleaners cause me nothing but pain
But it's my destiny to clean this stupid drain

My sink has some gunk, I wanna get it out
409 doesn't work, neither do bottles of Shout
I have tried spraying bottles of The Works
De-Solv-It, Goo-Gone and Clorox wipes just don't work

Clean my drain!

I am sick of using dirty Swiffer Wipes
There's some gunk in there
There's some mildew clogging up my drain pipes
There's some gunk in there
There's a little black spot in my sink today
There's some mildew and gunk clogging up my drain

I have stood here, trying to clean out my clogged drain
I have used Mr. Clean that smells like scented rain
And these stupid cleaners cause me nothing but pain
But it's my destiny to clean this stupid drain

Clean my drain
Clean my drain
Clean my drain,
Oh will you please clean my drain!
Oh will you please clean my drain!
Oh will you please clean my drain! Who said plumbers don't have a sense of humor?? I would cut back on the temperture control on your water heater. It's costing you money and could give you a bad burn. I'm searching the web for a product or a solution that you haven't tried. I'll get back to you when I find it. Tom

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Question/Answer
Cindy71 asked on 04/14/03 - bathroom mildew smell

I have a huge problem I can't figure out. First of all, I had sinus surgery about 7 years ago which now causes me to be very, very sensitive to all kinds of smells (not always a good thing).

Anyway, for about 6 months now, every time I turned on the water in the bath tub at home, I would smell a funky mildew smell. I noticed the overflow drain had mildew/mold oozing out of the hole one day (by the way, I never take baths, just showers) and I did my best to toss water in the hole (with lid still on) to remove the mildew/mold. It worked, but it didn't stop the smell. I checked the curtain and found no mildew, but washed the whole tub anyway. That didn't work, so I decided to remove the overflow drain cap and sure enough, the white pipe, was loaded with mold/mildew. I added bleach, vinegar, OxyClean and baking soda to it and scrubed it out (as much as I can). It once again helped, but now, about 2 months later and I can smelled it again. It's much stronger when I turn the hot water on. I've added bleach to the tub drain and it hasn't worked. The smell only occurs when I turn the water on so I'm thinking it has to be coming from the drain, but can't figure out why. I even went down to the basement and took off the ceiling tile (located right below the but drain), and there is a very slow leak (like 2-3 drops per week). About a year ago, we noticed a water stain on the tile (located below the tub drain) so we replaced it and added a shallow plastic plate to catch any drops (to stop the stain). The plate wasn't wet, but there was a calcium water stain on the plate. I know we have to sooner or later repair the leaky pipe, but I don't think that is causing my current problem. The bath tub is made of fiberglass, therefore, unlike grout, mold can't grow without it being obvious.

This is seriously driving me crazy. I've called my husband in the room when the smell is strong, and from time to time he can pick it up, for the most part, he says it's not that bad, but not only do I think it's bad, I want to tear the bathroom apart to fix this little annoying problem.

Could it be coming from the water pipe or simply from the drain and if it is, what can I do to fix it once and for all? I purchased another bottle of bleach yesterday, but I'm not sure how safe pouring bleach down a PVC pipe would be.

Have you heard of mold/mildew growing in drain pipes or do you think it's something else (other than just being something in my head).

Oh, one other thing, in my husband's shower, if he doesn't clean the shower head, there is a redish smily film that covers each and every hole in the shower head... but I've never had that problem in my shower, in fact, I've never experienced seeing any mildew/mold at all.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you provide.

speedball1 answered on 04/15/03:

Good morning Cindy, Pouring bleach down PVC pipes won't hurt them. Try flushing the heater before you go the CLR route. Are there any fixtures in the house that you don't use very often? A floor drain or perhaps a unused laundry tray? Do you hear a gurgle when you drain a fixture or flush? Have you considered a house filter? I'm still eyeballing the heater but it's very possible that you nay have two sources for the smell Hang in there, you're getting very good feedback from the other experts. Between us we'll solve your stinky problem, if not sooner then later. PS Thanks for the rate. Tom

Cindy71 rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer
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Question/Answer
Cindy71 asked on 04/14/03 - bathroom mildew smell

I have a huge problem I can't figure out. First of all, I had sinus surgery about 7 years ago which now causes me to be very, very sensitive to all kinds of smells (not always a good thing).

Anyway, for about 6 months now, every time I turned on the water in the bath tub at home, I would smell a funky mildew smell. I noticed the overflow drain had mildew/mold oozing out of the hole one day (by the way, I never take baths, just showers) and I did my best to toss water in the hole (with lid still on) to remove the mildew/mold. It worked, but it didn't stop the smell. I checked the curtain and found no mildew, but washed the whole tub anyway. That didn't work, so I decided to remove the overflow drain cap and sure enough, the white pipe, was loaded with mold/mildew. I added bleach, vinegar, OxyClean and baking soda to it and scrubed it out (as much as I can). It once again helped, but now, about 2 months later and I can smelled it again. It's much stronger when I turn the hot water on. I've added bleach to the tub drain and it hasn't worked. The smell only occurs when I turn the water on so I'm thinking it has to be coming from the drain, but can't figure out why. I even went down to the basement and took off the ceiling tile (located right below the but drain), and there is a very slow leak (like 2-3 drops per week). About a year ago, we noticed a water stain on the tile (located below the tub drain) so we replaced it and added a shallow plastic plate to catch any drops (to stop the stain). The plate wasn't wet, but there was a calcium water stain on the plate. I know we have to sooner or later repair the leaky pipe, but I don't think that is causing my current problem. The bath tub is made of fiberglass, therefore, unlike grout, mold can't grow without it being obvious.

This is seriously driving me crazy. I've called my husband in the room when the smell is strong, and from time to time he can pick it up, for the most part, he says it's not that bad, but not only do I think it's bad, I want to tear the bathroom apart to fix this little annoying problem.

Could it be coming from the water pipe or simply from the drain and if it is, what can I do to fix it once and for all? I purchased another bottle of bleach yesterday, but I'm not sure how safe pouring bleach down a PVC pipe would be.

Have you heard of mold/mildew growing in drain pipes or do you think it's something else (other than just being something in my head).

Oh, one other thing, in my husband's shower, if he doesn't clean the shower head, there is a redish smily film that covers each and every hole in the shower head... but I've never had that problem in my shower, in fact, I've never experienced seeing any mildew/mold at all.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you provide.

speedball1 answered on 04/14/03:

Hey Cindy, The other guys gave you great advice but the fact the it's worse when you turn on the hot water caught my attention. Could this be the smell you smell when you turn hot water. Certain types of bacteria can react with the magnesium anode rod resulting in a rotten egg odor. Changing the anode rod to aluminum usually will solve the problem. If the smell persists Clean the tank using chlorine bleach. Also do you flush your heater on a regular basis. To flush the heater, first connect a hose to the boiler drain located at the base of the tank. Now, WITH THE WATER LEFT ON,( you are flushing not draining), open the boiler drain. You will see a spurt of red,(rust), followed by white or yellow grains,(calcium carbonate or lime). The whole thing shouldn't take more then a few minutes. In extreme cases the tank may have to be drained and a solvent, (such as CLR) left in the tank to dissolve the mineral buildup. But try flushing first. Do this every month or so. Your heater will thank you by lasting longer and operating quieter. Good luck, Tom

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Question/Answer
Arizonamike asked on 03/11/03 - septic tank

We had our 20 year old septic tank pumped out last year. Lately, in addition to foul smells occasionally coming from the backyard, we have noticed moist ground and heavy plant growth around where the septic tank is. Yes, sounds like it's plugged up alright. Found the hole in the top, covered by a rock, and there is standing water almost to the top. What are our options short of getting the whole darn thing dug up? Do these enzyme treatments work that are supposed to clear pipes and drain areas? Anybody got a reccomendation that won't cost us an arm and a leg and really works? Thanks. Mike and Barb

speedball1 answered on 03/22/03:

Hey Mike, You have a filter bed/drain field that's clogged to the point where it will not disperse the liquid the septic tank puts in to it so the tank fills up and over flows. The answer is to pump the tank, bite the bullet and move the filter bed. Voiceguy gave you good advice. Let me add to it. : Since the septic tank is such an essential part of a sewage system, here are some points to remember about the "care and feeding" of that part of the onsite sewage treatment system.
A "starter" is not needed for bacterial action to begin in a septic tank. Many bacteria are present in the materials deposited into the tank and will thrive under the growth conditions present.
If you feel that an additive is needed, be aware that some may do great harm. Additives that advertise to "eliminate" tank cleaning may cause the sludge layer to fluff up and be washed out into the drainfield, plugging soil pores. Some additives, particularly degreasers, may contain carcinogens (cancer-causing) or suspected carcinogens that will flow into the ground water along with the water from the soil treatment unit.
Send all sewage into the septic tank. Don't run laundry wastes directly into the drainfield, since soap or detergent scum will plug the soil pores, causing failure.
Normal amounts of household detergents, bleaches, drain cleaners, and other household chemicals can be used and won't stop the bacterial action in the septic tank. But don't use excessive amounts of any household chemicals. Do not dump cleaning water for latex paint brushes and cans into the house sewer.
Don't deposit coffee grounds, cooking fats, wet-strength towels, disposable diapers, facial tissues, cigarette butts, and other non-decomposable materials into the house sewer. These materials won't decompose and will fill the septic tank and plug the system. To use a 5-gallon toilet flush to get rid of a cigarette butt is also very wasteful of water. Keep an ash tray in the bathroom, if necessary.
Avoid dumping grease down the drain. It may plug sewer pipes or build up in the septic tank and plug the inlet. Keep a separate container for waste grease and throw it out with the garbage.
If you must use a garbage disposal, you will likely need to remove septic tank solids every year or more often. Ground garbage will likely find its way out of the septic tank and plug up the drainfield. It is better to compost, incinerate, or deposit the materials in the garbage that will be hauled away. As one ad says, "You can pay me now, or pay me later."
Clean your septic tank every 1 to 3 years. How often depends on the size of the tank and how many solids go into it. A rule of thumb is once every 3 years for a 1,000 gallon tank serving a 3-bedroom home with 4 occupants (and with no garbage disposal).
Using too much soap or detergent can cause problems with the septic system. It is difficult to estimate how dirty a load of laundry is, and most people use far more cleaning power than is needed. If there are lots of suds in your laundry tub when the washer discharges, cut back on the amount of detergent for the next similar load. It's generally best not to use inexpensive detergents which may contain excessive amounts of filler or carrier. Some of these fillers are montmorillonite clay, which- is used to seal soils! The best solution may be to use a liquid laundry detergent, since they are less likely to have carriers or fillers that may harm the septic system.
Each septic system has a certain capacity. When this capacity is reached or exceeded, there will likely be problems because the system won't take as much sewage as you want to discharge into it. When the onsite sewage treatment system reaches its daily capacity, be conservative with your use of water. Each gallon of water that flows into the drain must go through the septic tank and into the soil absorption unit. Following are some ways to conserve water that should cause little hardship in anyone's standard of living:
Be sure that there are no leaking faucets or other plumbing fixtures. Routinely check the float valve on all toilets to be sure it isn't sticking and the water isn't running continuously. It doesn't take long for the water from a leaking toilet or a faucet to add up. A cup of water leaking out of a toilet every minute doesn't seem like much but that's 90 gallons a day! So be sure that there is no water flowing into the sewer when all water-using appliances are supposed to be off.
The most effective way to reduce the sewage flow from a house is to reduce the toilet wastes, which usually account for about 40 percent of the sewage flow. Many toilets use 5 to 6 gallons per flush. Some of the so-called low water use toilets are advertised to use only 3.5 gallons per flush. Usually the design of the bowl hasn't been changed, however, and often two flushes are needed to remove all solids. That's 7 gallons! Toilets are available which have been redesigned and will do a good job with one gallon or less per flush. Using a 1-gallon toilet rather than a 5 gallon toilet will reduce sewage flows from a home by about a third. This reduction may be more than enough to make the sewage system function again. While prices may vary, 1-gallon toilets can usually be purchased in the $200 range, far less than the cost of a new sewage treatment system.
With a water meter you can determine how much water your automatic washer uses per cycle. Many washers now have settings to reduce the amount of water used for small loads. Front loading washers and suds savers use less water than top loading machines. If your sewage treatment system is reaching its maximum capacity, try to spread the washing out during the week to avoid overloading the sewage system on a single day.
Baths and showers can use lots of water. "Setting up camp" in the shower with a shower head flow of 5 gallons per minute will require 100 gallons in 20 minutes. Shower heads that limit the flow to 1.5 or 2 gallons per minute are available and should be used. Filling the tub not quite so full and limiting the length of showers will result in appreciable water savings.
Is the water from the faucet cold enough to drink? How long do you let it run to cool down? Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator. Then it won't be necessary to run water from your faucets in order to get a cool drink.
There may be other ways to conserve water that you can think of in your home. The main idea is to consider water as a valuable resource and not to waste it.
Following a few simple rules like not using too much water and not depositing materials in the septic tank that bacteria can't decompose should help to make a septic system trouble-free for many years. But don't forget the septic tank does need to be cleaned out when too many solids build up. Septic tanks need tender, loving care, too! Good luck. TOM

Question/Answer
DILLIGAS asked on 03/22/03 - Serial or Parallel Second Hot Water Heater Instllation

I replaced an aging Hot Water Heater in my house about two years ago. The unit that was in place was a Pennsylvania-White 82 Gallon, Electric dinosaur. I replaced it with an American Water Company 46.5 Gallon Electric Water Heater; (Model E61-50L-045DV). Now I am running into a problem. I now have a child and the needs of hot water have gone up drastically. Additionally, if we have another, then they ill go through the roof in the future.

I would like to put in another exactly similar model. (I have access to a distributor of these HWH’s and can get them at cost, so that may rule out having plumber do the work for a reasonable amount.) I would place it in a walk in closet in the Master Bedroom, (This happens to be the location of the other unit, and is the exact center of the house. Additionally, all the plumbing and access via the attic and crawlspace is radially convenient.)

OK, the house is a ingle story rancher, 3 full baths, two standard tubs and one spa in those three baths. A single washer and one kitchen sink. The piping is ¾ inch copper to all the main runs in the house.

I am on a well system with a 2.5 HP Pump, 95 Gallon Pressure Tank, Water Softener, Resin Exchange System.

My main question is:

Should I install the HWH in parallel or serial? Mainly, I am confused as to the benefits of doing it one way to the other. By doing it serial, I would be heating the water that comes in one unit, and then passing that water off to the next one where the heating would be minimal. Additionally, I would not deplete my hot water as radially, because I am not putting cold water into both of the HWH’s

The location is wonderful. The old HWH was located on the top of a closet in the Walk-In Closet, under it was a safe, and I removed the old, and fit the new HWH into the space that the safe was in. Now if I add an additional HWH, then I would just place it on top, frame and rock the area around it, and benefit from the insulation properties of the enclosure, and the benefit of the esthetics of it not being seen, as the other is enclosed now also.

Any information that I can get on the benefits of either parallel or serial installation of the second HWH would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

DILLIGAS

speedball1 answered on 03/22/03:

Hey Dill, The main advantage of running your heaters in series is for those bathrooms that takes forever to get hot water to the master bath the end of the house while the heater sets in the garage. No.#1 heater would be tied in series to the No.#2 heater set much closer to the master bath. This insures no lag when you draw on hot water. I can see no advantage to run them in series if they are side by side. However, you have stated that your hot water demand will be increased drastically. In series you will be drawing out of a 46.5 gal. tank with the power load on the first heater. By hooking them up in parallel you have a draw of 93 gals. and the load will be split evenly. If your problem was a loss of hot water due to distance I would opt for series, but since you wish more volume I'm going to have to go with a parallel hook up. Good luck, Tom

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Question/Answer
DILLIGAS asked on 10/29/02 - Misting cooling system for outdoor use

I have a home in Southern NJ, not the Sahara, but we do get some pretty darned hot weather her e during the summer months. I have been looking around for a method of cooling a non-enclosed porch on the north facing side of my home. The dimensions are 30 feet wide, 15 feet deep, and the roof is 10.5 feet tall. I have ready access to water, so that is what prompted me to this methods: Water misting, like the casinos in Las Vegas. I have found a few companies that sell the products (www.azmist.com) , but would like more information from some one that may have experience with this type of system. Also, the plumbing involved is questionable. I have a well system, and a water softening system, will that produce buildup on the nozzles? Are there points that I have not yet covered that I should speak with someone about before investing in this system? Thanks, DILLIGAS

speedball1 answered on 10/29/02:

Are there points that I have not yet covered that I should speak with someone about before investing in this system? There sure are Dill. A evaporation/mist system works best in a very dry climate. Its not the heat index that disturbs me but the humidity. To mist the almost 5000 square feet in your porch area you would have to mist all the open sides. What happens if you get a strong breeze blowing that mist in to your porch area? Even FogCo tells you that in the best of conditions that in 90% humidity would get a drop of 0 to 10 degrees. and thats with no breeze. At 40 to 90% of humidity 0 to 20 degrees. Mist and evaporation systems work real well in very dry climates. My daughter in Denver has one that works very well. However I live in Florida where we have very high humidity. One of those systems would just get me wetter. Let me make a sugestion and save you some large scale bucks. Cool outside porch areas the way we do. Install ceiling fans to cover the area. This is what we do here and we get a few hot days too. I hope Ive helped with your question even if it wasnt just what you wanted to hear. Good luck, Tom

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