Repair A Leaking Outdoor Tap

Outdoor PLumbing

Outside water spigots are one of the most common sources of water leak around the home. Do you need advice about how to repair a leaking outdoor tap? Sometimes they only leak when the water is turned on. In more extreme cases they leak all the time, sometimes a small drip, other times a serious flow. But all these problems are easy and inexpensive to repair.

If the spigot only leaks when the valve is turned counter clockwise, it may well be just a worn rubber grommet at the base of the valve stem. Like most rubber washers they eventually get compressed or develop small holes.

That’s easy to fix with a cheap, temporary repair job. Remove the nut that fits onto the spigot in which the stem sits. Grab a foot long length of Teflon plumber’s tape and wrap it around the base of the stem behind the nut. Get the tape in as far as you can and wind it over and over itself. Then tighten the nut to compress the tape back against the washer. That will stop many small leaks.

Be sure to check the other side of the pipe to which the spigot attaches, though. It’s possible to plug up one leak, only to cause the water to find another way out. If there is more than one hole, water will now drip inside the house. Not a good situation.

For more extensive leaks, replacing the sillcock (as it’s called) is generally fairly easy. It may require two people, though – one on the outside of the house and another in the crawlspace where the pipe enters the house.

Shut off the main valve to ensure no water will flow when you remove the old spigot and sillcock of the leaking outdoor tap.

The sillcock that supports the spigot is usually a 10-12 inch piece of threaded pipe that winds onto a water supply pipe inside the house. It takes only moderate force to unwind it in some cases. For those that have been on a long time, small amounts of oxidation can cause the sillcock to be stuck on firmly.

For those cases, a good pair of vice grips or a pipe wrench can be used on the inside of the sillcock. The threads are usually grooved in front of a nut that is an integrated part of the pipe leading to the outside spigot. Attach the wrench firmly to the ‘nut’ to ensure there’s no slippage. You don’t want to strip the metal smooth.

Give a good yank while keeping the pipe to which it’s attached still. That can be accomplished by using a good pair of wide-jaw pliers gripped and directed in the opposite direction. It’s important not to twist the pipe the sillcock threads onto, since it can be broken. That would lead to a job requiring welding or replacement of an entire length of pipe.

Sillcocks are usually no more than $10, even the anti-siphon style that prevents trapped frozen water from breaking the pipe. They screw back on easily. Just wind on a length of Teflon plumber’s tape in the right direction first. Make sure the tape is stretched tighter not loosened as you wind on the new sillcock.

We hope you have got some useful information about repairing a leaking outdoor tap from our Home Improvement Experts.

If you have any DIY tips you would like to share, visit our about us page and leave a comment.

Install Bathroom Vanity Units With Sink

classic bathroom

One of the best ways to make a big change in the look of your old bathrooms is to bathroom vanity units with sink. While installing a new vanity isn’t the easiest do-it-yourself project to undertake. it can be one of the most rewarding. At the end, you have a whole new area that is not only functional but livens up the bathroom decor.

Removing the old sink and cabinetry is the first step, of course. As always, turn off any water valves and open the tap to get as much out of the pipes as possible before disconnecting the hoses and pipes.

One literal sticking point is that most will be attached to the wall not only by easy-to-remove screws, but by caulk as well. That requires a patient, but necessary, slow chipping away with a utility knife until the sink is free of the wall and/or floor. The alternative is to simply rip it out, creating a much larger refinishing job at the end.

Once the old stuff is gone the fun begins.

Some re-finishing will be helpful. With such an open and easily accessible area, it’s the perfect time to do any needed sanding. Some will be tempted to paint or wallpaper at this stage. That’s an option but keep in mind that it really raises the bar on the need to be careful putting the new vanity in place.

Measure the height from the floor and distance from one wall of all pipes and hoses. We assume you considered those before buying a replacement to fit the space. So this step is to ensure that the replacement slides in to just the right place.

Part of that effort may involve cutting and/or drilling any needed holes in the back of the new vanity. Hot and cold water hoses have to snake through these in the under-the-sink section. Ditto the drain pipe(s) from the wall.

Now for a key task: make sure that everything is level.

Very few floors are perfectly level and even a custom-made vanity will not have had the base cut to compensate. The easiest way to deal with the problem is to shim around the base to prevent any wobble or excess pressure on one side. Then the remainder can be caulked to close up any gaps.

It’s theoretically possible to shave the base of the vanity instead, but the effort would rarely be worth the trouble. It is important to consider this before fitting your bathroom vanity units with sink.

Once that’s taken care of, the easy steps are all that’s left. Locate a couple of wall studs behind the vanity and under the countertop. Use them to provide a secure mounting area to fasten the nailer (a flat section of the vanity at the rear) to the wall. Pre-drill a couple of holes with a bit a little smaller than the wood screws. Then fasten.

Lay a bead of plumber’s putty around the rim of the vanity for the sink and lower the sink into place. It will squeeze out some of the putty, top and bottom. Scrape the excess from the top using a cuticle tool or ice cream stick, then wipe the remainder off with a slightly damp sponge before it dries.

We hope you have got some useful information about how to install a bathroom vanity units with sink from our Home Improvement Experts.

If you have any DIY tips you would like to share, visit our about us page and leave a comment.

DIY Bathroom Drain Repair

Bathtub Drain Repair

Bathtub drains seem like they attract clogs. At some point you may require bathroom drain repair. And eventually you’ll find you will need to repair or replace one.

Bathroom drains tend to require maintenance or repair a little more often than those in the kitchen. The bath has no garbage disposal and the kitchen drain doesn’t get anywhere near as much hair. The sink drain is the most likely culprit. Hand soap, toothpaste, hair and other things tend to gum it up.

Bathtub Drain Repair – DIY Tips for Replacing Bathtub Drains

A mixture of a 1/4 cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar is an inexpensive home remedy that will unclog many plugs. It has the added advantage of removing calcium carbonate (the white chalky deposits), which opens up the pipe and clears the space between the sink flange and the stopper. If that’s not strong enough, use a commercial drain opener chemical. They’re safe for the pipes and the environment. They degrade rapidly.

For more stubborn cases, just remove the U-shaped pipe under the sink (sometimes called a trap or trap bend). Ninety-percent of anything that fell down the drain or is gumming up the works will get trapped at the bottom of the ‘U’. Clear it out, apply Teflon plumber’s tape and replace the pipe. Be sure to wrap the tape in a direction that tightens it into the threads as you secure the nut, rather than unwinds it.

The bathtub drain represents a more difficult problem. Obviously so, since it’s harder to get at the hardware underneath the tub. They usually come with a screen to prevent problems, but as time goes on it often gets knocked out of the way or removed. Then hair, shampoo caps and a dozen other things end up in the drain.

A plumber’s snake (also called an ‘auger’) can help remove stubborn clogs. Some have small ‘fingers’ on the end that can be clamped together to retrieve a fallen object.

Many designs have a stopper that can be pushed down or pulled up to open or close the drain. This offers a solution to bathroom drain repair. They simply unscrew, giving some access to the drain. Others operate by a lever built in to the tub. Removing the overflow plate gives access to an assembly that can be removed. That will release the drain stopper.

In more extreme cases, it may be necessary to replace the drain. Below the stopper is a metal fitting (sometimes called a ‘drain basket’) with a pair of metal pieces in the shape of an X. A dumbbell wrench (sometimes called a ‘basket wrench’) is used to remove it.

If that doesn’t give enough access to remove anything inside, it will be necessary to remove a section of wall to get to the drain and overflow pipes. Consider having a professional do this. If you want to proceed, the replacement kits are not expensive, around £15.

Once you have access to the area, the assembly is relatively easy to remove with a standard pipe wrench or wide-jaw pliers to get loose the slip-joint nuts. Seat the new parts in place and adjust the rod to the correct length to open and close the stopper. Then use Teflon plumber’s tape on the pipes and plumber’s putty on the drain flange to seal the new parts properly.

We hope you have got some useful information about DIY  bathroom drain repair from our Home Improvement Experts.

If you have any DIY tips you would like to share, visit our about us page and leave a comment.

Anti Siphon Valve Installation To Protect Plumbing

plumbing tools

You can use anti siphon valve installation to protect plumbing. Anti-siphon faucets are a must have for homeowners who live in cold winter climates. For just a few dollars you can avoid having to replace an outdoor spigot due to low temperatures. Let’s take a look at how an anti siphon faucet works.

In areas where winter temperatures get below 20F/-7C, it’s possible for trapped water in the spigot and sillcock to freeze and expand. The figure is approximate. It’s certainly possible for that same water to freeze at 32F/0C, but heat from the house helps lower the ‘danger point’ temperature somewhat.

Protect Plumbing From Freezing with Anti Siphon Valves

That ice now presents two possible problems, similar to those that cause pipes under the house to sometimes burst in winter.

The ice takes up more room than the water did. You can test that by filling a cup exactly to the rim with water then putting it into the freezer. You’ll note that the ice sticks slightly above the rim. That extra volume is no problem when the top is open. But when the water/ice has nowhere to expand, it raises the pressure on the container. Raise it enough and you can break a seal.

The major effect, though, is due to the fact that the pressure builds up beyond the ice block. Air and water have nowhere to go. The air is compressible, but any trapped water will create high pressure on the internal parts of the sillcock and spigot. Even strong metals, made more brittle by the cold anyway, can be split. Plastic and cold-hardened rubber are doomed.

When the weather warms again and everything melts, you now have a spigot with a crack. If it doesn’t leak spontaneously, turning it on will guarantee a drip or worse. This is when you may require anti siphon valve installation.

An anti-siphon spigot contains an additional mechanism beyond the ordinary outdoor water faucet. Hoses attach like normal, but inside and out they have features to prevent the spigot from bursting due to ice blockage and expansion.

A few things help prevent the anti-siphon spigot from cracking like an ordinary one.

The seal/valve that actually shuts off the water flow is further back in the sillcock – inside the house, which is warmer. That helps prevent cold temperatures from reaching the water. More helpful still is the ability of the sillcock to withdraw water away from areas where ice buildup can be a problem. It keeps the water from remaining near seals that can be frozen and cracked by low temperatures.

But most importantly, the design of the sillcock/spigot allows for the relief of pressure for any ice that does form. It gives a place for expanding water to go when pressure builds up in other parts of the sillcock/spigot.

Even so, in warm conditions and with normal use, it’s possible for anti-siphon spigots to leak out the top pressure-relieving spout or elsewhere. Kits with replacement seals and other internal parts are available for a few dollars. For those who prefer to repair rather than replace, or if the other end of the sillcock is difficult to access, these kits can save money and time.

We hope you have got some useful information about anti siphon valve installation from our Home Improvement Experts.

If you have any DIY tips you would like to share, visit our about us page and leave a comment.

What Is The Best Plumbing Pipe Leak Sealer?

under sink plumbing

What is the best plumbing pipe leak sealer? What are the best methods for preventing plumbing leaks – Plumbers Putty or Pipe Tape?

Sealing pipes and hoses during plumbing projects is critical. But how to do that correctly can be a little trickier than you might think.

The first tip follows the old mechanic’s rule: the right tool for the right job.

Plumbers Putty or Pipe Tape?

Select sealant according to its proper purpose. Use plumber’s putty for securing sink flanges when installing a garbage disposal unit. Use special-made toilet bowl grease to seal the base of the bowl to the trap (the hole or pipe out which the water is flushed). Use silicon caulk for shower pipes and spouts. And so on.

Never be tempted to substitute, for example, PVC pipe glue to seal a flange or sink where plumber’s putty is called for. Don’t use it to secure hoses. You’ll never get them loose again and, someday, they will have to be replaced.

Be sparing but not stingy.

The right amount of plumber’s putty, say a 1/4 inch bead around the rim of a newly installed sink, makes for a good seal. Use too much and you have an unsightly mess. Too little and you can end up with small holes or cracks that lead to leaks.

Remove any excess before it can dry, but take care not to wipe so strongly that you take away what’s supposed to be there. Also, excess sealant, whether plumber’s putty or silicon caulk, can leave ridges that give you something to bump against with a pan or knife. That can lead to tearing. Simply wipe the excess with a finger or slightly damp sponge shortly after application. Then, carefully wipe up any smears before they dry.

Be generous with Teflon plumber’s tape.

Teflon plumber’s tape is a great plumbing pipe leak sealer. It is possible to use too much, leading to small channels through which water can escape. But it’s rare. It’s extremely flexible and compressible. That makes it hard to overdo the job. However, if you wind on too much it can make fitting on a new hose or threading a pipe difficult or impossible.

Wind it in the proper direction.

When fitting on a hose, it doesn’t matter which way the tape is wound. But if the project calls for threading on a pipe, twisting can undo the Teflon tape. Wind the tape so that the tail points in the direction you will wind onto. That way, as you tighten the fitting, you’re stretching the plumber’s tape further. That leads to a good tight seal, rather than loosening the tape and making it useless.

Avoid torn ends.

Sometimes it will be a lot easier to simply stretch the tape until it breaks or tear it with your teeth. When you’re under the sink on your back with only one hand, the temptation to do that is large. Resist it. Sometimes you’ll get away with it. Many times, it will lead to re-doing the job after you’ve already tightened on the new fitting.

A clean end at the beginning allows the Teflon tape to seat into threads without leaving ragged high spots. Ditto on the tail. In either case, a ragged edge produces an uneven layer that will encourage small cracks. Water drips are not far behind.

Use sealants and tape according to their design and you’ll have a well-sealed hose or pipe. That eliminates water damage and messes… and the need to re-do the job.

We hope you have got some useful information about using plumbing pipe leak sealer from our Home Improvement Experts.

If you have any DIY tips you would like to share, visit our about us page and leave a comment.

Ideas For Bathroom Decor: Curtains and Rods

bathrooms design

Are you looking for ideas for bathroom decor? Bathrooms are often a great place to add a little decorating touch. Many homes have more than one bathroom, so you can have multiple themes that fit the primary occupant’s tastes, and you can make each one unique. One way to add that individual touch is with a unique shower curtain and rods, or even a unique toilet seat.

Bathroom with wooden features
Bathroom with wooden features. Aaron Huber @aahubs

These relatively simple items serve that dual goal mentioned above. They provide a function: to keep the water from the shower inside the shower and off the bathroom floor. But they are also a major contributor to the look of the whole bath.

Enter the bathroom of a friend or acquaintance. You might first see the lovely brass sink fixtures or an outstanding vanity. But you can’t escape noticing very soon the beautiful shower curtain and the elegant rod that holds it in place.

Like curtains for other rooms, they reflect the personality of the occupant. They give an opportunity to create a design scheme that is reflected in the towels, the washcloth holder, and other decorative and useful bathroom elements.

For the kids’ bath it might be something fun, say a superhero theme. Spiderman can protect the floor from water while the kids battle that evil grime they picked up outside. Younger children may like the look of their favorite cartoon character displayed near the tub. It can encourage a reluctant one to get in it.

For the parents, a country theme might be just what is called for. A scene of bears in a forest, sharpening their claws on tall pines, can provide an atmosphere of calming nature. At the same time the deep greens and browns offer a color scheme that can be reflected in the towels.

But don’t forget about the curtain rod.

Though they get second billing, they are still vital to integrate with the total design. Why spend good money getting the perfect light muslin shower curtain for a sailing theme, only to spoil it with a cheap white plastic rod? Instead, look for an elegant chrome or brass to complete the appearance of ship’s gear.

Look for one that offers more than just a sturdy straight line from one wall to the next. Look for something that has ends designed to match the rest of the decorating effort. These are great ideas for bathroom décor.

In the sailing case, that might be something as simple as hooked ends to resemble a cleat used to tie off a sail. In the kids’ case it might have a cute little faux-wrought iron web near the wall. In the country theme it might have the color and shape of a tree limb.

In all cases the rod and curtain either form the base of or continue the scheme of the whole bathroom. That expands this utilitarian space into another room full of beauty. After all, most people spend more than 5% of their waking day in the bathroom. Make it a pleasant place to be with the right shower rod and curtain.

We hope you have got some useful information about ideas for bathroom décor from our Home Improvement Experts.

If you have any DIY tips you would like to share, visit our about us page and leave a comment.

Tips for How to Clean Aircon

Wall-mounted air conditioning unit

Are you looking for tips for how to clean aircon? Blocked air conditioning drain pipes can lead to some pretty dramatic problems in your attic. But cleaning them out can be a simple chore for the homeowner if done before it becomes an emergency. Here are a few tips on cleaning air conditioner drain pipes.

Reverse cycle air conditioners (whether they be ducted or ductless) will condensate during their use. Condensation is water produced by the heating/cooling process. The condensation occurs when the water in the atmosphere comes up against a cool or warm surface (such as that of an air conditioner).

Whether you have noticed it or not, there is a drain that runs from your air conditioning system that releases the condensation from your air conditioning unit. This condensation runs down the drain pipes that are usually white and made of pvc and are about an inch in diameter.

When people see water coming out of these condensation pipes they often panic fearing their air conditioner must be broken. The condensation that is released however is perfectly natural and is a good sign that your air conditioner is running effectively.

Sometimes however, the condensation may stop flowing. If you do not find the cause of the drains not flowing, you could be up for an expensive repair bill. If the drains for your ducted air conditioner stop working, you may find the ceiling will leak or show wet patches. If your ductless (wall split) air conditioner’s drains stop working, water will most likely leak down your wall and onto your floor.

You can usually check the drains of your system quite easily. If you have a ducted air conditioning system, get up in the roof and have a look at your condensation pipes. Make sure the pipes are running downhill across the length of your roof to the outside. If any part of the pipe is higher than where the pipe initially starts at the unit, the water will not drain and you will have problems.

Often tradesmen or labourers who go up in your roof might accidently trip or push one of these pipes unwittingly which can cause a host of problems. If you have recently had a tradesman in your roof it is probably a good time to test your air conditioning drains.  You will need to find someone who knows how to clean aircon.

Air conditioning cleaning

You may also need to make sure nothing is jamming up the air conditioning condensation pipes. Insects and algae can really block up air conditioning condensation pipes. To alleviate this, try running a plastic snake or wire up and down the pipe to remove any solid particles. You can do this both in the roof space and where the pipes come out outside. To remove any algae not removed by the snake/wire, prepare a water/bleach solution in warm water and run this down the pipes to kill off any excess algae.

Once this has been done, your air conditioning pipes should be clear. Test by running water through the pipes in the roof and have someone outside watching to make sure this water runs steadily out of the pipes. If this is still not working, call in a professional who may use compressed air to free your drains.

When cleaning pipes for ductless (wall split) units, go outside and run a snake or wire up the pipe to remove any obstructions. If this does not solve the problem, seek the advice of a professional.

We hope you now have a better idea of how to clean aircon. So get out there today and have a look to make sure your air conditioners drains are working. If not, be cautious as a water damaged ceiling or wall can cost thousands to repair down the track.

We hope you have got some useful information about tips for how to clean aircon from our Home Improvement Experts.

If you have any DIY tips you would like to share, visit our about us page and leave a comment.

Plumbing Tips for Preventing Pipe Freeze

Plumbing tips

As winter approaches on chore to make sure we do is to take steps to avoid having your pipes freezing in the colder nights. Pipe freeze isn’t the only problem.

After all, copper pipes can get to temperatures far below the freezing point of water without cracking. But too often it is accompanied by an ice blockage inside the pipe. That can lead to a pressure build up that ultimately bursts the pipe. Not only do you lose the ability to get water from the faucet, but now have the larger problem of clean up and repair.

In many homes, the odds of a burst pipe in winter from low temperatures are very low. But others have exposed pipes in crawlspaces or elsewhere. It takes only a modest opening around the base of the house to let in winds that can chill pipes to sub-freezing temperatures.

Even without that exposure, temperatures below about 20F/-6.7C present higher odds of ice forming inside pipes that will plug them up. Fortunately, to prevent that is usually straightforward and typically very inexpensive.

One old-fashioned remedy to avoid pipe freeze still works well: opening up the faucets to a slow drip.

Running water is slightly less susceptible to freezing than still water. But the main effect comes from simply opening the valve. That allows air and water to move, reducing any pressure build-up in front of the ice blockage. That gives the pressure ’somewhere to go’… somewhere other than pressing out the sides of the pipe, i.e. causing a break.

But there’s another old-fashioned saying that’s useful here: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Preventing the pipes from getting too cold in the first place reduces the odds to near zero of having a break.

One way to accomplish that is to wrap them with low-cost insulating foam.

The foam itself supplies no heat. But it helps the pipes and water retain any heat they have. Water and pipes at, say 35F/1.7C, will tend not to go below freezing if they retain the heat present in the water and pipe before the temperatures outside dipped.

The foam comes in different forms. One popular style is a long, flat rectangle that curls into a cylinder. The cylinder formed is the circumference of the pipe. That makes it easy to wrap the pipe along its length and simple to cut the rectangle to the proper length and/or width.

If you want to prevent pipe freeze try this tip. It’s inexpensive, easy to install and easy to replace.

Another method is more costly and a little more difficult to install. But it has the advantage of protecting pipes no matter what the temperature. Foam will only retain heat up to a point. Some is always lost. Installing a heating system for the water pipes is as sure a thing as possible.

There are two basic types: wires or tape along the pipe, and a circulating system.

The first type is simply a wire or tape containing one that sits along the surface of the pipe. Electricity passes through it and heats the wire, which transfers heat to the pipe and the water inside. Costs vary, but if it’s properly installed the method is nearly foolproof.

The second type is a little more expensive, but uses existing facilities. Sometimes it’s already built into the home. In this technique, hot water from the water heater is pumped slowly through the pipes. Cold water is circulated back into the heater. The system operates automatically via an in-built thermostat and pump that is put in the water line.

It costs a little more to run, because the system heats and re-heats water that isn’t being used. But it is the surest way to prevent any ice blockage. Any ice that forms will be quickly melted by the warm water before it can become a problem.

We hope you have got some useful information about preventing pipe freeze from our Home Improvement Experts.

If you have any DIY tips you would like to share, visit our about us page and leave a comment.