Quick Plumbing Fixes

quick-plumbing-fixesThe holiday season is fast approaching. So, now is the best time to check and make those needed plumbing repairs. These tips make this sometimes-daunting task simple and easy for anyone to do.

Repairing a dripping faucet
The newer faucets without washers are relatively easy to repair. Anyone with average “fix-it” abilities can fix a drip or leak. The hardest part is determining the type and brand of faucet.


Look for a brand name on the handle, spout or base of the faucet. Take a picture if necessary.

Ball type faucet-the base of the handle has a circular fitting.

Barrel cartridge or disk type faucet-the handle moves up and down for volume and left and right for temperature

If you go it alone in the store, you’ll need to locate parts based on the brand, type and appearance of the faucet. Most of the repair part packages will have sketches of the faucets and descriptions of parts.
Once you have the correct repair kit, read the instructions on how to dismantle and repair the faucet. Some kits also include special equipment you’ll need, such as an Allen or spanner wrench.

Dripping Interior Valves
Sometimes an indoor valve (e.g. a basement valve for an outside water connection) develops a slow drip. Fixing it Is simple. If you take the time to look closely at the valve, you’ll see that the handle is mounted on a round brass stem or shaft. The shaft enters the body of the valve through a hole in a hex nut. If you tighten this hex nut (packing nut), the leak should stop. You only need to tighten this packing nut slightly to stop the drip.

Dripping Water Heater
On the side of the water heater is a temperature/pressure valve with a handle. This valve is designed as a safety measure. In the event that the water heater overheats and creates excessive pressure the valve will open.
When the valve develops a leak, water runs down the tube and drips on the floor. A leaky valve should be replaced because the leak can get worse. Also, the constant flow of water can corrode or seal shut the valve with hard water scale. A new valve costs about $20 and takes approximately 30 minutes or less to install.

Garbage Disposal repair and tips
Even if you do not frequently use it run the disposal every once in a while to prevent the buildup of any food or waste. If you leave it out of operation, it will eventually freeze up and be ruined.

If you do use your garbage disposal fairly regularly and it simply stopped working it is a fairly easy fix. Turn the unit off at the wall switch. Then look under the sink and locate a small red button on the base of the unit. This is the electrical reset. If the unit is no longer humming, it probably means the overload has been tripped. Push this button in to reset the thermal overload/reset.
Try to switch the unit on. If the unit now hums but will not run, turn it off immediately. You have a jam in the disposal that needs to be cleared.

Check under the sink for a small L-shaped service wrench that looks like an Allen wrench with a bend on each end. The installer of the disposal unit left it there for you (very thoughtful, wouldn’t you say?). It may be in a small plastic pouch stapled to the side of the cabinet. At the end of this tool is a hex wrench that fits into a hole you’ll find on the bottom of the disposal, in the center. Work the wrench back and forth until the unit moves freely for several revolutions. As you move the wrench, you are moving the shaft of the disposal.

Preventing Grout stains
Grout is very porous, and once mildew and other stains penetrate deeply, the only solution is completely replacing the grout.

To prevent problems it is a good idea to seal the grout with silicone based sealer. This will help to keep water stains from penetrating and causing damage.

Do you have a question regarding your existing or future home?  
Send us an email at scot.mclean3@gmail.com