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Plumbing Tips & Tricks Blog

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Welcome to the Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Tips & Tricks Blog! See what’s new or pore through our archives to pick up tips for water conservation, learn about simple repairs you can do on your own, understand what to expect from plumbing professionals, and a whole lot more. You can also find out about the latest fixtures, designs and appliances for your kitchen and bath, so bookmark this page and come back if you’re ever considering upgrades or remodeling.


We’ll also bring you articles about the plumbing outside your home, like sprinkler and irrigation systems, swimming pools, fountains and outdoor drains. And if you need water treatment, such as water softening or on-site recycling of greywater, you can start here to learn about your options and how they function.


But perhaps the biggest benefit of reading the Tips & Tricks Blog is that you’ll gain a better understanding of -- and appreciation for -- the plumbing systems in your own home. With your newfound knowledge, you’ll be able to look after your pipes, drains and fixtures with the confidence that you’ll recognize potential problems at the earliest opportunity.


Check back often to keep up to date with the latest water-saving strategies and DIY techniques!

showerhead2

Avoiding Water Pressure Loss in Your Shower

  • 10/11/17

Any loss in shower water pressure is an annoyance, even if it’s just a short disruption due to a flushed toilet. And of course it’s much worse if it’s a chronic problem that makes it harder to rinse away shampoo and soap. There are several ways of fixing and preventing
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Baking soda, lemon juice and water

Removing Rust Stains From Sinks, Tubs and Toilets

  • 10/04/17

Last week, we covered some of the ways that rusty pipes, fixtures and water heaters can lead to rust particles in your water supply. This week, we’ll talk about what you can do about the brown stains this water can leave on your sinks, tubs and toilets over time.

These stubborn
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rustypipes

When Rusty Water Appears, Find the Source Fast

  • 09/27/17

You count on the water coming from your taps to be clean and clear. So what if the color and taste are suddenly a little off? The culprit could be rust, and depending on the age of your pipes and water heater, it could be coming from inside your house.

There’s
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Toilet side view

Common Causes of Toilet Clogs

  • 09/20/17

Inadvertently clogging the toilet -- or discovering too late that it’s already clogged -- is one of the more embarrassing plumbing mishaps. And it can also be a tricky one to address because there are so many potential causes.

The good news is that most toilet clogs can be avoided altogether
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ecosetting

Know What Is Dishwasher-Safe

  • 09/13/17

The dishwasher has become an indispensable appliance for many North American households, helping us to save both time and water. Modern dishwashers also tend to be fairly hardy and powerful appliances, but that’s a double-edged sword -- they may tackle tougher food stains, but they can wreak havoc on delicate
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flood

Repairing Your Plumbing After a Flood

  • 09/06/17

The immediate danger of Hurricane Harvey has passed, but we are still in the midst of hurricane season. Floridians are preparing for Irma to make landfall, and there are likely more storms on the way. Recovery after a hurricane is a long and arduous process. Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is committed
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disposal

How to Replace the Splash Guard on a Garbage Disposal

  • 08/23/17

That flappy rubber gasket around your garbage disposal drain can last for years if you clean it regularly and only use your disposal sparingly. But when it becomes cracked or brittle, there’s no excuse not to go ahead and replace it. New gaskets usually cost less than $10 at your
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3 easy fixes for a clogged toilet

Why Does Bathroom Grout Crack?

  • 08/16/17

If you’re the type of homeowner who pays attention to little details, you might find that there are sections of your bathroom grout that don’t look as good as they used to. Specifically, you might find a crack or two, especially in joints where the wall meets the tub, shower
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waterdamage

Before Vacation, a Few Plumbing Priorities

  • 07/26/17

Are you getting jet-set for a summer getaway? Put your plumbing on your pre-vacation to-do list.

In just a couple of minutes and with a few turns of the wrist, you can save money during your trip and make sure catastrophic water damage doesn’t occur in your absence. Read on to
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whitebathtub

How to Fix A Chipped Sink or Bathtub

  • 07/19/17

Porcelain and enamel sinks and bathtubs are some of the most resilient fixtures in the typical home, but they’re not invincible. If you accidentally drop something hard and heavy like a cast iron skillet, you could easily chip the surface. Fortunately, the repair job is easy, too.

First Aid

Your DIY sink
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mosquito

Combat Mosquitoes by Controlling Water Around Your Home

  • 07/05/17

Whether you’re worried about serious mosquito-borne diseases like the Zika virus or you just want to avoid those itchy, swollen bumps left behind by a bite, controlling mosquitoes around your home is mostly a matter of controlling water. Standing water is essential at every stage of the mosquito’s life cycle,
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dogbath

Pamper Your Pets in an At-Home Dog Washing Station

  • 06/28/17

One thing many dogs and their owners can agree on is that giving a dog a bath is real work. Being hosed down and scrubbed can be a stressful experience for dogs, and hauling them in and out of the bathtub can be back-breaking for owners. And if you outsource
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limescale

Removing and Preventing Limescale

  • 06/07/17

Do your plumbing fixtures seem like they need cleaning all too often? If the source of all that extra work is a white or green chalky coating on your faucets and showerheads, you may have a problem with limescale -- mineral-rich deposits that look unsightly and wreak havoc on your
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washerbubbles

Save the (Laundry) Day with Quick Washing Machine Fixes

  • 05/24/17

Few homeowners relish the thought of schlepping loads of dirty clothes to the laundromat, and even fewer want to go back to the days of scrubbing out stains at the river’s edge. So when problems arise with your washing machine, ignoring them is not an option. 

Washing machines are becoming more
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Bee

Bee Helpful By Planting a Bee-Friendly Garden

  • 05/17/17

You may already know that bee populations are in decline around the world. But what you might not know is that you can play a role in safeguarding at-risk bee species from possible extinction, all while making your lawn a more colorful place. 

Given their reputation for stinging, bees might not
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toilet2

What to do When Your Toilet is Overflowing

  • 04/05/17

If there’s one thing you should be able to count on, it’s that the toilet should flush properly when you need it to. But life isn’t fair, toilets clog, and to make matters worse -- they can overflow.

Preventing raw sewage from spilling over onto your bathroom floor can be failsafe,
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pipeinsulation

Should You Insulate Your Water Pipes?

  • 03/29/17

For most homeowners, whether to insulate a home’s hot water pipes is a fairly easy decision. When you can purchase effective insulating pipe sleeves for a few feet per dollar, it’s hard to resist the simple energy savings that will pay off for years. But not all homeowners know about
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waterrecylcing

Recycle Your Water on World Water Day

  • 03/22/17

Today is World Water Day, a day to emphasize the importance of freshwater access and advocate for sustainable freshwater management around the globe. There are currently more than 663 million people who lack a supply of clean, safe water near their homes, and solving all of their water
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Is Your Lawn Ready to Go Green?

  • 03/15/17

It’s just a couple more days until it’s time to get decked out in all-green for St. Paddy’s Day, but your lawn’s big green day is also right around the corner. If you’re in one of the regions that has experienced an unusually mild winter, it could be today!

Cultivating a
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The Time to Find Your Shut-Off Valves is Now

  • 03/08/17

If your household plumbing suddenly springs a major leak, do you know what you would do? Calling your local plumber is a smart move, but it shouldn’t be your first instinct when your home is flooding by the second. This is a time to shut off your home’s main water
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Floor drain

Preventative Drain Care Keeps Clogs at Bay

  • 03/01/17

You have a variety of options when it comes to clearing clogged drains -- there are chemical cleaners, organic solutions, plumbing snakes, plungers and more. But why go to the trouble when it’s cheaper and easier to just prevent clogs in the first place?

Taking care of a drain mostly just
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icyroof

Avoid Ice Buildup in Your Gutters

  • 02/22/17

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this month, and homeowners throughout North America are dutifully serving their six-week sentences as winter soldiers on. While the celebrated groundhog has no actual authority over the temperature, it’s true that many regions haven’t seen the last of below-freezing temperatures -- which means the risk
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showerhead2

Watch Your Wintertime Humidity

  • 02/15/17

We tend to think of humidity as a summertime problem, when the air outside is often hot and sticky. But as uncomfortable as outdoor humidity can be during the hottest months, indoor humidity can be an even bigger problem during the winter months.

It’s during the coldest season when we spend
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plunger

5 Ways to Unclog a Toilet

  • 02/08/17

They happen to the best of us. Toilet clogs are just a fact of life. And while your trusted local plumbers will always be there for you, this is often a job you can take care of yourself. All it takes are a few household supplies and a little know-how.

Take
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disposal

How to Find the Source of a Garbage Disposal Leak

  • 01/25/17

Even if you take great care of your garbage disposal, leaks can develop over time. You could find yourself reaching into the under-sink cabinet for dishwashing detergent only to discover an expanding pool of water! To complicate matters, it may not be immediately clear where the leak is coming from.

If
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ecosetting

Simple Care for Your Dishwasher

  • 01/04/17

There are few things more satisfying than saving time and money simultaneously, and your dishwasher is one appliance that makes this possible. Not only do you get your dishes clean in a fraction of the time, dishwashers generally use less
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toilettank

A Simple Test for a Leaky Toilet Tank

  • 12/21/16

A running toilet may not seem like a big deal at first, but just wait until the water bill arrives. If you allow this problem to continue untreated, it can cost you big in the end.


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Frozen pipe bursting

Plan Ahead to Avoid Frozen Pipes

  • 11/30/16

Freezing temperatures are on their way. This may have you thinking about your furnace, but you should also be mindful of your household plumbing.

When the temperature drops below freezing, there’s always the potential that the water in some pipes may freeze. In the best-case scenario, the ice temporarily stops the
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disposal

A Thanksgiving Tradition You Want to Avoid

  • 11/16/16

The night before Thanksgiving, plumbers all across America make a point of getting a good night’s sleep. That’s because history has taught them that Thanksgiving day and the day after are typically the busiest days of their entire year, and they tend to spend most of their time on a
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waterheaterrepair

Maintain Your Water Heater to Extend Its Life

  • 11/09/16

Unless you like taking cold showers, it’s important to inspect and maintain your water heater on a regular basis. A thorough check-up every six months can minimize the chance of a sudden breakdown that could leave you with nothing but
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Think Twice Before Using Liquid Drain Cleaners

  • 11/02/16

When you discover a drain that is slow or clogged, calling a plumber might not be your first reaction. After all, using a bottle of commercial liquid drain cleaner is cheaper and requires minimal effort, so why call for professional
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pressure

Water Pressure Problems Are Worth Fixing

  • 10/26/16

When it comes to household water pressure, there’s a pretty generous range for what’s considered not too low, not too high, but “just right”. But there are still all sorts of circumstances that can push your pressure out of that
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icyroof

Clogged Gutters Can Lead to Leaks and Floods

  • 10/19/16

If you haven’t pulled out the rake yet this season, chances are it won’t be long. The leaves are already falling and leaving a crisp, colorful mess for you to clean up. But the job isn’t done once you’ve tied
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Hot water heater controls

Wrap Up Your Old Water Heater for Winter

  • 10/05/16

Water heater design has come a long way in the last two decades. One of the most significant advances has been built-in insulation, which helps conserve energy while sparing homeowners the hassle of installing and replacing insulation on tank exteriors.
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Floor drain

Are Stinky Sewer Smells Wafting Out of Your Drains?

  • 09/28/16

The miracle of indoor plumbing allows us to effortlessly wash and flush waste away from our homes -- but that pipeline isn’t always a one-way street. When various problems arise, noxious sewer odors can come marching right back up the
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pool

Prepare Your Pool for Winter Break

  • 09/21/16

It’s time for pool owners to start thinking about winterizing. Unless you live in one of North America’s warmest climates, you’ll likely be taking your last dip in the outdoor pool soon, if you haven’t already.


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drainplug

Clearing a Drain Can Be a DIY Triumph

  • 09/14/16

Every home needs the attention of a professional plumber from time to time, because there are some jobs that are just too big, complex and potentially dangerous for amateurs to attempt. But one of the most common problems, a clogged
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8 tips for using less water in the bathroom

Save Water All Over the Home

  • 09/07/16

Anywhere you regularly use water, there’s a good chance there’s something you can do to reduce your use. And there are three areas of the home you can make changes with the most impact: the bathroom, the kitchen and the
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drought

Water Conservation Sticks Around in California

  • 08/31/16

Virtually the entire state of California has been affected by historic drought for the last several years. But last winter was wetter than expected, and as a result, the state eased several water use restrictions that carried steep fines for
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Irrigation System Maintenance is a Year-Round Task

  • 08/24/16

Depending on the size of your lawn and garden, it can be a huge task to keep up with the watering with just a watering can and hose. That’s why many homeowners turn to irrigation systems, ranging from simple sprinklers
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sumppump

Keep Your Sump Pump Clean, It’ll Keep You Dry

  • 08/17/16

Multiple regions have experienced record rainfall this summer, and those storms likely left more than a few flooded basements in their wake. Unfortunately, this disaster occasionally strikes homeowners who thought they were protected by a functioning sump pump, only to
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washerhose

Make Laundry Day Great With Routine Washer Maintenance

  • 08/10/16

Your washing machine is among the most valuable major appliances in your home, and its repairs can be expensive in more ways than one. In addition to parts and labor, some washing machine problems can result in water flooding your
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leak

Leak Detection Can Mean Lots of Work

  • 07/27/16

You have plumbing pipes running all throughout your home -- in your walls, under your floors and even deep under your lawn. A leak can happen just about anywhere, and depending on the location and water flow, it could be
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waterballoons

Stay Cool Without a Pool

  • 06/29/16

From coast to coast, friends and family will gather around backyard swimming pools to have fun and keep cool while celebrating the upcoming holiday weekend. But if you don’t have a pool to call your own, don’t worry -- there
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plunger

Seal the Deal With Proper Plunger Technique

  • 06/22/16

Indoor plumbing has become an indispensable creature comfort, and when it’s suddenly taken away due to a drain clog, it can feel like an instant emergency. Some clogs do require professional assistance to clear, but others are minor enough that
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disposal

Keep Your Garbage Disposal Fresh, Clean and Functioning

  • 06/15/16

Not every homeowner has a garbage disposal under the kitchen sink, but those who do usually love the convenience of being able to flush food scraps directly down the drain. One of the biggest benefits is that a disposal can keep rotten food odors out of the garbage can, but
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waterdamage

Be on the Lookout for Mold and Mildew

  • 06/08/16

Even the most fastidious housekeepers may find themselves battling against mold and mildew. Basements, bathrooms and other damp areas are ideal breeding grounds for these fungal nuisances, though they’re mild (if persistent) problems in most well maintained homes. But if
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Are Your Sprinklers Watering Evenly?

  • 06/01/16

Sprinkler systems eliminate one of the most laborious tasks when it comes to maintaining a healthy lawn and garden. But they’re only truly getting the job done if all your thirsty plants and grass are getting the right amount of
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vacation

Plumbing Planning for Summer Vacation

  • 05/25/16

If you’re planning a big summer vacation (or even just a weekend getaway) you probably have a list of tasks to get your home ready for your absence. But it’s not enough to just stop the mail and reprogram the
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cockroach

Plumbing Leaks Attract Household Pests

  • 05/18/16

Nobody likes a plumbing leak -- it wastes water, drives up your monthly bill, makes a mess and is an all-around hassle. But there’s one more awful consequence that might not immediately spring to mind: household pests.


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rust

How Can a Metal Rod Save Your Water Heater?

  • 05/11/16

You might be surprised to learn that there’s some serious drama going on inside your hot water heater tank. While you’re showering or doing the dishes, on the other end of the water line is a metal rod sacrificing itself
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earth

Get Serious About Water Conservation on Earth Day

  • 04/20/16

Celebrate Earth Day this year by establishing some new water conservation habits and making some small changes to your home plumbing. Water is a precious resource, and it takes energy to sanitize it and deliver it to your home -- so anything you can do to minimize the amount of
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expensive

Plumbing Leaks Could Cost You $100 Per Year

  • 04/13/16

Drip, drip, drip. If you have plumbing leaks in your home, now is the time to address them. Even small leaks can add up over time, with some families spending as much as $100 per year on water that gets wasted right down the drain – or worse, leaks out
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washerhose

How to Safely Hook Up Your Washing Machine

  • 04/06/16

A new washing machine can be an expensive but worthwhile investment. When you purchase a brand-new model, you can take advantage of better performance and more efficient operation. Of course, before you can enjoy your new clothes-washing technology, you need to hook up the machine to a water source. Fortunately,
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waterheaterrepair

Signs that Your Water Heater is on the Fritz

  • 03/30/16

Your water heater is one of the most important parts of your household plumbing installation. Without it, your washing machine and dishwasher would be virtually useless – and imagine having to take an ice-cold shower every day. That means that a breakdown in your water heater is mission
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drip

Putting Off Plumbing Repairs Costs More in the Long Run

  • 03/23/16

There are countless reasons to put off performing a plumbing repair. Perhaps you’re short on cash, or you don’t have time to do it yourself or accommodate a plumber. With so many demands on our time, it’s easy to forget about fixing a leaky faucet or
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leak

Celebrate Fix a Leak Week with Benjamin Franklin Plumbing

  • 03/16/16

Have you been putting off fixing plumbing leaks in your home? Consider this your call to action. The Environmental Protection Agency's Water Sense program is celebrating Fix a Leak Week from March 14 to 20 this year, encouraging households across the nation to hunt down and repair plumbing
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stoppers

Install a Drain Plug in Your Bathtub

  • 03/02/16

The bathtub drain stopper plays an unheralded but important role in the hygiene routines of many Americans. If you exclusively take showers to get clean, you probably don't think twice about the drain plug, and might not even own one. For a relaxing bath, however, the drain plug is even
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toilet3

How to Flush the Toilet When the Water is Off

  • 02/24/16

Modern indoor plumbing is a necessity for the health and sanitation of nearly every American household. And for many families, the bathroom toilet plumbing works perfectly 99 percent of the time, performing its essential function with a simple pull of the handle. However, when the water supply gets cut off,
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camera

Why You Should Take a Photo of Your Plumbing Installations

  • 02/17/16

Plumbing can be tricky work before you even break out the basin wrenches and soldering torch. The first thing you need to know when undergoing any major plumbing installation or repair is the location and layout of the pipes behind the walls. And unless you have x-ray vision, figuring out
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soldering

Learn the Difference Between Soldering and Brazing

  • 02/10/16

Soldering is an essential part of many do-it-yourself plumbing repairs. When you are replacing part of a pipe, or installing a new fixture, you often have to solder the two metal parts together to ensure a perfect fit with no leaks. While soldering is often used as a catch-all name
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sumppump

When Is it Time to Replace a Sump Pump?

  • 02/02/16

A sump pump is an essential household plumbing component for many families, although it is separate from the main plumbing system. Instead of bringing in water for drinking and washing, the sump pump prevents flooding by removing storm water from under a home. Since the pump lives in the basement,
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torch

Learn the Difference Between Soldering Copper and Brass Pipes

  • 01/26/16

Soldering is a handy tool when it comes to bathroom plumbing repair. Once you get the hang of how to solder your pipes, you can add fixtures and repair plumbing leaks on your own without having to call in a plumber. Anyone with a
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What to Do About a Noisy Faucet

  • 01/12/16

A noisy faucet can drive a family nuts. When you have to brace yourself for an annoying sound every time you wash your hands, it's time to get to work to remedy the problem. Fortunately, noisy faucets
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showerhead

How to Install an Anti-Scald Valve in Your Shower

  • 01/07/16

A good shower borrows an aspect of the Goldilocks fairy tale. If the water is too cold, you’re in misery, but too hot, and you can suffer potentially dangerous burns. Instead, you have to aim to find the perfect balance,
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waterheaterrepair

This Hot Water Heater Repair is a DIY Job

  • 12/29/15

When your hot water heater goes on the fritz, it’s an emergency. Without hot water, the dishwasher and washing machine won’t function properly, and showers become tortuous. Unfortunately, plumbing repairs involving hot water heaters can be expensive, which could tempt
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pipeinsulation

How to Insulate Your Pipes for Winter

  • 12/22/15

Winter is the season for scenic snowfalls, warm fires, family gatherings, and -- unfortunately -- frozen pipes. Plumbers and insurance adjusters are getting ready for a busy season helping families in need after the water inside their plumbing system freezes,
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gasket

How to Prevent Cracked Plumbing Seals

  • 12/17/15

Your household plumbing system is more than a collection of pipes. You also have your hoses and fixtures, and notably, the rubber gaskets that connect them to the pipes. Gaskets are essential for creating airtight seals in your fixtures and
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disposal

Avoiding Garbage Disposal Clogs During Holiday Party Season

  • 12/15/15

The Thanksgiving leftovers may be long gone, but for many American families, the memories of garbage disposal failure are still fresh. The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the busiest days of the year for plumbers, who are often
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Frozen pipe bursting

Your Insurance May Not Cover Pipes Broken Due to Negligence

  • 12/08/15

Homeowners insurance can be a lifesaver. If you have a major disaster, like a fire or a flood, you could be out tens of thousands of dollars for repairs or renovations. Fortunately, in most circumstances, your insurance should be there to pick up most or all of the cost. However,
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hotandcold

Tips for Keeping Your Water Heating Bill Low this Winter

  • 12/01/15

Winter is well on its way, which for many households means bitter temperatures, snow on the ground and sky-high utility bills. People who live in colder areas of the country inevitably see their heating bills rise during the frosty winter months, no matter how many efficiency measures they take. That's
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removetoilet

How to Remove an Old Toilet from Your Bathroom

  • 11/24/15

Sometimes, working with pipes can be nasty business, especially when it comes to your bathroom toilet plumbing. When it's time to replace your toilet, removing the old throne from its privileged spot in the bathroom can be a bit unpleasant. However, it's also a relatively simple job, one that you
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toilet

How to Install a New Toilet

  • 11/19/15

New toilet day is an exciting time for any household. Many families might replace a toilet only once, or never, during their residence in a particular home.  When you do make a new addition to the bathroom toilet plumbing, it's important to do it right. Read on for tips on
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frozenfaucet

How to Prepare Your Irrigation System for Winter

  • 11/17/15

Temperatures are dropping and winter is on its way. For most households in the United States, that means it's time to close up the garden for the season until the spring provides a more cooperative growing environment. One of the most important tasks when it comes to prepping your yard
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waterheater

Inspect Your Water Heater to Prolong Its Life

  • 11/12/15

Your water heater is one of the main cogs in your home comfort system gears. It supplies hot water to your household plumbing for use in the dishwasher, washing machine, sinks and showers. It also uses up more energy than any other piece of equipment other than your HVAC gear.
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bigshower

Tips for Expanding Your Shower

  • 11/03/15

Most Americans shower every day. Add it up, and that's a lot of time spent in an enclosed space – so you might as well get comfortable. Unfortunately, home shower stalls are often three by five feet or even smaller – barely large enough for adults to spread out their
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soldering

Basic Copper Pipe Soldering Tips

  • 10/27/15

When most people get a leaky or broken copper pipe in their house, they call a plumber without a second thought. After all, using a soldering gun to patch the water supply line back together is a lot trickier than simple plumbing repair jobs like replacing a faucet.
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ventboot

How to Fix Split Boots on Your Plumbing Vent

  • 10/22/15

Roof vents are essential to any household plumbing system. They allow sewer gases to safely escape to the outdoors without polluting your home and making you sick, and they also create neutral air pressure in your pipes so gravity can do its job and remove waste water from the home.
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mildew

How to Combat Mold and Mildew in Your Bathroom

  • 10/20/15

Mold and mildew can be serious scourges in your bathroom. Showing up as black specks or floral bodies around your shower and sink, these nasty growths are unattractive and can cause health problems if left unaddressed. Mold and mildew occur when you have moisture buildup in your bathroom, either from
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How to Retrieve Items that Wash Down the Drain

  • 10/15/15

Valuable items can vanish down the drain in the blink of an eye. That beautiful engagement ring you took off to do the dishes? An earring that slipped down the bathroom sink? You might think that they are lost forever, but with a little luck, you can retrieve them with
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pressure

How to Test Your Home Water Pressure

  • 10/08/15

Homeowners must walk a fine line when it comes to water pressure. You need sufficient pounds per square inch (psi) of water coming out of your faucets to take comfortable showers and fill your cooking pots in a reasonable amount of time. On the other hand, if the pressure in
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pushfit

Use Push-Fit Fittings to Repair Pipes Without Soldering

  • 09/29/15

One of the trickiest parts about DIY plumbing repairs is when you have to break out the soldering torch. You need to be extra careful to not create a fire hazard, and the repair itself can be difficult and take several tries before you get it just right.
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showerdoor

Tips for Basic Shower Door Repair

  • 09/17/15

“Leak” is a four-letter-word when it comes to your household plumbing. A leak in the shower door is no exception – water can drip out and slowly undermine the integrity your bathroom floor, not to mention promote mold and mildew growth. The good news is that most shower door repairs
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confused2

Avoid Common Mistakes that Can Ruin Your Plumbing

  • 09/15/15

It's not so hard to pick up do-it-yourself plumbing skills with a bit of practice. If you are careful and dedicated, you can save yourself big money on repair bills by taking care of small problems on your own. But be forewarned – just owning a pair of channel-lock pliers
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soldering

Don't Let Your Plumbing Turn into a Fire Hazard

  • 09/10/15

When you think about household fire risks, your plumbing system is probably not the first thing to come to mind. However, while your pipes themselves don't pose a fire hazard, fires can and do get started when plumbers make mistakes, or when certain other things go wrong. Read on to
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rustypipes

Avoid Health Hazards from Decaying Municipal Water Pipes

  • 09/03/15

Water is among the most essential substances for sustaining human life. Crucial to the advance of urban civilization has been the ability to bring abundant clean water to population centers while safely removing sewage and wastewater. In fact, many municipalities have been pumping drinking water to  residents' household
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pressure

What is Causing Your Low Water Pressure?

  • 08/27/15

When your shower slows to a trickle, or it seems like it takes forever for the washing machine to fill up, low water pressure might be the culprit. A strange whistling coming from the pipes could be another sign that your pressure isn't up to snuff. However you
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basementbath

How to Add a Bathroom to Your Basement

  • 08/13/15

Anyone who comes from a large family can tell you horror stories about waiting in line for the bathroom. Everybody loves to take their time showering, brushing their teeth, applying makeup and answering nature's call, but if you only have one or two bathrooms in your home, you are liable
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showerhead

How to Save Water When You Shower

  • 08/04/15

Showering is part of everyday life. Be it a luxurious hot shower in the middle of winter, or a cold shower in the summertime to wash the sweat away, we love to get clean. In fact, showering accounts for 17 percent of all indoor household plumbing use in the country,
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toilettank

How to Stop Your Toilet from Running

  • 07/23/15

Is your toilet running? You might not have to run and catch it, as the old joke goes, but you should act quickly to stop the leak and prevent major damage to your water bill. Fortunately, putting a stop to wasted water in your bathroom toilet plumbing can be a
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flood

How to Plan for a Flood

  • 07/21/15

Whether it's caused by hurricane storm surge or torrential rains, flash flooding can become a destructive force in an instant. If you live in an area with the potential for flooding, it’s important to plan ahead and know what to do in the event of such conditions. Use these tips
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confused

When Do You Need to Hire a Plumber?

  • 07/16/15

There's a fine balance when it comes to plumbing repairs. On the one hand, if you do it yourself, you can save a lot of money, learn something about your home systems and feel the satisfaction of a job well done. On the flip side, if you mess up a
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leak

How to Find Hidden Plumbing Leaks

  • 07/14/15

Plumbing leaks are annoying under any circumstances, and they're at their worst when you don't even know they exist. Somewhere in your home, water could be dripping from your pipes, running up your water bill and propagating the growth of mold, mildew and rot in your woodwork. If you fail
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pool

How to Conserve Water in Your Backyard Pool

  • 07/09/15

Sometimes, conservation conflicts with comfort. Everybody loves saving water, and reducing consumption is more important than ever with some parts of the country in the throes of an epic multi-year drought. On the other hand, there's nothing like relaxing in a backyard swimming pool to take some of the bite
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waterrecylcing

Reuse Greywater From Household Plumbing During a Drought

  • 07/07/15

Droughts are plaguing the United States. Water is becoming scarce, and is poised to get more expensive as well. One way to handle present or future water shortages is to reuse gray water from your household plumbing, which reduces your overall consumption. This technique is useful even for people outside
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drainplug

How to Adjust the Sink Stopper in Your Drain Plumbing

  • 07/02/15

The bathroom sink stopper is a handy little gadget, allowing you to fill the basin with water to help with shaving or washing your face. However, like most household systems, the stopper isn't perfect and it can become maladjusted over time, causing the sink to drain instead of holding the
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ElderBath

Customize Your Bathroom for Older Residents

  • 06/16/15

One in three adults over the age of 65 falls each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the bathroom is a likely place to suffer a spill due to the slippery surfaces. If you are advancing in age, or have older relatives and
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hose

How to Repair a Garden Hose

  • 06/02/15

Summer gardening season has arrived in full force, with homeowners across the country tending to their flower beds, vegetable gardens and lawns. With much of the nation facing a drought, that means a lot of irrigation and sky-high water bills. When you're already paying through the nose to keep your
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pool

Get Your Pool Ready for Summer

  • 05/28/15

There's no better way to enjoy summer than by lounging in your very own swimming pool. Unfortunately, you can't just dive right in as soon as the temperatures start to rise. If you haven't touched your pool since you covered it last fall, chances are it's filled with scum, debris
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confused

Avoid These Common DIY Plumbing Mistakes

  • 05/21/15

There's nothing like a little do-it-yourself knowledge when it comes to your home's plumbing system. You can save money and feel good about completing a project using your own skills and ingenuity. Unfortunately, things don't always go as easily as planned – and when plumbing work goes wrong,
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sprinkler

A Springtime Checkup for Your Garden Irrigation System

  • 05/14/15

April showers bring May flowers, the saying goes. If only it were that easy. More likely, you need to set up an irrigation system in the spring to ensure that your lilies and irises get sufficient water, not to mention the lawn and vegetable garden. Even if you're enjoying a
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sink-trap

How to Clean Out Your Sink Trap

  • 05/12/15

Are you struggling with a clogged sink? If you're lucky, you can resolve the problem by using a plunger or  using a plumbing snake to clear the drain, but a tougher clog might require you to remove the trap in the pipes. Fortunately, this is a relatively simple
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plumbing-pipes

What Do Those Funny Plumbing Noises Mean?

  • 05/08/15

When your plumbing system is working properly, you don't have to think about it. Water comes in, water and waste get removed – that's the end of the story. Unfortunately, things don't always go so smoothly. Sometimes, the plumbing can break down – noisily. Here's a primer on the possible
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floor-drain

Diagnose and Fix Problems in Your Floor Drain

  • 04/30/15

Floor drains can be a lifesaver. If you break a pipe, or your house floods from an outside source, a drain in the basement floor gives the water a way out without lingering and damaging the woodwork or provoking mold growth. They also relieve pressure on your pipes by allowing
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Fluoride in water

Is fluoride in water a good thing?

  • 03/24/15

Do you trust your tap water? People are naturally concerned about what they put in their bodies, and most municipalities treat their drinking water with various chemicals - including fluoride. Yet despite the fact that about 75 percent of U.S. communities now add fluoride to water, some places
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Installing a new faucet

The basics of installing a new faucet

  • 02/09/15
If your old kitchen or bathroom faucet is chronically leaky, or you just want to update its look, you can install a new model with a bit of effort and know-how. Read on for some tips on how to get your sink looking like new.

Keep in mind that specific steps
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Baking soda, lemon juice and water

All-natural drain and bathroom cleaner recipes

  • 02/05/15

Have you ever read the ingredients in a commercial drain cleaner? It's a pretty caustic collection of chemicals - lye, acids or bleach, depending on the kind of cleaner you buy. There's no question that chemical drain cleaners get the job done, but has the potential to damage your pipes.

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Woman plunging sink drain

DIY tips for clearing a clogged drain

  • 01/29/15

It’s an ominous sign most of us know all too well: You’re standing in the shower and you notice that instead of draining, the water is rising around your feet. Or maybe the kitchen sink takes forever to drain after you do the dishes. Clogged drains are a plague for
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Woman Cleaning Shower Floor

Biofilm in your plumbing can be hazardous to your health

  • 01/26/15

Has it been awhile since you’ve cleaned your sinks and showers? You could be putting yourself at risk of biofilm. Biofilm is the sticky goo that turns up on your plumbing fixtures and other moist places in your home. The slimy ring around the end of your faucet? Biofilm. The
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Shower running

4 ways to clean your showerhead

  • 01/19/15

You already know the hassle that can come with clogged drains, but have you ever thought about your showerhead? If you haven't cleaned your showerhead, you could be exposing yourself to bacteria and preventing your shower from operating efficiently. The following tips will help keep your showerhead working properly and free
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Bulging pipe

Avoid damage from high water pressure

  • 01/12/15

If your sinks and shower have irregular water pressure, or the pressure seems very strong at all times, it may mean that the water pressure coming into your house is too high. While this might make for a great shower, it isn't as good for your water bill. What's more,
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Hot and cold faucets

Debunking common plumbing myths

  • 01/05/15

So, you've purchased your own home and want to educate yourself on prudent and effective home maintenance. You've learned the basics about your plumbing system and have even brandished an adjustable wrench a time or two. Kudos on taking responsible steps to safeguard your home investment. However, make sure you
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Remodeled bathroom

Trends in bathroom remodeling

  • 12/29/14

Are you tired of the same old toilet and outdated sink fixtures? That means it's time to upgrade your bathroom. Projects can range from simple cosmetic touch-ups to a total tear-down renovation. No matter what the scope of your bathroom remodeling job, you can improve the room's aesthetics and function,
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Frozen pipe bursting

Dealing with frozen pipes

  • 12/18/14

An ominous scenario on a cold winter's night: You go for a glass of water and nothing comes out of the faucet, or maybe just a trickle. The likely culprit? A frozen pipe. 

The situation could be dire and you need to take action immediately. Since water expands when it freezes,
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Leaking sink

Preventing a plumbing emergency

  • 11/13/14

Homeowners can save money with a little do-it-yourself spirit when it comes to minor plumbing projects. However, tread carefully, because with a single misstep you could make things worse than before or even flood your house. Plumbing disasters can be a huge hassle and end up costing much more than
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Replacing washing machine hoses can save you repairs

Neglected washer hoses are a recipe for disaster

  • 11/03/14

Washing machine hoses — those python-like lengths of rubber or metal that attach your washer to your water source — are one of the most neglected and potentially damaging maintenance monsters in your home. Taking time to check your washer’s hoses
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A dripping faucet may be a sign to call a plumber

5 Signs you need to call a plumber

  • 10/27/14
There are plumbing problems you can handle on your own, but others are too big to tackle. Do you know when you need to call in professional help? The five scenarios below may surprise you.
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A plunger may help clear a clogged toilet

3 Easy fixes for a clogged toilet

  • 10/20/14
Is your toilet clogged? If so, this is one plumbing repair you may be able to tackle yourself. While some more serious clogs require the intervention of a professional plumber, there are some things you can try before you pick up the phone.
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There are several ways to detect a leak

6 Ways to find hidden water leaks

  • 10/20/14

Early detection of a water leak can save you money and avert potential disaster. Here are some signs that you may have a leak and should consider contacting a plumber. 


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