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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!

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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jettedtub

Know What You’re Getting Into With Jetted Tubs

  • 06/14/17

If you feel there’s no replacement for the spa-like experience of lounging in a warm, jetted bathtub, you might be thinking about installing one in your own home bathroom. But this isn’t the kind of remodeling decision you take lightly -- jetted tubs come with a lot of responsibility and
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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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mainline

When Main Water Lines Go Bad

  • 05/31/17

Nothing lasts forever. On a long enough timeline, every plumbing pipe and fixture in your home will need to be replaced -- including your plumbing system’s primary artery, the main water line leading to your home.

Buried underground, this is the line that connects your household plumbing to the municipal water
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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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waterheater

Is Your Water Heater Telling You It’s Time for Replacement?

  • 05/03/17

For most of us, on-demand access to hot water isn’t optional -- we count on our water heaters to get us through every shower and sinkful of dishes. But even top-of-the-line water heaters aren’t built to last forever, so unless we want to see our hot water access disrupted, we
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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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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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showerhead

What is a Hot Water Circulation Pump?

  • 01/18/17

Eliminate the Wait for Hot Water When You Need It Most

One of the worst feelings in the morning is when you step into the shower to get ready for work – only to be sprayed with ice-cold water. If you're lucky, you catch yourself in time to not scream as
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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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hardwater

How to Tell if You Have Hard Water

  • 12/14/16

Some lucky homeowners have never experienced hard water in their homes. It’s largely a regional problem, with the hardest-hit areas in the Upper Midwest. But for those who live in a hard water zone, it can be one of the
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showerhead

Save Water When Making Household Upgrades

  • 12/07/16

Being a homeowner means your home is never really “finished”. Fixtures, appliances and other components are always aging, breaking down or falling out of fashion -- upgrades just come with the territory. And when those upgrades involve your plumbing, the
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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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removetoilet

Is It Time to Replace Your Toilet?

  • 10/12/16

You use it every day, but there’s a good chance you’ve never considered replacing it. It’s your toilet, perhaps the most indispensable element of your household plumbing. And toilets are built to last, so if replacing one has never crossed
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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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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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drip

Hard Water is More Than Just an Annoyance

  • 07/13/16

Throughout North America, hard water is a regional phenomenon. If you’ve spent most of your life in an area without much in the way of mineral sediment, you may not know much about hard water problems at all. But if
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Hand under running faucet

When Is It Time to Go Tankless?

  • 07/06/16

Most homes have conventional tank water heaters, which store dozens of gallons of hot water and maintain a steady temperature so that the water is ready when you need it. But there’s another type of water heater -- tankless --
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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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broke

Make Sure You Have Cash to Cover Plumbing Emergencies

  • 05/04/16

You never know when you will need an emergency plumbing repair. Even homeowners who pay attention to preventative maintenance can find themselves facing an unexpected problem in their pipes, and the issue usually needs to be addressed right away, particularly if it involves flooding. Unfortunately, many consumers don't have the
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septic

Remember to Inspect the Septic System When Buying a Home

  • 04/27/16

When you are thinking about buying a house, there are countless factors to keep in mind. You want a home that’s big enough, in a decent neighborhood and that meets your budget. It’s also important to have the home inspected before you sign on the dotted line, to
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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
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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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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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showerhead

Use a Pressure Tank to Combat Low Water Pressure

  • 03/09/16

One of the most frustrating experiences is stepping into the shower, only to be barely sprinkled by a slow trickle of water dribbling out. Sometimes it’s simple and straightforward to address the problem, but there are a number of potential causes of low water pressure, and some of them stem
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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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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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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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plasticpipes

Are Plastic Pipes Right for Your Home?

  • 12/10/15

If you are refurbishing your plumbing system and your plumber suggests plastic pipes, you might be taken aback. Same goes when buying a home and finding that the household plumbing is composed of plastic. You might assume plastic is a cheaper and less reliable material than metal, but that’s not
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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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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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oldhouse

Plumbing Damage is a Major Concern in Historic Homes

  • 11/10/15

Purchasing a historic home can be a rewarding process. You and your family have the privilege of living in style and elegance, enjoying features and architecture that are unavailable in modern construction. Buying an older home can also be an expensive minefield, however, especially when it comes to water damage
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septic

How to Improve the Residential Septic Tank

  • 10/29/15

Indoor plumbing is a marvel of modern technology. Most Americans take it for granted, but it wasn't so long ago that waste disposal was a major public health hazard. Today, modern sewage removal and treatment has made an enormous impact on human quality of life. However, there are
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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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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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drip

Water Sensors Can Help Detect Plumbing Leaks

  • 10/06/15

Hidden plumbing leaks are a pernicious household problem. They can run up your water bill, and if you don't find them quickly, the water can cause mold and mildew to grow in your walls, requiring extensive remediation work. Finding hidden plumbing leaks can be a big challenge because
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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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pipecamera

Diagnose Sewer Line Problems with a Camera Inspection

  • 09/22/15

One of the absolute worst places to need plumbing repairs is in the sewer line. That's the main outtake pipe that removes all the used greywater and waste from your home and into the municipal sewage system. When that waste water starts backing up into your house, not only is
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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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bacteria2

Could Your Household Plumbing Harbor Legionnaire's Disease?

  • 09/08/15

Legionnaire's disease is making headlines in a big way. A recent outbreak that struck New York City left 12 people dead and more than 120 ill in the worst case of the disease the city has ever seen. In fact, although outbreaks are rare, Legionnaire's does infect thousands of people
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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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dirtywater

How to Get Impurities Out of Your Tap Water

  • 09/01/15

There's nothing worse than filling up what should be a refreshing glass of water from the tap, only to spot debris or black specks floating in the liquid. It’s not only unpleasant, it can be unhealthy – so it’s important to investigate and correct the problem. Fortunately, there are ways
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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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whitebathtub

Learn the Basics to Repairing Your Bathtub

  • 08/18/15

When you need to sit back and wash away your stress, nothing beats a warm bath. But your relaxation can be ruined in a hurry if your bathtub gets damaged, chipped or cracked. Fortunately, many small imperfections in your tub can be fixed without throwing it out with the bathwater.
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waterdamage

Water Damage from Plumbing Leaks is Common Homeowners Insurance Claim

  • 08/06/15

Plumbing leaks are one of the most subtly dangerous disasters that can befall a household. A small leak hidden somewhere in the walls can slowly undermine your home over years and promote mold and mildew growth. A large, abrupt leak, on the other hand, can flood the home, destroy furniture
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badplumber

You Can Be Liable for Unlicensed Plumber Services

  • 07/30/15

Remodeling your bathroom can be a blast. You get to pick from the latest in modern bathroom installations and design your space to align perfectly with your tastes and needs. When planning your dream bathroom, however, or preparing for any other major plumbing renovation or installation, don't neglect
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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

While parts of the Western United States are stuck in a prolonged drought, other parts of the country have seen extraordinary rainfall this summer. Some of the resulting flash flooding has done extensive damage to homes in affected areas. If you live in one of these areas with the potential
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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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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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hardwater

Water Softener Can Prevent Household Plumbing Damage

  • 06/25/15

Hard water in your household plumbing is no picnic. The mineral-laden liquid can gum up your appliances and shorten their lifespans, while degrading the functionality of your pipes as well. In certain circumstances, hard water can even contribute to a health hazard. Fortunately, you can confront the challenges that hard
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watersavings

Can You Achieve Net Zero Water Use With Your Household Plumbing?

  • 06/18/15

Nobody likes paying water bills. There are a number of measures you can take to increase savings through water conservation, but the real prize would be to do away with the bills entirely. That doesn't mean you have to give up your indoor toilet or other household plumbing
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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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Copper and PVC pipes

These Household Plumbing Features Can Drive Up Your Insurance Bills

  • 06/11/15

Owning a home is an expensive proposition. Mortgage payments, utilities, repairs and maintenance can all stretch the family budget to the limit – and then there’s homeowners insurance. Insurance is necessary to limit your exposure and protect your assets in the event of a disaster, but it can cost a
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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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Earth Day

Earth Day water conservation tips

  • 04/21/15

Earth Day is a great excuse to look for ways to conserve the planet's natural resources, including water. Your plumbing system is crucial for the health and sanitation of your family, but it can also send gallons of clean, fresh water down the drain. With droughts becoming an annual problem
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Xeriscaping saves money

Xeriscape gardening saves water – and money

  • 04/07/15

Gardening season is upon us. April showers in many parts of the country give gardeners a good head start toward keeping their yards green and growing, but summer heat can make maintaining a garden and lawn a costly proposition -- think of the water bills! Not to mention droughts in
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Saving water saves money

Water-efficient plumbing fixtures can lower your bills

  • 03/26/15

When it comes to reducing your utility bills, don't neglect your water consumption. Most of the attention around conservation in the home is focused on energy efficiency, but there is still space to find savings in your plumbing system as well. Take a glance at water-efficient plumbing fixtures to save
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Hand water pump and wooden tub

A brief history of plumbing

  • 03/17/15

Did you take the time to appreciate your toilet today? Some Americans might take their bathrooms for granted, but we've only enjoyed the benefits of indoor plumbing for a relatively short period of human history. Next time you're fighting a clog or cursing at a frozen pipe, take a moment
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diagram of septic system

How to care for your septic tank

  • 03/05/15

If your home isn't connected  to a sewer system, you still need a way to safely  remove waste water. About a quarter of homes in America use a septic system, according to the EPA, and many homeowners find that it is a satisfactory solution. However, you need to
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Mother and child drinking water

Get clean drinking water through reverse osmosis

  • 02/26/15

Worried about contaminants in your drinking water? You never know what kinds of bacteria, chemicals, waste particles and other undesirables are coming out of your faucet. Reverse osmosis is one option that can give you the taste of clean, fresh water in your home. Save money by avoiding bottled water
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Frozen pipe

Prevent winter water leaks

  • 02/19/15

Winter isn’t over yet, with parts of the country experiencing record cold this February. Besides keeping your family warm and protected, you should be vigilant in below-zero temperatures to avoid water leaks, both inside and outside your home.

A Freeze in the Night

There's nothing worse than frozen pipes. If
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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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Rubber duckies in bubble bath

Bathtub cleaning hints

  • 02/02/15

A heavily used bathtub can result in unsightly stains and residue over time. In order to maintain your tub, you need to put a bit of effort into maintaining its like-new appearance and functionality. Here are some tips for removing dirt, mold and mildew from your tub and sustaining its
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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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Hand under running faucet

8 water conservation tips for the bathroom

  • 01/22/15

As concern for the environment grows, many of us are looking for ways to go green. One of the best things you can do for Mother Nature is to use less water - a surprisingly easy task when it comes to the bathroom. Here are some simple ways to conserve. 


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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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Conventional water heater

Prevent cold-weather damage to your water heater

  • 01/15/15

Arctic temperatures this winter could affect your plumbing in unexpected ways. You probably already know the dangers of frozen pipes, but frigid conditions can also cause problems where you least expect it: in your water heater. Cold temperatures can cause the metal to expand and contract, and if
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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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Money going down the drain

Avoid potential plumbing pitfalls when buying a new home

  • 01/08/15

You think you've found your dream house: A big yard, ample bathrooms, great price for the neighborhood. Before you sign on the dotted line, however, make sure you check out the plumbing. There could be problems lurking within the pipes and walls of your new home that could eventually cost
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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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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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Municipal code

Does your plumbing meet building code standards?

  • 12/11/14

Just because you own your house doesn't mean you can do anything you want to it. Local building codes detail what you can and can't do to modify your home, and what requirements you have to meet when it comes to plumbing, electric wiring, structural integrity and other features. The
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Toilet side view

5 Signs you need a new toilet

  • 12/08/14
You rely on your toilet daily, but you probably don't think much about it until something goes wrong. Just like other major appliances in your home, your toilet will probably need to be replaced after years of use. How do you know when it’s time to call a plumber to
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Cleaning the toilet bowl

7 Tips for a cleaner toilet

  • 11/24/14

The holiday season often includes entertaining more guests, requiring even more upkeep than usual. Cleaning the toilet is no one’s favorite chore, but here are seven ways to make the job quicker and easier and keep your bathroom cleaner during this busy time of year. 


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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 sump pump protects your home from floods

Sump pumps prevent basement flooding

  • 10/30/14

According to the National Flood Insurance program, flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States. It doesn’t take much water to do serious damage to your property and belongings. The average flood claim from
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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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