For questions about the supply and removal of water and liquid waste.

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58
votes
9answers
88k views

How can I improve the water pressure in my shower?

I recently purchased my first home. It has two bathrooms and the water pressure in both is less than ideal. What are some steps I can take to increase the pressure?
29
votes
4answers
85k views

Why does my dishwasher back up into the sink, but running the disposal allows it to drain?

When my dishwasher runs the kitchen sink backs up. I have a two tub sink and only the side nearest the dishwasher with the garbage disposer backs up. Running the disposal for a few seconds causes the ...
29
votes
4answers
33k views

How do I fix a “water hammer” problem?

When I shut off a water faucet or right after the toilet tank refills after flushing, I hear a vibrating sound in my pipes. It last between one and two seconds. On the interwebs, I found out that it'...
28
votes
6answers
106k views

How do I wrap pipe threads with teflon tape?

When wrapping pipe threads with teflon tape (thread seal tape), what is the direction and recommended number of times to wrap the tape around the threads? Any other recommendations or tip/tricks when ...
24
votes
2answers
43k views

What temperature should I set my water heater to?

When adjusting my water heater, what temperature should I set it to? Is the answer different if you have: Concerns about diseases A dishwasher Young children or elderly that can be easily burned ...
22
votes
7answers
3k views

Is there a freezing-water-resistant metal pipe?

I want to install a water outlet on the outside of my house for gardening etc. Outside temperatures here in Latvia fall to -25°C sometimes, so I cannot use a common water pipe; it would burst when the ...
21
votes
6answers
5k views

Can a toilet get “too old” to the point where it can never be unclogged and must be replaced?

We had an issue where a toilet that worked fine since we moved in 6 years ago recently would not flush. I took a plunger to it and snaked from the roof and it helped in that the toilet would slowly ...
19
votes
6answers
23k views

Are toilets supposed to be caulked to the floor?

I've heard that in some cases toilets are supposed to be caulked to the floor. I replaced both toilets in the condo I moved into last week, and one was calked to the floor, and one was not. One ...
18
votes
13answers
27k views

Does Pex tubing have any advantages over copper?

What are the advantages/disadvantages of Pex tubing? How does it compare to copper?
18
votes
3answers
10k views

Are “1/4 turn” water supply valves more reliable than “multi-turn” valves? Or vice-versa?

Aside from personal preference, is there any reason why I would want to buy a "1/4 turn" water supply valve instead of "multi-turn valves"? Is one technology/design clearly superior than the other in ...
17
votes
11answers
5k views

What should we look for when buying a fixer-upper house?

My fiance and I are considering buying a fixer-upper house rather than an apartment when we get married. Obviously things like location, neighbors etc. are important, but; what should we be looking ...
17
votes
5answers
48k views

Why does the shower get cold when I flush, and how can I prevent it?

When the shower is running and someone flushes a toilet, why does the shower get cold (or sometimes hot) in some houses, but not others? More importantly, would fixing that require replacing the ...
17
votes
6answers
115k views

Why do my toilets flush slowly and often incompletely?

I have three toilets that all flush slowly and incompletely. I've adjusted the chain to ensure the flap raises completely. I've raised the float to ensure the tank fills nice and high. Yet I have this ...
16
votes
2answers
64k views

How do I fix a leaky toilet that only leaks from underneath?

I am noticing some water spots on my concrete in my (unfinished) basement. When I look up for the cause of the water I can see water dripping around the hole that is used for the sewer pipe for the ...
15
votes
3answers
20k views

How often do septic tanks typically need to be pumped?

At the risk of potentially asking an off-topic question, I'd like to better understand the maintenance of a septic tank. I've never had one before and am unfamiliar with how to manage one. My ...
14
votes
3answers
17k views

How can I tell if these pipes are gas lines or water lines?

I recently moved into an in-law unit of a large old house. In the kitchen, there are two pipes coming out of the wall (one protruding out a little more than the other). I had assumed they were gas ...
14
votes
3answers
18k views

How do I replace this cast iron toilet flange?

I have a big old gawd awful cast iron (at least I think it's cast iron, the house was built in 1940) toilet flange that is in sorry shape. See? There will never be a better time to replace it - as ...
13
votes
4answers
920 views

Is plunging a toilet without a plunger a good tip or a horrible idea?

Read this elsewhere and personally, I thought it was a bad bad bad idea, but I wanted to put this out there to see if I might be mistaken: I learned a quick tip from a handyman on how to create a ...
13
votes
5answers
47k views

How much water do water softeners waste?

I'm considering buying a water softener, but I heard that they waste a lot of water, and I don't really want my water bill to skyrocket. I haven't been able to find any clear indication of how much ...
12
votes
11answers
30k views

Why is my toilet constantly backing up?

I've been in my new house for a few months now, and I end up plunging one of our two toilets about once a week - they tend to swap turns on which one gets to be finicky each week. Is there a more ...
12
votes
8answers
45k views

What can I do about my drains constantly getting blocked?

The one thing I have tried to do about this is use those foaming and non-foaming drain unblockers regularly. That has just been money down the drain, pardon the pun. I suspect that unblockers only ...
12
votes
5answers
18k views

Will a PEX run freeze if it's in the attic above a foyer?

I plan on running PEX pipes both hot and cold across 16 feet of unheated attic space above a foyer. The foyer is 16' long and is off the kitchen, it isn't heated directly but is part of the house; it ...
12
votes
1answer
13k views

What are the uses of the various schedules of PVC pipe?

I had a plumber come out the other day to do some work and I offered up some spare PVC that I had leftover from various projects and he told me that it was schedule so-and-so and wouldn't be ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

Why would you use copper over CPVC or PEX?

Are there any advantages to using copper rather than CPVC or PEX?
11
votes
8answers
69k views

How to fix stinky bathroom sink?

It smells like really musty water, but the water itself does not smell or taste bad at all. Only happens when I run the water, so it doesn't make the room smell, just when you fill something up or ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

What is “pipe dope”?

People often refer to "pipe dope" when talking about sealing threads of pipe fittings, but when I go to Home Depot or Lowes or whatever, I've never seen anything on the shelf labeled "Pipe Dope". ...
11
votes
12answers
59k views

What is the advantage of PEX pinch clamp vs. crimp rings?

I just saw these for the first time today at Lowe's: The advantages I can see over the crimp style are: A single tool can work with multiple PEX sizes That single tool is cheaper than a single-...
11
votes
4answers
20k views

Do I need a vent for extending a drain to a new bathroom addition?

I am building a new full bathroom on what used to be my back porch. I am planning to extend the existing drain at a cleanout and to run it outside the house underneath the floor. I need to know if I ...
11
votes
3answers
5k views

Are tankless water heaters worth it in cold climates?

I was thinking of switching over to a tankless water heater, but a friend of mine said they are not good in colder climates since the water coming in is colder and takes longer to heat. Is this a ...
10
votes
22answers
1k views

What are some of your previous owner nightmares you have inherited?

Things like picket fences that are screwed and to end and to trees with no posts. Or where there are posts they are sunk 4 inches into the ground with concrete around the top. Or plumbing done with ...
10
votes
15answers
37k views

Is it worth it to insulate hot water PEX tubing?

Is it worth the time and expense to put the foam pipe wrap on pex hot water pipes? I've seen mixed statements. What is your thought? But more importantly, can you back it up?
10
votes
4answers
28k views

Toilet does full-blast, one-second refill every hour or so

I wouldn't lose sleep over this, except the unexpected and fierce sound startles my girlfriend and cat every time. So I just replaced the refill valve on our toilet (using a kit, so everything from ...
10
votes
5answers
42k views

Safe way to close gaps around copper pipes?

I have baseboard heaters in my main living space. I can't see for sure without taking the covers off (which I haven't done yet) but it appears 2 copper pips come up from the basement (through the ...
10
votes
2answers
111k views

What would cause air bubbles in the toilet when I'm showering?

My basement bathroom has recently been remodeled, everything was working fine for a few weeks, but now all of a sudden I am hearing bubbles in the toilet when I shower, at which point the shower drain ...
10
votes
7answers
87k views

How do I “fix” a bad sweat (solder) joint?

I tried soldering some 1/2" copper (to make something like this) and some of my joints are horrible. I tested it with water and some of the joints leak. What is the best way to fix the joints? ...
10
votes
7answers
31k views

How can I fix a Moen faucet that is still leaking after replacing cartridge?

I had a leaky Moen faucet (Moen 4600) so I removed the old cartridge and replaced it with a new brass replacement cartridge (model 1200.) Since replacing the cartridge I now have a leak from the valve ...
10
votes
9answers
60k views

What could be causing a urine smell in our bathrooms?

I live in a home built in 2006. We are a clean family and have no pets. In ALL three of our bathrooms I am smelling an odor of "old urine". I do have a 3-year-old son so at first I thought he was ...
10
votes
3answers
9k views

What is this thing next to my sink? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is this component that connects to the garbage disposal? As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently moved to a new place and I'm still trying to figure out what ...
10
votes
6answers
118k views

Should the water heater be shut down if the water main has to be turned off?

I have a brand new AO Smith 50gal gas water heater. Today there was a burst pipe from the cold spell we're having currently, so I had to turn off the water main to the house until the plumbers get ...
9
votes
4answers
114k views

When should pipe dope vs thread tape be used?

For threaded plumbing connections, you typically use pipe dope or thread tape (aka teflon tape). Are there situations when one is preferred over another? Does the size of the pipe, type of pipe, part ...
9
votes
6answers
41k views

Why does my shower switch keep burning out?

I have a Mira Shower 10.8 kW. My switch is a 45A switch. I have a 50A fuse for the shower. The shower uses 10mm2 cable. 9 months ago the switch sparked and refused to turn off and the fuse tripped....
9
votes
2answers
12k views

When is pipe dope/tape needed?

When is it appropriate to use tape, dope, or nothing at all when connecting pipe fittings? Several advised not to use any product when I posed this question. What is the purpose of each product, and ...
9
votes
12answers
43k views

Why might our washing machine cause our clothes to smell damp when dry?

Recently we've noticed that our clothes smell damp once dried. It doesn't matter if we tumble-dry them, hang them outside or hang them indoors. This leads me to believe it's our washing machine. We ...
9
votes
7answers
36k views

Can someone explain to me how this hot water recirculating system works?

How is my hot water recirculating system installed? ... and why is it not working like it should? Moved into a house recently that was built in 2006. There is a hot water recirculating pump ...
9
votes
5answers
48k views

How do I eliminate the “whooshing” sound of water running though pipes?

At every faucet and toilet in our house, when water is running, it creates a loud wooshing noise in the walls. I'm not sure how else to describe it, but it's like the normal "oh I can hear the sink or ...
9
votes
4answers
398 views

Removed sink, now what?

We've decided to replace the sink (which was way too small) with one from Ikea. This is how it looks after the removal: Now for the problems: The sink that was there before was a free-hanging one,...
9
votes
2answers
931 views

Why is the water pressure in my home clearly less than my neighbors?

I own a relatively new home (3 years old) in a new development. I have a PEX water system, which I love (as do all my neighbors). So, I put out the "fan" sprinkler in my yard, and it shoots an ...
9
votes
4answers
39k views

Should my toilet flange sit on top of the backer board or the tile of the floor?

The bathroom model saga continues. The old toilet flange was rusting, and the subfloor was rotting, so I pulled up the subfloor around the toilet, and replaced the drain pipe with ABS, and an elbow. ...
9
votes
4answers
10k views

Are SharkBite plumbing connectors as reliable as soldered connectors?

Are SharkBite plumbing connectors as reliable as soldered connectors?
9
votes
4answers
26k views

Why do I have blue water coming out of the faucets?

We have an upstairs bathroom that we've gutted and are having some contractors remodel. The toilet is the only thing that hasn't been touched. We had a plumber come and redo all of the source and ...