Questions tagged [plumbing]

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

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67
votes
10answers
102k 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?
40
votes
7answers
37k views

How can I pull a wire through a pipe that has too many turns for fish tape?

I need to replace a sump pump, but have run into a problem. The route for the cord goes through a 2" pipe with two 90 degree bends, and fish tape is ineffective. The pipe appears poorly jointed as ...
34
votes
6answers
176k 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 ...
33
votes
4answers
47k 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'...
30
votes
5answers
116k 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
6answers
5k views

How should I support this large drywall patch?

after the installation of a new water heater and a relatively extensive plumbing fix, I wanted to save a buck trying to patch the drywall myself. It's the very first time I buy a piece of drywall or ...
28
votes
10answers
119k 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 ...
27
votes
4answers
70k 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 ...
26
votes
14answers
53k views

Does Pex tubing have any advantages over copper?

What are the advantages/disadvantages of Pex tubing? How does it compare to copper?
24
votes
9answers
8k 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 ...
24
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
24
votes
6answers
295k 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 ...
23
votes
8answers
8k views

Why aren’t there water shutoff valves for each room?

Had an issue today with a nail going through a water supply line in a bathroom. It got me wondering if there is a practical or technical reason there aren’t typically room-specific shut offs between ...
23
votes
3answers
21k 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 ...
23
votes
6answers
246k 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 ...
23
votes
7answers
90k views

Purpose of Fill Valve Tube Going into Overflow Drain

I can easily understand the purpose of the overflow tube itself, but why is the little black hose that comes from the fill valve placed down into the overflow tube? On my toilet, there is a strong ...
22
votes
11answers
8k 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 ...
20
votes
20answers
174k 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-size ...
20
votes
5answers
85k 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 ...
19
votes
6answers
3k views

Is all copper pipe pretty much the same?

Is there different levels of quality in copper plumbing pipe? I see copper pipe at Home Depot and I assume plumbing supply stores sell it too. Does pretty much everybody sell the same quality of ...
19
votes
1answer
3k views

How do I remove this fastener under my bathroom faucet

What the heck is this brass fastener and how do I remove it? It seems to be holding down my bathroom faucet which I'm trying to replace. All I can think is that center "hinge" maybe unscrews somehow?...
18
votes
2answers
3k views

Can I still be sold plumbing fixtures that contain lead?

I'm shopping for brass or stainless ball valve to replace shutoff on a plumbing line. I see on ebay that some valves are advertised as "lead-free" while others are not. I would've assumed ALL brass/...
18
votes
3answers
4k views

Why would you use copper over CPVC or PEX?

Are there any advantages to using copper rather than CPVC or PEX?
17
votes
10answers
4k views

What can cause a never-frozen indoor copper drain pipe to crack?

The 1-1/2" copper waste pipe than runs from our kitchen just up and cracked two days ago along its length, and for no apparent reason. The crack is in a section of pipe that runs vertically through ...
17
votes
8answers
75k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
26k 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
349k 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 ...
16
votes
16answers
74k 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?
16
votes
3answers
31k 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
94k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
123k 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
4answers
38k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
335k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
52k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Scientifically speaking, how and why does sweating (soldering) copper pipes work?

A few years ago I remodeled my bathroom and learned how to sweat copper pipes. I've always been able to do it successfully since then, but I've always wondered exactly how and why it works. I've done ...
14
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
31k views

Best way to keep a PEX run in an attic (above a foyer) from freezing?

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 ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Can filling up a 75 gallon water heater tank without opening a faucet cause damage?

Had a bit of a snafu at home today that resulted in an empty 75 gallon tank getting refilled without opening a faucet. Faucet was opened only after the tank was full, which resulted in a long burst of ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

Should I extend a drain vent that terminates in my attic?

Recently I removed an old water heater stovepipe coming through my roof, because we moved our water heater. Right next to it was my plumbing vent pipe that I thought was associated with venting for ...
13
votes
5answers
16k 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". ...
13
votes
9answers
175k 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? ...
13
votes
1answer
3k views

What are those metal discs at the base of some walls?

Here's an example from a shower stall at work. I've seen them in other types of walls, including exterior ones.
13
votes
8answers
30k views

Should I run the tap while dumping boiling water?

It seems to be common advice to run the cold water while dumping boiling water down the drain (for example, when draining pasta). A variety of reasons are cited for this, one of which is that it is ...
13
votes
2answers
89k views

Which type of PVC for exposed outdoor use?

I'm looking at hooking up some rain barrels using PVC piping. Is there a certain type of PVC that would be best to use for this, considering that it will be exposed to sun/rain/heat/cold? Lots of ...
13
votes
9answers
174k 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 ...
13
votes
9answers
104k views

What can I do about a toilet flange that is 1/4" below the finished floor?

I used two wax seals to set my toilet since the flange is 1/4" below the new tile. At first it seemed to be water tight but after a few flushes I noticed water seeping and pulled it out. As can be ...
13
votes
1answer
29k 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
5answers
4k views

Is Teflon thread tape easily removable?

I bought a couple of water timers for my sprinklers and they are leaking. I was wondering if I could put Teflon tape on them and this winter be able to remove the timer to be reused next year. Thank ...
12
votes
11answers
54k 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
2answers
2k views

How can this older-style irrigation tee be replaced?

This reducer tee had a right-angle piece break off inside of it for a feeder line. I tried cutting the black broken piece inside of the reducer section without success. I'm used to schedule-40 PVC, ...