Questions tagged [plumbing]

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

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66
votes
10answers
105k 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?
47
votes
9answers
6k views

Whole lemon is stuck in the toilet

My little boy flushed a whole lemon down the toilet. It is stuck. What can I use to dissolve the lemon?
41
votes
7answers
54k 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 ...
37
votes
4answers
11k views

This fell out of my toilet when I unscrewed the supply line. What is it?

I needed to replace my toilet’s tank to toilet gasket, and in the process disconnected the toilet’s supply line. The rubber “screw like” object shown above fell out when I did this. After finishing ...
34
votes
6answers
183k 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 ...
34
votes
4answers
49k 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'...
32
votes
5answers
35k views

Why does this pipe feeding a hot water heater dip down like this?

This is a cold water pipe just in front of the hot water heater it is feeding. Why is it shaped that way? What is its function?
31
votes
4answers
79k 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 ...
30
votes
5answers
118k 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 ...
30
votes
10answers
134k 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 ...
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 ...
27
votes
6answers
333k 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 ...
27
votes
7answers
123k 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 ...
26
votes
14answers
65k 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
10k 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
8k 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
3answers
24k 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 ...
24
votes
6answers
253k 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
11answers
18k 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 ...
23
votes
8answers
9k 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 ...
22
votes
7answers
8k views

Is it safe to flush newspaper down the toilet?

Recently an Australian newspaper printed several blank pages to help readers who may have run out of toilet paper. Would it be safe to flush pieces of newspaper down the toilet?
22
votes
1answer
5k 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?...
21
votes
21answers
207k 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
91k 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 ...
20
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 ...
20
votes
6answers
402k views

Should a gas 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
10k views

How can I unscrew the faucet nuts in the tight space behind my sink basin?

My bathroom faucet is dripping, and I would like to change the washers in it. The problem I am running into is the placement of the nuts holding the faucet valves in place: This is the underside of ...
19
votes
3answers
5k views

Why would you use copper over CPVC or PEX?

Are there any advantages to using copper rather than CPVC or PEX?
18
votes
17answers
87k 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?
18
votes
9answers
81k 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 ...
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/...
17
votes
10answers
5k 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
4answers
6k views

How do electric hot water heaters explode and what can be done to prevent that from happening?

My neighbor and good friend is a union steamfitter, and general handyman. He had to replace his electric hot water heater last year and he did it himself. My wife and I have to replace ours now, and ...
17
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
132k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
28k 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 ...
16
votes
6answers
8k views

Is it safe for plumbing to use rainwater to flush toilets?

A couple of articles encourage the use of rainwater to flush toilets. (article 1, article 2) However, would it be safe to do so if the rainwater in your particular area has a pH that is considered as ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Turn off hot water without hot water valve

I have a leaky pipe on the hot water side that I'd like to fix. Following the pipes back to the water heater, I don't think there's a shutoff valve installed anywhere in the line, not even at the ...
16
votes
3answers
32k 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
3answers
364k 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
106k 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 ...
15
votes
8answers
7k views

Using a sealant to stop a toilet tank leak

The toilet tank is leaking through the bolts, but the bolts are so rusted I can't remove them. I can't afford a plumber right now, but would like to stop using bucket-fulls of water to flush. My ...
15
votes
4answers
45k 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
2answers
62k 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
108k 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

Does my toilet drain poorly because of bad venting?

I have been in the house for about a year and the toilet has always had poor drainage. It doesn't overflow but there's hardly any suction at all when you flush it. The tub next to the toilet drains ...
14
votes
3answers
4k views

What is this cast-iron device on my water supply pipe?

This is on the water main for the house, just downstream of the main shutoff valve. Water is going up in the picture, as the arrow shows. Is it a strainer? A check valve? Pressure regulator? It ...
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
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.
14
votes
5answers
176k 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. ...

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