Adventures in plumbing

I’m not a complete mechanical idiot. I  learned electronics repair in the Army and I can understand basic concepts but the idea of doing any plumbing repair just always seemed intimidating to me.  I figured the tools must be very expensive and when you screwed up the results could be darned awful.

Anyway nothing like desperation to force you to re-evaluate your preconceptions and force you into action.  When both myself and nieghbors had nasty clogs the same week and I’ve had a few little minor jobs that needed to be fixed I decided  in trying to be self-reliant I better start looking to do some of those jobs myself.  Especially since I have the old fashioned toilets and I don’t want to replace them with the new Low-flow toilets.

A couple of months a go I had a leak on one of the toilets that I thought was where the pipe and the tank met and it turned out it was where the bowl and tank bolts had just gotten old and needed to be replaced.  About $5.00 in parts and some careful work getting them tightened down so as not to crack the porcelin and leak was gone. I kind of was kicking myself for just tring to get by instead of just fixing the dogone thing properly.

In one of the bathrooms I had a toilet running all the time but the nut and bolt were so rusted and coroded I could not adjust the float. Well I got a hacksaw and finally cut the bolt apart and got a new bolt and nut installed and finally I didn’t have to manually pull up the float arm.  Only problem now is I need to train the cat not to drink out of the toilet tank.

My Kitchen sink has always been an ongoing problem but I’ve always been able to keep it going until the “Clog” and when I used the snake I finally broke the seal on one of  the sink strainers. So onto the internet to find out what was needed to fix that if I could and see if I needed any special tools and the cost. Well actual the job is pretty straight forward and yes I did need a special wrench but it only cost $13.00 a little plumbers putty at $2.00. While at the Hardware store I looked at the cost of getting a snake and for a 50 footer it was only $23.00. I think that would be enough for any job I would want to take on.  If I need more than that, it would pay to have a professional come in and fix it.

I got one of those Drain Kings that let you use water pressure to blow out clogs. So for less than $40.00 I have at least some basic tools to take care of any little plumbing issues.  As well as build some skills and confidence that I can take care of the plumbing.

Update: The sink strainer is installed. It’s amazing the thing lasted as long as it did as no putty was used and 2 gaskets underneath the sink were partially rotted. Tested and it looks good as no leaks or drips.

Update II: got a little seepage though not what  I’d call a leak after running several batches of hot water into the sink and simply tightened the main nut for the strainer a bit by hand as there seemed to be a bit of room for tightening further.  We will see how it goes overnight, though not perfect fix yet.   I think it will be okay in a couple of days after the plumbers putty has a bit of time to set up and I take all the slack out of tightening the strainer.  It may take a little tweaking to make it right.  I had to push it pretty hard via cold and hot water in batches just to make it seep if not leak and drip. My litttle extra twist seemed to fix the seep so we will see if the fix holds tommorrow or if we need to do a few more tweaks.  I only did hand tight so I have a bit of room to for getting a wrench and really tightening things down if needed.

Update III: Last Item to check was the dishwasher. Ive been having some problems with my dishes get clean , so I pour  a cup of bleach in the dishwasher as it bottom interior was looking dirty let it sit over night and ran the dishwasher today, Huzzah! the dishes are actually clean and no water pooled in the bottom and no backup into the sink while it was getting rid of the water. No leaks or seepage anywhere  under the sink.


2 Responses to Adventures in plumbing

  1. I really like the idea of the bleach in the dishwasher!

  2. Jamie says:

    Bryan, The cup of bleach worked great for sanitizing the dishwasher but it would not have been much good without clearing the pipe. My neighbor used my “Drain King” and now her dishwasher is working again.

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