Plumbing FAQs

Common Problems

Water leaks under the sink:

The most common cause is a worn J bend. Metal will corrode where the water sits in the bottom of the trap. Also check all connections to make sure the nuts are tight. Leaks also occur where water is supplied to the faucet. This is more dangerous because the water is under pressure. Check the stop valve and the supply line to the faucet. If these leak they should be replaced. It is usually not possible to effectively replace the washer in a stop valve.

Water will not drain:

The drainpipe is clogged. Most people will try chemicals first (Drano, etc.), but a plunger is often just as effective. A flat bottom plunger should be used in sinks. For toilets, a dual action plunger with a fold out horn works best. If a plunger doesn’t work an auger is the next step. Remove the J bend under the sink to make sure it is not blocked. Then feed the auger into the drainpipe. A special toilet auger is available which protects the toilet bowl from scratches.

Water leaks from washing machine hose:

This requires immediate attention! A worn and leaking hose can burst and cause extensive damage in a short period of time. The hose should be replaced at once.

Water leaks from Faucet spout:

Contrary to what many customers, this is not a problem with the faucet aerator. Determine whether it is a two-handle or single handle faucet. Two-handle faucets usually require new washers or stems, single handle faucets require a repair kit designed for that specific brand of faucet.Contrary to what many customers, this is not a problem with the faucet aerator. Determine whether it is a two-handle or single handle faucet. Two-handle faucets usually require new washers or stems, single handle faucets require a repair kit designed for that specific brand of faucet.

Key Terminology

ABS

Rigid plastic drainage pipe, Acrylonitrite-Butadiene-Styrene.

Antisyphon Valve

Prevents siphoning of contaminated water back into potable water supply.

Ballcock

Valve used to refill water in a toilet tank.

Branch Tailpiece

Tailpiece with side nipple to receive dishwasher discharge line.

CPVC

Plastic for hot water supply, chlorinated polyvinyl chloride.

Direct Connection

In tubular systems, provides a mechanically secure joint (as opposed to slip joint).

DWV

Drainage Waste Vents.

Female

Pipes, valves, or fittings with internal threads.

Fixture

Products which receive water at points of usage; i.e. sinks, toilets, tubs, etc.

Flush Valve

Controls flow of water from toilet tank into bowl.

ID

Inside diameter.

IPS

Iron pipe size.

Lavatory

Industry term for bathroom or washroom sink.

Male

Pipes, valves, or fittings with external threads.

OD

Outside diameter.

Pop-Up Drain

Remote control drain assembly (most commonly used with lavatories and bathtubs).

Potable

Water which is safe to drink.

PVC

Rigid plastic pipe for cold water, Polyvinyl Chloride.

Repair Trap

Special trap design which provides slip joint connections at both ends.

Slip Joint

A telescoping means of connecting in which a gasket is compressed around the perimeter of the inside member.

Stop

A valve used to shut off water to a specific fitting, fixture or pipe line.

Sweat Connections

Term often used interchangeably with soldering.

Trap

Plumbing fittings that are required under all plumbing fixtures; traps have a built in water level that prevents sewer gas from coming into the house. Toilets are the only fixtures that have their own built-in trap.

Vent

Pipe that carries away sewer gasses and odors; also lets air into the line, letting the pipes drain.

Installation Tips

Turn off the water

always the first step in any plumbing repair, but you would be surprised how many people forget.

Protect surrounding areas

even with the water turned off, water remaining in traps or supply lines can make a mess. A bucket and old towel or rag always comes in handy.

Don’t over tighten

plastic tubular should be hand tightened only. Excessive force with a wrench could strip threads.

Prepare connection joints carefully

joints to be soldered must be clean and completely dry. Any trace of moisture will prevent solder from sealing completely. Plastic pieces to be glued must be cleaned and primed first. Threaded connections must be clean and wrapped with thread sealant tape before assembly.