Getting to Know Your Toilet

Knowing the different parts of your toilet can help you better understand where a problem may be coming from. If you notice a bad smell or if you have an overflowing toilet these key parts could prevent you from cleaning up a giant mess.

  • Tank- The tank is the back part of your toilet that holds clean water used for flushing the toilet and filling other components.
  • Bowl- The bowl holds the waste water.
  • Flush Handle- The flush handle is the part used to flush the toilet. It is connected to the trip lever.
  • Trip Lever- The trip lever lifts the flapper, allows water to leave the tank during a flush, and lets soiled water out.
  • Float Ball- The float ball is used to measure the amount of water inside the tank. It lowers and rises as the water moves through the system. When the tank is full, the ball stops rising.
  • Overflow Tube- The overflow tube leads to the toilets drain. It stops the tank from overflowing and pushes out any excess water.
  • Flapper Valve- The flapper valve is attached to the flush handle and the trip lever with a chain. Its main use is to keep water inside the tank. It creates suction to help force soiled water down the toilet drain. If your toilet is overflowing, you can try pushing the flapper down.
  • Stop Valve- Also referred to as the toilet supply valve, this valve controls the water supply. It is usually located behind the toilet near the floor.
  • Supply Tube- The supply tube supplies water to the toilet from the main water line into the refill tube.
  • Refill Tube- The refill tube refills the bowl with clean water through the supply tube when the float ball is down.
  • Trap- The trap is a seal that prevents water back flowing and prevents odors from seeping through from the main sewer line.
  • Wax Ring- The wax ring is a seal between the toilet and the main sewer line. Typically if you have a leak at the bottom of your toilet this is where it is coming from.

It’s Like Throwing Money Down The Drain!

A running toilet can waste around 200 gallons of water per day, that equals thousands of gallons per year. On average, a running toilet adds approximately $200 per month to a water bill. If you notice your toilet is making noises after flushing it, you could be wasting money. To be sure of this, you can add a few drops of food coloring into the tank and let it sit. If the food coloring leaks into the bowl, you know your toilet is running.

Replacing Possible Culprits

  • The toilet bowl only needs to be replaced if it is cracked.
  • Flappers last around 4-5 years on average, however, certain cleaning chemicals used to clean toilets may shorten that to a year or less.
  • Handles should be replaced if you have to jiggle it for the water to stop running, if you have to hold the handle down to flush, or if the water runs constantly.
  • Wax seals should only need replacement every 20-30 years.

Just Let That Sink In

Fun and interesting facts about plumbing

Original wooden pipes used in Boston and Montreal in the 1800’s. They were hollowed out logs that were tapered on the end.
  • The origin word for plumbing is plumbum. In Latin it translates to lead. This is also the reason lead is abbreviated as Pb on the periodic table.
  • Sir John Harrington invented the first flushing toilet in 1596. Sir John of Kelston, only constructed two of these toilets. One for himself and one for his godmother, Queen Elizabeth I. It was a two foot oval, waterproofed with resin and wax, fed by water from an upstairs cistern.
  • King George II died while on the toilet. Being overweight and unhealthy, he suffered a heart attack while using the restroom.
  • Thomas Crapper was the first to market the flushing toilet to the public. He also invented the ballcock and held nine patents for updating various flushing components.
  • In the 1800’s, wooden pipes were used in areas like Boston and Montreal. These wooden pipes were hollowed out logs that were tapered on the ends.
  • In November of 1954, Albert Einstein was made an honorary member of The Plumbers and Steamfitters Union, after stating if he could live his life all over, he’d have been a plumber.
  • Ozzy Osborne of Black Sabbath, was a plumbers apprentice prior to pursuing his music career.
  • The Super Mario Bros, Mario and Luigi, were plumbers. In the original story line they were checking the local sewer lines when crabs and shell creepers took over. The plumbing scenario also tied in nicely with the discovery of Mushroom World, in which they were sucked down into a secret warp zone while unclogging a drain.

Tree Root Damage

07/30/19 In the first photo you will see the toilet drain (This is what is under your toilet) with the roots still intact . In the second photo you will see the roots that have been removed from the drain. These customers had noticed sewer returning and slow draining.

Tree Roots are drawn to the moisture, oxygen, and nutrients that are present inside of sewer pipes. The vapor that is released into the soil when there is a leak or crack inside your sewage system can attract roots to grow toward the pipes.

The most invasive species of trees are:

  • Hybrid Poplars
  • Willows
  • American Elms

The average cost to remove tree roots from sewer pipes is between $100 and $600. For larger roots causing more severe damage, that cost can go up to as much as $2500 for complete re-piping of the system.

If you notice a slow flowing drainage system or gurgling noises coming from your toilet bowl, please give us a call!

Backflow Device Testing

During summer months you may notice your lawn is dry and wilted but, before you decide to turn on the sprinklers, make sure you’ve had your back-flow device tested. On average, around 25% of back-flow devices will fail, possibly putting someone else’s health at risk. The number one cause of back-flow device failure is due to dirt and debris that flows through the pipeline.

Not sure what a back-flow device is?

Back-flow devices or preventers keep contaminated water from moving the wrong way though your waterlines. It’s sole job is to prevent drinking water from becoming contaminated due to back-flow. Back siphon-age can occur when the pressure in a tank or water trough is lower than the pressure of the water system. Your water quality may not be affected however, it may cause someone to get sick from drinking contaminated water.

If you need your back-flow devices tested, please call and make an appointment. Please remember, if you need any repairs, they should be made by a certified technician.

Underground Water Leak

A few weeks ago we repaired an underground water leak for one of our clients. A few things that would suggest you may have an underground leak is usual wet spots or pools of water on the grounds surface.  If you notice a drop in your water pressure from normal you may want to investigate as this could also be a sign of a leak. Pay attention to your water bill and your monthly water usage because if you have a leak you could see a sudden increase. And remember our guys are here to help if you need a water leak repaired.

Pipe or Stud??

     When drilling or nailing into your walls it is essential to know what is behind the hole you are creating. This image is an example of what can happen if you aren’t certain it is a stud you are hitting. Behind your walls are items such as pipes for plumbing and/or natural gas and wires for your electricity. It is very important to know you are not hitting and damaging those items when drilling or nailing into your walls. The best way to find the studs in your wall is to use a stud finder that differentiates the studs from pipes, there is also usually a separate indicator light for the presence of electrical wiring. Even after you feel certain you have found the stud drive a panel pin through the wall, if you feel the resistance of the wood you will know it is the stud. Creating a hole in the wall blindly can cause major problems. In this case the pipe was thought to be a stud and several holes were drilled into it creating a water leak. The pipe was replaced but is a great example to all of us what can easily happen.

 

 

The do’s and don’ts of garbage disposals

      Many garbage disposal problems can be avoided altogether with the proper care and maintenance. When using your disposal start by letting cold water run through it for 15 seconds before turning it on. Allow the water to continue running and begin to slowly feed the food into the disposal until the grinding stops. Turn off the disposal and allow the water to continue to run through the disposal for about 30 seconds to make sure the disposal is clear.

      Never put items such as plastic, metal, glass, or any kind of paper products into the disposal as these items will cause damage to the blades and or motor. When putting food into the disposal make sure you do not put foods with tough skins such as potato peels or fibrous food such as celery stalks into the disposal. These types of foods can wrap around the motor or cause clogs. Grease should also never be poured into the disposal, because the grease will solidify and accumulate causing clogged pipes or bad odors.

To keep your disposal clean and fresh. Run hot water and soap through the disposal daily. Freshen up your disposal by chopping up lemons or limes and grinding them up in the disposal. Vinegar is also a great way you can eliminate odor causing bacteria from your disposal.  Maintain your disposal and keep it in great shape to avoid unnecessary repair cost.

 

Corrosion Problems

      This is a prime example of how brass plumbing fittings can corrode from well water. This one was discovered by the homeowner after the corrosion caused a leak. Corrosion is caused by the minerals and chemicals from the water. If you suspect your water is corrosive you should have it tested.

Corrosion can be prevented and corrected before causing problems.  Installing corrosion resistant components on your plumbing, and installing a neutralizing filter system are some of the things you can do. If you are having problems or suspect corrosion and need help give us a call here at Cain’s Able Plumbing. Our guys can help you with your corrosion problem and any other plumbing issues you may have.