Posts Tagged ‘diy home improvement’

Dos and Don’ts of DIY Drain Cleaning

September 18th, 2012

If you have indoor plumbing as many modern homes do, you will eventually be plagued with stopped-up drains.  In the best of circumstances, it is a minor annoyance; in the worst of circumstances—say, during a family gathering or house party—it can be catastrophic.

However, there is no need to panic.  There are plenty of do-it–yourself remedies you can try before calling a plumber.  But, be aware that the methods and tools needed vary according to which drains are affected.

Using a Plunger to Unclog Drains

It is always better to use environmentally friendly solutions when possible.  One tool no home should be without is a basic plunger.  Used since the late 1800s, a plunger is the first line of defense for any drain blockage.  This simple device is effective on any drain and can often solve the problem in a matter of seconds.

A plunger works by creating suction in the offending drain.  The procedure is the same for any drain in the home.  Make sure there is enough water – in the toilet bowl, sink or tub – to fill the plunger cup.  After ensuring a tight seal, vigorously work the plunger in an up-and-down motion for approximately 15 seconds, releasing it sharply from the drain on the last stroke.

When done properly, you will feel water moving in the drain.  This movement will either push or pull the clog out of the pipe, allowing the water to flow freely through the trap.  Several attempts may be necessary to clear the line.

What if the Drain is Still Clogged?

When dealing with a toilet that will not unclog, it is possible that an object such as a washcloth or a child’s toy may be stuck in the trap.  In this situation, you will need a commode auger to clear the obstruction.  Augers are tools designed to fit into toilet bowls and grasp the object, allowing it to be removed.

For sinks and tubs, a mixture of vinegar and baking soda poured directly into the drain will cause a chemical reaction that should usually clear the pipe.  After letting the mixture work for several minutes, flush the drain with a large container of boiling water.  This will remove hair, soap scum and even grease build-up, which are often the primary causes of sluggish draining.

Can Chemical Drain Cleaners Be Safely Used?

If the eco-friendly measures are unsuccessful, the clog may require a stronger, chemical drain-clearing agent.  At this point, it is worthwhile to call a professional plumber as most commercial products contain lye or hydrochloric acid and can be dangerous.  Using the wrong product—or the wrong amount—can seriously damage your septic system.  Safety should always be priority, and the cost of a new sewer system will greatly outweigh the cost of a plumber.  In this situation, be smart and contact your local plumber for help.

How to Install an Under Counter Water Heater?

September 14th, 2012

Even if you are not a tech savvy person you do not have to get overwhelmed and call for a plumber and electrician every time you need to install an appliance. In fact, for certain appliances like an under counter instant water heater, which is also popularly known as under sink water heater, installation is easier than you think. And you don’t have to spend even a penny in plumbing and electrician’s bills! Curious how you can do this? Well, read on.

What the hell is an under counter water heater?

Under counter water heaters are small home appliances that are usually seen in kitchens. They are akin to hot water dispensers and provide instant and point of service water heating both for domestic and commercial purposes. To get optimum output from an under counter water heater, you must ensure that it is installed properly and you could do this by simply following a few installation steps and guidelines. Don’t get bogged down by the many steps. Just get them done one by one.

The right place for everything

Before you install your under counter water heater, you must find a proper place for installation near the fixer. This may be a place inside the kitchen cabinet, under the countertop, and under the sink. Make sure that all the necessary plumbing requirements have been met and water supply connection is available in the installation area.

Get the right kit

Before installing the water heater, procure all the necessary tools for installing your under counter water heater. Keep the installation manual within easy reach as you will need to refer to it again and again. The manual will also help you with the appropriate application of the tools in the installation process.

Don’t call the plumber

Don’t call a plumber to install your under counter water cooler. Just brush up your basic plumbing skills by observing a friend or family member or by watching a YouTube video. The plumbing components that you will need are clamps, valves, pipes, and cables required for connecting the water heater to the direct water supply near its mounting point.

Manual help

Follow the installation steps outlined in the manual meticulously and in orderly fashion. The installation steps, if followed to the T, will ensure that you have done everything right required for completing the installation process. Additionally, you must check if a T&P valve has been installed for the water heater.

All done

Once the installation steps of the under counter water heater have been completed, you need to test whether you have performed everything perfectly or not. Before that, you also have to make sure that the water heater does not have any waste, debris, or air. Foe this, fill the heater with water and drain for some time. The drained water will carry along with it the waste, air, and debris from the water heater and your under counter water heater is all set for use.