Category Archives: Plumbing

Whether you have a leak or just want to change thing we are here to help you get it done right.

Quick Guide To Replace a Toilet Fill Valve

Do you notice your toilet filling real slow after you flush it? The culprit is most likely the fill valve is worn or filled with sediment from the water.

The fill valve, is the tower inside the toilet tank where the water enters and has the float attached to it. It will sit off to one side of the tank. There are a number of different models that can be used, each with a little different configuration, that all attach in the same manner.

Replacing the fill valve is an easy project that requires a pair of water pump pliers and a sponge.

Check out this video and see how simple it is.



Automatic Air Vent for Drain Lines

All plumbing fixture drain lines need to be vented. The air vent allows for air in to the drain system so water will flow properly. Think of how a soda bottle goes gulb when you poor it as the air goes into the bottle to replace the liquid coming out. Without the introduction of air, a vacuum will form and the liquid will stop flowing.

See our article on Properly Venting a Plumbing Fixture

A drain system therefore must also be vented. Installing a vent line in some areas, such as a kitchen island or a basement can be an issue particularly if the walls are all closed.

Using an automatic air vent in a cabinet or exposed if you don’t mind the look can solve this issue.

These devices have been used for decades and are approved by must building codes. Be sure to check with your local code official before installing one.

Check out the video below to see how to install an automatic air vent.


Properly Venting a Plumbing Fixture

Before you decide to add a plumbing fixture for a bathroom, laundry room, or a utility sink, you need to be sure that the drain line is properly vented. Without proper venting your sink will drain slow, gurgle or back up.

If it is an existing drain it shouldn’t be an issue. If you are installing a new waste line, venting it is very important.

The vent allows air to enter the system to prevent air locks and also allows sewer gases to exit the system outside of the living space.

Glenda at SF gives us some great advice on sewer venting.

Venting Basics

The old-fashioned method of venting featured a separate vent pipe for every fixture but that led to multiple vent pipes exiting the roof. Today, plumbers combine vents, and even a home with four or more bathrooms typically has only one main vent-and-soil stack that exits the roof at the top and curves to form the horizontal sewer drain at the bottom. A good drain, waste and vent layout takes bathroom, laundry room and kitchen configuration into consideration when planning where the main vent-and-soil stack is located and how each drain and vent will connect. Drainpipes all slope downward and tie into the stack, while vent pipes extend upward and meet the stack higher on the line, often in the attic. The basic rule is that a vent must not connect to the stack lower on the stack than a drain connection.

Mechanical Vents, Air Admittance Valves and Best Practices

In the case of a remodeling, it’s not always possible to install vertical vents through finished walls, although that should be the first option. When this situation arises, it might be possible to install an air admittance valve on a sink or tub drain line. An AAV attaches to an individual fixture’s drain line in the wall nearest the fixture. AAVs replace the old mechanical vents, which are not up to code in most communities. It’s essential that all plumbing plans be cleared with the local building authority. In many communities, a licensed plumber must either do the work or oversee the project.

If you find that running a full vent line is just not possible, Click Here for instructions on Air Admittance Valve installation.

How to Stop a Shower Valve Drip

Tired of the constant drip coming from your shower faucet? You’ve tried tightening the handle as hard as you can, but it still drips. Read on to find out how to stop a shower valve drip.

If you have a 2 or 3 handle faucet, chances are you are in need of new valve washers. Replacing these is a fairly simple task for a DIYer.

To repair a leaking single handle shower faucet, check out Repairing Single Handle Shower Valve

Phillip screwdriver

Flat blade screwdriver

Needle nose pliers

Water pump pliers

Set of plumber’s sockets, for removing the valve stem.



If the faucet still leaks, go to the Next Page on replacing the valve seats.


Repairing a Dripping Shower Valve

A dripping shower valve can waste thousands of gallons of water a year, not to mention the annoying drip, drip, drip all night long.

If you have a 2 or 3 handle shower faucet, check out our article on repairing that type of faucet at Repairing a Multi Handle Shower Valve

Your single lever shower valve has a cartridge inside the valve which can go bad over time. This cartridge is made to  be replaced when this happens.

To replace this cartridge in your dripping shower valve, it is best to know what make and model faucet you have. Having a new cartridge on hand before you start is a big help. This is not always possible, so it is best to tackle this job when you know the plumbing store is open.

Aside from having a new cartridge, basic hand tools can usually get the job done.

  • Allen wrench set – For removing the handle
  • Phillip screwdriver – For removing the cover plate
  • Flat blade screwdriver – Depending on the age of the faucet
  • Needle nose pliers – to remove the retaining clip
  • Lineman or water pump pliers – to extract the cartridge

If the valve cartridge decides it wants to be stubborn and not just pull out, you may need a cartridge removal tool. They can be purchased where ever you buy your replacement parts.

Hop on over to the Next Page for instructions and video on how to replace your shower valve cartridge.


Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit

Does your water heater or heating system have a pilot light that won’t stay lit?

When you have no hot water or heat in the house there are a few things to check. Many times it will be the pilot light that has has gone out.

There can be a few causes for this to happen. The utility company may have been working on the line and air got into the line which caused the pilot to go out. A strong gust of wind got down the flue and blew the pilot out. Or the thermo-coupler is bad and won’t allow the pilot to stay lit.

The first thing to do is relight the pilot. To relight the pilot, you need to turn the control knob on the gas valve to Pilot position, press and hold it in while lighting the pilot. You will need to hold the button down for about thirty seconds. When you release the button, if the pilot goes out, you more than likely have a bad thermocoupler.

All of these appliances have a safety feature to keep the gas valve from opening if the pilot is not lit.

Along with the pilot light is sensor called a thermocouple. This device is heated by the pilot light and sends a millivolt signal to the gas valve that it is safe to operate. If the pilot is not lit nothing will happen.

Over time the thermocouple can become covered with carbon which will prevent it from sensing the pilot. You can try cleaning the carbon off to see it that is the issue. If it still does not allow the pilot to stay lit, you will need to change the thermocouple. You can pick up a universal one for about $10 at any hardware or home repair store.

Each unit is slightly different as to where the pilot and thermocouple are located. But they are very similar in how they are installed.

Head over to the Next Page to see how to change this device.


Replacing a Toilet Fill Valve [video]

Is your toilet filling really slow or there is water coming out from under the lid of your toilet? The issue is more than likely the toilet fill valve. Before making that decision, remove the water line from the toilet and run some water into a bucket to be sure that the line and shut off valve are clear.

The toilet fill valve can get clogged with sediment that is in your water system causing it to fill slowly. You can take it a part and turn the water on slow to try and flush the valve out.

Flushing out the valve will sometimes clear the issue, but most times you will cause the valve to leak once the seals are disturbed. If flushing the valve does not fix the issue you will need to replace the valve. This is a simple and inexpensive project.

The other reason you may need to replace the toilet fill valve is that it is leaking. The seals in the valve will need to be replaced as they will break down over time. It is faster and cheaper to replace the whole valve as apposed to trying to get and install new seals.

Check out the video below to how to change a toilet fill valve.

Clear a Bath Tub Drain

When your bath tub drain slows down or stops draining, it is usually do to excessive amounts of hair and soap that have build up over time. Clearing a clogged bathtub drain can seem like it will be a real pain. But it is not as hard as it may seem.

Before shelling out some of your hard earned money, grab a few tools and get a little knowledge under your belt and you are ready to get your tub flowing again.

The first thing to try, which works most of the time, requires 2 drain plungers and a little patience.

Check out the video showing you this technique.


If this doesn’t work after a few tries you will need to go deeper. See the Next Page for more ways to unclog your bath tub drain.


How to Replace Your Kitchen Sink Strainer

You find that things are getting wet under your kitchen sink. So you need to go looking under the sink to determine where it is coming from.

Put a stopper in the sink drain and run some water in the sink. Place some towels under the sink. If the towels get wet doing this, chances are the leak is either in the faucet or around the kitchen sink strainer and not in the drain piping, unless your stopper is not holding the water back.

If the towels are wet towards the back of the cabinet it is probably the faucet leaking. If they are wet in the center, run your hand or a rag along the drain piping and check for water.

If you determined the issue is the kitchen sink strainer here is a great video showing how to replace it.

If it is not the sink strainer, check out our other articles and videos on where your leak is coming from.

How to Install PEX Piping


When the next time comes for you to replace the piping in your home, you might want to consider an alternative to the copper pipes that are present in most homes at this current time. The use of PEX piping can easily be cut to fit into any length and requires no soldering and flame during the installation process.

PEX is also flexible, and allows the pipes to be bent to specific locations, which will mean that you will not have to use as many connections throughout your plumbing system, reducing the risk of leaks. The substance has had a successful tour of Europe over the course of the last 30 years but is just now catching on in North America.

Although the substance itself is slightly more expensive than copper piping in most areas, the time that is saved on the installation process and other supplies ultimately makes it a more cost effective solution than other metal options that are available on the market.

PEX piping can usually be found in all major hardware stores, but can also be found in most wholesale plumbing supply stores. It also makes your system easier to read once it is in place because the pipes come in different colors. Most choose to use blue pipes for cold water distribution and red pipes for hot water distribution.

Another feature of PEX tubing is the ease of joint assembly. There are thousands of different fittings for all shapes, sizes and applications. You can even connect PEX tube to existing copper or other plastic pipes through the use of fittings that rarely require more than a crimp to put things in place. You will never have to use a torch or solder on PEX plumbing pipe installations like you would with metal alternatives, which is another reason why PEX has become the fastest rising pipe material in North America, especially after it was approved for use in California.

PEX pipes are also resistant to freeze cracking like other metal alternatives. Instead of cracking under the pressure of the expanding ice inside the pipe, the PEX pipe will expand and make space for the ice, and then will shrink once the ice is thawed.

It is easy to see why PEX pipes have become a common choice for many builders and plumbers in new installations and older renovation projects alike.

Online search for the PEX pipes [] and PEX tubing [] can stop here as it is the right place to look for the PEX plumbing supplies.

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Check out the great video on the Next Page on how to install PEX Piping.