Plumbing DIY – How to Solder Copper Pipes and Copper Joints!

July 9th, 2009

Soldering copper pipes and joints may be one of the first things a plumber should know how to do.  There’s already many great resources on how to solder copper pipes and joints, we highly recommend to start out with this article from RD.com.

In this article, we’ll show you how to do a leakproof soldering job the first time—and a few cool tools to make the job quicker and easier.

solder-howto

Here’s two videos on how to solder copper pipes and joints FYI:

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

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Plumbing DIY – How to Install a Toilet!

July 9th, 2009

If you are thinking about installing a toilet yourself, you might be interested to read the article on DoItYourself.com.  Of course, you can always call us at 888-LOW-BIDZ and get it done by professional plumbers too.

One word of warning, do not attempt to replace your own toilet without taking all the pre-cautions:

  1. Violating or ignoring local code restrictions.
  2. Using pipes that are too small.
  3. Attaching copper to galvanized without using a brass or dielectric fitting between the two.
  4. Not using PTFE tape or pipe compound at threaded joints.
  5. Not leveling your fixtures when installing them.
  6. Not installing an air gap filling for fixtures.
  7. Cutting supply stub outs too short to install the shutoff valves onto after the finished wall is in place, or
  8. Not properly aligning tubing into fittings or stop valves. (Forcing the nut onto the compression ring at an angle when the tubing is at an angle will cause a leak.)
  9. When turning the water back on in your home, always run the outside hose valve or flush your toilets to bleed dirt and air from the lines. This debris can cause problems in your sink faucets and other plumbing trim.

toilet

Here’s also a great video on how to install your own toilet:

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

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How do Tankless Water Heater Work?

July 9th, 2009

Have you considered getting a “tankless” water heater for your home?

According to TanklessWaterHeaterGuide.com, tankless water heater can be perfect for homes that do not need a massive supply of water:

Tankless Water Heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. Therefore, they avoid the standby heat losses associated with storage water heaters. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. In an electric Tankless Water Heater an electric element heats the water. In a gas-fired Tankless Water Heater a gas burner heats the water. As a result, Tankless Water Heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water. You don’t need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water. Typically, Tankless Water Heaters provide hot water at a rate of 2 – 5 gallons (7.6 – 15.2 liters) per minute. Typically, gas-fired Tankless Water Heaters will produce higher flow rates than electric Tankless Water Heaters. Some smaller Tankless Water Heaters, however, cannot supply enough hot water for simultaneous, multiple uses in large households. For example, taking a shower and running the dishwasher at the same time can stretch a Tankless Water Heater to its limit. To overcome this problem, you can install a “whole house” type Tankless Water Heater or install two or more Tankless Water Heaters, connected in parallel for simultaneous demands of hot water. You can also install separate Tankless Water Heaters for appliances—such as a clothes washer or dishwater—that use a lot of hot water in your home.

If you own a vacation home or a condo, tankless water heaters may save space while providing a better energy-efficiency.

For SF Bay Area residents, we highly recommend to give us a call at 1-888-LOW-BIDZ for a free quote on a tankless water installation.  Mention this blog post and we will give you $100 off!

tankless-water-heater

(Image Credit)

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Plumbing DIY – How to Find a Good Plumber!

July 6th, 2009

One of the hardest things in life is finding a good, honest plumber who will fix your plumbing problems and make sure the problem doesn’t happen.

Here’s a couple of suggestions on how to find a good plumber:

  • For small jobs, most plumbing companies can give you a quote over the phone such as clogged toilet or kitchen sink.  Do call 3-4 plumbing companies and see which one has the lowest price and ask them if they can guarantee the rates or if they will give you a discount.
  • For larger jobs such as plumbing that requires drilling or digging, you will want to find the right plumber first.  Do you research and call the speciality plumbers.  For example, you’d want to contact us for trenchless sewer jobs since we “specialize” in trenchless sewer jobs.  (although we do most regular household plumbing too)  Again, get several different quotes and meet the plumbers in person.   When you meet them in person, note how promptly they show up to your appointment time.  If the plumber is seriously late, you might want to consider another plumbing company even he’s the cheapest, he might take forever to get the job done.
  • Also ask if the plumber provides free camera inspection services.  (we do free camera inspection)  A lot of plumbers might try to rip you off by charging you $50 CASH for a camera inspection.  These guys are scammers as they take cash and not tell their company about it.  (sorta middlemanning their own plumbing company)  I’ve seen this happen recently, I couldn’t believe this plumber charged $200 CASH for a camera inspection.  Most good plumbing companies will do this free of charge.

You really want to find a plumber who gives you honest quotes on the jobs you need done.  Sometimes, a lot of the national brand companies will rip you off so go with a local plumber.

Of course, if you are in the SF Bay Area and you have a plumbing problem, you know who to call, Sewer Specialists @ 415-378-4618 or fill out our homepage online estimate form.

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How to Install a Garbage Disposal!

October 27th, 2008

One of the services provided by Sewer Specialists is garbage disposal maintenance/install/repair.  You can usually call us for the service but if you’d like to know how to install one yourself, Lowes.com has a great DIY on how to do it.  (Remember, you can call us for the installation but if you think you can, go ahead. :) )

If you intend to install one where there was none previously, it will require installing a switch and running electrical power to the unit. You can do this yourself if you are confident in your wiring ability and are familiar with local codes. If not, have an electrician run the wire for you before or after you install the unit. A new installation will also require that your sink have a full-size drain opening.

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Plumbing DIY – How to Detect Leaks in Home Plumbing!

October 27th, 2008

Although we’d love to charge customers for detecting leaks here at Sewer Specialists Inc., most minor leaks can be fixed without even calling a plumber.

Before calling us for our plumbing services, we highly suggest you to check out the following DIY on how to detect leaks in your home plumbing:

Step 1
The first thing you will need to do is shut ALL doors in the house.
Step 2
Next, locate the white vent pipes on your roof. Choose one for the test and stuff an old rag into the opening of the others.
Step 3
Wearing rubber gloves, empty the contents of 3-4 bottles of peppermint extract [can find in baking aisle] into the open vent pipe. Follow with the gallon of very hot water.
Step 4
Cover that pipe opening immediately.
Step 5
Starting in the lowest floor of the house [basement counts] start by opening one door at a time. You should NOT smell peppermint as you open each room. If you do chances are there is a leak in your sewer pipe behind the walls of that room.
Step 6
Congratulate yourself for saving a few hundred dollars over what a plumber would have charged you to perform the test.

via eHow

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Plumbing DIY – How to Unclog a Drain!

October 27th, 2008

For most clogs, there’s easy ways to unclog your drain.  Before you call the plumber, try this DIY that shows you how easily most pipes can be “unscrewed”:

Traps: If you have lost a valuable item such as a contact lens or ring, removing the trap, known as a “P” OR “S” trap, will be a perfect way to retrieve the lost item.

Step 1. Place a basin or bucket to catch water from the trap. If chemicals are present use a chemical resistant bucket and wear chemical resistant gloves. Also shield eyes.

Step 2. Loosen the two end nuts of the couplings. Some can be loosened by hand, but a pipe wrench may be needed. The trap will come free and you can get the lost item, or remove the plug.

Step 3. Check the washers for any damage when putting the trap back on. Replacing the damaged washers now may save you a leak later on.

via doityourself

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Welcome to the SF Plumbing Blog!

October 15th, 2008

Welcome to the Sewer Specialists’ SF Plumbing Blog!

We will be showcasing and covering many plumbing HOWTOs, DIYs, and informational blog posts to help you fix plumbing problems around your house.

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