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Helpful Advice

Helpful Tips and Tricks from The Urban Plumber Inc.

To save you time, money and all the worries down the road, we have collected our favourite tips and tricks to help you solve common household plumbing problems. If you still need help, don’t be shy, give us a call.

Pipe Insulation to Prevent Sprayer Snarls

If you have to jiggle the hose as you pull out your kitchen sink sprayer, there are chances that the hose might catch on the shutoff valves. Slip 1/2-in. foam pipe insulation over the pipes and shutoff handles for a smooth operation. If it doesn’t stay, then tape it. You can get the insulation at home centres for about $3.

Wrap Pipes in Adhesive-backed Felt

Over time, hot, running water can cause copper pipes to expand and grind against pipe hangers and joists. If you do observe such grinding, pick up some adhesive-backed felt at the hardware store and cut it into strips. Next, remove each hanger and wrap the pipe before refastening the hanger.

Deaden Sounds with Expanding Foam

Use expanding foam to fill the space between two stainless steel sink basins. If you’re experiencing vibrations, the use of foam will deaden the vibrations and lessen the gong effect. You can do this with the sink in place but it would be much neat and easier if you do it before installation. You must let the foam harden and then trim away the excess with a knife.

Use a Shop Vacuum to Remove Hard Objects

When an object like a toothbrush, comb or toy plugs a toilet or drain, a plunger may not be the solution. Using such objects might only push the obstruction in deeper. You must instead suck out the water and the obstruction with a wet/dry shop vacuum.

Use a Strong Magnet to Find Hidden Pipes

If you’re trying to locate a pipe under the floor, attach a rare earth (neodymium) magnet to an electrical fish tape and feed it into drain lines through the cleanout plug. Then, locate the magnet and the pipe under the floor using an ordinary compass. The compass will turn wildly when it finds a strong magnet.

Use Buckets of Water to Flush the Toilet

Before you start with your plumbing project and turn off the water supply, fill two-gallon buckets with water. Dump the water in the bowl to flush the toilet. One bucket of water will give you one flush. Flushing with bucket water is like the usual method although it won't refill the bowl.

Take a Picture before Closing up Walls

It is always a good idea to take pictures of your walls to see what's inside during remodelling. You must also take pictures of your floor and ceiling. When you start with your next remodelling or repair project, you'll know where the framing and the electrical and plumbing lines are.

Plunge Water First before Removing the Trap

Give the drain a few plunges with a toilet plunger before you remove a sink trap. This will push most of the water out of the trap, thereby lessening the mess when you pull the trap. Be sure to plug the other drain to contain the air pressure if you have a double sink. Make sure you hold the strainer down while you plunge the drain if it isn't a screw-down style.

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