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Your toilet shutoff valve (located on the wall behind your toilet) can leak simply from being turned too far to the left, i.e., counterclockwise.  So, if yours is leaking, try turning the valve in the other direction to see if that solves the problem.

If not, you’ll be glad to know that repairing the valve is a fairly simple procedure, one that starts with shutting off the water supply to your entire house and draining the pipes up to the location of the shutoff valve.  Let’s start from there:

Grab a pan or small tub

After turning the shut-off valve to the full “off” position (all the way to the right), detach the steel hose. But first, place a small tub or pan on the floor to catch any water that might still be present.

Untwist the nut

Next, dis-assemble the valve, remove the screw from the handle and untwist the packing nut. Remove the threaded valve system. In the process, remember the position of the neoprene washers for ease of re-assembly.

Clean the washers

Clean the washers with a rag to remove any mineral deposits.  Keep cleaning until their flexibility returns.

Re-assemble the Valve

Make sure the washers are positioned properly, and then tighten the packing nut a little at time with your wrench or pliers. Do not use plumber’s putty or you might have a hard time fixing the shut-off valve in the future. Also, be sure not to over-tighten the nuts as that could damage the valve.

Re-attach the hose

Re-attach the steel hose to the valve assembly.

Turn the Water Supply Back On

First, re-engage your main water supply and then do the same with your toilet relief valve. If the valve is still leaking, it needs to be replaced, but at least you gave it a heckuva try.

Or, maybe this DIY plumbing stuff just isn’t for you.  If that’s the case, one call to Connor Plumbing is all it takes for any plumbing repair or replacement job, including toilet relief valves.

Upgrading your home with smart technology can save you money, time, and help turn your home into a safer environment. It could also increase the value of your home! Here are a few simple upgrades that you can make now:

Temperature Control

A digital thermostat is an easy way to regulate indoor temperatures and save up to 15% on your energy bills.  Using the pre-programming function, you can set a schedule so your home is perfectly comfortable upon your arrival while easing back on the warm or cool air when no one’s home.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors have moved up in the world! Detectors can self-test, and send updates to your computer or smart phones. They also can detect the difference between smoke and fire, and slow burning and fast burning fires.

Motion Sensing Lights

The motion sensing lights you have at work can also be installed in your home. No more having to holler at the family to turn off lights when they leave a room, or worrying that you left a light on as you pull out of your driveway. Also, if you have a pet that is home alone sometimes, you don’t have to leave any more lights on than you’re comfortable with – the light will find them whenever they enter a room with a motion sensing device.

Keyless Entry

This one is a favorite! Not only can you avoid losing your house key, you also can give a family member or your children access to your home without the transfer of keys, or having keys get stolen. The key pad also is back lit for easier use at night.

Refrigerators

Smart refrigerators have a computer screen on the door that can access the internet, provide cooking directions, music, or your favorite cooking show. They also can show you the inside of your fridge to help you never forget that last item on the grocery list and avoid opening and closing the door any more than necessary.

Showers: There are lots of upgrades to be made to the modern bathroom, but water power is one of the most popular. With a smart shower head, for example, you’ll enjoy a great shower with plenty of water pressure while using less water than conventional shower heads consume.  Shower heads also can make a unique wave pattern that creates the feeling of more water while using less.

Speaking of bathroom upgrades, contact Connor Plumbing for professional plumbing assistance if a kitchen or bath upgrade is on your drawing board.  We can introduce you to a world of new options and help you choose what makes the most sense for your home and budget – just like always.

You’ve got your toolbox stocked and ready. You’ve done some research, and maybe even watched a few “how-to” videos. And now, you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and tackle that pesky plumbing issue on your own:  proud to do it yourself, and happy to save a few bucks in the process.

DIY home repair has its place. After all, calling in a professional for every minor fix can add up quickly. Still, it’s important to know when to don the overalls and when to reach out to a qualified plumber.

Here’s what a professional plumber can bring to your current plumbing situation – beyond being licensed and insured, that is!

  • Professional plumbers have industry knowledge. Not only do they bring years of experience to bear, a plumbing professional is up on the latest industry techniques, materials, codes, and standards. They’re trained to work on routine maintenance, routine or emergency repairs, and new installations.  Which means that whatever your plumbing need might be, you can trust that it will be taken care of properly.
  • Plumbers can see and predict things that the average homeowner can’t. Everyone experiences a clogged toilet at least occasionally. But while you might chalk it up to a common annoyance, a qualified plumber will looker further. Perhaps the toilet’s capacity is too small for household needs. Or maybe the sewer pipe is partially blocked. The point is, your plumber brings all his (or her) training and experience to bear, no matter how simple or isolated your problem might first appear to be.
  • As they say, time is money. We understand how important it is to save both. When you hire a plumber, you save yourself the time – and headache – of going back and forth to the home improvement store for the right tools and materials. You also can save yourself the frustration – and money – of trial and error fixes. And, when you hire the right plumber, you get a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee.  As in:  if it isn’t fixed correctly the first time, they’ll return to resolve any lingering issues at no additional cost to you.

At Connor Plumbing, we encourage and applaud DIY skills and the willingness to do more yourself.  Feeling like you have the current situation well in hand?  Then by all means go for it.  But if you get stuck, we’ll be right here to pick up where you left off.  And that’s just one reason to put your trust in Connor Plumbing, your Beaumont area plumbing professionals.

 

Did you know that a cooking fire is more likely to occur on Thanksgiving Day than at any other time? All those extra guests and increased activity in the kitchen can cause even the most careful cooks to become distracted and, for example, forget about that pie in the oven.

That’s why it’s so important to plan in advance for the safest possible holiday experience, and here are several tips we’re sure you’ll find useful:

  • Make the stove area a kid and pet free zone, keeping them at least three feet away from hot ovens and stove tops.
  • Don’t leave that turkey to roast on its own; leave the errands for another day or leave someone in charge if you must head out of the house.
  • Use a timer to remind you to check on cooking food, especially those that require extra cooking or baking time.
  • Keep pot holders, dish towels, and other flammable items away from the stove top or any other heat source.
  • If you’re thinking of using an outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryer, you may want to reconsider. They can lead to serious oil burns and even destruction of property.
  • Whether you’re using an electric knife, a crockpot, or warming dishes, make sure that cords are out of reach of children.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended, and make sure they too are out of reach of children.
  • Test your smoke detectors and make sure your fire extinguisher is full and ready to go.

Another common Thanksgiving mishap is either a clogged drain or garbage disposal.  Never mind common, they’re rampant!  So much so that plumbers all over America refer to the day after Thanksgiving as Black Friday, too, because it’s our busiest drain cleaning day of the year.  And while Connor Plumbing to lend a helping hand at your home this Thanksgiving or anytime at all, you help prevent any drain or disposal problems by:

  • Keeping grease, fats, and oils out of the drain
  • Grinding up only small amounts of food at a time
  • Placing meat bones and fibrous foods like lettuce and soft vegetables in the trash

From all of us at Connor Plumbing, we hope yours is the best Thanksgiving ever.

Home plumbing problems have a way of sneaking up on you, often at the worst possible time.  Not that there are good times for problems to occur, it’s just that some are worse than others.

Well, no matter when it might occur, doesn’t it make sense to be better prepared the next time a plumbing problem comes calling?  We think so, and now you can be by observing these six plumbing DIY tips:

1. Be on the lookout for water leaks. Small water leaks can lead to big watery messes. So be alert to signs that more trouble is on the way: leaking faucets, damp cabinets, rocking toilets or dripping refrigerators all require fast and decisive action.

2. Repair problems early. A leaking faucet isn’t just annoying; the moisture it releases increases the wear and tear on sink fixtures and can encourage the growth of mold and mildew. Another way to detect plumbing leaks is to check behind your refrigerator once a month or so.  If you do spot water on the floor, keep in mind that the smaller the amount, the greater the potential problem.  That’s because water could be leaking through your floor into your sub-flooring where, over time, structural damage can occur.

3. Plumbing overflows. If water is gushing from your sink or toilet, turn off either that water supply valve or your home’s main water supply valve.  Don’t exactly where they are?  Now’s the time to find out before you need to act.

4. Locate your sewer shut-off valve.  Your house is equipped with a sewer shutoff valve to help minimize damage from an overflowing toilet.  Find it, learn how to use it, and you’ll save can potentially spare yourself a ton of grief.

5. Learn how to tackle small problems yourself. With a plunger, pipe wrench and a sewer snake, you can take care of a host of small plumbing problems and, in the process, save yourself both time and money.

Still, not all plumbing repairs are of the DIY variety.  Sometimes, only a pro will do, and when that time comes, Connor Plumbing will be on hand to lend all the assistance you need, just as we have been for well over 100 years.

Where do the majority of home injuries occur?  No place other than your bathroom.  That’s because the conditions are ripe for slips and falls, accidental poisoning, drowning, and other preventable mishaps.

As such, we urge you to follow these 10 safety tips to help protect all family members, especially small children and the elderly, the two groups most prone to bathroom-related accidents.

  • Test the water before stepping into the tub or shower to ensure it’s not too hot. Install an anti-scald valve to prevent burns should someone flush the toilet while you’re in the shower.
  • Prevent slips and falls when entering and exiting the bathtub or shower by placing bathmats with anti-slip backings on the floor.
  • Use a weighted shower curtain liner to help prevent water from splattering onto the floor.
  • If upgrading your bathtub or shower, choose one with a textured bottom or install anti- slip strips to your existing tub or shower floor.
  • Install grab bars or handles inside the shower or tub area.
  • Make sure your toilet is high enough to sit on so that you can get on and off easily without needing to reach for balance. You might consider replacing one or more of yours with a comfort-height model.
  • If using a step stool for your children, make sure it has a non-slip bottom.
  • Inspect towel racks and other wall accessories to ensure they are securely installed in case someone needs to grab hold of one to prevent themselves from falling.
  • If you have small children at home, either keep them out of the bathroom or otherwise prohibit their access to a medicine chest or closet.
  • Replace all outlets near a water source with GFCI models to prevent accidental electrical shock or electrocution.

There’s a lot Connor Plumbing can do to help make your bathroom a safer environment for every member of your family.  Contact us today for more information and a free new project quote.

 

Let’s face it, one of the coolest things about acquiring a new laptop, smart phone, stereo receiver, and all the rest is how clean and shiny they all look and feel when they first come out of the box.

The problem is, they don’t stay in that condition for very long. And, of course, the more you handle a particular device like your cell phone or iPad, the nastier it will eventually become.

And while any such device can be cleaned, not just any cleaning agent will do. Right out of the box, you need to eliminate any such product that contains chemicals, oils, and fragrances. These can all do more harm than good.  So what does that mean, that you have to spring for $12 to $15 per bottle for a liquid electronics cleaner because that’s the only common sense alternative?  Nope, not at all.

Because now you can create your own cleaning solution and for just about $1.50 per bottle.  It’s safe, effective, and takes no time at all.  First, you get yourself a squeaky clean plastic spray bottle and pour in equal amounts of distilled water rubbing alcohol.

Then just spray some onto a microfiber or 100% cotton cloth and clean away.  Avoid using paper towels as they can scratch the surface of your electronics.  Also don’t spray the solution directly on the screen. Water can drip inside your device and cause serious damage. Finally, be sure to use distilled water since regular tap water (and even bottled water) contains minerals and other chemicals that can leave telltale deposits on your screens.

Let’s call this another green living solution from Connor Plumbing. Looking for more ways to turn your home into a green machine? We have plenty of ways to help you do just that, including low-flow showerheads and faucets that give you all the water pressure you like while still racking up big savings on the amount of water you and your family consume.

 

Let’s get one thing straight:  there’s no bad time of year for a water heater performance and safety inspection. It just so happens that we perform more of them in the fall than any other time of year.

Part of it’s a back-to-school thing.  You know, like when four or five people all expect and want a hot shower before leaving the house for the rest of the day.  Not to mention the shaving and maybe even starting a load of wash.  Or maybe it’s just that summer’s over and it’s time to get back to some basic home maintenance.

Whatever the reasons might be, having your water heater inspected by a licensed plumber is one of the smartest and safest things you can do.

Here’s just some what goes into one of ours:

  • Visually inspect your water heater for leaks, rust or other problems
  • Check water emergency shut-off valve for safe operation
  • Check the safety relief and emergency shutoff valves to ensure safe operation
  • Ensure thermostat setting and water temperature are at optimal levels for just the right amount of comfort without scalding
  • Inspect the burner assembly and the power supply that’s heating the water
  • If warranted, flush out the system to get rid of any contaminants that could cause internal problems
  • Ensure combustion gases are venting properly for your family’s added safety

It all comes down to ensure the effective and safe operation of your water heater, with a strong emphasis on “safe”.

Has it been a year or longer since your last water heater performance and safety inspection?  If so, contact Connor Plumbing today to schedule service.

More and more we’re being cautioned advised unhealthy ingredients and additives that somehow have managed to infiltrate everyday items of consumption and convenience.  Pesticides in our produce, BPA in plastic food containers, not to mention the fumes and toxic chemicals in household cleaning products.

And while companies and food manufacturers are now listening and responding to consumer demands for safer products, sometimes their actions aren’t as swift or as strong as we might like them to be.

Still, there’s plenty you can do on your own to help make your home a safer and greener living environment, and using vinegar as a substitute for chemical-based cleaners is a really good place to start.

One bottle of vinegar can replace several bottles of chemical cleaners, and here are just a few ways to make it work for you:

  • Swinging a rag through the air that has been dampened in vinegar can quickly eliminate foul odors like cigarette smoke or burnt food. If the odors have infiltrated the entire house, leave a cup or bowl of vinegar in each room.
  • Make your own spray bottle of air freshener by mixing 3 cups water, 1 cup vinegar, and several drops of an essential oil like orange or lemon in a clean spray bottle. Spritz away for a natural, clean, inviting scent without the pricey store-bought stuff.
  • For a streak-free shine on windows and glass, mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a clean spray bottle and use just as you would any commercial glass cleaner.
  • Eliminate odors in your refrigerator and clean the inside with a half and half solution of white vinegar and water. And the best part? No rinsing required!
  • Spray undiluted vinegar around window frames and exterior doors to prevent ants from making themselves at home in your house this season.
  • Reduce the spread of germs by spraying full strength white vinegar on doorknobs and wipe dry.
  • Give grease the boot from your kitchen exhaust fan hood, stove top, or non-granite counter by scrubbing with a sponge dipped in white vinegar.

At Connor Plumbing, we bring a lot to the green living table.  From dual-flush toilets to tankless water heaters, low-flow aerators, new high efficiency water heaters, and much more, you and your family can help conserve natural resources without sacrificing even a bit of comfort with Connor Plumbing as your home comfort partner.

Across the US, the average person flushes a home toilet 6 times per day.  Which means, of course, that the average family of four goes through 24 flushes per day, or 168 per week.

Our point?  When a toilet gets flushed often enough, it’s bound to clog sooner or later. Throw small children into the mix, and the likelihood goes sky high when you consider the kinds of things they’re prone to toss in the bowl when parental eyes aren’t taking notice.

So, do YOU have a clogged toilet on your hands and aren’t having much luck busting it up?  Here are a few helpful hints worth trying, hopefully including at least one or two you’ve never tried before:

Turn off the water to the toilet. If you’re concerned your toilet might overflow or it already has, locate the faucet handle behind your toilet and turn it off. Then go back to plunging or whatever you were doing before.  Once you think you might have succeeded, flush the toilet; the water still in the tank is sufficient to the task.

Use a good old plunger and the type with the flanged bottom especially designed for toilets. Pump as hard as you can with multiple repetitions; one or two plunges at a time usually won’t work with a stubborn clog.  Also, wrap an old towel around the base of the bowl to minimize the clean-up afterwards.

Pour stuff in! If plunging alone isn’t getting the job in, try one or more liquid additives like dishwashing soap followed by a pot of boiling water.  The soap lubricates the clog, and the hot water flushes it away.

Be patient and keep trying. Sometimes a clog just needs time to break down. This is especially true of clogs that come from wads of toilet paper. But, since toilet paper is designed to break down in water, a little time might be all the extra help you need.

Right now are you thinking “thanks but no thanks?”  Well, no amount of self-help tips in the world can clear certain toilet clogs.  If you’re currently facing one of those, contact Connor Plumbing for prompt and efficient service with a guaranteed upfront price, and your satisfaction guaranteed.

         
 

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