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.

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.

Backflow takes places when water reverses its flow in anywhere in your plumbing systems.  It’s a dangerous condition because it can allow drinking water to become contaminated and unusable.

Backflow preventers are mechanical devices installed in plumbing system to prevent water from reversing its flow. A properly installed, tested and maintained backflow preventer at your water service entrance can reliably help keep your water contaminant free.

The typical causes of backflow are a sudden drop in water pressure brought about by above-normal usage, firefighters using extreme quantities of water in your neighborhood, and a break in the water main.

Backflow also can originate inside your home through a “cross connection” where non-drinkable water (perhaps form your toilet or run-off from your shower) backs up into your drinking water supply, thus contaminating it, through a cross connection.

A backflow preventer, very simply, prevents contaminated water from entering your drinking water supply.  It needs to be professionally installed by a licensed plumber and inspected once a year to ensure it continues to work properly for your family’s protection.

Is your home equipped with a backflow prevention valve?  If not, or even if you’re not sure, contact Connor Plumbing today so we can to locate and test your valve for you.  If you don’t already have one, we’ll give you a guaranteed upfront price to install a backflow preventer in your home, and then set up an annual maintenance schedule.

Like all mechanical things, garbage disposals don’t last forever – not even close.

So to enhance its useful lifespan, here are some simple steps you should learn and follow:

  • Feed the disposal a little at a time. Take care to keep utensils and your hands out of the drain.
  • Corn husks and other fibrous foods (like lettuce and onion skins) should be place in your garbage to prevent jamming or clogging the disposal.
  • Deodorize your disposal. Cut a lemon into small pieces and drop the fruit into the disposal along with two tablespoons of baking soda or a cup distilled white vinegar. Turn on the cold water faucet and then the disposal. The unit will clean itself as it grinds up the mixture.
  • Use a strong flow of cold water while running your disposal and for about 30 seconds after you turn it off.  This helps to flush food all the way down the drain line.
  • Do not put uncooked meat fat or liquid fats into your disposer.

Still, even with all the “TLC” in the world, sooner or later you’re bound to run into a problem with your garbage disposal.  Here’s what to look and listen for:

  • If the disposal won’t run, check the circuit breaker or fuse and replace or reset as necessary. Also check to see if the overload switch has tripped. Find the reset button at the bottom of the disposal unit and push it.
  • If the motor hums but the disposal doesn’t run, you may have a jammed impeller, and that’s most likely a repairable problem.
  • If the disposal runs intermittently, the switch or stopper may be defective.  If that’s the case, it’s time for a new unit.
  • A leaky garbage disposal isn’t necessarily a sign of rust.  The cause might be as simple as a loose connection, which can readily be tightened.
  • How about that all-too-familiar racket a disposal can sometimes make?  When you hear it, chances are you’re trying to grind up something your disposal wishes you wouldn’t.  The result could be a damaged blade, impeller or motor.  But don’t be too quick to have it repair, because it could cost you less to replace it.

Bottom line, once a disposal stops doing a good job of grinding, or starts to leak, that’s usually the ball game. Give it a little loving care, however, and the game will no doubt last a little longer.

Having trouble now with your garbage disposal or simply think it’s time to replace it?  Contact the professionals Connor Plumbing today, and we’ll get the job done to your complete satisfaction, guaranteed.

Whether you live in a sleek, modern home or a lovingly restored 100 year old gem, one thing is certain: home ownership and repairs go hand in hand. What’s more, taking care of home maintenance problems can end up costing you a pretty penny.  It’s no wonder more and more homeowners are channeling their inner Bob Vila and choosing to take on home repair and improvement projects themselves.

Still, while many DIY repairs can often be successfully completed with some basic tools and skills, others could end up costing you more time, money, and frustration than they’re worth – unless, that is, you hire a professional right up front.

So before you head to your local home improvement store, here are a few plumbing situations that are best left for someone with a ton of experience and a strong skill set.

The job requires a permit

Anytime you’re adding to or altering the structure of your home, changing the footprint of your kitchen or bath, or doing any plumbing work that requires you to obtain a permit, it’s best to hire an experienced plumber. Not only will a plumbing contractor make sure the job is done correctly and up to code, you and your home will be protected should anything go wrong.

The job requires a propane torch

Tightening a loose faucet, shower head, or even a pipe is simple enough with the right wrench. But when you’re dealing with cracked or burst pipes that need to be replaced and soldered together with a blow torch, consider calling a licensed plumber. You might save a few bucks by doing it yourself, but the risk far outweighs the benefit.

Your water heater is under-performing

Your water heater represents a substantial investment. Not just for the one-time purchase and installation.  Your water heater also accounts for about 30% of your annual utility costs. Not only that, it’s a much more intricate plumbing system than it might appear to be, especially if all you’re looking at is a big, cumbersome hot water storage tank.  Take it from us:  water heater preventative maintenance and repair work is better left to a professional plumber, especially if yours is a gas system where even more is at stake safety wise.  .

A sewer or drain line is hopelessly clogged

A stubbornly backed up drain line is a lot more complicated to repair than your run of the mill sink clog. If you notice water from one fixture, like the bathtub, appearing in another, like a nearby sink, you need a plumber with the right tools and expertise to get things moving again. Especially if and when the blockage is the result of a cracked or broken under-ground sewer pipe.

Here at Connor Plumbing, making people happy they chose us to handle a particular plumbing issue has been part of our “MO” since 1908.  We’re at our best in determining what originally caused the problem so we can solve the problem itself, and not just treat the symptoms.

For plumbing done right, with a guaranteed upfront price and our 100% customer satisfaction guarantee for your added peace of mind, contact Connor Plumbing today.  We promise you’ll be glad you did.

“Okay, so the water’s flowing a little slower than usual from your kitchen faucet or showerhead – what’s the big deal?  It’s not like anyone’s getting hurt, is it?  Let’s just all stop complaining and get on with our lives!”

This is Connor Plumbing speaking, and we didn’t mean any of the above.  It was just our little way of suggesting that you SHOULD be concerned if you suddenly experience low pressure as it could be a sign that a much bigger problem needs to be addressed.  And, if in fact that is the case, the sooner it’s addressed, the better off you’ll be.

So, in trying to understand what causes a reduction in water pressure in the first place, let’s look at a few of the more benign reasons:

  • Clogged shower head
  • Dirty or clogged faucet aerator
  • A partially closed water valve, whether it’s your home’s main water valve or one dedicated to a faucet or toilet, etc.

All plumbing problems should be as easy to fix as these.  But that’s not always the case, at least not when it comes to low water pressure.  Here are two more sinister and systemic causes:

Calcium and other mineral sediment

Calcium and magnesium are two minerals commonly found in well and city water supplies and are not harmful to your health.  But in high concentrations, they can cuase their fair share of problems, including the build-up of sediment inside your water heater and pipes.  Over time and as the sediment builds up, the flow of water can become restricted.  So if you have low water pressure in more than one location inside or outside your home, contact Connor Plumbing so we can troubleshoot the problem before it gets any worse.

Damage to your pipes

When water pipes develop a crack or leak, that allows water to escape and foreign matter like dirt and other debris to enter:  the perfect cocktail not just for low water pressure, but a pipe repair or replacement job.

Right now, sitting where we are, we have no idea what might be causing your low water pressure problem.  But we have the training, experience, and determination to solve that little mystery for you, and recommend exactly the right means of corrective action to put added convenience back in your life, while giving you one less thing to worry about.  Contact Connor Plumbing today to request service, where you always get a a guaranteed upfront price along with our 100% customer satisfaction guarantee.

Summer is made for the outdoors; for getting your hands dirty in the garden, enjoying meals cooked over an open flame, and gathering with family and friends. But if your outdoor space leaves a bit to be desired, here are 5 ideas to help you turn it into the relaxing retreat you envision.

Bring Indoor Conveniences Outdoors

People often talk about bringing the outdoors in, but what about vice versa?  An outdoor kitchen, comfortable seating areas, and even a sink can help make your outdoor entertaining a breeze.

Plan a Picture Perfect Patio (or Deck)

If a patio or deck renovation is in your future, design it to be a welcoming extension of your home. Whether it’s a multilevel deck or a stone patio surrounded by flower beds and lush greenery, you can create an outdoor living space – with its own sink and faucets – that complements the architecture and makes you feel as if you’ve added another room.

Add Some Privacy

Fences, garden walls, pergolas, and even landscaping can help make your backyard feel like an intimate oasis, offer privacy from neighbors, and even screen off less than attractive views. A cascading waterfall fountain also can drown out neighborhood noises and provide a serene place to unwind after a long day.

Don’t Forget Function

When it comes to getting the most out of your backyard, don’t skip the practical. Additional outdoor faucets mean never having to drag the water hose from one end of your property to the other, a garden sink makes cleaning gardening tools a snap, and stylish storage benches and boxes keep tools and small equipment out of sight.

At Connor Plumbing, we can help make all your outdoor plumbing wishes come true.  Be sure to consult with us early on in the planning stage; that way, we might be able to save you some money by suggesting alternate products, placements, and by providing other creative plumbing ideas.  After all, that’s big part of what we’re here for.

Where would you go if, let’s say, you didn’t want to be found for a while?  You know, like hiding.  Behind one of your walls?  Not likely?  Underneath your sub-flooring?  Even less likely.

But ultimately, you have no shortage of hiding places.

The same cannot be said for water.  Water leaks can occur only where water can enter your house or where water fixtures or pipes are located.  While that may sound like we haven’t done very much whittling down, houses aren’t built like sieves.  They’re pretty water tight, for the most part, to help keep us safe and dry.

And yet, the older your home and plumbing become, the more prone you become to dealing with a hidden water leak, and all the problems it can cause.

That’s why Connor Plumbing urges you keep a watchful eye out for any signs of a hidden water leak like these:

  • A puddle of water under your fridge, or even marks on your floor indicating that water was there at one time
  • Black mold on an interior wall, door or ceiling
  • One or more wet spots on your lawn when the rest of the lawn is dry
  • A water bill so high, it practically makes you gasp
  • Musty odors you can’t identify the source of

Hidden or otherwise, we urge you to contact Connor Plumbing if you even suspect you might have a water leak.  The longer you wait, the greater the potential for wasted water and water-related damage, such as rotted floor boards, wet walls and ceilings that have to be replaced, and more.  At Connor Plumbing, we offer prompt and accurate water leak detection along with expert repairs.

One of the biggest green plumbing tips of all is to fix or replace a leaky faucet right away.  And rightfully so when you consider just how much waters is wasted.  In fact, one faucet leaking just 5 times a minute – which is not a lot – is responsible for the annual equivalent of 173 wasted gallons of water.

So yes, it’s obvious that even if just purely from the perspective of natural resource conservation, water faucet repair should be a major priority in every household.

But let’s take it a step further and assume that you have no idea how to fix a leaky faucet, but you’d at least like to know what causes them to leak in the first place.  Let’s have a look:connor plumbing

1. O ring Problem  - An O ring is the gasket near the base of your faucet stem that stops water from spilling out around the base every time you turn on the handle.  Like most mechanical parts the O ring can become loose or wear out over time, but can easily be replaced.  O ring problems are the most common in cartridge type faucets.

2. Corrosion in the Valve Seat – A valve seat is used to connect the faucet to the spout of a faucet.  When water sediments like calcium and manganese build up, then can cause the valve seat to corrode which, in turn, causes a leak around the area of the spout.  By keeping a valve seat clean, such corrosion can be prevented.

3. The Washer is all Washed Up – This is one of the most common causes behind a dripping faucet. During each use of a faucet, the washer presses against the valve seat under compression, and that constant friction will eventually cause it to wear out.  It’s easily replaced but, because there are so many different types, it’s better to remove the old washer first so you can take it to the hardware store to find an exact match.

4. The Washer was not Installed Correctly – Yep, the problem can be just that simple.  And keep in mind that “incorrect installation” can and often does include trying to install the wrong washer for your particular brand and model of faucet.

At Connor Plumbing, we know that not everyone is handy when it comes to even relatively simple plumbing repairs or, even if you are, you simply don’t have the time.  Well, we always do.  Have the time, that is, to help out with all your home plumbing needs, large and small.

If you’re getting ready to start looking for a new home, we have two words for you:  Buyer beware.  Especially when it comes to the potential for hidden plumbing problems that you would rather not inherit.

Here are just a few of the things to be on the lookout for:

connor plumbing

  • Recent kitchen or bathroom renovations.  Some sellers put a lot of time and effort into fixing up their homes before putting them on the market, while others try the ol’ “lipstick on a pig” approach.  As in, they attempt to make it LOOK as if a lot of thought and time went into it.  That’s why you should ask to see any relevant copies of plans, receipts, and so on.  Among other things, you’ll find out who did the work and have an opportunity to check out their credentials.
  • Quality of plumbing fixtures.  Just because plumbing fixtures work now doesn’t mean they’ll work a year from now.  So as part of your inspection process, check out the plumbing fixtures to determine if they’re of sound quality or just quick fixes.
  • Touch-up paint jobs.  Sometimes sellers will have some touch-up paint work done to cover over scratches and other marks, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  But if what they’re attempting to mask are signs of water damage, that’s a whole different story.  Not only should you ask about the painting work, but have your own qualified inspector search the house for signs of hidden water leaks and existing water damage, past or present.
  • Spongy areas in the yard.  Don’t many people confine their new home tours to the indoors and simply step out on a deck or patio to have a look at the property.  And that’s how easy it can be to miss signs of sewer or septic tank problems.  Specifically, if it’s a dry day and it hasn’t rained in a while, and still you find damp and spongy areas in the yard, have those investigated further.  By the way, their presence doesn’t mean the sellers are trying to hide anything – they too could be unaware of the problem.
  • Signs of hard water. Your new home inspection should also include looking for signs of hard water conditions, which include stains on dishware and glasses, a  white filmy residue on pots and pans, and soap scum on shower doors and bathroom tiles.

Buying a home is a tricky proposition under the best of circumstances, so don’t make things harder on yourself not fully investigating the quality of the homes you’re interested in buying, with special attention paid to the plumbing plus the heating and cooling systems.  And yet, if you do uncover any problems after settling into your home, you can count on Connor Plumbing for prompt and effective solutions.  And always with a guaranteed upfront price.

         
 

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