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Trying to stop a toilet leak, updating a kitchen or bath or just having difficulty locating that hard-to-find plumbing fitting? Mile High Ace Hardware & Garden is your one-stop source for plumbing repair products of any kind! At Mile High Ace Hardware & Garden, we make the extra effort to assure we have a very deep assortment of products and knowledge of those products so we can help our customers through any project.
FAQ’s: Frequently Asked Questions: Plumbing Department
What does it mean when a faucet is said to have 8-inch centers?
The faucet mounts with the fixture holes set 8 inches apart. It's important that you buy the right size faucet to fit.
What is plumber's putty?
It is a sealing putty used for a variety of tasks including to seal basket strainers, garbage disposal rims and tub drains.
I don't have enough room under my sink to get the faucet nut off.
A basin wrench is a tool designed especially for that.
What is the purpose of pipe joint compound or tape?
They reduce friction in assembly and provide a watertight seal.
Which is better for sealing - Teflon(TM) tape or thread joint compound?
They do the same job, but Teflon(TM) tape is easier to work with and makes a cleaner joint.
What kind of solder do I use on a water line?
Health codes require lead-free solder.
Do you recommend plastic pipe cleaners and primers?
These are applied to a pipe and fitting before applying the solvent weld glue to ensure a strong bond. Their use is always a good idea, especially if it's for a water supply line or the connection is going to be somewhere that will be difficult to get to in the future.
What does flux do?
It cleans the surface prior to soldering. It prevents the oxidation of the metal. And it allows the solder to flow freely.
Is there a wrench I can use that will not damage the brass, aluminum or other soft material?
Yes, a strap wrench grips the pipe without teeth.
What is the difference between PVC and CPVC plastic pipe?
CPVC can be used on hot and cold lines, while PVC is for cold water only. PVC is usually used as a drainpipe.
How should I cut plastic pipe?
Any fine-tooth saw will work, but make sure you remove any burrs.
What is the proper way to join galvanized pipe to copper pipe?
You should use a dielectric union. This will prevent electrolysis from occurring, which deteriorates the copper tubing.
Is 1/2" CPVC and 1/2" PVC the same size?
No. CPVC is measured by O.D., which makes its sizing similar to hard copper. PVC is measured by I.D., which makes its sizing similar to iron pipe.I am not getting enough hot water from my gas water heater.The thermostat may be set too low, otherwise the burner is probably not burning correctly. If that's the case, it's best to call a service technician.
Are all electric hot water heater elements the same?
There are three types: screw in, bolt in and clamp in. They all have different wattage ratings and can work on either 120 or 240 voltage.
There is water leaking from my water heater. What's the cause?
The pressure relief valve could be leaking. Try operating the valve to see if it will stop. It also might need tightening. A gasket around the heating element may need to be replaced, or the tank could be rusted out, which requires a new hot water heater.
What size water heater should I buy?
Most people base their purchases on the size of the storage tank, but a better method is to first estimate how much hot water you will need during the peak hour of use. This is referred to as the first-hour rating (FHR) on the Energy Guide label posted on new water heaters. Typical hot water use is:
What is the purpose of a pressure relief valve on a water heater?
This is a safety device that will open in case of high pressure or temperature.
What diameter trap do I need for my kitchen sink?
These are almost always 1-1/2 inches. The 1-1/4 inch traps are for bathroom lavatories.
What is the correct size of garbage disposal that I should put under my sink?
If you are replacing an existing unit that has worked well for a number of years, the old size should work fine. Otherwise, 1/3 horsepower will handle limited use once a day. A standard 1/2 horsepower will normally suffice for general use. Heavy-duty 1/2 horsepower units and larger are designed for a large volume of garbage.
What are the working parts of a toilet?
The refill valve, the flush valve and the trip lever.
How do I replace a damaged refill valve?
Turn off the toilet's water supply valve, flush the toilet and sponge out any remaining water in the tank. The refill valve is usually removed by turning a nut that holds it in place. When the nut is off, the refill assembly can be lifted out. Install the new assembly by following the manufacturer's directions.
You stock two sizes of supply lines. Which one will I need for my toilet?
The toilet supply line head is the larger of the two. The smaller ones are sink supply lines.
My toilet fills up every 10 minutes. What is the problem?
If the toilet flushes on its own, the flush valve is probably not seating properly and water is leaking from the tank into the bowl. This could be the result of the lift chain being tangled. If it is the valve, you can change the flapper. Scale deposits on the seat can be removed with steel wool or with No. 500 abrasive paper. Make sure you clean the valve seat. If it still leaks, the seat is damaged and you will need to replace it as well.
What do I need to do to repair my leaking faucet? Is it leaking from the handle or out the spout?
Most faucets are washer-type, and if these are leaking from the spout, you will have to replace the washer. If the seat is corroded, you will have to dress it or replace it.
If it is leaking from the handle, you may need to replace the O-rings, tighten the packing nut or replace the packing.
If a disk faucet is leaking, you will need to replace the O-ring. If it is leaking from the spout, you will need to replace the disk assembly. For ball-type faucet leaks, you may need to replace the cam assembly, the seat assembly and the ball.
Are all faucet seats the same?
No, you will need to bring in their old seat to match up with the new one. Each brand has its own design and thread.
How do I remove the seat?
Use a seat wrench, which has several sizes of square and hex ends.
What are the advantages of plastic supply lines?
They are less expensive, do not corrode, will not kink, are more flexible and are non-toxic.
My sump pump runs constantly. Do I need to buy a new one?
It could just be a bad switch that is easy to replace.
I just refinished my basement and I want to ensure that it doesn't flood. Do you have any advice?
You can buy a sump pump that has a battery back up. There are also high-water alarms.
Do I use the same type of glue for both PVC and CPVC?
No, CPVC requires special solvent cement that is different from cement used for other types of plastic pipe.
How do I join fittings to plastic pipe?
Use a solvent welding glue, which softens the pipe and fittings so they can melt together.
Can the fittings be removed after they have been glued?
No, they are permanently joined and cannot be taken apart.
What do the letters "K," "L" and "M" on copper tubing mean?
Type K is the heaviest. Type L is medium weight and used most often for water lines in homes. Type M is thinner and is used underground or for light domestic water lines if local codes allow.
I am getting no hot water from my electric water heater.
The high-temperature cutoff may have been tripped, which requires someone to press the reset. Otherwise it's probably a faulty heating element or thermostat, which can be replaced.
I'm not getting enough hot water from my electric water heater.
The temperature control may be set too low. Otherwise it's probably a faulty heating element or thermostat, which can be replaced.
The water from my electric hot water tank is too hot.
The thermostat may be set too high, or it may be faulty. It could also be a grounded heating element.
I am getting no hot water from my gas water heater.
The pilot light might be out, or you may have a faulty thermostat.
Is there any maintenance for a water heater?
Yes, you should test the pressure relief valve regularly and replace it if it fails to operate. At least once a year you should flush out the sediments. As long as a tank has a functioning anode, it should not rust. Therefore you should check the anode about once every two years. The fitting is usually on the top of the tank and it's often tight, so a torque multiplier is a useful tool. If you find 6" or more of the steel core wire exposed, or if the rod formed a hard, adherent calcium carbonate coating that prevents further corrosion of the sacrificial metal, replace the rod. There are segmented rods if overhead clearance is limited.
I think my kitchen drains are partially clogged because the sink drains slowly. What do you recommend?
First, try using a plunger. Second, try using a liquid drain opener, but use caution and read directions. Third, you can remove the trap. Be careful if you have used a liquid drain opener because there may be some in the trap. Fourth, if the clog is beyond the trap, there are drain augers that extend from about 15' to about 50'.
Do you have anything I can put in my drain line that will kill the tree roots invading the line?
There are root killers that contain copper sulfate.
What can I use to keep outdoor faucets from freezing?
Install a frost-free lawn faucet that is angled down to drain. For existing faucets, you can use an insulating cover.
*Facts and information are courtesy of www.acehardware.com