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Serving Avalon, Stone Harbor, Sea Isle City, Cape May, Cape May Court House, Upper and Lower Townships, the Wildwoods and the greater Cape May County area with expert plumbing services since 1984.

Serving Avalon, Stone Harbor, Sea Isle City,  and Greater Cape May County for over 24 years

In order to help you solve some of the more simple plumbing problems without having to call a plumbing professional, here are some tips that will help you do it yourself.

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A leak at the base of the spout may be due to a faulty spout O-ring.

If the spout drips, you may need to replace one or more of the valve assembly parts.

If the handle is loose, a simple adjustment to the handle screw or carn assembly at the back of the faucet can remedy it.

If sluggish flow is the problem, the strainers or aerator may be clogged with sediment and need cleaning.

Leaking Compression Faucets

If your faucet has separate hot and cold water handles, it's probably a compression faucet (also called a stem or washer faucet). In this faucet, a rubber seat washer is secured to the stem, which has very coarse threads on the outside. When you turn the handle to shut
off the faucet, the stem is screwed down, compressing the washer against the valve seat in the faucet body. The stem is secured by a packing nut, which compresses the packing (twine, a washer, or an O-ring) and prevents water from leaking around the stem.

If water leaks around the handle, tighten the packing nut. If that fails, replace the packing.

If the faucet leaks from the spout, either a washer is defective or a valve seat is badly corroded.

To find out which side needs work, turn off the shutoff valves one
at a time; the leak will stop when one or the other is turned off.

Take off the handle, remove the stem, and either replace the
washer or replace or recondition the valve seat.

Professional Tip: Before doing any work, turn off the water at the fixture shutoff valves or at the main shutoff valve. Open the faucet
to drain the pipes.

Leaking Ball Faucets

In a ball faucet, water flows when openings in the rotating all align with hot and cold water inlets in the faucet body.

If water leaks from under the handle, leave the water on and tighten the adjusting ring. If the leak persists, turn off the water and replace the carn.

For a dripping spout, replace the inlet seals and springs or the all.

Cure any leaks around the spout sleeve by replacing the O-rings
on the faucet body.

Leaking Cartridge Faucets

A cartridge faucet has a series of holes in the stem-and-cartridge assembly that align to control the mix and flow of water. Usually,
leaks occur because of worn O-rings or a faulty cartridge.

Look at the O-rings on the faucet body. If they're in good shape, remove the cartridge (look under the spout sleeve on the outside
of the faucet for the retainer clip that holds the cartridge in place).
If the cartridge is worn, replace it with a duplicate. Cartridges vary,
so read the manufacturer's instructions before installing a new
one. The most common type has a flat side that must face front. Otherwise, the hot and cold water supply will be reversed. Be sure
to fit the retainer clip snugly into its slot.

Leaking Valve Faucets

A valve faucet has a valve assembly on each side (one for hot
water, one for cold) through which water flows up and out the spout. Moving the handle from side to side controls the mix, moving
forward and backward controls the flow.

The main problems you may encounter with a valve faucet are
spout leaks, loose handle assemblies, and sluggish flow.

Never use a plunger if a chemical cleaner is present in the drain;
you risk splashing caustic water on yourself.

Wear rubber gloves to prevent the chemical from burning your skin.

Don't use a chemical cleaner if the blockage is total, especially if
the fixture is filled with water.

It won't clear the blockage and you'll face another problem-how to
get rid of the caustic water.

Never use a chemical cleaner in a garbage disposal.

Read labels and match cleaners with clogs. Alkalis cut grease;
acids dissolve soap and hair.

Safety Tip

Don't mix chemicals.

Mixing an acid and an alkali cleaner can cause an explosion.

Don't look down the drain after pouring a chemical.

The solution often boils up and gives off toxic fumes.

Clogged Showers

Though it may difficult to unclog a shower drain with a plunger, it's worth a try.

If that doesn't work, maneuver a snake down the drain opening into the trap.

As a last resort, you can use a garden hose:

Attach the hose to an outdoor faucet or to an indoor faucet with a
threaded adapter.

Push the hose deep into the drain and pack rags into the opening.

Turning the water on in short, hard bursts should open the drain.

CAUTION: Never leave a hose in any drain: a sudden drop in water pressure could siphon sewage back into the fresh water supply.


Using Chemical Drain Cleaners

Though routine use of chemical drain cleaners to prevent clogs may eventually damage your pipes, these cleaners can be helpful in opening clogged drains.

If water is draining somewhat, but plunging has failed to open the drain completely, you may want to try using a drain cleaner.

Whenever you use chemicals, do so with caution and in a well
ventilated room. Be sure to take these precautions:


Bend float arm down or away from tank wall.
Replace ball.
Adjust stopper guide rod and lift wires or chain.
Replace defective stopper.
Scour valve seat or replace.
Replace tube or install new flush valve assembly.
Oil trip lever, replace faulty washers, or install new ball cock assembly.

Noisy Toilet

Check for:

Restricted water flow.
Defective ball cock assembly.


Restricted water flow.
Defective ball cock assembly.
Adjust the shutoff valve first.
Oil the trip lever or replace the ball cock washers.
Replace the entire ball cock assembly.

CAUTION: First turn off the water at the fixture shutoff valve. Flush the toilet
to empty the tank and sponge out any remaining water.


Running Toilet

Check for:

Float arm not rising high enough.
Water-filled float ball.
Tank stopper not seating properly.
Corroded flush valve seal.
Cracked overflow tube.
Ball cock valve doesn't shut off.

hot, the solution may be as easy as pushing the reset button.

High voltage and inaccessibility warrant a service call to adjust the thermostats, reset the high-temperature cutoff, or to replace any of these components of the heating elements themselves.

There is no hot water.

Check for:

The heater has no power.
The safety thermostat has quit working.
Defective heating thermostat.
Defective heating elements.
Accumulation of rust, scale, or sediment in the tank or pipes.


Check the fuse box/ circuit breaker.
If the heater repeatedly blows fuses call your plumber.
Push the reset button.
Test the heating thermostats and elements.
Test the thermostats and replace if necessary.
Test the elements and replace if necessary.
Drain and flush the tank and pipes.

Check for:

The hot water supply is too low.

Thermostat is set wrong.
The tank is too small.
Heat is getting loose in the pipes.
Defective heating element.
Leaking hot water faucets.


Turn the thermostat to a higher temperature.
Install a larger heater.
Move the heater nearer to the point of use if possible.
Insulate the hot water pipes.
Test the element then replace it.
Repair or replace the faucets.

The water temperature is too high.

Check for:

Thermostat is on the wrong setting.
Inadequate insulation around the thermostats.


Turn up the thermostat.
Add insulation around the thermostats.
Test the thermostat and replace if necessary.

There is a water leak.

Check for:

Defective gasket or seal on the element.
Defective safety valve.
The tank is rusted through.
Leaking plumbing connections.


The heater becomes unusually noisy.

Check and replace gasket or seal.
Check and replace the safety valve.
Consider replacing water heater.
Call a qualified plumbing contractor.

Check for:

Accumulation of rust, scale or sediment in the tank.
Scale has formed on the elements.


Drain the tank and flush it out.
Remove the elements, soak with vinegar and then scrape off the scale.

Your hot water pipe is rusty or discolored.

Check for:

Accumulation of rust or sediment in the tank.
Scale has formed on the elements.
Corroded water pipe.


Drain the tank.
Remove the elements, soak them in vinegar and then scrape off the scale.
Have a plumber inspect for necessary repairs.

Troubleshooting Electric Water Heaters

When an electric heater has problems, suspect the heating
elements, their thermostats, and the high-temperature cutoff.

The two heating elements (upper and lower), immersed in water,
are controlled by thermostats which, along with the high
temperature cutoff, are concealed behind a panel on the side (insulation must be cut away for access after removing the panel).

If the high-temperature cutoff has tripped due to water that's too


Immediately turn off the water at the fixture shutoff valve underneath the sink.

If there's no valve there, turn off the main shutoff valve.

Repair the faucet or, if necessary, replace it.

A Steaming Hot Water Faucet

Open all the hot water faucets to relieve the overheated hot water heater.

Turn off the gas or electric supply to the heater.

Let the faucets run until cold water flows from them (this indicates the water in the heater is no longer overheated).

Close them.

Call in a professional to make any necessary repairs to the heater's thermostat and pressure relief valve.

A Stopped-Up Sink

Shut off any faucet or appliance (such as dishwasher) that's draining into the sink.

Unclog the sink using a plunger or snake.

DON'T use a chemical drain cleaner if the line is completely blocked.

A Faucet That Won't Shut Off

Examine the threads.

If they're damaged or worn, replace the stem; if not, check the packing for wear.

Replacing the Packing and Washer

To replace the worn packing either remove the O-ring o packing washer and slide on an exact duplicate, or scrape off the twine and wrap new twine clockwise around the stem.

To replace a cracked or worn seat washer, remove the screw and washer; install a duplicate washer.

If the threads are too worn to hold a screw, snap in a swivel washer.

Working On the Valve Seat

To replace a removable valve seat that's pitted or corroded, insert a seat wrench into the valve seat and turn it counterclockwise until the seat lifts out.

The new valve seat should be an exact duplicate.

Coat the threads of the new seat with pipe joint compound before installing it.

To recondition a non-removable valve seat, grind down its
burrs with a seat dresser, an inexpensive tool you can buy
from a plumbing supply dealer.

Insert and turn clockwise once or twice until the seat is
smooth; remove metal filings with a damp cloth.

Cleaning Your Faucet Aerator

If the flow from your faucet is sluggish, the trouble may be in
the faucet aerator.

This device, at the tip of most faucet spouts, mixes air and water for a smooth flow.

But minerals or dirt particles in the water often build up on the screen and disc, blocking the flow.

If mineral deposits are to blame or if aerator parts are damaged, it's best to replace the aerator.

If dirt is the problem, follow these steps:

Unscrew the aerator from the end of the spout.

To loosen stubborn connections, douse them with penetrating oil.

Disassemble and set the parts aside in order.

Clean the screen and disc with a brush and soapy water.

Use a pin or toothpick to open any clogged holes in the disc.

Flush all the parts with water before putting them back

Faucet Cleaning & Maintenance

Taking the Faucet Apart

With the handle removed, lift off the stem and packing nuts
by turning the nuts counterclockwise with an adjustable-end wrench or a pair of rib-joint pliers. (Be careful not to strip the nuts).

Unscrew the stem, lifting it straight out of the faucet body.


Choose a plunger with a suction cup large enough to cover
the drain opening completely.

Fill the clogged fixture with enough water to cover the plunger cup.

Coat the rim of the plunger cup with petroleum jelly to ensure
a tight seal.

Block off all other outlets (the overflow, second drain in a double sink, adjacent fixtures) with wet rags.

Insert the plunger into the water at an angle so no air remains trapped under it.

Use 15 to 20 forceful strokes, holding the plunger upright and pumping vigorously.

Repeat the plunging two or three times before giving up.

Clogged Drains

Before trying any drain-clearing methods on a plugged drain, check that the tub's pop-up stopper is opening fully and is
free of hair and debris. If the stopper isn't the problem, then
the drainpipe is probably clogged. First, try a plunger or chemical drain cleaner. If these fail to do the job, you'll have
to clear the trap with a snake.

Most tubs have a P trap in the drain. In some homes, the tub may have a drum trap in the floor near the tub instead (it will have a removable metal cover and a rubber gasket).

Using a snake in a tub P trap is much like snaking out a sink trap. If you have a drum trap, first try snaking it clear through the tub overflow.

If that doesn't work, bailout all the standing water from the tub.

Then, using an adjustable-end wrench, unscrew the trap
cover slowly.

Have rags ready for any water that wells up.

Remove the cover, bail out and clean the trap.

If, after this, water does not well up, snake toward he tub; if water does well up, snake toward he main drain.

If you can't reach the clog from the trap, it's probably deeper
in he main drain.

Clearing Drains

Clearing Drains with a Plunger

The plunger is a good drain-clearing tool, but it often fails to work because it's incorrectly used. Don't make the typical mistake of pumping up and down two or three times, expecting the water to whoosh down the drain.

Though no great expertise is needed to use this simple tool, here are a few tips to guide you:

A more costly remedy, and one that's usually a job for a professional,
is to install a tempering valve that mixes hot water with the cold water entering the tank.

Check for: Condensation

Remedy: Install tank insulation or a tempering valve.

Clogged Toilet

Check for:

Blockage in drain.


Remove blockage with plunger or closet auger.

Inadequate flush

Check for:

Faulty linkage between handle and trip lever.
Tank stopper closes before tank empties.
Leak between tank and bowl.
Clogged flush passages.


Tighten setscrew on handle linkage or replace handle.
Adjust stopper guide rod and lift wires or chain.
Tighten tank bolts or couplings or replace gasket.
Clear obstructions from passages with wire.

Troubleshooting Toilets

Sweating tank

If you don 't want to do this job yourself, call in a professional plumber.

This problem occurs most often in the summer when cold water in the tank cools the porcelain, and warm, moist air encourages mildew, loosens floor tiles, and rots sub-flooring. An easy solution is to insulate
the inside of the tank by draining it and then gluing a liner made of foam
rubber pads to the inside walls.

Then check the flue by placing your hand near the draft diverter (with the burner on); air flowing out indicates an obstruction that should be removed.

Every year or two, shut off the gas, remove the access panel, and clean the burner ports, using stiff wire or a needle.

If you ever smell gas, get out of the house immediately and call the gas company.

There is no hot water.

Check for:

Unlit pilot light.
Pilot light won't keep burning.
Clogged burner
Defective thermocouple.
The gas is not coming out.


Carefully relight the pilot.
Make sure the gas controls are completely turned on. Then check
the thermocouple and be sure it is firmly connected to the gas
control unit and positioned near the pilot flame.
Call a qualified plumbing contractor.
Replace the thermocouple.
Inspect or test gas control valve.

There isn't enough hot water.

Check for:

Incorrectly set thermostat.
Defective thermostat.
Too small of a water tank
Clogged burner.
Sediment has formed in the tank.
Leaking hot water faucets.


The water heater is very noisy.

Check for:

Turn the thermostat higher.
Call a qualified plumbing contractor.
Install a larger water tank.
Turn off the gas and drain the tank.
Repair or replace the faucets.
Scale and sediments in the tank.


Turn off the gas and drain the tank.

The water is too hot.

Check for:

Wrong setting on thermostat.
Defective thermostat.
Blocked exhaust vent.


Reset the thermostat.
Call a qualified plumbing contractor.
Check the vent and clear it.

Water is leaking from the heater.

Check for:

Leak in the draincock.
Leaking safety valve.
Hole in the tank.
Leak in the plumbing connection.


Close it tightly or replace it.
Check the water temperature. If it's too hot, the thermostat may be broken. If the safety valve is defective, replace it.
Buy a new water heater.
Call a plumber.
*Note: premature wear & tear on water heaters (and plumbing
fixtures) is most often attributed to excessive water pressure
(above 80 p.s.i.). See information related to pressure reducing


Troubleshooting Gas Water Heaters

Knowing how to light the pilot is one key to living with a gas water heater; see the instructions on the tank. For safety, a
gas heater has a thermocouple. This is thermoelectric device that impinges on the pilot flame and shuts off the gas if the
pilot light goes out. The gas flame should be blue. If it's
orange, adjust the shutter; if it's still orange, call for service.

Twice a year, inspect the flue assembly to be sure it's
properly aligned and all its joints are sealed.

The valve is usually located underneath a fixture such as a sink or a toilet, or behind an appliance, such as a clothes washer, at the point where the water supply pipe (or pipes) connects to it.

If the problem is not with a particular fixture or appliance, or if there's no shutoff valve for the fixture or appliance, use the main shutoff valve to turn off the water supply to the entire house.

In most homes, you should find the shutoff valve in the garage or where the water pipes enter the home.

Turn the valve clockwise to shut it off.

If valve is stiff enough that you should need a wrench to open it, you should keep one in close proximity to shut off.

If the main shutoff valve itself is defective and needs to be repaired, call Court House Plumbing & Heating; they can dispatch someone with the special tool that's required to shut off the water at the street.

Plumbing Emergencies

In a plumbing emergency, you'll need to stop the flow of water quickly. To do this, you and each member of your family needs to know the location of the shutoff valve for every fixture and appliance, as well as the main shutoff valve for the house, and how they operate.

If the emergency involves a specific fixture or appliance, first look for its shutoff valve and turn it clockwise to shut off the water to that fixture or appliance only.

If your pipes bang when you turn on the water, you may need to add straps, cushion the pipes with a rubber blanket, or both.

When you anchor a pipe-especially a plastic one-leave room for expansion.

Don't use galvanized straps on copper pipes.


Only hot water pipes squeak. As the pipe expands, it moves in its strap, and friction causes the squeak.

Solution: Cushion it as you would a banging pipe.

Water Hammer

This noise occurs when you turn off the water at a faucet or an appliance quickly. The water flowing through the pipes slams to a stop, causing a hammering noise.

Check for: Loose Pipes

Remedy:  Anchor the pipes.

Check for: Faulty air chambers. These lengths of pipe, installed behind fixtures and appliances, hold air that cushions the shock when flowing
water is shut off. They can get filled with water and lose their effectiveness.

Remedy: To restore air to the chambers, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve. Open all the faucets to drain the system. Close the faucets
and turn the water on again. The air chambers should fill with air.

Check for: Water pressure that's above 80 psi (pounds per square inch).

Remedy: To lower the pressure, install a pressure-reducing valve (you can call in a plumber to do the work if this is a job you don't want to do yourself).

Pipes Making Noise?

Noisy Pipes

Pipe noises range from loud hammering sounds to high-pitched squeaks. The causes may be loose pipes, water logged air chambers, or water pressure that's too high. Anchoring exposed pipes is a simple solution; other remedies such as anchoring pipes concealed inside walls, floors or ceilings, may call for a professional.


Pipes are usually anchored with pipe straps every 6 to 8 feet for horizontal runs, 8 to 10 feet for vertical.

You'll probably have to replace the leaky section of pipe.

If your experience working with pipes is limited, you'll probably want to call in a plumber to do the job.

Locating the Leak

Try these tips to locate a leak.

The sound of running water helps. If you hear it, follow it to its source. You can buy a listening device that amplifies sounds when it's held up
to a pipe.

If water is staining the ceiling or dripping down, the leak is probably directly above.

Occasionally, water may travel along a joist and then stain or drip at a point some distance from the leak.

If water stains a wall, it means there's a leak in a section of pipe.

Any wall stain is likely to be below the actual location of the leak and you'll probably need to remove part of the wall to find it.

Without the sound of running water and without drips or stains as evidence, leaks are more difficult to find. Using a flashlight, check all the
pipes in the basement or in the crawl space.

Leaking Pipes

A higher than normal water bill might be your first indication of a leaking pipe. Or you might hear the sound of running water even when all your fixtures are turned off.

When you suspect a leak, check the fixtures first to make sure all the faucets are tightly closed. Then go to the water meter, if you have one. If
the dial is moving, you're losing water somewhere in the system.

Fixing the Leak

If the leak is major, turn off the water immediately, either at the fixture shutoff valve or the main shutoff valve.

Because models vary with the manufacturer, it's important to get identical replacement parts.

Professional Tips:

When you're taking the faucet apart, douse stubborn connections with penetrating oil before trying to loosen them with a wrench. Tape-wrap the wrench's jaws to prevent marring visible parts of the fixture.

Before starting any faucet repair, plug the sink so small parts can't fall down the drain.

Line the sink with a towel to prevent damage from tools or parts accidentally dropped.

As you disassemble the faucet, line up the pieces in the order that you remove them so you can put them back together properly.

CAUTION: Before you work on a faucet, turn off the water at the fixture shutoff valves or the main shutoff valve and open the faucet to drain the pipes.

Sink Sprays and Diverters

A kitchen sink spray has a spray head attached to a hose, which is connected to a diverter valve in the faucet body.

When you squeeze the spray head handle, the diverter valve reroutes water from the faucet to the spray head hose.

If the flow is sluggish, make sure the hose isn't kinked.

Clean the aerator in the spray nozzle.

Continued sluggishness may indicate diverter valve problems; clean/replace.

If the spray head leaks, remove it from the hose and replace the washer. For a leak at the faucet end of the hose, tighten the hose coupling. If
the hose itself leaks, it's probably cracked. Replace it.

Tub Faucets

Like sink faucets, tub faucets can be compression style or washerless.

To take apart any style tub faucet, pry off the cap, unscrew the handle, and remove the escutcheon. In a compression faucet, you'll see the stem and packing nut.

You may need to use a deep-socket wrench to grip and loosen a recessed packing nut. To repair a washerless tub faucet, remove the stop tube and draw out the retainer clip to get at the cartridge.

Shower Heads

If your shower head leaks where it meets the arm, you probably need to replace the washer. To reach it, loosen the collar, using tape-wrapped
rib-joint pliers. Unscrew the head from the adjusting ring.

Erratic or weak pressure usually indicates mineral buildup. To restore proper flow, clean outlet holes with a pin or unscrew a perforated face
plate and soak it overnight in vinegar, then scrub it clean.

If the shower head pivots stiffly, check he washer for wear and coat the swivel ball with petroleum jelly before reassembling.

Faucets & Shower Heads

Sink Faucets

The first step in fixing a leaking or sluggish faucet is identifying which of the two basic types of faucets you're dealing with.

Compression Faucet - Older design with two handles and one.

Washerless Faucet - More recent design, usually with a single lever or knob that controls the flow and mix of hot and cold water by aligning
interior openings with the water inlets. These faucets may be one of several type: disc, valve, ball, or cartridge.

To check, remove and thoroughly clean the sink pop-up stopper or strainer.

Determine if the clog is close to the sink by checking the other drains in your home. If more than one won't clear, something is blocking the main sewer.

The most effective way to clear a clog is with a snake. You can try using a plunger or a chemical drain.

Preventing Drain Clogs

No plumbing problem is more common or more frustrating than a clogged drain.

Kitchen sink drains clog most often because of a buildup of grease that traps food particles. Hair and soap are often at fault in bathroom drains.

Drains can usually be cleared easily and inexpensively, but taking some simple precautions will help you avoid stop-ups. Proper disposal of
kitchen waste will keep sink drain clogs to a minimum.

Don't pour grease down the kitchen sink. Don't wash coffee grounds down the sink. Throw them out.

Be sparing with chemical cleaners, particularly if you have brass, steel, or cast-iron traps and drainpipes; some caustic chemicals can corrode metal pipes. If used no more than once every few months, cleaners containing sodium hydroxide or sodium nitrate can be safe and effective.

Clean floor drain strainers. Some tubs, showers, and basement floor drains have strainers that are screwed into the drain opening. You can
easily remove these strainers and reach down into the drain with a bent wire to clear out accumulated debris. And be sure to scrub the strainer.

Clean pop-up stoppers in the bathroom sink and the tub regularly. Lift out sink pop-ups once a week and rinse them off.

Every few months, remove the overflow plate on a tub and pull up the pop-up assembly to reach the spring or rocker arm. Remove accumulated hair and rinse thoroughly.

Keep the sewer pipes from the house free of tree roots that may invade them. If roots are a particular problem in your yard, you may need to
call in professionals once a year or so to clear the pipes. They'll use an electric auger to cut out the roots.

Flush the drain-waste and vent systems whenever you go up onto your house roof to clean out downspouts or gutters. Run water from a garden hose into all vents, giving them a minute or two of full flow.


Sink Drains

A stopped sink drain isn't just an inconvenience; it can sometimes be an emergency. It's always best to prevent clogs before they happen. Be
alert to the warning signs of a sluggish drain. It's easier to open a drain that's slowing down than one that's stopped completely.

Run or pour scalding water down the drain to break up grease buildups.

If hot water doesn't unclog the drain, there could be some object in the drain.


fails to shut off, the overflow tube carries water down into the bowl to prevent an overflow.

*Note, San Francisco water is known to contain 'Cloramine' which is a chemical known to wear rubber parts rapidly.

Professional Tips

When loosening connections, avoid slipping with a wrench and cracking the fixture by dousing stubborn connections with penetrating oil.

When trying to detect a tank leak, add food coloring to the tank water if you can't tell whether your toilet is leaking around the tank bolts or just sweating. Wait an hour; then touch the bolt tips and nuts under the tank with white tissue. If the tissue shows coloring, you have a leak; otherwise, it's condensation.

Leaking Toilet

To stop a leak between the tank and bowl of a bowl-mounted toilet tank, tighten the bolts in the tank, or remove them and replace their gaskets.

To seal the connections on a wall-mounted tank, tighten the couplings on the pipe connecting the tank and bowl, or unscrew the couplings,
remove the pipe, and replace the washers.

If the bowl leaks around its base, you'll have to lift the bowl up and reseal it along the base.

If you don 't want to do this job yourself, call in a professional plumber.


How your toilet works:

Two assemblies are concealed under the lid of a toilet tank; a ball cock assembly, which regulates the filling of he tank, and a flush valve
assembly, which controls the flow of water from the tank to the bowl. When someone presses the flush handle, the trip lever raises the lift wires
(or chain) connected to the tank stopper. As the stopper goes up, water rushes through the valve seat into the bowl via the flush passages. The water in the bowl yields to gravity and is siphoned out the trap.

Once the tank empties, the stopper drops into the flush valve seat. The float ball trips the ball cock assembly to let a new supply of water into the tank through the tank fill tube. As the tank water level rises, the float ball rises until it gets high enough to shut off the flow of water. If the water

A gas heater has a flue running up the center and out the top to vent deadly gasses. An electric water heater needs no venting. In both, an anti-corrosion anode attracts corrosion that would otherwise attack the tank's walls.

Maintenance For Good, Safe Service

Open the drain valve at the bottom about every 6 months, letting the water run into a bucket until it looks clear (usually about 5 gallons). This will prevent sediment accumulation. Annually test the temperature-pressure relief pressure buildup by lifting or depressing its handle and draining water from the overflow pipe. If water doesn't drain out, call in a plumber to inspect.

Water Heater Safety Tip

If steam or boiling water ever comes out of the valve or the hot water faucets, shut the heater off at once. If you ever hear a rumbling sound, assume the heater is overheating and turn it off.

Water Temperature

If temperature is a problem on a gas heater, check that the temperature control is on and is set correctly (normally 120 - a little lower if there's
no dishwasher). If you suspect a faulty control, test it by opening a hot water faucet for 3 minutes. If the heater doesn't turn on, reset the control
to a lower temperature and test again. If it still fails, have it replaced.

Draining and Flushing the Tank

1. Turn off the gas or electricity; Close the cold water valve.

2. Attach a hose to the drain valve, to route water into a floor drain or outdoors.

3. Open the drain valve and open one hot water faucet somewhere in the house to let in air.

4. When all water has drained, turn the cold water valve on and off until the water from the drain looks clear.

5. Close the drain valve and the hot water faucet, open the cold water valve and restore power.

Water Heaters

How A Water Heater Works

Most problems with water heaters are announced by noises or by water that's either too hot or not hot enough. Often you can correct the
problem yourself. A possible exception is a water leak, which may require professional service or tank replacement. Gas leaks call for immediate help from the Plumber.

Whenever someone turns on a hot water faucet, heated water is drawn from the top of the tank and is replaced by cold water that is carried to
the bottom through the dip tube. When the water temperature drops, a thermostat activates the heat source (a burner in a gas model -- two heating elements is an electric.)

3. What happens if my water heater is leaking?
You should call Court House Plumbing right away. Leaking water heaters usually indicate the bottom of the tank has rusted. There are really no good repairs for this problem. You most likely need a new water heater.

4. Is it a big deal if my toilet is running?
This is not only an annoyance but also a waste of water and money. Leaky toilets can cost almost $100 extra per year on your water bills. If
the toilet continues to run into the bowl after the toilet is flushed, it indicates that some part of the mechanism is out of order. Sometimes a little
jiggling of the flush valve mechanism solves the problem. Otherwise you may need to replace the entire mechanism. Contact Court House Plumbing to diagnose the problem.

5. What can I put in my garbage disposal?
This can be huge problem for homeowners. Here are some tips to keep your disposal in good working order:

a. First, always run cold water when grinding to move the waste all the way down the drain lines. Fats and grease congeal and harden in cold
water and can be flushed through the system. Hot water should not be used because it can dissolve fats and grease, which may then accumulate in the drain line.

b. Almost all-biodegradable food waste can be fed into disposers. However, they should not be used to grind clam or oyster shells, cornhusks or other material with high fiber content. Under no circumstances should you put glass, plastic or metal non-food materials through a disposer. This includes bottle caps, tin covers or aluminum foil, which are some of the items service technicians commonly find in clogged or broken disposers.

c. Maintenance is easy. Grinding small bones and eggshells actually helps clean the disposer by scraping away stubborn deposits or citric acid and pulp. Grinding a little ice is another way to clean deposits and get rid of odors. For the most part, though, disposers are self-cleaning.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What causes my faucet to drip?
Usually when a faucet is dripping the problem has a relatively simple solution. The internal mechanisms need to be rebuilt or replaced. This is
an easy and inexpensive fix. Did you know that you can extend the life of your washers by turning off your faucets gently rather than forcefully?

2. How can I prohibit leaking pipes?
Take the time every once and a while to inspect your pipes. If rust or lime is depositing on them, this may indicate a leak is starting. If this is happening, contact Court House Plumbing to address the problem. By performing an occasional inspection you could stop a small problem
before it turns into a large one. Leaking pipes can damage floors and belongings and become much more costly than if the problem was
detected early.

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Court House Plumbing & Heating, Inc.
Copyright 2009 Court House Plumbing & Heating, Inc.   All rights  reserved. Revised: May 29, 2015.
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