UNIT 7: PLUMBING KEY CONCEPTS. 1. Identify tools for plumbing. 2. Location of shutoff valves for the main and individual fixtures

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1 KEY CONCEPTS 1. Identify tools for plumbing 2. Location of shutoff valves for the main and individual fixtures 3. How water is supplied to your home 4. How waste water is removed and treated 5. Common plumbing problems homeowners can fix 6. Preventing problems in your plumbing system INSTRUCTIONAL ACTIVITIES 1. Complete Follow Up Worksheet from Unit 6 Hardiplank Siding 2. Be prepared to ask questions of professionals 3. Summarize key points ASSESS LEARNING OF KEY CONCEPTS This unit is weighted heavily on maintenance and homeowner repairs. Demonstrate physical ability to disassemble/ reassemble drain trap, faucet screen, and toilet flush assembly. Written quiz on shutoff locations, leak procedures, and preventive maintenance. 1

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3 TOOLS NEEDED A E D B C F A. Flashlight A large bright flashlight is an indispensable tool for inspecting pipes and drain openings. B. Small brush for cleaning in tight places. C. Utility knife has a retractable razor sharp blade for cutting a wide variety of materials. Useful for trimming edges of plastic pipes and for cutting off gaskets. D. Caulk Gun is designed to hold tubes of caulk or glue. A squeeze handle pushes a steady bead of caulk or glue out of the nozzle. E. Caulk is a soft liquid dispensed from a Caulk Gun, used to provide a water-tight seal. F. Pipe Wrench this is just a bigger crescent wrench! It has a movable jaw that adjusts to fit a variety of pipe diameters. It is used for tightening or loosening pipes, pipe fittings, and large nuts. Two pipe wrenches are often used together, to prevent damage to pipes and fittings. 3

4 TURNING OFF THE WATER AT THE METER AND TO EACH FIXTURE It is important that you know where shut off valves are and how they work. Every faucet, fixture, or appliance in your home has a shut-off valve. In addition there is a sometimes a shut off in the main line coming into your home. And there is always a shut-off at the meter. A typical water meter box 4

5 CARTRIDGE FAUCET A Cartridge faucet is identified by the narrow metal, or plastic cartridge inside the faucet body. Many singlehanded models, and some double-handed models, use the cartridge designs. Replacing a cartridge is an easy repair that will fix most faucet leaks. Faucet cartridges come in many styles, so you should bring the old cartridge along for comparison when shopping for the replacement. Make sure to insert the new cartridge so it is aligned the same way as the old cartridge! If the hot and cold water controls get reversed, then take the faucet apart and rotate the cartridge 180 degrees. The basic tools needed for these repairs: Screwdriver, utility knife, channel-locks pliers. The basic materials needed are: Replacement cartridge, O-Rings, heat-proof grease. BALL-TYPE FAUCET A Ball-type faucet has a single handle, and is identified by the narrow metal or plastic ball inside the faucet body. Many ball-type faucets have a rounded cap with knurled edges located under the handle. If your faucet leaks from the spout and has this type of cap, first try to tighten the cap with channel-lock pliers. If tightening does not fix the leak, disassemble the faucet and make the repair. Faucet manufacturers offer several types of replacement kits for ball-type faucets. Some kits contain only the springs and neoprene valve seats. Some better kits also include the cam and cam washer. Bring the old unit along for comparison when shopping for the replacement. Replace the rotating ball only if it is obviously worn or scratched. Replacement balls are either metal or plastic. Metal balls are slightly more expensive than plastic, but last a lot longer. The basic tools needed for these repairs: Screwdriver, utility knife, channel-lock pliers, Allen wrench. The basic materials needed: Ball-type faucet repair kit, new rotating ball (if needed), O-Rings, heat-proof grease, masking tape. Note: Repair kit for a ball-type faucet includes rubber valve seats, springs, cam and cam washer, and spout O- Rings. Kits may also include a small Allen wrench tool used to remove the faucet handle. Make sure the kit is made for your faucet model. Replacement ball can be purchased separately, but is not needed unless the old ball is worn. 5

6 AERATORS AND SPRAYERS If water pressure from a sink sprayer seems low, or if water leaks from the handle, it is usually because lime buildup and sediment have blocked small openings inside the sprayer head. To fix the problem, first take the sprayer head apart and clean the parts. If cleaning the sprayer head does not help, then the problem may be caused by a faulty Diverter Valve. The diverter valve, inside the faucet body, shifts water flow from the faucet spout to the sprayer when the sprayer handle is pressed. Cleaning or replacing the diverter valve may fix the water pressure problems. Whenever making repairs to a sink sprayer, check the sprayer hose for kinks or cracks. A damaged hose should be replaced. If water pressure from a faucet spout seems low, or if the flow is partially blocked, take the spout aerator apart and clean the parts. The aerator is a screw-on attachment with a small wire screen, that mixes tiny air bubbles into the water flow. Make sure the wire screen is not clogged with sediment and lime buildup. If water pressure is low throughout the house, it may be because galvanized iron water pipes are corroded. Corroded iron pipes should be replaced with copper pipes. The basic tools needed for these repairs: Screwdriver, channel-lock pliers, needle nose pliers, small brush. The basic materials needed are: Vinegar, universal washer kit, heat-proof grease, replacement sprayer hose. AERATOR AND SPRAYER 6

7 CLEARING CLOGS AND FIXING DRAINS Clear a clogged drain with a plunger, hand auger, or blow bag! A plunger breaks up clogs by forcing air pressure into the drain line. Because a plunger is effective and simple to use, it should be your first choice for clearing the clog. A hand auger has a flexible steel cable that is pushed into the drain line to break up or remove the obstructions. An auger is easy to use, but for best results the user must know the feel of the cable in the drain line. A blow bag hooks to a garden hose and uses the water pressure to clear clogs. Blow bags are most effective on clogs in floor drains. Use caustic, acid-based chemical drain cleaners only as a last resort. These drain cleaners, usually available at supermarkets and hardware stores will dissolve clogs, but they may also damage pipes! They must be handled with caution! Always read the package directions carefully. Regular maintenance is the best way to keep drains open and working properly. Flush drains once a week with hot tap water to keep them free of soap, grease, and debris. Or, treat drains once every 6-months with a non-caustic drain cleaner, (copper sulfide or sodium hydroxide based). A non-caustic cleaner will not harm the pipes. Occasionally, leaks may occur in the drain lines or around the drain opening. Most leaks in drain lines are fixed easily by gently tightening all pipe connections. If the leak is at the sink drain opening, fix or replace the strainer body assembly. CLEARING CLOGGED SINKS Every sink has a drain trap and a fixture drain line. Sink clogs usually are caused by a build-up of soap and hair in the trap or in the fixture drain line. Remove clogs by using a plunger or a hand auger. Or, you may wish to disconnect the trap and clean it. Many sinks hold water with a mechanical plug called a pop-up stopper. If the sink will not hold standing water, or if water in the sink drains too slowly, then the pop-up stopper must be cleaned and adjusted. The drain trap holds water for a reason. The water stands in the drain trap as a seal to prevent sewer gases from entering the home. Each time a drain is used, the standing trap water is flushed away and replaced by new water. The shape of the trap and fixture drain may resemble the letter P. Sink traps are sometimes called P-traps. SINK TRAP This photograph shows what a sink drain trap and fixture drain line look like underneath your sink. 7

8 WATER HEATER MAINTENANCE Standard tank water heaters are designed so repairs are simple. All water heaters have convenient access panels that make it easy to replace worn parts. When buying new water heater parts, make sure the replacements match the specifications of your water heater. Most water heaters have a nameplate that lists the information needed, including the pressure rating of the tank, the voltage and the wattage ratings of the electric heating elements. Do not install an insulating jacket around a gas water heater! Insulation can block air supply and prevent the water heater from ventilating properly. To save energy, insulate the hot water pipes instead. Many water heater problems can be avoided with routine yearly maintenance. Each year do the following: 1. Flush the water heater by draining several gallons of water from the tank. Flushing removes sediment buildup that causes corrosion and reduces heating efficiency. Do this by attaching a garden hose to the water heater drain valve open the valve and drain water into a floor drain, sump pit, or into a bucket. 2. Test the pressure relief valve. 3. Check to see that the temperature setting on the thermostat is set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This lower temperature setting reduces the damage to tank caused by overheating and also reduces energy use. FLUSHING YOUR WATER HEATER 8

9 OUTSIDE WATER FAUCETS Since we live in a cold winter climate, it is most important that we protect the outside faucets during that time. It is very simple to do this when you follow this advice. When the outside water faucets are mounted during the home construction, they are installed at a slight angle down. This is done so the water in the faucet can always drain out on the ground when the faucet is turned off. Make certain that you remove the water hoses from these faucets for the winter. Otherwise, water will not be able to drain out, it will stay inside the faucet, and there is a real possibility of the water freezing and bursting a water pipe. Remove all water hoses from outside faucets by November 15 each year!! Additionally, an extra insurance policy to protect the outside faucets is to cover each faucet with a faucet cover during the winter months. These faucet covers can be purchased at your local hardware store for approx. $2 $3. And you can use them winter after winter. These faucet covers are made of an insulating material so they help to keep the bitter cold weather away from the water in the pipes preventing a broken water pipe. PROBLEM AND REPAIR TIPS Remember to turn off the water before beginning any repair work on plumbing! Possible Problem No hot water or not enough hot water! Possible Solutions 1. For a Gas Heater, make sure the gas is on, and then relight the pilot flame. For an Electric Heater, make sure the power is on, AND THEN reset the thermostat. 2. Flush water heater to remove sediment in tank. 3. For a Gas Heater, clean gas burner and replace thermocouple. For an Electric Heater, replace heating element or thermostat. 4. Raise temperature setting of the thermostat. Pressure Relief Valve leaks! 1. Lower the temperature setting. 2. Replace the Pressure Relief Valve. Pilot flame will not stay lighted! 1. Clean Gas Burner and replace thermocouple. Water heater leaks around the base of the tank! 1. Replace the water heater immediately. 9

10 FOLLOW ALONG WORKSHEET Please use the area below to take notes about the major subject headings listed. COMMON MAINTENANCE ITEMS I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR: MOST IMPORTANT SAFETY ISSUES: TIMES I SHOULD CALL A PLUMBER: ADDITIONAL NOTES: 10

11 FOLLOW-UP TEST 1. Why is it important to fix a leaky faucet or running toilet? 2. Where would a sink drain pipe most likely be plugged? 3. What could happen if a hose remains connected to the outside faucet during winter? List 4 ways in which you can conserve water and thus lower your monthly water bill Choose one safety precaution particular to this unit that you can implement either in your home. In the area below describe why this precaution is necessary to ensure safety. 11

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