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Plumbing

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 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.

     


    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I remove the faucet seat?

    Use a seat wrench, which has several sizes of square and hex ends.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Is there a way to keep condensation off my water pipes in the basement?

    A piece of foam pipe insulation works well.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Can I attach metal fittings and plastic fittings?

    Yes, there are transition fittings that make this possible.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What are the working parts of a toilet?

    The refill valve, the flush valve and the trip lever.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What can I use to make sure my water pipe does not freeze?

    Heat tapes have a thermostat on them so they know when to turn on and off. Simply wrap the pipe and plug them in.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do you measure galvanized pipe?

    You measure it by the I.D. (inside diameter).

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is the purpose of an aerator on a faucet?

    An aerator diffuses the water to prevent splashing.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is a flare fitting?

    A connector is slipped over the end of a copper tube, which is then flared out using a special tool. The fitting can then be screwed into another fitting.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do you measure black pipe?

    Using I.D. (inside diameter).

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • The water from my electric hot water tank is too hot. What do I do?

    The thermostat may be set too high, or it may be faulty. It could also be a grounded heating element.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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.

    To be sure you have thought of everything, make a checklist and begin your repairs.


    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is a compression fitting?

    This type of fitting squeezes a brass or plastic ring around copper or plastic tubing.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • The toilet bowl is not filling up. What is the problem?

    See if your toilet has an overflow pipe. If so, a rubber tube should go into it. It has a metal clip on it and sometimes it can come loose.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

     

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I test to see if water is leaking from the tank into the bowl?

    After flushing the toilet, let it refill. Now put a few drops of food coloring into the tank. If the color appears in the bowl after a few minutes, there is a leak.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Toilet Tune Up

    Did you know that as much as 80,000 gallons of water can be wasted each year by an undetected toilet tank leak? It makes economic and environmental sense to occasionally check the toilets around your home. Your toilet tank may simply need a good 'tune-up.' Here are some adjustments you can make.

    Refill Valve

    If your tank has a conventional ballcock refill valve, the water level is adjusted by bending the float arm (Fig. 1). The level should be high enough for complete flushes, but the water should not be to the top of the overflow pipe. Your tank should have a colored or molded water level mark. It should never be set so low that the bowl does not refill with trap sealing water. The rule of thumb is to set the water level about 3/4' below the top of the overflow pipe.

    If the float rubs on other parts, simply adjust the float arm sideways. If the float lacks buoyancy, unscrew then shake it to determine if it is waterlogged. A waterlogged float should be replaced. The float arm can also be replaced, if needed.

    In tanks using modern plastic refill valves, the tank water level is adjusted in other ways. If your tank uses a hand nut, turn the nut clockwise to raise, or counterclockwise to lower, the water level. Or, your tank may have a sliding pinch clamp on an adjustment rod (Fig. 2).

    Flush Valve

    Replacements for a flush ball and its actuating mechanism are available, but it may be possible to stop a leak with minor adjustments. Check the following mechanisms before purchasing replacements.

    See that the guide arm is centered directly over the seat. The guide arm should drop the flush ball directly into its seat. If the flush ball is not seating properly, make the adjustment shown in Fig. 3.

    The guide arm should allow the flush ball to rise enough for a complete flush. If not, raise the arm. Be careful that it isn't too high–then it will prevent the ball from closing completely.

    Check that the upper lift wire pulls the flush ball high enough. To adjust it, simply bend the wire for a higher or lower lift.

    The lifting hardware on a flapper-type flush valve should raise the rubber flapper to start a flush, but should not hold the flapper up off its seat. If this is occurring, the hardware is adjusted too short. Some types allow you to slide the flapper itself up or down on the refill tube to ensure that the flapper meets the valve seat squarely. The lifting hardware and flapper height adjustments are the first things to check when flapper problems arise.

    Refill Tube

    If the bowl-refill tube is out of place, water is routed directly into the tank, rather than replenishing water in the bowl. When this is the case, you will likely hear splashing sounds during tank refill. The refill tube should aim directly into the overflow pipe but should not reach below water level. If the tube extends too low, it will siphon tank water silently away. Fix it by repositioning as shown in Fig. 4.

    Defective refill tubes on some valves can be replaced with new plastic ones. Simply place one end of the plastic tube over the serrated plastic lug on the body of the valve, and place the plastic holder in the top of the overflow pipe.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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. Be sure to remove your old seat with the proper tools.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Ease Those Post-Holiday Plumbing Woes

    The holidays brought housefuls of people to our homes - and often plumbing problems produced by the volume of food, waste and, in particular, items disposed not suitable for pipes or flushing. Now that the hullabaloo has died down, it's time to fix those plumbing woes. By taking stock in a few key tools and tips and gaining some basic plumbing knowledge, you can avoid having to call a plumber and save a few of those already tight, post-holiday dollars.

    Know your pipes' limits

    Knowing how your plumbing works will help you to better diagnose a problem and either solve it yourself or resort to calling a professional, if necessary. Invest in a do-it-yourself book on plumbing to help 'un-complicate' your home's plumbing system.

    Use the correct tools

    A good plunger is a must for both toilets and sinks, and should be tried and exhausted before resorting to other means. A plunger will unplug most clogs, especially in the toilet, but there is a right way to use one: When plunging, compress the plunger slowly, then pull it vigorously toward you on the upstroke. This draws the clog upward.

    Snakes are suitable

    If the plunger isn't doing the trick, another option to try is a snake. Made of bendable steel, a snake is maneuvered into a drain with a crank handle that can sometimes be attached to a power drill. It can reach clogs up to 25 feet away and break them apart with a gentle twist or tug. While this may sound like advanced plumbing, a snake is extremely easy to use and will cost you about $30.

    Use caution with chemicals

    If elbow grease and conventional methods aren't solving the problem, you may need to try a drain-clearing chemical. Most drain-clearing chemicals are made for hair and grease, but will do the trick on that slow-moving kitchen sink Just be careful not to get hurt when you use them and keep them away from children. Follow the instructions on the bottle exactly to avoid damaging the pipes.

    Turn to a plumbing pro

    Some plumbing problems are caused by a bigger, more complex issue, so if your efforts aren't making things any better, calling a pro is the next best route. A good plumber should be able to identify the problem and take the necessary course of action. Check your local phone listing for plumbers in your area and be sure to ask questions about licensing, insurance, fee structure and experience when you call.

    Credit:  Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

     

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • When replacing a faucet, I was told that I should put some putty underneath the faucet. Why?

    This is a good idea to keep moisture from getting under the faucet and into the cabinet below.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is the purpose of pipe joint compound or tape?

    They reduce friction in assembly and provide a watertight seal.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • In the long run, which is better - chrome drain parts or plastic?

    Plastic will usually last much longer than chrome, but you have to be careful because it can be affected by some harsh chemicals in drain cleaners.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Why I am getting no hot water from my gas water heater?

    The pilot light might be out, or you may have a faulty thermostat.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Can pipe fittings be removed after they have been glued?

    No, they are permanently joined and cannot be taken apart.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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.


    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I install a new toilet flush valve?

    Flush valves are held to the tank by one large jam nut on the bottom of the tank. Installing a new flush valve usually requires removing the toilet tank from the bowl, which can be rather complicated. However, wall-mounted tanks may not need to be removed.

    • If the toilet tank must be removed, turn the water off completely, flush the toilet and hold the trip lever down to evacuate most of the tank water. Use a sponge to remove the remaining water. Disconnect the tank's inlet fitting from the water supply. If the flexible riser tube is damaged, replace it.
    • Then, unscrew the two rubber-gasketed bolts flanking the flush valve. These bolts go through the tank and bowl flange, with nuts beneath. Use caution-forcing the bolts may cause you to break the tank, bowl or both. Use plenty of penetrating oil on the threads. If they still won't budge without force, try wrapping masking tape around a hacksaw blade and sawing with the teeth facing you, so the blade cuts on the 'pull' stroke. The layer of masking tape will protect the bowl's glazed surface from saw scratches.
    • The tank should now lift away from the bowl. Lay it upside-down on a throw rug or newspaper padding to protect it, and unscrew the large nut holding the flush valve to the tank. Use locking pliers plus penetrating oil and extreme care to avoid breakage. Clamp a well-padded locking plier/wrench around the flush valve to keep it from rotating inside the tank.
    • Install the new flush valve (see image) according to the directions. The rubber gasket goes on the inside of the tank to prevent leakage. The flat washer fits on the outside to prevent tank damage.
    • Use new brass tank hold-down bolts, which will remain workable. Tighten the bolts just enough to compress the tank's soft rubber gasket and keep it from leaking.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What kind of solder do I use on a water line?

    Health codes require lead-free solder.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • I am not getting enough hot water from my gas water heater. What do I do?

    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.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • I am getting no hot water from my electric water heater. What do I do?

    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.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What does O.D. and I.D. mean?

    This refers to the diameter of a pipe. Some pipes are measured based on their outside diameter, or O.D. Others are measured by their interior diameter, or I.D.


    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What do I do if there is a crack in the toilet bowl?

    If it is a small crack, you can try to repair it. Drain the toilet, dry it off, apply some Plumber's Goop and let it dry completely before refilling the tank. However, you may have to replace the bowl.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I adjust the water level in my toilet?

    To adjust the water level on a conventional toilet tank, you simply bend the float arm down to lower the water level or up to raise it. Another widely popular valve has a pinch clamp that allows you to raise or lower the float.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I unclog a garbage disposal?

    The first thing you need to do is shut off the power to the garbage disposal at the main circuit breaker. That's very important. You are dealing with electricity and water here, so don’t mess around.

    • Use a flashlight to look into the garbage disposal through the sink drain. If you can see any foreign object blocking the blades from turning, use tongs, pliers or another tool to grab and remove the object.
    • Locate the hex-head wrench that came with your garbage disposal. If you cannot find it, find a hex-head wrench that fits into the hole in the bottom of your garbage disposal.
    • Insert the hex-head wrench into the hole in the bottom of your garbage disposal and turn the wrench back and forth. This manually turns the flywheel to free it from obstructions.
    • Insert a wooden spoon handle or a broom handle into the garbage disposal through the sink drain and manually turn the flywheel until it moves freely.
    • Turn the power to your garbage disposal back on when you think the problem is solved, and test the results.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is the difference between soft copper tubing and hard copper tubing?

    Hard copper is rigid line used throughout the house. Soft copper is used where flexibility is needed, such as faucet supply lines.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is plumber's putty?

    It is sealing putty used for a variety of tasks including to seal basket strainers, garbage disposal rims and tub drains.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is a toilet vent?

    It is a pipe that runs from the toilet drain to the outside, usually to the roof. This prevents air lock in the drain line.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Is a trap necessary under the sink?

    You need a trap to shut off odor (sewer gas) from coming into the kitchen and bath area.

    Be sure you use the right size for your sink.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • I have a water pipe in an unheated garage. How can I protect it from freezing?

    Wrap the pipe with heat tape, which comes in different lengths. You may also want to use pipe wrap over the heat tape. Pipe heating cable is another option that would also keep your pipes from freezing.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Do you measure the diameter of hard copper the same as soft copper?

    No, you measure hard copper with I.D. (inside diameter). You measure soft copper by its O.D. (outside diameter).

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is a check valve?

    A check valve keeps water from returning to the sump pit or crawl space after the pump shuts off.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 15 Easy Ways to Go GreenGreen Content

    Going "green" in our everyday lives is all the rage these days. From CFL bulbs to organic cotton T-shirts, it seems everyone has some skin in the eco-game. Your family - and in particular your home - should be no different. Below are 15 easy do-it-yourself projects that will save you money, reduce your environmental footprint and have you playing your eco-part in no time.

    1. As the cost of energy continues to rise, there is a way to lower your electric bills. Compact florescent light bulbs, or CFLs, use up to 66 percent less energy than conventional incandescent bulbs and can last up to five years. Replacing the five most-used bulbs in your home can save you up to $60 a year on your electric bill.
    2. Your water heater can do a better job keeping the water in the tank hot if you buy it a jacket. Insulating jackets can be installed on most conventional water heaters and reduce the number of times a water heater "fires" during standby. In fact, 20 percent of your energy cost to heat water is used up during standby!
    3. Fix that leak! Did you know that a dripping faucet or leaking toilet can waste up to 20 gallons of water a day? Repairing these leaks takes just a little time, and a small investment for the parts needed. The payback - both in dollars and for the environment - is huge!
    4. Adding a rain barrel to your drainage system can help you capture some of the water Mother Nature sends us during rain showers. A 1,000 square foot roof can shed up to 650 gallons of water during a 1-inch rainfall. By placing a rain barrel under a down spout, you can use this water for your lawn, garden or even a car wash.
    5. Plant a tree and reduce the carbon footprint of your home. To counteract the footprint from the use of electricity and natural gas or oil in the average American home, you would need to plant 42 trees... while that's a lot of green, start slowly to help shade your home and absorb carbon dioxide from the air.
    6. Using a ceiling fan can not only help you feel more comfortable in your home, both in the winter and the summer, it can also help to lower your energy bills. By circulating the air in your home, your furnace and air conditioner will run less, which means savings for you.
    7. Cutting your lawn just got a lot greener with Earth-friendly mowers. Gas-powered mowers are terrific for larger lawns, but if you have a smaller space to take care of, an electric or new cordless mower can do the trick, and with no fuel or harmful emissions. Mother Nature will thank you!
    8. Composting is a great way to reduce your waste and your impact on landfills. By collecting and placing compostable materials in a collection bin, you can create a super-charged natural fertilizer for your garden.
    9. Natural cleaning products have come a long way. You now have a choice to use products that lessen their impact on the environment. Many of these new cleaning items have natural ingredients and use less water during shipping to reduce fuel use.
    10. Tankless water heaters are here to stay, and are a viable choice when it comes to installing a new water heater in your home. Standby energy use is completely eliminated, and you will never run out of hot water from a properly-sized unit!
    11. Reduce your usage. How many cups of water do you boil for a cup of tea? Do you leave the TV or lights on when you leave the room? Does the water run from the faucet when you brush your teeth? These small changes in your lifestyle can make a difference for all of us!
    12. Did you know that almost 25 percent of water used in the home is for showers, and each member of a family of four taking a 5-minute shower can use up to 700 gallons a day? By installing low-flow shower heads, you can reduce that use by almost half, and with new technology, still feel a brisk force from the water.
    13. Stop all the leaks in your home! Drafty windows and doors can greatly raise your energy consumption. According to the EPA, if you caulk or seal those air leaks with weatherstripping, you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1,000 pounds a year.
    14. Let the sun shine! Not only will it brighten your mood, it will keep you from flipping the switch. In the colder months, the rays from the sun can help to heat your home, and the best part of this tip: it's absolutely free!
    15. Your indoor air is three times more polluted than the outdoor air. While painting is a great way to liven up your living environment, make sure you are not harming it during the process. Low VOC or zero VOC paints work just as well and are a great choice for those with allergies, asthma or homes with young children.

    Credit:  Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.


    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • I have heat tape on my water line. What type of pipe wrap should I use over the heat tape?

    Use fiberglass. Don't use foam wrap because the heat could melt it.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is a supply valve?

    This valve is under the sink or beside the toilet and shuts off the water to the faucet or toilet.


    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How should I cut plastic pipe?

    Any fine-tooth saw will work, but make sure you remove any burrs.

    There are many plastic pipe and tubing cutters that would work.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I install a lavatory faucet?

    The 4' lavatory faucet without a pop-up drain is relatively simple to install.

    • Place plumber's putty in the groove just underneath the chrome framing to provide a tight seal (see image).
    • Insert the shanks of the lavatory faucet into the holes of the lavatory. Attach the locknuts and the washer to the shank and tighten them firmly into place.
    • Remove any excess putty from the base of the faucet. Connect the shank to the water supply and tighten.

    Installing the 4' lavatory faucet with pop-up drain is more challenging. Start by carefully reading the instructions that came with the faucet.

    • First, remove the old faucet and pop-up drain.
    • Insert the new faucet into position. Add putty in the groove around the base of the faucet.
    • Slip the washer over the shank and thread the locknut up the shank, placing the faucet loosely in position.
    • Insert the drain plunger into the center hole and affix the adjustment bar to the drain plunger.
    • Place the pop-up drain body in position and attach it to the adjustment bar. Tighten all nuts and attach the faucet to the water system. Attach the pop-up drain body to the drain system.
    • Place the stopper in the drain body and work the drain plunger. Make any adjustments by moving the lever assembly up or down in the holes provided.

    Installing the combination lavatory faucet with pop-up drain is much the same as the 4' lavatory faucet.

    • The main difference in this installation is that most models require the faucet handles, flanges and faucets to be removed. The assembly is then inserted from underneath the lavatory frame.


    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Why does the water in my toilet seem to run constantly?

    If the refill valve is leaking, the tank overfills and the excess water runs into the overflow pipe and into the bowl.

    There are ways to stop the toilet from constantly running. This will make you feel more at peace and save you money on your water bill.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Condensation is dripping from the water line in my basement. What can I do about this?

    Pipe wrap will solve this problem.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Can I test to see if the leak is coming from the refill or the flush valve?

    Yes. Shut off the water supply to the toilet. Mark the water level on the inside of the tank with a pencil. Check the water level in 10 or 20 minutes. If the water has fallen, you know the flush valve is leaking. You may need to purchase a new flush valve or make repairs.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I join fittings to plastic pipe?

    Use a solvent welding glue, which softens the pipe and fittings so they can melt together.


    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • I have a problem with the plumbing in my house making groaning and honking sounds.

    It could be that you have lost your 'air cushion.' To get it back, turn the water supply off at the main valve. Turn on all the faucets around your home. Then turn on the main valve again and shut off each faucet. This should take care of the problem.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 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. CPVC and PVC are also measured differently.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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