Basics of Indoor Plumbing
& Toilet Repairs
"If something can go wrong, it probably will ."
If you've never undertaken plumbing repairs before, you should be aware that Murphy's Law governs do-it-yourself plumbing repairs. When all goes well, you will wonder why anyone would ever pay someone else to do such a job. But when the going gets rough, and the project gets messy, you'll swear you'll never again begrudge a plumber his fees.
A study was done for the hardware industry several years ago; it found that the average homeowner plumbing repair project required three trips to the hardware store. With this in mind, don't begin a plumbing project unless you know a plumbing supplier is open for business. Many hardware stores are open on Saturday and Sunday, but the professional plumbing suppliers usually close by noon on Saturday if they are open at all on the weekend.
When in doubt and even if you're not in doubt
READ the instructions...
How many times have you heard that? There are a number of very subtle details in installing many plumbing parts. You will save yourself a lot of time and trouble by reviewing all the instructions that come with a new part or product before you start.
However, that's not much help if you don't understand the terminology. If you find yourself in this situation, check out the Plumbing Glossaries at:
Robert Manufacturer Company
Staunch and Flow (London, England)
An example of the problems that are caused by neglecting this simple rule occurred at my niece's home in Ridley Park, PA recently. She had a new faucet with a spray hose installed in her kitchen by a professional plumber. After the plumber left, she discovered the spray hose did not work. When she called the plumber, he refused to come back out to fix the problem, because he claimed she had very low water pressure in the house. The water pressure in the rest of the house was just fine. After installing a new diverter valve and finding that the hose still didn't work, we began to take the cleaning supplies out from under the sink to examine the hose connection. In the process we found the sheet of faucet installation instructions the plumber left. The instructions said when having problems to make sure the faucet was installed correctly. So we reviewed the instructions and sure enough we found the plumber had reversed the hose connections. Once the hoses were reversed, the faucet worked properly. It had nothing to do with water pressure.
Before you begin ... Plumbing Hygiene
Kevin Teale, Communications Director for the Iowa Department of Public Health, has suggested that I remind you of the importance of washing one's hand immediately after using or working on a toilet to help stop the spread of infectious disease. Certainly, a reminder that can never be overstated. For more on plumbing hygiene see: How to REALLY Clean a Toilet
Plumbing's Part in the Decline & Fall of Rome
Though the Roman Empire would last until the 6th century A.D., its fall was preceded by centuries of gradual decay, conflict and unrest. Ironically, some historians suggest that the Roman plumberi (plumbers) may have played a significant role in the downfall due to their extensive use of lead.
So prized was the craftsmanship of these plumberi that in lieu of present - day status symbols like a Rolls Royce or Porsche, our Roman ancestors boasted of lead pipes in their houses, especially those imprinted with the plumber's name (usually female, by the way), and that of the building owner.
Lead poisoning is at least a plausible explanation for the dementia of Roman emperors such as Caligula and Nero, and for a general weakening and demoralization of the populace at large. However, the case for massive lead poisoning is far from proven, and water piping was hardly the only source of lead contamination. The widespread use of lead cooking utensils and goblets probably was more harmful than its use in plumbing.
For the full story on Plagues and Epidemics visit ...