~~ Sources of Help (Continued) ~~
Don't overlook the instructions that come with replacement products for toilets. Many have excellent instructions with good illustrations. Manufacturers spend a lot of time providing instructions on how to install and use their products. Whether or not you are an experienced do-it-yourselfer, do yourself a favor and always read those instructions. There is often simple but important steps that make the different between success and catastrophe. A good example of this occurred a few years ago in Arizona after a Fluidmaster toilet part was installed in a toilet. The family was away for four days, and returned to discover significant water damage caused by a broken toilet connector.
Specifically, the plastic coupling nut that connected the toilet valve to the water source was broken, allowing water to flow through the house. Thereafter, the couple and their insurance company sued Fluidmaster, alleging that the coupling nut was defectively designed, and that the material used (polyacetal) was not fit for this purpose. The couple sought damages in excess of $1.2 million.
After a five day trial, Fluidmaster's attorney, was able to effectively demonstrate that the design of the nut was within industry standards, Fluidmaster's attorney also presented evidence of overtightening of the nut, including microscopic photography that showed scratches and displacement of the plastic, which was clearly the result of tightening with a tool although the part included a clear warning that read, "Plastic Nut - Hand Tighten Only. Do Not Overtighten."
The family was then faced with a claim by Fluidmaster for reimbursement of its costs in defending the lawsuit.
It's often frustrating for do-it-yourselfers to attempt a new project and find the instructions use unfamiliar terms and words. You'll find a useful and comphrensive Plumbing Glossary at the Mr. Rooter Plumbing site and another one at
Tjader Sales. At
Luxury Home Products, you'll find a glossary of terms related to vanities, faucets, lavatories, and sinks.
Plumbing Supply Houses
Plumbing Supply Houses are businesses that deal in nothing but plumbing parts and fixtures. The professional plumbers are their principal customers, but consumers are recognized as valuable customers and are encouraged to use this source for tools, parts and help. Some shops even loan out tools.
Hardware Stores & Home Centers
Hardware Stores & Home Centers are a wonderful source of help. Many have extremely knowledgeable clerks, often retired plumbers. Spend some time browsing in the plumbing section to acquaint yourself with the array of parts & tools that are available and their prices.
When you are paying a plumber to make repairs in your home the very least you should do is ask what caused the problem and could it have been avoided? It's amazing what you can learn by just watching and asking a few questions. But beware, you usually pay a plumber for the time spent in your home; so idle chatter can be costly. And don't forget a plumber doesn't need your kid's help.
Terry Love, owner of Love Plumbing & Remodel of Bellevue & Redmond, Washington, created his web site to save you
time and money. You'll find lots of expert advice on plumbing and plumbing projects at his site. Terry is a man of many talents and also has a music television show in the Seattle area on channel 77 on Tuesday Latenight, "Terry Love Presents" at 12:30 AM. If that's too late for you, remember to set your VCR or DVD recorders.
Another example of professional plumbing help, PSG Plumbing in Watertown, NY maintains a web site where you'll find "Pat's Tips and Treasures". Pat says, "It’s my goal to make these fun and interesting for you. If you have any questions (and it won’t cost you a thing to ask these – imagine, asking your plumbing, heating and air-conditioning contractor a question for FREE!) drop me a line at [email protected] and I will answer them for you."
Ask Big Tony, The Plumber is the title of a site where you'll find a variety of short free instructional DIY videos and timely seasonal tips. In addition, he offers to personally answer any questions you have regarding your plumbing .
Do-It-Yourself Plumbing Books
A well illustrated plumbing repair manual is invaluable; every household should have at least one. There are numerous excellent ones available. Ortho, Sunset, Better Homes and Gardens and Time-Life Books all publish very good basic books. When it comes to plumbing, a picture truly speaks a thousand words. Many fine books can be found at the Toiletology 101 Plumbing Bookshop.
The Department of Facility Management, of the Denver Public Schools has written a 59 page plumbing manual for their maintenance staff. It is a pdf file and can be downloaded and printed at no cost. Its focus is on water supply devices (faucets, etc.)
The World Wide Web
The WWW is a wonderful reference source. One of my favorite sites for home repairs is "Jim's Home Repair Stuff" run by Jim Evans since 1997. In addition to plumbing, Jim writes on a wide varity of do-it-yourself home repair topics; he also has cataloged dozens of websites dedicated to home repairs. Jim is a jack-of-all-trades, he also conducts free digital photography classes in the basics of using your computer to enhance the pictures from your digital camera.
Following are some more addresses for Web Sites that offer personal help with plumbing problems, or provide useful information about plumbing products. The sites are listed in no particular order.