How to Troubleshoot a Malfunctioning Toilet

Toilets are pretty basic when it comes to design No matter how sophisticated or simple your toilet may be it is inevitable that at some point there will be issues with it.  According to double check valves plumber MN most of the toilet’s moving parts located inside the toilet tank include the handle assembly, flush valve and the flapper.

Issues may happen with the wax seal located in between the toilet base and the flange in the floor. Also, the water supply hose that connects the flush valve with the shut off valve can be subjected to wear and tear and may have a leak.  Here are some effective means to troubleshoot a malfunctioning toilet.

Toilet Base Leaks

Use a paper towel to dry the area around the base of the toilet if you suspect that the water is coming from there. Put a dry paper towel at the base and inspect after a couple of hours. The presence of wet spots on the towel means that the wax ring has worn off and requires replacing.

Remove the condensation from the bottom of the tank as well as the water supply hose if you think there may be a leak originating from that area. Using the paper towel method, dry the area as much as you can and then check the supply hose and the fittings on both ends for any signs of dripping.  According to Minneapolis double check valve installation experts, leaks in this section are usually due to a worn out water supply hose. If you noticed that the water seem to be coming from the tank bottom then the flush valve may be at fault.

Long Filling Times

If you notice that it takes a while for your toilet to fill up, inspect the flush valve and flapper. If the flapper does not create a good seal with the hole at the tank’s bottom then it will require replacing. If the float on the flush valve sticks or if you notice water trickling into the tank, the flush valve is broken or worn and may need immediate replacing.

What to Avoid in When Installing a Backflow Preventer Device

Backflow preventer devices are used to provide protection for potable water supplies from pollution or contamination. They are a vital part of any type of irrigation system.  If there is no backflow prevention device, dirty and drinking water will mix causing health problems. If you are having a backflow preventer device installed here are some things that need to be avoided to ensure proper installation.

According to double check valves installation Minneapolis experts a lot of issues can happen due to incorrect installation of the backflow prevention device including but not limited to high recurring maintenance or worse backflow problems that endanger the integrity of potable water.  

Installation Greater than 5 Feet

It is important that the device be installed lower than five feet from the ground. This is done in order for field-testing, repair and maintenance procedures to be performed properly. It is recommended to lower the installation of the backflow preventer or if this is not feasible, use a safe platform to reduce the possibility of injury.

Incorrect Installation of the (RP) or Reduced Pressure Principle Backflow Preventer

Double check valves plumber Minnesota experts suggest that this must be installed close to a floor drain as the relief valve may leak due to a number of reasons.  In order to prevent water damage, the relief port need to be attached directly to a drainpipe and stop with an indirect connection above the floor drain. It is important also that the drain pipe be of the correct size.

Absence of Wye Strainer Upstream

At times debris can flow and get stuck in the backflow preventer device resulting in severe damage that can make it inoperable. In order to avoid such a circumstance, a Wye strainer needs to be installed upstream to the device. The strainer acts to protect the device and at the same time increases its operational efficiency while at the same time minimizes the possibility of contamination.

Vertically Installed Backflow Preventers

Unless your device is meant to be installed vertically as per manufacturer instructions and type, the majority of devices should not be installed vertically with a downward water flow. This is because the weight of the water column may prevent the check valves from closing in cases where there is back siphoning.


The Best Approach for Unclogging Your Toilet

We know how annoying and inconvenient it is to have a toilet clogged up especially if you need to use it.  The best approach to unclogging a toilet really depends on what caused it to be backed up in the 1st place and how bad the occlusion is.  Here are some of the best methods for unclogging a backed up toilet.


The most common method and readily available tool is the plunger approach. Double check valves overhaul St. Paul experts recommend this approach for simple clog problems. To do this properly, simply place the plunger in the bowl at an angle so that there is no air that gets trapped beneath. This will create a solid seal against the toilet bottom and the plunger device. Plunge between one to twenty times until the clog is released. Do not put excessive pressure to prevent damaging your toilet.

Hot Water and Dish Soap

If you do not have a plunger at the moment what you can attempt is to place 2 to 3 squirts of biodegradable dish soap on your toilet bowl. Allow it to sit in for at least 3 to 4 hours and then pour hot water in the toilet and finish it off with a flush. What it does is the soap acts as a loosening agent while the hot water washes the remnants away.

Wire Hanger

If you have a persistent clog that won’t go away with plunging or hot water and soap you can use a wire hanger.  Just unbend a wire hanger and slowly insert one end into the toilet gently. Push it slowly until it encounters resistance (the clog).

Use of Toilet Snake

A handy device that professionals like what double check valves plumber Minneapolis experts use can be utilized much in the same vein as the wire hanger. The only difference is that it can go further. To use it simply insert the end of the snake into the toilet and then unwind. If it hits something, wind it some more in order to get rid of the clog and then repeat as needed. Toilet snakes work exceptionally well for getting rid of items that got flushed down the toilet by accident like toys or soaps.

A Helpful Guide on Replacing your House Water Pipes

If you live in an old house there are quite a few reasons why water pipes may require replacement for instance, in some older homes the pipes may be made from lead and can be a health hazard. Pipes that have been exposed to really cold temperatures could have frozen or suffered a leak and will require replacement as soon as possible.

On Hiring a Plumber

If you are not trained to do the work yourself or simply do not have the time it is imperative that you get a plumber that has a good track record and experience. When interviewing a prospective plumber do not be afraid to request for references and look up any recent customers to ask them regarding the quality of the work done. Keep in mind that a reputable and licensed plumber will cost some money to hire but the price is worth it when they do a fantastic job in a short period of time.


According to Minnesota double check valves overhaul specialists the key to overhauling the plumbing system is all about timing. Overhauling a plumbing system can present with it serious inconveniences to your home life as work will be constant and at times bothersome.   When hiring a professional to perform the task it is recommended that you schedule it for a time when you will be away from the house like if you are on vacation or will need to spend considerable time out of town for work. If you cannot leave the home during the overhaul have a conversation with your plumber regarding the possibility of shutting down only a part of the system so that you would be able to use the toilet and other amenities while the other part is being repaired.

Turning the Water Supply Off

According to double check valves overhaul Minnesota experts in the event of an emergency it really is not difficult to shutdown the water supply in order to prevent flooding in your home.  Usually this is located in the basement. Simply follow the water pipe in order to lead you to a shutoff valve located somewhere between where the pipe enters the basement and the first access point for the water supply. Turing the lever or valves off will shutdown the water supply to the entire home.

How to Optimize Outdoor Living Spaces

With the end of winter comes the promise of spring; once the icy cold wintery days are past it is time to look forward to the beauty of spring. The season brings with it a lot of opportunities to enjoy your outdoor living space where the entire family can relax in comfort and style. Here are some design tips to optimize your outdoor living spae

Imbibe Color

According to custom home Tomball Texas designers, the use of bright colors sparingly while indoors is a wise choice; in outdoor settings it is exactly the opposite. Brash colors indoors can easily make it look cramped; the same is untrue for outdoor living space. Do not be afraid of using bright cheerful palettes like turquoise, mango and lime. Select bright colors that appeal to you as the lush appearance can brighten any dreary outdoor space in your property.

Use Weather Proof Furniture

This is a no-brainer. If you want to optimize your outdoor living experience, the best way to do so would be to invest in some weatherproof furniture.  Check out innovations in PVC, wicker and other low maintenance outdoor materials.

Integrate Fire and Water Elements

If you live in a mild climate, a year round fountain can create a place of tranquility while a fireplace can draw your guests in for that warm cozy glow.  Add value to your home by integrating these elements into your outdoor living experience.

Design Based On Usage

If you like to cook, you will be glad you asked your custom home Montgomery Texas builder to construct you a four season covered deck that features a built-in barbecue grill. Add retractable large windows into the mix in order to keep out the cold air during winter, while a big fireplace can keep everybody warm.

Plan Accordingly

If you are planning a custom home do not forget that outdoor living can impact interior living as well.  You may have a great den but lack a patio to entertain guests during the summer is a big no-no. Outdoor living spaces can bring some diversity into your lifestyle even if you do not ordinarily want to hang outside. It can increase curb appeal and make your home more approachable as it can strike a good balance between form and function to make the home more appealing to all who steps into it.

Important Facts on Homeowner Insurance

If you are building a home, chances are you will come across homeowner’s insurance at some point during the process.  Many homebuyers are anxious to read the details because there are so many complexities that it can be easy to overlook some hidden issues that can drive up your rates.  Here are facts to make things easier for you.

New Construction Insurance

A lot of homeowners believe that the builder’s insurance policy will cover any construction accidents or mishaps. On the contrary, the builder’s policy only covers the builder. In the event that something happens on site like severe thunderstorm that damages the construction materials, you will be left with no cover. Custom home Magnolia Texas recommend that you look into new construction policies as most of the time they are cheap and are an excellent means of protecting your assets during the construction phase.

Fire Protection

Insurance companies use different tools to assess a number of risks and use those to determine insurance rates.  Fire protection classes known as the ISO Public Protection Classification Program is known as one of the biggest factors in the determination of insurance rates. The ratings are assigned to communities and take into consideration their fire district’s capacity to put out fires. For example, if you select a property in a region that has a fire protection class 6, you will pay less insurance than say a homeowner in a class 9 area.

Select Materials Carefully

According to custom home Magnolia TX builders an excellent way to keep your costs manageable when it comes to insurance is to select the right building materials. For example, stucco and brick siding is less easily damaged compared to wood or vinyl siding. The fact that metal roofing can withstand better wind damage the cost is lesser compared to getting an asphalt shingle roof.  On the other hand, a wood frame home is more fire prone than one that features concrete blocks.

The great thing about building a custom home is you have a say in all of the decisions that can affect not just the price of the home but also how it will affect your insurance costs. Select the most efficient neighborhoods and building materials in order to keep costs down over the long term.

Guide for Selecting a Reliable Plumber

According to double check valves overhaul experts, the best time to select a plumber is prior to experiencing a plumbing problem. Most people however do not have this luxury especially those that have a plumbing emergency on their hands. If the toilet gets clogged and leaks or the basement becomes flooded due to a broken pipe you will need a plumber immediately.

Talk to Friends

If you do not know anyone, talk to your friends or neighbors first whom they would recommend to fix any plumbing problems in their home. Many of the best plumbers do not need to advertise their services because their reputation precedes them. Word of mouth is a good way to know which plumber to trust and avoid.  You can also call a builder or contractor if you are acquainted with one. Contractors work with plumbers a lot of times and normally have well-formed opinions about them including their work quality and the way their price their services.

Another person you can approach would be the real estate agent that helped you buy the home.  According to Minneapolis double check valves overhaul experts, real estate agents more often recommend good plumbers to their clients because they want to keep you as a recurring customer and keeping you happy is one way of showing they care.

When Calling a Plumber

It is recommended that you not leave your name and phone number if you get an answering machine unless you are calling after hours. Be careful if a child happens to answer the phone. While it is true that plumbers may work out of their home in rural areas and other small communities many plumbers who have been in the business for quite some time do answer their phones themselves or have a receptionist on hand to take inquiries.

When inquiring about a plumbing job, ask for the price before allowing work to commence. A reputable plumber will provide you a bid and an estimate of the ceiling cost of the problem. The only exception would be if the plumbing problem happens in an area where there is a closed wall or ceiling as he might be hesitant to quote a good bid until he sees the gravity of the situation. You can however request for a worst-case scenario quote in order to give you an idea.’

Having a Custom Home Built? – Install High Efficiency Doors

An entry door no doubt is a home’s opening statement and can greatly affect its overall curb appeal.  It is naturally the first thing that guests will see and appreciate and most likely the last item they will notice on their way out of your abode. The entry door can tell guests what kind of personality you possess and aside from the style element, its functional nature will keep you warm in the wintertime and cold during the summer.  If you are building a custom home, install high efficiency doors to achieve the best results curb wise and function-wise.

There are a multitude of design options available as well as an almost unlimited variety of panel designs to choose from like rectangular, radius or geometric transoms long with companion sidelite setups. Check out also clear or privacy glass types along with grille patterns and decorative design options.

Custom home Montgomery TX builders recommend that you do some research online if you want to find the best high efficiency doors available on the market today.  A lot of manufacturers have an intuitive search tool on their sites that can assist you in selecting a door. There is even a site that allows you to “test drive” the door by letting you upload a photo of the front portion of a house and then place any of the door products on it so you can see for yourself how it will look.

Material and Home Styles

According to custom home Montgomery Texas builders, when it comes to door material, real wood offers a greater level of detail in the panels and there is a large selection of grains and colors to choose from.  Fiberglass material on the other hand can give you the look of wood minus the high maintenance needed. The insulation is better and it will not crack, dent or split.  If budget is an issue, steel is the economical choice.  If you want natural light to filter in, get one with glass inserts, sidelites and transoms.

Look at Certification and Quality

Labels such as Energy Star and National Fenestration Rating Council are a good indication of the efficiency of the door. For instance, an Energy Star label features its U-factor as well as Solar Heat Gain Coefficient ratings.  Check also if it complies with the energy tax credit rating.  Aside from certifications, the quality of construction and energy efficiency will also be affected by its weather stripping, water barrier and threshold systems.


Upgrades and Options to Consider with your Custom Home Builder

After you have signed the contract with your custom home Tomball Texas builder, how do you implement the customization options to truly make it your own? The biggest advantage of getting a custom home is the chance to select the features and finishes that truly mirror your preference and lifestyle. However, the myriad of choice available to homebuyers can be quite daunting.  Here are some tips to guide you on what options and upgrades to prioritize with your custom homebuilder.

Changes in the Structure of the Home

Homebuyers that want to add rooms or move doors or place recessed lighting need to request for the changes as early as possible because it will have an effect on the kind of building permit the builder will apply for.  Normally costly changes like plumbing and electrical changes can be avoided if done early rather than when the home is already done.

Strike a Balance between Needs and Wants

It is important that you stick to your budget because that is the reason why it is there. Be flexible and know that you will not be able to shoulder additional changes if done later on. It is important that you prepare a list of must-haves and want-to-haves. In this way you will be able to prioritize what is really needed rather than spend something on a vanity item that may just send you over budget.

Follow a Timeline

It is recommended that you follow the timeline set forth by your custom home Tomball Texas builder regarding the selection of upgrades and other options. Usually after a couple of weeks after the contract is signed and approved, the builder will request a meet up in order to discuss any changes you want.  If there are changes that you want to implement, make a list of items for discussion. To better illustrate your point; bring some photos that can help guide the designer to comply with your specifications.

Only do business with a builder that has earned your trust. This will ensure that you will be guided properly on the process and expert advice can be given not just on design but also how best to keep you in line with your budget.

Building Your Dream Home on a Budget

Without a doubt, building a home is expensive. However, there are ways by which you can cut the costs without necessarily sacrificing on the features you want. It takes careful planning, the right budget and a dependable builder to ensure that you are kept on schedule and finish on time.  Here are some helpful tips on building your dream home on a budget.

Get an Early Estimate

Home builder Plymouth MN recommends that you begin collecting estimates. The values you acquire may just be ballpark figures but can help assist you in making informed decisions.  Get a good understanding of the process of building and design so that you can customize your plans according to the budget that you have set out on.

Caveat Emptor

The Latin term means “Buyer Beware”.  This is so true especially with budget building lots.  It may look cheap on the outside but costs can skyrocket immediately if the builder needs to blast through rock or clear trees away or if they have to provide extensive drainage.  The most practical building lots are those that already have access to electricity, water lines and gas. 

Keep Things Simple

According to custom homebuilder Shorewood Minnesota specialists, curves and other complex shapes are expensive to design and construct.  If you want to save costs on your dream home, stick to simple shapes like square and rectangular floor plans. Do not go for vaulted ceilings or cathedral ceilings unless you are aware of the cost.

Taller is Cheaper

If you want to keep things on budget, opt for a home with two or three levels as opposed to a single story home that sprawls across the land area. A taller home will have the same amount of living space but the roof and foundation will be a lot smaller.

Use of Recycled Materials

Recycled construction materials are not only good for the environment but can also cut construction costs. Check out materials like recycled steel, pressed straw paneling and cement and sawdust composites. Check out architectural salvage warehouses for reclaimed light fixtures, plumbing, and fireplace mantels, windows and even lumber materials.