Plumbing Tips

Garbage Disposers Care – Always use cold water when operating the disposer to solidify fatty and greasy wastes so they will be chopped up and flushed down the drain. Use a strong flow of cold water and keep it running at least 30 seconds after noise of grinding has stopped to flush all food particles through the drainline.

Sink and Tub Drains – Care and Maintenance – In sinks or tubs where hair  is washed, use a plastic or metal “hair catcher” or screen to catch hair before it gets into the drain. Do not pour grease down kitchen drains; pour liquid grease from cooking into empty tin cans and set in refrigerator until solidified; put can into tightly closed plastic bag, wrap in newspapers, and put into trash bag.

Soap and Lime build up on chrome – Soak a paper towel in white wine vinegar & squeeze out the excess. Wrap it around the chrome fixture & wait 10 minutes. Take off the wet towel & buff the chrome w/ a dry one. Do not use this on brass, colored fixtures or fiverglass.

Cleaning Fiberglass Sinks and Tubs – Use baking soda moistened with water to a paste; wet surface of tub or stall; gently rub with the paste on a sponge, or soft nylon brush.

Removing Rust/Iron Stains on Bathroom Fixtures –  Rust stains come from iron in the water supply, which can only be permanently remove through installation of an iron filter. Occasionally iron is dissolved from rusting water pipes or mains by corrosive water. Iron stains can be removed by a weak acid solution, usually oxalic acid  which is highly toxic and must be handled with care. Never use chlorine bleach as this sets the iron stain. Fresh iron stains on plumbing fixtures such as sinks, bathtubs and chrome will generally yield to treatment with heavy duty cleaning compounds containing large proportions of trisodium phosphate. Apply cleaner with damp cloth, pad or sponge. Rub discolored surface until stain is removed. Rinse. Wipe dry and polish.

Cleaning Toilet Bowls – Toilet bowls are made of vitreous china, a very hard and acid-resistant material. Commercial toilet bowl cleaners contain very strong acids which remove hard water and iron deposits, clean and disinfect. They are too strong to be used on other surfaces. They are also highly toxic so use carefully, following product label directions, and NEVER mix any other products with the bowl cleaner! Never use products designed for drains as they will eat into the pipes. Chlorine bleach may be used alone, never combined with bowl cleaner or any other product. Add 1/4 cup to the toilet bowl, let stand few minutes, brush around edge of bowl and flush. This whitens and disinfects.

Frozen Pipes – Shut off the water at the main shutoff valve and open the  faucet nearest to the frozen pipe so it can drain as it thaws.  Waterproof the area with containers and plastic drop clothes in case leaks occur.  Use one of the following methods to gradually warm the frozen pipe:

1.  Use a hair dryer like a torch, a hair dryer will gently defrost the pipe.
2.  Wrap a heating pad the length of the pipe.
3.  For pipes behind walls, floors or ceilings, place a halogen work light or space heater 8 or more inches from the surface.
4.  If no other method is available, wrap the pipe (except plastic) in rags and pour boiling water on it.

Some information courtesy: MSU Extension Home Maintenance & Repair

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