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When to toss it
Older pipes that have rusted over or corroded are beyond salvage, said Dubisz. If you experience a leak, it is crucial that you fix the problem immediately and replace the pipe. And no, sticking a piece of chewed gum on a pipe to stop the drips isn’t going to cut it.




Plumb lucky
How to avoid turning your house into a swimming pool

09/25/14



 “The good feeling of a great deal — it fades long before the adverse effects of a job done poorly,” said Aaron Christenson, owner of Christenson Plumbing and Heating in Manchester.

That about sums up the gamble of dealing with the plumbing in your house, according to Christenson. Even after 13 years, the plumber and gas fitter admits that he is still learning the trade, which means that the gap between the average homeowner and a trained professional is pretty defined.
Unfortunately, said Christenson, there isn’t enough awareness involved with some trades over others.
“People know that if they try to do their own heart surgery … society has made it pretty clear you should go to a doctor. People know that if you try to fight a legal battle in court by yourself, you could get yourself into a lot of trouble,” he said. “[Raising] awareness about plumbing and gas is newer, the technology is changing radically. They haven’t heard enough horror stories.”
 
DIY: replace a faucet
According to Brian Dubisz, vice president of Paradigm Plumbing and Heating in Hooksett, replacing a faucet can be done in a few simple steps. Start by making sure you get the exact same faucet at the hardware store, and read all of the directions that come with the new faucet.
“Turn the water off for both the hot and cold pipes feeding the faucet. Use a wrench to loosen up the basin nuts that connect the faucet to the hot and cold pipes, then proceed to loosen the nuts that attach the faucet to the sink,” he said. “Clean the surface above where the faucet sits, apply Plumber’s Putty or silicone under the base of the faucet, and attach the new faucet to the sink. Tighten the nuts back to the sink, back to the basin nuts to the hot and cold and turn the water back on to test it.”
The repair, he said, will likely cost about $100 or more, depending on the kind of faucet you’re replacing.
 
A little more work: replace a toilet
Christenson said that, depending on a person’s ability to work with the necessary equipment, it could be possible for homeowners to replace a toilet. A basic replacement job could be done if the homeowner follows the specific directions right up to the last word, like making sure that the water is turned off completely and drained from the toilet bowl and the back tank. Also having the right equipment on hand is crucial if you need to replace the old parts, such as the nuts to hold the bolts in place, the wax ring under the toilet to direct the water flow and a working flange.
But changing a toilet could lead to bigger problems, which is why Christenson urges caution.
“People say that [basic toilet replacement] looks easy,” he said. “But what if you’re turning off the water and it doesn’t shut off all the way? Or you’ve got a braided supply line on the toilet that’s rotted out and now it’s leaking and there’s water all over the place? … You’ll save time and money when a pro can come in and take a grave situation and rectify it.”
Even frequent little drips from a job done poorly can amount to gallons of water per day, Christenson said.
 
Don’t try this at home: installing a plumbing system
Of course, anything having to do with setting up a plumbing system for a new house or completely replacing an existing one could get you in some really deep water — literally. Trying to tackle a project of that magnitude, Christenson said, could do a lot of damage to your home if one small leak turned into a giant flood because it was tampered with. Some steps of replacing water pipes require drilling, which could not only spring a massive leak into the pipe itself, but could also hit dangerous spots like electrical boxes if you don’t know exactly where to drill in order to get to the pipes.
“This stuff can certainly happen to us too,” he said. “But you have to have experience and know what you’re doing, where to look for it and where not to drill. We certainly have a reduced risk of [danger].
“If your gut tells you you’re in over your head,” said Christenson. “Chances are you probably are.” 
 
As seen in the September 25, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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