A good handyman or woman knows that a plumbing job isn’t complete until every last detail is checked and found to be working perfectly. It’s no good taking on and finishing a big home improvement plumbing job only to discover a week later that you failed to locate a small leak in the pipes or a crack in the caulking. Here are some things to check on after a plumbing project around your home and even a few tips on how to do them. Whatever the scale of the home improvement or home repair project, remember that any carelessness will cost you later. so try to be as meticulous as you can.
Check the lines for leaksBefore you pack up your tools, wipe all surfaces dry. Moisture on the lines or on the floor can make it hard to spot if there is an actual leak. Tighten the packing nut near the shutoff valve to ensure that there is no leak from the joint where the valve meets the nut. Wipe the line free of condensation which can hide a tiny leak. Remember that a cold water line can also sweat, especially if it’s humid, so fill the line and let the pipe warm to room temperature before wiping the pipe dry. You may not always be able to spot a leak at first – some come from hairline cracks in the lines – but with practice, you will get better at it.
Stress test the drainThe way to stress test the drain on a sink is to fill the sink to the brim and then open the drain to release a gush of water. If you live in a humid environment like DC or Florida, fill the sink with lukewarm water to avoid the condensation trap. Cold water causes condensation on the lines which will disguise a leak.
Always flush before you caulkThe flange is located at the base of the toilet and connects the toilet to the sewer pipe. Often, caulk is used at the base of the toilet bowl to treat minor cracks. A leaky flange usually presents itself with a tiny puddle on the floor, but you may miss the puddle if the area has been caulked. This is why it’s important to check that the flange is leak free before you caulk the area. Flush the toilet once or twice and test for leaks in the flange with paper. If the paper comes up wet, you have detected a leak which you can then fix first.
Check for sink rim linksAfter you fit a kitchen sink into a counter, check for rim leaks by dribbling a little water around the sink rim. The seal should hold fast. Check the floor below the sink after a few minutes to be doubly sure that your sink is leak proof.
Remove aerators after any plumbing jobPlumbing work releases all manner of debris and particles of metal, cement and rust that flow freely with the water through the lines. These particles often get caught in the aerator – the device that controls water flow in faucets. Remove the aerator and run water into a bucket until it runs clear and then fix the aerator back on.