Posts Tagged With: home repairs

Easy Advice for Installing Storm Windows = Big Energy Savings This Winter

How to Install Storm WindowsWorried about winter heating bills? Or just wishing your home wasn’t so drafty? We’ve already covered the perfect DIY solution #1: installing storm doors. What’s the perfect DIY solution #2? Installing storm windows. They alone can save you between 12 and 33 percent on your heating costs and are much cheaper than replacement windows. Plus, installing storm windows is easy, with our expert how-to advice.

Make Your Choice – Interior or Exterior Storm Windows

Determine what type of storm windows you’d like – interior or exterior. Exterior models come with solid windows and screens in frames that attach directly to an existing window. Interior storm windows are usually seasonal products that you install every winter. They snap or clip into your interior windowsill but do not have adjustable glass panes or screens.

Exterior storm windows are the most common. Frames are made from wood, aluminum or vinyl and offer extra protection to your existing windows. They help them last longer and require less maintenance to the paint and caulk. Most have low emissivity glass (Low-E), which keeps thermal heat in during the winter and infrared heat out during the summer.

Installation is a simple DIY home project that you can tackle in a weekend (depending on the number of windows you have). To start, you will need the following:

Measure, Measure, Measure

Take a series of measurements of the inside of your existing window, at the bottom, top and middle of the frame. Why? The window frame may not be straight. Use the smallest measurement to order your storm windows. Measure the height of the frame from the outside of your window.

Consider ordering your windows with some of the following features:

  • Multiple positioning stops so you can raise or lower the panes to where you want.
  • Quality weather stripping to help stop heating/cooling loss.
  • Pre-drilled holes for quicker installation.
  • Easy-to-clean removable half pane glass and screens to make spring cleaning easier.

Drill Weep Holes then Paint

Storm windows come with weep holes installed at the bottom. Drill matching holes in the bottom exterior windowsill. This will allow condensation to escape. Next, scrap and paint the exterior frame before installing the new window.

Seal Your Storm Windows

Manufacturers recommend applying Butyl caulk, a rubber-based sealant that is good for outdoor installations like siding and gutters. It is a little uncooperative to work with, but it seals better than a silicone caulk. Apply it to the back of the storm window before installing to the exterior frame.

An Extra Set of Hands Comes in – Handy

You may need an extra set of hands to help hold the storm window while you mount it. First center the window then screw it in at top. Close the bottom sash and then screw the sides to the exterior frame. There will be an adjustable expander at the bottom of your storm windows. Tap it down tight against the windowsill and you are done.

Look for Condensation and Fix Air Leaks

Be sure to check your storm windows for condensation during the next cold snap. Leaks from your interior windows can cause moisture build up. This is no problem since the storm window has weep holes, but you may want to follow up with new weather stripping on your interior sill to plug possible air leaks.

Take a Bite Out of Your Next Power Bill

Cutting down on heating bills is always a challenge. Improving your home’s insulation, plugging air leaks and installing storm windows will go a long way to take a bite out of that next bill. Next time the cold wind blows and you sit warm inside, remember to thank your storm windows. Everyone likes a nice pat on the back from time to time.

Expert Advice

From ladders and drills to caulking saws, our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right equipment to tackle your next DIY project. For more helpful tips on how to keep things warm at your house check out our blog, 3 Easy Economical Ways to Winterize Your Home. As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: DIY Projects, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Safely Operate Scissor & Boom Lifts in 5 Simple Steps

How-To Safely Operate A LiftNeed to climb to high heights and get a chore done on your property, or perhaps shoot a movie (it’s been known to happen)? Well, there’s a lift for that! Lifts are specialized machines that help you safely access work areas that are located high above ground level, and are hard to reach with a ladder. In the case of a movie shoot, a lift can put you and the camera up high for panoramic views of a set or outdoor vista.

A scissor lift uses a single crisscrossed metal arm mechanism that moves straight up by electricity or hydraulics, delivering a smooth ride to the elevated work area. A boom lift has articulated joints and extendable metal arms usually fixed to a 360-degree rotation turntable that swings them full circle for quick and flexible positioning, above obstacles or other areas that are not safe for a standard scissor lift.

Whether you rent a scissor lift or a boom lift, it’s important to follow standard safety procedures when operating either one.

Step 1. Inspect the equipment before operation. Check the platform floor, guardrails, toe boards, tires, wheels, basket, hydraulic hoses and fittings for fluid leaks. Test the ground controls, manual lowering controls, platform controls and emergency stops, making sure that every function of the lift works correctly, including steering and drive functions.

Step 2. Check the work site at ground level for uneven surfaces, drop-offs or holes, bumps, floor obstructions or debris and overhead hazards, making sure the lift is not parked on a slope that exceeds operator manual specifications. Make sure you’re not going to exceed the maximum lift capacity of the machine.

Step 3. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as a safety harness and any protective equipment specific to the lift you’re using, such as a fall arrest lanyard with a boom lift. Load your equipment into the basket.

Step 4. Turn on the engine and run through all of the lift operations, including raising, lowering, extending, retracting and/or basket tilting. Move the lift forward and reverse, then move it into place. Make sure it is stable. Set any safety outriggers, if equipped.

Step 5. Lift the work basket or adjust the height and angle of each boom arm to reach your work area. After work is completed, take care to shut down the lift, leaving all arms in locked positions.

Expert Advice

JLG and Genie Scissor Lifts and Boom Lifts are available for rental. Most are appropriate for both indoor and outdoor applications and are reliable and energy-efficient, offering the maximum job productivity. Some run quieter and cleaner, while others fit through most standard doorways and tight aisles, perfect for areas with limited access and maneuvering in tight workspaces. If you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with surface preparation projects. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, Featured Products | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

3 More Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter

Getting your home ready for winter’s weather is a priority for most homeowners, especially in the fall, before the cold stuff starts to fly. We’ve put together three more ways to protect your home and property – then you can cross “winterizing” off your to-do list. Don’t delay!

3 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter

1. Tune-Up Your Home Heating System

In addition to preparing your home to keep heat in for the winter (consider linking to part 1 of this blog series), keeping your furnace and other heating equipment clean and in good running condition, helps ensure proper heat output, reducing energy use and heating costs.

  • Check if your utility company offers free or discounted annual checkups of your home’s heating system by qualified technicians, and call early to avoid the rush. Another resource to try is furnace manufacturers or dealers that offer free or discounted inspections.
  • If your furnace needs a new part, by all means get it replaced now – it will not only save your money, but perhaps a little heartache, if the furnace decides to poop out during a winter storm. Plus it’s a lot more cost efficient to replace a part rather than replace the entire furnace.
  • Consider upgrading to a new energy efficient furnace to not only save money, but also increase the value of your home. Typically you’ll save 50% or more and you could qualify for federal tax credit.
  • Clean or replace furnace filters now before the heating season begins and once a month during the heating season. A regular filter maintenance schedule can help increase the need for more energy due to dirty filters, which restrict the airflow.
  • Switching to a permanent or HEPA filter can reduce waste and keep the spread of illness-causing bacteria, mold, viruses and pollen in check.

While you’re at it … if you have ceiling fans installed in the house, get out the ladder and switch the direction of the blades to winter mode, or a clockwise direction, which moves warm air near the ceiling down through the living space.

2. Maintain Your Water Heater

As with any other main system in your house, doing a check-up on your water heater before the winter season can save you time, money and frustration.

  • Turn down the water heater from the factory – set 140 degrees F to 120 degrees or lower, reducing energy costs and preventing any potential scalding or water burns.
  • Flush the tank by turning off power from the fuse box and turning the thermostat to “pilot.” Turn off the cold water supply and attach a hose to the valve drain at the bottom of the heater, running the hose to a bucket or trough. Open the drain value and allow water to flow for five to seven minutes. Let the water stand in the bucket and check for mineral deposits. Continue draining until the water is clear, adding cold water to the heater, if needed. Unhook the hose, close the drain valve, turn on the water supply and let the tank re-fill. Remember to bleed air by opening up the hot water faucet in the house. Once the water is hot, it’s safe to turn the power back on from the fuse box.
  • Replacing a tanked water heater with a tankless water heater can save you this step, save money, and can also qualify you for a tax credit.

3. Get the Fireplace Ready

Whether you have a fuel-burning stove or an insert, make sure your fireplace is in running condition.

  • Examine the doors and gaskets of the wood stove or fireplace insert for a tight seal.
  • Have the chimney cleaned by a professional chimney sweep.
  • Buy wood or fuel in bulk, a supply for at least half of the winter season, if not more.
  • Check grates for damage and replace if needed.
  • Check the pilot and natural gas supply on inserts.

While you’re at it … get out those sweaters and dress warmer for the colder weather. “Personal heaters” such as fleece vests and jackets, long-sleeved shirts and cozy wool or cotton sweaters can add up to four degrees of warmth directly where it’s needed. Who knew?

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next winterizing project. From heaters to hoses and everything in-between, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Fall Checklist, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

9 Easy Steps to Keep Outdoor Lighting Bright

9 Outdoor Lighting Repair TipsOutdoor lighting for your home and yard is not only a practical design feature that keeps stairways, porches, patios and driveways bright during dark hours, but it adds style to your home’s exterior appearance. However, malfunctioning lights can signal neglect to neighbors and passersby, putting your property in potential danger. Luckily for homeowners, a few easy do-it-yourself steps are all you need to keep outdoor lights working correctly. So, get out the ladder and let’s begin!

Outdoor Lighting Maintenance

  1. Always turn off power
  2. Dismantle light fixture
  3. Clean out debris from around and inside with a brush, or blow it out with an air gun
  4. Wipe any grit and dirt away with a cloth or damp sponge
  5. Tighten any loose components on the inside of the fixture
  6. Replace all burnt-out bulbs; consider using energy-efficient lights
  7. Tighten screws on covers or lids
  8. Refocus light projections, if applicable
  9. Reset timers, if applicable

Troubleshooting Common Repairs

  • Survey for broken fixtures or light stakes (in the case of landscape lighting) and replace
  • Check for exposed wiring and re-tape
  • Intermittent lighting signals a connection issue; corrosion may be to blame
  • If all the lights are out, the cause could be an electrical short, a bad fuse or breaker
  • Dim bulbs indicate improper voltage

A DIY Fix for Corroded Light Fixtures

  • Trim an emery board with scissors to fit into the fixture
  • Remove the bulb
  • Lightly file the contacts in the fixture with the emery board
  • Spray the contacts with automotive ignition sealer to prevent future corrosion
  • Replace the bulb
  • Turn on power and check lighting

Leave Electrical Work to the Professionals

Diagnosing and repairing challenging problems with outdoor lights or an exterior lighting system is a challenge best left to a professional. Any electrical system – and the repairs made to them –must comply with specific electrical codes, which needs expert experience. Find a professional whose electrical experience includes exterior lighting and can resolve issues specific to outdoor systems such as voltage and corrosion.

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

Categories: How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Clean Exterior Windows, Doors and Trim Like a Pro

3 Simple Exterior Home RepairsMake a Great First Impression. Cleaning your exterior doors and windows is a sure-fire way to get your house noticed. Add a paint job for the trim and you’re well on the way to that oh-so-desirable curb appeal, transforming a nice-looking house into a beautiful home your visitors will admire. It’s surprisingly effective to clean doors and windows with a few readily available tools.

1. Clean Exterior Windows

Use a good ladder to reach high windows, taking care to observe safety first.

Step 1: Lightly soap up a strip applicator, a handheld sponge or hog-bristle brush with a little dishwashing liquid and water, then clean dirt and grime off without scratching the glass.

Step 2: Wipe the window clean with a squeegee that’s sized appropriately for the pane. Simply pull it over the window in one direction, wiping off the squeegee blade with a lint-free rag at the end of each stroke.

Step 3: Use a damp, wrung-dry soft rag, like a chamois, to dry off corners and any place the squeegee won’t reach, without leaving streaks.

Clean Window Tip: Get rid of stubborn mineral stains without scratching the glass by gently rubbing them with fine 000 steel wool or a cleansing powder that contains oxalic acid (such as Zud or Barkeeper’s Friend).

2. Clean Exterior Doors

Clean wood, steel or fiberglass doors with these same steps:

Step 1: Mix equal parts water and vinegar, or the same dishwashing liquid you use on the windows in a spray bottle. Start by spraying the entire doorframe — top and all — then wipe the frame with a soft cloth to remove dirt, dust and fingerprints. Continue by spraying the door itself and wiping dirt and grime away with a clean cloth. Thoroughly dry the door to prevent any water damage after cleaning.

Step 2: Clean the door’s windows or a complete glass door the same way you would clean the exterior windows, using appropriately-sized tools. If you’re cleaning a sliding glass door, remember to vacuum the tracks and wipe them clean with a little multi-purpose cleaning spray and a dry cloth.

Step 3: Clean locks, handles, kick plates and other hardware by applying a brass or steel polish with a soft cloth, then wiping the hardware dry with a clean rag.

Clean Door Tip: Clean tough grease and stains without damaging the door by applying mineral spirits to a cloth or sponge, then using it to scrub away the stains on the door, wiping the surface clean with a rag.

3. Paint Exterior Trim

If your exterior trim could use a fresh coat of paint, consider using an airless paint sprayer. This tool comes with a variety of features to help you achieve a crisp, clean, painted finish, without the effort of using a roller or a brush.

Easy, Economical, Quick and Versatile. Once you clean and tape around the trim to be painted — to protect other painted surfaces — the accuracy of an airless sprayer lets you paint up to four times faster than rolling or brushing, which means you can be done with your trim job in a jiffy! And you’ll also get an even coat of paint on the trim.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next DIY dream. If you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store – we’re open seven days a week. We’d love to help you make your home be a stand-out on your block!

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

Categories: How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Replace Your Old, Damaged Mailbox in 5 Easy Steps

Replace Your Mailbox in 5 Easy StepsHas this spring’s snow melt revealed a mailbox that’s been pummeled by plows?

Now’s the time to add a little curb appeal to your home and replace that damaged mailbox with a new version, which not only meets federal regulations, but it’s stylish too. All you need are a few hours and some basic tools to check this outdoor improvement off your spring checklist.

Before you replace an existing mailbox or install one for the first time, keep in mind these federal regulations:

  • Install the mailbox about two feet in from the edge of the street, on the right-hand side as traveled by your mail carrier
  • Place the bottom of mailbox at a height of 42 inches from the ground
  • Clearly mark your house number on the mailbox with painted digits or stickers no less than one inch in height

5 Easy Steps for Replacing Your Mailbox

Once you’ve checked for underground utilities, you’re ready for the first step.

Step 1 – Dig the mailbox posthole using a post hole digger or a shovel, making sure it’s deep enough to set the post at the correct height, allowing for about 6 inches of gravel at the bottom.

Step 2 – Add gravel and prepare quick-setting concrete mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 3 – Set the post and fill the hole with the prepared concrete mix, tamping to eliminate air pockets and sloping around the base to allow for water runoff. Or, you can fill the hole to within a few inches of the top and conceal the concrete with soil after it sets.

Step 4 – Attach the mailbox to the post after it sets with attachment brackets that come with the new mailbox. Use the old brackets or purchase them separately. Use a level to check the mailbox and adjust as needed.

Step 5 – Label the side and the front of the box with your house number using stick-on digits or stencils and paint.

While you’re at it, take another step to improve your curb appeal by co-coordinating your mailbox numbers with your house numbers. For more ideas about how to prep your home, yard and garden for warm weather, visit our how-to page. If you have any questions about this process and the tools necessary, be sure to comment below or contact us on our website.

About the Author

Jack Runyon is the president of Runyon Equipment Rental. He has 21 years of rental experience, as the 3rd generation son to carry on the family tradition and his grandfather’s vision. He prides the company for its devotion to ethics, quality products and customer service. Jack is known for his passion and vast expertise.

Categories: How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Protect Your Home from Disaster: Inspect and Repair Pipes, Ducts and Vents

3 In-Home Repairs[Restore & Renovate] This is the first installment of an informative series on making structural repairs to your home.

Right about now, you may be thinking more about checking into a nice resort for a long weekend getaway rather than checking up on all the pipes and duct work in your house. But, in the middle of this stormy winter, it’s a good idea to take a look before you go, so the house is in perfect working order upon your return!

Pipes and ducts are your home’s veins and arteries, allowing water and air to flow where they’re needed, nourishing its life-space. With the extreme winter weather Central Indiana is experiencing, a DIY homeowner doesn’t want to take any chances with frozen water pipes that could burst, or energy-depleting leaks in furnace duct work or dryer vents so full of lint; they could start a fire. Below are a few ways to alleviate the stress, so your home can relax.

FROZEN WATER PIPES

The moment you notice that a water pipe is frozen, try to unfreeze it using a heat gun. If you turn on a faucet and nothing comes out, it’s an indication to act quickly. No matter what the pipes are made from, PVC plastic or copper – both kinds can freeze:

  • Where they’re not insulated
  • If located along an outside wall
  • Underneath a cabinet usually kept closed

What to Do:

  1. Locate the freeze. Feel along the pipe for cold spots.
  2. Open the hot water side of the faucet, if the hot water line is frozen, and vice versa. Opening the offending faucet can help to alleviate pressure in the line.
  3. Move the heat gun steadily along the pipe. Depending on where the frozen pipe is located, a hair dryer or a heater positioned closely can also do the trick.
  4. Leave the faucet open for several minutes when water begins to run again, to clear away any ice. Turn the water off and inspect for damage or leaks.
  5. In the case of a leak or burst pipe, shut the water off at the main valve.
  6. Patch the leak or hole, then replace the pipe.

Protect Your Pipes

  • Let Faucets Drip – before temps drop low, open faucets of pipes prone to freezing enough to let water drip slowly. The continuous flow is the best prevention.
  • Insulate – water pipe insulation is inexpensive and readily available at your local hardware or at your local home supply center. The round lengths can be cut to size and slipped over a pipe using a slit along one side.
  • Install Heat Tape – considerably more expensive than insulation, heat tape is wrapped around exposed pipes and plugged into a household outlet. Follow manufacturer’s instructions.

FURNACE DUCT REPAIRS

The furnace, the thermostat and the duct system – together, they deliver heat throughout your house, so you want them working at peak efficiency. Age and unnoticed damage can cause any one of these workhorses to stumble. You’ll most likely need to crawl under the house, but it will be worth it.

What to Do:

1. Conduct an inspection, either by yourself, or hire a licensed HVAC contractor to do it for you. Turn the furnace on, so air can move through the ducts, making it easier to hear and feel any leaks. Bring a powerful, cordless light and follow each duct passage from the furnace to its end. Mark any areas needing repair with flagging tape, so you can find them easily later on.

  1. Look and feel for loose joints, gaps in fittings or duct boots.
  2. Note where support straps are missing or sagging, which impede airflow.
  3. Find areas where insulation is missing and where the ducts are resting directly on the ground, which can also cause moisture-related problems.
  4. Inspect the large sheet-metal box attached to the top or bottom of the furnace where the ducts originate, called the plenum. Make sure it’s fully insulated and all ducts are well sealed at the connection points.

2. Make repairs. A basic repair kit includes a hammer, tin snips, utility knife, cordless drill, some short sheet-metal screws, a roll of metallic foil duct repair tape and duct strapping.

  1. Repair loose joints in solid sheet metal ducting using sheet-metal screws, then seal with foil tape. Flexible ducts typically use a clamp system to secure joints. Sometimes the original clamp can be reused; otherwise, use a large worm-drive or flexible plastic clamp to secure, re-wrap insulation and seal.
  2. Attach duck strapping to a solid support using nails or screws, and secure the ducts up off the ground.

3. Insulate the ducts using R-8 or R-11 insulation – in cold climates as well as warm, so heated and air-conditioned air is not lost.

DRYER VENT CLEANING

While you keep up with your family’s endless laundry, lint keeps building up in your dryer and venting. Just cleaning out the lint filter before every load simply isn’t enough to alleviate this condition, dangerous enough to start a fire, or worse. Experts say a full load of wet clothes contains about a half gallon of water. Lint is created from the clothes as water is removed during the drying process. This lint builds up deep down inside the lint filter trap and all along the dryer vent hose. Warning signs of danger include:

  • Clothes take longer and longer to dry
  • Clothes don’t fully dry
  • Clothes are hotter than normal at the end of the drying cycle
  • The dryer exterior gets very hot
  • Low exhaust velocity is apparent outside at the exhaust vent flapper
  • The laundry room gets very humid or a burnt smell is evident

What to Do:

The best defense is a good cleaning of the entire dryer/vent hose/venting system, and for this you may want to purchase a special dryer duct cleaning kit, which includes a set of brushes made especially for this type of cleaning. However, a good vacuum and attachments, along with some cleaning brushes can work in a pinch. Try using a long handle 20″ gong brush or long handled scrub brush.

  1. Unplug the dryer and pull it away from the wall.
  2. Remove the lint trap filter, remove the screen by pulling it straight out and clean it gently with a fine bristled brush.
  3. Vacuum the lint trap-housing cavity, where the filter goes. Extend a brush with a long flexible handle all the way into the bottom of the cavity. Then, twisting gently, pull out the brush with the clumps of lint. Repeat until no more lint is revealed.
  4. Disconnect sections of dryer vent and remove lint build-up on the sides with a stiff brush at the end of an extender using circular motion. Repeat on all vent sections, until they are free of lint.
  5. Reassemble dryer ducting, plug in the dryer, move it back in place and replace the lint trap filter.

Good luck with all your DIY in-home repairs – you’ll be glad you took the time! And as always, if you have questions or comments please utilize our section below or the contact us page on our website.

About the Author

Jack Runyon is the president of Runyon Equipment Rental. He has 21 years of rental experience, as the 3rd generation son to carry on the family tradition and his grandfather’s vision. He prides the company for its devotion to ethics, quality products and customer service. Jack is known for his passion and vast expertise.

Categories: How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2 Quick and Easy In-Home Plumbing Repairs

There’s no better time than the New Year to make your home improvement dreams come true, especially for do-it-yourself homeowners. Not all improvement projects cater to your creativity, though. Consider a leaky faucet or a stopped-up toilet. These kinds of home repairs are not only necessary, but also nice to take care of, finally. So roll up your sleeves and find out how you can complete home maintenance and repairs yourself…and become a DIY star!

1. Fix a Leaky Faucet

It’s one of the most common household repairs, one that can save you money on utility bills and help you avoid wasting water. Most of the time, a leak starts because the washer has deteriorated.

What to Do:

  • Leaky FaucetShut off the water to the faucet by turning off the stop valves under the sink
  • Locate the screw that holds the faucet handle in place (back or side, under a metal or plastic cap)
  • Unscrew the handle with a screwdriver and remove it
  • Remove the packing nut with pliers
  • Unscrew the valve stem and remove it from the housing
  • Take out the screw that holds the washer in place
  • Remove the washer and examine it
    • Use the washer to help you locate a replacement, if it’s still intact
    • If the washer falls apart, check the valve-body for the washer size
    • Buy a replacement washer at your home improvement store or plumbing supplier
    • Install a new washer and reverse these steps to re-assemble the faucet

2. Fix a Stopped-Up Toilet

When a toilet backs up, the entire family can get stressed, but don’t panic! First, investigate what’s causing the clog. Chances are, some foreign object is stuck in the bowl. However, you have a couple options for unclogging the toilet.

The Easy Method:

  • Unclog Your ToiletPut on a pair of rubber gloves and try fishing the object out of the bowl with your hands
  • Wait for the extra water to drain, then pour a bucket of water into the bowl (this can dislodge whatever is causing the blockage)
  • Try using a plunger to clear the toilet
  • A plumbing snake or closet auger dislodges clogs by threading a coiled length of metal from the bowl down through the serpentine piping to free what’s trapped there
  • Another option is a compressed air or carbon dioxide sewer air cleaner, which uses stronger pressure than a standard plunger to suction out anything trapped in the piping

If all else fails, you can uninstall the toilet and get to a clog that way. Most toilets are relatively easy to remove from the floor.

A Little Extra Elbow Grease Required:

  • Toilets are heavy, so find a helper
  • Unbolt the tank from the bowl
  • Undo the bolts that attach the bowl to the floor and remove the wax collar
  • Remove the caulk around the base, use a sealant saw if needed
  • Carefully place the toilet onto a plastic tarp with cushioning underneath, to avoid cracking the toilet
  • Cover the drain opening to keep gas from escaping into the room
  • Upend the toilet and find that clog
  • Replace the wax collar before reinstalling the toilet and re-caulk

In the winter months it is especially important that your plumbing works properly, what with the chance of pipes freezing. So, fix your leaky faucet or clogged toilet now, before you have a bigger mess on your hands. These may not be the most glamorous fix-ups, but you’ll be happy after you take the time. Let us know if you have more questions about these issues, especially in regards to the tools you’ll need. Happy amateur plumbing!

About the Author

Jack Runyon is the president of Runyon Equipment Rental. He has 21 years of rental experience, as the 3rd generation son to carry on the family tradition and his grandfather’s vision. He prides the company for its devotion to ethics, quality products and customer service. Jack is known for his passion and vast expertise.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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