Tag Archives: plumbing maintenance

(YET) Another plumbing job at home!!

Woke up on Sunday to find the floor near the W.C all wet!

Turns out that water was overflowing out of the “overflow pipe” inside the WC because the float-valve mechanism to stop the water flow once it had filled was not working (some crack in the plastic casing and also, washer did not look good). So, time to apply my plumbing skills again …

First, get and install the replacement part:

The blue gadget is  the float-valve thingey that stops the water from flowing in once a certain water level is reached ... costs about $14

The blue gadget is the float-valve thingey that stops the water from flowing in once a certain water level is reached … costs about $14

However, things did not work out 100% as another leak appeared elsewhere ..

leak appeared from the right hand upper corner flexible hose join, a drop of water can be seen on the lowest level of the flexible hose.

leak appeared from the right hand upper corner flexible hose join, a drop of water can be seen on the lowest level of the flexible hose.

So, for one more day, we lived with this imperfect repair job and caught the water leaking using a pail. The problem was that this old flexible hose also needed replacement, but I could not loosen the join where the leak occurred as it caused some other part to turn (namely, where the stop valve joined with the water outlet coming out from the wall

to loosen the flexible hose seen in this image, from the stop valve (the part with red handle), I had to have a bigger spanner to hold on to the stop valve, as I turned the nut on the flexible hose ...

to loosen the flexible hose seen in this image, from the stop valve (the part with red handle), I had to have a bigger spanner to hold on to the stop valve, as I turned the nut on the flexible hose …)

And so, to do this job required a bigger spanner than what I had at home (to prevent the stop valve from turning) šŸ˜¦

But thanks to my dad (who has all sorts of tools that I can borrow from, including a bigger spanner), I finally managed to get it perfectly water-tight after spending another $7 to buy a new flexible hose and installingĀ it!!

 new flexible hose installed, leak stopped!!

new flexible hose installed, leak stopped!!

One thing for improvement though is how to make the flexible hose look nice instead of all twisted like above?? But will live with it for now … it can be quite “dangerous” to try and make adjustments as the parts of the piping concealed in the wall may start to leak if it is turned “accidentally”. Those doing small plumbing repair jobs at home must remember:

1) must hold on to the parts that can turn, but should not be turning, as you try to loosen or tighten some other joint

2) to use white tape for a good water seal, the direction of winding the white tape on the screw threaded part must be correct for it to be effective (basically, it must follow the direction that the nut will turn as it is being tightened).

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What the … another plumbing repair job!!

Now, just because I signed up for a plumbing course does not mean I want to get maximum practise at home!!

But for some reason, this happened just last week, a few days after I fixed the choke problem on Sunday (see previous post) and one week into the plumbing course:

Pipe from kitchen sink to bottle trap gets dislodged ... a few days after I fixed the choke!

Pipe from kitchen sink to bottle trap gets dislodged … a few days after I fixed the choke!

What is that sealant thing doing all over the place?? That came from a previous job more than a year ago, when after replacing the kitchen tap, a tiny leak (one drop by one drop) developed from the joints that is seen above, and I managed to seal it up only after several attempts (over a few days!!) of applying sealant!!! (Now on hindsight, and after fixing the problem shown in the photo above, what was really needed was to replace the entire bottle trap as probably the washers for the joints needed replacing).

Anyway, I asked the instructor during one of the practical sessions about the situation, and he says, “change a new washer and just push it back in”.

What the …!!? so simple only?

And I duly did it (buy a new bottle trap, ask the lady about fixing the problem, took the washer from the new bottle trap set) and VOILA!! PROBLEM SOLVED! šŸ™‚

problem fixed and the entire set up "improved" with a support below the horizontal gray pipe :)

problem fixed and the entire set up “improved” with a support below the horizontal gray pipe šŸ™‚

 

Actually, it was not quite as easy as it seemsĀ because in fact, the other bottle trap had also “dropped” down (but not completely; see the line on the white pipe). When both were pushed upwards, the grey drainage pipe along the wall came out from its joint (see picture above of the grey vertical pipe along the wall) i.e. I pushed the bottle traps too high up.

After the plumbing course and having learn some tipsĀ to do the job, I Ā shall replaceĀ the whole set up, asĀ the bottle trap on the left (with the sealant) cannot be unscrewed now for clearing, and the joints are old and likely to have been “damaged” due to the use of solvents and hot water to clear the recent choking problem (and btw, my instructor also says don’tĀ use those solvents, as it causes damage to the pipes and joints :O Ā  )

 

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First 3 lessons of Plumbing course … and fixing a choke (just this morning!)

was simple enough … the first two lessons were “theory” and Friday was the practical. The class learnt about various materials, jointsĀ and toolsĀ used in plumbing works (includes water, gas, sanitary), and some specifications for fitting various common fixtures (e.g. height of wash basin should be 800 to 850 mm from floor level). The practical involved an introduction to the workshop and tools (in theory lesson, we just see the pictures of the tools), sawing galvanised iron pipe (100 mm, 5 pieces) with a hacksaw, and using a copper tube cutter to cut 8 pieces of copper tube (120 mm).

Doing this course is item 5 on my Fifty before 50 listĀ but am glad I finally took the plunge!! It was quite by chance that on 27 Feb 2015 (Friday), I was just randomly surfing and decided toĀ emailĀ BCA (Building and Construction Authority) about when the course would start. The reply came like 30 min later that it was on the following Monday 2 March, and that I would need to go down and sign up and pay fees by 5 pm. So, I took my bicycle and cycled through both parts of Bishan Park, and the park connector to Braddell Road (where BCA is located) and signed up (fees are $850 by the way, unless company sponsored; unfortunately, am ahead of the SkillsFuture thingey)!

Jpeg

Why plumbing?? Well, after a few occasions in the past when I had toĀ repairĀ some simple leaks, change taps, and seeing how plumbers fixed our choked pipe and mend a burst garden pipe, I decided that it was work that involved a lot of skill (e.g. problem solving, technical) and therefore, worth investing my time!! (not to mention that you pay quite a bit when you call a plumber, who then just solves the problem in less than 30 minutes).

JustĀ the last couple of weeks, we had a choke somewhere (our domestic helper had been having this flooding situation where she does her clothes washing) and pouring the “chokage removal liquid” each time it occurred didn’t seem to solve the problem well (this method was used on three separate occasions of choking, only for it to recur soon after). So, it was time to adopt a different approach … using the “snake” (or “extendable cleaning road” in my course notes below).

Jpeg

After doing some preliminary diagnostic work (this is actually the fun “mental” part of plumbing, where you have to figure out what is most likely happening in terms of where the blockage is), I set out with the “snake” to try to dislodge the blockage. My first attempt pushing the “snake” into a pipe (purple in diagram below) was a total FAIL; opening any one of three taps immediately led to flooding. Wrong diagnosis!

Jpeg

I then realised there was another pipe (orange in diagram) that I could push the “snake” through after feeling for that pipeĀ in the water trap; it was not visible as it was all under the dirty water, and this time it worked!!! woohoo!

Lesson learnt – persevere, diagnose correctly, and check your assumptions!! (I was misled in a way by our helper who was totally convinced that the blockage was at A above, haha, when there was no pipe there!)

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