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    Posted March 28, 2014 by
    Akron, Ohio

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    Answers to your Frequently Asked Plumbing Questions

    We’re not all plumbers, so we don’t always know what to do when something goes wrong with our plumbing. Sometimes it’s a simple thing; maybe we need to turn our water heater down a bit to fix a shower issue, or maybe we can’t find a shut-off valve to test something. Sometimes we have a major problem like bacteria in our pipes or a broken sewer line. We’re going to go over just a few of the simple questions and answers, things that don’t necessarily require a plumber, but things that every person doesn’t know.

    Q: Where are my cleanouts located?
    A: Cleanouts are helpful when there’s a backup in a toilet or major drain clog. By opening the cleanouts you can flush everything out while you either wait for a plumber or another solution. Most houses have their cleanouts outside in the yard. It might be under a bush or another hidden place. It’s a large drain pipe sticking up out of the ground a bit. If you can’t find it outside it might be inside your bathroom behind the toilet on the floor. Of course, if this is the case opening it might not help your situation as the water would drain inside instead of outside like it does with the outdoors cleanouts.

    Q: How do I turn the water to my toilet off?
    A: If you can’t stop a toilet from running or overflowing then this is your best bet. Look for a nob down on the side or back of the toilet near the floor. It’s usually connected to a pipe or braided pipe. It should be shaped for easy turning, but may not turn easily depending on how often it’s been used since the toilet was installed. If you can’t turn it try using a cloth to get a better grip, or, if you need to, get a wrench or even a jar opener and try turning it with that.

    Q: How can I prevent my drains from getting clogged?
    A: In the kitchen don’t pour things like grease, oil, or large amounts of food down the drain. This stuff can get stuck together and cause clogs in the drain that may be hard to get out. In the bathroom use a “drain strainer” to catch hair and things like pieces of soap or beauty products. Hair is the number one cause of blockages in bathrooms, if you use a strainer you can wipe the hair out of it after it’s dried and simply throw it in the garbage.

    Q: What kinds of things clog a toilet?
    A: Anything not biodegradable. Paper, (other than toilet paper, of course) Q-tips, feminine hygiene pads, styrofoam, dental floss, plastic, etc. Anything like that can clog a toilet severely and be extremely difficult to get out. Also, tampons or toilet paper, though flushable can clog the toilet if they’re flushed in large amounts. This is why it’s important to flush the toilet after each use, plus when you don’t flush bacteria starts to grow quite rapidly, yuck!
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