How to Replace Your Toilet Flange in 8 Simple Steps

How to Replace Your Toilet Flange in 8 Simple Steps

If you found us by searching “how to replace toilet flange,” you may be experiencing a leaky toilet or less-than-desirable smells in your bathroom. Toilet flanges are a common household item that’s often neglected and overlooked over time. Luckily, they’re fairly easy to replace.

Your toilet flange is a small, circular pipe fitting that allows your toilet to pass blackwater between your toilet and your plumbing system. Regardless of whether or not you use public utilities, a septic tank, or otherwise, each toilet in the home needs a watertight and effective toilet flange.

Continue reading How to Replace Your Toilet Flange in 8 Simple Steps at The Plumbing Info.

Benefits of a Sump Pump Installation

Keeping your home flood – free may not always be on your mind. However, as a homeowner, it’s important to take all possibilities into consideration! Heavy rains or sporadic storms can easily cause water buildup in your basement.  Sometimes, keeping your plumbing properly maintained isn’t enough – so you should consider a sump pump installation. […]

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So You Wanna Be A Plumber?

Disclaimer: This guide is a WORK IN PROGRESS and I will be adding things as I have time. Please feel free to also add things that I’ve missed or your own experiences.

I’ve decided to make this guide because I see countless posts asking how to get into plumbing and I thought it would be a good idea to have one place where people can get information.

Why would you want to be a Plumber? Well for me and many others it can be a rewarding career that leaves you feeling accomplished at the end of most days and every day can be different. Technology is always advancing, and new methods come along that make things easier and simpler. You’re always learning something new as a Plumber because codes change and every job is a little different. This keeps the job interesting. Many people view Plumbers and tradesmen in general as people who were too dumb to go to college and couldn’t get any other job. That is far from the truth though as being a successful Plumber requires continuous education and training. Plumbing is a career that will always be in demand everywhere in the world, can’t be outsourced and will likely never be (completely) taken over by robots in any of our lifetimes. There’s also the fact that you won’t have to deal with crippling debt from student loans, and you can make good money quickly.

I’m doing this to help people everywhere, but codes/licensing/etc… can be different in many states so you should do your research before getting too far ahead of yourself. I live in the Northeast US so that’s where my experiences apply.

Some frequently asked questions:

Am I too old to get into Plumbing?

Probably not! Obviously the younger you start the better, but there’s no age requirement to being a Plumber. Just know that Plumbing, like most construction trades, is a very physical job and can be hard on your body.

How much money do Plumbers make? Salaries vary from state to state, so it’s best to research your local area. Here is a list of Plumber salaries updated in 2016.

Do I need to be “in shape” to be a Plumber?

Well, technically no, but it helps. It is a very physical job and the healthier you are, the easier things will be for you, and the people you’re working with. As an apprentice you’ll likely be tasked with digging, carrying and lifting, so the more fit you are the better.

I’m a girl, can I be a Plumber?


Do I have to touch poop?

Well, maybe… But in all reality it depends on the type of plumbing you’re doing. If you’re doing new construction the chances of touching poop are very low as you’ll be installing brand new piping systems. Service calls are much more likely to involve human waste because often times you’re freeing blockages and repairing faulty plumbing systems. Personally I very rarely have to deal with doodoo as I do a lot of new construction and remodel work. But your mileage will vary. Ask what type of jobs your prospective company takes on and go from there.

I come from I.T. and have no experience working with my hands, does that matter?

No. There’s several guys at my shop that were hired with zero plumbing experience and are being trained and put through school to get their license. Does it help to have some experience, of course, but I wouldn’t say it’s necessary. A lot of jobs can help you being a Plumber because it involves a little bit of everything. The most important thing is that you like to learn, and learn from your mistakes.

Okay, I want to pursue this, where do I start?

Well there is a lot of variables, age, location, experience etc… First you need to decide whether you’ll join a union shop or an “open” shop. I have no experience with unions so maybe someone else can chime in on this one. From what i hear, unions are difficult to get into and subject to nepotism. Once you’re in they have good benefits and pay very well. Union shops tend to work on larger projects which can last months/years which can have you doing the same task over and over again. You can find more information about unions and locate one close to your area here.

A family run shop is the method I’ve personally had success with. Your best bet to find one of these jobs is by going to craigslist and looking in your area for shops looking for apprentices. Many will say experience preferred but will train the right candidate. These types of shops tend to focus on smaller projects, custom homes and service calls. The job your doing can be different every day.

Another type of company that is always looking for “plumbers” is the RotoRooter type companies. My suggestion would be to avoid these types of companies. It’s usually very dirty jobs and they work on commission. There’s a lot of pressure to make sales, and a lot of the time they’ll lie to customers about things that need to be replaced just to get a bigger check. That’s no way to do business.

There’s a college that offers an accelerated plumbing class, should I take that?

No, I wouldn’t suggest it. These courses charge thousands more than a traditional trade school class and teach you the same material. They also may require you to take additional non plumbing related classes which is a waste of time. The few guys I know that have taken these types of classes are well…not the best plumbers. Not to say that you’re dumb if that’s the path you did take, just sharing my personal experience. Don’t waste your money on online courses either. The best education you can get is from working hands on, in the field. If you want additional education before you start at a company it would be beneficial to study up on the different types of fittings/materials/tools that are used for Plumbing.

What should I expect on an interview?

Don’t wear a suit and tie. Some people will tell you different things. Personally I think the safest option is to make sure your clothes are clean and presentable. Your fashion sense isn’t high on the list of qualifications so don’t sweat it. Some interviews can be very informal, some might be more professional. It depends on the company. They may ask you to take a drug test/physical. Don’t do drugs. No one will want to work with you if you’re always high. Be ready to start working ASAP.

My first day is tomorrow, what should i do to prepare?

BRING BASIC HAND TOOLS. Here is a list in order of importance that you’ll want to have on your first day:

  1. Tape measure
  2. Marker/Pencil
  3. PPE (Gloves, Safety Glasses, Boots, Knee pad)

This should get you through your first day. Plumbers use a ridiculous amount of tools, there’s a tool for everything. Most companies will supply power tools but require you to buy basic hand tools. Start out buying the basics. Everyone’s needs will be different but here’s a list of basic tools that I keep in my tool bag/pockets that I take on every job. Tape measure, sharpie, pencil, torpedo level, knive(s), hammer, two pairs of pump pliers, adjustable wrenches of varying sizes, philips screwdriver, flathead screwdriver, beater flathead, 6 in 1 screwdriver, flashlight, torque wrench, speed square, tubing cutter, mini cutter, pipe dope, teflon tape, electrical tape, pex cutter. Again everyone is different and you will eventually need to have a lot more tools, this is just a general list.

Ultimately I am just some guy on the internet, and if you are actually serious about plumbing as a career you should do research on your own because things could be different where you live!

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Water Bill Sticker Shock: Where Your Home Could Be Leaking Money

is your water bill rising?If your high water bill has got you boiling over, there could be some simple steps you can take to simmer down.

On average, each person in the U.S. uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day, according to the United States Geological Survey. If your average daily consumption seems out of the norm, it could be that you have an undetected leak in your home.

You can immediately determine if you have a leak in your home by checking the water meter usually found in the basement near the water heater or main shut-off value. To find out if you have a leak:

  1. First make sure there is no water in use.
  2. Next, look at the meter. If the red dial is moving, water is running somewhere in your home.
  3. If the dial is moving, turn off the water to all your toilets one at a time and check the meter after each turn-off. If a toilet is leaking, you will be able to tell which one.
  4. If the dial still moves after all the toilets are turned off, double check your faucets and hose bibs in the same way.
  5. Take a reading at night after you have finished using all of your water for the evening.
  6. Read the meter in the morning. If it is higher, you still have a leak. You should contact a professional to determine where it is coming from.

Here are some sources of your high water bill.

  • Leaking flappers on toilets

    No relations to the roaring ’20’s dancers, the flapper is the large rubber plug at the bottom of the toilet tank behind the bowl. Hear any dripping sound from your toilet and it’s likely your flapper at fault. You can use a toilet dye pill or a small amount of food coloring dropped into the tank. Wait about 30 minutes and check the toilet bowl for the colored water without flushing. If you’ve got colored water, you’ve got a leaking flapper.

  • Overflow toilet leaks

    If water in the tank is leaking into the top of the overflow pipe, the ballcock valve needs adjusting. An easy way to test if this is happening is by shaking some pepper or baby powder into the walls of the toilet tank. If the powder moves to the center, the overflow is leaking. If the float arm is plastic, adjust the screw to stop the leak. Other options are to adjust the sliding clip or bend the arm until the water level is 2” below the top of the overflow pipe.

  • Outside bibs and faucets

    Extreme temperatures can cause outside bibs and faucets to fail. Check for leaks around them. Also, check your settings for automatic sprinklers. They could be running for too long of a period of time.
  • Dripping sinks

    If your faucet is dripping, the problem most often times is a worn or improperly fitting washer.
  • Overactive ice-machine

    Refrigerators use a water line to make ice. Sometimes the automatic ice maker draws too much water because it is malfunctioning.
  • Hot water tank

    Your hot water tank is likely located in your basement. Check to see if there is water dripping down the side of the tank. That can indicate that the pressure valve isn’t working properly and must be fixed.
  • Dishwashers and washing machines

    Water on the floor around either one is a bad sign. Check for leaking connections.
  • Outside service line and sprinkler system

    Soft and wet spots on your lawn can indicate a leaking service link or sprinkler line.

Homeowners can save an average of 10 percent on their water bills by fixing leaks in their homes.

WECalc, the Water-Energy-Climate Calculator, estimates for water use and provides personalized recommendations for reducing that usage. You can check out your personal water usage recommendations by filling out a simple online form that will immediately provide you results.

If you have a high water bill and can’t find the source of the leak or if you need help with the fix, our professionals at Len The Plumber can help. We can determine the source of your leak so you can save money on your next water bill and prevent further water damage to your home. Our licensed plumbers are here to help you throughout the Mid-Atlantic no matter how big or small your problem is.

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