How Plumbers Fix Fixtures and Fix Leaks

Topeka Plumber installs and repairs piping systems that carry water, waste, and gas in residential and commercial settings. They also work on plumbing fixtures and appliances like sinks, toilets, and bathtubs. Plumbers often use specialized tools and equipment to diagnose and fix issues with clogs, leaks, and damaged components.


Plumbers collaborate with other professionals, such as architects and construction teams, to ensure that plumbing is seamlessly integrated into building projects. They must also be knowledgeable about local codes and regulations.

The faucet handle controls the flow of water in a household sink. The handle can be turned in several cylindrical directions to control water temperature and pressure. The handle is attached to a cartridge valve that opens and closes when the handle is turned on or off. The valve is also equipped with a lever that can be moved from one position to another. In this way, different water temperatures can be set for various purposes, such as bathing and cooking.

Most faucets are designed with a single handle for hot and cold water. The handle is mounted on top of the spout or on either side of it if there are additional sink holes. Some older faucets may have two handles that control both the hot and cold water. A leaking faucet handle is often caused by mineral buildup, but it can also be due to incorrect installation or worn parts. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to repair a leaky faucet handle with the right tools and supplies.

First, turn off the water supply to the sink by closing the shut-off valves located under the sink. Afterwards, make sure that the drain is completely closed to prevent screws and other small parts from falling down the drain and getting lost forever.

Next, examine the faucet handle to determine what kind of cartridge it uses. You should be able to tell by looking at the back of the handle for a set screw or decorative cap (also called an escutcheon). If there’s a screw on the back of the handle, use a flat head screwdriver to remove it. Otherwise, look for a plastic button or disc that snaps out and exposes a screw. If there isn’t a screw, you may be able to unscrew the handle with your fingers.

After removing the handle, inspect it for damage or corrosion and clean it using vinegar or a suitable substitute. Soak the handle for several hours to loosen any deposits and allow it to dry before reinstalling it. Depending on the model of your faucet, you may need to install a new O-ring or seal. Before reinstalling the handle, it’s important that it sits perfectly straight on the cartridge valve. This can be done by lifting it up slightly and turning it in the correct direction.

Faucet Seat

The faucet seat sits inside the faucet, a watertight seal that keeps the cylinder from leaking when you turn off the water. But the washer that pushes the seat can get worn down and create a leak. To solve this problem, you need to polish the brass so it provides a more uniform and effective seal. This is a simple task, but you need to have the right tool. The best option is a valve seat dresser, which you can pick up at your local hardware store for about ten bucks.

This tool has a combination of square and hex heads that fit most faucet seats, and it works by rotating it on the seat to smooth out any imperfections. When used correctly, it can eliminate a drip in seconds. Just be careful not to overdo it — the soft brass can get damaged if you grind too much.

If you have a single-handle faucet that leaks at the spigot or handles, replacing the washer or faucet seat should fix the problem. Before making any repairs, make sure the water supply is turned off. First, loosen the handle set screw with a spanner wrench (hex end) or pliers and remove the handle. Next, unscrew the adjusting ring with a spanner wrench and turn it counterclockwise to remove the cap (square end). Apply penetrating oil to the threads before trying to remove the cap.

You can buy replacement washers and seats at any home improvement center. You can also find kits with both the springs and seats for a cheaper solution. Install the new washers and seats, following the manufacturer’s instructions. You will need to re-tighten the adjusting ring when you are done.

If you have a cartridge-type faucet, the valve seat is not replaceable, but you can still repair it. The key is to use a valve seat dresser to smooth out the surface so the washer can cling more securely to it when it closes. To do this, insert the tool as described above and twist back and forth until you can feel the brass is polished. This will make a more even and secure seal that should last longer than a fixed washer.

Faucet Cylinder

Cartridge faucets are commercial-grade types that control both temperature and flow. They’re popular in facilities that use a lot of water, because they prevent cross-flow and help avoid costly leaks. Like other parts of a faucet, they can break or wear out over time and need replacement. Replacing a cartridge requires shutting off the water supply (usually with valves under sink that turn clockwise to stop water flow). Then, you remove and replace the handle and assemble the cartridge, replacing any worn parts.

Start by placing a sink basket strainer in the drain to catch any falling parts. Next, put a towel down to protect your countertops and sink surface from water drips as you work. You may want to wear rubber gloves for this part of the job, as well. If your faucet has a decorative cap, pry off the screw with a small flathead screwdriver. Then, loosen the handle screw with a Phillips screwdriver and pull the handle off.

You’ll need to remove the spout nut and faucet retaining nut from the faucet body, which may require using a wrench. You’ll also need to remove the spout cap and set it aside. You’ll need to clean any mineral deposit buildup from these components as well, or your new cartridge will leak. If there’s a cartridge retainer clip, remove it with needle-nose pliers or slip-joint pliers. If the cartridge has a spanner cap, you’ll need to grip it with pliers and twist to remove it. Some kits contain special cartridge-pulling wrenches, which you can purchase at hardware stores and home centers.

If your faucet has a valve seat, you’ll need to inspect it for pitting or other damage. You’ll also need to replace the washer if there is one, as well as the o-ring if it’s worn out or cracked. Make sure to coat any new O-rings with plumber’s grease, as this helps ensure they won’t leak in the future.

Some cartridges have a U-shaped clip that needs to be removed before you can remove the cartridge. This clips around two plastic tabs on the cartridge body, so note its precise orientation when you remove it so that you can reinstall it the same way.

Faucet Supply Lines

Supply lines carry hot and cold water to sinks, tubs and showers. They are usually copper, but can be PVC, PEX or CPVC as well. They are normally hidden behind wall tiles or behind the cabinet under a sink. Occasionally, these supply lines can develop leaks. In such cases, plumbers remove the old supply line and install a new one. This is a plumbing repair that many homeowners feel comfortable undertaking themselves, but it is important to understand the basics of faucet supply lines so you can do the job correctly.

Faucet supply lines come in different sizes to accommodate various taps and the existing plumbing within a home or business. They also feature a variety of connection types and materials, such as FIP (female) hex nut connectors or compression valves. When installing a new supply line, it is important to choose the correct size for both the tap and the shut-off valve. Incorrect sizing can result in an improper connection that could cause leaks.

When replacing the supply line on a sink, it is best to remove any items that are stored under the sink so you can get to work without tripping over anything. Clear the workspace and put down a towel to catch any water that may drip during the process. Once the workspace is clear, turn off the water at the shut-off valve under the sink. Make sure you have a shut-off valve for both the hot and cold water lines.

If your old supply line has a corroded or damaged tailpiece, you will need to replace it. Some faucets come with factory-attached soft-copper tubes that are easy to attach. These are not as flexible as the braided supply tubes, however, so they may need to be shaped before connecting them to the faucet’s tailpiece.

Most faucets have a 1/2-inch connector, but you will need to match this size with the size of the existing connections on your building’s water pipes. If you are unsure of the size of the existing connector, you can contact your plumbing professional or refer to your faucet’s instruction manual for details. When connecting the new supply line to the faucet, use plumber’s tape around the threads. Wrap it at least five or six times to ensure a tight, leak-free connection. Once you connect the new supply line, hand-tighten it first and then use a wrench to give it a final snug fit.

Keeping Your Drains Clean and Preventing Plumbing Problems

Plumbing is the network of pipes that delivers potable water and removes waste from homes and businesses. Local and state authorities regulate it for public health and safety.


Blocked drains can cause flooding, structural damage to homes and unpleasant odors. To prevent this, regular maintenance and cleaning is required. Visit for more information.

Keeping your drains clean is one of the best things you can do to prevent clogs and other plumbing problems. This can be achieved by avoiding putting down the drain such items as cooking grease, coffee grounds, and cigarette butts. Instead, save grease for later by pouring it into a can and throwing it in the trash. Throw away coffee grounds, and put your hair trimmings in the garbage (or use them in a garden). Finally, never pour chemical drain cleaners down your drains; they can damage your pipes.

To keep your drains flowing smoothly, try a natural drain cleaner like vinegar or baking soda. Vinegar is nature’s organic solvent and can help dissolve the fats and oils that build up in your pipes. Baking soda is another natural clog fighter that can be used on its own or with salt to clear minor clogs. To use it, drop a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of hot or boiling water. The resulting fizzing indicates that the drain is cleaning itself. Be sure to flush the drain with a large amount of water afterward. This is especially important after using chemical cleaners. The hot water will help melt any remaining clog material.

Ongoing Drain Cleaning Maintenance

Having the right equipment to keep drains clean helps technicians prevent the need for emergency plumbing repairs. This includes a wide range of tools that can break up and dissolve clogs, as well as powerful equipment to flush the pipes. For example, many maintenance and engineering managers will specify hydro-jetters, which use motors to place water under extreme pressure. The high-velocity forward-facing jets clear the pipeline, while the backward-facing jets scour the inside of the pipe and remove virtually any kind of buildup.

Other tools for maintaining drains include flexible manual snakes with thousands of small hooks to grab and pull out soft clogs such as paper, hair and sanitary products. These and other mechanical tools can reduce the need for chemical treatments, which are toxic and irritate skin, eyes and respiratory systems.

When regular drain cleaning is performed, the risk of sewage backups is substantially reduced. Standing water in a drain line creates a breeding ground for mold, mildew and bacteria that can irritate health issues. In addition, it can also cause structural damage to the walls and floors of a home or building.

A homeowner can make drain cleaning a routine with a few simple steps. For instance, a homeowner can run a pot of boiling hot water down the drain at least once each week to melt away grease and debris. Another way to improve drain performance is by applying a mixture of baking soda and vinegar or an organic-type drain cleaner regularly. These types of products are much safer and less expensive than caustic chemicals, which corrode aluminum, copper and cast iron drains and traps and can leak into kitchen and bathroom faucets.

For those with serious clogs that don’t respond to simple fixes, the best course of action is to call in a professional plumber to perform a thorough drain cleaning. These professionals have the tools and experience to remove even the most stubborn clogs. They also can inspect the condition of a drain line to see if it is in need of repair or replacement. This type of proactive approach saves money, prevents the need for emergency repairs and extends the life of the plumbing system.

Clog-Free Drains

The best way to avoid drain clogs is with routine cleaning. However, if you have a serious clog or persistent smelly drains, it’s time to call a plumber. Persistent or recurring clogs may indicate that there is an issue deeper within the pipes, which requires professional help to resolve.

Kitchen and bathroom drains see a lot of soap scum, food waste, hair, toothpaste, and other drain-clogging materials on a daily basis. That’s why it’s so important to have a nontoxic, homemade drain cleaner that you can use on a monthly basis. Mixing equal parts baking soda and white vinegar will fizz away the sticky stuff that accumulates in your pipes, and it will also deodorize your drains.

If a plunger doesn’t do the trick, it might be time to pull out a drain snake. Richard demonstrates how to do this and explains the different types of mechanical drain cleaners available, including a closet auger (K-3 model manufactured by Ridgid) and a sewer snake (M-18 model manufactured by Cobra Tools).

A sewer snake is an effective tool for breaking up and pushing apart tough clogs like sand, gravel, and slimy bacteria that settle inside long pipe runs. To use a sewer snake, first remove the pop-up drain assembly in the sink. Feed a few feet of cable into the drain while cranking the handle. Once the snake makes some progress, stop cranking and back out a few feet of cable. Repeat this process until the clog is broken up and flushed away.

Investing in a garbage disposal will prevent many of the issues that lead to kitchen drain clogs and slow draining bathtubs. If you’re not ready to get a new disposal unit, try pouring hot water down the drain once a month. This will remove any built-up gunk that’s collected and keep your drains flowing smoothly. A hydro jet is an effective way to clear and clean a clogged pipe but should only be used by professionals as it can worsen the condition of rusty pipes. A drain snake can also be useful for removing grease and other oils that can build up in your pipes.

Call a Plumber

A plumber is a skilled professional who specializes in the installation, repair and maintenance of water fixtures. They can help prevent a minor problem from becoming a major one by responding quickly to service calls and completing repairs efficiently.

A successful career as a plumber requires more than just physical strength. They must be able to think critically and weigh the pros and cons of various solutions when faced with challenging problems. In addition to their technical skills, they must be able to communicate effectively with customers and explain complex issues in simple terms.

Plumbing is a trade that requires a high school diploma or equivalent and extensive on-the-job training, usually through an apprenticeship program that lasts four to five years. Apprenticeship programs combine classroom instruction with paid on-the-job training and are sponsored by unions, employers or the state.

Plumbers must be licensed by the state in which they work to practice their trade. This requires passing a background check and a drug test, as well as meeting education and experience requirements. It’s important to research the licensing requirements for your state, as they vary widely.

You should always choose a plumber who is properly licensed, insured and bonded for your peace of mind and the safety of your family and home. When choosing a plumber, ask for referrals from friends and neighbors who have used them in the past. Also, be sure to check the company’s reputation with local business organizations.

Choosing the right plumber can make all the difference in the quality of your plumbing services. A good plumber will be thorough in his work, listen to your concerns and answer all of your questions. He will also respect your property, making sure not to damage or contaminate your home while working on a project.

A bad plumber will be rude and unprofessional, leaving you with a more expensive repair bill than necessary. Take the time to compare rates and find a plumber who is both affordable and experienced. And remember, the best way to save money on plumbing is to keep it in tip-top shape in the first place!