Resources and Tips

Noisy Pipes

Pipe noises range from loud hammering sounds to high-pitched squeaks. The causes may be loose pipes, water logged air chambers, or water pressure that’s too high. Anchoring exposed pipes is a simple solution; other remedies such as anchoring pipes concealed inside walls, floors or ceilings, may call Drains R Us 303-699-8060.


Pipes are usually anchored with pipe straps every 6 to 8 feet for horizontal runs, 8 to 10 feet for vertical.

  • If your pipes bang when you turn on the water, you may need to add straps, cushion the pipes with a rubber blanket, or both.
  • When you anchor a pipe-especially a plastic one-leave room for expansion.
    Don’t use galvanized straps on copper pipes.


Only hot water pipes squeak. As the pipe expands, it moves in its strap, and friction causes the squeak.

  • Solution: Cushion it as you would a banging pipe.

Water Hammer

This noise occurs when you turn off the water at a faucet or an appliance quickly. The water flowing through the pipes slams to a stop, causing a hammering noise.

Check for:
Loose Pipes
Anchor the pipes.

Check for:
Faulty air chambers. These lengths of pipe, installed behind fixtures and appliances, hold air that cushions the shock when flowing water is shut off. They can get filled with water and lose their effectiveness.
To restore air to the chambers, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve. Open all the faucets to drain the system. Close the faucets and turn the water on again. The air chambers should fill with air.

Check for:
Water pressure that’s above 80 psi (pounds per square inch).
To lower the pressure, install a pressure-reducing valve (you can call Drains R Us, 303-699-8060, to do the work if this is a job you don’t want to do yourself).

Winterizing Your Plumbing System

Homeowners who used to simply turn down the thermostat in a vacated house for the winter are now closing down the plumbing system because of prohibitively high energy costs. Winterizing your plumbing is a virtually cost-free alternative to frozen pipes.

  • Turn off the main shutoff valve or have the water company turn off service to the house.
  • Starting at the top floor, open all faucets, both indoors and outside.
  • When the last of the water has dripped from the taps, open the plug at the main shutoff valve if possible (you may have to contact the water company), and let it drain.
  • Turn off the power or gas to the water heater and open its drain valve.
  • To freeze-proof the system, empty toilet bowls and tanks.
  • Remove the clean out plugs on all sink traps or remove the traps, if necessary.
  • Once emptied, replace them and fill with plumbing antifreeze mixed with water in the proportions specified for car in your climate.
  • You won’t be able to drain tub and shower taps. Instead, add at least a full quart of antifreeze.
    Don’t put antifreeze into a dishwasher or clothes washer.
  • If your home has a basement floor drain or a main house trap, fill each with full-strength antifreeze.

Sink Faucets

The first step in fixing a leaking or sluggish faucet is identifying which of the two basic types of faucets you’re dealing with.

  • Compression Faucet – Older design with two handles and one
  • Washerless Faucet – More recent design, usually with a single lever or knob that controls the flow and mix of hot and cold water by aligning interior openings with the water inlets. These faucets may be one of several type: disc, valve, ball, or cartridge. Because models vary with the manufacturer, it’s important to get identical replacement parts.

Drains R Us Tips

  • When you’re taking the faucet apart, douse stubborn connections with penetrating oil before trying to loosen them with a wrench. Tape-wrap the wrench’s jaws to prevent marring visible parts of the fixture.
  • Before starting any faucet repair, plug the sink so small parts can’t fall down the drain.
  • Line the sink with a towel to prevent damage from tools or parts accidentally dropped.
  • As you disassemble the faucet, line up the pieces in the order that you remove them so you can put them back together properly.

CAUTION: Before you work on a faucet, turn off the water at the fixture shutoff valves or the main shutoff valve and open the faucet to drain the pipes.

If you don ‘t want to do this job yourself, call Drains R Us, 303-699-8060.

Leaking Compression Faucets

If your faucet has separate hot and cold water handles, it’s probably a compression faucet (also called a stem or washer faucet). In this faucet, a rubber seat washer is secured to the stem, which has very coarse threads on the outside. When you turn the handle to shut off the faucet, the stem is screwed down, compressing the washer against the valve seat in the faucet body. The stem is secured by a packing nut, which compresses the packing (twine, a washer, or an O-ring) and prevents water from leaking around the stem.

  • If water leaks around the handle, tighten the packing nut. If that fails, replace the packing.
    If the faucet leaks from the spout, either a washer is defective or a valve seat is badly corroded.
  • To find out which side needs work, turn off the shutoff valves one at a time; the leak will stop when one or the other is turned off.
  • Take off the handle, remove the stem, and either replace the washer or replace or recondition the valve seat.

Drains R Us Tip

  • Before doing any work, turn off the water at the fixture shutoff valves or at the main shutoff valve. Open the faucet to drain the pipes.

If you don ‘t want to do this job yourself, call Drains R Us, 303-699-8060.

Taking the Faucet Apart

  • With the handle removed, lift off the stem and packing nuts by turning the nuts counterclockwise with an adjustable-end wrench or a pair of rib-joint pliers. (Be careful not to strip the nuts).
  • Unscrew the stem, lifting it straight out of the faucet body.
  • Examine the threads
  • If they’re damaged or worn, replace the stem; if not, check the packing for wear.

If you don ‘t want to do this job yourself, call Drains R Us, 303-699-8060.

Replacing the Packing and Washer

  • To replace the worn packing either remove the O-ring o packing washer and slide on an exact duplicate, or scrape off the twine and wrap new twine clockwise around the stem.
  • To replace a cracked or worn seat washer, remove the screw and washer; install a duplicate washer. If the threads are too worn to hold a screw, snap in a swivel washer.

If you don ‘t want to do this job yourself, call Drains R Us, 303-699-8060.

Working On the Valve Seat

  • To replace a removable valve seat that’s pitted or corroded, insert a seat wrench into the valve seat and turn it counterclockwise until the seat lifts out. The new valve seat should be an exact duplicate. Coat the threads of the new seat with pipe joint compound before installing it.
  • To recondition a non-removable valve seat, grind down its burrs with a seat dresser, an inexpensive tool you can buy from a plumbing supply dealer. Insert and turn clockwise once or twice until the seat is smooth; remove metal filings with a damp cloth.

If you don ‘t want to do this job yourself, call Drains R Us, 303-699-8060.

Cleaning Your Faucet Aerator

If the flow from your faucet is sluggish, the trouble may be in the faucet aerator. This device, at the tip of most faucet spouts, mixes air and water for a smooth flow. But minerals or dirt particles in the water often build up on the screen and disc, blocking the flow. If mineral deposits are to blame or if aerator parts are damaged, it’s best to replace the aerator. If dirt is the problem, follow these steps:

  • Unscrew the aerator from the end of the spout.
  • To loosen stubborn connections, douse them with penetrating oil.
  • Disassemble and set the parts aside in order.
  • Clean the screen and disc with a brush and soapy water.
  • Use a pin or toothpick to open any clogged holes in the disc.
  • Flush all the parts with water before putting them back together.

If you don ‘t want to do this job yourself, call Drains R Us, 303-699-8060.

Leaking Valve Faucets

A valve faucet has a valve assembly on each side (one for hot water, one for cold) through which water flows up and out the spout. Moving the handle from side to side controls the mix, moving forward and backward controls the flow.

  • The main problems you may encounter with a valve faucet are spout leaks, loose handle assemblies, and sluggish flow
  • A leak at the base of the spout may be due to a faulty spout O-ring.
  • If the spout drips, you may need to replace one or more of the valve assembly parts.
  • If the handle is loose, a simple adjustment to the handle screw or carn assembly at the back of the faucet can remedy it.
  • If sluggish flow is the problem, the strainers or aerator may be clogged with sediment and need cleaning.

If you don ‘t want to do this job yourself, call Drains R Us, 303-699-8060.

Leaking Ball Faucets

In a ball faucet, water flows when openings in the rotating all align with hot and cold water inlets in the faucet body.

  • If water leaks from under the handle, leave the water on and tighten the adjusting ring
  • If the leak persists, turn off the water and replace the carn.
  • For a dripping spout, replace the inlet seals and springs or the all.
  • Cure any leaks around the spout sleeve by replacing the O-rings on the faucet body.

If you don ‘t want to do this job yourself, call Drains R Us, 303-699-8060.

Leaking Cartridge Faucets

A cartridge faucet has a series of holes in the stem-and-cartridge assembly that align to control the mix and flow of water. Usually, leaks occur because of worn O-rings or a faulty cartridge.

  • Look at the O-rings on the faucet body. If they’re in good shape, remove the cartridge (look under the spout sleeve on the outside of the faucet for the retainer clip that holds the cartridge in place).
  • If the cartridge is worn, replace it with a duplicate.
  • Cartridges vary, so read the manufacturer’s instructions before installing a new one. The most common type has a flat side that must face front. Otherwise, the hot and cold water supply will be reversed.
  • Be sure to fit the retainer clip snugly into its slot.

If you don ‘t want to do this job yourself, call Drains R Us, 303-699-8060.

Troubleshooting Toilet Problems

Noisy Toilet

Check for:

  • Restricted water flow.
  • Defective ball cock assembly.


  • Adjust the shutoff valve first.
  • Oil the trip lever or replace the ball cock washers.
  • Replace the entire ball cock assembly.

CAUTION: First turn off the water at the fixture shutoff valve. Then flush the toilet to empty the tank and sponge out any remaining water.

If you don ‘t want to do this job yourself, call Drains R Us, 303-699-8060.

Running Toilet

Check for:

  • Float arm not rising high enough.
  • Water-filled float ball.
  • Tank stopper not seating properly.
  • Corroded flush valve seal.
  • Cracked overflow tube.
  • Ball cock valve doesn’t shut off.


  • Bend float arm down or away from tank wall.
  • Replace ball.
  • Adjust stopper guide rod and lift wires or chain. Replace defective stopper.
  • Scour valve seat or replace.
  • Replace tube or install new flush valve assembly.
  • Oil trip lever, replace faulty washers, or install new ball cock assembly.

If you don ‘t want to do this job yourself, call Drains R Us, 303-699-8060.

Clogged Toilet

Check for:

  • Blockage in drain.


  • Remove blockage with plunger or closet auger.

If those do not work, call Drains R Us, 303-699-8060

Inadequate flush

Check for:

  • Faulty linkage between handle and trip lever.
  • Tank stopper closes before tank empties.
  • Leak between tank and bowl.
  • Clogged flush passages.


  • Tighten setscrew on handle linkage or replace handle.
  • Adjust stopper guide rod and lift wires or chain.
  • Tighten tank bolts or couplings or replace gasket.
  • Clear obstructions from passages with wire.

If you don ‘t want to do this job yourself, call Drains R Us, 303-699-8060.

Leaking Toilet

  • To stop a leak between the tank and bowl of a bowl-mounted toilet tank, tighten the bolts in the tank, or remove them and replace their gaskets.
  • To seal the connections on a wall-mounted tank, tighten the couplings on the pipe connecting the tank and bowl, or unscrew the couplings, remove the pipe, and replace the washers.
  • If the bowl leaks around its base, you’ll have to lift the bowl up and reseal it along the base.

If you don ‘t want to do this job yourself, call Drains R Us, 303-699-8060.

In a plumbing emergency, you’ll need to stop the flow of water quickly. To do this, you and each member of your family needs to know the location of the shutoff valve for every fixture and appliance, as well as the main shutoff valve for the house, and how they operate.

  • If the emergency involves a specific fixture or appliance, first look for its shutoff valve and turn it clockwise to shut off the water to that fixture or appliance only.
  • The valve is usually located underneath a fixture such as a sink or a toilet, or behind an appliance, such as a clothes washer, at the point where the water supply pipe (or pipes) connects to it.
  • If the problem is not with a particular fixture or appliance, or if there’s no shutoff valve for the fixture or appliance, use the main shutoff valve to turn off the water supply to the entire house.
  • You’ll find the main shutoff valve on the inside or outside of your house where the main water supply pipe enters.
  • In cold climates, look just inside the foundation wall in the basement or crawl space.
  • Turn the valve clockwise to shut it off.

Drains R Us Tip

If you need a wrench to turn the valve, keep one, specially labeled near the valve so it’s handy.
If the main shutoff valve itself is defective and needs to be repaired, call your water company; they can send someone out with the special tool that’s required to shut off the water at the street before it reaches the valve.

Call Drains R Us Immediately 303-699-8060

Clearing Drains with a Plunger

The plunger is a good drain-clearing tool, but it often fails to work because it’s incorrectly used. Don’t make the typical mistake of pumping up and down two or three times, expecting the water to whoosh down the drain. Though no great expertise is needed to use this simple tool, here are a few tips to guide you:

  • Choose a plunger with a suction cup large enough to cover the drain opening completely.
  • Fill the clogged fixture with enough water to cover the plunger cup.
  • Coat the rim of the plunger cup with petroleum jelly to ensure a tight seal.
  • Block off all other outlets (the overflow, second drain in a double sink, adjacent fixtures) with wet rags.
  • Insert the plunger into the water at an angle so no air remains trapped under it.
  • Use 15 to 20 forceful strokes, holding the plunger upright and pumping vigorously.
  • Repeat the plunging two or three times before giving up and calling Drains R Us, 303-699-8060.

Sink Drains

A stopped sink drain isn’t just an inconvenience; it can sometimes be an emergency. It’s always best to prevent clogs before they happen. Be alert to the warning signs of a sluggish drain. It’s easier to open a drain that’s slowing down than one that’s stopped completely.

  • Run or pour scalding water down the drain to break up grease buildups.
  • If hot water doesn’t unclog the drain, there could be some object in the drain.
  • To check, remove and thoroughly clean the sink pop-up stopper or strainer.
  • Determine if the clog is close to the sink by checking the other drains in your home. If more than one won’t clear, something is stuck in the main drain.
  • The most effective way to clear a clog is with a snake.
  • You can try using a plunger or call Drains R Us 303-699-8060

A Steaming Hot Water Faucet

  • Open all the hot water faucets to relieve the overheated hot water heater.
    Turn off the gas or electric supply to the heater.
  • Let the faucets run until cold water flows from them (this indicates the water in the heater is no longer overheated).
  • Close them.

Call Drains R Us, 303-699-8060, to make any necessary repairs to the heater’s thermostat and pressure relief valve.

A Stopped-Up Sink

  • Shut off any faucet or appliance (such as dishwasher) that’s draining into the sink.
  • Unclog the sink using a plunger or snake.
  • DON’T use a chemical drain cleaner if the blockage is total.

Call your Denver drain cleaning specialist Drains R Us 303-699-8060

A Leaking or Broken Pipe

  • Turn off the main shutoff valve to prevent water damage.
  • Make temporary repairs to stop the leak.
  • The pipe will have to be replaced as soon as it’s convenient to do so.

Call your Denver plumbing specialist Drains R Us 303-699-8060