Plumber working on installed pipe

Best Practices for Tricky Residential Plumbing Challenges

If you're a plumber, you know one thing for sure. Reconfiguring or repairing plumbing in an existing home can be a challenge. Especially if that home is older and hasn't had a plumbing upgrade recently ... or ever. Or if you're doing something like adding a bathroom in a newly renovated room (think about attics in hundred-year-old homes that are converted into master suites) or in a basement that may be below the main line.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Routing: Look for the path of least resistance

If you're replacing old galvanized or polybutylene pipes which aren't accepted today, try to save time, hassle and money for the homeowner by simply using existing pathways and cavities to install new pipes. That way, you're not tearing down walls or reinventing the wheel, so to speak. Out with the old, in with the new, and it's done.

Get creative

If using existing pathways isn't an option, there may be other solutions that don't involve a full-scale remodel. One creative option that isn't top of mind for many plumbers is the laundry chute. Many homes, especially older ones, have a chute that leads directly to the basement — exactly where you want to go with your lines. Another option is building a wall chase to contain the piping, especially useful when installing new vents. Add to the chase's value by making it into a closet in which the pipes can run along one wall and the homeowner can use the rest of the space for shelving.

Dealing with sewer backups

Most plumbers don't have the luxury of stopping this problem before it starts. Homeowners usually call you when a sewer backup becomes a catastrophe and floods their basement or worse. We in the trade do the fixing, but the homeowner may need some simple education in how to maintain their home's system in the future so problems don't recur. The most common causes of a sewer backup:

  • A clog in the main sewer system. If you find the system is clogged, that can be a result of the homeowner flushing things that shouldn't be flushed, like diapers, napkins, even tissue paper or paper towels.
  • Tree roots. Homeowners should have their main drain inspected once a year to prevent tree roots from working their way into the pipeline. One easy inspection can prevent major upheaval down the line. Suggest they put you on their calendar one year out to have this done, just like they change the batteries in their smoke alarms or do other preventative maintenance.
  • Disintegrated or collapsed pipes. This can happen in older homes that may have had those pipes in place for decades, if not longer.

Fixing previous DIY efforts

Every plumbing pro has a story about having to fix a DIY gone wrong. This can be especially common when people buy old houses. Plumbers have seen it all, and much of it isn't easy to untangle or even understand. It may involve having to tear down a section of wall to get at the problem, replace old fixtures or even run a new line.

At Goodin Company, we're proud to have been your Source of Supply for 85 years and counting. No matter the plumbing challenge you're faced with, we have the tools to help you get the job done. We maintain a complete inventory in a wide range of major brands. We also have showrooms in many of our branch locations for you to see the latest and greatest advancements in the industry.

We work hard at exceeding your expectations, so you can do the same for your customers.

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