How to Insulate Steam Pipes

Buying or inheriting an old house also means that you will most likely have an old steam heating system coupled with asbestos insulation. We now know that asbestos used to be revered in the past, but we have learned these days that it’s not really the case.

Now, some homeowners of old homes have two choices when it comes to dealing with asbestos: they either wrap it in plastic while others choose to rid of it for good. Some do choose the latter option but there are some things to be remembered when doing so:

  • Steam is a hot gas and it gives up latent heat energy that turns back into water. The steam gives up 970 BTUs per pound to anything that is colder than itself. When speaking of most homes, the steam that leaves the boiler is around 215 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is hotter than anything else in the house.
  • When steam hits a cold pipe, that pipe will be rendered hot as the steam will condense it and release latent heat energy. Steam stops moving once it condenses and therefore ceases to be steam. The colder the pipes are, the faster the steam will be able to condense them. This is the reason an “asbestos blanket” was used to cover steam pipes.
  • Asbestos insulation is what keeps the steam hot. Basically, it stops steam from condensing too soon. You can think of it as a thermos bottle that keeps your drink warm for as long as possible.

But if a homeowner decides to remove asbestos completely, it really needs to be replaced with a suitable type of insulation. Why should this be the case? Well, the last thing you want is to end up with a boiler that is undersized. When this happens, all the rooms in your home will be unevenly heated. In fact, some of them won’t ever get warm enough while others will just be too hot.

This is something you want to avoid because your fuel bills will definitely increase, especially if your thermostat is located in a room that has a cold radiator. The reason your bill will increase is because the burner will run longer than it should have.

However, insulating your steam pipes makes a whole lot of difference. Let’s present an illustration so you can understand. Let’s say you have a 2-1/2” steel main running in your basement that is about 50 feet long. The previous homeowners covered that main with an inch thick layer of asbestos and that happened to be so many years ago as well. Now, when the basement air is around 70 degrees, heat loss of the main will be around 2,450 BTUs per hour. Basement air is naturally colder than that which means that there is greater heat loss.

Now what happens when insulation is removed from that pipe? Heat loss will increase rapidly to 13, 250 BTUs per hour which is five times the heat loss when the pipe had insulation. This means that if your basement is colder, you will experience much more extreme heat loss. This is also the reason that the basement is naturally cozy although your bedroom is freezing.

This illustrates why steam pipes need to be insulated. And when you don’t know how to do that, let the guide below help you out.

Insulating Steam Pipes

The heating efficiency of a steam system is increased when material is applied to insulate steam pipes. As mentioned earlier, a lot of old homes (as well as older buildings) make use of steam to carry heat from the boiler unit. Sources of heat loss are un-insulated steam pipe distribution and condensate return pipes. However, insulating steam pipes properly can really reduce heat loss by as much as 90%. Not only that, because pipes can get really hot, having insulation can greatly increase safety.

Steam pipes that will be insulated can vary in size – some will be ½ inch in diameter while others can be six inches in diameter. A variety of material can be used to insulate steam pipes as well including polyethylene, neoprene foam and fiberglass. Foil-encased bubble wrap, spray-on ceramic coatings and closed-cell rubber insulation are other kinds of steam pipe insulation products. All this said, the most common material used for insulation is fiberglass, both in commercial and residential settings.

Why is fiberglass used? For one, it is relatively easy to install. And it can also be purchased in insulation sleeves. It is comprised of inorganic fibers bonded with special resin. Also attached is an aluminum-foil facing or vapor retarder. This type of insulation is available in three-foot sections.

How to Insulate Steam Pipes Using Fiberglass

Step One: Use the recommended high-temperature tape to seal and secure the fiberglass insulation sleeves. You can also use special fiberglass insulation fitting covers which can be installed on the elbows or tees of a pipe line. Always keep in mind to purchase the proper size so nothing will be wasted.

Step Two: Make sure to identify any problems related to moisture (pipe leaks, malfunctioning valves or tube leaks) before proceeding with a steam pipe insulation project. The integrity of the insulation will be compromised when it gets wet. So make sure that pipes are issue free before embarking on an insulation project.

Step Three: Draw a layout of the pipe to help you out – although not required, having a drawing of the pipe layout can help you as you continue on with the task. Now, you don’t just draw what you see: you also have to use the exact measurements and diameters of the pipes you are insulating. You also need to identify the various fittings (such as tees and elbows) as well as the number of fittings you have to insulate.

Step Four: Pipes get really hot if the system is in operation. This is why you should protect yourself by wearing a high efficiency particulate air respirator, a helmet, work gloves and protective clothing.

How to Install a Bathtub Drain Pipe

A drain pipe for bathtubs is an essential piece of bathroom hardware. It doesn’t matter if you are installing a new tub or replacing an old one, you need to have a drain that functions properly. This is so water stays in the tub when someone wants to have a bath and water also drains when taking a shower.

The purpose of a drain is to make sure the water flows out of the tub and through the pipes and plumbing of the house. Tub drains come in many varieties with the most popular being trip lever drains which is the most versatile drain for any plumbing system. Plunger and pop-up style drains fall under the category of trip lever drains.

All that said, the best thing you can do is to install a tub drain that can accommodate various kinds of bathtub hardware. But leaks are also a problem that you should expect over time. And this is a problem that you should remedy as quickly as possible because it can cause serious water damage if not corrected.

So whether you’re showing off your property or are putting it up for sale, making sure that your tub drainage is working properly helps a lot. After all, no one wants to purchase a house with a bathroom that breaks down after just moving in. Plus, it also shows responsibility on your part as a homeowner that you really cared for your home by maintaining it and fixing problems.

Problematic Tub Drain Pipes

But even if you’re not selling your home, it’s still very important to pay attention to the drain pipes of your bathtub. The last thing you want as a homeowner are leaks that can worsen as time goes on. To avoid such issues, regular maintenance and proper use of your tub should be practiced. For example, you can set rules on what should be done right after someone uses the tub. It can be as simple as picking up visible hair and throwing them away rather than letting them fall down the drain.

The Parts of a Tub Drain Pipe

The drain pipes of a tub are comprised of the following:

  • The tee-fitting
  • The waste pipes leading to the main drain

That said, the actual drain from the tub pipe and the overflow pipe are also considered as part of the drainage system. The type of drain pipe that is in place factors in when replacing the current pipes and the tools used.

Installing a Bathtub Drain Pipe

Bathroom plumbing may look daunting but some tasks related to it like installing a bathtub drain are not that difficult to pull off. In fact, it’s a project that you can do by yourself – yes, it’s a simple and easy bath improvement project.

A bathtub drain is designed in such a way that water flows to the lowest point in the pipe which is known as a trap. At this point, the heavy sediments will settle while the rest of the water will travel further down the pipe. For some time, this will help your drain from getting clogged. However, there’s a chance that the low point will corrode or produce buildup that is difficult to remove. If this is the case, you need to replace the bath drain.

Now that you know all that, here’s how to install a bathtub drain pipe:

  • Take off pipes connecting the overflow to tub drain basket. You remove the overflow cover by turning out the attachment screws found on the cover plate. The way you remove the drain basket is by inserting one screwdriver at each side of the basket then turning them in a counterclockwise direction.
  • Remove the tee-fitting located behind the tub. If it is made of plastic, use tongue and groove pliers so the connecting nuts can be loosened.

Use two pipe wrenches in case it is made of metal. Attach one wrench on the pipe you don’t want to turn then while the other will be attached to the pipe that will be removed. Turn the wrench on the pipe that will be removed while also holding the other wrench still. In case they don’t unscrew, use penetrating oil on the threads.

1. Connect a PVC tub drain kit to the tub. Both the upper cover overflow plate and drain assembly retrofits over the original. Spread silicon on the gasket then use a screwdriver to tighten the plate. Use a pair of screwdrivers to screw the tub drain basket. Apply silicon on the gasket where the pipe links to the basket and use tongue and groove pliers to tighten the fitting. The tee-fitting will then be connected to the overflow pipe and the tub basket drain pipe. Use pliers to tighten the connecting nuts.

2. If the original pipe is in good shape and not leaking, you can connect the tee-fitting drain pipe. If it is a PVC fitting, there is a screw-on connecting nut or the fitting is cemented using PVC cement. In case the pipes that lead to the main drain are bad, proceed with the next step.

3. Take off the drain pipe that leads from the tub to the main drain. If it is made of metal, unscrew it by using two pipe wrenches. The first wrench will hold the joint steady in the area where the pipe connects and the second one will unscrew the pipe. In case the connection is made of PVC, cut about an inch from the pipe that is away from the drain with a hacksaw.

4. Use PVC and proper connectors to replace the old pipe. All of these materials can be found in your local hardware store. Additionally, you can get a PVC pipe that has the necessary threads to screw into pipe made of metal. Make sure to wrap the threads with Teflon tape or cover them in pipe dope before you tighten the PVC pope. In case you are connecting PVC to PVC, cement a coupler on the one-inch cut piece leading to the main drain. Then use PVC to cut the rest of the PVC pieces in order to fit and cement them together.

How to Fix a Leaking Copper Pipe

Copper pipe leaks are commonplace in plumbing systems. However, fixing this problem is relatively easy with the proper tools and skills. Here is a look at the steps to solve copper pipe leaks.

Repairing Copper Pipe Leaks With Soldering

Step 1: Remove the damage section of the pipe.
First, turn off the shut valve to cut the supply of water coming from the main line. However, with the presence of a local shut valve, you can cut water supply from here instead. Second, drain the damaged pipe to ensure water is in the pipe. Third, with a copper tube cutter, remove the section of the pipe at least an inch from each side of the leak. With the cutter, grip the pipe and tighten the cutter screw. Once it is in place, rotate the cutter with a full revolution several times until the section of the pipe you want to remove detaches from the pipe.

Step 2: Clean the mating surfaces.
With a wire-fitting brush, remove the corrosion that has built on the copper pipe and ensure to clean the outer pipe of the copper with emery paper or sand cloth. After all the ends are clean, apply flux paste evenly on all the surfaces.

Step 3: Install the repair sleeve.
Place the sleeve onto the pipe by sliding it to one end and slipping it back over onto the other. See to it that you loosen pipe hangers that are near to the section you are working on. Ensure that approximately ½ inch of each pipe is covered by the sleeve by centering the sleeve over the ends of the pipe.

Step 4: Solder the joint.
Using propane torch, hold the tip against the side of the joint and the tip of the solder wire at the opposite end. This is because the solder wire will liquefy and just flow until it covers the joint. Remember to move the solder away once it has melted and has covered the joint.

Fixing With Pipe Repair Clamp

Step 1: Locate the leak.
Turn off the shut-valve from the main water supply. If your plumbing system has a local shut-valve, there is no need to cut off water supply from the main pipe line. Once you have located the leak, measure the diameter of the existing pipe to know what size you need for the pipe repair clamp. Since the leak might be tricky to find, use a dry clean cloth and wipe the pipe on the area you suspect the leak to be.

Step 2: Place the rubber pad.
Once you have the clamp, wipe again the pipe with a clean cloth. Open the clamp and put the small rubber pad to cover the leak.

Step 3: Install the clamp.
With the rubber pad covering the leak, place half of the clamp over the rubber pad and the remaining half on the side of the pipe.

Step 4: Secure the clamp.
Close the clamp with a squeeze and push a screw through the hole. Attach the nut as well. Next, tighten the screw, one at a time, to secure the clamp in place. Use a screwdriver to do so.

Step 5: Turn water on.
After the clamp is secured and in place, you can now turn the water supply on to check if the leak is already fixed.

How to Fix Galvanized Pipe

Galvanized pipes can be found in much older homes where they are used as water supply lines. These kinds of pipes are not used for gas lines because they contain zinc which flakes off and will end up clogging the supply system. Although galvanized pipes are no longer used in newer homes, they are still used in hand rails and as replacements of existing pipes.

If you have an older home and want to work with galvanized pipes on your own, you need to know everything you can about it. This article will provide the basics on galvanized pipes as well as steps on how to fix one.

The Basics on Galvanized Pipe

Homes that are decades old (about thirty or more) use galvanized pipe extensively. The original purpose for this kind of pipe was to function as a water supply line. A galvanized pipe is basically covered with a layer of zinc to increase its lifespan as well as to prevent corrosion.

There is a tendency for galvanized pipe to react with minerals contained in the water that is carried through it. This leads to the production of scale which then results in lower water pressure. The occurrence of hard water lessens the life expectancy of galvanized pipe.

Other than being used as a water supply line, galvanized pipe can also be used in drains and vents, particularly in older homes. In addition, galvanized nipples are still used to penetrate fire-rated walls for sinks and urinals.

Although galvanized pipe is no longer used in newer home constructions, those who still want to use it are advised to have the PH level of the water in their area checked. Why is that the case? Testing the PH levels allows you to see whether it is appropriate to install a galvanized pipe or not. When the PH levels in your area is low – below 6.5 – then it’s a good reason to use galvanized pipe as that level of PH is hard on copper.

Even if galvanized pipes are no longer common for full, in-home plumbing, they are still pretty common in outdoor applications, particularly on chain link fences or handrails. Why is this so? Galvanized pipe is highly resistant to corrosion which is ideal for use in places where there will be high amounts of exposure to the elements.

Fixing Galvanized Pipe

Although resistant to corrosion, this doesn’t mean galvanized pipe is immune to it. Over time, corrosion will eventually happen and when it does it occurs from the inside out. The best indicator for this happening is when you notice leaks. In fact, the pipe might already be very damaged when you start noticing leaks.

Yes, galvanized pipes aren’t that much popular these days, but a lot of older homes still have this kind of fixture. When you notice a visible leak in your pipe, there’s a good chance that it’s really corroded. Although you can fix the leak, this will only be a temporary solution as the best way to go about this is to replace the pipe entirely.

However, rather than just leave a leak until you can have time to fix it or call for help, why not try fixing it until you have enough time to execute a much more permanent solution? If you don’t know how to fix galvanized pipe, here’s a simple guide to help you out:

1: Estimate The Pipe Split

If the split is rather small, you can repair it with a stainless steel pipe repair clamp. But first, make sure you turn off the water and then open a faucet so that water completely drains from the pipe. After that, use a putty knife to scrape rust and corrosion from the area around the leak.

Slip the clamp around the pipe and make sure that the split is covered by the rubber gasket. Squeeze the clamp close then use an adjustable wrench or nut driver to tighten the nut. After doing this, turn on the water and check for leaks.

2: Replace The Damaged Section

To replace the damaged section of threaded galvanized water pipe, cut the damaged area using a reciprocal saw. Two cuts should be made with one being several inches from the threaded coupling and the other at one of the threads. This should be done at both ends of the section.

Remove the section of the pipe that has been damaged. The next step needs two pipe wrenches so make sure you have them by your side. With one pipe wrench, hold the remaining pipe then remove the coupling with the other.

After doing this, clean the threads then apply thread compound. Make sure you have a female PEX fitting then screw this on and use a wrench to tighten it. Repeat this process for the other end.

Cut a piece of PEX pipe (carefully measured) then crimp them onto the fittings.

Alternative

Here’s an alternative option of removing the damaged section of pipe:

  • Use a reciprocal saw to cut out the damaged section of pipe.
  • Cut the galvanized pipe back to where there is an existing PVC pipe in the line. Take note that it’s not really necessary to cut near the threads at them.
  • Remove the damaged pipe.
  • Use a rubber coupling to put at the end of each cut.
  • Measure and cut a portion of PVC pipe to fit.
  • Slip the PVC pipe into the couplings to put them in place.
  • Use a wrench or nut driver to tighten the coupling clamps.

Additional Tips

  • Make sure to take off as much galvanized pipe in the plumbing line as possible then replace them with PEX or PVC pipe.
  • A large split is more likely to develop in galvanized pipe compared to a water pipe because it’s not under pressure and as such, can go unnoticed.
  • Heat a coupling that is rusted on with a torch or spray lubricating oil to loosen it.

Again, fixing a galvanized pipe is only a temporary solution because eventually the pipe will continue to erode. But rather than leave leaks unfixed, it’s best to repair a galvanized pipe as a temporary solution until you have time to have the pipe replaced.

How to Install HDPE Pipe

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a versatile plastic made form petroleum which can be used for many applications and one of which is in plumbing. Also called polythene, this material can be used for water supply in domestic and agricultural purposes.

HDPE installation can be done in two ways. An option would be to dig a trench for pipe laying while an alternative is to use a commercial auger which will drill through the ground and at the same time pulls the pipe with it. The latter is recommended for situations where trenching might not be allowed or possible like in streets or driveways. Trench installation, on the other hand, is easier since there is no need to use joints.

Step 1: Trench Construction

It is important to evaluate the condition of the site as well as the subsurface before trench construction. Moreover, there should be a specific installation specification especially if the depth is deep and soil condition is not supportive of the pipe. For a pipe installation with 12” diameter PE pipe and a smaller PE pipe, trench width, length and depth should be taken into consideration.

Step 2: Trench Floor Preparation

Stability of the trench floor is important to support the bedding material and testing can be done by walking on the trench. If there are no visible footprints, this is a sign that the trench floor is already stable. For unstable trench floor, correct this by dewatering. However, if this is not possible, you can add crushed rocks. It is important to ensure that the trench floor is smooth and free of rocks, ridges, hollows and lumps. And remember that in the presence of boulders and rocks, removal is required.

Step 3: Trench Bottom Padding

It is important that tamped bedding material of about four to six inches be padded on the bottom of the trench. It should also be without sand, gravel or clayey sand.

Step 4: Pipe Laying

HDPE pipe should be placed around 8” in diameter by hand. Equipment will only be used for moving, lifting and lowering since it should not be dropped, dumped, pusher or rolled into the trench.

Step 5: Pipe Embedment

To support the pipe into the trench, it should be embedded on the soil. To do this properly, embedment materials, which can include coarse grained soil such as sand or gravel and coarse grained soil which can contain clayey and silty sand, should be used. Conversely, for angular embedment, use shovel to slice and dump the crushed stone to be placed around the pipe. If the materials, however, are naturally occurring such as sand and mixtures with fines, they should be in lifts and should not exceed eight inches in thickness. After placement, they should be tamped with the use of a mechanical tamper.

Step 6: Trench Backfilling and Compaction

After the HDPE pipe has been put in place, backfilling is the next step to do to keep the pipe from being out of line and protect it from external damage, among others. Backfill should be done under the pipe haunches to approximately 6 inches above the PE pipe. Lifts should be placed evenly at the sides of the pipe while ensuring there are no large, hard objects to hit the pipe. For the final backfill, there should be at least a foot of backfill cover over the pipe before compaction.

How to Join Pex Pipe

PEX material has been introduced in the United States in the 1980s and some years back, became one of the most popular pipes for plumbing systems. Many plumbers and homeowners prefer PEX because it is durable, flexible and cost-effective. Moreover, it is easy to install and connect, making it a good DIY plumbing maintenance material.

For homeowners who are into do-it-yourself projects, there are two methods to connect PEX: using crimp clamps or copper crimp rings. These two items can be bought from your local hardware. Crimp clamps are like traditional band clamps while crimp rings are bands of metal, often times made of copper and can be compressed using a crimping tool.

Connecting PEX Using Stab-In Fittings

This is the easier and quicker method to connect PEX because this procedure does not require soldering. This type of connection works in two stages. As the tube is inserted into the fitting, it goes through a release collar to a stainless steel grab ring which opens out and grip the tube. The tube will then be pushed through an O-ring protector. This is then compressed between the wall of the fitting and the tube just before it reaches the tube stop.

Step 1: Choose The Correct Tubing And Fitting For The Job.
Check if the tubes and fittings are free from damage, free from foreign objects and clean.

Step 2: Cut The Section Of The Pipe Evenly, Ensuring a Straight Cut With The Use Of a Cutting Tool.
Do so for both pipes to be connected, whether it is between PEX and copper or PEX and PEX pipes. You can use a PEX cutter or tube shears for a clean cut.

Step 3: Clean The Ends Of The Pipes.
If you are connecting the PEX with copper tubing, remove the burrs of the copper tube using a de-burring gauge tool.

Step 4: Mark The Depth Of Insertion.
After cleaning the ends of the tubes, mark the insert depth on the outside of the tubing.

Step 5: Insert The Tube Through The Release Collar.
Holding the pipe, insert it all the way until it meets the stop of the grab ring. Ensure that there is just enough pressure as you insert the tube.

Step 6: Push And Secure The Tube.
It is important to give it a little push with twisting motion to ensure it fits properly as it reaches the tube stop.

Step 7: Check The Depth Of The Insertion.
To ensure the tube will be inserted far enough as it should, check the depth mark and ensure it is within 0.13 mm or 0.005 in. of the end of the release collar.

Connecting PEX To Copper Tubing With Soldering

Note: For a copper tubing to be compatible with PEX, it has to be fitted with O-rings.

Step 1: Remove The O-Rings.
To do this, remove the O-rings by gently squeezing them with your hand and pulling them apart. Pliers are not advisable to avoid damage.

Step 2: Prepare The Copper Tubing.
It is important to ensure the copper ends are clean and free from moisture and grease. Next, get the paste flux and apply it evenly at the end. When it is ready, apply heat and solder.

Step 3: Connect The PEX And Copper Tubing.
After the copper has cooled, attach the O-rings to the PEX fittings. Connect the PEx pipe to the copper end using the joint.

How to Use a Manual Pipe Bender

You use a tubing bender to get an accurate and consistent bend on various kinds of tubes, including those made of copper, steel and aluminum. Although manual pipe benders are still being used, you’ll find a lot of automated tube benders that make tasks easier. These automated tube benders are either electrically or hydraulically powered and since they are rather bulky, they may not be ideal in sites that don’t have the needed power connections. This is where manual pipe benders come in to save the day.

A manual bender can be used with ease and someone with minimal training can manipulate it fairly easy too. Most manual pipe benders these days are capable of bending tubes and pipes up to 180 degrees when in finished form. If you want to learn how to use a manual pipe bender, here are some great tips to remember.

1: Pick The Right Pipe Bender

There is a recommended limitation regarding the size of the tube or pipe that can be effectively bended by a manual tube bender. There are many factors for the limitation, and those include the material the tube is made of and the tube’s cross-section and thickness. So before you choose a bender, make sure it is applicable to what you are using it for. The last thing you want is ending up with a bender that is useless.

2: Set The Tubing Bender

A bender has an adjustment dial which you will need to set based on the size of the tube you will be working on. You will have to set the right radius and the degree needed for the bend. Sometimes, you may have to perform adjustment calculations in order to achieve the results you want. Then again, there are common bend adjustment charts that you can use to help you with your calculations.

3: Make Marks Indicating Bend Directions And Reference Points

There will be times when you will be making more than one bend on a single tube. As such, you have to mark the tube with a longitudinal line which will serve as your reference point. You have to make sure that this line will always be in the opposite direction of the bend direction you intend to achieve.

4: Align The Tube Into The Bender And Insert

To ensure that the reference marks you made are always visible, swing one of the two bending arms up so that you can insert the tube into the bending die. When the tube is in, lower the second arm using the latch mechanism so that the tubing is held in place. At the same time, doing this allows you to make minor adjustments as well.

5: Begin The Process Of Bending

You can start bending by gripping the roll support arm firmly then bringing it down until such a time when the bending die indicates you’ve reached the desired degree mark. Also keep in mind that a lot of tubes and pipes will spring back after they are bent. Pipes made of copper are the ones that have lesser tendency to spring back.

6: Remove The Tube From The Bender

Lift the roll support arm up so you can unlatch the remove the tube from the die. You can then take out your finished tube from the bender.

How to Clean Drain Pipes with Baking Soda

Now that there are so many quick solutions available at your local grocery, you don’t think twice about what’s available at home when it comes to cleaning drain pipes. However, some of the most effective cleaning solutions can just be found in your own kitchen, and baking soda is one of them.

It’s understandable that when you think “drain cleaner,” your mind won’t directly go to baking soda. But you should know that the kitchen staple has proven effective when used on smelly and clogged drains. This is not saying that you shouldn’t go for those chemical solutions on the shelves of stores. Rather, it’s more on trying a simple and home-made solution to see if it clears things up. If not, then you can proceed with using ready-made solutions.

Another good reason to use natural solutions is that some rental properties don’t allow their tenants to use chemical drain cleaners. This way, you can still keep your drain fresh and flowing without resorting to banned solutions.

Using Baking Soda to Clean Drain Pipes

The biggest question you might have is: what are the benefits of using baking soda in cleaning drains? Well, here are the reasons:

  • Baking soda removes harsh chemicals that leave odors and residue on sinks.
  • A baking soda solution is friendly towards the environment and eliminates concerns regarding chemical contamination. Also, households with young children can reduce risk associated with having chemicals stored at home by turning to more natural solutions.
  • Baking soda is a budget friendly solution.

Now that you know the benefits, you should know that there are two ways to clean your drain using baking soda. Here they are:

1: Baking Soda + Vinegar

Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain followed by one cup of vinegar.

Alternative

  • Heat the vinegar for a few seconds in the microwave.
  • Wait for five minutes before pouring it down the drain along with two quarts of water.
  • Repeat this process if necessary.

2: Baking Soda + Salt

  • Pour a mixture of one cup of baking soda and ½ cup of salt down the drain.
  • Allow the mixture to sit in the drain for a couple of hours – for best results: let it sit overnight.
  • Flush the drain with two cups of boiling water.

Tip: This is best done before going to bed since you won’t be using the drain until the morning.

Additional Tip

You can also eliminate odors that will develop when you’re out on holiday by pouring down baking soda down the drain without rinsing it. Even when it’s just a weekend trip, doing this helps a lot with odor removal. When you get back home, flush the drain with hot water or hot vinegar followed by hot water.

Baking soda is a staple in the kitchen but it is so much more than an ingredient used in cooking. It has properties that make it a reliable cleaning agent that allows you to save up on cash and be more friendly towards the environment.

The Many Uses of Baking Soda

Baking soda is ever reliable when baking a batch of cookies but that’s not the only thing it is good for. One of the best uses outside of cooking for the ingredient is as an abrasive – it’s a quite gentle one at that. Not only that, baking soda also functions very well as a natural deodorizer which is great if you want a simple but effective way to get rid of smells around your house. With all that said, here are the many ways you can use baking soda at home.

Remove Stains And Stink From Plastic Food Containers.
We all need food containers to store those leftovers. However, leftovers aren’t so kind sometimes as they tend to leave a mark – either by staining or stinking up your container. Rather than replace a set of containers, why not try to remedy before you make a purchase? Just sprinkle some baking soda on to a clean sponge then wipe your containers to freshen them up. To remove stains, soak your container in a solution comprised of four tablespoons of baking soda and a quart of warm water.

Eliminate Odors From Your Fridge.
Fridge packs are sold for a reason and it’s precisely to eliminate foul smells. However, baking soda is a much more cost-effective solution given that they naturally absorb odors so they don’t stay and alter the way other foods taste. You can store a box of baking soda on a shelf to absorb the smell. Then again, if the odor is truly offensive, then it’s time for a cleanup.

Remove Dirt From Fruit And Vegetables.
A mixture of water and baking soda is an effective way to remove dirt from fruit and vegetables as well as any waxy coating on produce.

Clean Your Kitchen.
Almost every area in your kitchen will benefit from a baking soda treatment. All you have to do is create a mixture of water and baking soda then use it to clean cooking utensils, countertops, microwaves, range hoods and stainless steel sinks.

Treat Musty Upholstery And Carpets.
Sprinkling the surface of upholstery and carpets with baking soda helps deodorize them. To make this really work, sprinkle the mixture, let it sit for 15 minutes then proceed with vacuuming.

Eliminate Garbage Can Odor.
Put baking soda on the bottom of the can so you can eliminate the smell.

Remove Grime From Toys.
You want the toys of your little ones to be always clean. To remove grime, mix up baking soda and water to create a mixture then wipe the toys with a sponge dipped in the solution.

As you can see, baking soda is a very useful ingredient to have at home. Not only is it a reliable ingredient while cooking, it can be trusted in eliminating odors and as a cleaning solution.

How to Sweat Copper Pipe

Soldering or sweating means joining two parts together with the use of solder or metal filler and the process of melting. This can be used for silver, electronic parts and copper. In plumbing, copper tubing is used by some homeowners. When copper tunings leak, this process can also be used.

Since copper tubing is designed to conduct heat away faster as opposed to hand-held soldering iron, propane torch is recommended. However, for smaller diameters of copper tubing, say 8mm or 22mm, electrical tool can be used to do the job.

In this particular guide, you will learn about sweating a copper pipe and we will be using propane torch. The process is relatively easy but still needs preparation, patience and skill. Not knowing the proper way to sweat or solder can lead to an unsuccessful DIY project.

Step-by-Step Process:

First, you need to gather the tools and supplies you will use for the process. These can be bought from your local hardware store.

Tools and Supplies Needed:

  • Propane Torch
  • Solder
  • Flux
  • Emery Cloth
  • Copper Cutter
  • Flame Protector Cloth
  • Goggles
  • Gloves

Step 1: Locate the leak.

It is important to find where the leak is before buying new fittings and tube. It is also important to turn off the shut-valve that supplies water through the pipe. If there is a local shut-valve, there is no need to cut the water supply from the main line. Once you have spotted the problem, you can now determine the size of the tube and fittings you need to buy.

Step 2: Prepare and assemble soldering tools.

The basic tool you need is a propane torch that comes in two types: with automatic igniter and manual igniter. The kit has a regulator and tip that that has to be attached to the small tank with a screw. If you have an automatic igniter, simply open the fuel adjustment valve and light the tip by pushing on the button. However, if you bought the other type, you have to buy a striker or match but it is recommended to invest in a striker since it is safer and easier to use. Simply squeeze the wire handle to ignite the gas.

For cleaning the copper surfaces while heating the joint, paste flux does the job. This material facilitates soldering and prevents oxidation and uneven surfaces. It also allows the solder to evenly spread as heat is applied. The emery cloth, on the other hand, removes the dirt and cleans the newly cut copper tube.

Wearing gloves is also important to prevent potential harm like burns and sparks. Goggles need to be worn as well to protect your eyes from being exposed to heat and flame.

Tip: Leaded solder is still available but it is best to use lead-free solder if you are going to work on a water pipe. Lead can leak through the pipe and contaminate your water supply.

Step 3: Cut the copper tubing.

With a tube cutter, you can now cut the copper tubing cleanly. To do this, you need to clamp the pipe between the guide wheel and the cutting wheel. Rotate the cutter, encircling the tube. Next, you need to tighten the cutter knob several times and rotate it until the pipe falls off. For plumbing use, you might want to buy a tube cutter that can accommodate up to an inch of tube. Conversely, if there is a need to cut a larger copper tubing, hacksaw can also be used. To avoid leaking, ensure to smoothen out the burrs from the saw teeth. And to be sure that the tube will stay in place as you cut, grip one end tightly while tucking the other end on under your knee. It is also best not to do the process quickly to avoid making a dent on the pipe.

Step 4: Clean off the burrs.

With the tube cutter and a ream tool, remove the burr inside the end of the cut tube. Insert the ream attachment and twist with one rotation. This is necessary to ensure water flow will not be decreased. If inside burr will not be removed, it can lessen the passageway of water.

Step 5: Clean the tubing.

After cutting, it is crucial to clean the ends with emery cloth to ensure sweating will be smooth and leaks will be avoided. This will remove corrosion and dirt. You will know when to stop when the copper pipe becomes shiny. Do the same procedure with the fittings you will attach to the tubing.

Step 6: Clean using fitting brush.

With the designated wire brush designed to fit in the tube, work on the inside of the fittings for cleaning. The emery cloth can also be used. Just wrap it on your finger and clean the inside. Be careful not to touch the already cleaned part with your bare hands.

Step 7: Apply paste flux.

With a brush, apply the flux evenly on the mating surfaces; the end of the pipe and the inside of the fittings. Afterwards, insert the fittings, all the way through until it fits securely.

Step 8: Start to solder.

First, heat the part that needs to be joined with the propane torch. Ensure that the joint is moved back and forth to ensure molten solder is evenly and completely applied. With the solder against the joint opposite the flame, wait for the solder to melt and flow. It should cover the joint. No need to wait for it to harden and you can solder the next joint right away since the molten solder will harden as the heat subsides.

Note: Ignite the torch and make adjustments on the flame until the blue cone is approximately 1-1/4 inch long. And since the hottest point of the flame is at the tip, ensure that it just touches the fitting. The solder, on the other hand should be on the coolest point, the opposite of the flame because it easily melts. Wait for about 30 to 45 seconds to put pressure on the joint. As for sweating the brass valve on the copper pipe, remember that you will need to apply heat longer.

How to Bend Copper Pipe Without a Pipe Bender

Do you have some pipes that you need to bend, but you do not have a pipe bender? Well, do not falter, as you do not always need a specific plumbing tool to accomplish this task. Here are steps you can follow to bend a copper pipe without using such a specialized plumbing tool.

Pack Your Pipe With Sand.

The first thing you should do is to plug one end of the pipe that you can properly do with a small carriage bolt that would fit snugly in its end. Fill the pipe with sand (beach sand would be much preferable) and make sure the sand would be nice and compact to stop the pipe from buckling. You can use a rod to tamp the sand, but what would really pack the sand is tapping or bouncing the pipe on a solid stone or a piece of concrete pavement.

Bend The Pipe.

Clamp one end of the pipe to a form. For this step, you can use a wine barrel planter and then add a rounded block to get a tighter radius. Most likely, you will need a lot of leverage to bend the pipe, especially if it is just a shorter pipe—it would require you some muscle to get it bent.

Finish It Up.

After you have bent the pipe, cut off its deformed end. Then, clean out the sand using a piece of string with a rag on the end to get it all out.

More Useful Tips

In some cases of bending copper pipes, you might need to heat them up, and you can a plumber’s torch. If you have a lot of pipe-bending work to do, then it is good to invest in an oxygen-acetylene torch, which lets you heat your pipes red hot, where they will bend really easy. Also, heating the pipe before bending will soften the metal, so you will get a cleaner bend.

You can also bend a copper pipe with the use of a vice. This way, you can just use your hands to bend the pipe. And again, heat the pipe until red hot along the area or length where you plan to bend, quickly put it into the vice, close it until just touching the pipe, and then pull the pipe up at both ends to achieve the right angle before it cools down. As you can see, the vice will support the sides of the pipe to avoid collapse. Moreover, make sure you always use protective gloves to do this task and cool the pipe afterwards by dipping it into cold water.

What Happens If You Fail To Bend The Copper Pipe Properly?

If you opt not to support your copper pipe during the bending process, it will collapse and pleat. As a result, it will look ugly, not to mention that water cannot pass through it freely. Remember that all methods of bending copper pipes involve supporting them in the best way possible.