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Installing Shutoff Valves And Supply Tubes

MATERIALS: Compression valve, compression fittings, flexible supply tubing

TOOLS: Mini-pipe tubing cutter or mini hacksaw, emery cloth, two adjustable wrenches

Shutoff valves let you turn off the water near your fixtures so that you don’t have to shut off water to the entire house every time you make a repair. They attach in different ways: by soldering, threading, or compression fittings. Compression fittings are easy to install and don’t require pipe dope or compound—a metal sleeve makes the fitting watertight, as long as it’s properly installed. Turn off the water before you start. Open the faucet you’re working on and another one somewhere below it in the house so that the water will drain from the line.

1 DISCONNECT THE SUPPLY PIPE. Turn off the main water supply. Unscrew the supply pipe at the wall. If it's soldered in place, cut with a mini-pipe tubing cutter or, as a last resort, a mini hacksaw. (Cut carefully. If the tube is out of round, the compression fitting will leak.) Leave enough room between the escutcheon plate and the cut to install the fitting. Deburr the pipe with emery cloth. Slide the compression nut over the supply pipe as far back as possible.

2 PLACE THE COMPRESSION RING OVER THE END OF THE SUPPLY PIPE. The ring should completely cover the end of the supply pipe. Thread the compression valve into the compression nut. The valve should slide squarely and snugly over the ring. Hand-tighten. If the nut doesn't turn easily, add a tiny drop of oil to the threads. Don't use pipe compound; the fitting doesn't require it, and it can actually make the fitting leak.

3 TIGHTEN (BUT DON’T OVERTIGHTEN) THE COMPRESSION VALVE TO THE NUT. Use one wrench to hold back the valve and keep it square and another to turn the nut. Follow the same procedure you used to install the valve to attach the supply lines. Turn the water on briefly (and let it flow into a bucket) to flush the lines before installing any new fixtures.

BRAIDED FLEXIBLE SUPPLY TUBING IS EASY TO INSTALL - Braided flexible supply lines are stronger and last longer than straight chrome tubing. Some are actually made of stainless steel, but most are heavy-duty braided plastic. Use two adjustable wrenches to attach the compression fittings.

Repairing Or Replacing A Sink Strainer

MATERIALS: Plumber’s putty or silicone caulk, gaskets and washers

TOOLS: Water-pump pliers, hammer, basket strainer wrench, plastic putty knife, mini hacksaw, screwdriver

The sink strainer assembly connects the sink to the drain line. To fix a leak, you’ll need to take it all apart. Remove and clean the sink strainer basket, then replace any worn washers and gaskets. If the seal where the strainer basket meets the lip of the drain line was not properly installed, it may leak. Repairing does not mean replacing every part. If you don’t mind reusing old parts, don’t replace them. The sink drain body may be usable even though it may not shine like a new one; reuse it or any of its metal parts. The drain locknut can be reused because it is hidden below the sink. The only parts you should not reuse are washers and gaskets; they may not provide a proper seal. (They’re also the least expensive parts to replace.) If possible, replace chrome drainpipe with plastic. Chrome pipes corrode on the inside. As a result, they’ll leak sooner and are more likely to break during minor repairs.

DIFFICULT NUT TO CRACK? You may find the locking nut is difficult to loosen. If all else fails, cut a groove in the nut at about a 30-degree angle with a mini hacksaw. Insert a screwdriver into the groove and twist or tap with a hammer until the nut breaks off.

1 GIVE YOURSELF ROOM TO WORK. Inspect the area below the sink and remove any obstacles.

2 DISCONNECT THE SLIP NUTS. Use water-pump pliers to loosen the slip nuts and slide them out of the way. Remove the tailpiece.

3 UNSCREW THE LOCKING NUT. Use a basket strainer wrench to remove the sink strainer assembly locknut. If the locknut won't budge, tap the lug with a hammer and screwdriver to loosen it. Remove the strainer assembly above and below the sink.

4 SCRAPE OFF THE OLD PUTTY WITH A PLASTIC PUTTY KNIFE. If you reuse the old strainer, clean it as well. Always replace gaskets and washers.

5 COAT THE FLANGE. If the sink is cultured marble or stainless steel, coat the bottom rim of the flange with silicone caulk. If the sink is enamel, use plumber's putty instead. Roll the putty between your hands to create a "rope" about % inch in diameter. Apply the putty to the underside of the flange rim. Insert the drain unit into the sink.

6 REASSEMBLE THE STRAINER. Install a new rubber gasket and friction ring. Hand-tighten the new locknut. Connect the tailpiece to the assembly body with slip nuts. Test by filling the sink with water and then draining. Tighten the nuts if you see any leaks.

EASY DOES IT! Even experienced plumbers sometimes break plastic fittings. That final turn with the pliers may seem like a good idea, but it can result in a cracked fitting and a trip to the home center. Hand-tighten all fittings, then a quarter-turn at a time with the pliers until the leaking stops.

TWIST AND SHOUT - If the drain unit turns every time you try to give the locking ring a final twist, you need a helper. Put a couple of screwdrivers between the crosspieces in the drain unit. Have a helper hold them firmly while you tighten the locking ring.

Installing A Single-Bowl PVC P-Trap

MATERIALS: PVC P-trap (United States), ABS P-trap (Canada), slip-joint tailpiece

TOOLS: Felt marker, PVC pipe cutter, water-pump pliers

CANADA WATCH - DWV systems in Canada use black ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) for running drain lines instead of white PVC. Techniques for cutting, connecting, and cementing ABS are similar to PVC.

Drains in the United States must have either a P-trap or an S-trap, depending on code requirements. (In Canada, you may only use a P-trap.) The trap serves as a safety device by preventing noxious gases from backing up the sewer pipe and entering the house. Sewer gases not only pose a health hazard, they can also be explosive. Here’s how a P-trap works: The curved portion of the trap is filled with standing water, which prevents sewer gas from leaking into the room. Every time the drain is used, water is flushed through the trap and is replaced with fresh water. Over time, solids will adhere to the trap and may eventually clog the drain or possibly damage the trap— which means it’s time to install a new one.

WHAT’S A SLIP JOINT ANYWAY? Slip joints allow fixtures such as strainer baskets to be joined to drainpipes without making permanent connections. This means parts can be replaced easily. A smaller pipe with slip nuts at each end is inserted into a larger pipe, and the seal is made by the pressure that results from tightening the slip nuts to the threaded ends of the larger pipe.

1 CONNECT THE TAILPIECE TO THE SINK DRAIN. Hand-tighten the slip nut.

2 MEASURE THE PIPE. Test-fit the P-trap. Mark the P-trap inlet so it will seat inside the end of the drainpipe. Remove the P-trap. Cut the inlet of the trap to length using PVC pipe cutters. Insert the inlet into the pipe socket. Slide the slip nut over the end of the inlet and tighten by hand.

3 ALIGN THE TRAP. Make sure the trap wilt set flush against the outlet and inlet pipes. Adjust the pipe if necessary.

4 TIGHTEN THE SLIP NUTS. Turn the nuts until they are hand-tight. Fill the sink with water and then drain it, inspecting for teaks as the sink drains. Tighten if necessary.

ESCUTCHEON PLATES HELP TO FIGHT BUGS! Escutcheon plates fit flush around the pipe where the drain line enters the wall or floor. They add a finishing touch where plumbing is visible, such as under a wall-hung lavatory. Escutcheon plates also seal the drainpipe hole and can prevent drafts or unwanted insects from entering your home.

Split-ring escutcheon plates fit around a pipe that is already in place.

Solid-ring escutcheon plates slip onto the pipe before the drain is assembled.

CONNECTING OPTIONS FOR DOUBLE-BOWL SINKS - Two bowls can be served by one P-trap. Conversion kits are available at your local home center. One style has the P-trap centered between the bowls with a connecting tee and separate lengths running to the sink drains. Centering the P-trap does not meet code in Canada or California. Another style has the P-trap aligned beneath one of the drains with a vertical tee connecting to the second bowl. Though the installation procedure is the same as for a single-bowl sink, make sure the horizontal run has a fall of Vu inch per linear foot toward the tee connector. Otherwise, solids will settle along the horizontal pipe and eventually stop or impede the flow of wastewater.

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