Archive for the ‘Plumbing / Pipes / Irrigation / Hydroponics’ Category

Photo courtesy of Greg Rigler

So you have read our other posts on saving water and you want to do something but you are a little reluctant to start messing with the fittings? Perhaps you are a child and your parents are not too keen for you to turn apprentice tradesman on their fixtures?  So are there any other ways that you can save water?

The answer is of course, Yes!

Here are our top 10 ways of saving water around your home that anyone could do regardless of age or DIY expertise!

1. Only run your dishwasher or washing machine when you have a full load of washing!  In this way you are minimising the number of loads and therefore the amount of water you are using.

2. Shorten your shower time.  This one is often a hard one because we love long showers, but if you can reduce your shower time by even 1 minute you will be saving between 7 and 25 litres of water.

3. Shower with a bucket.  Don’t laugh, I do not mean wash yourself out of a bucket, but if you collect 1 bucket of water every shower you can water a lot of your garden with it, or at least all the inside plants. We generally have a small bucket that has a good pouring lip. It sits in the bath tub and we top up the watering can with it for our indoor watering needs.

4. Have a shower instead of a bath.  You will use a lot less water in a shower than in a bath if you keep it short.  If you do have a bath, scoop the water out to water your garden. Friends of ours had an ingenious idea, and using a piece of rubber tube would open their bathroom window, feed the tube into the bath then suck it to get the flow, then water their back garden with the waste.  Of course your bathroom window does need to be near the area that requires watering.

5. While on the subjects of baths, start first by putting the plug into the bath, then running the water.  Adjust the temperature as the bath gets full rather than wasting all the cold water at the start while waiting for it to get to a nice temperature.

6. Turn off the tap while you are brushing your teeth and use a glass of water.

7. If you do have a great garden, then reduce the amount of water that it needs by applying a good coating of mulch.  This will stop the quick evaporation of water in the soil, which will mean you can water less without risking losing your plants.

8. Collect a large bottle or jug of water and put it in the fridge.  This way you can have a nice cool drink every time you want one and there is no risk of wastage!

9. Wash vegetables and fruit in a bowl of water rather than under the running tap.  Similarly rinse plates, knives and forks in the sink rather than under running water.

10. Use a glass a day for your water.  When they say it is healthy to have 4-6 glasses of water a day, no one said that they had to be different glasses each time!  Choose a glass and then use it continually throughout the day to cut down on washing.

Of course there are heaps of DIY ideas that you can put in play as well.  Check out the DIY Bargain Bin Bath, Shower, Spa, Basins, Vanities and Toilets section for some great water saving products.

Picture from WonderHowTo video

Sinks can clog up over time, because hair, hair products, soap, and other products can clump together inside the drain. The good news is however, that sinks are usually quite easy to clear.

There are several ways to clear a blocked drain, here are three ways, that do not use harsh chemicals that you can try.   The best option for a bad block in the pipes.

1. Non-chemical clean

For this technique you will need some baking soda, white vinegar and hot water.  It is pretty simple, first you pour down some baking soda and then follow it up with the vinegar, this will cause it to bubble like soft drink.  As soon as the bubbles cease (about 15 minutes), follow it with some recently boiled water.  The result is that all the stuff that was blocking your drain will come bubbling back up to the surface.

Refer to this great video from Wonder How To, for how to do this and how to plunge your drain (below).

2. Use a plunger

Seal your sink’s overflow hole, then get out a plunger, pop it into the sink and half fill the sink that is blocked with water, so that it is slightly above the plunger head.  Keeping the plunger sealed to the bottom of the sink, in fast motions pump up and down, keeping the plunger sealed to the bottom of the sink.

Should you see any other reaction (as shown in the WonderHowTo video), stop immediately and call a plumber.

3. Clear the pipes

The best way however to clear a blocked sink though is to remove the two pipes under the sink and thoroughly clean them.  This will ensure that your drain is as clean as it can possibly be.  To see how easy this is to achieve, check out this video from Mark Donovan of HomeAdditionPlus.

Alternatively if you have a plumber’s snake you could clear it in the way shown on WonderHowTo.

Image courtesy of Steven Depolo

Water is one of Australia’s most valuable resources and although this winter we have had plenty of rain, we are still a long way away from seeing our dams back to good levels in all states. Especially Victoria where the dams are still at less than 40% capacity.  So it is good during these times to look for ways to save whatever water you can.  One way of doing this is to install a water saving shower nozzle to your shower.

You may think that one shower nozzle will not help save the country from drought and you are probably correct, however you may cut down your water usage from up to 25 litres per minute to 7 litres and that is a pretty significant saving.  If more people do this, then the savings will add up.  Not to mention the benefit that your water bill will reduce.

You will need:

  • your new water saving shower head
  • some teflon (white plumbers) tape
  • a rag
  • a washer for the shower head
  • adjustable pliers

Step 1 – Wrap the shower head in the rag then use the adjustable pliers to remove the shower head by twisting it.  After some initial resistance it should come free quite easily.

Step 2 – Remove any teflon tape from the shower stem, then use the rag to thoroughly clean it.  This will remove any left over grit or bits of tape that still remained.

Step 3 – Wrap the teflon tape around the stem in the same direction that the new shower head will screw on.  In most cases this is clockwise.  This will ensure that it doesn’t peel off as you screw the new shower head in place.  Apply about 3-4 rotations.

Step 4 – Place the washer into your shower head.

Step 5 – Using your hands screw on the new shower head till it is firm.  Then use your adjustable pliers to lightly tighten the fitting.  Remember to wrap your rag around the chrome first to ensure that it is not damaged.  You want your shower head to be firm but not too tight.

Check out the DIY Bargain Bin for all your water saving needs, including the Bath, Shower and Spa section for your new shower head and the Plumbing section for all your other plumbing needs.

Looking for other water saving ideas?  Then check out our Water feature!

Fixing a leaking tap, photo courtesy of Alex Evans

The sound is drumming into your brain, drip, drip, drip, and no matter how you try to shut it out, it is still there.  So if you want to fix it, we here at DIY HQ we can help, because it really is very simple!

Leaking taps are usually caused by one of two things, washers that are no longer performing as they should or that your tap needs to be reseated!

Replacing the washer

First thing is first, turn off your water at the mains and put the plug in the sink, to stop any bits being lost.  Then using a screwdriver, flick off the tap’s cover which will reveal the screw.  Undo this and remove the handle.  Remove the handle, being careful not to scratch the surface.

Now unscrew the tap bonnet using a spanner or a wrench. From here you can remove the o-ring, the jumper valve and the washer.  You will now need to get replacements, measure the washer and items using a ruler, and then rummage through the DIY Bargin Bin Plumbing / Pipes / Irrigation / Hydroponic section to see if we have the parts you need.

Replace each of these then reassemble in the same way as you took it apart.