Q&A / 

Does your garbage disposal smell like a rat died in it? You know, that foul odor? Let’s talk about why it happens. The odor is from rotting food that’s coating the side walls and bottom of the disposer. Many people don’t use a disposer the right way. Let’s go over that first. When you operate […]

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Margaret Warren has a mess down in Alvin, TX. "We had travertine mixed blocks laid as kitchen backsplash.  The installer didn't know to seal the tile, so now we have the crevices and pits filled with grout. How would you recommend removing the unwanted grout.  It's two days old and we've been working to remove." Ouch! […]

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Okay, so let's see if you know how to calculate what the payback period is on the EcoDrain product. Don't attempt to do this if you're not versed in semi-complex math problems!!!! Here are the figures I want you to use. Modern shower heads reduce flow to 2.5 gallons per minute. Let's assume three 10-minute […]

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Quick Column Summary: Drain tailpiece does not line up Flexible tailpiece barely fits Find the right fitting Jesse Shumate, who decided she wanted to be a master plumber like me, wrote: "I installed new cabinet and counter top in my bathroom.  Now the drain tailpiece does not line up with the p-trap. I'm using a […]

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Quick Column Summary: Tiling on stained concrete Clean floor with oxygen bleach Test thinset for bonding to concrete Teresa Norrell, from Moyock, NC, has a pretty simple question. "Can I install tile directly to a previously stained concrete floor?  I fear the thinset mortar will not adhere to the stained concrete." Here's my answer: Teresa, […]

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Quick Column Summary: Painting tiles to hide grout lines Grout lines may not fill  thick enough Easier to replace tile with drywall Stefania, who lives in the wonderful city of Johannesburg, Africa, has a fascinating question: "Hi there! I would like to paint over my bathroom tiles, however I don't want to see the lines […]

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Quick Column Summary: Toilet will not flush solids Test for clogged drain line Problem might be toilet design Or it might be hard water deposits Carlton, who live in the epicenter of delicious, juicy peaches in Peachtree City, Georgia, has a nasty problem with his toilet that won't flush properly. Let him describe his distress: […]

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Quick Column Summary: How to remove adhesive/thinset from brick fireplace Try adhesive removers Thinset must be chiseled off Danielle Torkensen is a new homeowner in Bloomington, California. She inherited a mess where the previous homeowner, well let her tell you: "I am a recent new homeowner & the previous owners messed up our brick fireplace.  […]

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Quick Column Summary: Sewage smell in yard Plumbing was cleaned out City sewers are clear Find problem with peppermint oil test Deb Schwartz, who runs a restaurant in Eagle Rock, CA, has a perplexing problem with a sewage odor in here Craftsman house that's now a restaurant. Let her tell you all about it: "We […]

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Quick Column Summary: How to prevent pot filler pipe from freezing Insulate the wall cavity Caulk all the gaps Keep pipe on warm side of insulation Tom Chan wants to install a new pot filler faucet in an outside wall. But he's got a problem. "I want to install a pot filler faucet.  How do […]

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