I can give easy to follow DIY instructions for many issues you will find around your house. Don't wait until your family is there to find out your rest room doesn't work. Most of the time there is absolutely no reason to call a plumber out after hours and pay twice as much. When you could easily fix it yourself for 1/16 of the cost.

Edit: I'm answering every comment that gets sent my way, I'm currently over 2000 comments behind. I will answer them all I just need time

Comments: 8408 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

boomboomsaIoon4243 karma

Every trade is looking for apprentices my advice to you is stick with it. One day you will be certified and it will pay off. Learn as much as you can and try to take over the job. Tell your boss to get out of your way and tell you how to do it. As an apprentice if you can keep your boss from touching his tools you are doing an excellent job

RoyalDecrees2090 karma


I work HVAC/Plumbing administration.

Wanted to ask you a question unrelated to minor plumbing needs.

We've been noticing that there is a growing age gap amongst plumbers in our state (Maine) with the average age of plumbers being in their 40s-50s. Do you find that you have the same experience?

boomboomsaIoon3138 karma

Im 34 and my helper is 30. I started plumbing when I was 19, I don't see any young helpers anymore. Kids are not getting into this line of work

boomboomsaIoon1947 karma

If it feels the need to tell you on the package that it is "flushable" then do NOT flush it. Toilet paper and human waste are the only things you should flush down your toilet

jelimoore1896 karma

When you say 90% of calls are simple things, are these things we homeowners could do without many specialized tools?

boomboomsaIoon1636 karma


Hdtwentyn81412 karma

You're a saint for doing this. I have a shower handle that has a hex nut that keeps unscrewing, and the handle keeps falling off. Should I use a locking agent on the hex nut, or will that lead to more problems later on?

boomboomsaIoon1207 karma

Define shower handle. I'm assuming you have a store bought hand held shower head. And it doesn't swivel properly so when you shift it to wash yourself the supply line comes loose. Buy a better quality head

cahaseler771 karma

So the sink in my spare bathroom leaks. If I turn off both the hot and cold cutoff valves under the sink, it stops leaking, so it's been a dry sink for the last couple months. I've been meaning to call a plumber, but is this the kind of thing I can fix myself?

boomboomsaIoon1553 karma

Yes, you can fix it yourself. If by leaks you mean it constantly runs. (This would be easier with a picture of your faucet) the washers on the bottom of the valve stem are worn out. There are normally plastic caps in the top of the handles. Take them off, inside there will be a Phillips screw holding the handle on. Take the screw out and pull off the handle. While the water is off use a pair of pliers to take the nut that holds the stem in place off. The whole stem will come out of the faucet at this point. Take that stem with you to a hardware store and get a replacement washer (take the stem with you to match up the size of the new washer) if it is a ceramic disc style stem (you won't be able to see a washer) it's best to replace the stem. Look up a local faucet repair shop and they will be able to get new stems/seats for you.

Edit: you may have noticed a smell in that rest room. That is because you haven't been using it. There is a ptrap under that sink that is meant to be full of water to prevent sewer gasses from escaping the drain. Every once in a while you should go in there and run a little water. Just to keep that trap full and odor free

cahaseler403 karma

Sorry, I wasn't clear. It's the pipe/pipes under the sink that drips. So it leaks onto the floor rather than into the sink. :(

boomboomsaIoon1030 karma

Replace the supply lines. You can get easy to use stainless steel lines from any hardware store. It can be a pain in the ass if you don't have a basin wrench but you can still get it done with effort. The wrench is designed for close quarters

thatinternetzdude686 karma

I bought a house recently, and the master bath does not output any hotwater. If I move the lever to the hot side the water will just stop running, and conversely getting stronger the closer I get to full cold.

Also, I don't seem to have a shutoff valve anywhere for the master bath- is that common?

boomboomsaIoon1308 karma

Remove the trim of the faucet. The circular disk that is right against the wall hides the shut off valves. Sounds like they didn't open the hot side. It'll be a flat head screw

jvnmhc9543 karma

What's the most disgusting thing you had to do in your line of work?

boomboomsaIoon1106 karma

I had to lay an extension ladder on the ground above a sewage leak under a house and crawl on top of the ladder to keep myself out of the sewer and fix the leak

Tullimory672 karma

See stuff like this is why I hate plumbing. I can do most things but just plain don't want to. Thanks for letting me pay you to put up with this shit (heh).

boomboomsaIoon867 karma

I'm the same way about working on my car. I absolutely despise having grease on my hands

illegallygrown530 karma

Im 20 years old and in college, but am considering going into the trades. Im considering plumbing as well as a few others, but am wondering what the industry looks like right now for someone my age?

boomboomsaIoon992 karma

As long as people are alive we will need plumbing. It's not a trade that will go anywhere. It pays quite well and we need young blood

meatbulbz418 karma

Hey so the sink in my bathroom smells like sulfer farts. I get that the trap is probably full of all sorts of disgusting organic matter just rotting away. Hair, gunk, etc.

Problem is my sink is sitting atop a 'pedastal' free standing very close to the wall. I don't think I can get to the trap to clean it out. What do I do?

Additional question: How do I make my water hotter in the shower. I have on demand hot water. Do I adjust that device? Or allow the shower knob to open further?

boomboomsaIoon541 karma

The anode rod in the heater is bad. It can be pulled out and cut off to fix the problem but I recommend calling someone to do it as it can cause problems and you need special tools for it

FishStix157234 karma

I recently re-floored my upstairs bathroom with vinyl locking tile. I slightly lifted my toilet just enough to slide the tiles under(very slight). Ever since then, I've been hearing this back up sound through my pipes and to my sump every once and a while. Did I possibly break something while elevating the toilet? It sounds like a gurgling sound about twice a day.

boomboomsaIoon517 karma

No you moving the water closet has absolutely no effect on your drain. It might have broken the wax seal, but you would see water on the floor if that happened. A gurgle in the toilet is a sign of a partial stoppage in your sewer line. If I were you I would let it ride until it stops up. But I can fix my own issues. If you have another water closet in the house, flush it and then go back to the problem closet. If the water in the bowl is moving that proves you have a stoppage. You can either rent a sewer machine and be very careful while using it (the machine can break you, literally, it can put you in the hospital) or you need to call a professional.

N7RN199 karma

A few days ago, I accidentally flushed a plastic fork. I haven't had any issues so far, but should I be worried? Should I report it to building maintenance or something?

boomboomsaIoon381 karma

Yes. The fork may not have made it out of the toilet. Take a big wad of toilet paper and flush it. If the toilet stops up the fork is stuck in the toilet and will continue to cause problems. If you are able to flush multiple wads of toilet paper I wouldn't worry

Masturbating_Beatle186 karma

Have you ever had a "porn scene" unfold in front of you and actually gone through with it?

Very interesting AMA, thank you!

boomboomsaIoon479 karma

Yes and no. I had a woman who I promise wanted to get a good pounding. But I couldn't act because of sexual harassment shit. If she had grabbed me it would have been on

capnuck184 karma

Liquid "Plumber" and other chemicals. Effective or not worth the damage to the pipes?

boomboomsaIoon326 karma

Absolutely the worst thing you can do to a drain line

ajw827175 karma

Have you ever had people invite you to join their holiday parties, meals if you're over fixing their toilets/sinks?

boomboomsaIoon317 karma

Yea, many times. Have been called out to a party then asked to stay

Theodore_the_python142 karma

My bathrooms shower/tub faucet drips constantly at a steady drop or two every 3 seconds, what can i do to fix it?

boomboomsaIoon166 karma

You need to replace the washers on the stems, possibly the seats too. For more DIY instructions in need a photo of your faucet and you will need to purchase seat wrenches (possibly)

Anti_Wil127 karma

My house used to be a duplex so we have two of everything. The water upstairs has stopped working but I'm having trouble finding where the lines leading upstairs are. What's the best way to trace it without tearing walls apart. And what could be the cause?.

boomboomsaIoon176 karma

I've never heard of the water just not working. Sounds like there's debris in the stop valves. Take them off and clean them out

Nameless_301115 karma

Is there a special way to determine where pipes are creaking from hot water expansion? and if I find them what type of brackets should I use to secure them?

anytime I turn on the hot water you can hear creaking in the wall but it's really hard to pinpoint exactly where.

boomboomsaIoon205 karma

That's because they didn't drill a hole big enough. The only way to stop it is to find the tight fit cut the pipe out and make a bigger hole. You're 100% right that it's expansion. Probably sounds like water dripping in the wall. Cheapest route is to just deal with it. It won't cause any problems

mikeythehog102 karma

When changing solenoids in the old American Standard urinals that had the solenoid in the top of it, how do you keep the o-rings in the female couplings when putting the pipes back together?

boomboomsaIoon118 karma

All of the o rings on every Flush valve I've seen have been fixed in place. That sounds like a play it by ear situation.

DrLawyerson52 karma

Solenoid.... In a urinal? What the actual fuck am I missing.

I thought that was a car part..

Edit: thanks for the explanations

ferrouswolf291 karma

Just an electrically actuated valve, that's all.

boomboomsaIoon54 karma


KillTheRadio97 karma

Does this sound serious? A week ago we noticed that there was a leak from the upstairs glass shower. In the room below it on the ceiling there is a brown water spot, that has been getting bigger. It goes away if we don't use the shower.

It seems to be from the drain in the shower, because if we just don't use the shower and throw water down the drain(from another source) the spot appears again.

Is this something that would require us to take out the ceiling?

KJ6BWB432 karma

Yes, you'll need to open the ceiling. Bite the bullet and do it sooner rather than later, because you're likely getting some crazy water damage up there. Rotting wood, growing mildew, the longer you put it off the worse is going to be. It might be that a simple small hole will suffice to fix the problem. But the longer you put it off, the worse it's going to be.

boomboomsaIoon265 karma

Good man. Thanks for answering this one for me

Dat_Das89 karma

What's the weirdest reason for a call you've ever had?

boomboomsaIoon422 karma

Hmm I don't know about the weirdest reason for a call. But I once had to tell a man his wife was cheating on him and then charge him for it.

nlp4979 karma

Story time?

percygreen233 karma

He found condoms or some other form of birth control in the sewer line. I guarantee it. Every plumber I ever worked with told me the same exact story.

boomboomsaIoon415 karma

Hundreds of condoms in a septic tank

Sifu-tz78 karma

My dishwasher often has ponding water in the bottom. What do you suggest?

Thank you for this, not enough people realize how important clean water is to society. I mean it's taken for granted.

Edit* thanks for all the great answers!

boomboomsaIoon96 karma

There should be a tall loop in the drain from the dishwasher to your sink. If It is just laid on the bottom of the cabinet then that's why the water is pooling

chipwithdip75 karma

The plastic drain pipe underneath my sink have a leak. They have the plastic fitters on the joints that hand tighten. I've tried a few different times fixing it but it still leaks. Should it be replaced?

boomboomsaIoon138 karma

Yes get a new one from a hardware store. The beveled washers that come with it create the seal, the nut is tightened down to push the washer into place. Get it hand tight and then give it a 1/4 turn with a pair of pliers. Don't over tighten it as you can break the nut

boomboomsaIoon43 karma

The ring has nothing to do with the rock. It's the floor that's not level. Get some toilet shims from a hardware store and put them in the back of the toilet. Never the front.

boomboomsaIoon38 karma

Tell your husband to not attempt to fix something he has no idea what to do with. We literally charge more for that. Secondly. The plastic drain cleaning things are great. I've used a few in the past. If it broke in your drain the drain needs to be taken apart so it can be removed. I recommend calling a professional

WhyBePC19 karma

What are your thoughts about drain bladders?

Also, best way to keep a drain flowing smoothly that is in a laundry room. (lots of hair, soap, etc) What's the best solution? Do bacterial and enzyme treatments work?

boomboomsaIoon34 karma


LSUtiger19045 karma

Is being a real plumber anything like it is in adult films? Need career advice

KJ6BWB18 karma

It all depends on how good looking you are. If they ask whether or not you're single, ask whether they're asking for themselves or for a friend. But usually people just want the job done and you gone.

boomboomsaIoon25 karma

Thank you for helping me. I'm getting way behind on the comments and you seem to know what you're doing

n0laloth3 karma

I have old school water radiator heating in my apartment. Why is that one in my bed room warm even though it's turned off? And how can I fix that?

boomboomsaIoon4 karma

Sounds like it's running on a circulation pump.

JaxDrone2 karma

The water supply lines on my sinks have Accor valves and they sometimes turn off on their own. Is there a building code that would prevent me from replacing them with turn valves?

boomboomsaIoon2 karma


Jimjamjelly2 karma

My en suite sink and shower drains block at least once or twice a year. I use drain unblocker and try keep my hair out of the drain but it's recurring. Currently waiting on drainage men to call over yet again. Any tips on preventing it?

boomboomsaIoon3 karma

Never ever ever put any chemical down your drain. With prolonged use they will stop up your drain permanently. The best thing to do is clean out the hair manually

DoctorStrangeMD1 karma

My toilet is running ever so slowly.

Replaced the flapper, still running. Replaced the flapper and the seal (where it sits) in case the seal and flapper weren't smooth, still running.

When I look in the tank, I don't see any leaking or bubbles at all. When I look in the toilet bowl, it does seem like maybe there's a little bit of water dripping from the upper/inside of the bowl.

Any advice? Thanks!

boomboomsaIoon5 karma

It could be the fill tube (the tube that extends above the water level in the center of the tank) leaking or if the fill valve has a tube that is too far into the fill tube it can siphon the tank. The fact that the water moves in the toilet bowl lets you known something is leaking

boomboomsaIoon0 karma

Compression is just as good as solid connections. The vent should already be there if you paid someone to do it. And yes you need it. It is there to prevent the toilet from siphoning itself and keep the bowl full enough to flush properly

DerpDerpingtonIV0 karma

For my downstairs bathroom I turned the flow down so that in the summer the tank fills up slower. This helped keep the bowl from sweating.

However, it leaks when I turn the shutoff, so I am afraid to turn it back up in the winter. And people who use the bathroom and need to double flush are SOL. (LoL)

In fact all my toilet valves always leak if I turn them, should they be replaced? Is there a valve that wont have that problem?

Also, a guy at work was telling me about these Shark Bite fittings, are they any good or should I just learn how to solder?

boomboomsaIoon4 karma

Shark bite has saved my life more than once. A better connection is a soldier joint. But thank god for shark bite in situations where the torch would burn a vent or the house down

boomboomsaIoon2 karma

Behind the handle that you turn to shut the valve off there is a hex nut. This is a packing nut that has a rubber washer in it that tightens around the stem to stop water from leaking through the handle. It just needs to be tightened

j1tt3r2 karma

shit the valve off

O, you!

EDIT: Aw you fixed it...

boomboomsaIoon1 karma

Lol yea I caught it late, on the plus side my phone doesn't say shut anymore when I'm trying to say shit