Fixing the house or closing up the cottage? - Top 10 plumbing tips

    STIRLING, ON, Sept. 11 /CNW/ - As the summer draws to a close, many
Canadians are considering home renovations or closing up the cottage for
another year. Patrick Donovan, Master Plumber and Author of "Looking through
the Plumber's Crack: Dispelling the Myths of Plumbing", has some tips to help
make either project run smoothly and successfully.

    - Choose the right toilet. If renovating your washroom is top of mind in
      the coming months, make sure to choose the right toilet. The new high
      efficiency toilets available on the market will help save money and
      future plunging. Stick to brand names like American Standard for
      superior flushing power and reliability.

    - Shut off the main water source. If you are closing the family cottage
      for the year, make sure to turn off the main water source and replace
      leaky faucets. Additionally, install a "snifter valve" which allows you
      to blow out the waterlines with an air compressor. This will prevent
      water from getting trapped in the lines and freezing. The last thing
      you want to do is find your cottage under water or extensively
      repairing pipes in the summer of 2009.

    - Increase pressure in your showerhead. Whether it's first thing in the
      morning or right before bed, everyone enjoys a hot, relaxing shower. If
      you increase pressure in your showerhead, you will feel refreshed in
      mere minutes. Simply remove the water saving flow restrictor out of the
      head itself and presto - instant pressure.

    - Increase water pressure in your whole house. You can increase the water
      pressure in your house through a booster pump, which is affixed to your
      main waterline and will increase the pressure by building it up to a
      desired pressure you gauge. Increasing water pressure will eliminate
      any pressure lost when other fixtures are used at the same time.

    - Inspect your drains. Plumbers can inspect your drains using a special
      camera - a 'see-snake'. Through drain inspection, a plumber can
      determine potential blockages and pipes in need of repair. Find
      potential problems before they become serious and expensive ones.

    - Reverse Osmosis. Reverse Osmosis is the answer to buying bottled water.
      You will have safe, clean, sodium-free, refreshing drinking water at
      your finger tips. It will save you money and is environmentally
      friendly (less bottles at the landfill or recycling plant).

    - Replace washing machine hoses. Prevent a flood by replacing old,
      damaged washing and dishwashing machine hoses. Rule of thumb for
      washing machine hoses are to replace them every four years, but you can
      stretch the timing by a couple of years if you install a braided
      stainless steel washing machine hose. Remember, duct tape is not
      suitable for repairing everything in your house or cottage - especially
      damaged water hoses.

    - Change the guts of your toilet. Every so often, change the mechanisms
      in your toilet. Start with a more efficient fill valve system, which
      detects leaks that aren't always visible (causing high water bills).
      Change your flapper to ensure a proper seal and at the same time,
      change your supply line. Keeping your toilet upgraded will increase its

    - Revitalize your taps. Keeping your taps revitalized and in tip top
      shape is key to saving money and future headaches. Using three simple
      tools - a set of pliers, a screwdriver, and a seat remover (this is
      what the washer sits on) - will get the job done efficiently and

    - Invest in a water softener. Investing in a water softener will help to
      eliminate soap scum from your dishes and appliances; save money by
      cutting down on the amount of soap you use; increase your skin's
      softness; and save the longevity of your fixtures. It removes the
      calcium in the water that erodes your pipes and fixtures and strips
      away the oils in your skin that keep your skin soft.

    More tips are available in Patrick's book, "Looking through the Plumber's
Crack: Dispelling the Myths of Plumbing". It is a straight-on and, at times,
satirical look at the whacky world of plumbing through his eyes. This "how not
to" book is available online at <a href=""></a>.

For further information:

For further information: Patrick Donovan, Donovan Plumbing, (613)

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