Taps: Has your tap sprung a leak?

It could be due to defective washers, worn out threads or an eroded seat. A dripping tap you’ll agree is an intolerable nuisance and not to be encouraged. Besides wastage of precious water, it can leave permanent discolouring stains.

Worn out washers are easy to replace, if you have the right tools and a set of spare washers. The multipurpose spanner and washers (nylon/fibre) are adequate for the job. Use nylon washers for cold-water taps and the fibre washers for hot water taps.

If you are novice or untrained in plumbing skills, call in a professional and observe him carefully at work. The next time a washer gives way, you can tap your own skills.

Don’t loose your sleep over worn out threads or eroded seats. Change the tap for a new one, which costs no more than Rs. 300/-.

However, this contingency should not arise for the first five years atleast.

Wash basins can be kept sparkling and clean by using sponge and some good detergent like Vim twice a week.

A provision is made below the wash basin for a bottle-trap to catch heavier particles of dirt and food, so as not to clog the drainage pipes. This bottle-trap accumulates dirt with the passage of time and your unwitting help preventing free flow of water, resulting in a ‘choked’ basin. Just unscrew the bottle trap and do the needful.

A sink cleaner can also do a quick job of clearing obstructions. Place it over the drainage hole of the wash basin, exert yourself by pumping hard a few times. Clear? Well Done!

Wash basins are fitted firmly into the walls and supported with the aid of strong brackets. However, don’t lean on them to test their strength while brushing your teeth, or make little’ Tinku’ sit on the edge to pee. They are not designed for that purpose.

Kitchen Sink: Avoid dropping bits of left-overs, vegetable refuse, pieces of paper/plastic, small items of garbage down your sink, unless the plumber is a family friend, whose visits you look forward to.

Use the waste bins instead to dump waste all over in sink; wash basins, bathrooms. This will prevent clogging and hefty plumbing bills from burning a hole in your wallet.

A clogged sink can also be cleared with a Sink Cleaner as described earlier (see WASH BASINS). A readily available chemical called Drainex can also be used for the purpose. Follow the instructions on the packet.

Stop cocks these are used to turn off the water supply when fixing worn out washers, taps or plumbing, and to prevent unnecessary wastage and splashing of water. For leakages around the spindle, stopcocks can be fixed using plumbing tape. Turn the spindle in and out once in a while, when you’re in the mood, to prevent it from getting stuck. A seized stopcock can be freed by oiling it or warming it with hot water.

If you still don’t take stopcocks seriously, you’ll realize their importance when you have to fix some plumbing problem and have to climb all the way up to the terrace to turn off the main valve- after getting the secretary’s permission, if he’s not already left for work: securing the keys from the watchman, if he’s around; and informing the occupants supplied by the same mains line, to bear with you for a while.

Water closet This consists of four important units that are vital to its functioning:
Commode This is made of burnt clay material like the wash basin and is as delicate and can be maintained as attractively. But, it is a lot costlier and bothersome to replace, if damaged. A Bewildering variety of brushes and chemicals like FLUSH KLEEN are available in the market for the purpose of cleaning. Take your pick.

Cistern Flush Tanks The common problems encountered here are listed below:
– Over flowing of water from the cistern.
– No flow of water from the cistern.
– Inadequate flushing action.
– Continuos weak running of water.
– Flush operating lever inoperative.

Overflow occurs due to some obstruction in the free movement of the plunger. Remedy? The plunger casing needs to be cleaned and freed from dirt.

No flow of water even after depressing the lever, occurs when cistern is empty of water. This could bebecause of no water supply, internal obstruction in the supply pipe or the stopcock being turned off. Both, identification and rectification of the fault is simple.

Inadequate flushing is due to water not filling up to the required level in the cistern. This is due to a damaged float resulting in defective float action. The float ball can be easily replaced by unscrewing off the old one and screwing on a new one onto the threaded end of the float rod.

Continuous weak running water occurs due to an air-lock in the siphon of the cistern. Clear up the air-lock by opening the siphon system.

Flush operating lever becomes ineffective when the cotter pin connecting the handle and the siphon get disjointed or loose. The cotter pin needs to be repositioned or replaced if broken.

Plastic Seat & Cover Seats are attached to the commode by two nuts, which tend to get loose with use. Tighten the nuts whenever this happens. Use of spring washers or double nuts is recommended as they prevent the nuts from frequently loosening and keep the seat (and the seated) in place.

Connecting Pipe If the connecting pipe, i.e the channel between the commode and the external drainage pipe should ever develop a problem, it is best to seek professional help, since it involves the handling of delicate joints. A minor problem like a loose joint may be fixed yourself with M-Seal.

Nahani Trap : These are fixed over drainage outlets under the kitchen sink and in bathroom corners to prevent large particles of waste matter from entering and fouling up the drainage system. Firmly instruct your servants not to try and remove these traps to dump the trapped waste into the drains. This could result in your house being flooded with foul-smelling waste. Daily removal of any trapped waste from the surface and cleaning will keep the Nahani Traps clear of problems.

Use mastic or M-Seal to fill any gaps between the circular edges of the trap and the floor tiles.

When the trap needs replacement, make sure that the trap and tiles are at the same level. In no case should the trap be higher than the floor level. It will cause accumulation of water in your bathrooms with the possibility of it overflowing into the adjoining rooms, creating a mess that’s no fun to clean up.

Take care to see that no unwanted materials go through commode, wash basin or Nahani trap such as coconut shells, Banana peels, food, leftover even veg/ nonveg, so as to avoid choking. (e.g. hair, cloth (non dispersible). Food leftovers, any other debris from repair work, wood shavings, all such materials should go via waste bins for disposal.

DRINKING WATER: Pass the water through Aqua Guard before drinking. In absence of Aqua guard, use water filter. As per Ayurveda, keep habit of drinking Luke warm water; avoid cold drinks.

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