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Plumbing 101

  • , by Trudy Chuoke Trudy Chuoke

How many of you have replaced a toilet lately? It’s pricey, right? I was lucky that when I put in new toilets in the new house, my son-in-law was still in San Antonio, and he installed them for me. And if you are moving into a new house and want new toilets, I get that. But I want to show my customers that you can save money on restoring your old toilet. In fact, we have made a 4-foot section in our plumbing department just for that.

Usually, people replace toilets because they don’t flush well. They end up having to flush twice to clear the bowl. Maybe they have stains in the toilet that they can’t seem to get clean. If you are on well water the tank might be stained with minerals. And a stained tank will leave stains in the bowl that look like rust. To be honest with you, is cleaning the toilet you favorite job? Let me tell you a story of a product that has been on our shelves for decades.


Many years back when my dad was young, he had a friend that had a chemical company. They sold products to hospitals and ran into each other many times. Well one time Dad’s friend explained to him that he was ready to retire and none of his family wanted to run the chemical company. Short story--he GAVE my dad the formulas of the products that he sold to the hospitals. One of those products was Delete Germ. It was essential to the hospitals to use it in the restrooms and patient rooms because it dissolved hard water and most important was a disinfectant. It had never been introduced to the retail community. But can you imagine – a product that could handle all the use of a hospital, could be used now by a homeowner. So why would you use Delete Germ? It will make your toilet flush better. It will clean your toilet of any stain. And it is a disinfectant. Use it weekly in the bowl and down the over-flow pipe in the tank and you can clean your toilet from the inside out.


But what about the tank? Lift the lid on yours. You will see a ring of hard water probably an inch wide and you might see rust stain from your water. And those stains will migrate down into the bowl. So, take care of the tank. Use Instant Power Tank Cleaner. This product used to be called Hurri-Clean and it was owned by a young family. He sold it to Instant Power, and they did not change the formula.


How about a new flush valve? Fluidmaster 400A is what you should use. The great part is when you need to replace it (hard water will be the culprit) you can just slip another one in its place. Is your flapper leaking water into the bowl? That’s called “ghost flushing,” and it’s a real water waster. Turn off the water at the supply and flush the toilet. Clean the seal that the flapper drops on with sandpaper. That will remove any hard water granules. Are you starting to see a theme here? Then replace the flapper. Take your old flapper to the hardware store and match it up. Or use a Frugal Flush Flapper. Frugal Flush is a flapper that has a dial at the bottom to adjust to your needs. And it will last longer because it is made of Elastomeric polymer.


Replacing a toilet will cost you around $800 for parts and labor. Keeping the toilet clean and replacing necessary parts will cost you around $90. If you are ever in San Antonio, come to the plumbing department and let us show you how to save money. I named the area, “Potty Training.”


Did you know we do a live radio show every Saturday on WOAI and live stream it on Facebook.  Then we upload it to YouTube.  There are lots of tips – go to the website and look up this article and follow the link to the show.


Now to the email…..


Question: I have a large dog, and his urine is turning the grass yellow. Is there anything I can do?

Answer: I looked this up, and if you can train him to use one area of the yard, then you can plant ground cover in the area. Evidently, ground cover is more tolerant. Also, water in these areas dilutes the nitrogen and salts in the urine.






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