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Angie's Answers


Take off the lid to the tank and check inside.  There should be a small hose going into a larger pipe near the middle of the tank right next to the flapper.  When you flush the toilet water squirts from that hose into the pipe.  If it isn't in place put it back so that water goes down that pipe once again.  This is what refills your bowl.  If water does not come out of the little hose check to see if it is kinked or blocked.  You can take it off and blow air through it.  Don't worry, it's only clean water that goes through the hose.  If it is clear and water does not come out of the short pipe where it attaches on the flush valve then there is a clog in that valve and it will probably need to be replaced.  These are $10-20 at any home improvement store and even Wal-Mart.  The instructions are simple and you can do it yourself in about 15 minutes.  Check the washer on the supply hose to the toilet while it is off to replace the flush valve.  If it is old or worn replace the hose as well.  It is cheap insurance of only a few dollars which is a lot cheaper than a failed hose or washer causing water to leak.


If you don't feel comfortable replacing the fill valve, if it is needed, a handyman can do it fairly cheap.  Whereas a plumber or other contractor will have a minimum charge of $100-200 a handyman might do it for about $50.


Todd Shell

Todd's Home Services

San Antonio, TX


From the sounds of it, you have a clog between the floor drain and the connection to the city sewer (unless you have a septic tank).  The lower flow rates of sinks / showers / dishwashers probable don't cause a backup like the washing machine does.  A couple of suggestions.

1.  Snake the drain line with a spade tip snake, twisting the snake as you advance it.  This should clear the partial blockage.

 2.  If feasable, have your washing machine discharge into a utility sink and put a strainer on the drain to catch the clothing fibre (fibres and grease from the sink probably made the clog in the first place not to mention a garbage disposal).

3.  Replace your floor drain with one that has a backflow preventer (looks like there is a ping pong ball in it).

 Good Luck

It is not uncommon for a plumber to have to go get the parts necessary to repair and complete the job.  It is very hard to determine what the problem is over the phone and it is not until the repair process begins that the parts needed to resolve the problem is discovered.  It may also depend on if the plumber is using hourly rates or per job rates.  I would hope the time to get the parts would be minimal and the charge would be as well!

Well , you've certainly started a debate that will endure forever , but personally , having worked with both products , PEX is a better product . Now granted , the 1st time i used it

I was not impressed , cause it leaked.......NOT because the product was at fault, it was because I did not understand how to use the product !

The trick to using Pex , is to make certain that the fittings seat, they MUST be pushed together with force, and if you do not push with force to get the seat to seal, it leaks .

Therefore , when using PEX , you have constantly to be aware of leaving room to make your connections -Properly !

The beauty of PEX is that it bends , it is flexible and decreases the labor factor ,although the connection costs are often 100-300 % higher than copper , but again , it can cut labor costs in half  and it is safer to work with,  NO FLAMEs!

FYI: CPVC and PEX are two different materials and installed differently.  PEX is not intended to be glued but instead has special crimp fittings.  PEX is a brand name of one product that is manufactured slightly differently by others as well so it is important that the same brand fittings are used to match the pipe material.

Mobile homes used CPVC for years and some still do.  It works fine but is not as strong as a properly soldered copper pipe system.  Is the contractor installing this new plumbing a licensed plumber?  I'd be surprised if he is since he's using CPVC and not PEX (or similar) or copper.  PEX pipe is even cheaper than CPVC when run by a knowledgable plumber.  It doesn't require nearly as many joints since it comes in rolls and can flex through spaces easily.

There are some groups raising a fuss about BPA and other chemicals found in plastics that don't like the use of CPVC, PVC, or PEX pipe.  I haven't seen the results of any lab tests to confirm or dispute their concerns.  As far as durability goes it's fairly safe as long as it's properly installed and secured.  It is not as susceptible to hard water damage as copper.  It absolutely must be insulated along it's entire length to protect it from contact to other materials as well as freezing.  Also, the fixtures in the house need to be grounded electrically since the pipe itself provides no electrical protection against accidental shock or electrocution.  In a copper plumbed house the system is grounded so static electricity, a short in a wire near a water line, or lightning strike will carry the current out through the pipe instead of through the water to you, ideally.

If it's installed correctly you should be fine but make sure the contractor knows what he is doing and follows the proper procedures to use CPVC pipe.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services
It is usually cheaper to remove part of the ceiling below and patch it after the leak has been repaired.  Remember that water can travel before settling in one area, causing the spot you've seen.  Just because it is below the toilet does not mean that the toilet is the problem.  The cheapest option is to pull the toilet and check the floor around the wax ring to see if it has been leaking.  A new wax ring only costs a few dollars.  When was the last time you caulked the shower in that bathroom?  The water can leak around the corners or at the door (if you have one) and travel along the floor joists until it pools in a lower spot on the ceiling below, then seep through.  It could also be a seal at the drain of the tub or shower. 

I get a few calls a year for this sort of thing.  It's usually something simple but can be a nightmare to diagnose, especially if the problem is intermittent.  Start with the simple possibilities and use deductive reasoning to narrow the possibilities.  Before you do a lot of damage it may pay off to hire a reputable contractor to help you make sure you've exhausted all of the imple and more obvious possibilities.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services

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