Fixtures, like fashion, have an expiration date. Nothing says “dated” like chunky Lucite handles atop your lavatory. Today’s styles focus on sleek, sturdy castings plated in chrome, nickel or specialty finishes. With a little planning, Pinterest idea, a few tools, and a visit to a reputable hardware store, a new faucet can be installed in about an hour. It’s a win-win for everyone.

The Hard Part: Planning and Removal
The old saw about the 5 P’s — “Proper planning prevents poor performance” always rings true in plumbing. With lavatory faucets, there are a few things to consider before you begin:

• Ensure that you have enough access space (and lighting) to install the faucet.
• Remember to turn off the water supply (there should be a shut-off valve on each supply line)
• Place a bucket or catch basin under the plumbing to catch leaks and excess water.
• Remove the old faucet and measure the distance between the holes (from the center hole to the outer holes) on the sink to determine the type of faucet that can be installed.
• If the distance is 6″ or greater, a wide-spread faucet is needed.
• If the distance is 4″, a center-spread faucet is needed.
• Most faucets come “kitted” and include all the parts you will need to complete the job.

Putting the new parts into the old holes is fairly straightforward (there are a million YouTube videos available for guidance). Give special consideration to the fitting connections – avoid overtightening fittings (NOTE: porcelain sinks are easily cracked by overtightening fittings). Also, if using braided supply lines, hold it steady when tightening fittings – it’s easy to twist the line and constrict the water flow.

Performing the Installation
Generally speaking, bathroom faucet installation requires 6 high-level steps and a few basic tools (a basin wrench, Allen wrenches, a pipe cutter, an adjustable wrench and a larger “tongue-and-groove” plier).

1. Install the spout and tighten the nut (by hand – see note above about over-tightening)

2. Install the hot and cold water valves for the handles

3. Fit the faucet handles onto the valves – this includes installing the braided lines and their compression fittings (again, do not over-tighten the compression fittings. Note: these instructions do not address installation of rigid supply lines. We recommend contacting Allied Reddi-Rooter for assistance.

4. Install the drain collar – it’s the chrome finish piece that fits over the drain tailpiece.

5. Connect the pop-up assembly (the drain stopper and rod used to open or close the lavatory drain).

6. Check for leaks – once everything appears assembled, turn on the water supply and check for leaks around all connection points. Also, verify that the hot water and the cold water are attached to the correct handles (attaching the “hot” to the “cold” handle happens more often than one might think).

Water You Waiting For? Sometimes, a simple DIY plumbing project becomes more of a headache than a pleasure. If you love the idea of a new bathroom fixture but would rather have someone else perform the installation, the professionals at Allied Reddi-Rooter are available in a snap. Call today for a free estimate and a prompt appointment. (513) 396-5300.

A few years ago when my father was ill, the challenges of caring for an elderly person with mobility needs became painfully clear. My father chose to live in Florida, in a mobile home park during his declining years. While the sun and salt air did wonders for his spirits, his mobile home quickly became a dangerous trap for one with physical limitations.

Bidets, hand-held showers, hand rails, and more
During his illness, my father was committed to remaining at home; we were committed to helping him there. When it came time to assist with bathing and toileting, it quickly became clear we were under-prepared. In hindsight, with just a few improvements in the bathroom, we could have prevented much bruising to everyone’s dignity.

Replace a toilet with a bidet – For those with severe mobility issues or dehydrating illnesses, the simple act of wiping can be impossible to perform alone. According to eHow.com, “A bidet washes away feces and urine by directing a pressurized stream of water at the user’s perineal area. Washing [this] area with a bidet after each bathroom use allows both men and women to maintain a cleaner private area. The clean skin created by using a bidet is less likely to allow the growth of bacteria, which may lead to infection or irritation. Conversely, toilet paper is more likely to spread bacteria throughout the genital and rectal regions during wiping.”

Give thought to bathing – When a person is bedridden most of the day, bathing is difficult. Below are a few tips for a better bathing experience:

Handicap-accessible showers – The key is to eliminate the standard “curb” that exists on most household showers. Removal of the curb enables wheelchair bound or the very weak to enter the shower, safely.

Hand-held shower devices – Getting an mobility-challenged person into a shower (or tub) is only half the equation. Getting them clean, in a dignified manner, is the other half. Installing a hand-held shower device is an expensive approach to effective bathing and hair-washing.

Grab bars/transfer devices – According to YourSpecialNeedsSolutions.com, a proper tub or shower support structure is key. “A strategically placed transfer system such as a pole with a pivoting bar is an extremely useful fixture in a bathroom for a disabled person.” And for those of us who are older, but not mobility challenged, grab bars are an excellent fixture to have in a bathtub or shower. Grab bars provide a bit of extra stability needed when entering and exiting. Porcelain is slippery when wet, just like people.

Tub chairs – For an inexpensive way to quickly improve bath time safety, molded plastic tub chairs are a fast and easy approach.

Water controls/soap dishes – When people are bathing from a seated position, the entire bathing dynamic changes. In a typical shower, the location of the faucet and handles, soap dish and shampoo shelves are designed for standers, not sitters. Be aware that if the caregiver has to overly reach in order to access toiletries, it can create a potential slipping hazard for the one being bathed. Wet people are slippery people.

Walk-in bath tubs – For those planning ahead or making major bathroom renovations to accommodate mobility concerns, a walk-in bath tub has a side-entry door and low curb, enabling the bather to walk into the tub.

Water You Waiting For? Helping loved ones maintain independence and dignity throughout their life is an act of love and compassion. Ray’s team of experienced professionals can help you either design a new, ADA-compliant bathroom or make improvements to your existing one. Allied Reddi-Rooter works within your budget, goals, and timeframe. Call Ray today for a free estimate. 513-396-5300.

Dear Ray,
We’ve noticed the annual return of mosquitos in our backyard. We love spending time on the patio–grilling, gardening, and outdoor family time are among our favorite things. Spraying insect repellant and breathing citronella candle smoke are not. We’ve isolated the problem to a low, wet spot in our yard that is a mosquito breeding ground. Can you help?

Ray Responds…
The short answer is, of course Allied Reddi-Rooter can help. Standing water (a.k.a. groundwater) can be tricky – in most areas, groundwater is a code-sensitive topic. The longer answer is, Allied ensures that groundwater mitigation is performed in accordance with local groundwater codes to ensure compliance with your municipality. Typically, your options include:
• Downspout adjustments/replacements
• Drainage tiles (repair, replacement, or new installations)
• French drains

Let’s examine each option a little further.
Downspouts – If water is pooling around your home or entering your basement, downspouts are generally the culprit. There are a couple of approaches, depending on your needs. Downspout diverters can be installed and let you captured rainwater into a rain barrel for use in watering the garden, washing the car, etc. Downspout drains are a common and inexpensive way to route water away from your home’s foundation. In older Cincinnati homes, many downspouts are tied to the main drainage tile (the downspout goes into the ground and connects to the tile, routing the rainwater to storm drains). Over time, the underground tiles can crack and the system become broken, resulting in standing water. If that’s the case, refer to the next bullet.

Drainage tiles (repair, replacement, or new installations) – If your yard has a constant ‘soft spot’ or the driveway drain floods at the slightest rainfall (followed by tiny trees growing up through the grate), you likely have a damaged main drain tile. Although damaged tiles look intimidating to repair, with the right equipment and talent, it’s completely fixable. A qualified plumber will perform a “locate and trace” operation to find the path of the tile in your yard and minimize trenching. Once the tile is located and the break is isolated, the old one is removed and a new one installed. Note that it’s not uncommon to have multiple breaks in a tile, especially if your home is more than 50 years old.

French drains – French drains (or the shallower version called “curtain drains”) take advantage of the “water flows downhill” concept. Typically, a French drain installation involves trenching, a gravel bed, and a length of drainage vented plastic pipe, and a top layer of gravel. The key to a successful execution of this type of project is defining where the water will go. Routing it to your neighbor’s yard is just wrong. Diverting the water to a drainage ditch, an outlying area of your property, a “dry well” or the street may be acceptable. Familiarity with local groundwater codes beforehand is crucial to success. A professional plumber such as Allied can help scope ground water drainage solutions in a way that is compliant with local environmental codes.

Water You Waiting For? At Allied, we love family-friendly back yards and operating the trencher. We do not like mosquitos. Call Ray today for a free estimate turning your backyard wet spots into a playground in no time. 513-396-5300.

It’s hard to put wrapping paper on the gift of discount plumbing labor for Mother’s Day, but Allied loves to try new things and what better time to do it than on Mom’s special day (week). From this Sunday through next Sunday, May 17, Allied is giving every Mom a 20% discount on all plumbing labor. Like the above promotion says: Call us for a comparative quote. If you like the price, hire us. When we’re finished giving you the best service in the business, pull out your 20% discount coupon and get the absolute best value. Any of you Dads out there who feel left out can take us up on the offer too, but be sure to disguise your voice to try and fool Ray.

Click here to print the 20% Off Coupon.