May, 2019 Plumbing Services Newsletter

"I sure appreciated how quick and cost effectively you guys took care of my leaking copper pipes under the house this past summer. Highly recommend you to anyone I know who needs plumbing service!"

Andy Krivy, owner of Infinity Signs, Boise, Idaho


Most Useful Tools for the DIY Plumber

Plumbers Toolbox

There are two special holidays coming up soon – Mother’s Day & Father’s Day.  No matter who handles the plumbing problems at your house this could be the perfect opportunity to make sure they have a properly stocked toolbox to address home plumbing issues.  Here are a list of the most useful tools that a DIY plumber should keep on-hand.

  1. Pliers – this seems like an obvious one, and it’s likely something you already have, but every plumber will need a set of water pump pliers or slip-joint pliers with nice long handles to allow you to grab on to virtually any size or shape of pipe.
  2. Pipe Wrench – this tool goes hand-in-hand with your pliers.  There are times when the pliers may not be ideal, such as when dealing with a pipe made of iron or steel which are both softer metals.  In these situations the pipe wrench is the perfect choice.
  3. Flange Plunger – this is your modern day plunger.  Say goodbye to your old plunger and get one that’s shaped perfectly to clear virtually any clog.  This plunger upgrade is worth spending a few dollars on.  Plus nothing says “Happy Mother’s Day” like a new plunger!
  4. Basin Wrench – this tool is a must-have for getting into those difficult to access places.  The design of this wrench has a long shaft and swiveling jaw making it perfect for those awkwardly located pipes.
  5. Sink Auger – this helpful tool will address sink clogs both big and small.  It works like a rotating snake for your drain.  It can be a great way to save some money by helping you get rid of tough clogs that would otherwise require a plumber.
  6. Hacksaw – if you live in an older home you’ve likely come across rusted screws or pipes that need to be completely removed.  There’s no better tool than a hacksaw to get that done.  It’ll saw through virtually anything you come across in your home’s plumbing.
  7. Sink Plunger – you can really never have too many different types of plungers.  A sink plunger works the same as a toilet plunger, but is a smaller design and is well suited for addressing clogs in the sink.  It’s a good first-line-of-defense for sink problems.
  8. Rubber Washers – given that the majority of leaks and drips are a result of a rubber washer or gasket failing over time, it’s a good idea to have a small supply of these on-hand for quick replacement.  They’re inexpensive and having them can save you an unplanned trip to the hardware store.

When you start thinking of mom and dad this year give their plumbing supplies a second look.  You can really only buy so many flowers and grilling tongs, mix it up this year!




Mother’s Day Wine Rack

Wine Rack

Looking for something totally unique to give mom for Mother’s Day this year?  It turns out the internet is full of great ways to use common plumbing supplies to make great gifts.  You can make everything from birdhouses to jewelry holders to a wine rack, all from PVC pipe.  Make your wine rack fit mom’s style by leaving the pipes white for a clean, classic look or spray painting them any color that matches her décor.


4” PVC Pipe – any quantity you like but typically 6-8 looks nice
Spray Primer
Spray Paint
Plumbing Adhesive
Industrial-Strength Velcro

Begin by cutting the PVC pipe to the desired length.  A typical wine bottle is about 12” long but you can also cut the pipe to match the depths of your cupboards if installing in the kitchen. If you don’t have a hacksaw, or prefer not to make a mess, many hardware stores will cut the pipe to length for you.

Next sand the edges to be nice and smooth and then wipe the outside of the pipes with the acetone.  This will ensure that the paint will adhere properly and remove oils and dust.  Now you’re ready to spray all the pipes with primer and ultimately with the paint color of your choosing. 

Finally arrange the pipes in any shape you choose and use the plumbing adhesive to attach them one to another.  If you decide to mount between two cupboards use the Velcro to secure your wine rack to the cupboards.  The wine rack also looks great just free-standing on top of a table or wine fridge.   Mom’s love homemade gifts and this wine rack is the perfect balance of DIY, practical, and beautiful.



How to Use a Toilet Auger

Toilet auger

Dealing with a clogged toilet is no joke.  If you’ve tried plunging and not resolved the issue you’ve got two options – call All Star Plumbing and Restoration or attempt the use of a toilet auger.  A toilet auger is a specially designed tool that can maneuver through the toilet’s drain and remove obstructions. A toilet auger is the tool of choice, after the plunger, for addressing toilet clogs.  It’s designed with a protective rubber sleeve over the hollow metal tube which protects the inside of the toilet bowl from scratching.  If you attempt to use a traditional drain snake you may get rid of the clog in your toilet, but you’ll likely leave it all scratched up.  Like the drain snake, a toilet auger works by rotating a handle that has a flexible cable attached which runs through a tube to an elbow fitting.  It has a very strong head that is designed to dislodge clogs.

To begin using your toilet auger pull the handle all of the way up to make sure the cable is as close to the bottom curved end of the auger tube as possible.  This will let you take advantage of the protective rubber covering during the process of feeding the cable into the drain.  If you’ve done this correctly, you won’t be able to see the end of the auger cable.

Now stick the auger into the drain of the toilet and begin turning the handle to feed the cable down into the drain line.  In the majority of situations, you’ll hit your clog quickly as they’re typically located in the trap.  If that isn’t the case for your clog just continue turning the handle until you do find the clog.  You may have to stop several times and turn the crank in reverse to back it out a bit and then go back in.  Once you feel that the auger handle is tight against the top of the auger tube continue to rotate the cable several times to ensure its fully extended. In most cases you’ll feel the cable force through the clog.  At this point pull the auger out of the toilet by rotating the handle and pulling backwards.  Flush the toilet several times to confirm the clog is completely removed.

If you find that the same toilet continues to clog again and again contact a plumber to help you figure out what might be the real cause of all of your clogs.  In addition, if your toilet auger is unable to reach the clog, meaning it’s located further into your home’s drain system, you should again contact All Star Plumbing and Restoration to come out and help you address the situation.  A clogged toilet is certainly the most common plumbing problem that homeowners will face, owning a toilet auger is a good investment for many people.


Setting Up a Rain Barrel

Rain barrels have become increasingly popular in recent years as people become more concerned about the environment, and protecting our natural resources.  While Boise only averages about 16” of rain each year, we also get an average of 29” of snow which can also be collected when it thaws and runs off. In general, 100 square feet of roof will generate 60 gallons of water from a 1” rainfall.  Most homes would require the use of more than one rain barrel to capture all of the water coming off the roof, but in that case you could easily save several thousand gallons of water.

The benefits of a rain barrel are both environmental and economic.  Conserving the water that runs through your gutters keeps it from going down the drain and ending up in the city sewer system, provides clean, chemical-free water for your plants, and keeps that water from entering your home’s basement through the foundation or crawl space. By reducing the amount of water that goes into the city sewer system you’re also helping to protect nearby bodies of water from fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals that get introduced to the groundwater.  It also helps the entire community when summer droughts hit if fewer people are drawing on the available water supply for things such as watering plants or gardens.  In addition it saves you money on your water bill.

A rain barrel works by connecting a rain diverter to your downspout and collecting that water into a container, or barrel.  A spigot on the bottom of the barrel allows you to drain the water for use in landscaping.  You should place your barrel on flat ground and have it slightly elevated if at all possible.  You’ll also want to plan for the potential of overflow.  If your rain barrel overflows you’ll want to be sure that the water is routed away from the foundation of your home. Your barrel should have a debris screen to prevent bugs, leaves and other debris from accumulating inside.  It’ll also need a lid that opens but can be latched closed to keep animals and children out of it. Some rain barrels are sold with a pump to move water out of it, but in most cases they’re simply gravity fed.  You could also consider a collapsible design if you want to be able to store it during the winter months.

Adding a rain barrel to your home will save you money and leave your plants looking amazing.  Many of the most beautiful gardens in the area are taking advantage of chemical-free watering, and are helping protect the environment for everyone.


Past Plumbing Newsletters

April, 2019

February 20th, 2019

January 21st, 2019

January 5, 2019

December 13, 2018

November 25, 2018

November 1, 2018

October 17, 2018

October 1, 2018

September 7, 2018

August 18, 2018

July 17, 2018

July 6, 2018

June 19, 2018

June 1, 2018

May 1, 2018

April 5, 2018

March 15, 2018

March 1, 2018

February 15, 2018

February 1, 2018

January 15, 2018

January 1, 2018

December 18, 2017

December 1, 2017

November 20, 2017

November 6, 2017

October 23, 2017

October 9, 2017

September 25, 2017

September 11, 2017

August 31, 2017

July 30, 2017

July 17, 2017

July 3rd, 2017

June 19th, 2017

June 1st, 2017

May 8th, 2017

April 27th, 2017

April 10th, 2017

March 27th, 2017

March 13th, 2017

February 27th, 2017

February 14th, 2017

January 30th, 2017

January 16, 2017

December 19, 2016

December 5, 2016

November 21, 2016

November 7, 2016

October 17, 2016

October 3, 2016

September 12, 2016

August 30, 2016

August 1, 2016

July 13, 2016

June 13, 2016

May 30, 2016

May 2, 2016

April 15, 2016

March 28, 2016

March 2, 2016

February 15, 2016

January 26, 2016

January 12, 2016

December 7, 2015

November 19, 2015

October 29, 2015

October 6, 2015

September 16, 2015

August 31, 2015

August 3, 2015

July 8, 2015

June 22, 2015

June 3, 2015

May 21, 2015

April 16, 2015

March 17, 2015

March 2, 2015

February 2, 2015

January 7, 2015