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´╗┐Title: USDA Farmer's Bulletin 1460 - Simple Plumbing Repairs in the Home
Author: Warren, George M.
Language: English
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Text emphasis is denoted as _Italics_ and =Bold=. Whole and fractional
parts of numbers as 12-3/4.

                    U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

                      FARMERS' BULLETIN No. 1460

                        SIMPLE PLUMBING REPAIRS

                              IN THE HOME

PLUMBING often gets out of order, and upon prompt attention to the
little repair jobs depends its smooth, satisfactory operation. This
bulletin describes simple ways of doing little things, with the aid of
a few simple tools, to keep home plumbing in good working order.

  Washington, D. C.                   Issued September 1925
                                       Revised October 1936


By George M. Warren, _associate hydraulic engineer, Division of
Structures, Bureau of Agricultural Engineering_



  Faucets                                           1

  Stop and waste cocks                              5

  Ball cocks                                        6

  Flush valves for low tanks                        7

  Clogged pipes                                     7

  Thawing pipes                                     9

  Removing scale from water hacks and coils        10

  Leaks in pipes and tanks                         11

  Cracked laundry tubs                             13

  Hose menders or splicers                         13

HOW BEST to make small plumbing repairs is a problem that comes to most
householders, as it is sometimes difficult to secure the services of
a plumber. In such situations a little knowledge on the part of the
householder often saves much delay, trouble, and expense. Where local
or State plumbing regulations are in force, and extensive repairs or
alterations are contemplated, the householder should make sure that the
work is duly authorized and is done by a properly qualified plumber.

Few persons realize the potential danger lurking in leaky waste pipes,
drains, and sewers, or in piping between systems, whereby sewage or an
impure water supply may even in the slightest degree gain access to a
potable water supply.

In making repairs it is often necessary to tighten or to loosen a screw
or nut, and the householder is sometimes uncertain in which direction
it should be turned. To screw or tighten an ordinary right-hand screw,
nut, or bolt, first think of the head of the part to be turned as being
the face of a clock and the screw driver or wrench as being the shaft
which turns the clock hands, and then rotate the tool from left to
right, in the same direction that the clock hands move. Conversely, to
unscrew or loosen, rotate the tool from right to left, in the direction
opposite to clockwise. Small brass screws and stems are easily twisted
off and rendered useless, especially if a large tool is used to turn
them. Undue strain should be avoided, as it may result in the part or
parts being broken at an unfortunate time.



Badly worn washers make faucets noisy, hard to operate, and wasteful of
water. Moderate force on the handle of a faucet in good repair should
stop all flow and drip. Figure 1 shows an ordinary half-inch =T=-handle
compression faucet which closes against the pressure of the water. To
replace the seat washer, shut off the water to the faucet. Unscrew the
cap nut with a monkey wrench. (Placing cloth or thick paper between the
jaws of the wrench saves marring the cap nut.) Take hold of the faucet
handle and unscrew the stem from the body of the faucet. With a screw
driver remove the washer screw at the bottom of the stem. This screw is
often hard to start. Applying one or two drops of kerosene and lightly
tapping the head of the screw may help to loosen it in the stem. Use
strong, even force on the screw driver, the blade of which should have
a good square edge to fit the slot. The head of the screw often splits
before the shank of the screw turns in the stem, because it is already
corroded and weakened. If it splits, deepen the slot in the head with
a hacksaw, cutting a little into the shank of the screw. No harm is
done if the saw cuts slightly into the stem of the faucet. The washer
screw may now be turned with a small screw driver. Replace the old
washer with a new one, replace the washer screw, screw the stem into
the faucet, and screw down the cap nut. Rubber and fiber composition
washers for hot- or cold-water faucets cost 10 to 15 cents a dozen. A
"floating" washer, costing 15 cents, is very serviceable. A few washers
of the needed sizes should be kept in the home. If none are at hand, a
temporary washer may be cut from a piece of leather, rubber, or sheet
packing. Leather is preferable on cold-water faucets and rubber on
hot-water faucets.

[Illustration: Figure 1.--Compression faucet.]

[Illustration: Figure 2.--Compression faucet for a washstand.]

Figure 2 shows an ordinary 3/8-inch, 4-ball-handle compression faucet
for a washstand. To replace the seat washer, shut off the water to
the faucet and open the faucet one or two turns of the handle. With a
monkey wrench on the hexagonal part of the stuffing box unscrew the
stuffing box from the body of the faucet. Lift out the stem, replace
the old washer with a new one, as previously described, and screw the
stuffing box into the body.

A worn washer with constant leakage over the seat of a compression
faucet, together with grit lodging there, often causes the seat to
become cut, nicked, and grooved. The trouble occurs more often in
hot-water than in cold-water faucets. Such seats can easily be reground
or squared with a simple seat dressing tool, two types of which are
shown in figure 3, _A_ and _B_. A seat dresser with four cutters for
different-sized faucets costs about $2, and its use saves buying new
faucets. To dress the seat of a faucet, unscrew the stem from the
body to the faucet, as above described. Screw the adjustable, threaded
cone of the tool (see fig. 3, _A_) down into the body of the faucet,
as shown in figure 3, _C_, thus centering it over the seat. With the
hand, as shown in figure 3, _D_, gently rotate the wheel handle at the
top of the tool several times, and the cutter on the bottom of the stem
squares the seat. Turn the faucet bottom side up and shake out the
cuttings. Reassemble the faucet and turn on the water to wash out any
remaining cuttings.

[Illustration: Figure 3.--Faucet seat dressers: _A_, dresser with
inside adjustable cone; _B_, dresser with outside adjustable cone; _C_,
dresser A screwed into a compression faucet; _D_, rotating the wheel
handle and cutter.]

Seat washers are subject to damage from metal filings left in newly
installed water pipes. A good plumber, before screwing up a piece of
pipe, always stands the pipe on end and raps it with a hammer to clear
the bore.

Figure 4, _A_, shows an ordinary half-inch lever-handle Fuller faucet
which closes with the pressure. As shown in figure 4, _B_, the bottom
of the spindle is eccentric, so that slight turning of the handle moves
the rubber ball to and from the beveled seat. To replace the ball shut
off the water to the faucet. Unscrew the body from the tailpiece with
the hands or with a monkey wrench on the hexagonal part of the body of
the faucet. It may be necessary to apply a wrench to the hexagonal nut
on the tailpiece and press the wrench downward to prevent unscrewing
the tailpiece. Unscrew the stem nut, which holds the brass cap and
rubber ball on the stem. Put on a new ball and replace cap and nut. Red
rubber balls are considered to be better than black balls for hot-water
faucets. Avoid using too large a ball, as swelling of the rubber may
hinder the flow. Screw the faucet into the tailpiece. Just before the
joint closes or "makes up", wrap a little string packing or candle
wicking around the thread on the faucet to make the joint water-tight.

[Illustration: Figure 4.--Fuller faucet: _A_, body unscrewed from
tailpiece; _B_, spindle and stem removed from body.]


A top washer or packing; snugly fitting the stem is necessary to
prevent leakage upward through the cap nut when a faucet is opened. If
the space is too tightly packed, the stem binds, nudging it hard to
operate the faucet; if too loosely packed, water spurts from the top of
the cap nut. Figure 5, _A_, shows a soft rubber-and-fabric top washer
suitable for the compression faucet shown in figure 1. This washer is
one-eighth of an inch thick and rests on the top of the body of the
faucet, making a water-tight joint when the cap nut is screwed down.
Just below the soft washer and inside the top of the body a thin brass
washer is placed to take the wear when the faucet is fully opened.
These washers are separated in the illustration but are together when
placed in a faucet.

[Illustration: Figure 5.--Top washers and packings: _A_, top washers
commonly used in ordinary compression faucets (fig. 1); _B_, top
washers which fill the space beneath the cap nut (fig. 1) _C_, candle
wick packing and brass washer for washstand faucet (fig. 2); _D_,
spindle packing for Fuller faucet (fig. 4).]

New faucets of the kind shown in figure 1 usually have the top washers
shown in figure 5, _B_. The rubber washer fills the space beneath the
cap nut, and the thin fiber and brass washers are for the purposes
described above. If no top washer is available, the space may be
packed with candle wicking or soft twine, to which a little mutton or
beef tallow should be applied to lubricate the stem, to preserve the
packing, and to make it more impervious to water.

When placing the top washer or washers on a compression faucet of
the kind shown in figure 1, it is unnecessary to shut off the water
provided the faucet is closed. With the right hand keep the faucet
closed and with a monkey wrench in the left hand unscrew the cap nut.
Unscrew the handle screw and remove handle and cap nut. Put on new
washers as shown in figure 5, _A_, or 5, _B_, and reassemble the parts.

Figure 5, _C_, shows the stem packing for the washstand faucet shown
in figure 2. The packing space is very small and is filled with candle
wicking lubricated with tallow. There is a thin brass friction washer
in the bottom of the stuffing box, and a hexagonal packing nut screws
into the top of the box. To renew the candle wicking, keep the faucet
closed. Unscrew the packing nut with a monkey wrench, wrap a little
wicking around the stem, and screw the packing nut down against the
wicking and into the stuffing box.

Spindle packing for a Fuller faucet (see fig. 4) is shown in figure 5,
_D_, and consists of three collars or rings obtainable from plumbing
dealers for a few cents. A lead ring or packing about one-eighth of an
inch long goes first (lowest) on the spindle; then a rubber-and-fabric
composition packing about one-fourth of an inch long; then a brass
packing about one-fourth of an inch long. Screwing down the cap nut
compresses the composition packing, and the metal packings take up
friction and wear. To put in new packings, shut off the water from the
faucet and remove the handle and cap nut, as described in connection
with compression faucets.

[Illustration: Figure 6.--Stop and waste cock; _A_, parts assembled;
_B_, parts unassembled.]


Figure 6, _A_, shows an adjustable socket-lever handle, ground key,
flat way, stop and waste cock to shut off water to part or all of a
piping system and to drain the higher situated pipes from which the
flow is cut off. A stop and waste should always be placed on the
house supply pipe just inside the house or the cellar wall. They are
very useful on branch pipes from a cellar or kitchen to upstairs
or back rooms subject to freezing temperatures or other temporary
discontinuance of the supply. Figure 6, _B_, shows the disassembled
parts, all of which except the handle are brass. The key or plug is
ground to a water-tight fit in the body of the cock, and water is
turned on or off by giving the handle a quarter turn. Turning the
handle crosswise of the pipe shuts off the supply, and the dead water
drains back through the small round hole in the side of the plug and
out the waste tube.

Many stop and waste cocks have broken or bent handles or are otherwise
rendered useless, because people do not understand them. As received
from dealers, the nut on the bottom of the plug is generally screwed up
tight, making it difficult or impossible to turn the handle and plug.
Long periods of disuse frequently cause the plug to stick fast in the
body. The plug is easily loosened by slightly unscrewing the bottom
nut and striking the lower end of the plug a few light blows with a
hammer. Slight leakage caused by wear of the plug or dirt around it
may be prevented by cleaning the plug and tightening the bottom nut. A
plug badly worn from long or continual use can be reground, but it is
usually better and cheaper to get a new plug or a complete new cock.


Figure 7, _A_, shows an ordinary compound-lever ball cock to control
the water supply in a flush tank. The float ball and the seat washer on
the bottom of the plunger are the only parts likely to need repairs.
The buoyancy of the float is the force which lowers the plunger,
shutting off the water as the tank fills. A leaky, water-logged float
holds the plunger up, permitting constant flow and waste of water. A
small leak in a copper float can be soldered; but if in bad condition,
the float should be replaced by a new one. A good copper, bakelite, or
hard-rubber float 4 by 5 inches costs 25 to 50 cents.

[Illustration: Figure 7.--Ball cock; _A_, parts assembled; _B_,
plunger, washer, and cap.]

Figure 7, _B_, shows the plunger and washer-holder cap which screws
on the bottom of the plunger. The washer should be of soft rubber or
leather, because the force which holds it to its seat is not heavy. The
cap is thin brass. To replace the washer, shut off the water and drain
the tank. Unscrew the two thumbscrews which pivot the float-rod lever
and plunger lever. Push the two levers to the left, drawing the plunger
lever through the head of the plunger. Lift out the plunger, unscrew
the cap on the bottom of the plunger, insert a soft, new washer, and
reassemble the parts. The cap may be so corroded and weakened that it
breaks during removal from the plunger. A new cap is then necessary,
and it is well to have one or two on hand. When putting a washer on a
ball cock, examine the seat to see that it is free of nicks and grit.
The seat may need regrinding, as explained under compression faucets.


Figure 8 shows a common type of flush valve for a low tank. Probably
no other plumbing in the home needs attention so often. It is under
water and subject to fouling and neglect. The hollow rubber ball gets
out of shape and fails to drop squarely into the hollowed seat. The
handle and lever fail to work smoothly or the lift wires get out of
plumb, causing the ball to remain up when it should drop to its seat.
To remove these difficulties, stop inflow to the tank by holding up
the float of the ball cock or supporting it with a stick. Drain the
tank by raising the rubber ball. If the ball is worn, out of shape,
or has lost its elasticity, unscrew the lower lift wire from the ball
and replace it with a new one. A 2-1/2-inch rubber ball costs about
25 cents, and a new one should always be kept in the house. The lift
wires should be straight and plumb. The lower lift wire is readily
centered over the center of the valve by means of the adjustable guide
holder. By loosening the thumbscrew, the holder is raised, lowered, or
rotated about the overflow tube! By loosening the lock nut and turning
the guide screw, the horizontal position of the guide is fixed exactly
over the center of the valve, these adjustments are very important.
The upper lift wire should loop into the lever armhole nearest to a
vertical from the center of the valve. A tank should empty within 10
seconds. Owing to lengthening of the rubber ball and insufficient rise
from its seat, the time may be longer than 10 seconds and the flush
correspondingly weak. This trouble may be overcome by shortening the
loop in the upper lift wire. A drop or two of lubricating oil on the
lever mechanism makes it work more smoothly.

[Illustration: Figure 8.--Flush valve for low tank.]


Rust and dirt in water pipes are more or less successfully removed
as follows: Tie a piece of small, stout cord to each end of a 2-foot
length of small chain. Each piece of cord should be a little longer
than the length of pipe to be cleaned. Attach the free end of one of
the cords to a stiff steel wire and push the wire and cord through the
pipe. By means of the cords pull the chain back and forth through the
pipe, and then thoroughly flush the pipe with clean water under strong
pressure. Long lines may be opened at intervals and cleaned section by

Other methods are: Using a swab or wire brush attached to a small steel
or brass rod; flushing with a powerful hand pump; or filling the pipe
with diluted muriatic acid and allowing it to stand in the pipe long
enough for the acid to act. If the treatment is unsuccessful it should
be repeated. A mixture of 1 part of acid and 7 parts of water allowed
to stand overnight in 1,000 feet of badly rusted 1-inch pipe has given
good results. After the acid treatment the pipe should be flushed long
and thoroughly with clean water to remove as fully as possible all
dirt, rust, and traces of acid.

When new piping is put in, abrupt turns are sometimes made with =T=
branches instead of elbows. The unused leg of the branch can be closed
with a screw plug, thus permitting easy access to the interior of the

=Caution:= When a stop and waste (or valve) on a water service is
closed to permit cleaning or repairs, care should be taken to prevent
the formation of a vacuum in the high parts of the water piping and
the connections to plumbing fixtures; otherwise siphon action may draw
pollution from water closets having water-controlled or seat-operated
flush valves and from bathtubs, washbasins, laundry tubs, or other
fixtures in which the spout (discharge end of the water line) is lower
than the fixture rim, or worse, below the fixture overflow. Vacuum and
siphon action may be destroyed by opening the highest connected faucet
or an air cock in the top of the water line or by equipping the system
with suitable automatic vacuum breakers.

[Illustration: Figure 9.--Cleaning out a sink trap.]

All waste pipes and traps are subject to fouling. Dirt collects in
the bottom and grease adheres to the sides. The usual way of clearing
ordinary fixtures traps is to unscrew the clean-out ping, as shown
in figure 9, and wash out the obstructing matter or pull it out with
a wire bent to form a hook. Small obstructions are often forced down
or drawn up by the use of a simple rubber force cup (sometimes called
"the plumber's friend") costing 30 to 60 cents. This device is shown in
figure 10. The cup is placed over the fixture outlet and the fixture is
partially filled with water. The wood handle of the cup is then worked
rapidly down and up, causing alternate expulsion of the water from
beneath the cup and suction upward through the waste pipe and trap. If
a trap and the waste pipe from it are clogged with grease, hair, or
lint, it is best to open or disconnect the trap and dig out the greasy
matter with a stick. The use of chemical solvents in waste pipes is
explained in Farmers' Bulletin 1426, "Farm Plumbing."

[Illustration: Figure 10.--Rubber force cup.]

A variety of inexpensive flexible coil wire augers and sewer rods are
available for removing obstructions--mainly newspapers, rags, toilet
articles, grease, garbage, or other solids--from traps, waste pipes,
sewers, and drains. The growth of roots in sewers and drains causes
much trouble which better workmanship in making the joints would have
avoided. Augers and rods come in various sizes and lengths. Stock
lengths for clean-out augers for closet bowls are 3, 6, and 9 feet
and cost from $1 upward. Figure 11 shows two kinds of flexible augers
for general purposes. The upper is 4 feet long and has a small steel
cable from the handle to the wire hooks. The hooks can be drawn into
the coil, thus facilitating entry into a trap. The lower auger is 8
feet long, has a crank handle and corkscrew point generally preferred
for closet-bowl work. Placing a few sheets of toilet paper in the bowl
and then flushing usually indicates whether the obstruction has been

Flexible coil steel waste-pipe cleaners commonly come in diameters of
3/16, 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, and 5/8 inch and in lengths of 6, 9, 15, 25, 50,
and 100 feet. The 3/16-inch size in 9-foot length without handle or
corkscrew point costs about $1. The 1/4-inch size in 9-foot length with
automatic grip handle costs slightly more. The small sizes are very
useful in sink, lavatory, and bathtub traps and waste pipes.

Flat steel sewer rods, equipped with either an oval or a revolving
spear point and an automatic grip handle, come in stock lengths of
25, 50, 75, and 100 feet, in widths of 1/4 to 1-1/2 inches, and in
thicknesses of 1/16 and 1/8 inch. A rod 1/16 by 3/4 inch and 50 feet
long costs $4 to $5; a rod 1/8-inch thick, costing $5 to $8, is
desirable for ordinary sewer-cleaning purposes. Round sewer rods of
7/8-inch hickory or ash in 3- or 4-foot lengths with hook couplings
and simple sewer brushes and root cutters are described in Farmers'
Bulletin 1227, Sewage and Sewerage of Farm Homes.

[Illustration: Figure 11.--Coil spring augers.]


The middle of a frozen pipe should never be thawed first, because
expansion of the water confined by ice on both sides may burst the
pipe. When thawing a water pipe, work toward the supply, opening a
faucet to show when the flow starts. When thawing a waste or sewer
pipe, work upward from the lower end to permit the water to drain away.

Applying boiling water or hot cloths to a frozen pipe is simple
and effective. Where there is no danger of fire a torch or burning
news-paper run back and forth along the frozen pipe gives quick
results. Underground or otherwise inaccessible pipes may be thawed as
follows: Open the frozen water pipe on the house end. Insert one end
of a small pipe or tube. With the aid of a funnel at the other end of
the small pipe pour boiling water into it and push it forward as the
ice melts. A piece of rubber tubing may be used to connect the funnel
to the thaw pipe. Hold the funnel higher than the frozen pipe, so
that the hot water has head and forces the cooled water back to the
opening, where it may be caught in a pail. The head may be increased
and the funnel may be more conveniently used if an elbow and a piece of
vertical pipe are added to the outer end of the thaw pipe, as shown in
figure 12. Add more thaw pipe at the outer end until a passage is made
through the ice. Withdraw the thaw pipe quickly after the flow starts.
Do not stop the flow until the thaw pipe is fully removed and the
frozen pipe is cleared of ice. A small force pump is often used instead
of a funnel and is much to be preferred for opening a long piece of
pipe. If available, a jet of steam may be used instead of hot water;
being hotter, it is more rapid.

[Illustration: Figure 12.--Thawing a frozen pipe.]

Frozen traps and waste pipes are sometimes thawed by pouring in caustic
soda or lye, obtainable at grocery stores for about 25 cents per pound.
Chemicals of this character should be labeled "Poison" and should be
kept where children cannot get them. To prevent freezing, the water
in the traps of a vacant house should be removed during cold weather,
and the traps should be filled with kerosene, crude glycerin, or a
very strong brine made of common salt and water, or other substance
mentioned in Farmers' Bulletin 1426, Farm Plumbing.


Hard water causes a limy deposit or scale on the inside of water backs
and heating coils. If allowed to accumulate the scale retards the
circulation and heating of the water and, by closure of the bore, may
prove dangerous. Moreover, continued neglect makes it increasingly
difficult to remove the scale.

The water back or coil should be removed from the fire box. At the
union or other joints nearest the fire box disconnect all pipes and
unscrew them from the water back. If there is a clamp which holds the
fire-brick lining against the oven, loosen it and remove side and
end linings. Lift out the water back and take it out on the ground.
Soft scale or sludge may be removed by pounding the water back with
a mallet or hammer and then flushing with a strong jet of water. A
long gouge or chisel is used on those surfaces that can be reached.
Sometimes the water back is heated in a blacksmith's forge and then
pounded, but unless carefully done this treatment may break it. Some
householders keep a spare water back for use while the other is being

Waters of varying chemical composition cause scale differing in
composition and hardness. Ordinary limestone (calcium carbonate) scale,
if not of excessive thickness, may readily be removed with muriatic
acid. Gypsum (calcium sulphate) scale is hard and resistant and with
other constituents in their more compact forms is little affected by
muriatic acid. The water back should be laid on the ground and filled
with a strong solution of the acid in water. The strength of the
solution should vary with the amount of deposit, the ordinary mixture
being 1 part of acid and 5 to 7 parts of water. If the deposit is very
thick, the acid needs little dilution. Commercial muriatic acid in
bottles containing 6 pounds (about 2-1/2 quarts) costs 20 to 25 cents a
pound. The bottle should be labeled "Muriatic acid--poison"; and, like
the chemicals previously mentioned, it should be kept where children
cannot get it. Heating the water back hastens the action of the acid.
At the end of an hour or two, or sooner if the deposit is dissolved,
pour the solution from the water back and flush it thoroughly with hot
water to remove the acid. If all the deposit has not been removed,
repeat the operation, making sure that the acid is completely washed
out before replacing the water back. In replacing the water back it is
important to have it level, using a spirit level for this purpose.

Similar methods may be used with copper coils. Place the coil (or
heater) on two sticks over a large bowl. With the aid of a lead funnel
pour the acid solution down through the coil. Dip from the bowl and
continue to circulate the solution through the coil until the deposit
is dissolved. The coil should then be thoroughly washed out with hot

The hot-water flow pipe close to a water back or coil frequently
becomes thickly covered with scale. If the pipe is brass, it may be
disconnected and treated with acid and then washed out with hot water.
If the pipe is galvanized iron and in bad condition, it will probably
be more satisfactory to replace it with new pipe.


A small leak in a water pipe can be stopped in an emergency as follows:
Place a flat rubber or leather gasket over the leak and hammer a piece
of sheet metal to fit over the gasket; secure both to the pipe with
a clamp obtainable at hardware or 5-and-10-cent stores. A small leak
under low pressure is sometimes stopped by shutting off the water
and then embedding the pipe in richly mixed portland-cement mortar
or concrete. Broken sewer pipe can be repaired in like manner, and a
wrapping of wire netting embedded in the mortar or concrete increases
its strength. However, it is better to relay the sewer and make all
joints water-tight and root-proof as described in Farmers Bulletin
1227, Sewage and Sewerage of Farm Homes. A small hole in cast-iron pipe
may be tapped for a screw plug.

Where a leaky screw joint cannot be tightened with a pipe wrench, the
leak is sometimes stopped with a blunt, chisel or calking tool and
hammer. Sometimes a crack or hole is cleaned out and then plugged and
calked with lead, or a commercial iron cement mixed to the consistency
of stiff putty. Sometimes a pipe band, a clamp with two bolts (similar
to but stronger than the one shown in fig. 14), or a split sleeve is
employed to hold a thin coating of iron cement or a gasket over a leak.
If the leak is at a screw joint, the band is usually coated inside with
one-eighth of an inch of iron cement and then slipped over the pipe.
Keeping the bolt farthest from the coupling or fitting a little tighter
than the other, both bolts, are tightened. During the tightening, the
band should be driven with a hammer snugly against the coupling or

In addition to these methods and devices, there are several kinds of
good, inexpensive, ready-made pipe and joint repairers obtainable of
manufacturers and dealers.

A corroded and leaky spot in a steel tank or range boiler can be closed
with an inexpensive repair bolt or plug obtainable from dealers. Figure
13 shows a home-made repairer consisting of a three-sixteenths by
3-inch toggle bolt costing 10 cents and a flat rubber gasket, brass
washer, and nut. The link of the bolt, after being passed through the
hole, takes an upright position, and screwing up the nut forces the
gasket tightly against the outside of the boiler.

[Illustration: Figure 13.--Home-made repairer; _A_, passing the link of
the toggle bolt through the hole (enlarged) in the tank; _B_, side view
of edge of tank with bolt, washers, and nut after being tightened; _C_,
outside view of completed job.]

A small hole must be reamed or enlarged with a round file to a diameter
of about five-eighths inch. The metal beneath the gasket should be
firm and clean. A little candlewick packing may be wrapped around the
bolt to prevent leakage along the bolt. Sometimes a hole is closed by
driving in a tapered steel pin to turn the metal inward, forming a
surface which can be tapped for an ordinary screw plug. A hole in the
wall of a tank or pipe having considerable thickness can be easily and
quickly closed by screwing in a tapered steel tap plug which cuts and
threads its way through the wall. These plugs in different sizes are
obtainable of dealers and a monkey wrench is the only tool required to
insert them; it is unnecessary to shut off or drain the water from the
tank or pipe.

A small leak at a seam or rivet can often be closed by merely rubbing a
cold chisel along the beveled edge of the joint. Do not attempt to calk
a seam unless the plates have considerable thickness and the rivets are
closely spaced and are close to the calking edge, and then use extreme
caution. Run a regular calking tool or blunt chisel along the beveled
edge, tapping the tool very lightly with a light hammer to force the
edge of the upper plate against and into the lower plate.


Cracks in slate, soapstone, or cement laundry tubs are made water-tight
with a mixture of litharge and glycerin or a specially prepared
commercial cement. The litharge and glycerin are mixed and stirred to
form a smooth heavy paste free from lumps. The crack should be cleaned
out to remove all grease and dirt and the paste should be worked into
the crack with a case knife. A paste of portland cement and water, or
of the white of an egg and fresh lump lime, has been used successfully
for this purpose.

[Illustration: Figure 14.--Hose menders: Above, hose mender and hose
coupling; below, two pieces of hose joined with a mender. The left-hand
piece is fastened with wire twisted with a pair of pliers, and the
right-hand piece is clamped.]


A break in garden hose can be quickly repaired or two pieces of hose
can be joined with a 10- or 15-cent iron or brass hose mender or
splicer shown in figure 14 (upper left). Cut off the defective piece of
hose, insert the mender in the good ends of the hose, and wire or clamp
the hose as shown in figure 14 (below). Menders come to slip inside of
1/2-, 3/4-, or 1-inch hose. The regular brass hose coupling shown in
figure 14 (upper right), which costs 25 to 40 cents, can be used for
this purpose.

                U. S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1946

             For sale by the Superintendent of Documents,
                   U. S. Government Printing Office
                Washington 25 D. C.  --   Price 5 cents

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber Note

Illustrations were repositioned so as to not split paragraphs.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "USDA Farmer's Bulletin 1460 - Simple Plumbing Repairs in the Home" ***

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