Make Money Solving Plumbing Problems

Owners or tenants pay you to solve plumbing problems in their apartments or homes. Since this is an emergency type service, you should be able to make money without much trouble. People seem to have leaking water, and/or stopped up drains quite often. With the right kind of knowledge, you can easily solve most of these problems. (This is article #4 in a series of emergency handyman services.)
Requirements
This business idea is best suited for people who are physically fit and enjoy working with their hands. You must be able to locate and remedy common plumbing problems. If needed, you can buy how-to manuals at most plumbing or building products stores.
You should own a pickup truck or van to haul equipment, materials, supplies, and trash. You need to own or purchase the equipment and protective gear required for this activity. You should set up a home office with the basic office equipment and supplies.
Getting customers
Use a simple classified advertisement in the local newspaper or on to get customers. Also, advertise in any property owner’s newsletter.
Preliminary job activities
After arriving at the job site and greeting the customer, inspect the water leak or stopped up drain. Determine if you need to purchase any plumbing fixtures, drainpipe, or water pipe. You should already have a supply of assorted drain traps, gaskets, screws, and washers for minor repairs.
The customer may be in a hurry and want you to work on a holiday, weekend, or at night to get the plumbing problem fixed.
You can use standard job bid forms to estimate your labor and the costs of materials and supplies. This bid should include the fees for any extra services to be performed, such as hauling away any large amounts of trash. If the customer accepts your bid, you both can sign the bid form.
Turn off the main water supply valve. Also, shut off any electricity or combustible gas to an affected water appliance.
Main job activities
Following are typical plumbing problems you may encounter and the procedures to take care of them.
Clogged aerator or showerhead — The aerator is a device on the end of a faucet spout that mixes air with water to produce a gentle stream of water. A showerhead often is adjustable to allow different streams of water, such as a fine spray or a concentrated spray. You can unscrew either device from its spout and open it up to remove all the clogging particles inside it. Then screw the device back onto its spout.
Defective hot water tank — If the tank itself is leaking it will have to be replaced. Sometimes a heating element on an electrical hot water tank burns out. In this case, only the heating element has to be replaced. If the hot water tank has to be replaced then the defective tank will have to be hauled to a suitable dumpsite. In most cases, a defective hot water tank should be repaired or replaced only by a licensed plumber. (Note: Draining, refilling, or replacing a hot water tank is a very delicate operation. Be sure you are fully qualified before attempting these procedures.)
Frozen water pipe –If the frozen water pipe is ruptured, turn off the main water shutoff valve. Then you will have to cut out the portion of the pipe that is split or ruptured. Place a water pail under this gap. Next heat the pipe beginning where the pipe was cut off and going both ways toward the rest of the pipe. After thawing out the pipe, you will have to replace the missing portion of the pipe. Then open a faucet and turn on the main water shutoff valve to verify that the pipe has been thawed out.
If the frozen water pipe is not ruptured, do not turn off the main water shutoff valve. Begin heating the pipe starting from an open faucet and going toward the portion of the pipe that appears to be frozen. Usually this will be where the pipe is exposed to cold air.
You can use any of the following heat sources to thaw out the pipe:
* Electric heat tape* Heat lamp* High-power air dryer* Small portable heater
Do not use an open flame to thaw out a frozen water pipe. This may cause a fire.
Leaking bathtub or shower — Any leaks from the showerhead or tub spout should be obvious from visual inspection immediately after use. You may be able to fix the leak by putting Teflon tape on the threaded pipe that supports the showerhead or tub spout. If the showerhead or tub spout is rusted out, you will have to replace it.
If the shower drain, or the bottom drain in a bathtub, is leaking as seen from water stains underneath it, you probably need to install a new gasket or plumbing putty between the drain flange and the shower or tub floor. Greg Chick Ramona Plumber If the side drain (overflow drain) in a bathtub is leaking as seen from water stains underneath it, you probably need to install a new gasket between the outside wall of the tub and the flange of the overflow drain.
If the seams in the bathtub wall or shower enclosure have opened, you will have to reattach the wallboard and/or apply new caulking. Also, you may need to renew the caulking between the bottom of the shower or bathtub wall, and the top edge of the bathtub or shower drain pan.
Another possible source of leaks is water spraying through the gaps where a shower curtain fails to butt firmly against the wall on either side. You can use adhesive caulk to attach plastic triangles to the top edges of the bathtub to close these gaps.
Leaking drainpipe or trap — The two main causes of leaks from a drainpipe are a rusted or damaged pipe, or a worn-out gasket.
If there is no gasket at the source of the leak, then the drainpipe itself is probably damaged. You will have to replace that piece of the drainpipe. This drainpipe is usually either white thin-wall plastic, chromed metal, ABS black plastic, or galvanized steel.
If the drainpipe goes under the floor, you may have to get access to the crawl space or basement to locate the source of the leak.
When replacing a portion of a drainpipe that goes inside a larger pipe, be sure to allow for the “hidden” portion of the replacement drainpipe. Where different kinds of drainpipe are connected together, you’ll need a compression nut and a new gasket for the connection.
Leaking faucet — A standard faucet (or hose cock) is used for either cold water or hot water. Thus, two faucets are needed to deliver the desired temperature of water to a sink, washbasin, showerhead, or tub spout. A hose cock is a shutoff valve that allows the female end of a garden hose to be attached to its spout. It is used as a water supply for a clothes washer or a lawn sprinkler, or as a drain for a hot water tank.
The standard faucet (or hose cock) has a rubber washer that bears against a valve seat, the source of water. The washer is held in place by a screw that goes into the stem (spindle) of the handle.
A single-handle faucet controls the water temperature by mixing hot and cold water together. Depending on the manufacturer, these faucets use different devices to mix and control the flow of water. This device could be a cartridge, ceramic disc, or rotary ball with two rubber seats and springs. If this device is leaking, you will have to replace it.
Leaking toilet –If the toilet is a single piece, the leak will be where the toilet sits on the floor. You will have to unfasten the toilet from the floor, replace the wax ring, and re-fasten the toilet to the floor.
If the toilet has a separate water tank, the leak may be where the bottom of the water tank attaches to the top of the toilet bowl. If so, you will have either to carefully tighten the screws or replace the gaskets.
Leaking water appliance — a water appliance refers to a dishwasher or clothes washer. The two main sources of leaks in a dishwasher are the hot water supply line and the drain line. You have to remove the kick plate of the dishwasher to get access to the underside of the dishwasher. While the dishwasher is running, you can inspect these two lines to see where the leak originates. To fix the problem, you probably need to tighten or replace the connection between the dishwasher and the water or drain line.
There could also be a leak where the other end of the hot water supply line goes into its shut off valve. If so, you probably need to tighten the connection or replace the washer.
A clothes washer is connected to the hot water and cold water supply with a pair of short hoses. These hoses are similar to a garden hose, but are stronger. You may have to tighten the connection or replace the washer. If the drain line connection to the clothes washer is leaking, you should tighten it or replace the washer.
Stopped up drainpipe or trap — If the trap is blocked, you can simply unscrew it and dump out the water and any blocking material. Once the trap is cleaned out, any further blockage would be in the drainpipe after the trap. Remove the trap again and use an auger to clean out the drainpipe.
Stopped up toilet — If the toilet bowl is overflowing, the blockage is either in the internal trap in the toilet, or in the drainpipe going from the base of the toilet to the sewer line. In either case, you probably need to use an auger to clear out the obstruction.
Final job activities
Turn the main water supply valve back on and turn on any electricity or combustible gas that was previously shut off. Check for any leaks or drain blockages. Inspect the premises to verify you have finished all required tasks. Remove all your equipment and supplies.
Collect your agreed upon fee from the customer. Haul large amounts of trash away, if part of your agreed upon services. Outside Plumbing Cover (Remove small amounts of trash as a courtesy to your customer. You can haul it to a dumpsite later.)
Final thoughts
This business idea lets you make money while providing a needed service. You can start out as a part-time venture. Then, if the demand is sufficient, you might want to make it into a full-time venture.

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