Wooten Plumbing

Worst Plumbing Mistakes DIYers Make

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How to Avoid Costly (and Dangerous) Consequences of Playing Plumber

With the dawn of YouTube and Pinterest, most of us have tried—and failed—at a DIY project or two (or 27). Regardless of our past “nailed it” moments, we’re nevertheless tempted to take DIY to a new level when we think it’ll save us serious cash—plumbing problems included.

OK, maybe you haven’t made that mistake, but plenty of your Tulsa neighbors have—and we’d love to help you avoid doing the same. Here are eight of the worst plumbing mistakes DIYers make.

DIY Plumbing Mistake #1: Lack of Planning

Whether it’s an easy project that’s been on your to-do list for months or a large-scale bathroom renovation, you need to spend sufficient time in the planning phase. And there are a lot of factors to consider. For example:

  • Too many fixtures can lead to low water pressure.
  • Not enough space between the toilet and the bathtub creates some uncomfortable situations or Twister-worthy contortions.
  • Taking something apart without paying attention to how all the pieces fit together can lead to a frustrating jigsaw puzzle on the back end of your project. (Pro planning tip: Take a picture before you start disassembling anything.)

DIY Plumbing Mistake #2: Unpermitted Work

Sometimes your local government needs to be involved in your planning! Failing to obtain the proper permits for your fix-it adventures can devalue your home and lead to hefty fines. (And weren’t you trying to save money?) Permits help keep your family and your neighbors safe by allowing local building officials to oversee your home improvement projects. If you’re using a contractor, insist they pull permits, too. Cutting corners rarely cuts costs in the long run.

DIY Plumbing Mistake #3: Wrong Tools

So, you wouldn’t try to nail a screw right? (Well, maybe you would, but most people wouldn’t.) Using the wrong tool for a job can cause frustration, at best—and serious damage, at worst. Most plumbing jobs require basic tools like a plumber’s wrench, basin wrench, and plumber’s snake. Hand augers—long, stiff cables to remove clogs—are also a helpful tool. It’s important to do your research before adding these tools to your collection though, because there are various types of augers and snakes for different fixtures. Another pro tip: Some equipment is better rented than owned. Research and rent accordingly, so you get the most for your dollar.

DIY Plumbing Mistake #4: Mismatched Pipes

Many DIYers don’t know what kind of pipes they have, and they end up mixing galvanized and modern copper pipes. This leads to corrosion, leaks, and expensive future repairs. Matching the materials between existing and replacement pipes is necessary for a successful fix-it project. Researching what kind of pipe you need to replace and any needed connections is a good place to start. And don’t try to just “make it work” with tape, silicone, or other sealants. (Pipe corrosion doesn’t care what kind of tape you have.)

DIY Plumbing Mistake #5: Over-Tightening Connections

While you may want to show off your Hercules-like strength, making a tighter connection doesn’t prevent a leaky pipe. It actually creates them. Damaged fittings, broken plastic washers, stripped threads, and cracked fittings create these leaks rather quickly. Save your strength for opening those pesky pickle jars! Begin with hand-tightening your connections, then making small turns just until the connection is secure.

DIY Plumbing Mistake #6: Forgetting to Shut-Off the Water

Before attempting your plumbing project, turn off the water! Skipping this step could result in a surprise indoor swimming pool—and some major water damage. Turn off the water at the local shut off valve or to your entire house via the water main. It’s not a bad idea to drain the pipes, too. Flush water down the drain for a few seconds or give the toilet a final flush to ensure you won’t need floaties in your kitchen or bathroom.

DIY Plumbing Mistake #7: Too Much Drain Cleaner

We know drain cleaner seems like a quick fix for the standing water in your shower. But overusing drain cleaner can severely damage your pipes. Instead of chemicals, try a more natural, less expensive solution: vinegar and baking soda. Or get your hands on a plunger or drain snake. A clean (and non-corroded) drain is a happy drain!

DIY Plumbing Mistake #8: Refusing to Admit Defeat

If you find yourself in over your head, give us a call. We have the knowledge, skills, licenses, tools, and experience to handle your DIY disasters. We’d been Tulsa’s preferred plumber for years, and we’d love to serve you, too! Give us a call today!

How to Hire a Plumber on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace Spoiler Alert: Don’t. Don’t do that.

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We know you want to be a responsible homeowner who takes good care of your investment. But we know something else, too: When your garbage disposal’s on the fritz or there’s a mysterious water stain on your family room ceiling, you’d really rather not pay a gazillion dollars to have someone fix the problem. You especially don’t want to pay a gazillion dollars if the job should’ve only cost half that much.

We get it. Feeling ripped off and taken advantage of is no fun. And even when a contractor’s price is totally fair, it’s still no fun to write that check. Quite frankly, even we—professional Tulsa plumbers—would rather spend our money on 632 other things.

Unfortunately, the desire to save money on plumbing repairs tempts many people to turn to places like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to find a not-so-expensive plumber. The problem is not-so-expensive plumbers are far too often not-exactly-plumbers. And that can lead to disastrous—even dangerous—results.

Here’s how this usually goes down: Someone’s water heater goes kaput. After the initial cussing, the homeowner does a bit of research and decides “real” plumbers are too expensive. So, they go scanning Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist for “handyman” ads. They find someone who says, “Yeah, man. I can install a water heater.” And they can. But not correctly. So, the job costs far more than they guessed it would, and it’s done wrong. At best, the homeowner ends up with a leak. At worst—and we see this frighteningly often—it’s the wrong unit and/or it’s vented improperly, creating a deadly build-up of carbon monoxide.

To be clear, the chances of you finding a handyman who is intentionally trying to hurt someone are pretty slim. But if your primary concern is saving a little money, you’ll easily find someone whose primary concern is making a little money—doing things they’re absolutely not qualified to do.

You might luck out. Or, you might pay someone to make a repair—and then have to pay another someone to repair the repair. And, most importantly, you might be putting your family at risk along the way. It’s not worth it.

Four Ways to Identify a Qualified Tulsa Plumber

There’s no doubt you’ll pay more for your repair by hiring a real plumber than by going with a random guy you found online. But that extra expense is well worth the money. A qualified plumber will be:

  1. Licensed. States regulate plumbing licenses, and it’s not easy to get one. New plumbers spend several years as an apprentice and take an exam before they’re granted their own license. If someone’s not licensed, there’s no guarantee they know what they’re doing and, without the accountability of a licensing body, they may be more willing to engage in unethical business practices. You wouldn’t hire a doctor without a medical degree; why would you hire an unlicensed plumber?
  2. Insured. Don’t hesitate to ask for proof of insurance before signing a repair agreement. If a contractor gets hurt in your home, you want their deductible to apply, not yours.
  3. Bonded. While a contractor’s insurance covers them and their company, a surety bond covers you, the homeowner. For example, if a plumber causes damage to your home, a surety bond would take care of repairs, rather than your homeowners’ insurance. Also, only trustworthy companies can get bonded, so hiring a bonded plumber is just another layer of protection for you.
  4. Well-reviewed. A qualified plumber won’t hesitate to provide references, but it’s just as easy for you to do your own research. Visit the Better Business Bureau. Google the company and look for reviews. Do the same on Facebook.

Yes, of course Wooten Plumbing is licensed, insured, and bonded.

Using Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist to find a plumber just isn’t worth the risk to your home, family, and wallet. Give us a call today.

Traditional vs. Tankless Water Heaters

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Traditional vs. Tankless Water Heaters

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On a scale from cold coffee to world hunger, running out of hot water is most definitely toward the first-world-problems end of the spectrum. Still, that doesn’t make the experience any less frustrating or any more comfortable. Even the morning-person-est of morning people is likely to scream a swear word or two when the shower turns to sleet. It’s pretty much the worst wake-up call imaginable.

If you’ve had it with cold showers and you’re thinking your water heater’s blame, you’re probably right. And if you’re thinking a tankless, or on-demand, water heater might be the perfect solution to your problem, you might be right. As Tulsa’s most-trusted plumber, we can help you make an informed decision about your water heater. As with most things homeownership, you’ll need to weigh several factors before making the switch from traditional to tankless.

What is a Tankless Water Heater?

As the name implies, tankless water heaters don’t store hot water. Instead, they have heated coils through which water is warmed on demand. When you turn on your shower, water runs through those coils, and you’re treated to an endless supply of hot water—theoretically, anyway. Keep reading.

Hot Water Capacity in Tankless and Traditional Water Heaters

Traditional water heaters, also called storage tank water heaters, hold between 20 and 80 gallons of hot water. When hot water is needed—by your dishwasher, for example—it’s carried through your pipes from the storage tank to that appliance. Then, cold water fills flows into the storage tank and is warmed over time. If you use hot water faster than the cold water can be warmed, you “run out” of hot water. So, if you’re consistently cussing at your shower, it’s likely your water heater is too small for your needs.

If that’s the case, does it make sense to just switch to an on-demand water heater instead? Not necessarily. While tankless water heaters don’t have the capacity problem of traditional heaters, they could pose a different problem: flow rate. Tankless water heaters can have trouble keeping up with simultaneous demands. If you’re running two showers and the washing machine at the same time, something (or someone) is going to suffer. To solve that problem, you can install multiple tankless heaters and enjoy a truly never-ending supply of hot water.  But that brings us to another point of comparison: cost.

Costs of Tankless vs. Traditional Water Heaters

According to Home Advisor, the average purchase and installation cost of a 40- to 50-gallon water heater is just shy of $900. To buy and install a tankless model can cost more than three times that—$3000 on average.

So is on-demand hot water worth it? From a comfort standpoint, yes. From a pocketbook standpoint? Maybe, maybe not. As reported by Energy.gov, tankless units don’t have the standby losses of traditional tanks, and they’re 8-34% more efficient and can last twice as long as storage tank models. Still, if cost is a concern, you should carefully weigh your initial outlay for purchase and installation against the savings you’ll enjoy over time.

Pros and Cons of Tankless vs. Traditional Water Heaters

Here’s an at-a-glance comparison of traditional and tankless water heaters.

Pros of Traditional Water Heaters

  • Relatively low up-front costs.
  • Simple and quick to install.

Cons of Traditional Water Heaters

  • Slightly higher utility bills because water is warmed regardless of your need for it at the time.
  • Takes up more floor space.
  • Hot water supply is limited by the storage tank capacity.
  • Life expectancy of 10-15 years.

Pros of Tankless Water Heaters

  • Smaller units that can be installed anywhere.
  • Deliver up to three gallons of hot water per minute. (See Cons!)
  • Life expectancy of 20+ years.

Cons of Tankless Water Heaters

  • Higher up-front costs.
  • Can take more time to install.
  • Deliver up to three gallons of hot water per minute—which is adequate unless you’re running multiple appliances at once.


  • Traditional water heaters are typically more affordable but are less energy-efficient.
  • Tankless water heaters are definitely more energy-efficient but can be less cost-effective.

Still Not Sure Which Water Heater is Right for You?

We hate cold showers, too, and we’re happy to help! Give us a call today and we’ll talk through your household size and habits so you can make the best decision for your family.

When it comes time to help decide between the benefits of tankless or traditional water heaters in Tulsa, Wooten Plumbing leads the way. We have years of experience that helps us learn which makes and models will be the most cost-efficient for your family or business to own. Call us today to learn more!

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© 2018 by Wooten Plumbing & Utilities, LLC

The Best Ways to Ruin Your Home’s Plumbing

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The Best Ways to Ruin Your Home’s Plumbing

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As your Tulsa plumber, we typically like to offer preventive maintenance tips and do-it-yourself tricks on our blog. This time, we’re going the opposite direction: We’re going to share some DON’T tips. To be honest, we’ve seen too many homeowners make big mistakes that cost big bucks to fix, and we don’t want to see that happen to you. So, in that spirit, let’s cover-off on the best ways to ruin your home’s plumbing.

Best Way to Ruin Your Plumbing #1: Misuse Your Garbage Disposal

First of all, “garbage” disposal is a terrible name for this appliance. “Food waste” disposal would be a better option. “Food waste that’s not stringy, starchy, or greasy” disposal would be even better. Unless you’re interested in wrecking your disposal and/or creating a massive jam in your kitchen pipes, stop misusing your garbage disposal. Here are some specific don’ts:

  1. Don’t shove food down your drain and then turn on the disposal. That’s the exact wrong order. Instead, turn on the water, turn on the disposal, then carefully push scraps in—with something other than your hand, please. When you’re finished, turn off the disposal and let the water run for a few seconds to push any remaining bits down the pipe.
  2. Don’t use hot water. Hot water can melt what you’re attempting to grind, which then coats your pipes with all matter of goo and makes it more difficult to scraps to make it all the way through.
  3. Don’t try to grind large pieces of food. Cut everything into small chunks before sending it down the drain.

Best Way to Ruin Your Plumbing #2: Flush Non-Flushables

You wouldn’t believe the things we’ve fished out of sewer lines. Sure, accidents happen—particularly in homes with small, curious children. But these things were no accident; these homeowners actually used their toilet as a trash can. If you’re hoping to overflow your toilet and flood your basement, then be our guest: put your leftover dinner down the john. Or if you’re hoping for a sewer backup because you’ve missed talking with your insurance agent, use paper towels instead of toilet paper. Otherwise, the only things that belong in your toilet (other than the obvious) are water and toilet paper. No cotton swabs. No feminine products. And no chemicals. (Keep reading.)

Best Way to Ruin Your Plumbing #3: Use Drain Cleaner

When your sink or toilet clogs up, we know it’s tempting to reach for the drain cleaner. But if you have a major clog that the drain cleaner doesn’t resolve, those chemicals will just sit there, corroding your pipes. It also creates a hazardous situation for our service techs if you end up needing help. If you choose to use the stuff, use it preventively only—and flush plenty of water down the drain afterward to make sure there’s no residue left in your pipes. Here are some alternatives to try instead of using harsh chemicals:

  • Use a drain snake or bend a wire hanger into a hook and see what you can pull up.
  • Mix equal parts vinegar and baking soda, and pour it down the drain. Cover the opening with a damp washcloth, and allow it to steep for at least an hour. Then rinse with hot water. You can also use equal parts salt and baking soda; after letting the mixture soak in the drain for 20 minutes, carefully rinse with boiling water.
  • Clean the trap—the u- or s-shaped pipe under your sink. Put a basin or bucket underneath it to capture any water that comes out, unscrew the trap, turn it upside down to remove any gook, and give it a quick scrub with an old toothbrush. Be sure to replace it when you’re finished; that little pipe makes sure toxic sewer gases don’t escape into your home.

Best Way to Ruin Your Plumbing #4: Leave Your Hose Connected in Freezing Weather

If you’re in a cold climate and your garden hoses are still connected to your hose bibb (outdoor faucet), stop reading, go outside, and fix that. By not disconnecting your hose, you risk freezing the faucet and the pipe it’s connected to. That can lead to burst pipes and flooding.

Best Way to Ruin Your Plumbing #5: Home Decor Projects Gone Bad

Before you drive a nail in the wall or cut through your drywall to create a built-in bookcase, take a moment to determine if there’s a pipe running behind that drywall.

Best Way to Ruin Your Plumbing #6: DIY When You Totally Shouldn’t DIY

Some projects are just better left up to a professional. Take, for example, sweating pipes. It might look totally do-able on YouTube, but this task isn’t for the faint of heart. At the very least, you’ll waste a bunch of time trying to get it right and/or you’ll worry that you didn’t.

If you’re wearing a sheepish grin right now because you’ve actually made some of these mistakes, you’re not alone. Plenty of Tulsa-area homeowners are right there with you. Fortunately, we’re here to help! Give us call today for assistance with any plumbing problems you’re having—even the self-inflicted ones.

At Wooten Plumbing, we’ve seen these mistakes (and more). More often than not, it’s usually simpler to call a Tulsa-area plumber to keep you from having to make some really common mistakes. To schedule service, simply click here!

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© 2018 by Wooten Plumbing & Utilities, LLC

Thanksgiving is Awful for Your Plumbing

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Thanksgiving is Awful for Your Plumbing

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From the perfectly roasted turkey and Grandma’s famously lumpy mashed potatoes to the post-lunch snooze and “friendly” flag football contest in the backyard, Thanksgiving is stuffed with long-standing traditions. And then there’s the day after Thanksgiving— leftovers, battling ridiculously long checkout lines for debatably “good” deals, and… calling a plumber.

Yep, calling a plumber is a holiday tradition for a surprising number of households. In fact, Black Friday is the single busiest day of the year for plumbers—so much so that our industry jokingly refers to it as Brown Friday. Gross, right? It sure is. And while we certainly don’t mind the extra business, we’d rather help you avoid a plumbing nightmare. We figure you have enough to worry about trying to mediate political arguments between Uncle Marv and Grandpa Bob. (Or is that just at our house?)

Eight Ways to Protect Your Plumbing on Thanksgiving

  • Prepare your garbage disposal. We cook an impressive amount of food on Thanksgiving, which means we put our garbage disposals to the test. To make sure yours is ready for the overtime, give it a good clean before you get started. Put some ice and rock salt into the disposal, and run it for a couple of minutes. That will help break up any sludge and allow the blades to work more efficiently.
  • Use your disposal correctly. There’s a definite right and wrong way to run a disposal. Unless you want us showing up for leftover turkey sandwiches, be sure to turn the water on then turn on the disposal then (carefully) add scraps.

    Too many people jam food down the sink before hitting the switch, which increases the chances of the impellers getting jammed, which increases the chances of your motor frying. Also, when it sounds like the disposal has finished grinding everything, allow the water to run for a few seconds longer to wash away any debris. Repeat after us: water, power, scraps, water.

  • If your disposal gets clogged, don’t run the dishwasher. Your disposal and dishwasher likely share a drain, so if one’s plugged, that means the other is, too.
  • Be smart about what goes in the disposal. The worst part about Thanksgiving dinner is unquestionably the mess. In their hurry to finish the clean-up process and get to Pie Time, people tend to lose a bit of common sense. You wouldn’t believe the stuff we’ve fished out of kitchen drains. (Or maybe you would.) So, as a reminder, here are some basic disposal do’s and don’ts:
    • Do put potato peels in the garbage can, not the garbage disposal.
    • Don’t pour grease or oil down the kitchen sink.
    • Do cut large food scraps into small bits.
    • Don’t try to grind fibrous vegetables like celery and onions.
    • Don’t use your disposal for pasta and rice. While those scraps won’t hurt the disposal, they could create a gluey clog downline.
    • Don’t grind bones.
    • Do run cold water with your disposal, not hot.
  • Don’t flush food. Speaking of a loss of common sense… Let’s say that despite your best efforts, your disposal calls it quits 15 minutes into your four-hour meal prep. Unless you’re hoping to create a Thanksgiving legend, please avoid the temptation to flush your scraps.
  • Grandpa Joe-proof your toilets. Before your holiday guests arrive, make sure your toilets are in good working order. Check the flush valves and chains, test the water shut-off valves (just in case), and check for leaks in and around the toilets. If you have finicky plumbing, leave a helpful note, such as, “Hold the handle for three seconds, please,” and leave a plunger in full sight. Finally, put a small trash can next to every toilet. That way no one will be tempted to flush things they shouldn’t. (We’re looking at you, guys over at Pittsburgh plumber.)
  • Pre-treat your drains. More people in your house means more activity for your plumbing. If there’s build-up in your drains, they’ll be sluggish, which is inconvenient at best. So before folks arrive, pour ½ cup of baking soda in every drain, followed by ½ cup of vinegar. Cover the draining openings, and let the mixture soak for 20 minutes or so before rinsing with hot water.
  • Prep your showers. Treat your shower drains with baking soda and vinegar, as described above. Also, if you’re having overnight guests, consider protecting the drains with strainers to prevent hair clogs. Finally, space out showers by at least 20 minutes to allow your drains to clear and your hot water heater to recover.

Bonus tip: If you suspect plumbing issues today, don’t take a wait-and-see approach over the holidays. As your Tulsa plumber, we’d be happy to do a preventive maintenance check-up so you can avoid any extra Thanksgiving drama. Give us a call today!

The last thing you want to have to worry about on Thanksgiving is your plumbing system. With some simple tweaks, you can make sure you don’t have to call a pro plumber like me. But, if Brown Friday strikes back with a vengeance, we’re happy to bail you out!

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© 2018 by Wooten Plumbing & Utilities, LLC

How to Prepare Your Plumbing for the Winter

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How to Prepare Your Plumbing for the Winter

winter plumbing tips

And just like that, temps are going from “Hooray for jeans and hoodies” to “Where’d I put those dang earmuffs?” If you’re like most homeowners, you’ve likely tested your furnace a time or two. But have you shown your plumbing system any TLC yet? As your Tulsa plumbing experts, we recommend doing some quick DIY preventive maintenance to avoid a Midwinter Night’s Nightmare (with our apologies to William Shakespeare).

A few weeks ago, we offered a basic fall plumbing maintenance checklist. To recap:

  1. Clean out your drains and gutters.
  2. Inspect your water heater and water heater pressure relief valve.
  3. Check for leaks and drips.
  4. Insulate exposed pipes.
  5. Store your garden hoses.
  6. Turn off your outdoor faucets.
  7. Use your water shut off valve if you’ll be traveling.

If you’re nice and cozy in your favorite recliner right now and you aren’t terribly enthused at the thought of heading to the basement or the backyard, we get it. But here’s the thing: Water damage related to burst pipes is the second most-filed insurance claim in the country—at an average of $10,000 per claim. And, by the way, most insurance companies are picky about what they will—and won’t—cover in these situations. So you’re right: Draining and storing your garden hoses is no fun. But neither is a flooded basement on Christmas Eve.

After you’ve checked those seven basic maintenance tasks off your list, here are some other winter plumbing tips to follow:

  • Open the faucets a tiny bit. In extremely cold weather, in areas of your home that get much colder than others, or if you live in a mobile home, consider allowing a trickle of water to run through the faucets. Yes, that is a waste of water. But it also relieves pressure if standing water in your pipes does freeze. Note: If the drain for a particular faucet is on an exterior wall, don’t let that one trickle. The water in the drain could freeze, which would overflow the sink.
  • Open cabinets under your sinks. Consider leaving bathroom vanity doors open so warm air from the room can circulate around the pipes. In extreme temperatures, point a portable heater inside the cabinet.
  • Get a professional’s opinion. Ask a professional for advice about how to best winterize pipes in freeze-prone areas. It could be that a good heat tape may be sufficient, but in some cases, re-routing the pipes may be the most efficient solution. Pipes most likely to freeze include those located in your attic, unheated floors, unheated crawl spaces, unheated garages, well pits, under porches, and along the perimeter of your basement (even if it’s heated).
  • Check for drafts. On a particularly windy day, feel for drafts blowing on uninsulated pipes. One obvious place to check is where pipes, cables, and wires enter your home. If you feel drafts in those spots, use expandable foam to prevent cold air from seeping in.
  • Look for bulging sections of pipe. If you have any exposed pipes, inspect them for bulges—points where water has frozen in the past and pushed against the pipe. If you find any, you’re lucky they didn’t burst last year. It’s likely they will this year, though, so that’s something to call us about immediately.
  • Insulate your garage door. If you have plumbing running through an unheated garage, insulate the door to keep that area as warm as possible.
  • If you leave for vacation, don’t turn off your furnace. You don’t need to leave your furnace running full blast, of course, but if you turn the system completely off and temperatures plummet, your plumbing will be in serious jeopardy.

If thinking about prepping your plumbing for winter leaves you cold, we’re happy to help. We can do it all! From inspections to repairs and installations, we’re the Tulsa plumber to trust.

We work hard for our reputation as one of the best plumbers in Tulsa. If you have any issues with your home’s plumbing system this winter, give us a call! I’m a third-generation plumber… and I’ve learned a thing or two about how to save folks money.

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© 2018 by Wooten Plumbing & Utilities, LLC

The Step By Step Guide To Replacing a Toilet

The Step By Step Guide To Replacing a Toilet

When it comes to do-it-yourself home improvement, few projects strike fear in the hearts of homeowners quite like toilets. It just seems like so many things could go terribly, horribly wrong, doesn’t it? No one likes the thought of making a mistake that involves sewage.

Fortunately, replacing a toilet is a much less complex task than most homeowners realize. If you have the right materials and a tiny bit of know-how, the chances of a major disaster are slim.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to replacing a toilet.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

To replace your toilet, you’ll need:

  • New toilet bowl and tank—one that’s the right size (more on that in a moment)
  • Flush valve, bolts (we recommend brass), wax ring, and toilet seat (if not included)
  • Supply line, if you need/want a new one (we recommend flexible ones covered in stainless steel mesh)
  • Penetrating oil
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Putty knife
  • Floor cleaner
  • Old bath towels or large rags

Choosing the Correct Toilet Size

Toilets come in a couple of standard sizes (and a few custom ones, too). With your old toilet in place, measure from the wall behind the toilet to the center of one of the bolts holding it to the floor. The standard rough-in is about 12” from the wall. If you have a small bathroom, it’s wise to measure from the side of the tank to the wall and from the front of the toilet to the door. Some elongated bowls won’t fit in small bathrooms—or they’ll fit, but you won’t be able to close the door!

Step 2: Remove the Old Toilet

  • Turn off the water to the toilet by closing the supply line valve.
  • Flush the toilet and, using one of your old towels or rags, sop up any remaining water in the tank.
  • Disconnect the supply line from the bowl, unless you plan to replace it. In that case, disconnect the supply line from the valve instead.
  • Remove the tank lid and carefully place it on the floor, away from your work area.
  • Unscrew the nuts from the bolts holding the tank to the bowl. Lift the tank up and away from the bowl, and set it aside. If you’re having trouble getting the nuts to release, spray some penetrating oil on them and wait a few minutes before trying again.
  • At the base of the bowl, remove the decorative caps from the bolts anchoring the toilet to the floor, then remove the bolts. You may need your penetrating oil again.
  • Gently rock the bowl back and forth to release it from the floor gasket. Once it’s free, carry it outside immediately or place it on an old towel or rag. (Those gaskets get pretty gross, and the bottom of the bowl will have residue that can harm floors and other surfaces.)
  • Put an old rag in the hole to prevent sewer gas from coming up into the bathroom while you work. Make sure your rag is big enough so it doesn’t fall into the drain.
  • Scrape any remaining wax from the floor, using a putty knife.
  • Thoroughly clean the floor around the drain hole in preparation for the new toilet.

If Your Floor Flange is Damaged

Once you’ve removed your old toilet bowl, you may discover that the floor flange—the piece to which the bowl mounts—is damaged. If that’s the case, we’d be happy to help you replace it.

Step 3: Install the New Toilet

New toilets come with installation directions, and it’s a good idea to review those. In general, though, you can use the following steps to install a new toilet:

  • Install your new mounting bolts in line with the wall behind the toilet.
  • Spread a towel on the floor, then carefully turn your new bowl on its side.
  • Place a new wax ring on the part of the bowl that extends into the floor flange.
  • Remove the rag from the drain hole, and carefully place the bowl in position. Admittedly, this can be the most frustrating part of the process. Be patient and remember your new toilet is a bit fragile. Also, if you smash the new wax ring as you’re trying to line things up, you’ll need to use another new one.
  • Spin the nuts onto the bolts—loosely—and then sit on the toilet to seat the wax ring. Gently lean side to side and front to back until the toilet is sitting squarely on the floor. If necessary, use rot-free shims to level the toilet. Rocking toilets will damage the wax ring, which will cause leaks.
  • Tighten the nuts securing the bowl to the floor.
  • Before lifting the tank on top of the bowl, make sure you’ve installed the rubber gasket over the hole in the bottom of the tank. In addition, go ahead and put the washers and bolts in position.
  • Carefully place the tank over the bowl, and tighten the nuts to secure it in place.
  • Install the toilet seat and reconnect the supply line.
  • Turn on the water supply and flush the toilet several times. Adjust the flush mechanism as necessary.
  • Position the tank lid.
  • When you’re certain there are no leaks, go ahead and cut the extra length from the floor bolts and install the decorative caps. Also, consider using a silicone caulk around the base of the toilet.

At Wooten Plumbing, we’ve been replacing toilets and upgrading bathrooms in the Tulsa area for years. Give us a call today to learn how Tulsa homeowners and businesses have relied on Wooten Plumbing to solve all of their toilet troubles. (Looking for a great Austin plumber south of the Red River?)

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Tulsa-area homeowners have trusted Wooten Plumbing with their plumbing needs for years. If you’d rather have an expert replace your toilet, give us a call today! 918.241.3900

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