Q: I installed a whole-house water softener for our well water but the water still tastes bad? Is this due to my water softener or is there any other issue? Thanks – Kathy A: In most cases, water softeners have little effect on the taste of drinking water. They might make it a little better or a little worse, or have no effect at all. This is a side effect of the softening … [Read more...] about Will Water Softener Improve My Drinking Water?
Kitchen & Bath
Q: Why is the cold water inlet pipe on my water heater hot up to five feet away? Thanks in advance! -- Jan O. A: It is normal for the incoming cold water pipe to get a little warm due to convection – that is, hot water rising in the tank. Also copper piping is a good conductor of heat. Many modern water heaters have built-in heat traps to limit the migration of hot … [Read more...] about Why Is Water Heater Supply Line Hot?
Sherry asks: We have some pretty dirty grout on a bathroom floor that we are unable to clean. We are trying to compare re-grouting with recoating the existing grout. We have read about easy-to-apply products that claim to seal and color existing grout. They sound a little too good to be true. Do you have any experience with these and have any recommendations? Steve Bliss, … [Read more...] about How to Recolor Old Grout?
Mark writes: I own a Cape-style house built in 1945 and worry about a leak developing in the iron water lines when I am not at home to shut off the water at the mains. Is there a reason not to use PEX or PVC rather than copper pipe? Is there any way to get an independent idea of what a plumber should charge to do this? I live in a small town and we seem to be largely at the … [Read more...] about PEX vs. Copper Plumbing
Scott writes: I have a galley style kitchen that is approximately 10x20 ft. The floor joists are 2x10s, spaced 24” on-center and running lengthwise. The maximum span is 14 ft., as a steel I-beam breaks the floor into two sections of 14 ft. and 6 ft. The basement ceiling is finished in drywall so I do not have access from below. The subfloor is 23/32 T&G OSB, with ¼ inch … [Read more...] about Best Subfloor for Ceramic Tile
Randy asks: What is the best way to drill ceramic tile for installing grab bars, shower rods, and other hardware? I didn’t have much luck with a carbide bit and even tried a hammer drill. Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: A carbide bit will work fine on soft wall tile, but floor tile and most wall tile used today are harder and require a diamond bit for easy … [Read more...] about Drilling Ceramic Tile & Stone