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100 Plumbing Goofs and Other Scary Stuff

A plumbing problem is no laughing matter, but it is fun to see the problems before they're solved. Check out our collection of plumbing fails and other scary home stuff. Some are illustrated, some are real-life photos, but all are true stories.

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That's Not PEXPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

That's Not PEX

Here's a perfect illustration of just about everything that shouldn't be used for plumbing repair. What do you think? ShooGoo? Regardless, this tops the charts for home inspector nightmares and plumbing fails.

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Mystery leak sealantStructure Tech

Mystery leak sealant

Maybe it's silly putty, maybe plumbers putty, maybe epoxy putty, maybe they should have just fixed the leaks to avoid scary stuff like this.

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A Flush to Remember

A Flush to Remember

After removing an old toilet, I did the classic handyman trick of stuffing a bunch of plastic bags into the sewer opening. This kept the stench from seeping into the bathroom while I installed the new toilet over the weekend. After setting and hooking up the new commode, I did a test flush. It was very satisfying to watch the water swirl down and the bowl fill up—and up and up! The toilet gushed water all over the floor. Turns out the other half of that trick is removing the bags from the sewer opening. Really scary stuff. - Rob Kiesling

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What the wall usually seesStructure Tech

What the wall usually sees

How in the world can a tank get put on backwards? Maybe read the directions the next time you install a new toilet.

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Strange brewPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Strange brew

This is some scary stuff! Maybe it's time for a water quality test. Or maybe it's time to look into water softeners.

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Free FacialFamily Handyman

Free Facial

Just days before Hurricane Sandy was to hit  New Jersey, I was helping my husband install a "water jet sump pump backup system" in my parents' basement. In the event of a power outage, it works off the water pressure of the house. My husband asked me to hold on to the PVC pipe so he could cut out a piece with his reciprocating saw. While I held it, he made the first cut. When  he made the second cut, nasty brown water started gushing out of the pipe and  hit me full in the face. Being the dutiful wife, I held on tight! It took him a few seconds to realize what was happening. He had forgotten to unplug the pump. After pulling the plug, he looked at me with a worried expression, but I began laughing hysterically. I was soaked with that disgusting water from head to toe. At least the project turned out as planned— after Sandy, they had no water in their basement. — Jill Gallery. Plus: Check out these insanely smart home improvement hacks you'll wish you knew sooner.

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P-trap NirvanaPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

P-trap Nirvana

Now all I have to do is put in a flex pipe at the wall. To make the drain work, you just lift the sink out and tilt it every which way. There are better ways to connect a sink drain.

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When Copper and Steel CollideCourtesy of Structure Tech

When Copper and Steel Collide

And it's called galvanic corrosion. But it can be prevented if you connect dissimilar pipes the right way.

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The Physics of PlumbingFamily Handyman

The Physics of Plumbing

I was replacing our shower fixture, and I couldn't budge the large brass nut that was holding the two-way mixing valve in place. Using my expert knowledge of physics, I came up with the perfect solution. I packed the valve in ice to make it shrink in diameter. Then I used my blowtorch on the nut so its diameter would expand, thus freeing it. I was feeling really clever until I noticed the smoke filling the shower. It turns out two studs were on fire and the flames were moving up inside the wall! Have you ever tried to extinguish a blazing fire through a 6-in. access hole? I didn't worry about the physics at that point—I just ran for the fire extinguisher! -Dr. Kris Storm

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Use Your Head not Your HammerFamily Handyman

Use Your Head not Your Hammer

My husband is a novice handyman with a great heart. So when I asked for a new sink in our upstairs bathroom, he got to work. After two weeks of struggle and leaking pipes, it was done. Whew! But when I turned on the hot water, there was water "hammering." He said he must have loosened a pipe and that it was beating against a stud. He spent the next hour knocking holes in our nice drywall trying to trace the hammering. But he still couldn't find the problem. I then asked him if the hot water valve below the sink was fully open—problem solved. The contractor did a beautiful job of repairing our drywall.... - Mari Nelson

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Who needs a “Pee”-trap?Courtesy of Structure Tech

Who needs a “Pee”-trap?

"See, this way the city can't monitor the water going down my drain and I don't get charged for it. And if I'm not feeling like using the toilet, I can just let loose anywhere in the basement!" Yes, it’s true. In order to work properly, a drain actually has to be connected to something.

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Don't fall for this trapCourtesy of Structure Tech

Don't fall for this trap

Maybe it works-maybe it doesn't. Is the whole system properly vented or not?

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Cold CommodeFamily Handyman

Cold Commode

Last winter, I brought home a new toilet. I stored the box outside on my porch along with the new wax ring, flange bolts and new water line until I got around to installing it a few days later. I mounted the wax ring and set the toilet over the flange, but the toilet would not sit flush against the floor. I tried everything I could think of, including tightening the floor bolts at the base of the toilet until I nearly cracked the toilet base, but the toilet just would not sit flush. I gave up in frustration and went to bed. The next morning, I walked outside to get the paper and saw the empty toilet box sitting on my unheated porch. As I shivered in my bare feet, the explanation suddenly hit me. I ran to the bathroom and sure enough, the toilet was sitting flush against the floor and the bolts were completely loose. Turns out the wax ring had been frozen solid. -Mike Koch

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All employees MUST wash their hands before returning to work!Structure Tech

All employees MUST wash their hands before returning to work!

Genius! With this setup, you can wash your hands and your feet at the same time! A small bathroom requires a certain amount of planning.

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Roughing in for a centrally located sinkCourtesy of Structure Tech

Roughing in for a centrally located sink

Can't even come up with a theory on what's going on here. Perhaps some instructions on how to connect a sink drain would be helpful.

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Plumber? What plumber?Family Handyman

Plumber? What plumber?

In the middle of trying to sell our house, my husband accidentally broke the hot water pipe to the washing machine while trying to unscrew the rusted connection from the wall. Hot water started gushing inside the wall, and I ran for buckets and towels as my husband raced to turn off the water main. Two hours later, as the emergency plumber was cutting into the drywall, the doorbell rang. Our real estate agent was standing outside with potential buyers! As my husband greeted them, I ran around the house and threw the towels, buckets and mops into the garage, pushed the washer back into place, and told the plumber to go wait in his truck, which was prominently sitting in our driveway. The couple toured the house while my husband and I suffered heart palpitations. They ended up buying our house. And luckily they never did ask what the plumber was doing in the driveway… — Kiersten Jarvis

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Wine cork plugCourtesy of Structure Tech

Wine cork plug

At least until you get to the store for a new pop-up drain assembly. Or maybe it's time to install a new vanity sink.

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Leaking FaucetStructure Tech

Leaking Faucet

That's the definition of "hard water." On the plus side, the water spraying out should soon melt the icicle. Might be time for a new faucet and maybe to install a freeze detector in the house.

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Exploding toilet trickFamily Handyman

Exploding toilet trick

Our toilet wouldn't stop running because the float wouldn’t turn the water completely off. I'd fixed the same problem in our old toilet by bending the float arm down a little to increase the pressure on the shutoff valve in the tank. But since our new toilet had a plastic arm, I decided to apply a little heat to soften it so I could bend it. First I sprayed silicone lube on everything in the tank to help things slide better. Then I leaned over the tank with my lighter, clicked it and...WHOOOOMPP! The aerosol silicone spray I had just shot into the tank exploded. Luckily, I escaped with only singed hair and eyelashes. But now my wife can't stop telling people about our exploding toilet. — Ron Woodward

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See-Through PlumbingPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

See-Through Plumbing

We've been through this before. Don't use those stupid flexible plastic drain lines! If you have this kind of plumbing you better learn to how to clear clogged drains. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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So I asked the plumbing guy at the home center….Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

So I asked the plumbing guy at the home center….

This is a perfect install, if the only use is for flooding your basement. This outdoor sillcock could've been thought through a little better.

Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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The Ever-Flowing Water HeaterFamily Handyman

The Ever-Flowing Water Heater

When the plumber replaced one of the heating elements in my electric water heater, I watched carefully, knowing that the other element would eventually need replacing too. Sure enough, a year later the other element went. I checked it with an ohmmeter, confirmed my diagnosis and headed to the plumbing supply store. When I returned home, I killed the power supply at the box and at the wall switch. Feeling proud and confident, I dragged the garden hose into the house, connected it to the heater and ran it into the floor drain to empty the heater—just like the plumber had done. Then I sat and waited for the water to stop flowing. After about an hour of a good, steady flow, it occurred to me to SHUT OFF THE WATER SUPPLY! Fifteen minutes later and hundreds of gallons of water poorer, I replaced the element. -Dianna Tucker

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P-trap, not mouse trapPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

P-trap, not mouse trap

Must've been something really tasty plugging up that trap! Better get a new one put on before it starts leaking!

Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Duct Tape Compression FittingsPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Duct Tape Compression Fittings

What's weird about this is that it appears that the drain parts are brand new. Installing drainlines and p-traps under a sink doesn't normally call for duct tape. Bound to be a few plumbing leaks here. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Fourth Time's the CharmFamily Handyman

Fourth Time's the Charm

Our washing machine was on the fritz. It's a heavy stacked unit (dryer on top) that's tucked into a tight wall recess, so it's tough to maneuver. After 45 minutes of pulling and straining, I got it out from the wall and spotted the problem right away—a broken clutch. But because it was too late in the day to get the part and the unit was blocking the hallway to the kitchen, I had to push the whole thing back against the wall. The next day I did the backbreaking 45-minute thing over again and replaced the clutch. Then I reattached the supply hoses, pushed the unit back into place and started it. Oh, man—water began coming out from underneath the washer! I'd forgotten to reattach the drain hose! Once again, I pulled the whole thing out from the wall. Then I reattached the drain hose, pushed the unit back yet again, started it and Hallelujah, it seemed to work fine—no leaks. The next day my wife discovered hot water coming out during the cold cycle. I'd switched the hot and cold hoses when I reattached them! Which meant I had to.... -Vaughn Williams

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Tank topStructure Tech

Tank top

Expecting the toilet to grow sideways, Tom planned ahead. Installing a new toilet was far too much work.

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MedusaPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Medusa

Do NOT look this mess in the eye! You'll turn to stone! I think these supply lines could be a bit shorter. Plus the water pressure is bound to be affected.

Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Two Times the Water DamageFamily Handyman

Two Times the Water Damage

The toilet in the upstairs bathroom had been leaking for some time, which had rotted the floor. I removed the toilet, vanity and sink to replace the plywood. Once the new vinyl floor in and the vanity were reinstalled, I left off the sink to make it easier to solder on new shutoff valves. With the main water supply to the house turned off, I installed the shutoff valves. Then I went downstairs to turn on the water supply so I could check the joints for leaks. As I walked back upstairs, fancying myself a master plumber, I heard the sound of gushing water. I had forgotten to turn off the shutoff valves! The bathroom was flooded and the ceiling below was ruined. But my soldering job held up perfectly. -Glenn McComas

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Sump pump smartsStructure Tech

Sump pump smarts

It may look smart. But you're not allowed to run your sump pump discharge into your home's sewer pipes. This is another example of someone who should study up on the right way to cure a damp basement problem.

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Sock purgatoryPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Sock purgatory

Well, at least we've solved the problem of where those lost socks go. Duct tape alone just wasn't stopping the leaks.

Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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A New Toilet to Go with that SeatFamily Handyman

A New Toilet to Go with that Seat

My dad waited until I came home from college to ask me to install the soft-cushion toilet seat he'd just bought. I sprayed the old, rusty toilet seat bolts with a heavy dose of lubricant and then got out the wrench and went to work on them. Unfortunately, the wrench slipped off the lubricated bolt and the handle busted a nice hole in the toilet, sending water all over the floor. With my tail between my legs, I had to tell my dad that he needed a new toilet to go with his new seat. I replaced the toilet, but haven't had my dad ask me to do anything around the house since. (I guess that means it worked out for the best after all!) -Martin Todd Dorris

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A shower found in MunchkinlandStructure Tech

A shower found in Munchkinland

After mom and dad moved out, the toddlers decided to make the bathroom more user-friendly. But when they grow up they're gonna have to install a new shower.

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Porcelain throne for the uninhibitedStructure Tech

Porcelain throne for the uninhibited

So much for the one place a guy can be left alone! Delores wanted to make sure that she could give Ron additions to his to-do list at all times. Time to plan out some bathroom walls!

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Lesson Learned the Slimy WayFamily Handyman

Lesson Learned the Slimy Way

My wife was complaining about the slow-draining sink in our kitchen, so I put my handyman prowess to work. I planned to use the blow feature on my shop vacuum to push the clog through the drain line. As I inserted the hose into the drain, my wife asked, "Don’t you think we should cover the other drain?" But it was too late. I'd already flipped on the vacuum, causing stinky, slimy water to shoot out of the other drain and drench us. Next time I'll let her finish talking before I start working. -Steve Fears

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Rube Goldberg's basementPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Rube Goldberg's basement

Jeff decided to make it his goal to use every single 2-in. PVC fitting offered at Lowes. Can you imagine how many trips to the home center this took?

Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Speed bumpPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Speed bump

Ahhh...the glow of satisfaction from a job well done. Clearly, plumbing and drain installation isn't for everyone.

Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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F is for Flub—and FloodFamily Handyman

F is for Flub—and Flood

I couldn't get the valves that fed my washing machine to stop leaking, so I replaced the entire faucet assembly. The installation went fine. I reconnected the washer hoses, double-checked for leaks and washed my first load of clothes. Satisfied with my leak free connections, I went upstairs. Everything worked perfectly—until I returned to the laundry room and found myself standing in a pool of soapy water. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten to put the drain line back into the laundry tub and an entire washer's worth of dirty water had poured onto my floor. Talk about washed up! -William C. Sinclair

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Overhead tub spoutStructure Tech

Overhead tub spout

Yup. The whirlpool tub fills from the upstairs toilet! Genius!

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You're not fully clean unless you're Zestfully clean!Courtesy of Structure Tech

You're not fully clean unless you're Zestfully clean!

I don't think this shower would meet the new low-flow requirements. But it's sure makes a nice set of grab bars.

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Toilet BluesFamily Handyman

Toilet Blues

My wife came home with one of those $10 chlorination gadgets for the toilet that "self-cleans" the bowl after flushing. Installation seemed simple enough, but within minutes I had broken the fill valve assembly at the base. I quickly turned off the water supply at the wall and tried to loosen the coupling nut that secures the valve so I could replace the part. It was corroded and wouldn't budge. I decided to pull the toilet for better access to the stuck nut. I removed the flange nuts and lifted the toilet with all my might…and learned that the caulking bead around the toilet base can be exceptionally strong. The bowl base broke into three pieces and water spilled everywhere. My wife and I decided that I should quit while I was behind and call a real plumber. The $350 bill was an expensive end to a simple task, but there is no cleaner toilet than a brand new one. -Marcus Cherlin

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The Rocky ThronePhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

The Rocky Throne

Does something look unsteady in this photo to you? We thought so too. Here's how to fix this issue.

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Ice cream anyone?Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Ice cream anyone?

The cheapest, easiest-to-install, urinal on the planet. And no water supply lines required. But next time maybe you should read up on how to plumb a basement bathroom. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Commode Flambeau

Commode Flambeau

A part from my young son's plastic potty had somehow gotten stuck in the toilet trap. I couldn't snake it out, nor could the plumber, who left saying, "Buy a new toilet." But I had a brilliant idea: I'd burn it out! I pulled the toilet and dragged it outside. There I poured charcoal lighter fluid down the trap and lit it up. Standing back, I basked in the glory of the geyser flames and my phenomenal ingenuity... until the bang. The commode literally cracked from the heat. I bought a new toilet. -Gordy Gladman

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Leaking fill valve repairPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Leaking fill valve repair

Once Warren caught the recycle/re-use bug, he just couldn't stop. Even going to the extent of breaking the fill valve on his toilet for a chance to re-use this plastic container. Might be even smarter to replace the fill valve with a new kit. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Plumbing DiverticulosisPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Plumbing Diverticulosis

Just because pipes come in all kinds of different shapes doesn't mean you need to use them all on one job. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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'I Did What You Said, Dad'

'I Did What You Said, Dad'

My bathroom sink stopped up and I had to take off the trap to pull out a clog of gunk. I removed the trap and caught the water in a bucket—scummy, soapy, toothpaste goobery, hairy water. I then positioned myself under the pipe to look up and make sure that all the gunk was out of the drain. I handed the bucket of water up to my 4-year-old son and asked him to get rid of it. He did what seemed perfectly natural to him—he poured it down the sink! All of the slimy water came right back in my face with a vengeance.

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Which problem solver would you choose?Structure Tech

Which problem solver would you choose?

There are always options when it comes to buying a toilet - some better than others.

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Stick shift toiletStructure Tech

Stick shift toilet

So, I sit backwards, project my video game on the tank, and use the flusher as a joystick. Might be time to replace this old beauty.

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Unplanned ShowerFamily Handyman

Unplanned Shower

Last year my fiancée and I started our first home improvement project together, aptly, a shower. We installed a new control valve along with new tile. Although my fiancée was still grouting the tile, I decided it was safe to turn on the main water supply valve because we'd finished the plumbing. A second later, a scream echoed through the house. I ran to the bathroom and saw that the shower was blasting on my fiancée. We'd left the valve in the open position and she couldn't turn it off because we hadn't installed the handles. Anyway, a year after this first shower, we're happily married! -Adam Halverson

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The Plumber's SolutionFamily Handyman

The Plumber's Solution

This is all too common. The carpenters carelessly placed a floor joist directly under a shower that's clearly marked on the house plans. And then a plumber goes nuts with a reciprocating saw. If you have manufactured I-joists, never, ever cut the top or bottom flanges!

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Beaver in the Attic!Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Beaver in the Attic!

Who thinks it's cute to have red squirrels in the attic? Rodents in and around the house are something to take seriously.

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Glue GoofFamily Handyman

Glue Goof

My brother-in-law and I decided to help his father remodel his bathroom. Being pretty handy, we thought it would be a snap. When it came time to set the tub, we hooked up the water supply and the PVC waste lines, then took a break for dinner to let the glue dry. When we finished eating, we turned on the water to try it out. After a few seconds, my brother-in-law said he could hear water dripping. Then it turned into a gusher. After investigating the problem, we found we'd used rubber cement instead of PVC glue. The containers were similar and were right next to each other on the shelf. After a couple of hours of redoing our mistake, we were ready for a hot shower! -Ken Fees

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Follow the ArrowsPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Follow the Arrows

It never hurts to double check the arrows when you install a new filter. Life's easier if you go with the flow.

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Leaning PorchPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Leaning Porch

Can you imagine trying to trim this thing? Or shut a door or window? Maybe it's time to build a new porch.

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A Quick ShowerFamily Handyman

A Quick Shower

Last spring, I added a breezeway between my house and the garage. The garage had 1/2-in. sheathing over the studs on the adjoining wall, so I decided to use 2-in. nails in my nail gun to attach the grooved plywood. The nail gun really made the job go fast, and it wasn't long before the inside of the breezeway was finished. The job looked fantastic. Well, a couple of weeks later when the job was completed, we decided to take a fishing trip. I went out to the garage to grab my fishing rod that I store in a stud space there. I pulled and pulled, but it wouldn't budge. Finally I realized that one of those 2-in. nails had found its way dead center into my fishing rod. I was able to pry it loose and salvage it. Now every time I cast, I see light through a small hole in the rod and think not of the fish I'll catch but of power nailing. — Norm Holcomb

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Shopping Notes

Shopping Notes

Wonder why a shorter water heater would help? (Could of put the writing backwards on his forehead too.) At least he'll have a convenient reminder when it comes time for a new water heater. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Salvador Dali’s Ceiling FanStructure Tech

Salvador Dali’s Ceiling Fan

We think it got very hot for a very long time here and the plastic blades sagged. There’s no fix'n it. Time to install a new ceiling fan. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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A soaking surpriseFamily Handyman

A soaking surprise

Last summer I had to move the outdoor water spigot several feet to accommodate our new deck. I got all my plumbing parts ready, shut off the water supply inside and then opened the outdoor spigot to drain any remaining water. Just as I put the wrench on the spigot, water came gushing right in my face! My wife had turned on a faucet upstairs to wash her hands and released the vacuum pressure holding the remaining water in that pipe. — Michael Totoro

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Ladder Extender Part 2

Ladder Extender Part 2

This is just a temporary solution until the 10"-thick slab is poured. Install an attic ladder as a handy way to use your rafter space in the garage.

Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Dr. Frankenstein's wall switchPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Dr. Frankenstein's wall switch

We think this is a way to turn on a light switch to a room that has no access but-not sure! Believe it or not there are electronic ways to remotely operate lights with wireless switches.

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In the Bag

In the Bag

After removing an old toilet, I did the old handyman trick of stuffing a bunch of plastic bags into the sewer opening. This kept the stench from seeping into the bathroom while I installed the new toilet over the weekend. After setting and hooking up the new commode, I did a test flush. It was very satisfying to watch the water swirl down and the bowl fill up—and up and up! The toilet gushed water all over the floor. Turns out the other half of that trick is removing the bags from the sewer opening. — Rob Kiesling

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Santa lost his bootCourtesy of Structure Tech

Santa lost his boot

No, this isn't a trash can. I think a good chimney cleaning is in order.

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Dryer Vent

Dryer Vent

This would have been fine with only a few cleverly angled 90-degree elbows, and no vinyl at all. You won't find this method in most dryer vent installation stories. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Breaker Panel ConvenienceStructure Tech

Breaker Panel Convenience

What a good idea. Just move all the paper towels, soaps and potions out of the way and you'll have instant access to your breaker panel. Learn what you need to know about breaker box safety here.

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Wayne Gretzky's Boyhood HomeStructure Tech

Wayne Gretzky's Boyhood Home

So you take a hockey puck and hold it in place while you foam it in. Brilliant! There are better ways to repair and replace soffit

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Flying Wallenda's Family HomeCourtesy of Structure Tech

Flying Wallenda's Family Home

Whoever goes up this ladder has more courage than brains. Maybe it would have been smarter to rent a lift for the day.

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Legends of the FallPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Legends of the Fall

Wonder why you'd even need the 2x4 cribbing when you have a ratchet strap doing the job! Wonder if the painting will get done before the fall. Renting a lift would be a lot safer approach.

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Watch Your Head!

Watch Your Head!

Nothing wrong here, really. Go here for some more storage tips. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Not a DIY Mini-SplitPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Not a DIY Mini-Split

Just guessing, but we don't think this is how a mini-split works. But the real question for this home inspector nightmares is, does it actually keep the room cool?

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Plywood window wellCourtesy of Structure Tech

Plywood window well

Well I hope it's at least treated plywood. There are very rigorous standards when it comes to building egress window wells.

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Pillars of the earth

Pillars of the earth

Lots of bad bricks here that a little tuckpointing may have prevented. At least it matches the rest of the chimney. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Brilliant extension ladder leg extender

Brilliant extension ladder leg extender

Another clever use for a five-gallon bucket, just prior to kicking the bucket. Please be careful with extension ladders, folks. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Crop circles in the atticStructure Tech

Crop circles in the attic

Here's one theory. Frost on the underside of the roof deck is melting and wetting the insulation. A hot can light below is drying out the area around it. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Liberty BellStructure Tech

Liberty Bell

It's cracked like the Liberty Bell. But this cracked chimney liner needs to be repaired to prevent a chimney fire.

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Hardhat AreaCourtesy of Structure Tech

Hardhat Area

It's never a good idea to hang a ceiling fan from electrical cable only. They make ceiling fan braces that make the job safe and easy.

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Brick Work Gone Bad

Brick Work Gone Bad

Some repairs are so neat and well executed that you barely even notice them. Not this one, though. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Wine cork plugCourtesy of Structure Tech

Wine cork plug

At least until you get to the store for a new pop-up drain assembly. Or maybe it's time to install a new vanity sink.

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Bust'n out!Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Bust'n out!

What in the world made a thing like this happen? Whatever it was, it calls for a new outlet install.

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Ice warsCourtesy of Structure Tech

Ice wars

Did you know that freezing water exerts 50,000 lbs. per square inch? That's a pretty good reason to winterize irrigation systems. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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One way to save money on flooringPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

One way to save money on flooring

I've got a great idea! We don't need new flooring under the rug. Nobody will ever know.

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Boy-O-Boy!

Boy-O-Boy!

Not only is this chimney badly deteriorated, it's almost completely missing any clay or metal liner. This is the poster child for why you should have your chimney inspected. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Ho boy!Structure Tech

Ho boy!

Vinyl dryer vent hose is such a bad idea on so many levels. So a smooth metal dryer vent is the best solution, hands down.

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Honey, let's have a block party?Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Honey, let's have a block party?

Yep, let's have over a couple of dozen neighbors for a really fun evening. Or tear off this disaster waiting to happen and build a deck properly.

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March of the roof ventsCourtesy of Structure Tech

March of the roof vents

Yes, attic venting is important. This, however, might be a bit much. Maybe trying to save on shingles?

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You Can Still Use the Garbage Can

You Can Still Use the Garbage Can

I know it's called a "garbage disposal" but I think someone's taking that a bit too literally. Might be due for a replacement. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

86 / 100
Deck Stair Layout Headache

Deck Stair Layout Headache

Stairs are tricky to layout for the neophyte deck builder. But it's easier than you think to get it right with a few stair building instructions. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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What's wrong?

What's wrong?

Let thee count the ways ... Broken chimney cap, missing mortar and bricks, all that's gonna cause a few leaks. This chimney needs some major repairs. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Ceiling kitchen venting

Ceiling kitchen venting

Marion loved the smell of her cooking so much, it seemed a waste to vent all of the wonderful aromas outside. Generally, most people would prefer kitchen venting to exhaust outside the house.

Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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How not to add lightingStructure Tech

How not to add lighting

Pretty sure this wiring system won't pass the electrical inspection. There are right and wrong ways to hang a ceiling light, and this is the wrong way. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Duct Tape WallStructure Tech

Duct Tape Wall

This tile was undoubtedly installed over greenboard instead of cement board and is completely falling apart. Regrouting isn't an option.

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Hard hat area

Hard hat area

Maybe the in-ground pool sprung a leak? Or just maybe this was a first time retaining wall builder. Regardless, it's time to bone up on building a retaining wall. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Look closelyStructure Tech

Look closely

And you'll see a very conveniently located outlet right where it's needed. There are several things to keep in mind when you're roughing in wiring.

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Proper grounding-not!Structure Tech

Proper grounding-not!

OK think about it. This guy grounded to a PLASTIC COATED gas line. Unless they changed the rules, plastic is a non-conductor. How many other electrical mistakes do you suppose you would find in this house? Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

94 / 100
Hot WiredPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Hot Wired

This breaker is rated for both aluminum (AL) and copper (CU) wires. But that rating didn't prevent this aluminum wire connection from loosening and getting hot enough to melt the plastic insulation. Here's more on aluminum wiring and how to make it safe.

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Poor Cable Detector?Structure tech

Poor Cable Detector?

Determined to find out if carbon monoxide was at fault for his poor cable reception, uncle Walter devised a plan… Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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More Duct Tape IngenuityPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

More Duct Tape Ingenuity

Well, covering the vent with tape stopped the cold air. The only problem is that it also defeated the purpose of having make-up air in the first place, which is to keep the occupants from being asphyxiated. Add this to the list of furnace repairs needed.

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Blocked vent?

Blocked vent?

Guess it's OK if you block it with cardboard. While we're on heating systems, how about a primer on efficient heating. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Dryer vent folliesStructure Tech

Dryer vent follies

Why not just duct tape it near the attic vent. Why wouldn't that do the trick? Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Hubcap Flue CapStructure Tech

Hubcap Flue Cap

Well that's one way to keep the rain away from your furnace. But there are official rain caps that you can buy at the home center. Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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A Potentially Shocking DisposerStructure Tech

A Potentially Shocking Disposer

Not a bad idea to have a switch on the new disposer. As long as you don’t have to open the cabinet door to get at it-and that it's properly installed! Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech