DIY Plumbing Repair: 6 Plumbing Problems That Are Easy for Anyone to Fix – Yes, Even You by 30Seconds Mom
It’s been months since the global coronavirus pandemic upended the entire world, shut down businesses and affected millions of lives either directly or indirectly. While many communities have been able to keep infection rates low and have, in part, rebounded, COVID-19 is still very much a threat. As such, people are opting to self-quarantine, socially isolate and stay at home.
What does this have to do with plumbing, you ask? Well, when your whole family is spending the majority of their time at home, the – er, facilities – have to work harder than ever. It’s not just toilets that are in higher-than-average demand, either, but the entire system, from pipes to spigots. If your plumbing is experiencing increased wear and tear, it only makes sense to pick up a few DIY fix-it skills. Let’s take a look at the most common problems that homeowners may face:
1. Do Away With Drippy Faucets
A leaky faucet is enough to drive anyone nuts. Not only is that "drip, drip, drip" noise annoying, but it’s also wasteful. In fact, plumbing leaks in the average U.S. household are responsible for more than 10,000 gallons of water being wasted every year.
There is good news, however. It’s actually pretty easy to fix a leaky faucet. First, you’ll have to shut off the water supply in that area of the home. Look beneath the sink, and if you don’t see it there, head down to the basement. Most homes have a main shut-off where the water line comes into the house.
After that, all you will need are some simple tools, a couple hours of your time and about $20. Take the fixture apart, then take the components to the local hardware store so you can get the parts you need.
2. Find Hidden Leaks Before They Wreak Havoc
If your kitchen spigot is leaky, you’ll know right away – either the telltale dripping will tip you off, or you will notice that water seeps from the base of the faucet. Other leaks in the home, however, aren’t so easy to spot – that is, unless you are looking for them.
The first place to search? The mailbox. If there are leaks, the amount of H20 you use will spike, leading to a corresponding spike in your water bill. Of course, it’s also possible to check your water meter, after shutting off the flow throughout the home. If there’s still activity, a leak must be present somewhere.
It’s also smart to look for signs of water in areas that should be dry: basins, cabinets and the like. The smell of mold, dampness you can feel and buckling or warping construction materials will alert you to potentially damaging leaks. Get those fixed before they do serious damage to your entire home.
3. Repair Leaks That Occur at Joints
Once you find the leaky spot(s), it’s down to your comfort level as to whether to DIY it or call in the professionals. Some plumbing joints are easier to access than others or may be difficult to disassemble without specialty tools.
Either way, do yourself a favor and give all the joints a once over. Poor connections between the main line and auxiliary plumbing are responsible for the majority of leaks. Shoring them up will help the water stay where it belongs: on the inside of the pipes!
4. Put a Stop to That Running Toilet
Sure, stopping a running toilet is often as easy as jiggling the handle after each flush. But a toilet that runs is a toilet that wastes water. Why not just take care of the issue once and for all?
There are essentially three causes behind this problem: a leaky flapper, a bad fill valve or an overflow pipe that’s slightly too high to do its job. It’s a cinch to suss out the culprit, even for a plumbing-repair novice, and not terribly difficult to complete the entire repair.
5. Clear Out Your Clogged Tub
When the water in your bathtub doesn’t drain as quickly as you’d like, leaving you standing in several inches of water by the end of your shower, you might be tempted to grab a bottle of drain cleaner and pour it down the drain. But that’s not necessary, and it may even be harmful.
Drain cleaner is a particularly toxic mixture, so it’s not safe to use around children or pets. Not only that, but it can also cause your plumbing pipes to corrode over time, and that could end up being a much more serious plumbing situation to contend with than a stopped-up drain.
Luckily, there’s an easy, effective, chemical-free way to get that gunk out of there. It involves removing the stopper, then using a bent wire coat hanger or a similar improvised tool to fish out whatever is preventing the water from flowing smoothly down the drain.
Fair warning: the results are almost certainly going to be, well, gross. You will definitely want a pair of gloves for this task, just in case. In fact, if you’re squeamish about such things, don’t hesitate to call Fix It Right Plumbing for blocked drain repair.
6. Take Care of a Toilet Clog
It happens to the best of us: the dreaded toilet clog. Often, it’s enough to simply shut the lid and wait for an hour or so. By this time, the blockage may have already begun to break down, making flushing possible once again. But if not, pull out those trusty rubber gloves and get down to business.
An essential plumbing tool that every household should have on hand is a flange plunger. The shape of this plunger makes it easier to create a seal inside the toilet and to get more leverage as you are plunging. They cost less than $10 at the hardware store, and after you use one once, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
Fixing any element of your plumbing system may seem incredibly daunting, and there are definitely some jobs that you won’t be able to tackle yourself, so it’s worth having a trusty plumber’s number stored in your smartphone. But with some simple household tools and access to YouTube, most anyone can DIY their way out of a plumbing problem!
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