How to Fix Simple Plumbing Issues: Home Improvement and Home Maintenance
Addressing Common Plumbing Issues
Next time your sink gets clogged or your toilet won't flush, don't panic. You might not need to call the plumber if you know how to fix simple plumbing issues.
What do you need? There are some basic plumbing tools you'll need and the information in this hub. Don't call the plumber! Save your money and your time. Instead of waiting around all day for a professional to arrive, you can use some of these do-it-yourself home improvement solutions.
Time is money, right? Don't waste half your day waiting for the repair person to arrive. Save your hard-earned money from service-call fees. Take care of simple plumbing tasks yourself.
With a relatively small investment in ordinary plumbing tools, you can be ready the next time you have a clogged drain or stopped-up toilet. Anyone can perform these easy DIY plumbing fixes without the need for a professional.
Plumbing Tools You Need
To avoid plumbing service calls, you'll need to have these common plumbing tools:
- Toilet auger (can unplug almost any blockage)
- Crescent wrench (use to take off a faucet or hose)
- Water shut-off key
- Plumber's grease
- Teflon tape (use to seal threads on a shower head or other fixtures)
- Drain cleaner (think Liquid-Plumr)
- Zip-it Drain Cleaner (use this to unclog sinks, showers or bathtubs without removing the fixture)
- Channel lock pliers
Guide to Must-Have Plumbing Tools
How to Fix a Clogged Toilet
To avoid calling a professional plumber, you'll need to know how to fix clogged drains. From sinks to toilets and showers, there are a number of tools you can use to open up the drains and get things flowing. Let's start with the most commonly clogged drain - the toilet.
For the toilet, the best known plumber's tool is the simple plunger. With a wood handle and a rubber head, just about any person can unclog a toilet with this tool.
If a plunger does not work, try a toilet auger, or toilet snake. This tool is a 4 or 5 foot long flexible line with a crank on one end and a set of hooks on the opposite side. Insert the end with the hooks down the commode drain. Once you reach the clog, twist the tool with the crank. You'll either grab hold of the clogging item, or break up the material causing the water to back-up.
Save yourself at least $85 for a plumber call by investing a fraction of that amount on a toilet auger. Did you know that the tool is usually the first item a professional will reach for to fix a clogged toilet?
Get an auger for yourself and enjoy the peace of mind knowing that you can easily fix a clogged toilet without the cost of a professional plumber, and without having to waste 1/2 day (or more) waiting for them to show up at your home or apartment.
How to Fix a Clogged Drain
If you have a clogged drain in your home, the first plumbing tool you'll want to reach for is a Zip-it Drain Cleaner. Whether your sink, bathtub or shower P-trap needs to be unclogged, you can accomplish the task without having to remove the fixture. The Zip-It easily removes hair or other blockages from showers and sinks without the hassle of dis-assembly.
If you need to remove the P-trap, you will have to remove a section of the pipe under the drain by loosening and removing the connectors. You will need channel lock pliers or a pipe wrench to help you here. Perform this task with care so as not to spill water out of the pipe when it is opened up.
The best news is that many clogged drains can be easily resolved with drain cleaner, like Drano or Liquid-Plumbr. The agents in these cleaners can often break up a clog or stoppage within minutes. Don't reuse too often, however, because the cleaners use toxic chemicals.
Have you ever dropped a wedding ring or earring down the drain? Fortunately, you can retrieve it yourself. Unfortunately, however, you will have to remove the P-trap to do so!
How to Fix a Clogged Drain
How to Loosen Faucets and Fixtures
Plumbing repairs get slightly more complicated when you need to know how to loosen faucets and fixtures. There are a number of tools that can help you get the job done at home.
Vice grips or a crescent wrench will help you take off a faucet or hose. You can also use vice grips to clamp down on a faucet stem or copper pipe to shut it off.
Two other helpful items are plumber's grease and Teflon tape. Use the grease to lubricate faucets that are tight and/or hard to operate. If the faucet squeaks when water runs, this is another time to try plumber's grease! Teflon tape is useful to seal threads on shower heads or other fixtures. How many times have you dealt with stripped threads?
Don't forget the good-old Phillips screwdriver to loosen faucets and fixtures. This handy tool, in most ordinary garages and sheds, is a necessity since many fixtures are attached with a Phillips head bolt.
How to Fix a Leaky Faucet
Know How to Turn off the Water
If you are dealing with an overflowing faucet, sink, tub, shower or toilet, you might have to turn off the water to minimize damage and cost.
A water shut-off key is necessary in case a water pipe breaks. This tool will turn off water from the main line to the home, preventing a deluge of water. If this happens, use the key as soon as possible, then call a plumber!
How to Turn Off Water Main
What Plumbing Issues Have You Dealt With Most Often?
© 2011 Stephanie Hicks