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Plumbing Woes and Quick Fixes

Updated on September 2, 2011

So much Plumbing

I'm not much of a plumber and was going to give this contest a miss when fate decided I needed to be nudged into writing a hub on plumbing woes and joys.

Many Homes

Since I was born I have lived in over thirty house. I know the number may sound amazingly high but being an army brat and an air force wife has ensured that I moved around quite a bit all my life.

Each house that I lived in had its own unique features. Some were good, some were bad and most of them were just somewhere in between. All I can say is that they are part and parcel of the many hued memories that I hold.

Worst One

There was the one with mud walls and thatched hay roof that was covered with a blanket when I was three years old. This one would have to be the worst home I ever had. They had a water tank on stilts on the side of the house and pipelines coming through the mudwall for the plumbing indoors. One tap in the bathroom, one in the kitchen and one pipe going directly to the flush of the WC.

Best One

Of course as my Dad went up in service we starting getting better accommodation and by the time he was commanding there was the concept of allotted homes. As in at his designation there was a home fixed for him to occupy. And believe me these were some of the best homes I have lived in. The one that he retired from was like a hotel. I mean indoor shower chambers, attached dressing rooms all connected to my bedroom. And there were four such bedrooms. It was an amazing house.

After Marriage

Once I got married we went down the feeding chain again. Of course the houses were again with some unique features. The first one had a full wall covered with seepage from the roof. Another one had a roof that leaked when it rained... and I'm not even started on the plumbing as yet. Although in two places we were lucky enough to step into brand new houses where we were the first inhabitants of the house. Those homes were lovely.

The Tap that Flew

For those of you looking at the photos on the side, this was a bathroom tap that literally flew off the wall when I decided to fill up the bucket to give my son a bath. The best part was my son's reaction - I didn't do it, I didn't do it! He shouted at me as I went to get the camera to record this momentous occasion. It was fixed the next day and so life is back to normal but hey, last year my kitchen tap flew off. So I never know when I will have a plumbing emergency on my hands.

Quick Fixes for Plumbing Woes

There is always a sort of plumbing emergency that you need to deal with before the plumber can be contacted. Here is a list of plumbing emergencies that I have dealt with personally over the years in the 30+ homes that I have lived in.

Blocked Drains

Okay, this one is usually your own fault. You need to make sure that no hair, cloth fibers or food particles get into the drain. Also make sure that the drain cover stays on all the time. If the drain gets blocked and the water starts collecting don't panic. Deal with it by adding 1/4 cup washing soda to the water and then watch how it magically cleans up the blocked drain. In an emergency I have even used a combination of Vinegar and Baking Soda and that worked as well.

Pipe Leaks

While a small crack in the pipe may not be causing you too much bother today in a couple of weeks the pipe will begin leaking like a sieve. So get some sealant and cover the crack up. You will have to stop water in the pipe so that it stays dry and holds up the sealant. It usually dries up fine in about three to four hours time, although if you can afford to make the repairs last thing at night and leave the water turned off. This will give it enough time to dry up. Mseal is a good brand to go with.

Tap Leaks

Most tap leaks are caused by the deterioration of the rubber washer in the tap mechanism. So make sure that you stock up on the rubber washers which are the appropriate size for your tap. You can then just unhook the top portion of the tap and remove the old rubber washer and replace it with the new one. Like magic the leak will disappear. You can even catch the cuts in the old rubber washer if you hold it up to the light.

Blocked Showerhead

Most of the time the block is caused because some dirt is clogging up the pores of the showerhead. You will need to detach the shower head by twisting it round so that you can clean it. If you clean the showerhead with a fine toothed brush every month there should be no problem. You can use a paste of vinegar and baking soda to soak the showerhead in and brush it off with an old toothbrush. Wash it nicely and reattach the showerhead.

Burst Pipe

The priority here is to ensure that you shut down water supply to the section where the pipe has burst. That way you will not have to walk through puddles of water on the floor and risk a slip disc if you slip and fall. Once you have shut down the water supply you will need to re-fix the section of the burst pipe. If you have no clue how to do this, please make it easy on yourself and call the professional plumber in.


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    • cashmere profile image

      cashmere 6 years ago from India

      Thanks snakeslane and tsrmd. Simone you have no idea. Its a constant adventure in each new house we move to. And we move every couple of years.

    • Trsmd profile image

      Trsmd 6 years ago from India

      really good tips and nice sharing experience about fixing plumbing issues..

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Wow, you've seen quite the range in plumbing conditions! I don't know what I'd do if a shower spigot just flew off out of nowhere... hahaa, what a surprise it would be!

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 6 years ago from Canada

      Nice write-up cashmere, and the pics say it all!