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Quick Plumbing Fixes That Anyone Can Do

Updated on October 2, 2017

Sometimes a small plumbing problem pops up in the home. Perhaps there's a leaky facet in the bathroom or the garbage disposal is jammed. Even for those with no plumbing experience, these and several other instances can potentially be fixed right away. Instead of immediately reaching out to a plumber, take a moment to inspect the problem and check to see if there might be a quick fix. This can save the hassle and heartache of shutting down appliances until help is able to arrive.

Replacing A Toilet Flapper

If the lid of the toilet tank is removed, at the bottom a small hinged flap valve generally made of plastic or rubber can be found. This is the toilet flapper. In observing a flush from here, the chain attached to the flapper lifts it up as the flush level is depressed, allowing the water stored there to move down into the toilet bowl. When the flapper cannot seat itself properly, it can cause the toilet to continuously run as the tank can never completely fill.

Thankfully, this is not only an easy fix, but an inexpensive one as well. It normally does not cost more than $10 for a standard toilet flapper, if that. It may be best to look at the current type of flapper to purchase the most similar type, but most are universal.

To replace, start by turning off the water by closing the shut off valve generally found behind the toilet. Drain the water by flushing the toilet so the tank is empty then remove the chain attached to the flapper. If there is a chain provided with the flapper, remove the chain from the flush arm when possible. From there, simply disconnect the side ears on the flapper and remove the old part.

At that point, it is just the reverse to install the new one. With the new flapper, hook each ear on the pegs then connect the chain between the flapper and the arm. It may require some adjustment depending on its length. Once the flapper is correctly set in place, turn the water back on and test it by flushing several times. At this point, if the toilet is still running, it may require attention from a professional.

Fixing A Leaky Bathtub Faucet

There are a few causes for a leaky faucet in the bathtub, including loose handles, failing parts and hard water build up. To check the easiest potential problem, it is a bit more involved than the toilet flapper, but not much more expensive. Some tools required for this will be a monkey wrench, screwdriver and vice grips, along with a thread sealant paste or similar product.

Since there is no shut off valve available for the tub, the water intake for the home will need to be shut off. Once that is complete, open all valves to drain the remaining water in the pipes. Using the screwdriver, unscrew the handle from the wall. Below that, unscrew the trim, a decorative piece fit around the outside of the faucet, and the collar, a tubular piece fit around the internal parts, by hand. Finally, remove the stem bonnet, which is the packing nut that holds the stem in place, and insert the seat wrench into the opening where the faucet was. This removes the seat from the back portion of the faucet that extends into the pipe. It is best to set these items in order as they are removed for easy replacement. This process is similar to other faucets in the home, though they may vary greatly based on their use and style.

With the parts removed, inspect them for any failure that requires replacement. If new pieces need to be purchased, it may be a good idea to take them as reference to a local hardware store or home center. From here, start reinstalling the parts, though new parts will require plumbing grease before being put together. Once all of the pieces are tightly back in place, turn the water back on once more.

Unclogging A Garbage Disposal

Clogged or jammed garbage disposals are some of the easiest repairs to make. No tool is needed as every new garbage disposal should come with a hex wrench used to clean the system attached to the disposal itself. The garbage disposal should also come with instructions on how to properly repair the disposal if it gets jammed. It is vital to always make sure the power to the disposal is turned off at the source before attempting any repairs. Make sure harmful foods do not make it into the garbage disposal, and run it as often as possible to prevent clogs or jams.


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