How To Deal With Common Plumbing Issues At Home
Plumbing is a marvelous thing. Having water in our homes makes life infinitely easier, fresher, and far more comfortable. This being said, plumbing problems can quickly get messy, smelly, or troublesome. The following will explore some of the more standard plumbing problems and what you can do at home to tackle them.
Before beginning, it is important to note that you don’t need to face any plumbing problem alone. If you feel uncertain about a home repair task, it’s always best to get a professional’s help. Home repair projects that are done poorly or wrong can be dangerous or damage your property further. Only take on those tasks that you feel confident with.
One of the most common plumbing issues is clogging. A wide variety of things can block drains, but hair, food, and children’s toys (yes, children’s toys) are some of the most common culprits. If the blockage is visible from where you stand, pick it out of the drain. You might want to use a piece of hooked wire or a drain snake to help you with this process. If the clog isn’t visible, you can try using a plunger or a longer piece of wire.
If this method doesn’t work, there’s a chance that your clog is much deeper, and you might need to flush something down the drain to get it moving. There is a common internet suggestion of using baking soda and vinegar to clean out clogged or slow-moving drains. Minimally, the mixture will do nothing. Maximally, it can actually end up contributing to build-up if the baking soda gathers within the pipes.
If you must flush something down the drain, try a combination of boiling water and salt or boiling water and dish soap (especially if you think a build-up of grease is the culprit). In the future, you can reduce the risk of clogged drains by using drain covers. Don’t ever let fats, oils, or grease go down the drain, and be wary of food particles, especially those that expand in water like rice and quinoa.
Resort to chemical cleaners only after you’ve tried the above methods as the chemical used in drain cleaning solutions is pretty hardcore and toxic. They don’t always work and are dangerously corrosive. Even when they do work, these chemicals eat away at the buildup in your drain, yes, but then go on to wreak havoc on the water supply.
A leaky faucet can be hilariously irritating (and sometimes spooky, depending on how recently you watched a scary movie). However, the plumbing team at allserviceplumbers.com says that a dripping faucet often means that a replacement part is needed. Almost always, a worn-out washer or gasket, a loose O ring, or a corroded valve seat is to blame. To make the process of figuring out which problem is occurring and what needs to be done about it, you can ask for an expert plumber’s help, or you can purchase and work with a faucet repair kit.
First, you’ll want to turn off the water supply using the shutoff valve under your sink (if there isn’t one, you will have to turn off the house water). Then, turn on the sink and leave it on to ensure that any water left within is emptied into the sink.
Once you’ve got the water supply off, you can remove the handle of your faucet (often there is a screw behind the handle that takes an Allen wrench or a decorative cap on top of the handle that can be pried out (flat head screwdrivers can help with this) and the screw can be found beneath.
Remove the cartridge (sometimes also called a faucet stem). This is easiest with a wrench. Have a good look at the cartridge and the o-rings around the housing, replacing any part that looks damaged or worn out—clean and dry everything before putting it back together.
If the toilet is refusing to flush or flushing half-heartedly, you likely have a clog. Almost always, using a standard toilet plunger can sort the problem out. However, if you’re squeamish or uncomfortable with the idea of plunging the toilet, get yourself a pair of rubber gloves. Fit the plunger’s rubber end over the hole in your toilet, press down, release pressure, and be careful not to pull the plunger off the hole. The suction pressure will continue to build in strength the more times you plunge. Sometimes this can take up to 15 or 20 minutes to be effective, but often this is all it takes.
Just like above, be wary of using chemicals to clear out the drain. These do not always work, and what this might mean is you’re stuck with a toilet full of corrosive chemicals making any plumbing work far more dangerous.
Of course, there are some plumbing issues you shouldn’t tackle without expert help. If you have any reason to believe a natural gas leak has occurred, either because you can smell gas or hear the hissing of a leak, you mustn’t attempt to solve the problem yourself. You should immediately evacuate the area and call 911. Do not, under any circumstances, light a match or lighter near the property and avoid turning anything on or off as you leave. Any action that could cause a spark could result in disaster if there’s a gas leak. Once you’ve contacted the authorities, you can reach out to a plumbing professional or team that takes emergency service calls.
Sometimes plumbing issues are more complicated than the above. As well, sometimes, we don’t feel confident fiddling with things we don’t fully understand. That’s okay. If you’re stumped or feeling uncertain, reach out to a professional plumber in your area.
The above tips should help you tackle some of the more common home plumbing issues. However, if problems are more complicated than this, you might need to reach a professional.
Thank you for reading!