Have you ever thought that DIY plumbing skills are a must when deciding to be a house owner? Owning a home is a huge accomplishment, but it’s also a major responsibility. To protect your investment and keep your home safe and comfortable, periodic upkeep is necessary. Left unchecked, some issues can turn into a large-scale and costly nightmare—and this is especially true for plumbing problems.
Some plumbing fixes are easy and cheap, while others are complicated and expensive. Having basic DIY plumbing skills will help you save both time and money. These skills will prove invaluable over your years as a homeowner, even if it just involves knowing how to turn off the main water valve until you can get hold of a professional plumber.
Here are four useful plumbing skills that you should learn as a homeowner:
Unclogging Drains, Sinks, Or Toilets
One of the most common problems any homeowner is bound to encounter at one point or another is a clogged drain, sink, or toilet. Therefore, learning how to get rid of clogs is a must-have skill because their occurrence is not a question of if but when.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Hair is the top culprit for blocked drains. To get rid of the clog, remove the drain, then use a hook to extract the hair.
- The pressure from a plunger is usually enough to remove most clogs. Just make sure that you’re using the right one for the job: a cup plunger for sinks and tubs and a flange for toilets. Make sure you have a tight seal, then continuously plunge vertically for 20 seconds.
- If a plunger doesn’t do the trick, pour some hot water to help loosen the blockage.
- If hot water still doesn’t work, you’re going to need a plumbing snake—a metal coil that twists and ‘snakes’ into the pipe. To use a plumbing snake, push its end into the opening and slowly turn the hand crank until you feel resistance. Then, rotate the snake until it breaks the clog apart. If the clog is too solid, bring the snake up. Chances are, it’ll bring the cause of the clog up with it.
If these DIY remedies can’t clear a severe or tough clog, you might need the help of a professional plumber. Just make sure that you’re choosing a fast, experienced, and reliable one. Local plumber networks such as Best Plumbers Club USA can help you select and hire licensed plumbers ready to take on your plumbing emergency.
Fixing A Running Toilet
If your toilet won’t stop running, there’s most likely a problem with either the plastic float that allows the tank to refill water or the flushing mechanism. Here’s what you need to do:
- Remove the lid of the tank.
- Check whether the chain connecting the flushing mechanism to the plunger lever is still intact. If the chain is broken, your toilet won’t flush. If it’s tangled or too short, the flapper won’t close, and water will leak into the bowl. To prevent this, adjust the chain, leaving only a little slack.
- Next, check the level of the adjustable float. If it’s too low, the flush would be too weak. If it’s too high, that’s most likely causing your toilet to run. To fix it, keep adjusting the float until the toilet stops running.
You may also need to purchase replacement parts if some of them are too worn or damaged. You can easily get these at your local hardware shop.
Locating And Shutting Off The Stop Valves
The key to preventing flooding and further damage during a plumbing emergency is to respond quickly when you see something wrong. Your first step would be to turn off the stop tap or main water stop valve in most cases.
Don’t wait for a plumbing emergency—locate and understand how to shut off each stop tap or valve now. The stop tap for your sink is typically placed on the pipe below it, while the stop tap for your toilet is usually located close to the wall. The main water valve is usually placed outside your home.
Protecting Pipes From Freezing
If you live somewhere that usually reaches subzero temperatures in the winter, knowing how to protect your pipes from freezing is critical. When water freezes, it expands and puts tremendous pressure on both plastic and metal pipes. No matter how strong you think your pipes might be, ice can cause them to break.
Some of the measures you can take include: winterizing your pool, putting all your faucets on a slow drip so water is constantly flowing, opening cabinet doors to ensure that warm air circulates to the pipes, and wrapping the pipes with insulating products like heat cables or pipe sleeves.
You don’t need to bring in the pros for every little thing. Knowing the basics will help you save time and money, keep your plumbing system in excellent condition, and prevent further damage to your home. The DIY plumbing skills listed above are a great starting point, but keep in mind that some issues may require the expertise and experience of a professional plumber.