Even if you don’t consider yourself very handy, there are many home repairs that can be solved with a little bit of patience and a little bit of research, and a little bit of instruction.
That’s especially true when it comes to home plumbing problems and plumbing maintenance. There are many plumbing issues that can be solved without professional help and with a little research, you’ll be able to solve many issues and no time, well also saving yourself some money.
Here’s a handy guide to help learn all about plumbing service and repair:
Get The Right Tools
As you learn all about plumbing service and repair, you’ll learn quickly that you need the right tools to do a good job.
So what do you need? This list can give you a good toolkit to fix a lot of common plumbing issues:
- A plunger: A ball plunger and can be used to unclog your toilets as well and a cup plunger can be used to unclog tubs and sinks.
- Plumber’s tape: This is essential for preventing leaks at threaded plumbing connections. It wraps around pipe threads and fittings before pipes are fitted together.
- Channel locks: These are pliers that allow you to grip pipes and other plumbing parts. When you need leverage for loosening and tightening, channel locks can quickly become your most important tool.
- Sink auger: When you need to break up clogs, this is your go-to tool. It works by extending a steel cable with a corkscrew tip down a drain and then use a handle to snake the cable through piping.
- Washers, O-rings, and packing: You can buy a variety pack of washers, packing, and O-rings, which will help you create seals if you’re dealing with leaky valves, especially on sinks.
If you notice that your toilet is slow to cycle through when you flush or your sink is slow to drain water when you wash your hands, chances are you might have a clog. If you’re going to learn all about plumbing service and repair, you definitely need to know how to unclog your plumbing.
There are any number of drain cleaners you can buy from the store to unclog your drains. Many of them work very, very well. But there are also many other ways you can unclog your drains.
You can get yourself a drain snake which can help you manually unclog a drain. All you have to do is insert the snake into the drain and pull it back out where the culprit for the clog will hopefully be attached. If you don’t have a drain snake handy, you can also use a shot vacuum to suck out the clog.
If you’re looking for other home remedies for drain cleaning and unclogging your pipes, give these methods a shot:
- Vinegar and baking soda: Once you get rid of standing water, you pour a cup of baking soda down your drain followed by a cup of vinegar. Once you’ve given it about 15 minutes, see if the clog clears.
- Salt and hot water: Pour about 1/2 a cup of table salt down the drain and then follow it with boiling water. After letting it sit for a few minutes, give the drain another cycle of water.
- Clear the disposal: If you have a clog in your kitchen sink, check to make sure your disposal isn’t stopping up the drain.
- Plunge it: You can also unclog a drain by using a household plunger. You simply put the plunger firmly over the drain and put some elbow grease into plunging. Once you’ve removed the clog, you can flush the drain with water.
Know Where The Controls Are
If your first-time homeowner who needs to learn all about plumbing service and repair, it is absolutely important to know the location of the main shut-off valve and drain in your home. In addition, you should also know where the sewer line access points are, in the event that you need to conduct any cleanouts. Much like knowing how all the breakers in a breaker box work when it comes to your home’s power, knowing where the valves are, and what they control is very beneficial.
Watch What Goes Down
As you learn all about plumbing service and repair and pick up important residential plumbing tips, one thing you’ll learn is that you need to watch what goes down the drain, especially when it comes to toilets and sinks.
For your sinks, you need to make sure that the only thing that goes down the drain is water. If you’ve got garbage disposal, make use of it to dispose of food. If you don’t have a disposal, make sure that grease, coffee grounds, and any food debris ends up in the trash. All of those things will certainly clog your kitchen drain.
The same thing applies to your toilet. Don’t use it as a trash can. One thing you really need to watch out for is anything that’s marketed as flushable. Things like “flushable” wipes can easily back up your plumbing, so make sure waste and toilet paper are the only things being flushed.
By paying attention to what goes down your drains, this will make sewer cleaning much easier when you need to do it. Rather than having to deal with blockages, you can use drain cleaner, or a drain snake, or some of the home remedies mentioned above to keep your lines clean and your plumbing system in good shape.
Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment
Learning all about plumbing service and repair also means learning that some simple plumbing tasks can be very easily done. This is especially true of replacing parts inside your toilet and your faucets.
Worn flappers are a common cause of leaks between a toilet bowl and a toilet tank. The good news is they only cost a few dollars to replace and the package will pick up from your local home improvement store comes with instructions on how to install it.
Many modern faucets can be fixed If you replace the entire faucet interior with a new cartridge. The only thing you have to do is remove a couple of screws and install the new cartridge. If your toilet runs frequently or your sink drips a lot, getting replacement parts is a very easy way to fix a very common problem.
Know Your Limits
An important part of learning all about plumbing service and repair is knowing your limits. While it’s true that there are many repairs you can do with the right tools and know-how, there are some that require experienced hands.
What type of repairs does that include? For starters, when it comes time to pump your septic system, call a local septic tank service. It can be a messy job, but more importantly, septic tank cleaning requires special equipment and permits so that waste can be disposed of properly. Professionals will make sure that your septic tank is clean, which will help prevent plumbing issues in the future.
You’ll also need professional help if you’re experiencing leaks in your water heater. Unfortunately, this is an issue that isn’t always noticed right away. Leaks in water heaters can occur when sediment settles in the heater. A professional can come in and clean your water heater to make sure you don’t have any issues taking a hot shower, washing dishes, or washing your hands.
Be Careful Around Pipes
Another area where you’ll likely need a professional touch is when it comes to working with pipes. As you learn all about plumbing service and repair, you’ll learn that pipes can be tricky things. Pipework can be very tricky, whether you need pipes replaced or you’re looking to replace pipe fittings. A pipe repair service can be very helpful if you have a summer home that you annually winterize. If you find that you have burst or broken pipes in the spring when you open your summer home up, a pipe repair service can get your system up and running, and make any and all necessary repairs.
If you’re doing some work yourself, make sure you shut the water off to the pipes you’re working with and be careful loosening pipe fittings. If you find that you’re having trouble getting pipe fittings loose, a good idea is to apply some heat. You can use a pipe wrench to loosen pipe fittings, but using a small propane torch can loosen everything right up. It should be noted that heating up pipe fittings should only be done to metal pipes and never to plastic or gas.
If you need to drill holes or pounding any nails into your home’s floors, walls, or ceilings you need to determine whether or not there any pipes behind your work area before you start. The last thing you want is to accidentally puncture any pipes. You may be able to locate the location of pipes with a stud finder.
Don’t Ignore Leaks
As you learn all about plumbing service and repair, you’ll learn that no homeowner likes dealing with water damage, especially since it can be caused by so many different things. Some of those factors can include plumbing issues, like burst pipes or household leaks.
Some water damage issues are easy to spot. If you have a burst pipe in the basement, for example, you’ll notice water pooling up where it shouldn’t. But other leaks are more subtle and sometimes they aren’t noticed until it’s too late. If you’ve got a tub that constantly drips, for example, you may not notice signs like water leaking through caulking and softening the walls, or bathroom tile releasing from the floor, or even mold growing your bathtub area.
If you need to fix a leak in your tub, you need to patch the leak and then do a bathtub drain repair. Depending on where the leak is in or around your tub, you can take some caulk and patch the leak. If you need to do a bathtub drain repair, you may need to call in a professional to make sure everything is replaced, sealed off correctly, and fixed, so you don’t have the potential for a repeat incident.
Let’s say, for example, that you have an older house that has leaks around the bathtub, or in the bathroom. If any water damage you have ends up being more extensive than you thought, your best bet may be to hire a remodeling contractor, tear everything down, and start fresh. A reputable remodeling contractor can assess the space in your bathroom, make suggestions for what would work, and then ultimately install modern appliances so that your bathroom is not only looking brand-new, but is also up to snuff from a plumbing standpoint.
The moral of the story is that if you see anything leaking around your house, address it right away. It may be as simple as tightening some fittings or using some plumber’s tape around a fixture, or you might need to put a call into a professional to cut any potentially big problems off at the pass.
Embrace The Work
Part of being a homeowner is learning how to keep your home in good shape, and learning how everything works. That certainly applies to learning all about plumbing service and repair, since you never know when you might have to replace a broken part or fix a leaky faucet.
Make no mistake: there are plumbing repairs that require professionals and perhaps even a 24 hour emergency plumbing service if you wake up late at night to find a flooding basement.
But there are also plenty of plumbing repairs you can make yourself, even if you’re a DIY novice. Nowadays, you can watch countless tutorials online on how to fix anything. By taking time to learn, gather all the necessary tools, and embracing the challenge of doing some handiwork, you may just surprise yourself with how much you can accomplish.