As a homeowner, you probably have a tight budget. We understand that some minor plumbing issues can be resolved by a smart homeowner with competent tool skills. Just as you wouldn’t call a doctor at the first sign of a sniffle, you aren’t going to call a plumber for a minor clog.
Here’s a look at some simple fixes you can try at home.
3 Household Plumbing Issues and DIY Fixes
Clogged Bathroom SinkClogged bathroom sinks are perhaps one of the most common complaints we hear about. It doesn’t take much debris and you’re left with water backing up into the sink then draining slowly, leaving you with a slimy mess.
- The DIY Fix: There are actually three easy things you can try before you call us. Use a flashlight to see if you can identify a blockage near the top of the drain. We’ve pulled out everything from balls of hair to metal tabs from soda cans that slipped in and caused clogs. If you can see a visible blockage, pull it out. If you can’t see a blockage, try applying air pressure with a plunger. If that fails, try a plastic plumbing snake. There is one called a Clog Remover Draining Tool, which looks like a long zip tie with thorns. You are able to insert it in to the drain, and it's able to bend with the pipes, snagging hair when you pull it back out. Sometimes this can be effective to help with simple clogs.
- When to Call a Plumber: If these simple DIY fixes don’t work, call your plumber. While you may be tempted to try pouring in drain cleaners, resist that urge. Drain cleaners are actually pretty harmful for your piping system. The clog will only continue to worsen until the pros can remove the clog for good!
Toilet Won’t Stop RunningA constantly running toilet is more than just a noisy annoyance. It can even double your daily water usage, wasting both water and money.
The most common reason that a toilet will fail to stop running is a faulty flapper valve. The flapper is the piece inside the toilet that raises and allows water to run from the toilet tank into the bowl. When the flapper valve no longer closes off properly, the water will continue to drip.
- The DIY Fix: Visit your local home improvement store and pick up the parts. It’s a good idea to take your old one with you or snap a photo so you can ensure you’re grabbing the right part. Follow the directions on the package and replace the flapper valve.
- When to Call a Plumber: When replacing the flapper with the DIY kit doesn’t work, you need a plumber. Anything more complicated than replacing this part could result in a bigger water bill right now plus a plumbing bill down the road.
Low Water Pressure from the Kitchen FaucetYou used to get a nice steady spray of water out your kitchen faucet. Now, the water seems to run at barely a trickle and youcan’t get your dishes rinsed as efficiently as use once did.
The culprit is sometimes a buildup of hard water and mineral sediment that collects just inside the head of the faucet. That can be a super simple fix that doesn’t even require any tools.
- The DIY Fix: The head of your faucet is threaded. Unscrew it. You’ll probably find black sediment dropping out as you do this. Soak the head in white vinegar for 10 minutes and use an old toothbrush to scrub the holes. Thread it back on and you should have water pressure restored.
- When to Call a Plumber: If you screw the faucet head back on and you still don’t have pressure, you have a larger problem looming. There’s probably an undetected lead that needs to be addressed. At this point, leave the water pressure to the pros—it’s definitely not a DIY!
Wrap-UpSome minor plumbing issues only require minimal troubleshooting, good common sense, and a little bit of tool know-how. However, when your DIY fixes fail to fix the underlying problem, don’t forget to call in a plumber. Delaying the fix can cost you money in wasted water and lead to the need for even bigger repairs.
3 Common Household Plumbing Problems is available on spartantucson.com
6211 E. Speedway Boulevard
Tucson, AZ 85712