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Sometimes you need to call a professional for challenging plumbing issues. But would you be surprised to learn that there are several DIY plumbing fixes you should at least try first? You could save some cash.
The following items are for beginners. As you become more used to your home’s plumbing, you might want to consider other DIY plumbing tips and tricks.
1. Repairing a Dripping Kitchen Faucet
It might seem intimidating, but repairing a leaky kitchen faucet is surprisingly easy. You need these tools:
- 4-in-1 screwdriver
- Allen wrench
- Slip joint pliers
And you should buy two inexpensive items from your local home store: a faucet repair kit or replacement cartridge and some O-rings.
If you’re unsure of your faucet’s make and model, take the old one to the store if possible. Or snap some photos.
Follow the simple instructions in the link above for more details.
2. Fixing a Running Toilet
Begin this straightforward fix by reviewing a diagram showing the functions of a toilet tank. If the toilet keeps running, you might need to do one of three things:
- Adjust the water level
- Replace the float
- Replace the fill valve
If you know the part to look for and buy the correct replacement, you should have no more problems with the annoying running noise.
3. Unclogging a Bathtub Drain
Is your bathtub drain slow or stopped? This, too, requires a few simple tools:
- 4-in-1 screwdriver
- Needle-nose pliers
- Utility knife
The only other item you will need is a plumber’s snake or a wire clothes hanger (or other stiff wire) to bend.
Follow the directions in the link above to learn about your specific drain and its stopper type. Probably, the hardest part for you will be bending the wire.
4. Removing a Kitchen Sink Clog
Blocked kitchen drain? Here’s the sequence for dissolving or removing a kitchen sink clog:
- Run hot water for several minutes or pour boiling water down the drain.
- Run the disposal if you have one.
- Pour in a half-cut of salt. Then add boiling water.
- Use baking soda and vinegar.
- Clean the P-trap,
- Try a plumber’s snake or coat hanger.
If none of these works, call a plumber
5. Cleaning a Showerhead
Whatever the type of showerhead, if it gets clogged with mineral sediment, vinegar will do the job. It might take a little time and effort, though.
If the showerhead is removable, submerge it in a vinegar-filled dish, and microwave it until it’s warm but not boiling. If you can’t remove the item, wrap it with a vinegar-filled plastic bag and secure it with a rubber band.
In either case, scrubbing it with an old toothbrush should remove any remaining scale.
Plumbing Issues You Should Never Fix Yourself
Yes, there are several plumbing issues for which you need professional plumbing help. Otherwise, you risk danger to yourself and your home.
- Anything involving natural gas (other than igniting a pilot light)
- Fixing slab leaks
- Dealing with sewer lines or standing water
- A burst pipe (other than a temporary fix with the water turned off)
- Anything that modifies your home’s plumbing system
Jobs like these are the real work of plumbers.
A Plumber in the Making?
Plumbers often share information like the plumbing issues discussed here. Many don’t like to use service calls on repairs that most homeowners can resolve on their own. There might be more pressing need elsewhere.
Look for more plumbing advice and other home maintenance information in future articles we post on our site.