No one wants the inconvenience of water damage that comes with plumbing problems. Oftentimes, the plumbing issues you experience in your home have a simple solution. With a little investigating, you may be able to avoid a costly repair job.
When it comes to drains, pipes, and toilets in your home, here are 5 things to look for before you call a plumber:
A blocked drain can be caused by a number of factors including daily waste, damaged pipes, and non-flushable items. Start by pouring baking soda down the drain, followed by vinegar, and allow the solution to work before flushing with warm water. If this does not fix the problem, grab a plunger and work to get the blockage cleared. If it’s small enough, you should see the problem solved.
Buildup from hair, gunk, and hard water deposits can cause your drains to become useless. Try using a drain snake to get rid of pesky, built-up hair, or gunk. If you follow it up with a high quality drain cleaner and very hot water, you could see that clog whisked away in no time. You can also try a sink plunger or take out the U-shaped pipe and give it a good cleaning.
A weak shower flow may be due to the buildup of lime, a common issue in areas with hard water. Use a descaling product to tackle limescale on showerheads. Fill a large (leak-proof) plastic bag with a cleaning solution (found at hardware stores) or a mixture of 1 cup white vinegar along with ¼ cup baking soda. Attach the plastic bag with a rubber band to your showerhead, wait about an hour, remove bag, and rinse thoroughly.
Leaky Kitchen Pipe
Notice a drip under your kitchen sink? If there is water damage under your sink, or you notice any moisture, you may have a leaky kitchen pipe. First, see if plumbing tape, wrapped around the pipe fittings, provides a good fix. Try tightening the packing nut or replacing the valve if the leak is at the valve stem or shutoff valve. At the drain or slip joints in the drainpipe, tighten the slip nut or, if necessary, take apart the joint.
A leaky faucet is not only an annoyance, but also costs money. The USGS Water School estimates that one liter of water is wasted for every 4,000 drips. The type of repair you need will depend on the type of faucet you have. No matter the type of repair, always be sure to turn off the water supply before you begin. This could be under the sink or between the sink and toilet.
Always consult a professional if you experience any of the following:
- Burst pipes
- A toilet that will not unclog
- Sump pump repair/damage
- Low water pressure throughout the entire house
If do-it-yourself solutions do not seem to fix the problem, it is time to call in a professional repair plumber. Be prepared to ask about his or her license and insurance, any costs associated with estimates, and the specific type of plumbing repair they specialize in before you decide who to hire. Ask for recommendations from others and check reviews online to make sure you are going in the right direction.
Many plumbing fixes are simple, if you know where to look, but damage to your pipes or harm to yourself is not worth the convenience of doing the job yourself. Do your homework so you know when to tackle the problem on your own, and when the task requires more help.