Minor plumbing issues are something everyone has to deal with at some point or another in their life. Both renters and homeowners can experience problems such as clogs, low pressure, or a leak. While calling a plumber is ideal for large and complex issues, you can save yourself money and time by keeping these five tips in mind as you fix minor plumbing problems on your own.
1. Skip the Chemicals
Clogs are one of the most common plumbing problems. Clogs prevent water from draining and can cause flooding if they get large enough. Invest in a drain snake to pull whatever is impeding the flow of the water out instead of using a less effective drain cleaner. If you don’t own a snake, you can also use a wet/dry shop vac to vacuum the clog out if possible. For more information, Drain Rescue offers additional resources on their website.
2. Use Thread Tape Instead of Putty
Plumber’s putty and related compounds such as pipe dope are messy and frustrating to use. Thread tape is easier to use, less messy, and more effective. Rolls of thread tape come in varying thicknesses for ease of use. The thicker tape is easier to handle and apply. Wrap the tape counterclockwise around the threads three times for best results. Wrapping it clockwise will cause it to unwrap when you screw the joint into place.
3. Replace Minor Parts
The idea of replacing parts without an experienced professional to do the job can be intimidating, but some parts are simple enough to replace that anyone can do it. Toilet flappers wear out and can cause leakage between the bowl and tank, but can be done as a DIY project in minutes. A dripping sink might only need a new interior cartridge which only requires taking out a few screws. Gauge the difficulty of the task and don’t be afraid to try to fix it yourself.
4. Use Heat
Fittings can be almost impossible to remove if they’ve hardened and haven’t been touched in years. Using a small propane torch on metal water pipes for a few minutes can loosen up the pipe dope enough to allow you to get the fitting off. Use a flame resistant cloth to protect nearby surfaces. Never use heat on plastic pipes or gas lines.
It makes sense to leave tough jobs to a professional plumber, but don’t be afraid to tackle those little jobs on your own. Armed with knowledge and essential tools, you can figure out the problem and implement a solution without spending an arm and a leg on repair services.