While plumbers are people just like us who are polite and friendly, in a sense, we want to keep them out of our homes. Usually having a plumber in the house means there is something wrong and no one wants to constantly have things go wrong. There are exceptions where calling a plumber is completely necessary between new installations and emergency situations making it hard to keep the plumber away, but there are things you can do that will help prevent having to call the plumber once a month.
Common Household Plumbing Issues
Knowing what the most common household plumbing issues are and what you can do to fix them is a great first step in cutting back your plumbers vistation time. While there are instances that calling your plumber can’t be avoided there are others that you can fix the issue yourself or at least find a simple solution to prevent it from happening. You never realize how much your truly rely on your plumbing until you begin to have issues.
Stopped Up Drains and Toilets
The good thing about having a stopped up drain or toilet is that you can immdeiately identify it as being clogged. For sinks and drains the water may get backed up or just not drain as quickly as it used to. When it comes to your toilet, the problem shows itsself immediately by not going down when you flush or even overflowing! Often times when it comes to drains there is a common culprit – hair. Whether its when you were in the shower or shaving your beard, hair in your drains will easily stop them up and can be tricky to get unclogged. For toilets the problem can vary. Clogs come from being either partially blocked or blocked comcpletely and for a toilet it can be anything from flushing the wrong things like paper towels, too much toilet paper, or even the kids throwing a toy in there for fun!
Once you identify a clogged drain or toilet there are things you can do to fix the issue before calling in a professional. For both the toilet and drains you can start with a tried and true plunger. If this doesn’t help there are also products made specifically for both toilets and drain to unclog drains along with tools like snakes. It may take a few tries or some elbow grease to get the drain unclogged but most often it can be done. When all else fails just know you can call a professional at anytime if the job seems too big for simple home remedies.
Leaking Faucets and Pipes
Leaking faucets are common in every home and the dripping is more of a nuisance and wasted money rather than a plumbing emergency. Leaking faucets can add up to 3,000 gallons a year making your energy bills go up on average around 10%. Leaking faucets are able to be detected immediate due to you being able to physically see the leak, but they pose no risk other than irritation and money going down the drain. Leaking pipes however can pose a major risk and cause some serious damage if not caught in time. Most of the leaks caused in faucets are due to worn down washers that form the seal while pipes leaking is often an indication of weak joints.
To fix your leaking faucet it may be as simple as replacing the washer to create a tighter seal and stop the leak. Fixing leaking pipes can be temperamental. Some issues you may find are very simple and can easily be done on your own like replacing the U-Joint. The important thing to remember is that while a lot of plumbing issues have do it yourself fixes, it’s best to know when to tap out and call a professional.
Handling Your Own Repairs
The most important part of handling your own repairs is knowing when you can’t. It is easy to become prideful about fixing things around your home but it is always good to keep a level head and know when you’re in too deep. If you ever get to that point, know that your plumber is there to help. Mistakes can often cost you more than the plumber would so there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Make sure that you not only understand the problem you’re having as well as the fix. If there is any confusion at any point remember to call in a professional.
- When handling a repair make sure that you have all of your tools at the ready. There is nothing worse then getting in the middle of a job and realizing you don’t have all the parts and tools you need.
- Shut off the main water supply! Even if you don’t think it will affect the repair, it’s better safe than sorry to prevent any major leaks or potential water damage.
- Wear clothes you don’t care about. If you have an old work shirt or some worn out old sneakers that would be best because plumbing work can be messy!
- Have your plumbers number at the ready. With some plumbing fixes you never know which way it’s going to turn and what seemed like a simple fix at first may turn into a plumbing emergency.
Maintenance Tips to Keep the Plumber Away
Plumbing may not be your strong suit and repairing you plumbing may be the furthest thing from fun that you can think of. If you don’t have a lot of experience or don’t trust yourself to do repairs on your own there are at least maintenance tips you can keep up with that can help prevent repairs from needing to be done.
- Fix leaking faucets and pipes as you find them. These leaks can be a nuisance as well as a waste of money and if stopped when they are first noticed they can be fixed int ime before things get out of hand and become a big enough problem to call in a professional.
- Unclog drains as you notice them. If at any point the water starts draining slower than usual, take the time to check the drain and be sure there isn’t buildup of hair or other things preventing the drain from clearing out before it becomes a huge issue causing water to back up.
- Keep a regular check on all pipes and water-using appliances. Checking your dishwasher, refrigerator (if it comes with ice/water maker), washing machine, and water heater regularly will help you keep up with potential leaks before they get out of hand.
- Fix leaking toilets and keep them clean. Some toilet leaks are caused by dirt buildup around the valve seat and flapper. The gunk around these elements can cause the toilet to run when it hasn’t been flushed so having this flapper not work properly will result in continuous running.
- Be mindful what you put down your drains! Baby wipes and paper towels don’t belong in the toilet, just like grease doesn’t belong down the drain!
- Make sure to regularly clean your shower head to get rid of and prevent buildup so your water pressure won’t suffer.
- Drain your water heater of sediment either annually or semi-annually so that it can work at top proficiency.
- Have your septic tank regularly inspected to prevent any type of leaking or issues. Other than having it inspected be sure to have it pumped on a regular schedule as well.