Repairs to Simple Plumbing Problems Your Family Should KnowJune 10, 2015
When some aspect of your plumbing system goes haywire — perhaps you have a clogged toilet or your fixtures are leaking — you have to think quick: can I fix this on my own or should I hire a professional? The answer isn’t always so cut and dried. While small issues can take on a DIY approach, bigger ones are best left to plumbers to avoid doing more damage and costing yourself more money. For example, simple clogged toilets and drains may be something you can handle with the right tools, while backed-up toilets and burst pipes are cause for a call to the plumber.
I Can Handle It!
There are some things you can easily handle yourself, but you have to be equipped with the right supplies. For standard toilet clogs, you’ll need the right kind of plunger in your arsenal. Make sure the one you use was made for toilet use and nothing else. This will go a long way toward working out clogs a bit easier. And having one plunger just for toilets means all the germs are contained to one device and you’re not spreading those germs through cross-use. Make sure you get a good seal with the toilet hole and the cup of the plunger, preferably using a funnel-cup type that features a bell-shaped flange around the bottom, points out The Family Handyman.
For clogs originating from a small dropped toy or a diaper, you may have to fish out the obstruction with a snake if you own one. Be careful, as it’s quite easy to scratch and chip the porcelain if you don’t take your time. Got hair and soap clogging up the sink or shower? Grab large clumps and clean out the drain traps. Then, use a blend of white vinegar and baking soda to pour down the drains once a month. That should do the trick in keeping the lines clear if you do this on a regular basis. To prevent corrosion of the pipes, try not to resort to commercial liquid drain cleaning agents.
As far as bathroom and kitchen sink fixture installation goes, you may be able to tackle this task. Keep the directions handy, get a helper if you can, and ensure all fixtures maintain a tight fit and seal. Even the smallest of leaks can lead to big-time waste. In fact, you can waste up to 3,000 gallons of water a year through just one leaky faucet, says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Gotta Call the Plumber!
You’ll probably know in your gut when you need to call a professional. According to Southern Plumbing, a company that can take care of your pipes, these situations include burst pipes, bathroom/kitchen/basement flooding, back-ups in your septic tank, split pipes, corrosion, main line blockage, broken shower valves, tub replacement, or water damage. One common reason people call plumbers is that they simply can’t unclog their toilet. This happens when a large obstruction in the piping system keeps water and waste from getting through to the rest of the system. These clogs can be caused by anything from foreign objects to tree roots. The worst case scenario is when your septic tank is full and threatens to back up. For your safety and sanity, not to mention a solution that works, call in a plumber in these instances.