Healthy Living

Before You Call for Help: Quick Tips for Plumbing Repairs

3375145764_7125a59d27When your sinks or toilets aren’t working the way they’re supposed to, you may be tempted to call a plumber. But some problems are easy to fix on your own.

Following are some common household plumbing issues that you might be able to repair, instead of paying for a plumber to handle the job.

Toilet leaks

If you hear water running constantly inside your toilet tank, the problem could be a leaky fill valve. These parts are inexpensive and easy to replace, so try to make your own repair before calling a plumber.

If you see water around the base of the toilet, you may have a leaky water supply valve, which is the knob on the wall that controls the water flowing through a small hose to the toilet tank. You may need to replace the water valve — again, an inexpensive fix. Just make sure to turn off your home’s main water supply before disconnecting the hose that leads to the tank.

Clogged drains

A clogged kitchen or bathroom sink can really disrupt your day. But there are plenty of methods you can try for clearing your drain before you call a professional.

In the kitchen or bathroom, always start by plunging the clog. In dual sinks, put a stopper in the second sink before you plunge the clogged sink, and in a bathroom, block the water overflow hole before plunging.

If plunging doesn’t work, try using a drain snake. And if that doesn’t get the clog, you can try detaching the pipes under your sink; you may be able to find the clog there, or at least be able to feed the drain snake directly into the wall, allowing it to reach further down the pipes hidden in your walls.

Persistent or recurring clogs could be a sign of tree root intrusion in your main plumbing drain or a collapsing drain pipe. In that case, it’s a good idea to have a professional plumber assess the problem.

Leaky faucets

Most homes have a one-handled faucet in the kitchen, but your bath may have a two-handled faucet. In either case, if the faucet handle is leaking, you will probably need to disassemble it to find the source of the problem (remember to turn off the water supply valves before tinkering with your faucet).

Faucets have several parts — in a single-handled model, there’s a cartridge, retaining clip and O-rings. A double-handled faucet will have a packing nut, stem, O-ring and seat washer. O-rings and washers are susceptible to corrosion and are most often the source of leaky handles. Replace any worn parts and reassemble the faucet. Turn the water supply back on to see if the leak has stopped. In some cases, you may need to replace the faucet, which is relatively easy to do.

Only tackle the tasks you feel comfortable with — if you have an old home and worry about damaging brittle pipes, by all means, call a professional. While hiring a plumber is expensive, it can at least alleviate any concerns you have about doing something incorrectly.

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Felicia Baratz-Savage
Latest posts by Felicia Baratz-Savage (see all)

78 thoughts on “Before You Call for Help: Quick Tips for Plumbing Repairs

  1. I don’t know a whole lot about the fill valve for the toilet. After I use the restroom, I hear the sound of a very loud air gasket for a long time afterwards. If I recall correctly, the sound lasts upwards of thirty minutes. Would tinkering with the fill valve solve this issue?

  2. Professional drain cleaners always know whats best to fix a clogged drain. Always hire them if simple solutions don’t work.
    Clogged drain? Don’t wait for the stress to get to you. There are experts on this things.

  3. I hadn’t thought about trying to plunge a clogged drain in the kitchen or bathroom. I usually think of plunging as something used only for toilets, but it’s good to know you can use it for sinks as well. I’ll be sure to plunge and unclog the drains in the way you advised next time I have a problem, but knowing me, I’ll probably end up calling a professional anyway. Thanks for the article!

  4. f you are suffering from problems with your plumbing, being your own plumber can be OK if you know what you are doing. But, often times this is not the case which is the reason why professional plumbers are in the plumbing business.

  5. Commercial plumbers can also tune up the heating elements, detect leaks, and replace corroded components of the water heater. These plumbers can check the temperature, CO levels, and water pressure of water heater systems, as well as the emergency shut-off valve.

  6. Never had a toilet leak, clogged drain or leaky faucet. But we did have a leaking pipe which ended up causing a lot of damage. Speaking out of experience, a leaking pipe can be very expensive if not discovered on time, thanks to the fact that we had home insurance we didn’t have to spend a penny out of pocket to fix the damage. The biggest headache of all though was having to deal with mold. It was very scary and for that reason I started a blog on general information about mold. I extremely recommend having any sort of water damage looked at immediately, it can not only cause damages to your house but if mold is produced it can also affect the health of everyone in the house.

  7. I have never had a leaking toilet, clogged drain or leaking faucet. But I did have a leaky pipe that ended up causing a big problem. A leaky pipe can can cause expensive damages if not uncovered promptly, what actually saved me from an unnecessary expense was having home insurance. I didn’t have any out of pocket cost to repair the damage. The biggest headache of all though was having to deal with mold. It was very scary and for that reason I started a blog on general information about mold. I extremely recommend having any sort of water damage looked at immediately, it can not only cause damages to your house but if mold is produced it can also affect the health of everyone in the house.
    Carmen Parra´s last blog post ..Protected: How to Treat and Remove Mold

  8. When you tackle a plumbing problem yourself, there is no guarantee behind that work. If the problem occurs again, you have to do the same work again and may even need to buy new supplies to do it. A professional plumber will guarantee the work he or she does.

  9. Some of these plumbing fixtures include hands-free faucets and low flow toilets. These plumbers also have ample experience installing water filters, water heaters, handicap fixtures, and automatic shut off valves for kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
    blocked toilet The Gap´s last blog post ..Plumbing Emergencies

  10. By way of example, bear all around in your manufacture area of the grocery store and check out as well as learn what create in which someone will buy.

  11. Hi Buddy,
    I like you post and it is very informative and useful for everyone. Plumbing problems are common in every house so for recovering from plumbing problems you should use good material. And make sure that taps are not leaking or pouring out.
    And you share great tips in this post which are very useful.
    Thanks for sharing this post with us and please post more post. I am waiting for your new post 🙂
    Warm Regards
    Kenneth A. Wharton

  12. Inspect the grease trap’s parts once the lid is removed. You will be removing and replacing parts during cleaning, and you need to know where the components are located and how to install them to put them back in properly. For better results, it may help to draw a diagram of the trap’s interior so that you can refer to during the re-installation process.

  13. A drain drainer is a great tool for keeping hair from going down your drain. Place a strainer in the opening of the drain. You will want to be sure to clean the strainer regularly, this will help prevent hair and other debris from entering your shower drain. If you have standing water in your shower you may have a blockage further in the line.

  14. Plumbers who have been in business any length of time can and will give you references. If they cannot, or will not, then consider looking elsewhere. Talking with past customers is one of the best ways to accurately gage the quality of the plumber’s work.
    licensed plumber Hunterdon County NJ´s last blog post ..Hello world!

  15. Hi Felicia, thanks for the nice tips. I think these tips will be handy for people to repair their plumbing problems without calling for a help.

  16. When you tackle a plumbing problem yourself, there is no guarantee behind that work. If the problem occurs again, you have to do the same work again and may even need to buy new supplies to do it. A professional plumber will guarantee the work he or she does.
    blocked drains Thornlands´s last blog post ..Handling a burst pipe

  17. Wow, I didn’t know that if my toilet made strange noises it could be leaking. I appreciate that you mentioned checking around the toilet for the valve before calling the plumber. Because I am not very savvy with things like this, it would likely be a good idea for me to call a plumber anyways. But I would want to shut off the valve before it gets worse.

  18. Thanks for this list of quick fixes. I’ll have to try replacing a leaky fill valve if I have a toilet issue. If there’s an emergency though I’ll call a plumber- remember plumbing issues can cause water damage so it’s better to get them seen sooner.

  19. Never lean over a septic tank opening or stick your head into tank to examine its interior — you could become overcome by gases, fall into the tank, and suffocate. Leave tank cleaning and repairs to trained professionals.

  20. Hi Karla and Felicia. Great post. While a persistently clogged toilet could be caused by a tree or a collapsed pipe, it could also be caused by caused by the way you use your toilet. Never flush anything but toilet paper and you’ll have a lot less clogs to deal with. Have a great weekend.

  21. Great advice! It’s surprising very few people know about devices drain snake and even less who are willing to do the repairing themselves. Even though it saves a lot of time and money

  22. Hi FELICIA
    really great quick tips you have provided her
    just awesome i would love come here again
    thanks for sharing it with us

  23. It’s also good to get recommendations from friends and family to ensure that you hire a reputable plumber. It’s good to compare at least three different ones to get a better sense of who you should hire. Nathan
    Check Out La Porte Plumbers´s last blog post ..Hello world!

  24. I appreciated this post. It is very helpful to know when you have a leak and how to fix it. It can be inexpensive to fix parts of your toilet without calling a plumber and keep the cost down.
    Conroe Septic Pumping´s last blog post ..Hello world!

  25. I always tell my customers if they have a problem with a clogged drain they should try plunging or using a drain snake. If all the usual tips don’t work, then I have to come out because finding the clog may result in the need detach pipes to reach the clog or you may have a bigger problem all together with your main plumbing drain.
    Baytown Plumber´s last blog post ..Baytown Plumbing | Owning an older home

  26. Thank you so much for your informative and helpful post.All getting help by reading your post.Can you help me by giving more information about it ???Need to be more clear about it.

  27. Great tips for someone who is having plumbing issues. It helps homeowners to figure out their plumbing . If they can’t figure it, then finding the right plumber is important.

  28. I appreciate that you advised us to unclog the drains first before calling in a professional. My wife and I are panicking since it is not doing any help for us. In any case, we will need help from toilet backup to help us with the sanitation of our plumbing and drainage.

  29. Great article! Water damage can occur in a variety of ways. The key to preventing any type of damage is to follow a monthly maintenance checklist. By inspecting certain areas in your home on a regular basis, you can catch minor problems before they start to cause damage and require expensive repairs.

  30. You made a great point about clogged drains and how they should be able to get out with a plunger. My husband and I are looking for a plumbing repair service that can help us with the leak under our kitchen sink. We will keep these tips in mind as we search for a professional that can help us best.

  31. Be sure to know who will be actually doing the repairs.

    In some cases, the plumber you speak to may not be the same person who will handle your job. They might use helpers or subcontractors, in which case you will want to ask about the experience and credentials they have.

    The person giving the quote may seem up-to-scratch, but if their workers are not, you could risk someone with less training or experience providing a lower level of service.

  32. The plumber should also be able to give you evidence of their insurance. If asked why you have requested this, you can tell the plumber you don’t want to be the one who is legally responsible for any plumber injuries while fixing a job at your home. You have a legal right to ask this question as well as a duty of care.

  33. It is always a good idea to clarify the cost estimate provided to avoid any unwelcome surprises when the plumber has finished your repairs. This is more likely an issue if the plumber is charging an hourly rate. You’ll want to determine how long they think it should take to finish the job, and in these cases, the more experience the plumber has, the better.

  34. You can also pick an experienced professional if they include all costs for any new parts that may be required to complete the job. If you want to verify that they have done this, ask the plumber if the price estimate includes parts as well as their labour.

  35. First determine if there are any supply or drainage pipes behind your work area, since you don’t want to accidentally puncture them. You may be able to locate pipes behind walls with an inexpensive stud finder. Alternatively, you could invest in an endoscopic camera, which can be snaked into the walls.

  36. Great; I love this tips. Thank you for sharing this tips of plumbing repair. You also should try bio natural Grease destroyer products like- Bio Blitz, Green Sleeve™, and Environmentally-friendly solutions to ensure clean grease traps, pipes, urinals and avoid smelly drains.

  37. I’ve been stressing out due to my clogged sink, which is why I’ve decided to start looking for a plumbing service. I agree with you that a professional service will be able to assess the plumbing issues right away. You’re also right about the importance of replacing any worn-out faucets that may cause further damage.

  38. Clogged sink is a big and stressing problem, I agree. The tips will help to fix most of problems. In other cases a plumber should be called. Thanks for the post!

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