While an emergency pipe leak is a situation where you should almost always call a plumber immediately, not all plumbing projects require professional service. There are several repairs and maintenance tasks that any homeowner can perform. Here are three easy DIY plumbing projects that every homeowner should know.
Fixing a Slow Drain
Slow-draining sinks make it more difficult to use your faucet for an extended period and also make it more likely that your sink will overflow. A slow drain is often caused by a clog in the P-trap beneath the sink. Hair, soap scum, and other debris that builds up in the trap can make it much more difficult for water to filter through when you are emptying your sink.
To correct a slow drain, you will need to remove the P-trap. Place a bucket under the trap, and then loosen the nuts on the front and back of the trap with a wrench. Use pipe cleaners to clean out the trap thoroughly, and then reattach it to your sink. Turn your faucet on after reattaching the trap to test the speed of your drain and make sure there are no leaks around the trap.
Stopping a Running Toilet
A toilet that won't stop running is one of the biggest possible sources of wasted water in your home. As a running toilet can use hundreds or even of thousands of gallons of water per day, you should fix this problem as soon as possible to prevent an unnecessary increase in your water bill.
The first place you should check to fix a constantly running toilet is the flapper. Open the tank on the back of your toilet and try to adjust the flapper so that it does not allow water to run out. You may need to adjust the chain by pulling it through the flush rod to create more slack so that the flapper can close correctly. If there is more than an inch of extra chain hanging through the rod, cut it off so that it doesn't get caught under the flapper.
Preventing Pipes from Freezing
Your home's plumbing is at greater risk in the winter than during any other part of the year. If your pipes are not properly insulated, they can freeze and bust, leading to expensive and unnecessary repairs. Insulating your pipes now is the best way to avoid these repairs and make sure you will not be without water in the winter.
The type of insulation you choose will determine the method that is used to apply it to your pipes. Polyethylene insulation is one popular option that comes in long tubes with a split in one side. You simply slide the tubes over any exposed pipes and press each side of the seam together. Fiberglass with foil backing is another form of pipe insulation that is found in long strips that you wrap around your pipes, securing the ends with duct tape.
Keep these tips in mind so you can fix simple plumbing problems on your own and avoid the damage and water bill increases that they can cause if left unchecked. If you still feel uncomfortable performing any of these tasks, or if you have more complex problems, contact a local plumbing company, such as AAA Home Services.