Are you struggling with a dripping tap or a consistently blocked drain? Maybe it’s time to learn some DIY plumbing techniques!
The basics of plumbing will help you to be able to handle every-day problems, however, always keep the contact details of your plumbing service provider close by in case you cannot handle the problem yourself. Occasionally DIY plumbing jobs can make the problem worse so be prepared to admit defeat sooner rather than later. Below are a few tips to help you along the way.
Know where your water mains are
This is important because your water mains are used to completely stop the flow of water into your home when you close it. This is very useful to know in the case of a burst pipe. Turning off the water supply at the mains will prevent flood damage in your home. If there is a burst pipe or you are having plumbing work done in your house, shutting off your water mains is the first and most logical step to take.
Be careful not to damage your precious pipes
When moving into a new home or decorating the home you are already in, be cautious when you are planning to drill holes or knock nails into your walls, floors, or ceiling. You should always determine if there are any supply or drainage pipes directly behind the area you are working on, as you don’t want to accidentally puncture them. Call in a plumber to locate any hidden pipes that you may accidentally damage. Doing this the right way initially will save you money in the long run.
Respect Your Toilet!
Toilets should never be used as dustbins since flushing anything except toilet paper leads to nasty blockages. This includes feminine products, cotton-wool, and medication to mention a few. Even “flushable” wipes can cause plumbing hassles. Never trust the “flushable” label!
Your toilet and septic tank will thank you.
Be aware that flushing large quantities of toilet paper at once may also block your toilet. It may not always be necessary to call in a plumber to unblock your toilet. You may be able to unblock it with a good quality plunger or even buy a plumbing snake to locate and pull out the blockage at the hardware shop. However, having said that, you may make the problem worse, and calling a professional plumber in sooner rather than later is in the best interests of your plumbing and your sanity!
Don’t Rinse Food Down Your Drains
As tempting as it is, never wash your coffee grounds, left-over food, grease, cooking oil, or starchy foods down the kitchen drain as you will more than likely end up with a blocked drain at the most inconvenient time. It may be tempting at times, but it is terrible for your pipes in the long run. Always scrape your plates clean first before washing and wait for grease in your pans and dishes from your bacon and sausages to go hard before scraping it into your dust bin.
You will soon realise how important your kitchen drain is when you can no longer use it…
Remove Blockages Without Using Chemicals
Over time, hair and soap scum may build up in your bathroom drains, which will cause your drains to clog up and drain slowly, if not completely block up. This may be prevented by ensuring that you have a hair trap in your drains. However, you may still struggle with a blocked drain over time and you may be able to clear it yourself, without calling in a plumber. Be very wary of using shop chemical drain cleaners as they can damage the pipes in the process. Rather get into the weekly habit of flushing your drains with a half cup of baking soda (125mls) and one cup of vinegar (500mls). Next, pour four cups of boiling water into the drain to flush the mixture and any dissolved blockages down the drain and out.
If this does not help, you can either use a high-quality plunger or a drain snake to manually unclog the drain yourself. If all else fails, please contact your preferred plumber immediately to avoid a smelly mess running out onto your bathroom floors!
Regularly Inspect Your Shower-head
Have you ever had an early morning fight with your once-perfect shower head that is now squirting you in the eye? Blockages and leaks on your showerhead can happen over-night. However, this may be an easy problem to fix yourself. You can use simple plumber’s tape to fix a dripping showerhead. Detach the showerhead, apply new tape to it in a clockwise direction, wrap it around 3 times and re-attach the showerhead. If your showerhead is clogged, firstly remove it and soak it in warm water and vinegar for an hour. Secondly, use a small brush to loosen any sandy deposits. Thirdly and most importantly, reattach it and flush it with a hard blast of hot water. Voila!
Don’t Ignore Those Irritating Leaks
As tempting as it is just to put your pillow over your head at night to ignore that incessant dripping of a faucet, each wasted droplet symbolizes money literally going down the drain! In fact, a leaky faucet typically wastes up to 30 litres of precious, life-giving water per day, while a running toilet can waste 757 litres per day! Fix small leaks promptly before they become big and ultimately expensive problems.
Never Over-Tighten Fittings
A common mistake made by people attempting DIY plumbing repairs is that they over tighten fitting and connections. This can cause damage to the bolts and screws. Rather just tighten the connections until you feel the natural stopping point.
The DIY Plumbing Conclusion
In conclusion, although these DIY plumbing tips are handy and may very well solve your problem in the short term, please remember that plumbers are trained professionals whose job it is to fix the problem the first time, the right way. Bear this in mind whenever trying your own plumbing work at home, rather keep your plumber on speed dial.