Do you have a problem with your plumbing? Maybe you don’t want the hassle of calling your plumber? Here are 4 plumbing troubleshooting tips you should try.
Just about every home in America has indoor plumbing, with the exception of about 600,000 homes.
Shocking, isn’t it?
What’s even more shocking is the amount of money we spend on plumbing issues. On average, we’re shelling out anywhere from $175 to $450 every time we call a plumber.
But, there’s a lot you don’t need to call a plumber for. In fact, there are some troubleshooting tips you can employ yourself to determine if picking up the phone is even necessary.
Whether you’re an owner-occupant or rent your home out to tenants, you need to know these four plumbing troubleshooting tips.
1. Clogged Toilet
This happens to just about everyone. It’s the middle of the night. You get up to use the restroom and you hear a strange gurgling sound after you flush your toilet.
Then you hear the swish of water hitting the floor. Ugh. You better turn the lights on and figure out what mess you’re cleaning up at 3 am.
In most cases, too much toilet paper got flushed and is now clogging your pipes. Don’t panic!
It’s not the end of the world and it’s definitely not worth paying those after-hours fees to get fixed.
Instead of grabbing the plunger and going to work on your toilet, hang tight. Go back to bed. The water will start to slowly drain itself.
When you wake up in the morning is when you want to grab your plunger and start plunging away. The TP will have disintegrated a bit which means it’s easier to unclog and won’t make a bigger mess.
You do need enough water to cover the rubber part of your plunger, though. So if it’s drained too much, add some water from the sink.
If you flush and the water still isn’t going down, you may want to get an auger from your local hardware store. This is a tool that can dislodge bigger clogs.
If the toilet still won’t flush, go ahead and call the plumber.
2. Clogged Shower
Another common issue that you don’t need to call a plumber over is a clogged shower drain.
Soap and hair build up in the pipes over time which prevents the water from draining. You won’t use a plunger for this one (although, you technically could).
Grab a pair of rubber gloves and try to pull the hair out of the drain. Yes, it’s gross — that’s what the gloves are for!
You can also try an unclogging chemical to break apart this debris. To prevent this is in the future, get a drain catcher.
3. Running Toilet
If you’ve ever sat reading or watching TV and heard a running water sound coming from your bathroom, chances are, your toilet is running. This is another quick fix that is pretty cheap.
A running toilet is usually a sign the fill valve isn’t closing properly. Take off the tank lid and flush the toilet.
If there’s not enough water in the tank, grab the gloves and push the flapper down. Water should start to fill up inside the tank.
Now, flush the toilet and see what happens. If the flapper doesn’t close, is it because the chain or float arm broke? Is the float itself the issue?
In most cases, you need new tank parts. You can buy these at any hardware store as separate parts or a complete set. Best of all, it costs less than $20.
While this is a cheap repair, it can run up your water billing system and become quite expensive. So, don’t ignore this for too long.
4. Leaky Kitchen Pipes
If you’ve ever opened the cabinet under your kitchen sink to find Waterworld Part 2 all over your cabinets, you have a loose pipe connection. This is especially true if this happens after running the garbage disposal.
The adhesive or binding agent wears down over time and needs to get resealed. Again, another super simple and cheap fix!
Head to the store and find the right plumber’s cement for your pipe type. Then, pick up some pipe fitting clamps, attach them to the pipes to hold them in place, and start re-sealing.
If the clog is in your garbage disposal itself, make sure you turn the power completely off before you stick your hand down there to dislodge debris. You don’t want to spend that $450 you’re saving on a plumber at the emergency room instead.
Before You Reach for the Phone, Remember These Plumbing Troubleshooting Tips
If you’re the type that worries, you’re going to ruin something worse by fidgeting with it yourself, you’re not alone. But these plumbing troubleshooting tips are so easy — and cheap — that anyone can give them a go!
Keep in mind that you don’t need to use harsh de-cloggers or chemicals, either. There are plenty of green products on the market that can get the job done.
For more ways to “go green” inside your home, check out these seven ideas.