As a homeowner, there are certain things you are expected to know how to do. Changing a lightbulb, mowing the lawn, and unclogging a drain are all examples of household tasks that most of us can handle without calling in reinforcements. But what about when those home repairs are a little more complicated—like fixing a plumbing problem?
While we here at Concord HVAC & Plumbing recommend leaving major plumbing repairs to the professionals, we understand that some homeowners prefer to take matters into their own hands. That’s why today we’re sharing three common plumbing problems and how you can fix them yourself.
Problem #1: Slow or Clogged Drainage
One of the most common plumbing problems is a clogged sink, shower, or toilet. This usually happens when we try to flush or wash away something that doesn’t belong down the drain—think grease, hair, food scraps, etc. These items can build up and cause a backup when they make their way into your pipes. To clear a slow or clogged drain, start by removing any standing water from the sink using a cup or pitcher. Once the sink is empty, use a plunger to create suction and pump until the clog is gone. If this doesn’t work, you may need to use a chemical drain opener following the instructions on the package. As a last resort, you can remove the U-shaped pipe under your sink (known as the P-trap) and try to dislodge the clog manually. Just be sure to put the P-trap back before running any water!
Problem #2: Leaky Faucet
Another common plumbing problem is a leaky faucet. A dripping faucet may not seem like a big deal, but it can waste up to 3 gallons of water per day—that’s over 1,000 gallons yearly! Not only is this bad for the environment, but it can also really add up on your water bill. Before trying to fix a leaky faucet, it’s important first to identify where the leak is coming from. The two most likely culprits are worn-out O-rings or washers. To fix this problem yourself, start by turning off the water supply under your sink, then remove the handle(s) to access these parts. Once you have replaced the worn-out washer(s) or O-ring(s), reassemble everything and turn the water back on. If your faucet still leaks after following these steps, it may be time to contact the plumbing professionals.
Problem #3: Running Toilet
A running toilet is not only annoying but can also be costly if left unchecked. Toilets typically run because of two issues—a problem with the flapper valve or an issue with the fill valve float arm (this controls how much water is in your tank). Luckily, these problems are relatively easy for even novice DIYers to fix. Start by flushing your toilet and opening up the tank—you should see two valves at the bottom of your tank, one attached to a large rubber flapper and another with a metal arm extending into the water. If your problem is with the flapper valve (this is most common), simply clean or replace it, then test your toilet by flushing it again. If your fill valve float arm is causing your running toilet (you will know this if you see water leaking from where this arm enters into the bowl), adjust it so that it rests slightly higher in order than before, then retest your toilet by flushing once more time. Call us if you have followed these steps, and your toilet is still running! We would be happy to take care of this problem for you once and for all.
Plumbing problems are never fun, but luckily there are some simple solutions that even novice DIYers can handle themselves without having to call in reinforcements (aka professional plumbers). Next time you’re faced with a slow or clogged drain, leaky faucet, or running toilet, try one of these solutions. And remember—if all else fails, we are always here to help, so don’t hesitate to call us!