With something as extensive and complex as your home’s plumbing system, it’s inevitable that there are going to be problems cropping up from time to time. Consider it not a matter of ‘if’, but a matter of ‘when’. But that doesn’t mean every situation that arises requires the expertise of a professional plumber. Some do, of course, but there are plenty of issues that homeowners can tackle on their own.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the more common plumbing expenses homeowners face, which ones can be DIY’ed and which ones are best left to the pros.
Dripping or Faulty Faucets
Besides the fact that a dripping faucet can drive you to the brink of insanity, it will also cause your water bill to go up. Who wants to see their hard-earned money going down the drain, right? This is by far one of the most common plumbing problems homeowners face. The good news is that this kind of repair can usually be handled without calling on a professional plumber. In fact, it’s probably one of the most routine plumbing-related do-it-yourself projects.
In most cases, a dripping faucet is caused by a faulty seal on the valve that holds back the pressure of your water supply. To fix this, turn off the water supply and then remove the faucet assembly. Usually, the problem is the seat washer. Take the old washer with you when you go to buy a replacement, as you’ll need one the same size.
Despite the routine nature of this problem, you’ll want to address it ASAP. In addition to costing you on your water bill, faulty faucets can cause damage if leaks pool in a place you can’t see.
Low Water Pressure
If your once-healthy water pressure has been reduced and you’re not getting the amount of water you’d like out of your pipes; this could be a small issue or it could be something much more complex.
A common cause of low water pressure is a buildup of deposits or sediment, as the water coming through your pipes carries dissolved materials that can attach to metal surfaces. If you’re seeing low pressure at a showerhead, attach a plastic bag filled with vinegar to the showerhead overnight and see if that clears away the buildup.
If you still notice low water pressure after trying that, or if you’re seeing it at multiple fixtures, then you could have a more complex issue such as a leak or a breach in the pipes leading into your home. If this is the case, it could be damaging your home’s foundation, so you’ll want to call in a professional right away to have a look.
If your toilet won’t stop running after flushing, it might be time to replace the inner workings of it. You can try buying a toilet repair kit from your favorite hardware store to see if that solves the issue. If you’ve replace the inner guts of the toilet with no positive impact, it may be time to call in a pro.
Annoying leaks can range from a minor inconvenience to a costly nuisance, so it’s best to keep an eye out for these issues during your maintenance checks. Leaks usually happen at joints, which can sometimes be fixed by using joint compounds. For a more permanent solution you may need a length of pipe or fittings replaced, at which point it may be best to call in a licensed plumber.
Slowly draining sinks and tubs can be easy to miss as they tend to happen gradually over time, however, it’s best to get on it early. You can do this either by using a plunger, plumbing snake or a drain cleaner solution from the local hardware store. Be cautious with drain cleaner, as it can damage your pipes over time.
Once the clog is cleared, consider using a drain screen to prevent similar problems in the future.
Remember that the longer plumbing problems go unchecked, the greater the chance the problem is going to balloon to the point where you’ll need to call in a pro. Worse yet, water damage can do extensive damage to the foundation of your home, and mold mitigation is labor-intensive and costly. It’s best to develop some
sort of plumbing maintenance schedule and stick to it.