6 DIY Plumbing Tips Your Plumber Won’t Tell You
When it comes to home plumbing systems, most of us would prefer not to do it ourselves. In addition to potentially making matters worse, most owners are in no rush to investigate the source of a clog. However, there are plenty of fixes you can do at home all on your own, without the cost or intervention of a plumber. Here are a few handy tips your plumber may not be telling you.
1. Low water pressure? Try cleaning your fixtures with vinegar.
If your water pressure isn’t what it used to be, your aerator could be calcified with lime from hard water. Unscrew the aerator from your faucet (you can usually do this by hand or with a wrench) and soak it in white vinegar for a few hours. For larger fixtures like your shower head, simply fill a bag with vinegar, tie it around the fixture and let it soak overnight. If it’s your dishwasher that’s giving you trouble, add vinegar to the cycle.
2. Have a leak? Try Replacing your O-rings.
O-rings are the little circular pieces of rubber or silicone that create a seal between your pipes and your fixtures which help prevent leaks. They do a big job for their size! And, unfortunately, most people don’t know that they could solve small, pesky leaks at a home just by spending a few cents, watching a youtube video, and replacing their own o-rings.
3. Clogged toilets? You might be using the wrong plunger.
Plungers are plungers, right? Nope. The plunger we most often see — wooden handle, red cup — is a cup plunger and it’s actually made for sinks, tubs, and anything with a small drain. It’s intended to seal with a flat surface, and it’s not ideal to use on toilets which have a curved bowl. However, flange plungers (aka toilet plungers) have an additional flap made specifically for creating tight seals. Try running this plunger under hot water to soften the rubber to create an even better suction. Accordion plungers are another variety and they’re made of hard plastic, are difficult to use, but they also provide the strongest suction. Use these on badly clogged toilets.
4. Try fixing your own clogged garbage disposal.
Before you call a plumber, try out these fixes first. They don’t require any risky work around the inside the pipe or drain.
On the garbage disposal under the sink, locate a little red switch on the bottom of the device. This is your reset button — if your disposal won’t power on at all, flip it to see if this brings it back to life.
If that didn’t work and the source of your problem really is a jam, locate the hole in the bottom of your disposal. But first, make sure the power to the disposal is off! Then insert a quarter inch allen wrench and turn the wrench back and forth until the jam is freed. No plumber needed! Most disposals come with an allen wrench or “key” for this exact purpose.
5. Going on vacation? Turn off your home’s water supply.
Plumbers are no stranger to frantic house calls after people return home from vacation only to find leaks, water damage, or worse. The best preventative measure is to completely turn off your water supply before you go away for an extended period of time. However, many homeowners still want to keep the water main open to keep sprinklers running at night. In any event, a smart water security system like Flo by Moen is an easy alternative. Its Smart Water Shutoff proactively check for leaks, monitor your home’s pipes, and detect any irregular water activity while you’re away. It’s the easiest and safest way for homeowners to go on vacation with the peace of mind that their home is protected.
6. Drop something down the drain? You can easily empty the sink’s P-trap.
You don’t need to call the plumber every time you drop something important down the sink. Put a bucket or towel down to catch water or debris, unscrew the P-trap, and dump the contents to find your missing item. It takes less than five minutes and requires no professional plumbing experience.