Plumbing DIY: When to DIY and When to call the plumber

“Call the plumber”. Is there any sound so terrifying? You can actually feel your wallet getting lighter inside your pocket. If fixing a leak or clearing a drain strikes fear deep in your heart, fear not. Help is on the way.Common household plumbing problems can usually be handled without calling a plumber.

Running toilets wastes water and cause insanity in homeowners. But toilets don’t run on electricity. As long as you have water in the tank, you can flush. When a toilet “runs”, it means that the water valve is continuously spraying water into the tank. This happens because the floater never gets to a high enough level to shut the water off. Usually,you can just bend the arm down a little so the ball touches the water sooner. But for more comprehensive instruction, watch this video on Youtube.

For clogged drains a plunger is usually the best tool. Cup plungers are for flat surfaces like sinks and tubs and flange plungers are used for toilets because they fit nicely inside the drain. If that doesn’t work you can use an expanding drain bladder. to clear the plug. It attaches to your garden hose and is inserted into your pipe. When you turn on the water it creates a high velocity spray that releases the clog. It comes in different sizes so you can clear clogs from slow running sinks to clogged toilets.

What can you do if you drop something important down the drain? The most important thing to do is turn the water off quickly. Then get under your sink. If your home is newer, you may not need any tools, if your home is a little older you may need a large wrench. Once under the sink you’re looking for the P trap. I know, it sounds terrible but it’s because it’s shaped like a P. Put a bucket under the P trap before removing the pipe. There should be a threaded collar on both ends of the P trap. Loosen both ends and carefully remove the trap. Dirty waste water will come out along with hair and soap scum. Pour the contents of the trap into the bucket. Warning: This will be disgusting. It should fall right out as long as it didn’t go further down the plumbing. If it made it into the wall, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to retrieve it. See a tutorial here.

Do you have a beautiful garden tub that you never get to use? Do you walk into your bathroom sometimes and it smells like the sewer treatment plant moved next door? Believe or not, these two things are related. When you know how plumbing works, It will make sense to you.

Plumbing is a network of pipes connected to your fixtures on one end and into the sewer system on the other. A lot of nasty stuff runs through those pipes and creates gases. Those gases are kept away from your nose by the P trap. There is one under all of your sinks, your bathtubs and your toilets. When the water and waste passes through the pipes, more water follows behind and gets trapped in the P trap. That water keeps the gasses from coming back through your drain openings.

Now back to that beautiful garden tub that you never use. Eventually, the water will evaporate if you don’t use your tub often enough. there is nothing there to prevent the sewer gasses from coming back up the drain straight to your nose. The solution? Run a little water into the drain from time to time. Problem solved.

Don’t be afraid of plumbing repair. Youtube has a lot of great tutorials that can save you a lot of money. The trick is knowing when you should call a professional. know your limitations. If you’re not completely clear on what needs to be done. Call a plumber. If water is running onto the floor, know where your shut of valves are. Most of the time they are right under the plumbing fixture near the wall or floor. Turn of the water and wait for the plumber.

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