The Best Plumbing Hacks
Top 10 Plumbing Hacks (To Save You Money)
There are definitely situations in which you need a plumber, especially if you have limited or no plumbing experience. While you may not want to attempt repiping, bathtub installation, or fixing a slab leak, there are plenty of DIY plumbing repairs you can handle on your own with a little know-how. Here are ten of the best plumbing hacks to try at home so you can avoid a call for plumbing service and save yourself a bundle.
#1. Declog a Toilet Without a Plumber
A service call from a plumber to fix a clogged toilet can be expensive. If you find your toilet clogged and you don’t have a plunger handy (or worse — you’re at a friend’s house!), you may be able to break down the clog with hot water as long as the clog is organic or toilet paper. Try this quick plumbing hack to avoid ruining the party!
- Stop the flow of water. With a simple clog, you can just remove the cover on the tank and disconnect the chain to keep the valve closed. You can also turn off the water at the valve at the back of the toilet.
- Fill a cup with hot water. The hotter the water, the faster this works.
- Pour the hot water into the toilet. The heat will help break down the clog.
- If hot water doesn’t help, try adding a bit of soap to break down the clog.
#2. Fix Leaking Pipes Under the Sink
Notice plumbing pipes leaking under your sink at the connection? Before you call a plumber, try this cheap and easy hack using plumber’s tape, a bucket, and a wrench.
- Turn off the water supplying the pipes. If you don’t know where the local turn-off valve is, you can use the home’s main turn-off valve.
- With a monkey wrench, loosen the pipes at the threads and disconnect them. Make sure you have a bucket under the connection as there will be water left in the pipes.
- Place plumber’s tape around the threads, running it in a clockwise direction.
- Reconnect the pipes. The tape will help achieve a tighter grip without replacing the pipes.
#3. Repair a Leaking Faucet
A leaking faucet is a common but annoying plumbing problem that happens with the inner components of the faucet wear out. Here’s how to replace worn washers, seals, and O-rings.
For a compression faucet: Remove the decorative cap on the faucet handle, remove the handle screw, and pull off the handle. Use a crescent wrench to remove the packing nut. Once you unscrew the stem, remove and replace the seat washer that’s held in place with a screw. Next, remove the stem from the packing nut and replace the O-ring that’s causing the leak.
For a ball-type faucet: With this type of faucet, a replacement kit with all-new parts is the best option. Remove the handle set screw and take off the handle. Use pliers to remove the cap and collar then a special tool in the kit to loosen the faucet cam. Remove the faucet cam, the cam washer, and the rotating ball. Use needle-nose pliers to remove the inlet seals and springs from the faucet body. Cut off the O-rings and coat the new ones in plumbing grease before rolling them on. Install the new springs, valve seats, and cam washers while reassembling the faucet.
#4. Unclog a Sink Drain
Clogged sink drains are very common but easy to fix in most cases. Here’s a quick DIY plumbing fix that can get your drain flowing freely again without harmful chemicals.
- Carefully pour baking soda down the clogged drain then immediately pour vinegar after it. Cover the drain right away. The chemical reaction between the vinegar and baking soda helps loosen debris and food trapped in the drain to wash it away.
- After several minutes, remove the drain cover and pour hot water down the plumbing drain.
#5. Fix Low Water Pressure in the Shower
Plagued by low water pressure from your showerhead? The problem’s likely caused by an accumulation of scale, not a wide scale plumbing problem. The good news is the fix is easy.
- Make sure the water is off then unscrew the showerhead.
- Remove the spray plate and soak in a descaling solution like white vinegar for a few hours. Reattach the plate.
#6. Get Rid of Rust-Coloured or Smelly Water
Difficulty: Mildly challenging
Is your hot water smelly or discoloured? The problem is likely an accumulation of minerals in the water heater and/or a degraded anode rod, not a major plumbing problem. Here’s what to do.
- Start by turning off the power to your water heater.
- Drain your water heater to remove the water and mineral deposits. Attach a garden hose to the valve at the bottom of the water heater and turn the valve to release the water. Drain the water outside if possible.
- Look for the hexagonal head of the anode rod at the top of the water heater. Use an air compressor, 1-1/16-inch socket, and 1/2-inch drive impact wrench to loosen the rod, then remove the rest by hand. If it’s stuck in place, use WD-40 to lubricate it first.
- To replace the anode rod, be sure you rub Teflon pipe thread sealant on the threads first for a good seal.
#7. Save Money and Water
An easy plumbing hack to save yourself money with every flush is taking up more space in your toilet tank. Try this hack to save water and reduce your water bill.
- Add a full 20-ounce water bottle to the corner of your toilet tank. Every time you flush, the displacement means less water will be used. Just make sure the bottle stays at the bottom and doesn’t float freely so it won’t interfere with the flushing mechanism.
#8. Clear a Jammed Garbage Disposal
A clogged or jammed garbage disposal may seem like a great reason to call a plumber, but the truth is fixing this problem requires no real plumbing knowledge. You’ll know you have a jammed disposal when it hums but doesn’t grind or starts and stops before you turn it off.
- Unplug your garbage disposal.
- Look for the hex-shaped hole on the bottom of the garbage disposal. Use a 1/4-inch hex wrench and force it back and forth in both directions a few times. This will free the impellers of the disposal.
- If there is no hex hole, use a short broom stick and put it into the disposal from the top, forcing it against one of the blades and using it to push the impeller back and forth.
#9. Deodorize Your Garbage Disposal
Do you notice an unpleasant aroma around your kitchen sink? It’s likely caused by rotting debris and food in the pipes and disposal. You don’t need to call a plumber; deodorizing a garbage disposal and kitchen drain takes no plumbing knowledge.
- Put ice cubes down the disposal plus a small amount of lemon peel.
- Run the disposal for about 30 seconds and add a small amount of dish detergent while it’s running. This will harden the debris and make it easier to remove from the blades while the lemon peel naturally deodorizes.
#10. Remove an Item From the Toilet
We’ve all been there: you accidentally dropped a ring or small object down the sink drain or into the toilet. The good news is you don’t need to call a plumber or dismantle your plumbing to retrieve it.
- Remove the filter from a wet/dry vacuum. Add a crevice attachment to the hose if you are trying to suck up jewelry.
- Direct the hose into the toilet, going as far into the drain as you can before turning the vacuum on.
- You will likely feel or hear when the item is sucked up.
So there you have the best 10 domestic plumbing hacks to save you money. Remember if you plumbing job is out of your capability then don’t hesitater to call a licensed plumber to help you. Somtimes DIY PLumbing can lkead to more serious problem sif the job isn’t done correctly.
Published by Michael Phillips from Pro Plumber Brisbane.
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