Do It Yourself: The 4 Plumbing Jobs You Can Handle
It happens to everyone from time to time--something in the
bathroom starts leaking, or you find that ominous drip under the
kitchen sink. Before you call the plumber, examine the problem and
determine if you can fix it yourself. The following list of common
problems might be remedied with only a few minutes and some minor
- Your toilet is constantly running. The most
likely culprit for this annoying problem is a flapper valve not
sealing properly. Open the back of the toilet and make sure nothing
is blocking the valve, then make certain the pull chain is not
caught on anything that would prevent it from closing. If your
valve needs to be replaced, kits can be purchased at the hardware
store for a very reasonable price.
- The kitchen faucet is dripping. This is
usually a sign that something inside the faucet is worn and
failing. To figure out what the problem is, you may need to
disassemble the faucet. This might seem daunting, but it's really
just like putting together a simple puzzle. A repair kit can be
obtained at your hardware store that should include new o-rings,
seals, and instructions on how to pull that faucet apart, clean it
out, and put it all back together.
- The sink drain is blocked. First, gently use a
plunger to clear the obstruction. If that doesn't work, go under
the sink and remove the curved trap by loosening the couplings on
either side. Clean out the blockage with a plumber's snake,
available for purchase or rent from any hardware supply store. And
that's it! Remember to clean out the trap before you put it back
on, and tighten the couplings well.
- The hot water turns cold. It could be a
problem with your thermostat or heating element on the hot water
heater. Follow the manufacturer's directions on how to test and
replace either. If you have a gas water heater, the pilot light
might be out. You can re-light this yourself or call the gas
company to do it for you.
When Should You Call a Plumber?
If the repair is too big for you to handle or involves getting
into the pipes underneath your house, consider calling a
professional. Sewage backing up into your home always warrants an
emergency call to the plumber. If you can do the simple repairs
yourself, you can save your pennies for that day when you have to
call a professional to handle a serious plumbing problem.
About the author: Shannon Dauphin is a
freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was
built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her
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