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Easy Solutions to Three Common Plumbing Problems

By Karin Mangan
Easy Solutions to Three Common Plumbing Problems

Some plumbing repair jobs require professional plumbers. Others can be fixed with a little know-how. Before you call out a plumber, follow these tips on how to approach some common home plumbing problems.

1. Clogged toilets

  • Don't flush a clogged toilet again in the hope that it forces the clog down.
  • Try squirting a little dish detergent into the clogged toilet bowl and slowly pour in hot (not boiling) water. Stop if the bowl is in danger of overflowing.
  • You can purchase enzymes that clear a clogged toilet by dissolving the waste material.
  • You can often shift the clog with a plunger, but can be messy if water splashes up from the bowl. Make sure you use the right shaped plunger for a toilet.
  • You can often clear a clogged toilet with a plumbing snake or auger. You feed a long tube down the bowl and twist with a handle to break up the waste material and allow it to be flushed away.

2. Blocked drains

  • Liquid drain products can be effective. Read the label to make sure the product you are using is compatible with your home plumbing system, and never mix different types of chemicals.
  • You can clear a blocked drain with a plunger. Simply position it over the drain and firmly press it up and down. Add a little water to improve the effectiveness.
  • Use a plumbing snake to break up more stubborn blockages. Push the snake into the blockage and twist it using the handle.

3. Leaking faucets

In most cases, a faucet that drips or leaks is a sign that a part is worn and needs to be replaced. Dripping taps are usually due to failed washers or seals. Leaks around the handle are usually due to a worn O-ring on the stem or a packing nut or adjusting ring that needs to be tightened. These plumbing problems can be fixed by removing the handle and replacing the worn out parts.

  • Turn off the water supply valves (usually found under the kitchen sink), then pry off the cover (if there is one) with a flathead screwdriver, and unscrew the screw holding the faucet in place before pulling or prying the faucet off.
  • Identify the worn out parts and take them with you to buy replacements.
  • For leaks around the faucet stem, remove the stem fitting with pliers then work the stem back and forth until it slides out. Then try tightening the metal valve with a wrench.

If you follow these simple plumbing repair methods and you still have a problem, then you should call a professional plumber. You can save money by dealing with some plumbing repair jobs yourself, but it can cost you a lot of money if you don't recognize when you need professional help!

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