Thursday, April 7, 2016

How To Manage Common Plumbing Issues At Home

  • How To Manage Common Plumbing Issues At Home 

Even the most complacent home owner is likely to have a few handy tools to help with simple plumbing problems. Problems like unclogging a slow drain, replacing a worn out washer, and repairing leaky faucets can be done at home. If you are keen on DIY, here are a few basic issues you can solve on your own:

  • How to unblock/clean a bathroom drain:

A slow drain in the bathroom is often caused by hair. Attach a tub/shower strainer to prevent hair and other materials from clogging the drain. But if you do not have a strainer, clean the drain frequently.  To do so, use a straightened wire hanger with a hooked end and push it straight inside the drain. Gently pull out the hair using the hooked end. Do this a couple of time until the wire comes out clean, while ensuring that the hanger does not get stuck in the drain. Open the tub/shower to check if the water drains properly. If it does not, call the plumber for help.

  • How to clean limescale deposits from showers:

In areas with hard water, the shower head may get clogged over time with limescale deposits.  To remove these deposits, leave the shower head in a vinegar solution overnight, or tie a bag filled with vinegar over the shower head. Vinegar helps to dissolve the alkaline mineral deposits because it is a mild form of acid that neutralizes the scale deposites. Clean off residue if any. 

  • How to fix a dripping faucet:

  A dripping faucet not only increases your water bills, but also leaves ugly marks and yellow stains on the basin. A rubber/silicone washer prevents water from pushing through the pipe after you have turned off the tap. Over time, these washers wear off leaving you with a leaky faucet. If the leak is fairly new, you can replace the washer using special tools. To do so, turn off the water supply and remove the decorative cap placed over the handle. Now unscrew the handle and the packing nut and remove the valve stem (often times you will need to have a handle puller/remover) Now remove the washer. Next, use a flashlight to look inside the valve body. Make sure there isn't any broken bits of rubber inside there and also look at the valve seat (the seat is the round contact that the washer presses against) Inspect the seat to make sure it is perfectly smooth at its crown. If the seat is worn, you will need to remove it with a seat remover.  To make sure that you replace the washer correctly, take the valve stem (and the seat if necessary) to a hardware store to find the proper washer size (there are several different sizes) Replace the washer. To reassemble, be sure to turn the stem to the open position before you insert the stem. After tightening the stem, be sure to tighten the packing nut slightly. Temporarily put the handle on the stem to check the tightness of the  turnability (there should be some slight tension, if not, tighten the packing nut until there is tension) Reassemble everything and test your valve.
  This is one example of a common faucet fixture valve. There are hundreds of different faucet valve designs and each one is unique and requires different procedures to make a repair to a leak.

  These are simple procedures that can be done at home. But the trick is to know your limits and work accordingly. If you get stuck on a do it yourself project and you aren't sure what to do next, that is a good time to call a local plumber to ask a few questions before proceeding and possibly creating more damage that could potentially cost you a lot more money by making a costly mistake.
 At 24 Rooter of Yakima, our plumbers love helping people and we like to help people make informed decisions when it comes to their plumbing issues. It is always a good idea to call a local plumber before taking on a DIY plumbing project. We're here to help.

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