DIY Plumbing Tips

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Plumbing problems always seem to occur at the most inconvenient times. And in addition to being unsanitary, they can also be hazardous to your family. Sometimes it takes a professional to make the repair. But many plumbing issues can be solved fairly easily. Maybe you simply have a dripping faucet or a clogged pipe. Before you call a plumber, check out some helpful troubleshooting hints that could save you time and money.

  • Many drain issues can be avoided with routine maintenance. Try running hot water down your drains every few weeks to remove any soap and grease that may have accumulated.
  • For a clogged toilet, try to remove the blockage with a plunger or closet auger.
  • Test to see if your toilet is leaking. Put food coloring in the toilet tank. If the water in the toilet bowl turns the color of the dye without flushing, you have a leak.
  • To avoid drain blockages in your laundry tub, tie an old stocking over the end of the drain hose to catch lint.
  • An accumulation of sediment in your kitchen or bathroom faucet could result in poor water pressure. Remove the aerator, check for any blockages, and run under water to clean.
  • Weak water pressure in your shower is often due to mineral buildup. To remove deposits, clean outlet holes with a pin or soak the faceplate in vinegar.
  • If you need to clear a clog, the most effective way is with a drain snake.
  • To help keep unpleasant odors from building up in your garbage disposal, try running ice cubes through the disposal once a month.
  • Clean floor drain strainers regularly.
  • Pull out pop-up stoppers in the bathroom sink and tub and clean them regularly.
  • If you need a certified plumber, contact Constellation Home.

The Toilet Is Clogged

Most of us have experienced a situation where our toilet won’t flush properly, and the water starts to rise to the top of the bowl. Before contacting a Constellation Home plumber, try the following plumbing tips.

Use a plunger to remove the blockage

When your toilet is clogged, the first thing to do is to try removing the blockage yourself with a plunger or closet auger.

Pour some dish soap in the toilet bowl

For a stubborn clog, drop a few squirts of dish soap in the toilet (about 1/4 cup) and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Then, add hot water (not boiling, just hot) to the toilet bowl and give it a few more minutes. If you’re lucky, the soap will act as a lubricant and help to unclog the drain.

Loosen the toilet clog with baking soda & vinegar

Try pouring one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar down the toilet drain. The chemical reaction of these two elements combining will bubble up and hopefully loosen the clog. Let the baking soda and vinegar sit for about 30 minutes before pouring hot water in the toilet.

How to Deal With a Running Toilet

A constantly running toilet is a common problem that can waste water and money. Here are several things to check for:

  • The float arm might not be rising high enough. Bend the float arm down or away from tank wall.
  • The float ball may be filled with water. Replace the float ball and install a new flush valve assembly.
  • Is the tank stopper properly sealed? Adjust the stopper guide rod and lift wires or chain.
  • Replace the flush valve seal if it is corroded.
  • Replace the overflow tube if it is cracked.
  • If the ball cock valve does not shut off, replace any faulty washers, or install a new ball cock assembly.

The Faucet Keeps Dripping

When you turn off the faucet, does it continue to drip and drip and drip? It can be annoying, frustrating, and possibly damaging. Here are a few things you can do to try to fix the problem yourself.

  • If the kitchen faucet is leaking, turn off the water using the valves located under the sink. Use a wrench to loosen the setscrew which is located on the faucet handle and carefully remove the handle. Then, use some slip-joint pliers to remove the bonnet and fish out the springs. Clean out any built-up sediment from inside of the faucet. Remove the O-rings from the faucet and install new O-rings. Reassemble the faucet and check to see if it is still dripping. If it is, contact your local plumbing professional at Constellation Home.
  • If the laundry faucet is dripping from the spout, it may mean that you need a new faucet washer. On the other hand, if water is leaking around the faucet handle, you may need to replace the rubber O-ring.

The Sink Won’t Drain Properly

If the bathroom or kitchen sink is taking forever to drain, there is probably a blockage restricting water flow. To try to fix this issue yourself, check out the tips below.

  • Use a plunger to unclog any items that may be obstructing the drain. Often, things like hair or food remnants can block a drain.
  • Try using a plumber’s snake to fish out objects that are obstructing water flow.
  • Pour some baking soda and vinegar down the drain to help loosen the clog.

If the tips above don’t work and your sink is still draining slowly, contact the professionals at Constellation Home.

Plumbing Safety Tips

Safety first! Here are some helpful plumbing hints to keep you safe.

  • Water splashes. Always wear eye protection to avoid injury.
  • If a plumbing repair is near an electrical source, be sure to turn off the power to avoid getting electrocuted.
  • To avoid flooding, always know where your water supply shutoffs are located. This includes the main water shut off, toilet shut off and sink shut-off valves.

If the above plumbing DIY tips don’t remedy the issue, or if you simply don’t feel comfortable attempting a repair by yourself, contact Constellation Home. We’ve been the central Maryland area plumbing experts for decades.

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