Professional plumbing is often a very expensive service, and usually the work that is done is something that any homeowner could solve fairly easily with the proper knowledge and tools. If you’d like to start learning to solve your own plumbing problems, read on to see what you can do.
Rigid copper is used for main water lines in many homes. You cannot bend rigid copper, so joints and tees must be soldered on. When soldering, always apply flux (also called soldering paste) to both surfaces. Flux retards oxidation when the copper is heated. Always use lead-free or nearly lead-free solder when sweating a copper joint.
Look closely at your toilets several times throughout the year. Check to see if there are any leaks that you may not have noticed; you can do this by placing five or six drops of food coloring in the tank. If there is a leak, the color will seep into the bowl within half an hour. This process will help you catch a small problem before it gets too out of control.
Don’t pay a plumber until the job is completed. A plumber may require some money upfront, but it’s wise to wait until the job is completely done before giving him the entire payment. Many things can happen between the stop and end of a job, so to be safe wait until you are satisfied with the completed work before paying.
Avoid using hard cleaners on your toilets, such as drop-in cleaner tabs in the tank. When these tabs are almost completely dissolved, what’s left of the tab gets washed into the bowl. This can then end up clogging the toilet’s port holes, preventing the toilet from flushing properly. It can take months for this debris to finish dissolving in those holes.
Watch how your toilets are flushing. If you have to jiggle the handle or if it takes too long, you might have to repair some toilet parts. Replacing these parts early may help you to save on your water bills and will save you from more expensive repairs at a later date.
Do not overload your garbage disposal. If you need to dispose of large items, cut them up into smaller pieces. Also, do not put too much in at a time, put one or two items in and wait a few seconds to dispose of the rest. Overloading your disposal can cause the engine to overheat.
While it may seem like a seemingly harmless thing to do, never run potato peels through your garbage disposal. The chemical make up of this seemingly harmless food allows the potato to turn into a thick, viscous substance that can wreak havoc on the disposal itself, with the potential to render it completely useless.
Take preventative measures to keep your plumbing costs low. Clogs are a big problem with plumbing, and they are quite common. You can clog your drains with hair. Screens and drain covers are great ways to stop hair from going down your drains. You can remove hair much easier from a screen as opposed to getting it out of the inside of a pipe.
If your sewer is backed up, there are things you can do to troubleshoot and clean, including renting equipment like a main line cable. However, often times this does not fully take care of the problem. A professional needs to assess the issue then, using a camera method, and thoroughly cleaning the main line.
If you have problems with a slow drain, there are easier things you can do other than removing the pipes to clean it. There are certain tools made just for this purpose that you insert into the drain to loosen the clog so it washes away or grab it and remove it completely.
If you are looking to get new piping in your home, try to stay away from copper ones. Copper tends to have problems, due to water and soil corrosion. It is also harder to install these kinds of pipes. Steel or lead pipes tend to offer the best quality and are the most durable.
As you can see, plumbing isn’t as difficult as you may have believed. Many plumbing problems can be solved easily with things on hand, or with a few inexpensive parts. Next time you have a problem with your plumbing, try using the tips in this article to solve it yourself!