Easy Plumbing Hacks for Homeowners
In the age of YouTube, you no longer have to be a pro to fix your plumbing problems. Knowing how to handle small clogs, leaks and other minor plumbing issues can save time and money later on. It can also prevent damage to your home and appliances.
We have compiled some awesome plumbing hacks that will help you keep your plumbing in good working order between visits from a professional plumber.
General Plumbing Hacks
Hack #1: The Emergency Shut-Off Valve
If something goes seriously wrong with your home’s plumbing system, you will need to stop your home’s water flow as soon as you can. To do this, you will need to know where your emergency water shut-off valve is located and how to use it properly. Depending on your home, your emergency water shut-off valve can be located in one of a few different places. The first place is outside near your water meter. Your water meter will either be located on the side of your house or in the front of your house near the street, and it will likely be in a covered box. Some homes also have a water shut-off valve located where the main water line enters the home.
Hack #2: Tighten the Pipes
When working on your own plumbing, you must pay attention to your plumbing fittings. Taking the time now to check it could save you some problems later on down the road. The following information will offer you some tips you can use when tightening the plumbing fittings.
Turn off the water
Unscrew the leaky pipes
Wrap a single layer of masking tape around the threads
Screw the pipes back together
Hack #3: Finding Invisible Leaks
If your bill is rising consistently but your water use habits haven’t changed, a leak may be to blame. Gather some bills from the past few months and compare them to see if there’s a steady increase. Your water bill should remain within the same range month to month. Remember that some of your pipes may be underground.
Finding an invisible leak can be tricky, but it is definitely possible! Turn off all the taps and take a water meter reading. Wait a few hours with nobody using any water, and check the meter again. If it shows water usage, you definitely have a leak somewhere.
A common place for leaks is the toilet. Try putting food coloring in the tank. If there is color in the bowl after 30 minutes, you have a leak from the tank!
Hack #4: Fix a Leaky Faucet
Fixing a leaky faucet is one of the most common DIY projects there is for homeowners everywhere. The process is relatively easy to complete and can be a relatively cheap and quick fix to implement. Follow these easy steps to fix a leaky faucet:
1. Turn off the water supply
2. Remove the hardware
3. Remove the packing nut
4. Replace the washer and O-Ring
5. Put everything back together
Hack #5: Prevent Water Damage
Before a major plumbing disaster strikes, such as an overflowing toilet or a pipe burst, it is a good idea to know how to turn off the main water line to your home. Your water tank will come with instructions about how to turn off the water supply to your entire home. You can also identify the shutoff valves that go to various appliances in your home to stop water damage in select locations, such as the bathroom.
Hack #6: DIY Drain Cleaner
Commercial drain cleaners are bad for your plumbing. They are too strong and corrode your pipes over time. A DIY cleaner is safer, cheaper, and just as easy. For major clogs, try pouring boiling water down the affected drain, followed by ½ cup baking soda. Let that sit for 5 minutes. Then, pour in a cup of vinegar and wait another 5 minutes. Flush with warm water.
Hack #7: Prepare Your Home for Vacation
If you are planning to leave your home for vacation, you can take some simple steps to prevent plumbing disasters while you’re away. First, check appliances such as the dishwasher and washing machine for loose bolts and cracks that may cause leaks. Turn the water heater down to the lowest pilot setting, and consider turning off the water supply to drain the tanks and pipes, which prevents the risk of leaks and saves you from being charged for water that you’re not using.
Kitchen Plumbing Hacks
Hack #8: Garbage Disposal 101
Knowing how to use your garbage disposal correctly helps you avoid repairs and blockages. There are several things you should never put down your disposal:
Fibrous foods, like celery, asparagus, or sprouts
Fats, oils, and greases
Starchy food, like peels, beans, rice, or pasta
Hack #9: Clear the Clogs
If you hear a humming sound, but the blades aren’t spinning, then the problem is likely that your garbage disposal is clogged. Follow the steps below to see if you can get it turning again.
1. Unplug the garbage disposal – Before you perform any of these, make sure that your garbage disposal is unplugged! You could be seriously injured if the blades start turning again while you are working on it.
2. Look for obstructions in the sink drain – Look down into your garbage disposal through the sink drain for any apparent blockages like pieces of metal or toys. Don’t try to remove obstructions from a clogged garbage disposal with your bare hands. Even if there is no chance the unit will turn on, the blades are still sharp and could cut your fingers. If there are any obstructions, pull them out with a pair of needle-nose pliers and try turning the garbage disposal on to see if that solves the problem.
3. Try turning the blades manually – Garbage disposals have “breaker sockets” on the bottom that can be turned using a hex wrench. The breaker socket is connected to the blades in the garbage disposal and serves as a way to turn the blades manually if the garbage disposal is clogged.
4. Hit the reset button – With any of these fixes, it is a good idea to hit the reset button after you plug the unit back in. Clogged garbage disposals will often shut down automatically to prevent further damage and once the problem is fixed the unit needs to be reset to work correctly again
Hack #10: Cleaning Your Disposal
There is a pretty simple DIY tip for keeping your disposal blades sharp and eliminating those weird smells. Every now and then, put several ice cubes and a hunk of lemon peel down the disposal. Run it without water for about 30 seconds, then run some water and add a little dish soap. You’ll have sharpened blades and a lemony scent in less than a minute!
Bathroom Plumbing Hacks
Hack #11: Unclogging Toilets
A plunger is a great tool for any drain in the house. If the toilet is clogged a plunger will help. The same goes for the bathtub and the sink. If a plunger does not work, consider renting or buying a toilet auger (snake). The toilet auger works like a small snake that goes into the trap area of the toilet. It is flexible so it will adjust with the curve of your toilet and it won’t scratch your toilet.
Hack #12: Stop Your Toilet From Running
After a flush, water fills a tank, lifting a float that shuts off the water when it reaches a certain level. A lever still opens a flapper to cause the flush, falling back into place when the water level drops. Sometimes the flush is too wimpy, sometimes the toilet keeps running, and sometimes the bowl doesn’t refill. The water level in the tank is controlled by an adjustable float. A float that’s set too low produces a weak flush; if it’s set too high, water spills into the toilet overflow tube and the fill valve won’t shut off. The toilet keeps running. To learn how to fix a toilet that won’t flush, look for the fill level mark on the inside back of the tank and mark it on the toilet overflow tube so you can see it more easily.
Hack #13: Increase Shower Pressure
Low pressure leads to longer showers, which leads to higher bills. So why not lower your bill and have better pressure—by simply cleaning your shower head? Put a small plastic bag full of white vinegar over your shower head. Secure with a rubber band and leave overnight. If that does not work, you may need to replace the shower head altogether.
Know When to Give Best Plumbing a Call
If you need help with your garbage disposal, sinks, or any other plumbing issue, call Best Plumbing Services at 951-788-1321 for professional drain cleaning methods. Located in Riverside, California we are family owned and operated with over 10 years of experience. We take pride in our service and expect each job to be completed as if it were our own home or business. Our Licensed Plumbers and Technicians will be professional, clean and polite.