A well-designed, well-cared-for plumbing system delivers dependable performance every day. Most of us take little notice of plumbing until a problem occurs and clogged drains or leaky plumbing results in damage, inconvenience, and unhygienic conditions.
What’s the best way to deal with a small plumbing issue? Find out how to handle these annoyances the right way, saving time and money.
What To Do With a Clogged Drain
Countless items filter through your sink, shower, and tub drains, including dirt, food waste, lint, hair, and soap. Toilets handle waste products and enormous amounts of toilet paper. Build-up inevitably occurs over time, resulting in a mass blocking the passage of water from above. Back-ups tend to add to that mass, as larger items pile up. The water eventually overflows from the fixture and onto the floor or countertop.
The first step is to diagnose the type of blockageâ€”full or partial. A full blockage allows very little or no water to pass through, and may be a result of dried debris that hardens or expands to fill the pipe. A partial blockage is the most common type of clog, and results in slow water flow. Partial blockages quickly lead to full blockages, especially when you continue to use the bathroom fixtures.
Stop using the toilet, sink, shower or tub at the first sign of a partial blockage. Try a plunger or household drain snake once or twice. If that does not clear the clog away, it’s time to shut off the water and call your plumber.
Pull up the ball float in your toilet tank to avoid any other attempts at flushing. Turn the water off to avoid irritating clogged drains in your sink, shower, or tub. Protect the flooring and other surrounding surfaces with towels.
If you have access to another bathroom, kitchen or laundry sink this problem is not urgent. Most plumbers will tackle emergency calls should your unclogging your drain be a pressing need.
What Not To Do With a Clogged Drain
Many homeowners are tempted to use a chemical solution that promises to break down stubborn clogs quickly and affordably. Most of these products are ineffective and could cause serious issues in the sewer system. Even natural household solutions, like baking soda and boiling water, prove to be useless against most stubborn clogs and blockages.
Although a quick fix solution may seem like a wise first step, these products could enhance the problem and boost your plumber’s bill.
Be careful when using a plunger on your clogged drain. This tool can actually lift your toilet from the floor, damaging the seal and creating harmful gas and sewage leaks. If the clog does not budge with a few plunger attempts, leave it to the professionals.
Some household drain snake tools present the same danger, and may exasperate the problem instead of offering a solution. Always be careful when dealing with your plumbing system, and trust the skills and tools of the professionals over products you can pick up at the local hardware store.
What To Do With Leaky Plumbing
Plumbing leaks cover a broad spectrum, with minor leaks creating manageable inconveniences and major leaks creating expensive repairs. Where the leak occurs and when it is detected dictate how homeowners should respond.
Some leaks occur behind walls and within cabinets, out of sight until the effects or water damage show up. Others can be seen easily, such as a leaky faucet or sweating pipe. Remember that no matter where the leak occurs, you need to put a stop to it immediately.
Dripping taps may not seem like a big deal, but they’re wasting water and driving up your water bills every day. Most leaky taps can be fixed with a simple, inexpensive component, and present a DIY plumbing opportunity for the average handy homeowner.
By the time you can see hidden leaks, the damage is already done and immediate action is the only way to contain it. Shut the water off and call your local plumber. Massive flooding can result when leaking pipes are left and deterioration occurs in the surrounding structure. Avoid this type of damage by acting fast.
Turn your main water valve off to avoid burst pipes. Clean up the water immediately to avoid water damage and potential mold issues. If the leak has caused extensive damage behind the drywall or under flooring, you may need to contact your insurance company about restorations and repairs. Be sure to document the site at every stage with time- and date-stamped pictures.
What Not To Do With Leaky Plumbing
It’s not usually a good idea to pick up the phone or jump on your favorite search engine and call the first plumber you find. A good plumber provides professional service for reasonable prices, but a bad plumber can leave you with an even bigger mess and larger repair bills.
Talk to your friends, coworkers and family to ask for recommendations. Call your local Better Business Bureau chapter or ask your homebuilder or neighborhood association. Referrals are often the best way to find a contractor.
Make sure the plumber is licensed and carries full insurance. Ask about their warranty coverage and check the web for testimonials and customer reviews. Even for a small project like a clogged drain or leaky plumbing, hiring a professional, reliable plumber is vital.
Every homeowner will have to deal with clogged drains and leaky plumbing at some point. Keep calm and assess the damage, cleaning up as much of the water spillage as possible. If your initial attempts at repair are unsuccessful, call your local plumber. Hiring a licensed, insured plumber is worth the investment and protects your home and essential systems from damage.