DIY: Plumbing Repair Tips For Homeowners
While many people dread DIY plumbing projects, a lot of the projects are actually easy and do not take a great deal of time. Here are some home plumbing repairs that you can do on your own with just a few basic tools.
Garbage Disposal Repair
One of the most common plumbing repair jobs is fixing a garbage disposal. If yours is making a humming noise but not working properly, follow these steps. This is a fairly simple fix, but make sure that the unit is turned off before you start.
Step 1: Use a flashlight to see if there is any debris clogging the unit.
Step 2: Grab some needle nose pliers to remove as much of the obstruction as possible.
Step 3: Get underneath the sink and use an Allen wrench to turn on the disposal. To do so, all you should have to do is insert the wrench into the bottom of the unit and turn. Once the disposal is on, any remaining debris should be freed to the point that it either goes down the unit or you can pull it out with the pliers.
Most people have an issue with their toilet at one time or another. The easiest problem to fix is a toilet that does not stop running. You may be able to jiggle the handle a little bit to loosen the chain and keep water from running out of the tank. If that doesn’t work, you’ll probably need to change the flapper valve. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Shut off the water to the toilet. You should see a knob at the base of the unit. Then, flush the toilet so that the tank empties.
Step 2: Take off the tank lid and check the flapper at the bottom of the tank. This is the part that keeps water from entering the bowl. If it is cracked or worn, take it out and bring it with you to the hardware store to make sure you find the right replacement.
Step 3: Replace the old flapper with the new one. Before you do, however, check the valve seat to make sure there aren’t any rough edges. If there are, use an emery cloth to smooth them. This will help create a more watertight seal.
A leaking showerhead is not only annoying; it can also raise your water bill a great deal. Here’s how to fix a showerhead that is leaking at the base:
Step 1: Take a wrench and unscrew the showerhead from the wall.
Step 2: Wrap some plumber’s tape around the threads of the stem.
Step 3: Re-attach the showerhead and turn the water on. If you still notice a leak, take the head off again and add a little more tape. If this still doesn’t work, then you may either need to call a plumber or buy a new showerhead.
Today’s faucets are relatively easy to fix as long as you know some basic information. For this particular example we’re going to use a traditional faucet that has two handles — one for hot water and one for cold water.
Step 1: You will want to have a screwdriver handy as well as a small Allen wrench. Look at where the water is coming from and then turn off the water supply. You should see a shut-off valve underneath the sink. If you don’t see one, then you may have to close your home’s main water valve.
Step 2: Once the water is turned off, open the faucet to relieve pressure. Cover your drain hole with a strainer or a rag so that you don’t run the risk of losing any small parts.
Step 3: Unscrew each handle. You may first need to pry off the decorative cap on each side.
Step 4: Take your wrench and remove the nut on the hot and cold side. Remove the stem and set it aside, making a note of which one goes on the hot side and which goes with the cold side.
Step 5: You should then see an O-ring, which sits on top of a seat washer. The washer is probably the culprit causing the leak because it has worn out.
Step 6: Replace each seat washer. It’s the part that is held in place with a brass screw that is upside-down. Take the old ones with you to the hardware store to make sure you get the right replacements.
Step 7: Use plumber’s grease to coat the replacement seat washers and insert them into the sink. Re-assemble the handles and the leak should be fixed.
If you have any problems with any of these projects, call your local plumber.
Patricia Bonacorda is the President of Spartan Plumbing a plumbing and HVAC Company. For over 50 years, they have assisted apartment and multi family homes. Spartan Plumbing is a licensed, bonded and insured business that has provided professional plumbing, heating and air conditioning services throughout the DC Region.