DIY Plumbing Tips from the Pros

DIY plumbing tips from professional plumbers help homeowners repair their systems and improve the system. Not only do at-home repairs help the homeowner understand plumbing problems more, they also save money. When you are able to fix common plumbing issues on your own, you don’t need to call a plumber to fix them for you. However, it’s always good to consult a plumber if you are ever unsure of what to do or what’s wrong. 

Mr. Plumber in Indianapolis, Indiana wants homeowners to benefit from our DIY plumbing tips. We go through some of the most common issues in plumbing—from specific parts to whole system repairs—and cover ways to prevent problems in the first place. 

DIY Plumbing Tips for Components

Specific parts of the plumbing system often malfunction without harming the whole system. However, sometimes these issues do culminate into larger problems. This is why it’s so important to act as fast as possible when plumbing issues arise. With these DIY plumbing tips, homeowners are ready to tackle problems with specific components quickly. 

  • Faucets. If your faucet leaks, there are several DIY plumbing tips to solve the problem. First, assess the fixture to find the location of the leak. Next, turn off the water supply and open the faucet to relieve water pressure. Place something over the drains to avoid losing small parts. Look for deterioration on any of the parts as you remove them. When you find the problem part, purchase a replacement and put everything back together!
  • Drains. Sink and shower drains experience clogs or slow-draining every once in a while. In most cases, homeowners are able to remove clogs with either a snake, plunger, or even a wet-dry vacuum. If you don’t own a snake, bend a wire hanger to a hook shape to pull out clogs. Plungers push the clogs down in the system. Wet-dry vacuums suck up hard objects like toys and jewelry so they don’t fall further down the pipes. 
  • Toilets. DIY plumbing tips for when the toilet doesn’t flush correctly or at all usually requires a bucket of water. Pour the water into the toilet bowl slowly at first, then dump it all in. This pushes everything down the pipes because of the added pressure. 
  • No heat from water heaters. If you have no hot water, this is a good DIY plumbing tip. In electric water heaters, this occurs because of the circuit breaker trips. Check the breaker box first to see if this is the cause. If not, the limit or reset switch had an issue either because the water was too hot or it needs a replacement. Make sure to set your water heater’s temperature no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Leaks from water heaters. Water heaters are also prone to leaks because of the high temperatures and constant contact with water. The first step is to locate the leak. Most of the time, components on the system are loose, so check how tight everything fits on the unit. If this isn’t the problem, test each of the parts to see if they are faulty. If they are, perform simple replacements after turning off the water supply. 
  • Pipe leaks. If you notice leaks anywhere on visible pipes, the DIY plumbing tips you need are often temporary solutions. Pipe leaks are hard for homeowners to complete fix on their own, but there are certain steps to take to fix the issue while waiting for the plumber. Use a repair sleeve to stop the leak for a short period of time. Or, use a piece of rubber and a clamp. This produces the same result as the sleeve and saves a little money if you have rubber around the house. 
  • Water softener. Water softeners remove minerals from the water in your home. If the water softener stops working, you likely notice a difference in how the water tastes, how it affects your skin, and how it smells. DIY plumbing tips help fix this issue. Clean the resin bed and check the brine tank for problems. Break up any salt in the bring tank to make sure it reaches the bottom and dissolves. 
  • Shut off valve. Lastly, shut off valves sometimes stop working. These valves turn off the water supply in the home, so they are important when you need to perform the other DIY plumbing tips on this list. If the shut off valve doesn’t work, simply replace it with a new one. This repair takes little time and saves you a lot of trouble. 

Whole System DIY Plumbing Tips

If all of the plumbing fixtures in your home are having problems, then you need to perform some system repairs. These are often more daunting than component repairs, so if you are ever unsure, be sure to call a plumber for help. DIY plumbing tips are great tools for homeowners, but only if homeowners feel comfortable enough to do them. 

However, these DIY plumbing tips are relatively low-stakes and are easy to do on your own.  

  • Know where things are. One of the best things homeowners are able to do is to learn where all of the components are in the plumbing system. You don’t need to memorize it, but leave some manuals and diagrams near each plumbing element so you are easily able to find specific components. The shut off valve is particularly important because you use this to shut off the water supply when you perform repairs. 
  • Remove clogs. Make sure to remove clogs from anywhere in the system as soon as you notice them. If you leave a clog for too long, it only becomes bigger. Sometimes, clogs occur in the main line, which are problems for plumbers to handle. Smaller clogs in sinks, tubs, and P-traps are easy with snakes and a little bit of patience. 
  • Leaks. Invisible leaks—a.k.a. leaks in the walls, ceilings, and floors—are tricky, but possible for handy homeowners. First, find the leak. Areas with leaks will appear discolored or puckered. Next, cut a small hole in the wall where the leak is coming from. Take a look at the pipe and see if you are able to cut and replace the section on your own. If not, put on a repair sleeve and call a plumber. The more you are able to do on your own, the less money you need to spend on professional repairs. 
  • Don’t over-tighten. When you over-tighten parts of the plumbing, the parts start to deform. The pressure from the tightness causes parts to implode slightly, which negatively impacts the performance. Additionally, you likely are unable to remove the parts when you need to perform another repair! Other repercussions include breaks, leaks, and increased deterioration. 
  • Check your work. When you finish a repair, don’t forget to check your work. Turn on the shut off valve, and see if the repair works. If it doesn’t, turn off the water and either try again or contact a plumber. Additionally, make sure you didn’t create new problems from your repair. If somewhere leaks after you check your repair, something likely went wrong. 
  • Installations. Though this seems like a job for a professional, homeowners are actually able to install kitchen and bathroom faucets on their own. Faucets come with installation instructions, and hardware store employees offer helpful DIY plumbing tips if you ask them. This extends to other water fixtures as well. Showerheads, sink sprayers, even toilets all come with instructions for installation. If you feel confident, install these fixtures on your own to save some money. 

How to Prevent Common Plumbing Problems

DIY plumbing tips not only help when you need repairs, they also keep problems at bay. These DIY plumbing tips allow homeowners to prevent issues in the system, which saves money in the long run. Not only do you spend less on repairs, the efficiency of the plumbing often improves. This saves money on water bills. Here’s what you can do to prevent plumbing problems.  

  • Take a picture. Make sure to take pictures of plumbing fixtures and piping when you perform repairs. Take a picture of what the system looks like when it works, then take another when you encounter problems. This allows you to compare and contrast issues. Also, if you know how the plumbing looks, you are better able to perform correct installations, repairs, and replacements. 
  • Preventative maintenance. One of the best DIY plumbing tips actually involves a plumber! Homeowners who schedule regular maintenance experience fewer problems in their plumbing. If a plumber visits the home once a year, simple problems like leaks and clogs are less likely to occur. 
  • Proper disposal. It’s also important to only throw away the appropriate items into sinks, toilets, and other plumbing fixtures. In general, stay away from paper products, coffee grounds, eggshells, pasta, rice, and chemical drain cleaners. Drain cleaners cause pipes to deteriorate, so use snakes and plungers if you experience a clog. The other items get stuck in the pipes either because they expand in water or they stick to the sides.
  • Clean regularly. When plumbing fixtures are clean, they function better. Homeowners usually keep their sinks, tubs, and toilets clean, but forget about water heaters, pipes, and similar equipment. It’s equally important to clean these items as well. 
  • Test the water. Lastly, invest in a water test to determine the mineral concentration of your water. This determines if your home needs additional filters, softeners, and the like. When the water has too many minerals, clogs are more likely. In some cases, these clogs require an entirely new fixture. For example, if a water heater encounters a leak in the tank because of sediment collection, then you need to buy a new water heater. 

How to Prevent Common Plumbing Problems

Mr. Plumber in Indianapolis, Indiana wants homeowners to take control of their plumbing systems. With these DIY plumbing tips, you are able to fix minor problems on your own—and even some major ones! Give us a call today for more information!