Here's What You Should Do Before Calling a Plumber

Plumber performs maintenance on a toilet tank - Mr. Plumber by Metzler & Hallam

Do you know what to do before calling a plumber for help in your Indianapolis area home? With the right knowledge of plumbing troubleshooting, you have the potential to save yourself some time and money!

Minor plumbing issues often go unchecked by homeowners for long periods before calling a plumber. In that time, the issues lead to even bigger problems that do require professional help – you may have been able to stop them yourself by fixing them when they were small. Some minor plumbing issues are very simple to fix on your own – try that first before calling a plumber.

Our Indianapolis plumbing pros have put together some potential solutions to common minor plumbing problems around the house. We suggest that you give these fixes a shot before calling a plumber. Save time, prevent damage, and don’t get stuck paying the service and repair fee for a professional to do what you could have done yourself for easy fixes.

Before Calling a Plumber for a Running Toilet

A running toilet is a household issue that you should never ignore. Depending on the flow rate of the running toilet, this common plumbing issue has the potential to waste thousands of gallons of water over the course of just one day.

Once you hear a toilet running in your Indianapolis area home, get to work solving the problem right away to prevent water waste. Before calling a plumber for your running toilet, try these DIY steps that may solve the issue:

  • Toilets have a component called a flapper which opens and shuts to flush and to allow the toilet tank to refill with water. When the flapper doesn’t close and get a good seal, water continues to escape the tank, which creates that running and the sound you hear. Take the tank lid off and have a look at the flapper, which covers the connection between the tank and bowl. Make sure no debris like mineral deposits or rust have built up to inhibit the flapper’s seal. Check the flapper itself to ensure it’s not damaged.
  • The flapper is operated by the flush lever arm, which connects to the lever you push on the exterior of the toilet for a flush. It’s connected by a small chain. If this chain somehow gets kinked or caught upon other tank components, it doesn’t have enough slack to allow the flapper to fully close. 
  • Check the toilet’s fill tube. It’s the flexible pipe that connects to the fill valve and empties into the overflow. Make sure it is firmly connected on one end to the fill valve. At its other end, it should be open and directing water into the overflow.

 

If you are unable to solve a running toilet before calling a plumber, that’s ok! We are here to help. Our licensed plumbers arrive quickly to perform plumbing repairs. Save water in the meantime by shutting off the water supply to the running toilet. The shut-off valve that controls the toilet is usually positioned underneath or beside the tank on the wall.

 

Before Calling a Plumber Because Your Toilet Doesn’t Flush

No one wants to discover their toilet is unable to flush – especially after it’s just been used! If the toilet doesn’t flush at all, not that the toilet is clogged and is unable to flush waste through, try these troubleshooting steps to fix the issue:

  • The lever may be unable to trigger a flush because it is too loose or too tight. Remove the tank lid and locate the components where they come through to the tank’s interior – there will be a nut. You need to tighten or loosen this nut, depending on the issue at hand. Remember, toilet flush levers are often reverse-threaded, so turn the nut in the opposite direction from what you are used to if this is the case.
  • Another potential cause has to do with the flapper chain. If you pull the toilet lever and nothing happens, the chain is likely disconnected – either from the flapper, the flush lever arm, or it has broken. Remove the tank lid, reach in and reattach the chain – don’t worry, this water is clean!

 

Before Calling a Plumber for Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure in an Indianapolis home is often a sign of a serious issue somewhere within the plumbing system. Before calling a plumber, consider if this issue affects the whole home, or just one fixture. If it is isolated to just a fixture or two, the issue is probably with the fixture itself.

Before calling a plumber, try these do it yourself steps to see if the issue is easily resolved and good water pressure restored.

  • Aerators sit at the tip of many faucets and mix outcoming water with air. This helps you consume less water without sacrificing water volume. As water passes through, the aerator may collect minerals and sediment from your home’s water supply. This buildup clogs the aerator, which results in the low water pressure that bothers you. To clean the aerator, remove it and scrub it with vinegar or let it sit in a cup of vinegar. 
  • For showerheads and other fixtures if you do not want to remove the aerator, fill a small baggie halfway with vinegar. Place it over the fixture and secure with a rubber band. Allow it to sit for a few hours then remove. Flush warm water through the fixture to remove the vinegar as well as any loosened deposits.
  • The faucet’s sprayer diverter may also become clogged due to the same issues. These plumbing problems may be experienced more frequently in homes with harder water. To clean buildup out of the sprayer diverter, first disassemble the faucet. Pull out the faucet spot to provide access to the diverter, and pull it out with a pair of pliers. Clean it with vinegar and a brush, just like the aerator, and rinse. Place the diverter back into position and reassemble the faucet.

 

Before Calling a Plumber About a Slow Drain

Sinks, showers, and tubs that suffer from slow drainage are an inconvenience. Not to mention, standing stagnant water invites some foul problems into your home. Clogs are often the culprit behind slow drainage – if they are small or near the entrance of your drain, some plumbing troubleshooting helps you get rid of them.

  • The stopper in your tub or sink plugs up the reservoir for bathing, cleaning, and even good old-fashioned playing in water. The stopper may malfunction and prevent proper drainage in this fixture. To check the stopper, remove the assembly – for a tub, you need to unscrew the overflow plate to access this equipment. Clear off debris from the stopper assembly that are causing a clog. Also, inspect the assembly to ensure all components are not damaged – damage may be responsible for the stopper not fully opening. If you see damage, replace the assembly. If not, reinsert it and replace the overflow cover.
  • If you suspect a clog, start by pulling out any debris you are able to see at the drain’s entrance. A drain snake helps you reach down the pipe, capture, and pull out clogged material. A plunger helps you push minor clogs through the line for better drainage. A flush with baking soda, vinegar, and hot water also helps clear drain lines – do this, don’t use commercial drain cleaning solutions!

 

Before Calling a Plumber for a Stuck Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals become jammed for many reasons, such as something escaping down the drain that shouldn’t have been disposed this way. Jams prevent you from shredding other waste, lead to odors, and can even damage the disposal. Before calling a plumber, try this process to unjam your garbage disposal.

  • Turn off the power – we mean either unplug it or turn off the circuit breaker, don’t simply turn off its switch. This is critical for your safety whenever you work with a garbage disposal. Find the hex-shaped opening at the bottom of the garbage disposal under the sink. Twist it clockwise using the wrench included with your garbage disposal. This movement loosens debris from the flywheel to knock blockages free.

 

Before Calling a Plumber When Your Garbage Disposal Doesn’t Turn On

Garbage disposals can shut down if they overheat, and need some time to recover. They also need to be reset before they operate again, which leads some Indianapolis area homeowners to believe the unit is somehow broken. Before calling a plumber, try to reset your garbage disposal by following these instructions.

  • Turn the power switch off. Find the reset button on the garbage disposal below the sink. Press the reset button – it should stay in. If it doesn’t, try again in 10 or so minutes. Once the reset button stays depressed, turn on your cold water and run it into the disposal, and turn the disposal back on.

 

Before Calling a Plumber, Know Who to Call!

Don’t leave the fate of your plumbing system to just anyone! If you’ve tried these troubleshooting steps before calling a plumber, then call Mr. Plumber of Indianapolis for the professional service you need! Our licensed plumbers are available around the clock to assist you. Call today to schedule plumbing repair.

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