Plumbing problems can strike when you least expect it, and usually occur at the most inconvenient times. So, it’s important for you to be prepared and know what to do ahead of time, so you can reduce your risk of major damage to your home, and a hefty repair bill.
When our water heater went out, we had a water disaster. We considered doing the water heater installation ourselves to save some money, but then we realized it was connected to our gas line, and the danger that brought with it. The company we used literally saved our lives, because the previous owner had installed the broken water heater improperly, and had we disconnected the line, there could’ve been an explosion! It was worth every penny we paid him to fix it all!
The more preparation you can do in advance, the better your chances of reducing the damage. I believe there are 6 Plumbing Tips everyone should more or less know:
1. know How to turn off the water at the sink, toilet and water main
If you’re having a leak, it is critical that you know how to turn off the water to prevent further damage. Make sure that you not only know where it is, but that you’ve also tried to close the water off to see if you can physically manage to turn the water off.
Write the location on a piece of card and stick it somewhere where everyone in your household will be able to see it (noticeboard in the kitchen, for example).
2. know how to use Home made Liquid Drain Cleaner
Most of us use the kind you buy at the supermarket, but what do you do in an emergency or when you don’t have any handy?
I have safely used a mixture of 1/2 cup Baking Soda and 1/2 Cup Vinegar. It’s best to heat up (boil) the vinegar first. Pour the baking soda down the drain and then pour the hot vinegar over it. When you pour it in, it will fizz, which is how it’s clearing the pipes. When the fizzing stops, you need to pour hot water down the drain to flush it and ensure that the clog is completely gone. If it’s not, you may need the stronger shop bought chemicals, but hopefully, you have these two ingredients in your home already, and this might be a band-aid fix until you can get to the shop.
3. know how to stop running toilet water
This seems to be a problem with an older bathroom, but it can happen at any time. Not only that it’s inconvenient, but you’ll also run up a large water bill if you don’t fix it. Fortunately, this is one of the easier jobs to do.
The water running issue is usually caused by a flapper that has gone bad or doesn’t ‘suck up’ properly to the rest of the mechanism inside the toilet water cistern. Often this could be just a balance thing, so have a look inside and see whether the problem can’t be solved by simply re-tightening the system. If not, you can pick up a replacement part in any good DIY shop for less than £10 and it only takes a few minutes to replace.
4. Don’t use your toilet as a bin
If you want to avoid pipe blockages and costly drain repairs, make sure that you don’t use your toilet as a bin! This means don’t put anything like baby nappies, sanitary towels or face wipes don’t the toilet. Even if something is labelled as “flushable”, like baby wipes, don’t flush these down the toilet, as they can cause a blockage and it’s not very good for the environment either.
5. Know how to replace a faulty water tap
This might be a slightly advanced task, but I’ve done this many times and never had any problems. If your water tap is constantly leaking or dripping it might best to replace it as the internal system might be too old and unable to close off properly. We live in a hard water area, which means that no matter how much I try to prevent limescale, it builds up and it literary clogs up the inside of the water tab.
Make sure that you choose the correct size of the water tap (e.g. bathroom sink, bath or a kitchen sink) and that you have the right tools for the job, as you’ll need to tighten everything properly.
Close off the water at the mains before you start the job and expect that there is going to be a bit of water coming out of the pipes, so have some old towels ready. Untighten the old water tap first and then swap for the new one, making sure that you keep everything in exactly the same position, including any rubber bands. Tighten everything lightly first and then adjust it, but don’t overtighten. Switch the water mains back on and try the new tap carefully. Re-tighten if needed.
6. Keep the number for your plumber handy
This is a number that needs to be quickly accessible in the event of an emergency. Keep it on the kitchen noticeboard or fridge door.
Plumbing problems can escalate quickly, and if you already have debt or money management issues, this can exacerbate them. Taking a few precautionary measures now can help you avoid costly repairs later. No one wants to go further into debt over plumbing problems, that’s literally flushing money down the drain.