DIY Plumbing Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

I have had my fair share of household ‘mishaps.’ Strangely, a big part of those mishaps have had to do with water. Now I love getting in the pool,playing on the slip and slide with the kids, or even walking through a sprinkler, but I do not however, enjoy getting wet inside my own house (unless I’m in the shower of course). I have had my upstairs tub leak, our toilet leak, our kitchen sink leak, our hot water heater go out, our pipes burst, the ice maker on the fridge broke, and most recently, our sewage drain back up. I would not wish any of these things on my worst enemy – it’s an awful mess to clean up, and water (and especially sewer – eww!) ruins a lot of things.

So as most of you know my husband was an over the road truck driver, which meant that 99% of these situations that occurred I was on my own. Now mind you, I consider myself a pretty smart woman – but any type of household DIY fixer-upper, put-together type of household duties – well, I suck at them. Like when the hot water heater broke and I had NO IDEA how to turn the water main off (thanks again Dad for answering your phone at midnight!) I didn’t know how to do a lot of things that I should have known how to do. That every home owner (or home renter) should know how to do – not only to save money, but to be pro-active when it comes to further damages (and more headaches).

How to Shut Off the Water
See I’ve been there, done that. I could of not only saved gallons upon gallons of water by knowing this, but I could of prevented hours and hours of work! To turn off the water in your house, locate the main water shut off valve. Now the tricky part is they aren’t all in the same place! There isn’t a universal place for this valve and trust me it’s better to find out before you NEED to know, then AFTER.
Some are located in the water meter which are sometimes in the ground near the street with a concrete cover, some are the outside of the house, some on inside the house – somewhere. Mine was in the basement, behind a faux cabinet door.

Turning Off a Water Heater   
There is a tw0-step process to turning off a water heater (and again, try this before an actual emergency so you know) FIRST Turn off gas or electric to the water heater – on gas hot water heaters turn the gas supply know on the water heater to the OFF position, and for the electric water heaters, flip the circuit breaker or remove the fuse. SECONDLY turn off the water to the water heater to turn it off turn the shutoff valve on the cold water supply pipe going into the hot water heater clockwise.

Fixing a Running Toilet 
A running toilet is usually caused by a faulty stop valve – or sometimes a floater switch. The stop valve/floater switch is a large bulb in the back of the toilet that stops the flow of fresh water into the toilet once the tank is full. Sometimes jiggling the handle can stop a problem temporarily, you can fix it permanently by replacing it. It’s a pretty easy process – even I could do it!

Fix/Replace a Leaky Faucet 

  1. Turn off the water to the faucet at the shutoff valve.
  2. Remove the decorative cap on the faucet handle.
  3. Remove the screw under the cover in the faucet handle.
  4. Pull the faucet handle off to expose the valve.
  5. Use a deep socket wrench to remove the valve from the faucet.
  6. Remove the screw holding the washer on the end of the valve.
  7. Replace the washer with a new one of the same size.
  8. Apply plumber’s tape to the valve threads.
  9. Screw the valve back in the faucet.
  10. Tighten the valve with the wrench, being careful not to over tighten it.
  11. Put the handle and screw back on the valve.
  12. Press the decorative cover back on the end of the handle.
  13. Turn the shutoff valve on, and check the faucet for leaks.

Fix a Clogged Drain
The most common plumbing problem ever – the clogged drain. Now the thing about a clogged drain is you can do some things to prevent it. Like using a hair catcher in the shower (this has been a life saver for us!) avoid putting grease or food down your kitchen drain, and if you have a garbage disposal, know what is allowed and what isn’t.

IF you do have a problem with clogged drains, the best product to use is Roto-Rooter. I always keep the Roto-Rooter Hair Clog Removal on hand just in case. (3 girls – 1 bathroom, so you can imagine we use this quite often!)

It’s also good to have some sort of drain snake in case there is a big clog of hair and ick that you can get out yourself (and then put the roto-rooter gel in).

With these tips you should be able to take care of your basic plumbing needs, and hopefully save yourself some money and heart ache in the mean time.

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