7 Plumbing Hacks Everyone Should Know

There are some plumbing issues that require professional plumbers, but there are also many you can fix yourself. With a few simple hacks and household products, you can save money and avoid unnecessary problems.

For instance, instead of buying expensive drain de-clogging chemicals, try a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Also, use a wet-dry vacuum to remove clogs from sinks and showers.

Turn off the Water

Plumbing issues can be scary and stressful, but you don’t need to call a plumber for every problem. With some basic maintenance and a few easy hacks, you can tackle most issues yourself and save a lot of money.

First things first, always turn off the water before you begin working on anything related to your pipes. This will protect you from any potential flooding or mold damage. The easiest way to do this is by finding the shut-off valve in your home and turning it off. This can usually be found in your basement near your water meter or where the main water line enters your house.

Next, you’ll want to clean your drains regularly to keep them clear of blockages. One simple solution is to boil some water and pour it down your drain. This will help to melt away any grease or soap scum. Another option is to put a cup of baking soda down your drain followed by a cup of vinegar. Leave this to sit for about an hour before flushing with hot water. This will also help to remove any mineral deposits from your drains and showerheads. You can also try using a hairspray or degreaser to tackle tougher buildups.

Clean Your Drains

Soap scum and grease can build up in your sink drains, leading to malodorous smells that are hard to get rid of. Fortunately, there are a few cleaning products that can keep your drains clean and smelling fresh.

Baking soda and vinegar are a cheap, non-toxic way to break down mineral deposits and clear out minor blockages. You can find them in your pantry or at the grocery store, and they are easy to use. Simply pour a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar down your drain, and let it fizz for about half an hour. Then, pour a pot of boiling water down the drain to rinse away any lingering gunk.

It’s also important to prevent food waste from going down your drains in the first place. Instead of putting things like egg shells, coffee grounds, and pasta down your garbage disposal, put them in the bin with your normal trash. It’s also a good idea to install drain strainers in your kitchen and bathroom to catch hair and other debris before it can cause blockages. You should also make sure to regularly wipe down your sinks with paper towels if you’re cooking with oils or butter, as these can lead to clogged drains.

Install Drain Strainers

A simple drain strainer can prevent clogs and save you from having to use harsh chemicals that can damage your pipes. Installing one is a quick DIY project that will pay off big time in the long run!

Using a hair strainer before showering or filling your tub will keep those pesky little hairs from going down the drain and clogging your pipes. You can also use these in kitchen sinks to catch larger food particles, which can help prevent clogs as well.

To make sure your drain works properly, it needs to be matched to the correct pipe size. This is why many plumbers, especially good ones, for instance, the Bakersfield plumbers,
will use a specific tool called a drain sizing gauge during the initial installation. This tool will ensure that the piping is all the same size and will not clog in the future.

Before installing a basket strainer, loosen the lock nut by turning it counterclockwise with pliers. If the basket strainer starts to turn in the sink opening, wedge a screwdriver under it to hold it steady. Once you have removed the nut, clean the rim around the sink hole and remove the old strainer. If the sink has a built-in friction ring and rubber basket, clean those as well. If not, you will need to use plumber’s putty to seal the new strainer to the sink.

Use a Plunger

The plunger is a plumber’s best friend, but many people don’t know how to use one properly. The correct technique can save you the frustration of a blocked drain or toilet and the expense of calling a professional.

Plunging works by creating a vacuum that helps dislodge clog material. It is important to start with a clean plunger, so be sure to rinse it thoroughly after each use and keep it in a well-ventilated area. It is also important to remove any other items that might block access to the clogged drain, such as a shower curtain or dishcloth.

Position the plunger over the drain opening and make sure the rubber rim is seated securely against the drain wall. Start by pushing down slowly, then quickly pulling up to create suction. This motion should be repeated several times.

If the clog is stubborn, try adding a bit of dish soap to help break up and dissolve any remaining food or grime. You may also want to try pouring hot water down the drain as you continue plunging. Be sure to wear gloves and clear any rugs or other items you don’t want to get wet during the process.

Solder Copper Pipe Fittings

Soldering is a useful skill for DIYers to master as it allows the securing of metal pipes together using a filler metal called solder. When performed correctly, a soldered pipe joint ensures a leak-free connection and safeguards against water damage.

The most important step in any soldering job is properly cleaning the copper before applying flux and solder. Getting dirty before the soldering process can result in a failed bond, so be sure to thoroughly clean all copper parts and fittings with a brush or nylon grit pad. Also, be careful not to apply too much flux, as excess product could cause pitting and corrosion.

Once the parts are clean, they can be heated to a temperature suitable for soldering. This should be a “goldilocks” temperature, where the pipes are hot enough to melt the solder, but not too hot that the flux burns off or that the copper becomes oxidized.

Be sure to use a propane torch that can get very hot, and wear a pair of welding gloves or welders’ gloves to protect your hands from the heat of the flame and metal shards. Lastly, remember to rinse the pipe with water after soldering to flush out the solder beads and prevent movement of the joint that would create a leak.

Close the Shut-Off Valve

wrench set on black background - 7 Plumbing Hacks Everyone Should Know

In the event of a plumbing emergency, you want to be able to shut off your home’s water supply as quickly as possible. This will help prevent serious property damage from occurring while you wait for a plumber to arrive. This is why it is important to know where your main shut off valve is located and how to use it.

In most NYC homes, you will find the main shut off valve in a utility space near where your water meter is located. The valve may be covered in dirt if it hasn’t been used for awhile, so you might have to take off the lid and use a brush to get it clean.

There are two main types of shut off valves in your home, a ball valve and a water gate valve. The ball valve has a handle that runs parallel to the pipe when it is open. To close this type of valve, simply turn the handle to the right. The water gate valve looks like a hose valve and works similarly. To shut off this type of valve, rotate the handle clockwise until it is perpendicular to the pipe. Having a good understanding of how to close each of these types of valves can save you time and hassle in the future.

Fix a Leak

Experiencing plumbing problems is a part of being a homeowner, but the problems don’t have to be major and costly. With a little bit of knowledge and know-how, homeowners can learn some simple hacks to keep their home’s pipes flowing properly.

One of the most common plumbing problems is a leaky pipe. A leaking pipe can lead to expensive damage and can be difficult to detect. However, there are a few quick fixes you can do until you get a plumber to take a look.

First, shut off your water supply to the area with a leaky pipe. Next, use a roll of pipe repair rubber tape to wrap around the leaky area. This tape helps to create a waterproof seal and is designed for jointing, splicing, and repairing cables, hoses, plastic, and metallic tubes.

If you don’t have any pipe repair tape on hand, you can also use a rubber gasket that fits around the broken section of pipe. These gaskets are designed to be a permanent solution and are available in a wide range of sizes. However, it’s important to note that these solutions won’t work on serious leaks or pipe bursts and will need a professional to fix.

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