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12 Secrets Your Plumber Isn't Telling You

12 Secrets Your Plumber Isn't Telling You

It may seem counter-intuitive for a plumbing company to give homeowners secret tips that will help them AVOID calling a plumber out to the house, but sometimes there are simple fixes that homeowners can quickly and easily do themselves. Quite frankly, there is no need to pull the wool over the eyes.  For better or for worse, at one point or another most plumbing systems will require major repairs or upgrades.

So let's take a look here at 12 little plumbing mishaps you can take care of yourself.

1. My faucet flow is not what it used to be.

Have you checked your aerator? More often than not the screen that is there to collect gunk in your water supply has done just that, collected gunk. Many aerators come off by hand, and if not with the simple twist of a wrench (slide cardboard into the teeth of your wrench to avoid scratching your fixture). Wash the screen off and replace. Now go out to lunch with the money you saved!

2. The dishwasher doesn't work like it used to.

Often times all an underperforming dishwasher needs is to run a cycle with vinegar or rust remover to get minerals and deposits out of the jets and other working parts. Be sure to consult your owner's manual before running any cleansing product through your machine.

3. A penny saved is a penny earned.

One of the top homeowner's insurance claims is the damage caused by a burst washing machine hose. Nip this potential hazard in the bud and install stainless steel hoses. They're not that expensive and can save you thousands of dollars in water damage depending on the location of your laundry.

4. No drain cleaner in the toilet!

This is a big no-no…if you can't get your toilet pipes to clear with a plunger then call for help before doing damage to your pipes! And sewer pipes are not the type of pipes you want to break.

5. Don't be "that" guy.

Want to minimize damage in the event of a major plumbing problem? Make sure that everyone in the family knows where the main water shut-off valve is. Getting the water shut off early can mean the difference between a simple DIY fix and a contractor's dream.

"This is such a no-brainer," says Tom Pollard. "But you'd be surprised how many times we have to find it for ourselves when we come out to do a plumbing repair. While you're at it, show everyone in the house where the shut off valves are for every sink and toilet. It's just smart to have the whole family educated."

6. I dropped my ring down the sink, call the plumber!

While most plumbers would be happy to come charge you an hour's labor for a 2 minute job, all you've got to do here is get a bucket, set the bucket under your P-trap, and remove the clean-out. Nine times out of ten your ring, along with some other "goodies" will fall safely into the bucket.

7. Don't use the kitchen tongs.

For a clogged shower drain, buy a cheap set of kitchen tongs from the dollar store and get to pulling! Keep these "hair-raising" tongs with the plunger, not the pots and pans, though! You can also use a Zip-it drain cleaning tool. Most hardware stores sell these plastic tools that look like a long long white cable tie with teeth. Do wear rubber gloves when you do this - it's a gunky job!

8. Don't run. Turn the valve, silly.

Every toilet has a shut-off valve connected to hose coming out of the bottom of the tank. If your toilet is about to overflow, turn the valve to the right to shut-er-down instead of panicking and calling the plumber. Once the water is shut off you can generally plunge your way to safety without having to get the fishing net out for scooping. Remember: right tight to turn it off. Righty-tighty?

9. Don't believe everything you read.

Flushable baby wipes are not flushable. Don't flush them. In fact, don't flush ANYTHING that doesn't break down as quickly as toilet paper. You can do a simple test on any product that says it is flushable. Take a sheet and put it in a bucket of water. Come back in 1 minute and try to break it apart. If it doesn't completely disintegrate, then it is not flushable. Perhaps it will break down at the sewage treatment plant, but not before it clogs your pipes for one of those situations that you DO have to call a professional.

10. Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle.

Always having to jiggle the toilet handle to get the water to shut off? It is probably your flap valve. A new one costs about $4 at Home Depot and takes minutes to replace, usually with no tools. We charge more. Do this yourself.

11. Don't hang anything on the exposed pipes in your basement.

Hey, look, an extra clothes rack! Don't hang anything on your pipes unless you want to help pay for private school for your plumber's kids! .

12. The right tool for the job.

When replacing an old toilet seat with rusty bolts, use a hacksaw instead of a wrench. If the wrench slips and you crack the toilet you will be calling us for a much more expensive fix (installing a new toilet), but a hacksaw blade will cut right through the bolt.



About the Author:


 M.-J. Taylor

M.-J. Taylor loves writing - whether it's about real estate, home improvement or plumbing - researching and providing helpful information is her goal.