Of all the disasters your house might encounter, water damage caused by plumbing failure is among the most destructive. Many minor plumbing issues could be considered DIY plumbing repairs and can be repaired easily by any average person, but some require professional plumbers.
Here are some basic DIY plumbing repairs you can tackle yourself.
This is a very common when it comes to DIY plumbing repairs. The steady drip-drip-drip of a leaking faucet is not only an annoyance, it’s also a costly waste of treated water. The most common cause of this issue is worn washers inside your faucet set. Shut off the water line leading to the faucet in question, then unscrew the handle. Inside most units you will find a washer and/or an O-ring. Inspect these for damage and replace with identical new parts (available at any good hardware store) as necessary. If the drip continues after reassembly, you may have broken or loose components that require attention from a Comfort Systems Professional Service Member, especially if your faucet set has a single lever instead of the more traditional twin-knob design.
A properly working toilet mechanism allows its tank to refill after each flush, then shuts off the flow of water. As these parts wear with age, it is common for the system to fail to completely shut off that water, which then trickles constantly into the bowl and down the drain. If your toilet keeps running after the tank is refilled, open the tank lid and peer inside. You may find that the chain which attaches the flush handle to the rubber stopper at the bottom of the tank has come loose; if so, merely reattach the chain to the handle and make sure the stopper seats properly in its drain hole. Let the tank fill and give it a couple test flushes to make sure it is operating correctly. If you still have an issue, it may be time to replace the whole flushing mechanism. This is a job that can be accomplished by most anyone who is comfortable using basic hand tools, as hardware stores carry numerous replacement kits with easy-to-understand instructions. If you are not up to the task of replacing plumbing components on your own, Comfort Systems can do it for you quickly and easily.
Your first instinct when faced with a slow or stopped-up drain may be to pour chemical drain cleaner into it — but that may not be the best course of action. First try a more gentle treatment, such as the baking soda and salt solution. In some cases clogs may be located too deep in your system and/or may be too large to dissolve with harsh chemical solvents.
Spotty shower head
Remember when your shower head was new, and sprayed you with a uniform, potent blast of water from every one of its nozzles? With time those individual water channels can become clogged with lime and other hard water deposits, preventing water from traveling through, or spraying it in all directions. If your shower head isn’t performing as it once did, remove it and soak it in a commercially-available descaling solution. If you follow directions and reinstall it correctly, it should work like new again. In some cases, your old shower head unit may need replacement due to corrosion or internal damage.
Bound garbage disposal
Garbage disposals are robust machines, engineered and built for long lives of hard service. But none are exempt from occasionally becoming bound up when grinding up certain foods, especially fibrous vegetable material. If your disposal suddenly stops, you may find that its internal circuit breaker has tripped; simply press the reset button on the bottom of the unit and try again. If that doesn’t do the trick, insert a hex wrench into the slot in the center of the underside and manually rotate the disposal mechanism to free it up. If your disposal is leaking or still won’t work, call in a professional.
Here are some plumbing emergencies that commonly are not DIY plumbing repairs.
Malfunctioning water heater
Definitely not considered when it comes to DIY plumbing repairs. Water heaters are built for years of service-free operation, but when they fail, they can be extremely dangerous pieces of equipment. If your water heater leaks, smells or makes unusual sounds, you should call a professional immediately. Your Comfort System Team are experts when it comes to gas, electric and even tankless water heaters. Call us at the first sign of trouble with your water heater.
Dead sump pump
The sump pump in your house is an absolutely vital appliance that too often goes overlooked until it fails. Any time there is excessive precipitation there is the risk that the water table might infiltrate your foundation, flooding your basement and causing expensive damage. Maintaining your sump pump by keeping its well free of obstructions and doing any factory-recommended lubrication on a regular basis goes a long way toward preventing unit failure. Should yours show signs of malfunction, call Comfort Systems for an inspection.
Extremely cold weather can lead to broken pipes, which in turn lead to flooded homes! Know where your house’s main water shutoff valve is, so in case of a pipe rupture, you can shut it off before your home suffers too much damage — then call a professional plumber.
Clogged sewer lines
The main pipe that channels waste water from your house to the sewer is the most vital section of plumbing on your property. A clog, root infiltration or collapse is not a do-it-yourself problem and requires expert attention. At Comfort Systems we have the tools to diagnose and fix your sewer line issue quickly and at reasonable cost.
The ability to troubleshoot DIY plumbing repairs is worth cultivating, but be sure you know what you are getting into before attempting any sort of home repair on your own. It’s better to play it safe and call in a professional when dealing with potentially dangerous components of your home’s plumbing system.