If you own a home, knowing how to fix plumbing issues will save you time, money, and the hassle of finding and hiring a plumber. Clogged drains are the most common plumbing problem in a home, and they’re a good place to start your DIY plumbing.
How to Fix a Clogged Toilet
If your toilet doesn’t flush, don’t panic. You probably have everything you need to fix it on hand already. First, try the plunger—but make sure you’re using it correctly. Don’t use too much force, and try to maintain a seal as you’re plunging. It’s also important to make sure the rubber part of the plunger is covered with water as you work. Plunging is often all it takes to dislodge whatever is clogging the toilet.
If the plunging doesn’t work, try pouring a cup of baking soda down the toilet, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Pour the vinegar very slowly, so it doesn’t fizz quickly and overflow. Once the fizzing has subsided, let it sit for a few minutes and pour a few cups of boiling water down the drain. Try flushing to see if it worked.
DIY Plumbing for a Clogged Drain
You’ve probably heard of a drain snake but may think it’s too complicated to use on your own. A drain snake is a helpful tool to have on hand when learning DIY plumbing. You can find these quarter-inch-thick metal tools at any hardware store.
Before you begin, wear protective gear, such as rubber gloves and goggles. Unclogging a drain can be messy, so have towels on hand. To unclog a sink or bathtub drain, remove the drain cover and insert the snake, moving it slowly down the drain by rotating the crank. You’ll know you’ve hit the clog when you feel resistance. Attempt to break up the clog using the snake, but if you can’t, it’s probably a solid object and may be able to be hooked and carefully pulled up the drain. After removing the clog, flush the drain with very hot (almost boiling) water.
Even the most seasoned homeowners may hesitate at the thought of DIY plumbing. It’s good to start with simple plumbing issues, like a clogged toilet or drain. After you build confidence, you might decide to tackle more complicated problems that are bound to come up. Many homeowners can learn to handle plumbing issues like repairing a dripping faucet, fixing a leaking toilet, and installing a new sink faucet.
As a homeowner, it’s important to know when to call a professional. Many plumbing issues are beyond the scope of DIY plumbing and are best left to a trained expert.