Home Improvement Calculators
View our Home Improvement Calculators
Related Plumbing ArticlesBasic Home Faucet Repair Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters Guide to Garbage Disposal Ratings How Your Home Plumbing System Works How to Choose a Plumbing Contractor
Mr. Rooter Plumbing
Local Plumbing & Drain Experts. Call Now for Fast, 24 Hour Service.phonephone | www.MrRooter.com
Local results for Plumbing Contractors
HyperLocal search for Plumbing Contractorswww.HelloLocal.com
Local results for Plumbing in your city
HyperLocal search for Plumbingwww.HelloMetro.com
Rheem Water Heaters
Affordable & efficient commercial & residential hot water solutions.phonephone | www.rheem.com | business profile
Local results for Plumbing Service in your city
HyperLocal search for Plumbing Servicewww.HelloLocal.com
Tips for Common Plumbing Problems
Plumbing may be the only delivery system in modern times that actually requires an unbroken network of pipes. While this offer tremendous convenience and a ready stream of water, it also means there are countless places where the system can break down. From leaky faucets to burst boilers, such problems tend to run the gamut in terms of price and safety. Thankfully, the vast majority of issues such as these can be repaired pretty easily if you understand some basics about home plumbing in general. Often all it takes to finish the job is a rudimentary toolkit and the will to learn.
Nearly every home plumbing system operates according to the same basic principles. If you can master the details of valves, fittings, washers and ring clamps, you should be able to address anything that arises with comparative ease. One of the most common mistakes made by enterprising homeowners is forgetting to perform their due diligence before the repairs begin, however, so do yourself a favor and cut off water supplies, create drainage conduits and protect nearby items from spraying water. Although the vast majority of home plumbing jobs do not involve water under significant pressure, acute events such as bursts and leaks can destroy the affected area.
Faucets are the most common source of headaches for homeowners, and with good reason. Although the technology has exited for over a century, most basic home faucets continue to be manufactured according to the individual whims of each company. That means few standardized protocols exist. You should be able to make progress simply by identifying which kind of faucet your home has, however. Of the four basic varieties – compression, cartridge, disc and ball – compression faucets continue to dominate. Leaks are more common in this configuration as well, for reasons that will presently become clear.
Start by unscrewing the handle and removing the escutcheon using a screwdriver. Beware: if your plumbing fixture is made of chrome or ceramic, you want to exercise caution to ensure you don’t scratch an expensive finish in the process! Most likely you can pull out the stem now fairly easily, though there is such a thing as a handle puller for unusually old or corroded plumbing. Now that you can get at the washer, try prying it off the stem to see if it’s still intact. This is by far the most common source of trouble for compression faucets, and usually an inexpensive replacement will do the trick. If the washer seems fine, the problem may also lie in your faucet seat – any mineral buildup can lead to a broken seal, rendering your faucet leaky and unreliable.
Similar steps can be applied to the other major faucet types without much variation. The notable exception is disc faucets, which are often self-contained and thus will not easily yield to exploration. If you suspect a disk may be cracked or chipped, you may be able to use a good flashlight and some food coloring to expose the fissures. In the case of broken discs, it’s wisest to simply replace the entire assembly and get something made of hardier materials for the future.
Of course plumbing problems may extend well beyond your home’s faucets. Although many such issues will require a plumber to head into the walls, you may be able to fix some of the simpler problems that arise. One of the most frequent is the running toilet, a mainstay of home ownership since time immemorial. Usually this problem can be fixed simply by replacing a faulty flapper or ball assembly, though some cases will require you to clean mineral deposits from the tank itself. Vinegar, boiling water and baking soda usually does the trick.
Finally, if your pipes themselves have become frozen, you may be able to save them before a rupture occurs. If the pipes are hiding in the walls, you may simply be able to use a space heater and some patience. For exposed external pipes, a simple hair dryer will usually do the trick provided the area is clear of dangerous pooling water. If a burst has spawned you have a stubborn leak that is attacking the struts and beams or your home’s foundation, however, it is time to call the professionals without delay.