What First-Time Homeowners Should Know About Plumbing

What First-Time Homeowners Should Know About Plumbing

Our home improvement expert says first-time homebuyers can save a lot of time, money and headaches if they know these simple tips!

So you’re a first-time homeowner? A little unsure about what to do when it comes to plumbing? We’re here to help! 

How to fix a running toilet

Does your toilet sound like it’s constantly running or refilling? This kind of sound can occur intermittently or as frequent as every minute and usually means your toilet is losing water. If you are experiencing a running toilet, you may have an internal/external leak or an issue with your flapper. Follow these simple steps towards finding a solution!  

Test if your flapper is leaking by marking the water level of your tank with a pencil. 

Turn your water supply off. Wait for a minimum of 25 minutes. If your water level drops below the pencil mark, you have a leak in your tank. 

Leave the water off for a couple hours and see where the water level drops to. 

Possible Solutions 

If the water level drops to the flapper, your flapper is leaking and needs to be replaced 

If it drops to a point on your overflow tube or your tank drain completely, your flush valve needs to be replaced 

If your tank is not leaking and your toilet is constantly running or water is rising into flush valve overflow tube, your fill valve is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced or serviced 

Tip: Before replacing damaged parts, shut off the water to your toilet by locating the valve in the wall behind it & turning it clockwise. Flush the toilet & remove the part; then take it with you to the store to ensure you buy an exact match. The sound of running water is now a thing of the past — and you’ll have the lower water bill to prove it!

How to clean hair out of a shower drain

No matter how hard you try to avoid it, hair is inevitably going to end up down your shower drain. Long hair, don’t care until you’re standing in a pool of water that just won’t drain. Or even worse, your shower drain begins backing up – talk about an icky mess. When this happens, here are a few tricks to try.

Turn to baking soda before you use harsh chemicals. White vinegar and boiling water are also other options when compared to Drano and Liquid Plumr, which can eat away at your pipes over time. 

If you have easy access to the drain, try to remove the blog by hand or with tweezers. It’s probably ideal to use gloves during this, so you avoid touching any of the clog with your bare hands. If this doesn’t get rid of the clog, you might want to try another method. 

A popular method for removing clogs is a plumbing snake. This trick tends to be one of the most successful at clearing your shower drain. 

You can’t avoid shedding, so you may want to consider brushing your hair before you shower or purchasing a shower drain hair catcher, that way you can prevent the hair from even going down the drain. 

How to unclog a drain
Watching what you put down your sink, toilet, and shower drain is a key way to avoid a clogged drain disaster. An accumulation of food, hair, soap, baby wipes, etc. can all cause a blockage. Tree roots may also bore their way through sewer lines in the right conditions. Sometimes, these things are unavoidable, but a conscious awareness of what goes into your plumbing system can stop a clogged drain in its tracks.

If you find yourself with a clogged drain, try these tips:

The Plunger Method

If you have a sink clog, place the plunger over the drain completely. Run the water for a second while placing the plunger on the drain to make sure you get a good seal. Begin to plunge in succession until you feel the sink unclog. You may have to repeat this cycle several times

Wire Clothes Hanger

The most common cause of a blocked shower drain is the buildup of hair (I’m talking to you, long-haired ladies). A quick and easy solution can usually be found right in your own closet. Straighten a wire hanger out, but make sure to leave the hooked end to grab the clump of hair. Once you remove as much as you can fish out, immediately run hot water down the drain to flush the rest. This method can also be used for stuck food in your sink.

Chemical Drain Cleaners

A run to your local grocery store can also do the trick when it comes to a clogged drain. Always follow exact directions when using chemicals to remove a blockage. This is not only for safety reasons, but also because different types of blocked drains require different solutions. A standing water blockage in a kitchen sink, for example, should be treated differently than a slow draining bath clog.

Remove the P-Trap

No tools are required to remove a clog under your sink as long as you know how to locate the P-trap. P-traps are required in homes to prevent sewer gas from leaking into your air, but they can also be perfect for accumulation of hair, small objects, or that piece of jewelry you can’t find.  Before removing, be sure to turn off the angle stops so no one else in the house can turn on the water and splash you. Place a bucket under the trap to catch water. Unscrew the two nuts carefully while holding the trap and let the water drain into the bucket. Remove the clog with a gloved hand and your blockage problem should be solved!

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