Most plumbing repairs seem like isolated events and often they are. When a toilet clogs and needs plunging or a pipe bursts and water starts pouring into the house, it doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem with the plumbing system at large. But most plumbing repairs can also be put into a few categories. Mentally noting which category your plumbing repairs generally fall under can be helpful in a couple ways. First, it can tell you if one of the aspects of your plumbing system might need a general assessment and overhaul. Second, it can help you hone your own ability to identify plumbing problems and develop the skill set to make repairs.
A repair to the drainage system is one of the most commonly needed and undertaken by the do it yourself homeowner. Most of us have commonly seen this in the form of a clogged or overflowing toilet. Clogged drains also happen in sinks, bathtubs, pools, and anywhere else that water flows into and then out of a house. Stop these problems before they start by putting screens over every drain to filter out solid objects like hairs that love to clog drains. Never flush anything down a toilet except for toilet paper, that includes sanitary napkins and paper towels.
Clogged drains can be fixed in a couple ways. The most popular and useful to a homeowner is the plunger. Most people have a plunger for their toilet, but it’s also important to have a small one that never goes in the toilet and can be used for sinks when they clog. A second option is the snake. Snakes are long tools that go deep into a pipe, unclogging blockages that are a long way down and may be too stuck to plunge. Snakes can damage pipes if not used properly and they are best left to a professional. A third way to go is a synthetic chemical like Drano, or a natural alternative that can burn its way through a clog in a pipe.
Other Types of Plumbing Repairs
Fixing a leak is another common type of plumbing repair. Plumbing can spring a leak anywhere inside or outside the home and cause an incredible amount of damage- ruining drywall, rotting wood, and getting into the basement. Plumbing leaks happen for a variety of reasons but are most often caused by a frozen pipe bursting, or a pipe that is very old simply wearing out. Preventative measures to stop leaks include putting special freeze prevention sleeves on pipes that could be subject to extreme winter cold, and documenting the age of pipes and preemptively replacing ones that are at risk of wearing out.
Depending on your level of comfort with plumbing and the location of the pipe, a leaking pipe can be a DIY or professional job. Replacing a PVC pipe in the yard is a good job for an amateur, but digging through the foundation to unearth a leaking pipe below the house is only a good idea for a professional plumber.
A fixture repair is the third type of plumbing repair. These are pieces like shower heads, faucets, and toilet hardware need work. Fixture problems can be prevented by following installation directions very closely. A missing washer in a key place can cause any plumbing fixture to spring a leak. Most of these repairs can be done by a homeowner, just make sure to properly assess why the repair is needed so you don’t repeat the same mistakes over again. If fixing a plumbing problem just isn’t your cup of tea, don’t sweat calling several local plumbing contractors who will be happy to take your money for even the smallest fix.