7 tips on the basics of plumbing

It is a universal fact that there is no one who knows everything.

We all lack knowledge in some way. This should not, however, stop us from wanting to learn. Household repairs or mechanical repairs have been stereotypically male for a long time. However, in this day and age, everyone can benefit from cross-learning. Everyone with a kitchen can learn how to cook, and everyone with a toilet can learn to unclog. These necessary life skills prove themselves invaluable, especially to homeowners.

Here are seven tips to help you overcome the basic plumbing conundrum:

Don’t be afraid to get dirty, but prepare for the worst

Given the ‘business’ we do with toilets, it is hard to separate our feelings about waste and proper toilet maintenance. Since we use bathrooms and other plumbing features frequently, we need to be more attuned to their needs. Equip yourself with tools that can help you address problems head-on without any hesitation. Have a pair of rubber gloves, a decent-sized bucket/container, plunger, toilet snake/ auger, pipe cleaners, and cleaning solutions on hand. Save old newspapers or scrap paper in a bin, in case you need to line the bathroom floor. Being adequately equipped means less time dawdling and more time fixing the problem.

Learn how to disconnect the water

Even if you are not a homeowner, learning how to disconnect the water in case of emergencies is useful. If you want to replace any part of the toilet, it is best to disconnect it from the water. There is usually a knob behind the toilet bowl, trying to trace possible entries of water. It should be accessible enough for you to adjust without any tools necessary (though models may vary). If you are a tenant, consult your landlord about emergency access to your utilities, it could help you in the future.  It is also best to ask about what cases justify disconnecting your water. Connections to the main pipeline are typically located outside and are appropriately labelled. Turn them off when dealing with leaks and other problems that may cause water damage. This additional step will prevent floods from occurring.

Know your water pressure

Water pressure from the main lines varies depending on your area. Be aware of your pressure range because it can affect how you go about your house, hot water, and home warranties. Conventional, condensing, and system boilers work fine in a home with low water pressure since you have an expansion tank and a hot water cylinder. Homes with combi boilers might suffer from low water pressure. If your water pressure runs high, it could affect the efficiency of your plumbing and heating system. Have a gauge on hand and check if it is within the 40-60 psi range. Anything lower or higher requires a professional plumber like PlumbingForce to come in and adjust.

Close your toilet flapper in the event of an overflow

When you flush your toilet, and you notice that the waste is not going down, do not attempt to flush again. You will contribute to the overflow, and it could spill out of the toilet bowl. No one wants to deal with that mess. Lift the toilet tank’s lid and press down on the toilet flapper. It is the rubber stopper that lifts and allows water to go down when you flush. If the toilet flapper still allows water to go through, you may need to replace it.

Replace toilet features when they don’t work the same way

It is easy to spot when your toilet begins to fail, try to jump ahead of the curve and replace parts when necessary. Replace your toilet flapper every couple of years. They come in different models, depending on your toilet. You can bring the model you previously had to compare when you are at the hardware store. Every replacement comes with instructions. You can also consult videos on Youtube for a closer step-by-step process. Replacing your flapper is relatively cheap and could save you from high water bills given the amount that leaks out.

Avoid corrosives when dealing with a blocked toilet

Over the counter drain cleaners are made to breakdown possible blockages that prevent your pipes from doing their job. From toilets to sinks, you will notice the draining time increasing after each use. Avoid using drain cleaners and other chemicals for this job. While they are powerful, it presents a mixed bag. It could be overkill for your problem, or do nothing for the blockage. If it does nothing, you are left with a bowl or sink full of chemicals that would make your clean up job trickier than it has to be. Dish detergent or baking soda and vinegar are great DIY drain cleaners. To increase effectiveness, mix with a little hot water. Be careful with the temperature. If the hot water runs too high, it could damage the porcelain in your toilet or sink. You can douse the drain frequently until it runs as it did before.

Learn how to unclog your toilet

No matter your diet or how many people live in your house, a clogged toilet is a reality we all have to face at some point. Have a plugger (the ball or one with the extra rubber flap) or auger/ toilet snake on hand. Warm your plungers before use to remove any stiffness and try to create a vacuum in your toilet bowl when you press. Push and pull the plunger at different intensities to work out the blockage. Remove the plunger from time to time to check on your progress. For your toilet snake, work it through the drain and around the u-bend. Twist it around and try to get a feel of the clog. As much as possible, retrieve the clog instead of working it further down the pipes.

Now that you know the basics, all those plumbing problems are a thing of the past. If these tips don’t do the trick, consult a professional plumber. It could be an issue that you cannot solve, trying to power your way through might do more harm than good. Assess the problem early and act.

The sooner your plumbing problems are solved, the less water damage, scattered mess, and odour build-up you’ll experience.

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