clog in a sink

10 DIY Tricks for Those Little Plumbing Inconveniences

For those of us who don’t like taking plumbing issues into our own hands, we are left clueless when faced with minor plumbing issues. But, did you know you could save hundreds of dollars by taking care of leaky pipes and dripping faucets yourself? To ensure you’re all set, it’s important that you know a few plumbing tips and tricks. When something goes wrong, you’ll have a bigger picture before you get your tools out.

(However we always advise to turn to a professional before trying to fix things yourself. You might end up causing more harm than good 🙂 So depending on your location, turn to:

But if you do want to save some money and do the work yourself, here are a few plumbing tricks for general mishaps.

#1 Remove clogs without harmful chemicals


clog in a sink

Using chemicals to unclog a drain causes more problems than a positive outcome. We all know the warning signs – the sink takes longer to drain, unpleasant odors, and more. One trick is to insert a drain snake to pull back the clogged culprit. However, if you’re not comfortable using it in your toilet, you may want to use a plunger that is specifically designed for clearing toilets and sinks. Alternatively, use a wet/dry vacuum to suck the clog.

#2 Forget thread sealing compounds, use plumber’s tape

Thread sealing compounds (pipe dope) can drip. For DIY plumbing repairs, it’s important that you use a plumber’s tape. It’s designed to coat the threads together to create a tighter seal. You may want to wrap it 4-6 times for best results. While this may seem a lot, it will create a heavy seal. Secondly, don’t fray the tape as it will become useless when attaching some of the components. To prevent this, always wrap the tape in a clockwise direction. Avoid using it when threading PVC pipes because they will require cement treatment.

#3 Use heat to loosen rusted plumbing fixtures

In case you have threaded connections that are stuck together, you can use heat to loosen them. This will work even if the pipes are old. Sometimes, hardened fittings make it impossible to budge with brute strength. Be sure to use a heat-resistant material to protect the walls. While it may seem obvious, you should never use heat on gas and electric pipes. A small propane torch will loosen a solidified pipe dope.

#4 Don’t tighten supply lines too much

Tightening supply lines too much can end up ruining the rubber seals. Only tighten the lines just past the notch, otherwise, the threads may crack. Most pipes are built only for hand tight use. Just like any other household screw, tightening too much will make the leak develop. This may also make the pipes to crack in extreme temperatures.

#5 Cut the stubborn parts when plumbing

Mineral deposits lock the metal parts together making it almost impossible to disconnect them. Another cause of a stuck joint is the contraction and expansion when the pipes heat up. Using a hammer will only cause more damage. The easiest way to disconnect these parts is to use a rotary tool or a hacksaw. To start with, use the hacksaw to make a groove. Next, drag the blade in a light pressure and push back and forth. To ensure you have a smooth joining surface, sand or file the ends.

#6 Don’t be afraid to replace the faucet and the inside parts of your toilet

The main cause of leaks around the toilet tank is worn flappers. When they are not working as expected, it might be difficult to stop the incoming water. If the leak is coming from tank bolts you may have to remove the toilet tank from the bowl. To determine which toilet valve is causing the leak, pay attention to the overflow tube. And if the water level is below the top of the tube, you should replace the flush valve.

At first glance, the inside parts may look intimidating but they should not scare you. Also, the pipes under the sink can cause a lot of mess if you make a mistake. If your sink has a leakage, get the parts and give it a go. You can also replace the faucets with a new cartridge.

#7 Check your showerhead for issues


When you have a dripping showerhead, it means the threads are not connecting tightly. The easiest way to fix the problem is to apply a plumber’s tape by warping in a clockwise direction. In case the showerhead is clogged, you should remove it and soak in warm water. You can also use a brush to remove the mineral deposits that could be causing the blockages. By using a few tools, you can change the showerhead in just a few minutes. Make sure all the knobs are turned off and secured tightly. When tightening the showerhead, be sure not to over tighten it.

#8 Using Caulk vs. Putty

Whether it’s installing a faucet or repairing a pipe, you need to get the job done right the first time. If you’re looking for a good sealant for sink drains you can use a plumber’s putty. A putty seal will adhere to many surfaces giving a flexible seal. However, it should not be used on surfaces exposed to direct sunlight. Thankfully, you can take a more modern approach by using a more waterproof material like silicone caulk. It’s trusted and gives top performance.

#9 Never reuse old the supply lines

While reusing an old supply line may save you some bucks, it could be a disaster in waiting. Plastic lines tend to degrade with time so you should avoid reusing them. Instead, replace the old lines with new ones encased with stainless steel. You may also want to replace the already braided lines. Note – your faucets, bathtubs, and toilets are part of your main water line.

#10 Use thread sealant

thread sealant

A thread sealant is designed to fill in the gaps between the pipes. It comes in handy even if the threads don’t form a seal. While most people use tape sealants instead of pipe dopes, there is no indication that they work better. You can use pipe dope on ground fittings, rubber seals, and ground fittings. Needless to say, you should take note of the thickness to be used. What makes pipe dope stack up from other sealants is the fact that it’s easy to use and inexpensive. Plus, it hardens quickly making a strong seal.

Final thoughts

There is nothing worse than facing a plumbing disaster because you ignored small leaks. If you’ve been reluctant to tackle those small plumbing projects, just follow the above plumbing tricks and take issues in your hands. For plumbing problems you cannot solve, you should contact a professional plumber. Of course, knowing how your plumbing works will save you a lot of money in the long-run.

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