Plumbing problems can cause a lot of stress and panic especially if you don’t know how to handle them. A busted pipe can mean flooding; a bad drain means a backed-up sink or more serious sewer backups. Even worse is when these issues happen at night on the weekend when most plumbers are unavailable! But there’s no need to panic! There are many ways to fix common plumbing problems without calling a plumber provided you are willing to be patient, work slowly and follow the advice given here. In fact, even if its midnight on a Friday some of these solutions will still work for you!
What tools do I need?
You’ll find several of these tips require access to a wrench or channel lock pliers while others will need a plunger or plumbers snake. You probably already have these tools available to you at home, but if not they are very inexpensive and readily available in most hardware stores (or ask your landlord for them).
This article will show you how to fix common plumbing problems!
Fixing Common Plumbing Problems without a Plumber
Problem: Clogged Toilet Repair
The first step is the remove the lid of the tank and flushes your toilet (the water level should be just below the overflow tube in the back of the tank). If you’ve flushed it once then repeat this process until no more water goes down. Now look into your toilet bowl and determine what kind of clog it has. Is there paper, toys, dirt, etc.?
In this case, there was a shit ton of paper towels. If your clog is composed of paper or regular trash then the solution is simple: grab a bucket and some gloves and scoop everything out by hand. You can use a plunger to help break up the pile but be careful not to splash back at yourself when you pull it out. For toys, glass cups, hair ties, sponges or other objects that cannot be dispose of simply take them back upstairs with you after cleaning. If your clog is composed of fat or feces… well… let’s just say you might want to reconsider how much weight you lose for your next home cleanse party.
If the clog is composing of feces or fat then you’ll want to use a drain snake/plumbers snake to remove it. This tool is insert into the drainpipe and slowly turned around until whatever is causing your blockage gets in its metal coils. You can find these at hardware stores pretty easily but you probably already have one in your home that looks like the picture below:
Pro Tip #1:
If you’re blocking causes slimy buildup on the inside of your toilet bowl then try adding lots of boiling hot water before using the snake. It helps melt away any existing slime that your plumber’s snake might otherwise get stuck in.
If the clog is a little too far down in your drain pipe then use a plunger to remove it! The basic principle behind using a plunger is that it makes everything inside of the toilet bowl water go rock hard and then pushes it into the line, dislodging whatever might be causing an obstruction. To do this you need to add dish soap (about 2 tablespoons) under the running water so that when you plunge it makes bubbles. Next, slowly push the plunger onto the surface of your newly soap-up water until you feel the air being force out from around its seal. Repeat 3-4 times slowly moving from one end of the bowl to another before finally plunging in a circular motion in the middle of the bowl. If you’ve done it correctly then your clog should have disappeared.
Pro Tip #2:
If you have a double sink… well… not all hope is lost! Use a plunger on one side and the snaked on the other to push whatever might be blocking things out of your pipes! You can also use this tactic with multiple toilets as well. If they connect in the same line (say goodbye to communal bathrooms forever).
Problem: Low Water Pressure
At one point or another, we’ve all had low water pressure at some point, especially those who live in homes that are really old where the concrete around your pipes might be degrading due to rust or age. The thing to do when this happens is to check your water meter and see if there is any running water. If there’s no running water then you has got a problem with your internal piping, so call up a plumber or at least grab some tools and start turning off valves yourself.
If you’ve tried all of these suggestions and nothing has worked, don’t give up hope just yet! Try calling a plumber to do an internal inspection of your drains and see what the situation with your pipes is. Since most plumber charge by the hour or half-hour, they’re usually more than happy to send someone over to take a look at what’s going on without charging you for it. After all, we live in a day and age where none of us want to shovel our own shit anymore! For those of you who still struggle with clogs after taking this advice, I would like to offer my deepest condolences as well as try some home remedies such as using baking soda and vine.