Fix A Plumbing Problem


Taking the time to learn to fix a plumbing problem like a simple clog can save you a lot of money.

These days, “Joe the Plumber” is charging big bucks, even for a simple fix it plumbing repair that you could have done on your own. One of the most common types of drain problems that you’ll encounter is clogged drains and toilets. But before you start shelling out any money for a professional, use the tips below to deal with those stubborn clogs yourself.

Simple Steps to Clearing Clogged Drains

Paying a professional plumber should be a last resort. So, here are some things that can help you do it yourself. If you see that your drain is beginning to move a little slower, this is sign that a clog is beginning to form (probably in a p-trap) and a simple chemical drain cleaner may do thejob. Try this first.

If that doesn’t work, try plunging the drain. Often this is all you need to do to fix a plumbing problem like this. Also, try straightening out a metal coat hanger and create a little hook on one end. Gently twist it around as you push it into the drain. When you feel a soft resistance pull it out slowly. Along with the wire, you’ll likely drag out hair, goo and who knows what. You can buy manufactured devices that do this at the hardware store. 

Another option for clearing out drain clogs is to use a hydraulic bladder. Simply connect to a hose and see if the clog can be blasted out. Be careful with this, as you can make a real mess! In some cases, you may need to use a plumbing snake (see tips below) at the fixture, or at a branch clean-out (image right). Note the square “nut”, for use with a crescent wrench, on the cap.

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Toilet Clogs:
How They Occur and How to Fix Them

Another area of your home where clogs often occur is in the toilet … probably one of the more common clogs you’ll deal with in your home. The good news is it’s generally pretty easy to fix any plumbing problem of this nature. But, without going into detail about the reason for the clog, these problems can be disastrous, as the toilet bowl may overflow, which will immediately get your attention.

A blockage in this drain means the waste water (and everything in it) isn’t leaving the bowl, as fresh water is being rapidly introduced. If a clog occurs here, avoid an overflow by lifting the float ball inside the tank to stop the incoming water (image right). Immediately turn off the water at the shut-off valve behind the tank. Usually a good quality plunger will clear a toilet clog.

Tips for Using a Plumbing Snake

One of the most common tools that can help you to fix a plumbing problem is a plumbing snake, often called an augur. See basic plumbing tools. This is a tool that has a long metal cable that’s flexible and tightly wound. At one end there is a crank and at the other end a corkscrew augur.

Using rubber gloves, push the cable end into the drain, turning the handle in a clockwise manner until you are able to feel and dislodge the clog. Keep a bucket on hand and some rags. Most of the time, you really can fix a plumbing problem like a clogged drain on your own. However, to fix aplumbing problem deep in your drain pipes, you may need a professional. But try all your options before you decide to call a drain clearing service or the more expensive plumber. Save your money for your next remodel.

… for any questions, concerns or problems on a remodeling or landscaping project, just click the carpenter’s pencil above. We’ll get back to you within 48 hours with solutions or advice on where to get solutions.
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Updated: November 10, 2015 — 11:12 pm

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