5 Plumbing Tricks That Could Save Your Sanity
A plumbing disaster is a great way to ruin a perfectly good day. If you fix them yourself it is frustrating and time-consuming. If you hire someone it is frustrating, time-consuming, and expensive.
There are always going to be times when you have no choice but to call a plumber to help you out. Sometimes you just need to put in some elbow grease and gather your patience. Either way, it is good to have at least some idea of how to fix basic plumbing problems. Plumbing Maintenance is always a good idea.
Having a few simple tricks to help you keep going in a plumbing crisis could be the difference between you breaking something and you getting the job done. Plumbing isn’t easy and it requires skill as well as knowledge of how things work. Here are a few tips to keep you sane while you try to fix your own plumbing problems.
1. Extra Blade
If you are cutting a copper wire then it is likely you are using a pipe cutter. Pipe cutters have a small, sharp wheel that helps you cut through the copper much easier and quicker than most tools allow. It is also shaped properly to help you get the best angle on your pipe.
Like any relatively sharp object, the cutting wheel is a bit thin. That means it is liable to break if you get the wrong angle or push it too hard. A broken cutting wheel could lead to the end of you working on a project and a lot of frustration.
Luckily, most pipe cutters have an extra cutting wheel. Unscrew the knob on your pipe cutter and you should see a spare cutting wheel tucked in there just for such occasions. An extra cutting wheel could make the difference between you finishing a project and you being incredibly frustrated.
2. Shop Vacuum
This tip is especially helpful if you have young children, but is really just good information for everyone to have. If you have a hard object dropped in your toilet then you should use a wet/dry shop vacuum to suck it out. It is the best way to get an object out of your toilet without making the situation worse or really gross.
Trying to plunge a hard object like a toy or watch out of your toilet will likely end in the object getting more deeply lodged in your toilet. The pressure and suction of a plunger do not help get objects out a toilet so much as it forces them down. Sticking your hand in a toilet is gross and upsetting.
A wet/dry shop vacuum lets you suck the object right out of the water with basically no work on your part. There is no mess and no need for you to stick your hand into a toilet to retrieve something. You might never want to use that object again but at least it is no longer stuck in your toilet.
3. Shut-Off Valves
If you do not know the location of your shut-off valves, now would be the time to go find them. One of the first things you should do in a new home is to find out how to shut off and turn on your plumbing and electricity. It is a good way to help yourself in case of an emergency as well as tell you where to direct plumbers.
If a pipe bursts in your home and you start to flood, knowing where your shut-off valve is could save you from a lot of damage. Knowing how to turn your water off can also keep your pipes from freezing when you are away in the winter or help you fix an issue without getting sprayed in the face. Knowing how to control the things in your home is a good idea for any homeowner.
Being able to get to your shut-off valve quickly could save you money in property damage as well as keep you from wandering around in the case of you needing to fix something. You should know where the controls for your home are so that you can turn things off and on as the situation warrants. Go find your shut-off valves now if you do not know where they are.
4. Not Too Tight
Something that happens quite often when people do their own plumbing is fitting connections being tightened way too much. A fitting connection should only be as tight as you can get it without forcing it. A good saying to help you know when to stop is “hand-tight is just right”.
Over tightening a fitting connection can result in stripped screws. That can lead to an unsecured fitting and end in a leak or a burst fitting. Another possible problem is broken bolts.
Getting the connection too tight can break bolts that you need and result in an issue over-time. You probably won’t notice an issue right away but a hidden plumbing issue is often more damaging than the one you notice immediately. Make sure you are gentle with your connections and do not tighten them too much.
5. Run Water
Before you can call any plumbing project done you need to run water through your pipes. If you fixed some fittings or a leak then you need to run water to make sure there are no new leaks and everything is fit together properly. If you fixed a clod then you need to make sure you actually fixed the problem and didn’t just push it farther down.
Running hot water through a recently cleared drain can help flush out the last of the crud that was stuck in your sink. It can also clear out any possible leftover drain cleaner. Running water for a couple of minutes is also the best way to make sure the blockage is truly cleared.
There is no way to make sure your sink is no longer leaking except to run water down the fixed pipes. Every correct plumbing project ends with running water. Make sure you test your finished work and run some water down your newly fixed plumbing.
There is a lot of frustration in fixing things yourself. If you mess it up you could end up spending more money than you wanted to save by doing the work alone. If you are doing plumbing work make sure you have some idea of what you are doing.
Know that your tools are made to help you and might have a few surprises to help you out. Use the right tool to get something out of your pipes. A plunger is not always the answer, but a lot of the time it is; so make sure to invest in a good plunger.
Make sure you know how to shut off your water and that you never over-tighten connections. Most importantly, always end a plumbing job with running water. Keeping these tips in mind will help you stay sain while you fix your plumbing.