Plumbing Tips for Beginning DIYers

Often plumbing problems produced by the volume of food, waste, and in particular, items disposed not suitable for pipes or flushing. Take note of these tools and tips to build some basic plumbing knowledge. You just may be able to avoid having to call a plumber.

  • Learn how your plumbing works. You’ll be better at diagnosing a problem and knowing if you can solve it yourself or need to call a professional.
  • Have the right tool on hand. A good plunger is the first tool to use for clogged toilets and sinks. A plunger will unplug most clogs, especially in the toilet, but there is a right way to use one: Make sure there is enough water in the sink or bowl to submerge the bottom. Compress the plunger slowly, then let it pop up. This draws the clog upward.
  • Keep a plumbing snake or auger. If the plunger isn’t doing the trick, another option to try is a snake. Made of bendable steel, you maneuver it into a drain to reach deep clogs. It usually has a crank handle that can sometimes be attached to a power drill.
  • Use caution with chemicals. Most drain-clearing chemicals are made for hair and grease that are fairly shallow in the pipes. But, they can do the trick on that slow-moving kitchen sink. Store them safely, wear goggles and gloves when you use them and avoid any action that could cause the chemicals to splash back at you. Follow the instructions on the bottle exactly to avoid damaging the pipes. Some drain clearing products can’t be used with septic systems or in toilets.
  • When to call a plumber. Some plumbing problems are caused by a bigger, more complex issue, like improper venting or corroded pipes. So if your DIY efforts aren’t working, let a professional handle it.