Three Basic Plumbing Tricks Every Homeowner Should Know

5 February 2015
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While you should always leave serious issues for the professionals, every homeowner should be educated on different aspects of their home. You will spend a lot of time and money calling plumbers if you don't know how to do simple things around your home. Here are three easy plumbing repair tricks that every homeowner should know.

Turn off your water supply

The first thing that you need to know how to do is turn off your main water supply. Many different repairs will require you to turn it off, so this is first and foremost. If you are turning off the water supply to your entire home, you need to locate the main pipe where your water enters your home.

In most cases, your valve will be on the pipe inside of the home. If you live in an area where it warm all year long, such as Southern California, it may be outside. The main water supply valve with mostly likely have a round, red handle. Turn it all of the way to the right and it will turn off the water to your home.

If you are replacing a faucet or part in your toilet, you will only need to shut off the water supply to those specific fixtures. Look under or behind your fixture and you will see a spot where the drainpipe is leading out and the water is coming in. There will be a small valve on top of the incoming water pipe. Turn the valve to clockwise and the water will turn off.

Fix a leaky faucet

Before you call a plumber because your faucet is leaking, give it a shot yourself first. A leaking faucet is more often than not, very simple to fix yourself. Before you begin, make sure you turn that valve to cut off the water to the fixture you're working on. Make sure you clog the drain as well. It's something people don't always think of, and it can cause your small parts to go flying down the drain.

How you fix your faucet depends on which type of you. Most standard faucets are compression faucets. These are the ones with the two separate handles you turn left or right to turn the water off and on. These handles have an o-ring between the stem and the washer that wears out over time. When it wears down, the water won't completely turn off the way that it should.

All you have to do is remove the very top of the handle to expose the screw. Remove the screw and pull off the handle. All of the parts will come out with it. These include the packing nut, stem, o-ring, and washer. Replace the old o-ring with a new one and put the handle right back on the way that it was. Screw in the screw so everything stays put and put the handle cap back on top.

Fix a running toilet

If your toilet is running constantly, that may be easy to ignore. However, it is causing more problems than you think. When your toilet is running, it can waste an enormous amount of water. In fact, expelling more than 4,000 gallons of water in a day is not uncommon. That not only wastes resources, it raises your water bill tremendously. If you are on a septic, it can also flood out your septic and cause it to back up.

Fixing a running toilet is easier than you think. The cause is usually from the rubber stopper at the bottom becoming warped. It will no longer lay down flat and the water will leak out slowly, which is why your toilet is running. The stopper is on a small hook and slides right off. All you have to do is slide it off and slide the new one on. Viola. Your toilet is no longer running and costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars in wasted water.

While someone with no plumbing experience probably shouldn't be replacing pipes, there is no reason why you should have to call a plumber for simple fixes. Turning off your water and replacing simple parts only takes a couple of minutes. Almost anyone can do it.