Don’t be afraid to ask for help
In an ideal world, no one would face a plumbing disaster alone. At the smallest indication of a problem, you would be in contact with a plumber and an imminent fix. Alternatively, in an ideal scenario, an amateur may rely on a wealth of experience in managing such problems independently. As it happens, many of us are not experts on all facets of a pipe. Moreover, you may find yourself in need of a resolution in an ungodly hour as a plumber is unavailable. Don’t be afraid to ask for DIY plumbing advice or, if not, help.
Be prepared for an issue
It would be nice for us to go through our days certain no plumbing issues will arise unanticipated. Unfortunately, this is often unrealistic. And while you shouldn’t go through your days in a state of constant paranoia, it is prudent for you to be aware of the possibility. The most important element of DIY plumbing is being prepared. Although awareness is essential, it does no good if you don’t act on it. Let’s begin by going through a few ways you can prepare.
Don’t let a problem go unaddressed
The first phase of DIY plumbing advice is anticipation. Bear in mind an otherwise minor incidence of damage can affect your home far more if left untended. Some leaks will get progressively worse if rusting ensues. Regularly monitor pipes under your sink as well as hoses on your washing machine. If you notice a crack, turn off the water flow and go about replacing it. To that end, be familiar with turning off water for any appliance and installation.
Furthermore, make a note of the water main and know how you turn it off. This is an essential backup provision if you are unable to shut down individual components. Walk around your home and observe walls and ceilings so you are sure a leak isn’t accumulating. Elevating valuables––especially non water resistant ones––is a good idea and even more necessary in a basement. If you do undergo a leak, your valuables will be removed from it.
Have a full complement of tools
The other side of knowing everything you should do is having the ability to do it. Consequently, you should keep all the tools you’ll need on hand. A five gallon bucket is good for holding tools or a tool caddy; it also serves as a way of catching liquid under a leak. Have a cup and a forced cup plunger for unclogging toilets and sinks, respectively. A toothbrush will be good for cleaning or removing congestion in a smaller area.
You’ll also need an adjustable/allen/basin/nut driver wrench, a drain snake, a collection of screwdrivers, duct and sealing tape, a hacksaw, paper towels and rags, channel-lock pliers, and protective eyewear. Using your tools and a budding familiarity with their application, address issues as they arise instead of leaving them for later. Whether you are confronted with a clog or a leaking pipe, the purpose of DIY repair is doing your best with what’s available.
Minimize the fallout
Sometimes you will be unable to fix the issue; you should persist in minimizing the fallout. Even if you know you’ll end up calling a plumber, you can save yourself additional expenses by reducing the extent of the ruin. That said, some problems are better left alone for a plumber. If you suspect anything you do will only make it worse, you shouldn’t do anything. In many cases, however, you do have the range for preempting further emergencies.
Ask a friend
For example, a small leak may require a bucket underneath and a bigger one may be best served by shutting off the valve for the damaged pipe. It is your job to facilitate the discerning wherewithal needed to confront such issues head on. If you are in a shared space, you should ask for assistance if you need it. In the event you’re dealing with a sink with a second drain, ask a friend or family member to cover one while you plunge the other in order to build up pressure.
The best DIY plumbing advice is common sense
Finally, use common sense. It’s one thing if your garbage disposal malfunctions, but don’t insert so much so fast you clog it yourself. Know your limitation and seek a professional before eclipsing it. The expense is far greater if you mess up on top of the existing dilemma. Know the limitation of your plumbing. Is it a new or old house? Are the pipes galvanized steel or copper? If a problem arises in one area, like a frozen pipe, assume it is happening elsewhere, too.
For advice on finding a great plumber, fixing a toilet clog, finding and fixing a leaky pipe, or preventing and fixing a kitchen sink clog, see the following links: