5 plumbing procedures you can do at home

None of us wants to have to deal with a plumbing emergency, and you might be dreading having to call out a professional to deal with a certain problem in your property. 

The good news, though, is that not every plumbing procedure can only be done by an experienced engineer. It’s perfectly possible to carry out several minor plumbing procedures with the correct tools and commitment, some of which act as water-saving upgrades that can save you a lot of money in the long run. 

For some of the jobs we’ve listed below, however, you may not be entirely comfortable with DIY repairs, so it might still be the best course of action to call out a qualified plumber. We’ll leave that decision up to you, but feel free to contact us for advice on your particular issue.

Nevertheless, here is our guide outlining five plumbing procedures that can often be done at home by those without specialist expertise. 

Unclogging drains and plumbing systems

Whenever something enters a drainage system that shouldn’t have entered it, and partially or fully blocks it, clogged drains occur – items such as toilet paper, hair, grease, dirt, and other objects and materials enter the drain and block the pipe. 

Because solid objects can’t move through the piping system, they remain in place, making water flow past the blockage and down the pipes difficult.

To unclog your drain, use a plunger to clear away and eliminate the clog. A plunger will use air pressure to loosen the causes of the blockage. To generate suction, position the plunger entirely over the drain or toilet and move it in an up and down motion. If the clog is close enough, use pliers to capture the cluster and pull it out of the drain. If you are unable to remove the blockage with a plunger, chemical drain cleaners are an alternative.

If you require a drainage solution in the Essex area, look out for the best drainage engineer Grays has to offer, such as a professional from First Call Drainage UK. 

 Preventing issues with and fixing a running toilet 

When the inner workings of your toilet no longer function correctly, a constantly running toilet tends to become common. A running toilet gives the indication that the system is permitting water to pass through the flush valve flapper or that water is starting to flow into the overflow tube from the sump.

By dropping a small drop of dye into the tank, you can quickly determine where the surplus water is flowing into; if coloured water flows into the toilet bowl, the problem will be with the flapper or flush valve, whereas if water in the toilet bowl looks clear, the problem is with the fill valve or overflow tube system.

To fix a running toilet, push down the flapper with a stick when you notice the water running and pay any attention for it to stop: if it manages to stop, the flapper is not caulking properly and will need to be replaced. 

Flush the toilet and check for a leak in the fill valve, in addition to lifting up on the toilet float arm while the tank is filling to see if the water stops. Allow the tank to stop filling when the water level is about an inch below the top of the overflow pipe; if the leak persists, the valve must be replaced. If simple adjustments do not work, it may be necessary to replace all of the internal tank elements.

Fixing leaking pipes and taps 

Leaking taps are usually caused by damage to the washer which forms the seal on the tap. Whenever this happens, the washer loses its ability to seal tightly, enabling water to leak from the tap. The valve seat may also wear or cause corrosion as time goes on. If your pipes are leaking, it is most highly probable at a joint. 

This issue can be resolved by replacing the washer that was causing the leak. This is really a do-it-yourself project, but replacing the washer is easier with specialised tools, so you might just want to hire a plumber. The fixing of leaking pipes can be an easy or hard task. 

Resolving low water pressure

The water pressure in your residence will differ depending on a number of variables. Some of these will be caused by how your water is delivered and the distance it is required to travel, but some low-pressure problems may be caused by how you actually use your water.

If you suspect that build-up is the issue, begin by dealing with the aerators or showerheads that are causing the water pressure problems. To clean, unscrew the faucet tap’s end; and to slacken the build-up, drench the impeller in vinegar and leave overnight.

Tackling water line breaks

Frost is the most dangerous threat to water lines. If you already have a tiny leak in your water line, the frost can completely break it. A small crack is all that is required for a pipe to split. It is worthwhile to inspect your water line to ensure that all pipes are free of cracks. 

To solve a water line break, you will need to first locate the leak and then turn off the water. Locate your home’s water shut-off valve and turn it off. Open the metal water meter box, find the valve next to the meter on the house side, and turn it clockwise. 

Spread the tarp near the suspected leak location and drain water from the trench with a bucket. Then, replace the water line with similar materials to repair it. To test the repair, turn on the water at the meter by turning the nut counter-clockwise. Examine your repair under pressure to ensure it is secure. Then, fill in the trench with soil once you’re satisfied with the repair.

The B&Q website provides further information and advice on how you can deal with various plumbing issues in your home on a DIY basis. Alternatively, feel free to contact First Call Drainage UK for advice on your situation, which might necessitate calling out capable and experienced plumbing engineers like ours.