Monday, February 24th, 2020

Seven simple plumbing tasks every homeowner can perform

When it comes to your home’s plumbing, it’s important to know how to complete some simple tasks that will saving you time and money in the future. It’s also a good idea to have a solid understanding of how your home’s plumbing works and where important things like your water and sewer lines are located. 

From knowing how to change a shower head (it’s easy!), to testing your home’s water supply, having a few plumbing tricks under your belt is a smart idea. Below are seven ways you can keep your home’s plumbing in top shape. 

How to check for leaks
Leaks, even minor ones, can cause significant damage to your home. Whether you’re goal is to fix the leak on your own or have a professional plumber take care of it, it’s important to know how to determine if you’ve got a leak someplace.  

If you notice water spots on your wall or ceiling, have a wet area on your carpet or a water stain on your hardwood flooring, take a look at your water meter to see if you’re using more water than normal. 

Do this by turning off all water sources in your home, noting the water usage number shown on the meter at that time. Then, look at it again after 20 minutes. If the number is higher at that point, you have a leak. This is a good time to call a plumber. We can identify the source of the leak, and fix it. 

How to adjust your home’s water pressure
If your home’s water comes from a municipal water supply, you can adjust your water pressure pretty easily. To change it, all you have to do is locate the regulator and test the pressure. Usually, you can find the regulator near your home’s cut-off valve. After you locate it, take off the cover and turn the bolt either clockwise make it higher or counterclockwise to turn it lower.  

How to change the shower head
We recommend changing your shower head every few years. Of course, depending on your needs and preferences, you could change the shower head earlier. To change the shower head, simply use pliers to remove the old one, and then replace it with the new shower head according to the directions that should accompany it. That’s really all there is to it, but remember to have pliers on hand before you set out to change the shower head.  

How to unclog a toilet
First, you’re going to want to make sure you have a plunger that fits around the hole at the bottom of the toilet. And you’ll need to have enough water in the toilet bowl to cover the top of the rubber part of the plunger. If there isn’t, add water from a sink. 

When you place the plunger around the hole, make sure it’s sealed. You’ll need that vacuum seal to create the kind of suction required to remove the clog. Then, press firmly on the handle a few times before releasing the plunger. When you hear the toilet try to flush, you know you’ve removed the clog or are close to it. If not, keep plunging. 

And how to unclog the sink
Avoid using a plunger at first when trying to unclog your sink. Instead, try a natural drain opener solution. If there’s still no luck, you can try an over-the-counter drain cleaner. 

If the sink is still clogged or is really slow to drain, you likely have something blocking the part of the pipe that’s curved like the letter “U.” For this, you’ll need to shut off the water to the sink, place a bucket underneath the pipe, and unscrew it to find the source of the clog. 

How to test your home’s water quality
We recommend testing your water supply every year. You can find water testing kits at most home improvement stores for around $50, however, more expensive tests are available that check for several different water contaminants which may be putting the health of you and your family at risk. 

If you’re purchasing a new home, we recommend investing in a water testing kit that will give you a comprehensive report on the quality of your new home’s water. If it’s a routine, yearly check, you’ll probably be fine with a simple water testing kit.  

Once you collect a small sample of water, you send it to the laboratory address provided in your kit, and within about two weeks (average), you’ll learn the quality of your home’s water including nitrate and heavy metal levels, and if there are dangerous minerals that need to be filtered out. 

Know where your sewer lines are – and your water lines, too
It’s always helpful to know where your home’s sewer and water lines are located, in the event of a major backup or other plumbing problem. In order to know for sure where your lines are located, simply contact your municipal water and sewer departments. They should be able to show you exactly where to find your sewer and water lines. 

A little plumbing knowledge goes a long way. Of course, we are always here to help you with all your plumbing needs, too.