6 Small Plumbing Tasks That You Can Manage Yourself at Home
Plumbing is a job best left to professionals, but not all plumbers are created equal. They can be trained in different areas, some more specialized than others. The good news is that there’s a lot you can do on your own to prevent or manage common plumbing issues at home. Here are six small tasks that you might want to consider taking on yourself next time you have a plumbing problem:
1. Unclog a Toilet
According to IBIS World, in the US, as of 2022, 565,295 individuals are working as plumbers. Despite this number, many are not available on time when the problem strikes, and it may cost you a lot. Thus, if you’re experiencing a drain clog, for example, don’t panic.
There are several ways to fix it yourself. But first, you must find the source of the clog and try cleaning it. It can be as simple as removing hair or debris from your sink’s drain or toilet. If this doesn’t work, try using a plunger repeatedly until the clog is dislodged. I
f you have tried these methods and cannot remove the clog, try using an auger or snake. Finally, you can remove any obstructions blocking your drain pipes from working properly.
2. Install a Refrigerator Water Line
If your refrigerator is older, the water line that connects to the back of the appliance may have eroded over time. If this happens, you’ll notice that there’s no longer any pressure in the line when you turn on a faucet. It can lead to a slow drain and even flooding if your refrigerator fills up with water and overflows onto your floor.
Fixing it can be costly, but self-installation could help you and is not all that difficult to implement. Self-installation of the line can result in labor savings of several hundred dollars. You’ll need basic tools like pliers, an adjustable wrench, and a screwdriver to fix this problem.
For safety reasons, you should also wear gloves to protect yourself from sharp edges on copper tubing and rubber boots. You can follow these instructions when installing your refrigerator water line yourself:
Step 01: Disconnect The Water Supply:
Turn off the water supply for the line you are connected to. Turn off the water shutoff valve before the intended connecting point to stop the water flow. You might need to turn off the main water valve if the specific line you are working on lacks a shutoff.
Step 02: Drill A Hole In The Floor After Measuring:
If you’ve already bought a refrigerator water line or a complete kit, you will know the required water line size. Now that the water line needs to be run through, it’s time to drill a hole in the floor. If you wish to install a refrigerator water line, measure the space and mark it on the floor.
Once your location has been indicated, use a slow-speed drill that is big enough for your water line. Drill through the floor until your water line can fit through the hole you have created.
Step 03: On An Adjacent Cold Water Pipe, Install An Ice Maker Valve:
To splice into your water line, you will require a tee fitting. First, you need a quick connect push fitting that will avoid any crimping, gluing, or soldering. The ice maker valve should now be in the tee. Later, you should follow step 4 after closing the valve, turning on the water, and looking for leaks.
Step 04: Connect The Water Supply To Your Refrigerator:
Connecting the refrigerator to the water supply is the next step. Your water line should be connected to the ice maker valve at one end. The other end of the line should be placed in a bucket.
Next, release the valve a little bit to let the air out of the line until water fills the bucket. Next, reverse the water valve and attach one end to the inlet fitting on your refrigerator. Next, open the ice maker valve, and inspect the refrigerator water line for leakage.
Step 05: Check The Water Line:
Once your water line has been placed, it’s crucial to ensure everything functions as intended. Testing your water line to ensure it’s operating properly is simple and efficient. If there are any leaks or installation issues, you should take care of them immediately before they grow into greater difficulties.
3. Fix a Leaky Toilet Valve
To fix a leaky toilet valve:
- You should first turn off the water supply to your toilet.
- Locate the shutoff valve and move it clockwise until it’s fully closed.
- Remove the screws holding down your tank lid, usually three or four, with a Phillips-head screwdriver.
- Lift on the lid and set it aside so you can access the inside of your tank.
Next, remove any bolts attaching the water supply line from underneath where it meets your water supply pipe from below. It will disconnect both parts from each other so you can take out just one piece at a time without having to deal with anything connected by them falling apart unexpectedly during installation.
Once this is done, lay everything out above an area where you don’t mind getting dirty, the floor is fine because you are fixing leaks.
4. Replace an Old Faucet
According to Report Linker, the US DIY home improvement market is anticipated to increase by $121.47 billion between 2022 and 2026, with a CAGR of 6.1% throughout the projected period. It proves how DIY is gaining popularity these days.
Therefore, replacing an old faucet is a great DIY project for you to start with. It’s not only easy to do, but you can save money by installing a new faucet yourself instead of hiring someone else. Here’s how:
- Use basic tools and supplies like pliers and pipe wrenches. You may also need an Allen wrench, which looks like a hexagon with six sides, or flathead screwdrivers. Make sure you get one that fits your faucet brand and style.
- Turn off the water supply at its source before beginning, either the main valve in your house or under-sink shutoff valves if there are any nearby.
- Unscrew all connections between the sink drain and faucet using adjustable pliers or other tools, such as channel locks. Remove any washers that might be on these connections as well. They’ll keep rust from forming when they touch metal surfaces when tightened together during installation later.
5. Insulate Your Pipes
Insulating your pipes is one of the quickest and easiest ways to save money on your energy bill. If you heat with natural gas, insulating the pipes in your home can help reduce the amount of gas needed to keep your house warm throughout the winter.
Insulating pipes are also good if you have an older furnace and want to prevent freezing in cold weather. With thermal insulation installed around the hot water system, there will be no need for additional heating during winter months and less chance of damage from freezing temperatures outside.
You can buy foam tubing designed specifically for insulating pipes at hardware stores or online, but often it’s cheaper just to use the same foam used in pillows or mattresses. The thicker it is, the better. Ensure that whatever material you choose for this task meets all applicable building codes before installation begins, and always wear protective gear like gloves.
6. Replace a Toilet Flapper
The culprit might be your flapper if you have a toilet starting to make funny noises. A flapper is a rubber disk that sits on top of the wax ring and closes off the hole in your toilet tank when it’s not in use. When you flush, water rushes up from the tank, which forces air out of the bowl through this opening from below. The flapper then seals itself over again so no more water can escape to your home until another flush occurs.
The EPA states that replacing an outdated toilet flapper could save over 10,000 gallons of water annually. Thus, when there’s an issue with this mechanism, it needs to be changed, or it can lead to all sorts of problems.
For example, if too much water leaks out during each flush, you may start getting clogged drains. It can get even worse if too little air gets sucked back into your pipes after each use, then every time someone uses their toilet, they could end up getting splashed by dirty indoor plumbing.
There are Some Plumbing Tasks That You Can Do Yourself at Home
Plumbing is a handy skill to have, whether you’re renting or owning your home. It’s not necessarily something you should try to do yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing.
But at the same time, it’s essential to know that plumbing maintenance and repair are tasks that can be done at home by those who know a little bit about basic plumbing. If this sounds interesting, you can save a lot of money with these six plumbing tasks and keep your home running smoothly.