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Exploring DIY Plumbing Problems: When Should You Call in a Pro?

Water can be one of the most expensive and destructive forces in the world. You only have to look at the way the tides batter our coasts and cliffs. So, when there is a plumbing issue causing damage inside your home, you need to know whether you can fix the problem yourself or if you should call in a pro. So, here we’ll explore some of the common DIY plumbing problems and discuss when you should seek the help of an experienced plumbing professional. Slow, Dripping Faucets: A constant dripping sound is more than an annoyance when you’re trying to sleep; it is wasting a great deal of water and money. Even just one drip a second adds up to over 86,000 drips each day, so you’re paying for buckets of water to go straight down the drain. Steady drips are usually due to the washer inside the faucet needing to be replaced. Fortunately, this is quite a simple DIY task. You’ll need to turn off the water supply to the affected faucet and unscrew the handle. Check the washer and O ring for signs of damage and then replace the washer with a new part before you reassemble the faucet. If the drip continues after you’ve replaced the washer, you may have a loose part or broken plumbing fixture, so you may need to call in a professional to replace a broken plate or correct any underlying cause of the leaking faucet. Running Toilets: Running toilets are a common plumbing issue, but many people don’t realize how much water can be wasted. A running toilet is easy to spot as water continues to flow into the toilet bowl after you’ve flushed, but you may find that it is the noise that highlights a problem. You may be able to hear water trickling into the bowl when the house is quiet, so this can be another noise that keeps you up at night. Running toilets are typically caused by a problem with the lever inside the toilet tank. To correct this problem, you will need to remove the lid of your toilet tank. Once inside the tank, you ‘ll need to find the chain that has likely sunk to the bottom of your toilet tank. Reattach this chain to the lever attached to the toilet flush handle. If the chain has been damaged, you may need to replace it. Clogged Drains: Most of us have experienced the frustration of a clogged drain. At best, the water is likely to drain very slowly from your sink or fixture, but at worst, the water may start to back up and cause a smelly mess inside your home. However, before you reach for a chemical drain cleaner, think again. These products can be extremely harsh and may even cause damage to the pipe. Fortunately, many clogs can be cleared using natural alternatives such as baking soda and hot water. You can pour baking soda down the drain, and you’ll see it fizzing as it works to clear the clot. You can then flush the drain with hot water. Unfortunately, if the clog is too large or is too deep inside the pipe, you may need to call in expert help. While it is possible to buy your own drain snake, unless you have some experience using a snake, you could cause more damage to your pipes. Professional plumbers have augers and drain snakes to quickly clear any clogs from your drains. Trickling Shower Heads: If your shower head sprays in crazy directions every time you want to bathe, it is likely to be due to a build up of scale on the spray plate and showerhead. Just unscrew the showerhead and spray plate and leave them to soak in a descaling solution for approximately 30 minutes. You can then rinse the components and reassemble the showerhead. Gnarled Garbage Disposals: We ask a lot of our garbage disposals, so it can be very disconcerting when they suddenly come to a grinding halt. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to get them going. Firstly, try pushing the reset button at the base of your disposal, but if this doesn’t work, you’ll need to manually turn your disposal using an Allen key to dislodge any clogs. If the disposal is still not working, it’s time to call in a pro. Malfunctioning Water Heaters: This is one area that should be left firmly in the hands of a professional. If your water heater is leaking, emitting a strange odor or making odd sounds, you need to call your local plumber. A malfunctioning water heater can be both a health and a safety hazard, so your plumber will need to check your heater for any underlying problems. Sump Pump Failures: A sump pump provides the first line of defense against high water table problems that occur in heavy rains or snowstorms. If your sump pump fails, your home could be flooded and suffer costly water damage. A sump pump requires maintenance and servicing to ensure that it continues to function properly, so it is worth calling in a plumber to have yours checked, even if it hasn’t shown signs of failure. A Burst Pipe: Burst pipes are more common when there is an extreme change in temperature, but they can also occur due to damage caused during home improvement work. This can lead to hundreds of gallons of water rushing into your home. If you see any water running down the walls or from the ceiling, you need to shut off your mains water valve immediately and call in a plumber to find the source of the problem. A Clogged Sewer Line: The main sewer line is one of the most crucial parts of your home plumbing. It carries wastewater away from your property, so when the line becomes clogged, it can cause major problems. This plumbing issue is another one that should be left to the professionals. An experienced plumber has the expertise and tools to trace the clog and correct the problem with the minimal amount of disruption to your yard. By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.