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Plumbing DIY tips for homeowners

There are many plumbing problems homeowners can handle with a few do-it-yourself (DIY) tips from plumbing professionals. Common household tools — a wrench, pliers and a plunger, for example — will go a long way. In some circumstances, however, it is wise to call a professional.

Sluggish drains

An easy project for the plumbing DIY enthusiast is clearing a sluggish sink drain. The problem often can be corrected simply by cleaning out the drain. This is especially true for sinks that utilize a pop-up drain assembly. Pop-up drains are notorious for trapping hair and other debris in the drain assembly, slowing the flow of the water.

First, remove the drain pivot arm to release the drain. Remove the retaining clip from the pivot arm and clevis strap attached to the pop-up lever. Then unscrew the retaining nut on the back of the drainpipe to release the pop-up drain. Pull the pop-up drain up from the sink and remove any debris.

Professional plumbers should snake tougher blockages, such as those common with toilets and main drain lines, to avoid damage and to clear the lines properly.

Minor leaks

Repair minor leaks before they cause serious damage to cabinets and flooring. The most common areas that develop leaks are underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks. They can often be resolved by simply tightening a water supply line or P-trap drain assembly with an adjustable wrench or pliers. For locating leaks, one great plumbing DIY tip is to place newspaper or cardboard under the sink and wait for wet spots to appear on the paper. Then check the fittings or pipes directly above the wet spots.

Some leaks are better left to the professionals. Hire a licensed plumber to repair copper, PEX tubing, leaking slabs, leaks in hard-to-reach places and any leaks you’re just not sure about.

Toilet tips

Keeping your toilet in top working condition conserves water and saves you money. Verify the toilet tank is not wasting water by placing drops of food coloring into the toilet tank. If the tank is leaking, the food coloring will appear in the toilet bowl within an hour.

These are just a few DIY tips homeowners can employ to maintain their home’s plumbing. When larger issues arise, do not hesitate to call a professional plumber. Some plumbing problems, such as leaking pipes and drains, can cause extensive damage to your home when ignored.