Common Bathroom Water Leaks, DIY plumbing Projects

DIY Plumbing Projects: Your Essential Guide to Plumbing Repairs

Plumbing issues can be a homeowner’s nightmare. From leaky faucets to clogged drains, even the smallest plumbing problem can quickly escalate into a major headache if not addressed promptly. However, hiring a professional plumber whenever an issue arises can be expensive and sometimes unnecessary. With the right knowledge and tools, most homeowners can tackle plumbing tasks successfully as do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. We’ll explore some essential DIY plumbing tips to help you become your own home plumbing expert, at least for all your small plumbing issues. We’ll address the most common minor tasks and what tools are needed to make the fixes. You don’t have to be a seasoned DIYer to take on average plumbing tasks throughout your home. However, every plumbing problem starts with the right tools.

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Three Areas for No Compromise: First, Know Yourself!

Before working on any area in your home, know yourself and your limits. The worst lies are the ones we tell ourselves. As a plumbing company, we’ve had to clean up some bad DIY plumbing projects. Every DIY should know its limitations, and remember, watching a DIY video on any plumbing project cannot take the place of years of experience and knowledge from a seasoned plumber. Another thing to remember is that some projects are worth a minor risk, while others are best left to a licensed plumbing contractor. For example, refrain from attempting to replace a water heater, garbage disposal, or clearing a sewer line. However, you can try replacing parts in your toilet, clearing a clogged drain, or replacing aerators. 

Second, Know Your Plumbing System 

Before diving into any DIY plumbing project, it’s crucial to have a basic understanding of your home’s plumbing system. Familiarize yourself with the location of shut-off valves, water meters, and major pipes. Those shut-off valves include the main valve to the house and the shut-off valves in your bathroom and kitchen. You should not only locate them but turn them on and off to make sure they are still working. Many of these faucets have been in the same position for many years. This could be your first plumbing DIY plumbing project. So, knowing where the shut-offs are located will save you time and frustration in a plumbing emergency.

Third, Invest in Quality Tools for your DIY Plumbing Project

Having the right tools can make all the difference when it comes to DIY plumbing projects. The tools you’ll need will depend on your DIY level of experience. However, every home should have basic tools, including an adjustable wrench, pliers, screwdrivers, plumber’s tape, vice grips, a handheld plumber snake, a water pressure gauge, WD-40, and a plunger. All these tools cost less than fifteen dollars, with the exception of the handheld plumber’s snake. A handheld plumber snake can be purchased for under twenty-five dollars at your local home center or online. These tools will come in handy for a wide range of plumbing tasks and will last you for years to come.

Plumber’s Snake

Fixing Leaky Faucets: 

Leaky faucets are annoying and can waste significant water over time. Luckily, fixing a leaky faucet is a relatively simple DIY plumbing project. Start by turning off the water supply to the faucet. Then, disassemble and inspect the faucet; in most cases, the problem is a worn-out O-ring. Replace any worn-out parts and reassemble the faucet. Don’t forget to use plumber’s tape to guarantee a watertight seal. We provided an excellent video for basic instructions. Another consideration is replacing the old aerator with a WaterSense-labeled one; this will save on water. Something to consider in some instances replacing the faucet may be more prudent if it’s an older faucet.

Water Conservation Matters so fix leaky faucets and other bathroom leaks

Unclogging Drains: 

Clogged drains are another common plumbing issue that homeowners often face. There are three ways to clear the average clogged drain.

  1. Use a plunger; it’s one of the simplest and best household tools. However, they are not all the same; every home should have a plunger for the toilet and one for sinks. Simply place the plunger over the drain and plunge vigorously until the clog is dislodged.
  2. Try using a plumber’s handheld snake. This tool works wonders on small, slow-moving bathtub drains.
  3. For slow-moving bathroom sink drains, you can purchase a plastic drain snake, also called a Zip-It or drain weasel. Any of these small plastic snakes can remove the hairball from the drain. However, the best solution is to remove the stopper from the drain and fish out the hairball using a small plastic snake or a metal coat hanger with a hook at the end, which will also do the trick. Then, clean the drain with a household cleaner and an old toothbrush. Cleaning the drain will remove the biofilm or black slime from your drain, which is the cause of the problem.  
  4. Lastly, check for plumbing leaks, especially if you see an unusual rise in your water bill.
  • Turn off the water in the home, and then open your water meter. 
  • The water meter has a spinning dial commonly called a flow indicator. It is usually a triangle or a round dial. If all the water in your home is off and the dial is still spinning, then you will have a water leak. 
  • You can take it a step further and turn off the water to your landscaping. If the flow indicator stops, then the leak is in your landscaping. 
Toilet Problems, How To Use a Plunger, Great DIY plumbing projects

Dealing with Running Toilets is the Perfect DIY Plumbing Project

A running toilet is not only annoying but can also waste a significant amount of water. Fortunately, fixing a running toilet is a relatively straightforward DIY plumbing project. Start by removing the toilet tank lid and inspecting the components inside. Often, a running toilet is caused by a faulty flapper. If you’re a novice DIY, this is the perfect task to start with. First, turn the water off to the toilet, then flush it and remove all the water in the tank. Then remove the old flapper and take it with you to your home center to match it. Bring it back and install the new one. Once installed, turn the toilet back on. You just saved yourself a service call from your local plumbing company, costing you less than ten bucks. 

Preventative Maintenance, An Ounce of Prevention is Better Than a Pound of Cure 

Prevention is key to avoiding plumbing issues in your home, especially if you live in an older home. Here are some good ideas that could save you from a major plumbing leak in the future.

  1. We talked above about our bathroom and kitchen shut-off valves. These valves stay in the open position for many years. When it’s time to shut them off, they tend to stick in place. Forcing them to close could cause them to start leaking. Apply WD40 on them and let them sit for an hour, then gradually move the handle back and forth until the shut-off valve moves freely. Oiling your shut-off valves and back and forth annually should be part of your annual maintenance.
  2. Remove the sediment from your water heater by flushing it annually. You can find videos online from your water heater manufacturer that will provide details on how to flush your water heater.
  3. Check your water pressure annually for newer homes and twice yearly for older homes. A water pressure gauge costs under ten dollars and takes only a few minutes to check. Fasten it to the closest outdoor spigot and turn it on full. The gauge will tell you the pounds per inch (psi) of water pressure. The water pressure should be set between 50-65 

Knowing When to Call a Professional 

While the average DIYer can tackle most plumbing tasks, there are some situations where it’s best to call in the professionals. If you’re dealing with a major plumbing issue, such as a burst pipe or sewer line backup, it’s important to seek professional help immediately. Attempting to fix these issues on your own could result in further damage and costly repairs down the line.

DIY and Save Time and Money

With the right knowledge and tools, the average DIY can tackle many plumbing tasks successfully. By following these essential DIY plumbing tips, you can save time and money while keeping your home’s plumbing system in top condition. However, it’s important to know your limits and when to call in the professionals for help. With a little practice and patience, you can become your own home plumbing expert and tackle any plumbing issue that comes your way.

Brandon and Family, Licensed plumbing contractor

Family Owned & Operated

My name is Brandon Mageno. I'm the founder, President, and CEO of Big B's Plumbing Company. As the founder, I never thought about being average or good. My passion for being the best plumbing company in Southern California has always been the same. Providing plumbing services to this great county is simply in my DNA. Nothing makes me happier than to see a satisfied customer. Learn More About Us

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I called Big B's Plumbing because I the hot water would not turn off in our master bathroom. I tried to turn the valve off under the sink and it broke off, so I had to shut off the main water to the house. It was noticeable the valves were original to the home. When I called, the rep stated that I would be informed about the service tech and their experience along with services offered "On The Spot". I was on a bit of a time crunch...
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Randy was very knowledgeable and professional. He helped us figure out what we could do with the space given for our bathroom with our remodel. He picked out perfect fixtures and the work he did was beautiful. The cleaned up properly when they were done and everything was handled in one day! I will be calling for Randy anytime we have any plumbing needs. Thank you for doing such a great job!
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