This is Part Two of the common plumbing problems and solutions.
We last wrote about toilets that won’t stop running, low water pressure in the shower, dripping faucets, and slow-moving drains. Because most plumbing problems are minor, homeowners can resolve most plumbing issues without calling a plumber. Unfortunately, there are those plumbing headaches, those that should only be trusted to a plumbing professional.
#1 A clogged toilet leads our list of common plumbing problems.
In most cases, a clogged toilet is an easy fix. Every home should have a plunger and it should be the first tool of choice when clearing a toilet. Make sure your plunger is placed correctly and has good suction. This usually does the trick; but if it doesn’t, you may need to turn your efforts to a small closet toilet auger. You can purchase one at Home Depot for less than $10. A 25-foot handheld auger can fetch less than $30, and it’s a great tool to have around the house.
#2 A broken water heater is another common plumbing problem.
Unfortunately, I cannot recommend fixing your own water heater yourself. A water heater, whether gas or electric, should only be repaired by a plumbing professional. But there are some things the average do-it-yourselfer homeowner can do, such as light their pilot and perform annual maintenance, which requires draining the tank and removing sediment. A water heater has an 8 to 12 years life cycle. You can extend that by draining the water and sediment from your tank once a year.
#3 The sewer line is backing up.
If your sewer lines are backing up, then all drains in your home are either moving slowly or not at all. If the problem is isolated to one drain in your home, then the focus should be on clearing that one drain. We’ll assume that the problem is with your sewer main again. We then would have to recommend calling your plumbing expert. There is a practical side to clearing a sewer main because it would require renting a commercial plumber’s snake then going through the cleanout to reach the clog. In some cases, an industrial snake will not do the trick if tree roots are the cause of the problem.
#4 I have a jammed garbage disposal.
Unjamming your garbage disposal is something every homeowner or renter can accomplish. When purchased, every garbage disposal comes with a “jam buster wrench.” The problem is, it rarely if ever is used, so the tool gets lost or thrown out. It looks like a double-sided Allen wrench. You can purchase one at any home center for less than $8. I’ve seen them for as little as $2. Insert the wrench into the bottom of your disposal and move it back and forth – don’t be afraid to apply pressure. Once you can get the “jam buster wrench” to freely spin, then you have accomplished your goal. Next to the place where your wrench is a red overload protector button – make sure you reset it. Turn on the water and disposal if it jams. You might have to repeat the process.