Plumbing 101 – Essential Tips for DIY Maintenance and Repairs

No matter the issue – from leaks and clogged drains to toilet overflows – knowing the basics of home plumbing can save both time and money. With clear explanations that enable homeowners to handle repairs themselves without professional services being needed. This guide makes repairs straightforward.

Learn the difference between the two types of plumbing in your house: one brings clean water in while the other removes waste water. Furthermore, learn to locate your main shut-off valve should an emergency arise.

1. Check Water Pressure

Just like maintaining the oil in your vehicle, assessing water pressure in your home can prevent major issues in the future. Low pressure may result in trickling showerheads and faucets while too much can damage pipe connections leading to blowouts in flex lines (connecting machines like washing machines, dishwashers and ice makers) which could flood the room if overloaded with too much water pressure.

Purchase a pressure gauge at a hardware store and connect it to an outdoor spigot near where the main water line enters your home. Be sure to shut off all appliances using water, including sinks and showerheads (if applicable), sprinkler systems (if applicable), etc. then read your meter and record its readings.

2. Turn Off the Water

Knowledge of how to switch off your water during plumbing repairs is essential if you want to prevent costly damage if an unexpected event such as a burst pipe or flood occurs.

Typically, the main water valve can be found in either the basement or mechanical room near your water meter (if applicable). Apartment buildings and townhomes may include multiple control valves to regulate how water enters individual units.

If you are working on a kitchen or bathroom project, make sure you turn off the water supply to any fixture by turning its valve clockwise – this will also flush out any air from your pipes.

3. Unclog Drains

Clogged drains can be an immense source of frustration. Before calling an expert plumber, take a look at these DIY techniques first.

First, remove the drain stopper and look down into the pipe to see if there are any obstructions – food particles or hair can clogs may be visible.

If that doesn’t do it, try boiling a pot of water and pouring it down your drain – this should help break up grease and other solids that have collected in there. Otherwise, an auger (which involves running metal cable down into your drain) or snake may help too – either way make sure that before trying either option that the water supply valve is switched off first!

4. Replace Leaky Pipes

If you discover a leaky pipe, it’s imperative that immediate action are taken. Even small leaks can lead to significant water damage and create the ideal conditions for mildew or mold growth.

Your first line of defense against flooding in any area is shutting off the main water source valve; many homes also contain multiple fixtures with individual shut-off valves for their individual fixtures.

Once the water has been turned off, you can drain and prepare to replace your pipes using repair products designed specifically for their material and type. Also ensure all other areas needing work are also switched off at this time.

5. Test Water Heaters

Assure the water heater in your home is functioning effectively.

If your hot water isn’t as warm as expected, testing these components with a multimeter may reveal where the problem lies.

First, disconnect the power to your water heater by switching off its circuit breaker in your main breaker box – often found in either your garage or basement.

Once the lower access panel has been removed, move aside any insulation. Loosen one of the heating element screws and touch your multimeter probes directly onto it (the needle should indicate activity). Finally, repeat this test for both thermostats.

6. Schedule Regular Inspections

Maintaining an efficient plumbing system ensures its efficiency and longevity, as well as helping prevent disruptions to everyday life. Homeowners and DIYers must understand how their system operates so they can perform essential maintenance tasks like detecting leaks and clogs themselves.

Know when to rely on professionals for more complex jobs. For instance, jobs that involve main water lines or sewage pipes should typically be left to professionals to avoid extensive and expensive damage. Regular inspections can help detect issues early so they can be addressed immediately – saving on water bills, property damages costs and related expenses.

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