Plumbing Services

Plumbing Repair Tips You Can Do Yourself

Plumbing is a system that we often take for granted until something goes wrong. Luckily, most plumbing issues can be resolved with some basic DIY tips.

With these tips, homeowners can save money by fixing minor problems before they become major headaches. These tips also help prevent expensive water damage by allowing homeowners to spot developing issues early. If you need a plumber, click here at

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Clogged Drains

Clogged drains can be annoying, messy, and expensive to repair. They often happen when a household has too much garbage, paper waste, or food scraps. But a clog doesn’t just occur in the kitchen sink or bathtub – it can appear anywhere in the home’s long plumbing lines.

Unlike full-blown clogs that require professional intervention, many partial blockages respond well to DIY remedies. For example, a simple wire hanger can clear shallow drain clogs by catching around hair and gunk and pulling it up. To use this method, untwist a wire hanger and bend one end into a hook. Place the hook inside a clogged drain, and jiggle it up and down to break apart or pull up the build-up.

Baking soda and vinegar can also dislodge clogs. Pour a cup of baking soda into a drain, followed by a cup of white distilled vinegar. The two chemicals react to neutralize each other — a fizzing reaction that can sometimes break up and dissolve the clog. Allow the mixture to sit for an hour, then flush it with hot water. For more serious clogs, you can try using a wire snake or chemical drain cleaner. Alternatively, you can rent an electric power auger, which is a long snake with a special hook at the end. This tool can punch through even the toughest clogs. But make sure to follow all safety precautions for the equipment, as it can be dangerous when used improperly.

Clogged Toilets

A clogged toilet can be a huge nuisance. Not only does it prevent waste from passing through, but it can also lead to sewer backup and horrible odors throughout your home. While clogs are not completely preventable, you can take steps to reduce your chances of them occurring.

First, make sure that the water level in your toilet is not at or near the rim. This is especially important if you plan to use the baking soda and vinegar method, as it can cause a fizzy reaction that could overflow your toilet.

Next, grab a toilet plunger and lay down some towels to absorb any water that might splash out. Place the plunger over the drain hole and create a seal, pushing down and pulling up rapidly about 10-15 times. This creates suction and pressure that can dislodge most clogs.

If this is not working, try using a wire hanger to hook and pull out the clog. Just be careful not to use the curved part of the hanger as a hook, and cover it with a bit of electrical tape or duct tape to avoid scratching your porcelain.

If the clog is stubborn, or you notice water backing up in other areas of your home when you flush the toilet, it’s time to call a plumber. These signs indicate that the clog has moved from your toilet to your home’s main sewer line, which will require professional attention to resolve.

Clogged Sinks

There are few things more annoying than hopping in the shower to relax after a long day, only to discover that your sink is clogged with hair and other debris. Fortunately, a few basic tools and tricks are all you need to break free of even the most stubborn clogs.

Start by pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain. If the clog is shallow, this should dislodge it and get your drain flowing again. If the clog is deeper, you can try using a household product like liquid drain cleaner. Be sure to read the label, though, and use this product according to instructions.

Another option is to use baking soda and vinegar. This solution can break free light stoppages but is not designed for large blockages. To try it, first remove any standing water from the sink. Then, pour about a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by about a cup of white or apple cider vinegar. The combination will bubble; let it sit for 15 minutes, then flush the sink with hot water.

If you’ve tried all of these methods and your clog persists, it may be time to call in a plumber. This will be especially true if the problem involves a garbage disposal or a pipe that connects to the outside of your home. In this case, you may need the extra clog-clearing power of a drain snake or “plumber’s snake.” These devices have a coiled metal wire with a broader gap at one end and can be purchased at most hardware stores.

Clogged Tubs

A tub drain is an easy spot to collect hair, soap scum, and other debris. This can build up until the pipe becomes narrow and slow or even blocked. A few proactive measures can prevent tub clogs.

Start by pulling off the tub cover plate and loosening or unscrewing the drain plug. (Be sure to use a screwdriver with the right size head or you may scratch the drain and pipe.) Next, pull out the drain strainer and clean it. Then, remove the stopper linkage and pull it out and down to clear the tangled clumps of gunk that may have collected inside. (Be sure to keep track of the cover plate screws; many a plumber has lost them down an open drain!)

Now you can try to dislodge the clog. A coat hanger with a tiny hook on the end works well for this. Push it into the tub drain to feel for any soft resistance and then try to hook what you can. (Be careful not to push any hair or soap scum back into the tub.)

If your clog is still persistent, you can try one of the non-toxic chemical drain cleaners. There are baking soda mixes, enzymatic drain cleaners, and lye products. Just remember to read the label and follow the directions carefully! If your clog is very severe, a professional plumber may recommend hydrojetting to break up the blockage and clean your pipes.

Clogged Showers

Clogged shower drains are often the result of hair and soap scum. They can also be caused by mineral buildup from hard water. Shower clogs are usually easier to fix than bathtub clogs because the blockage is closer to the drain cover. However, if you try using a chemical drain cleaner or metal coat hanger and the clog remains, it’s time to call a plumber.

A shower drain hair catcher is an inexpensive and effective way to keep clogs from forming. If you choose this option, be sure to empty it at least once a month to prevent worse clogs. It’s also a good idea to run a mixture of baking soda and vinegar down your drain about once per month to help break down soap scum and other debris.

If you’ve tried using a plunger, a hand snake, and a metal coat hanger to remove your clogged shower drain and it still isn’t working, it may be time for a plumber. However, before calling a plumber, you should try one last thing: boiling water.

Boil a pot of water and pour it down your shower drain (remove the drain cover first). The heat from the boiling water will essentially melt any hair and soap scum within the pipes, helping to break up the clog and clear the drain. Once the water has cooled, you can try running your shower again to see if the clog is gone.

Clogged Drain Cleaning

Clogged drains can cause water to back up or overflow and damage counters, floors, and walls. Not every stopped drain means you need to call a plumber; if the clog is relatively shallow and localized, you can often clear it yourself using household items you probably already have on hand.

First, remove the drain stopper and, if possible, remove any visible blockage by hand. (Needle nose pliers or tweezers work well for this.) If you can’t remove the clog by hand, try a more rudimentary tool such as a wire coat hanger or a plastic drain snake purchased at a hardware store. (Sliding new washers under the slip nuts on metal traps is a good idea, too.)

If the clog is near the mouth of the drain, try pouring boiling water down it. This can dislodge or dissolve many types of clogs, including hair.

If the clog is further down the pipe, consider using a homemade solution. For example, a simple combination of baking soda and vinegar can sometimes break up greasy or sticky clogs. Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a half-cup of white vinegar; let it sit for about an hour, then pour several cups of hot water down the drain. Repeat this if necessary until the clog is gone. If the clog is still present, you can also try squirting a bit of grease-fighting dish soap down the drain.