Plumbing Repair - Plumbing problems in the home
Clearing a sink blockage
The thought of doing our own plumbing repairs is enough to strike fear into the hearts of many. A home's plumbing system is complex, and it is impossible to do all the repairs that might be necessary unless you're a trained professional. However, that doesn't mean you have to maintain a completely hands-off attitude to all those pipes and ducts. It is possible to do some minor plumbing repairs and maintenance work yourself.
Even better than doing your own home plumbing repair work is being able to prevent such work being needed in the first place. One important area of prevention is that of insulation. In cold weather, pipes sometimes crack when the water inside them freezes and expands. When the thaw comes, you end up with floods. But this can be prevented if you insulate your pipes properly, even a DIY job can work very effectively in this case. Most pipes are insulated with foam "sleeves" that can be purchased ready-shaped. If you already have pipe insulation, make sure it's in good condition and fixed securely.
Dealing with plumbing problems in the home
One annoying but common plumbing problem is sink blockage. Sometimes it's caused by careless washing up - someone forgets to scrape the plates before washing them, and too much food ends up going down the sink. Sometimes the cause of the blockage is a mystery. The earlier you can spot the blockage, the better. If water is going down the sink too slowly, it's a good indication that there is a problem. However, there's no need to call out a plumber immediately.
Your first step is to let the water drain away. Then buy a chemical cleaner designed to unblock sinks. This cleaner should be powerful enough to dissolve the blockage. If it isn't, it's time to get out the sink plunger and pump it up and down over the sinkhole. Hydraulic pumps are another alternative - they use water instead of air to create pressure in the system, but the principle is the same.
If none of these options work, you will need to go underneath the sink and explore the whole waste system. There is a part called a trap between the sink and the drain, designed to stop drain smells entering the house through the sink. The blockage may be there. However, many people decide at this point to call out a professional.
A dripping tap is often caused by a loose faucet washer, and such washers or other minor parts are relatively inexpensive to replace. A flat-bladed screwdriver will help you to loosen most faucet washers. A basin wrench is another good tool to have in your kit, in case you need to tighten supply lines to your sink.
There are many occasions when DIY just isn't enough and you need to call out a professional or risk making everything worse. Even if you're very well-informed, most amateurs can't do the work of a professional plumber. However, good maintenance of your plumbing system will keep plumbing repairs to a minimum.