When you're new to homeownership and have not yet built up your arsenal of DIY skills, you may assume it's best to just call a plumber whenever something goes wrong with a sink or toilet. But while calling in the pros is a safe bet, it's not always necessary. Here are three plumbing-related tasks you should be able to tackle yourself—even if you can barely turn a screwdriver!
Unclogging a sink.
No, the solution is not to pour a gallon of drain cleaner down it and hope for the best. This may actually damage your pipes, not to mention expose you to all sorts of nasty chemicals. Instead, fill the sink up with water, and then carefully insert a plunger. Make sure the plunger head forms a tight seal around the drain opening, and then use firm, straight-up-and-down strokes to force water down the drain. With any luck, the clog should loosen and water should go down. If it does not, let the water drain away, and then pour some boiling water down the drain. Let it drain down, and then re-fill the sink with cool water and plunge again.
Unblocking a toilet.
Unblocking an overflowing toilet isn't much harder than unblocking a sink. Start by turning the water supply off so water does not keep flowing all over the floor. There should be a big valve near the base of the toilet—turn it all of the way to the left to turn off the water supply.
Once the water has stopped flowing, soak up any excess on the floor, and then start plunging. Once again, make sure the plunger forms a tight seal, and focus on using long, powerful strokes rather than short, rapid ones.
If the clog does not loosen with plunging, then you will need to call the plumber. The toilet needs to be snaked, and this task should not be completed by an unskilled person, as it can damage the pipes if performed improperly.
Improving water pressure in your shower.
You'd be silly to call the plumber because your shower water pressure is low—but you would not be the first one! The issue is likely that you have mineral buildup in your showerhead. You can easily unscrew it, place it in a bag of white vinegar overnight, and then re-attach it the next day. The vinegar will remove the buildup, allowing water to flow through more freely.
Low water pressure throughout your home is another story and does usually warrant a call to the plumber. It may be caused by mineral buildup in your larger pipes, which needs to be addressed by a professional. For information on plumbing services, check out websites like http://terryrossplumbing.com/.