Plumbing Tips from an Avid DIY-er

Three Plumbing Fixes You Can Learn To Do Yourself

"Plumbing is a lucrative business, especially for the plumber." That is the tongue-in-cheek thing they say about plumbing. It says a lot about how much the average person knows about plumbing repairs and maintenance, or how willing people are to do plumbing fixes themselves. If you would like to become more knowledgeable about plumbing, and you are not squeamish about doing your own plumbing maintenance or repairs, you can start with the following items.

Unclogging the Toilet

Usually, a clogged toilet is the result of too much toilet paper or a very large bowel movement, both of which get stuck in the trap of your toilet. Thankfully, using a plunger placed strategically over the whole of the toilet hole in the bottom of the bowl and giving a few forceful pushes loosens the feces and/or excess toilet paper. Then trying to flush again will aid the rest of this more easily down through the trap.

Snaking a Drain

You can snake any drain in your house. For tub/shower and sink drains, you need a sink snake. It is generally enough to put the snake head device down the drain, give it a few good twists with the crank, and pull it out again. Most of what is blocking these drains is a fetid chunk of human hair, which gets caught up in the coiled head of the snake drain. You can test the effectiveness of your attempt by running water for a minute or two to see if it backs up into the sink, tub, or shower. Continue the process as needed.

Cleaning out Sink Traps

Sometimes the water in your sinks is ultra-smelly and is slow to drain. You could try to snake them, but that does not remove the stink. Then you have to clean out the sink traps. Most sink traps are easily exposed by opening the cabinets under the sinks.

  1. Find the U-shaped pipe; this is the trap.
  2. Put a towel or a low bucket underneath, as the water that is released when you remove the trap is going straight down below.
  3. Unscrew both ends of the pipes connected to the trap and remove it.
  4. Hold your breath or breathe through your mouth; it will not be pretty.
  5. Flush and wipe the black sludge from the trap.
  6. Then reconnect everything, tightening the pipe connections well.

Now your sink should not smell, and water should flow through better.