Plumbing has become increasingly expensive over the past couple of years. This is primarily because people have started relying increasingly on professionals to fix even the smallest plumbing issues. While plumbing expenses can be low in a new home where everything is relatively new, in a home that is over 20 years old hiring a professional can drain your finances pretty quickly. This is why you’ll want to save as much as you can by doing it yourself.
Fix a leaking faucet
When most people are faced with a leaking faucet they put it off until it becomes a dripping and then eventually a ruptured faucet. Most professional plumbers charge around $100 – $150 to fix a leaking faucet even though all that is needed is to replace the rubber washer in most cases. You can save this money by disconnecting your water supply to the faucet, then pulling out the faucet cap and use a wrench to unscrew the spindle. Once the spindle is free simply pull it out and the attached washer. Take the spindle to a hardware store and get a replacement washer which costs around $10. Then put everything back again.
Fix a blocked pipe
Most pipes get blocked in our homes because residue from plates, hair and clothes build up in the pipe. Calling in a professional plumber to do the job will cost you around $100 depending on the nature of the block. If your sink’s drain pipe is blocked the easiest way to fix it is to unscrew the pipe below your sink and buy a replacement for $10. The replacement can easily be screwed back on.
If your flush pipe seems to be blocked i.e. gutter water seems to overflow each time you flush, the easiest solution is to pour drain acid down the drain before you go to bed. Let it stand for around 10 hours prior to using a plunger and flushing water down. In 80% of the cases this should fix the issue. Only call a professional if it does not.
Fix a malfunctioning water heater
When you do not get enough hot water or your water heater does not seem to heat up the water there are a number of things you can do about prior to calling a professional. A plumber will usually charge you around $300 to fix a water heater even if the problem takes just a few minutes for him to fix. This is why it is important that you run through a few diagnostic steps to determine the source of the problem prior to trying your hand at fixing it.
Check the following when you do not get enough hot water:
- Is the pilot burning and does the burner come on?
- If the above is working properly then check if the heater feels hot
- Also let the hot water run for a while to see how much time it takes for the water to become really hot. This will help you determine if its residue in the heating tank that is causing a problem.
Drain your water hear
If the burner is working and the pilot does not go off then the only problem is the fact that your water heater’s tank is filled with mineral residue. In order to clear up the residue simply turn off the gas, electricity and water supply to the tank. Attach a hose to the drainage outlet of the tank (located below), and the other end of the hose should lead to a drain. Then open the drainage valve of your heating unit. Let all the water drain out. Then turn on the fresh water supply and allow the water to drain until it runs clear. Then turn off the drain valve and turn everything back on. Your problem should be solved.
If the problem is with your pilot only then should you call in a professional to fix the problem. This is because problems with a spoilt pilot vary and dealing with them can be dangerous for a person who does not have experience. As Plumbing usually recommends that people always drain their water heaters first and if that does not fix the problem can give them a call.
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Mark is a plumber with over two decades of industry experience. He has been working with major plumbing companies in Australia over the years and currently runs his own business based in Sydney. When he is not writing plumbing tutorials he teaches budding plumbers how to fix common plumbing problems