Some of the most common plumbing problems can be prevented or fixed by the average homeowner. Here are the top four plumbing emergencies that you can handle on your own.
A simple plunger can be used to force most clogs down a toilet, sink or tub. The key is suction. For a toilet you simply have to place a plunger over the drain and pump until the clog is clear. For sinks and tubs, you need to block the air escapes with a wet towel to ensure a vacuum is created. If the clog can't be dislodged with a plunger, you can use a hand cranked snake to cut through the clog material. If it is a sink, you can remove the drain trap beneath the sink and clear it manually.
Faucets generally leak from the handle. This is a sign that the o-ring is broken. Turn off the water to the faucet and remove the cover from the faucet. Pull out the faucet stem assembly to reveal the o-ring. Remove the o-ring and replace it with a new one. Replace the stem assembly and faucet cover.
Toilets can leak from the base or from the reservoir tank. A leak at the base indicates a broken wax seal. To replace it, turn off the water to the toilet, take out the two screws that hold the base down and lift away the toilet. Scrape away the remaining wax and place a new wax ring. Then replace the toilet and re-tighten the screws.
A leaking reservoir is usually due to a bad flapper seal. This is the seal that is attached to the flush mechanism. Clean the area around the flapper. If the flapper is damaged, you'll have to install a new one. Most just snap in place.
Broken pipes will need to be professionally replaced but you can stop the leak until the repair is done. Wrap the leak in duct tape or a pipe patch kit.
If you have larger plumbing emergencies, or just want a professional to take care of these for you, contact Air Assurance, satisfying our Broken Arrow customers since 1985.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
Image courtesy of Shutterstock