The marvel that is indoor plumbing is one of the most significant developments in the industrial age. This allowed the human race as a whole to build clean lavatories and private baths in our homes. Little has changed from the basic blueprint on how indoor plumbing works.
There is always one main water line that provides fresh, clean water to the home. The water main is connected to all our faucets, showers, and sprinklers. All our drains are connected to the wastewater or drain pipe, which in turn connects to the sewers or septic system.
The sanitation process was efficiently built to provide us with clean water and to dispose of our organic wastes. Today most of us take our bathrooms for granted and if there is something that needs fixing we just call a plumber.
That is perfectly fine if you have money to burn. In case you do want to save some cash then there are several natural plumbing repairs that you can do yourself. All you need is to follow straightforward directions, gather some essential plumbing tools, and the will to try fixing it yourself.
Basic Plumbing Tools
- Teflon Tape
- Plumbers Dope
- Pipe wrench
- Drain snake
Weak water pressure in the shower
More often than not the decrease in water pressure is due to limescale build-up in the individual nozzles of the showerhead. It may not sound like it could have a significant effect, but it does add up when several of the nozzles are blocked.
Before you call a plumber because of a sudden decrease in your shower head’s water pressure, try these straightforward steps to see if it’s a quick fix. These steps would permanently clean the showerhead and make it work like new.
This applies to hand showers, merely unscrew the showerhead from the braided hose.
For showerheads connected to an arm fixed to the water pipes in the walls be extra careful when removing the showerhead. You do not want to damage the arm as that repair would require the services of a plumber.
Soak the showerhead in white vinegar overnight. The vinegar will naturally remove any limescale deposits. For good measure, you can use an old toothbrush to scrub the nozzles clean. Alternatively, you can also use your favorite limescale removers as well.
In case the brush bristles do not remove all the lime or calcium deposits from the showerhead, try using a toothpick to clean each hole.
Once you’re done cleaning the showerhead, it’s time to reattach it. Make sure to run the water first to flush out any lime or calcium deposits in the pipes or hose. After that merely screw the showerhead back to the hose or attach it to the shower arm.
Before connecting any plumbing fixture that has a thread make sure to wrap the thread with Teflon tape at least three times, not more or less than that. Three is the magic number, do not mummify the pipe with Teflon tape, three will give you an excellent, snug fit.
You can also use plumbers dope, just put a thin film on the thread you just wrapped with Teflon tape to ensure a perfect seal.
A leaky showerhead might not seem like a big deal at first. You might think it is not worth the hassle to fix it since it is only dripping once every three seconds. Well, those twenty drips per minute translate to 2.88 gallons of wasted water daily.
That’s 86.4 gallons per month and 1051.2 gallons down the drain per year. That is over a thousand gallons charged to your water bill that you could have easily avoided by just changing a broken gasket in your shower head.
Do not wait until you have wasted a lot of your money on unnecessary water bills. If you want to know how much your leaky shower or faucet is costing you, please use this free drip calculator to find out.
Low water pressure in your faucet
This quick-fix usually applies to faucets that have aerators. As long as you are experiencing the sudden drop in water pressure on a tap that has an aerator it is worth your time to double-check it.
Similar to how limescale builds up in showerheads, calcium deposits also do build up in aerators which end up blocking the flow of water. Merely unscrew the aerator from the spout and let it soak in a vinegar solution. Use an old toothbrush to clean the aerator as well.
Fixing a leaky faucet
There is no one way to fix a leaky faucet. The first thing you need to do is check where your leak is coming from. If it is from the base of the faucet or its handles, then you are likely looking at a broken gasket.
If it is from the spout itself, then it’s possible the internal mechanism is in need of repair or one of the handles just needs to be replaced. If there is more than one broken part, then you can also consider replacing the whole faucet assembly as well.
Slow draining bathtub drain
The bathtub and shower drain is the one primary witness to all the dirt and grime that leaves our bodies. At times we even do our heavy-duty laundry or cleaning of significant items in the bathtub, so it’s no wonder that it does get clogged up at times.
Once you notice that a bathtub is slow to drain, you may wonder about the best way to fix a slow bathtub drain. Start by removing the drain stopper; this is done by just unscrewing it. Once you have it removed, use a drain snake and insert it into the drain.
Insert the drain snake as deep as it can go and then pull. When you encounter some resistance that just means that you have found what was causing the clog and it is now time to pull it out. You will need some elbow grease to pull out the clump of matter causing the clog.
If that does not work, pour half a cup of baking soda into the drain. Then follow it up with a cup of vinegar, cover the drain with a drain stopper, and wait thirty minutes. The chemical reaction will push the debris causing the clog down the pipe.
Then pour a few liters of hot water to flush the debris away. In case that does not work, you can always try industrial-grade drain cleaners like Drano to eliminate the clog. Always make sure to use protective gloves when handling such chemicals.
These plumbing hacks are some of the most straightforward quick fixes for the most common plumbing issues. For water pressure issues, check the exit point of the water and clean it. The sudden loss of pressure is most likely due to lime or mineral deposits in the aerator or showerhead.
For clogs, make sure to always first use a drain snake and if that does not work, proceed to the more advanced options like the baking soda and vinegar combo or Drano as a last resort.
For really tough problems that you do not have the confidence to handle yourself then make sure to hire a licensed, bonded, insured plumber to make the necessary repairs on your pipes.