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Top 10 Plumbing Tips for the DIY Homeowner

We all want the best for our home and desire nothing but to live in a stress-free and comfortable environment. One way to achieve such an atmosphere is to take care of every part of the household, including the plumbing system. Homeownership surely requires understanding the significance of plumbing and the substantial influence of the plumbing system on our day-to-day experiences at home. First, plumbing greatly affects the water supply we use at home for cleaning, cooking, and washing. This is where the importance of plumbing maintenance comes in.

A DIY homeowner has to possess at least the basic know-how of how plumbing works so he or she can effectively fix or address minor plumbing issues that arise in the household. One of the most essential facts a DIY homeowner must know about is the composition of the plumbing system. Basically, the different parts of the plumbing system are the water supply line, drainage system, and water heating system, all of which need regular checks and maintenance. To preserve the health and integrity of the plumbing system, homeowners must be responsible enough to know the preventive measures and the easy fixes to plumbing problems.

Ways A DIY Homeowner Can Protect the Plumbing System

Effective plumbing maintenance can actually be done in a variety of ways, some of which are quite easy that any ordinary homeowner can execute without necessarily hiring a plumber. Keeping the home plumbing in good shape may be achieved by following these ten (10) tips:

    • Use vinegar to get rid of stains and build-ups.

      Forget about commercial stain removers. A common cooking ingredient can actually be used as a safe, natural, and cheaper alternative solution to removing stains and crusty build-ups–VINEGAR. Shower heads and faucets may eventually have water stains and build-ups on them especially when they have been used for far too long. Simply use vinegar to eliminate the dirt accumulated around shower heads or taps by soaking them in a plastic filled with white vinegar. Allow the vinegar to work its magic overnight and see a brand new-looking faucet and shower head by the next morning. 

    • Only flush the essentials.

      The toilet bowl is meant for the disposal of human waste only and nothing else. Therefore, “flushable” wet wipes, tissue paper, candy wrappers, food debris, grease, hair, and vegetable peelings are a NO-NO and should not be thrown into the toilet bowl. Yet, some people at times tend to flush down anything down the toilet. The toilet bowl is not the same as a garbage bin that can hold any type of debris or waste. Also, we must bear in mind that things marked as “flushable” do not break down like ordinary toilet paper. This can harm the pipes and cause clogs. This wrong practice is a huge disrespect to home plumbing and something that has to stop if we want to keep our plumbing intact. It is important that homeowners educate others in the household about the proper usage of fixtures.

    • Use coffee grounds or vinegar-baking soda mixture to remove clogs.
      If you are a DIY homeowner, unclogging your drains comes easy with just the use of natural DIY solutions. No need to spend for a commercial de-clogger, which may only do more harm than good to your pipes. Instead, you can make use of coffee grounds along with dish soap and boiling water. First, pour a mixture of the dish soap and coffee grounds into the drain, and then pour a good amount of boiling water next. The combination of these three ingredients has been proven to effectively dissolve the buildups stuck in your pipes.
      Another trick is to mix a cup of vinegar and half a cup of baking soda. Then pour it into the drain. It is better if you leave the solution in the drain for 24 hours. After waiting for 24 hours dilute it with hot or boiling water the following day.
    • Use bucket water to flush.

      Using bucket water for flushing down waste comes in handy. In these cases where your main water supply is shut off due to a plumbing emergency or your toilet simply fails to flush. You just have to collect at least 2 gallons of water in a bucket and pour it into the toilet bowl. This trick works just as fine as the usual toilet flush. 

    • Use mouthwash as a toilet bowl cleaner.

      A way cheaper DIY alternative to toilet bowl cleaners is mouthwash. It is very effective not only when it comes to freshening up one’s breath but also when it comes to making the toilet bowl spotless and squeaky clean. You only need a capful of mouthwash to be poured into the bowl. To effectively remove stains, you must first let the mouthwash linger in the bowl for about half an hour before scrubbing the stains away.

    • Unclog drains using the wet-dry vacuum.

      There are various DIY tricks to unclog congested drains and one of those is using the wet-dry vacuum. This method is also popular among plumbers. Sometimes, plungers may fail to remove clogs and so the wet-dry vacuum serves as an effective alternative that sucks hard and unwanted debris out of the drain.

    • Banish the odor of sewer gases using cooking oil.

      Sewer gases may at times find their way to your home through the sink or bathroom drains. This happens when your drains have been unused or idle for some time and hence have dried out. Thereby allowing smelly sewer gas to break out of the sewer system and travel up the drains. A house that smells like a sewer is quite disgusting, right? One fast solution to this problem is using cooking oil and water. You must pour about four cups of fresh water into the drain first. Then add one tablespoon of cooking oil into it.

    • Detect toilet leaks using food coloring.

      One way to prevent future plumbing problems is to detect leaks early on. Toilet leaks are very common yet they have to be fixed immediately before they worsen and inflict more damage to your property. How do you know if your toilet is leaking? First, check the toilet’s flush valve seal for possible leaks using the food coloring technique. Squeeze a few drops of the food coloring into the toilet tank and wait for a couple of hours. Come back later to see if the tinted water from the tank managed to get into the toilet bowl. If so, then your toilet’s flush valve is leaking.

    • Get rid of the annoying creaking pipe sound using adhesive-backed felt.

      In some instances, copper pipes would expand as a result of running hot water. So they rub against joists and pipe hangers, thus producing creaking sounds. One effective DIY method to silence the creaking pipes is wrapping the pipes with adhesive-backed felt. First, cut the felt into narrow pieces. Second, unfasten the hangers. Next, wrap the pipes with the strips of adhesive-backed felt, and then refasten the hangers. 

    • Insulate your pipes.

It takes no brainer to insulate pipes. Thus, homeowners must practice proper pipe insulation. Insulating the pipes is a must for it is one of the ways to keep the pipes warm and protected from freezing temperatures. It also helps water to warm up faster as it passes through the pipes from the water heater on the way to the faucets. 

Note for DIYers

The ten aforementioned tips are quite handy, especially for DIYers. As one can observe, most of the suggested methods can be done conveniently at home without the help of a plumber. Homeowners only need to remember that the household’s plumbing system is a vital aspect of the home. Therefore, they need to practice appropriate measures to sustain the plumbing system and protect the household from plumbing mishaps.

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