12 Expert Tips for Plumbing

Deborah Beams
Deborah Beams
Research Writer
Deborah is an incredibly talented journalist who's been working for numerous online magazines for over 8 years now. She's also our main research writer who can turn any bori read more
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Charles Eggleston
Charles Eggleston
Expert Consultant
Charles's been a plumber his entire life. Thanks to his vast experience we can always rely on Charles' expert opinion when creating any of our articles. He's also a fantasti read more
Last updated: September 05, 2023
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You don’t need to be an expert plumber to know how to solve issues around the home. There are many great tips for plumbing that can solve issues without needing to call someone out.

Imagine walking into the bathroom at midnight in the dark, suddenly waking up with cold water under your feet. The bathroom floor has water everywhere, and you pinch yourself to make sure you are not dreaming. While it seems dramatic, a plumbing disaster can happen any time of the day.

With some plumbing basics Trusted Source How to avoid DIY plumbing mistakes - The Washington Post ASK THE BUILDER | All drain lines should have a minimum fall of an eighth of an inch per foot of horizontal run. Some codes allow a quarter-inch of fall per foot. www.washingtonpost.com , you can not only see what you should do in an emergency situation but also how you can keep your plumbing system working like clockwork. Here we look at 12 key plumbing tips that will give you a brilliant base of knowledge to solve issues with your home.

These are tips that everyone can master, so let’s get started!

Tip #1: Know where the main water valve is

One of the best plumbing tips for a new house is to know where the main water valve is. This is vital as you need to be able to close it off in case of emergencies. If you have a big leak, then shutting off the main water valve will be able to stop it almost immediately.

The main water valve may be in a few different places depending on what type of property you have and how it was built. It can often be in the basement or at the perimeter of your property, usually on the side facing the street.

There are two main designs of a shut-off as they either have a straight handle lever or a round gate valve. It’s a good idea to let everyone in the house know where the valve is and how to shut it off. As well as emergencies, it also needs to be turned off if you are fixing or replacing pipes.

Tip #2: Look for water leaks

One of the basic plumbing tips for the beginner is to check for water leaks. A water leak can spring up anywhere in the home. Sometimes you can see it in plain sight, while others may surprise be hidden and slowly creating a dangerous damp patch.

Check for spots of deterioration on ceilings and walls. You can identify water leaks with mildew or musty smell in your attics or crawl spaces. Furthermore, another sign of water leaks is mold. Therefore, it is best to do regular checks around appliances and water fixtures for leaks.

If you think you might have a leak, then you can shut off all water appliances and see if your water meter is still going up. If it is, you may need to investigate.

Tip #3: Keep tabs on the water pressure

For a healthy plumbing system, you need to keep track of the water pressure in your home. It helps to do this often as possible, and for a great tool to monitor water pressure, our experts highly recommend the Flo by Moen. We all know how dreadful a shower is when there is low-pressure water flow.

On the other side, high water pressure can lead to wasted water and an increased chance of leaks. If you need to reduce the pressure, then a great tool is the Zurn Wilkins Pressure Reducing Valve which is able to ensure that you can control the pressure that is too high.

Keeping an eye on your water pressure can help to prevent you from spending huge sums of money on much bigger issues. Increasing the pressure when it is low can also help you to wash effectively and have more enjoyable showers.

Tip #4: Taking care of the toilet

One of the most common plumbing issues is a blocked toilet, and it’s best to avoid anything which may cause the issue. Take care of what you flush down it. The only thing you can wash down the drain is toilet paper. Even with toilet paper, you need to be careful not to use it too much. This is one of the best plumbing tips for summer, as a blocked toilet in high heat can become extremely unpleasant.

If the toilet blocks frequently, it can occur due to other problems. This can be from using the wrong toilet paper or too much of it. Another cause can be too little water in the tank to flush everything away. Alternatively, the toilet might have a poor design or has venting issues.

If you need a new and comfortable toilet, then it could be a great idea to get a comfort height toilet. Newer toilets can often flush much more efficiently and are also easier to clean.

Tip #5: Know how to deal with a clogged drain

No matter what you do at some point, you will need to deal with a clogged drain. Whether you need to know how to unclog bathroom sink or it’s somewhere else in the home, you’ll most likely come across this issue eventually.

When washing dishes, taking a shower, or bath, there is a buildup of grime. While your first instinct is to get a liquid drain cleaner, you could be making a big mistake. Using chemical cleaners is an easy fix, but those chemicals can harm the plumbing infrastructure.

Instead, get a toilet snake to dislodge the debris that blocks the pipes. To prevent this from happening, never pour grease down the drain and try to get a drain strainer. Also, avoid large chunks of food or any other garbage from going down the drain.

Tip #6: Protect the water pipes from the cold

This is one of the essential plumbing tips for winter. Some of the most water damage caused is in winter as the pipes freeze up and burst. For those that don’t know, water expands when it is frozen, which is a big problem if there is standing water in your pipes.

This usually happens when you are away from home for a long time, and the thermostat might be set too low. For this reason, having the pipes winterized helps prevent this from happening. You can do this by properly insulating the home and exterior pipes with cold-weather protection.

While you want to save on the power bill, it can be a good idea to keep the thermostat at around 60-degrees when you’re not in your home to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Tip #7: Check the lifespan of your water heater

12 Expert Tips for Plumbing

If your water heater is well over 10 years old, it might be time for you to have it replaced. If you know that you’re water heater is nearing the end of its life, then it can be the best idea to be proactive rather than reactive. If it ever breaks, it causes damage to the pipes as well as being a huge inconvenience.

If you are contemplating upgrading your system, then getting the best hybrid water heater may be a great idea. If you do have an old system, then it’s worth inspecting it to check if there are any issues.

Tip #8: Prolong a faucets lifespan

In most cases, we tighten a tap too tight when hearing a drip. Doing this is not suitable for the faucet seal as it wears out faster with the increased pressure. The best thing to do is turn the tap until you feel a stopping point without forcing it closed.

If you try and tighten it normally but still have dripping issues, then you may need to replace the aerator. Other faucet issues can come from the O-ring, rubber seal, or washer. If you find a problem, any of these parts are quite easy to replace.

Tip #9: Maintain your showerhead

If you have a leaky showerhead, then you may not have to get a new one. Many of the dripping issues are caused by the same parts that we look at in the above faucet section. You can take your showerhead apart to see if there is an issue.

It could also be that your showerhead has been clogged up by mineral buildup. This can frequently happen in places that have hard water. There is usually an easy fix to this, which involves soaking the showerhead in warm water and vinegar, which will break it up.

Tip #10: Buy some plumbing basics

It’s best to keep some basic plumbing tools around the house, so you’re able to solve any issues quickly and efficiently. One of those that we’ve already mentioned is a toilet snake which is great for easily clearing away blockages.

It’s also a good idea to invest in a plunger. With a little bit of effort, this magic tool can be used to clear away clogs. Plumbing take can also be very useful as it helps to give a watertight seal and can be great at stopping small drips.

Tip #11: Don’t puncture pipes

One of the crucial plumbing tips for homeowners is that you need to be careful about where your pipes are located. Far too often, people will hammer a nail into a wall only to find that they have gone straight through a pipe.

If you do this, it can lead to extremely costly repairs and a very messy home. One way to get around this is by using adhesive hooks or glue to hang pictures or shelves. You can also invest in a detector which would be able to show you where the pies, cables, and studs are. This will allow you to use nails or screws without worrying about damage.

Tip #12: Keep a professional handy

Finally, sometimes you have to concede that plumbing work is beyond your capability. If you have some serious plumbing work that needs to be done, then it can be a good idea to utilize a reputable plumber to help you with a problem.

It’s also a good idea to know the number of a plumber that you can contact in an emergency. You don’t want to be flicking through a directory when you’re faced with a severe water leak. Having that number can give you peace of mind should the worst happen.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many steps you can take to not only solve issues around the home but stop them from happening in the first place. This is basic knowledge that you can expand over time to become great at DIY plumbing.

With tips for plumbing, however, it’s important to remember that you won’t be able to solve all the problems by yourself. Sometimes the wisest choice to get an expert hand when you need one.

Hopefully, the tips that you’ve read here today will be able to save you plenty of money and avoid and disasters from happening. Plumbing can be complicated, but many of the fixes around the home can end up being quite simple.


How to avoid DIY plumbing mistakes - The Washington Post
ASK THE BUILDER | All drain lines should have a minimum fall of an eighth of an inch per foot of horizontal run. Some codes allow a quarter-inch of fall per foot.
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