Plumbing is one of those things that no one really wants to mess with because, let’s be honest, the problems are usually a big ol’ mess. Whether it’s snaking hair and gunk out of your drain, or having to stick your hand in parts of a toilet, no one really wants to be the one to do that job. This is why we have plumbers. Okay, the actual utility of plumbing and water in your household is complex and more often than not needs an expert to diagnose and repair issues. In that same token, plungers are commonly owned and used in all homes so there are some things you can tend to yourself. Follow along for 5 top tips from the professionals.

Plungers To The Rescue!

We’ll start with the most common tool you’re likely to own: a plunger. A very helpful first step when you notice a clog in your toilet or other drains. There are actually two types of plungers (which you probably noticed when purchasing one at your local hardware store) and they each serve different purposes. The flange plunger is the bulbous model with a lip underneath it. This is best used for toilets. The other type, a cup plunger, is best for sinks and tubs. 

You want to create a nice seal over the drain, and plunge for about 20 seconds. If the problem doesn’t resolve, there are a few other steps you can take before calling the plumber, such as snaking and our next tip.

Invest In A Wet/Dry Vacuum

Plungers really push the clog down until it’s able to flush through the pipes. A good wet/dry vacuum (or shop vac) will suck the clog out of your sink or tub with better results than a plunger. This method is particularly useful when it’s a hard object obstructing the flow, such as a toothbrush, or that lovely watch you just got for Christmas. Ultimately, whatever method you use for clogs NEVER  use a drain cleaner such as Drain-O. These chemicals are often very caustic and end up corroding and ruining your pipes. Call the professionals instead.

What Can’t You Flush

It seems like a no-brainer, don’t put objects that clog your pipes down the toilet or sink. Toilet paper is fine. Paper towels not so much. Even those “flushable” wipes will take their toll on your water works. In the bathroom, stick to plain tp. For tougher jobs, a bidet might be in order. In the kitchen, be sure to keep food scraps in the trash, not down the disposal, and deposit as much grease/oils/fats in the garbage bin as well. Things like egg shells, produce peels/rinds, and coffee grounds can often damage the blades. Oils will eventually clog your sink. 

Find Your Shut-Off Valve

Don’t just locate it, acquaint yourself with how to use it. It’s possible for you to fix minor leaks, or replace simple fixtures, but you’ll need to know how to shut the water off before doing any work. 

Not Too Tight

If you are fixing a leak, when it comes to applying new fittings to your pipes, don’t over tighten them. If you do, you’re likely to strip screws (making them harder to replace in the future) or break bolts. Once you feel that resistance of a tight fitting, let it be.

Don’t Ignore Your Leaks

Leaks aren’t just pesky little noises, they’re also a major drain on resources and money. Leaks can often waste up to 8 gallons of water in a single day. As soon as you notice a leak, investigate the source of the problem and call your go-to plumber.