Do it Yourself: Five Clever Plumbing Tidbits for around the House

When issues with our pipes develop, it can be a nightmare. It’s a dirty, intimidating job, and no one likes a project that requires expertise. But there are plenty of seemingly impossible tasks that can be easily accomplished with just a little more information. When the job is easy, why hire someone else?


Here are the top five problems that you can handle yourself.

1. Why is my water heater rumbling?

This is a common issue for older models of water heaters. Over time, sediment deposits which prevent water from heating efficiently can build up at the bottom of a water heater. In order to remove the sediment, drain water from the bottom of the tank. Doing this for a few minutes should be enough to knock any deposits loose.

This fix should be approached with caution as hot water can be extremely dangerous. Ensure you have a properly fitting drain hose that can transport the heated water to a bathtub, drain, or driveway.

2. Why is my sink clogged?

Avoid putting bits of food down the drain, no matter how small. These accumulate over time and cause damage and blockages. Whatever you do, do not put grease or oil down the drain! This is one of the greatest causes of clogged drains, and can be difficult and messy to fix.

If a commercially available clog remover doesn’t fix the problem, then try a plunger. If that doesn’t work, then consider purchasing a cable auger. This snake can be run through your pipes in order to break apart any obstructions.

3. Why is my toilet running?

Sometimes a part breaks, but usually it’s as simple as untangling the chain that lifts the flapper. Sometimes the flapper sticks. If the chain is untangled and there is no obvious obstruction of the flapper, then use the internet to find a detailed how-to list. If all else fails, call the plumber!

If you don’t know how your toilet works, familiarize yourself with what happens mechanically when you flush!

4. Why doesn’t my faucet work properly?

Faucets are notorious for developing problems with old age. They develop all sorts of grime and deposits that inhibit the flow of water. Calcium buildup is not easy to clean. Many faucet heads are replaceable, and some manufacturers have developed specialized repair kits for their models in order to make things a little bit easier.

If you want to forego the manufacturer’s solutions, then simply take a damp cloth and a mild soap and let the faucet run with warm water while scrubbing gently. For stainless steel faucet heads, try Comet. Don’t be aggressive. As always, preventing this buildup of grime and calcium is the best option if you want to avoid this problem in the future.

5. Why does my garbage disposal stink?

Fill a cap with Listerine, and grab a few ice cubes. Lemon wedges can also be used. Put the freshening ingredient and ice cubes down the drain while you run the disposal. Wait a minute or two, and then do the same with a small amount of dish soap. That should take care of the smell, and also loosen any clinging food particles.

It’s worth noting that we all have different comfort levels with home repair. If you feel uncomfortable or unprepared for the challenges that might develop with your pipes, then don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber such as Express Rooter, located in Toronto. Hopefully a few of these tips will come in handy. Good luck!

Erin Emanuel