Four DIY Plumbing Jobs

16 November 2012
It’s 4 p.m. Saturday and you’re cooking dinner for a big crowd, and suddenly the kitchen sink backs up. Who do you call? Or can you fix it yourself before guests arrive?  Believe it or not, before you call a plumber, you can attempt this job yourself and probably succeed.

In fact there are several plumbing jobs around the house that you can take on, if you’re patient and careful and have the right equipment. Of course, many of our readers may find the following jobs pretty basic. But if you’re a new homeowner, you might want to read further:

1 – Unclog a Drain in a Kitchen Sink, Toilet, or Bathtub –

Unclogging that sink is really the most important repair of all because you don’t want to wash dinner dishes in the bathtub. With a double sink, start by putting a stopper in one of the drain holes, probably the one where there is no standing water; then go down through the water to put a bathroom plunger on top of the other drain hole and pump up and down. This back-and-forth pressure will eventually build up enough force to dislodge the clog. With a single basin sink (this will work in a bathtub or lavatory sink), plug the overflow holes with wet cloths, put a little water into the sink and do the same pumping action with a plunger. Plumbers tell us that sometimes the pipes under the sink can become disconnected when you do this, so keep an eye on them while you’re working to free the clog.

When you’re using a plunger in a clogged toilet, try to create suction by sealing the bell-shaped rubber end around the opening at the bottom of the bowl. If you need a new plunger, buy one with an extension flange on the rubber end.

Preventive advice: In the kitchen don’t put grease, onion skins or potato peelings down the garbage disposal and especially not all three at the same time. And always run water through the garbage disposal while it’s grinding away to flush debris down the drain.

Don’t throw anything in the toilet that doesn’t belong there. You might want to buy a toilet auger, a long snakelike device to use in case a plunger isn’t enough.


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