If you've recently purchased your first home, congratulations. You're undoubtedly looking forward to spending many happy years in your new home. However, unlike the rental property your probably just moved out of, you won't be able to simply call the landlord when the plumbing acts up or the furnace fails to function. Fortunately, with a little knowledge, you'll be able to handle many minor household mishaps on your own.
Following are three common plumbing problems and what you can do before calling in a professional.
How to Fix a Clogged Drain
Most people simply reach for over-the-counter drain remedies when faced with a slow or completely clogged drain. However, not only are chemical drain cleaners high in toxic compounds that can damage the environment and release toxic fumes into your home interior, but they can also cause considerable harm to your plumbing system. These products contain hydrochloric acid, which can literally eat away at the insides of your plumbing pipes, which can result in the formation of holes.
It's better to use a small, handheld plumber's snake and a small plunger to attempt to dislodge the clog yourself before resorting to products containing harsh chemicals. You can pick up both of these items at any home improvement retailer—it's better to do so before they're needed so that you'll have them on hand in a pinch.
Clogs or slow drains that don't respond to these tactics may be caused by tree roots or other serious obstructions and require the expertise of an experienced, professional plumber.
How to Troubleshoot Leaky Hot Water Heaters
Leaky hot water heaters can cost you money in more ways than one. You'll definitely see a spike in your utility costs as long as hot water heaters are allowed to leak unchecked, and you may also face repair bills as a result of water damage done to flooring and walls. Even if you routinely mop up the standing water caused by a leak, the damp environment may cause rot as well as provide an environment that's conducive to the development of mold and mildew, and this can be potentially harmful to the health of you and other household residents.
The first thing you should do when you notice that your hot water heater has developed a leak is resist the urge to panic—it's very likely that there's an easy fix for the situation. The problem could be as simple as a broken part or a loose water line. One of the most common problems is that the drain valve that's located on the bottom of the heater is somehow failing to close. However, if the leak is in the tank itself, it will have to be replaced.
Your hot water heater owners manual will provide a visual and written guide to the specifics of your particular brand and model of hot water heater.
How to Thaw Frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes are one of the most potentially expensive plumbing fixes faced by modern homeowners. Pipes that freeze are in danger of breaking, and if this happens, they'll need to be completely replaced.
Fortunately, frozen pipes are generally something that's caught pretty quickly in the average household, so it's often possible to thaw them before serious damage is done. The first thing you should do is turn each faucet in your home on as far as possible and then take a handheld blow dryer to the pipes closest to the area that has frozen—this will be the pipes situated under a sink that's against an outside wall. For instance, many kitchen sinks are built under windows looking outdoors.
Use the hairdryer until water begins to flow out of the faucets, and leave a small trickle of water running until outdoor temperatures rise above freezing.
For additional information, contact a company like In & Out Plumbing & Construction.