1. Turn off the Water
Whether it’s a leaky faucet, overflowing toilet or ruptured pipe, shutting off the water in a plumbing situation is your first step to limiting damage and giving yourself a window of opportunity to call a plumber. Depending on the type of repair, you may need to turn off your home’s main water supply, the water valve for an appliance or a specific sink. If you don’t know how to locate these valves and where they are located, you could be in for a lot of panic and stress when faced with a plumbing emergency, such as water soaking through your second-floor ceiling.
Many of the water supply valves throughout your home are hidden behind drywall or in other locations that make them difficult to find, and it’s not uncommon for the location of these water shut-off valves to be forgotten over time. If you’re unsure of where these are, it’s worth a quick search before you actually need them – especially if the problem is something that requires urgent attention.
While there are multiple valves that can be used to shut off your home’s water, it’s usually more effective to cut off the flow at an individual fixture or appliance instead of turning off the entire water supply. This will allow you to continue using other water sources in the house and also reduces the amount of time that your water is turned off. Most appliances and fixtures will have their own water shut-off valves that look like levers or circular knob valves. These can be easily accessed by turning the handle counter-clockwise, and it’s always good to familiarize yourself with them before a problem occurs.
Once you’ve successfully turned off the water, it’s a good idea to open a faucet on a lower level of the house in order to release any remaining pressure that may be trapped in your pipes. You can also use this as a chance to check and ensure that the valve was shut off completely, as well as to test for any leaks or other problems that need addressing.
2. Remove the Faucet
A dripping faucet, gurgling noises, or even water pressure issues aren’t just annoying—they may be your plumbing system’s way of telling you that something is wrong. If left unchecked, the problem could worsen and lead to serious leaks and damage to your home. Fortunately, these symptoms are often easy to fix, but it is important to know what to look for.
Start by turning off the water supply to your sink, and make sure you have a bucket handy. Then remove the hoses. It’s always a good idea to take a photo of the plumbing situation, before you get started, so you can reference it later when you’re trying to figure out what goes where.
While you’re still down there, it’s a good idea to pull the sink stopper out too. It’ll save you some extra work later on and help you keep your hands clean when it comes time to clean up.
Once the pipes are disconnected, it’s time to start taking apart your old faucet. First, unscrew the nut from the bottom of the pipe underneath the sink. Then, push up on the tube that connects to the drain (it’s usually black and kind of looks like Fallopian tubes) and unscrew the metal circle on the top of the faucet.
Now you can screw the new faucet back in place. It’s a good idea to wrap a little plumber’s tape around the screw threads before you start tightening, to avoid any potential leaks in the future. Once you’re finished, turn the water back on slowly and make sure there aren’t any drips. If you do find a leak, just tighten it a bit more, and then turn the water off again until you can fix the problem.
3. Turn Off the Water to the Basement
When dealing with a plumbing situation, especially an emergency like a burst pipe, it’s important to know how to shut off the water to your home. This simple homeowner hack will save you from a lot of water damage and headaches down the road. Most homes have two main locations for their water valves, one located in the yard and the other located in the basement (also known as the stop box). Make sure you know where both are so you can turn them off if necessary. After you have turned off the water to your home, leave a faucet open on the lowest level to allow any remaining water to escape.
4. Clean the Drains
One of the worst things you can do to your home is to wake up in the middle of the night to a drain full of soap scum, hair, and food waste. Not to mention the fact that clearing a badly-clogged drain is not anyone’s idea of a fun afternoon!
Keeping your drains clear isn’t something that should be left for a deep clean; it should be a regular part of your home maintenance routine. The good news is that it doesn’t take much to keep your drains flowing well. You simply need to be careful about what you put down the drains and periodically add some kind of cleaning substance to your sinks to break down any unwanted materials.
Bathroom and kitchen drains tend to get blocked by hair, soap scum, crumbs, and other debris that struggles to flow away with water. But you can help prevent this by placing basket strainers in your drains, and using them regularly.
For stubborn clogs, you can try pouring a mix of baking soda and vinegar down the drain to help break down the gunk that’s stuck in your pipes. To do this, first pour half a cup of baking soda into the drain. Then, pour a cup of vinegar on top of the baking soda. Next, let this mixture sit for around 15 minutes and then pour boiling hot water down the drain. This method is typically more effective than chemical drain cleaners, which often damage your pipes rather than breaking down the blockage that’s causing your plumbing problems.
Of course, you should also make sure to use a garbage disposal when possible instead of just throwing food scraps and other debris down the drain. And always be careful about what you flush down your toilets, too. Flushing any non-dissolvable materials like tampons, paper towels, and coffee grounds can lead to serious plumbing issues down the line. By following these tips, you can avoid the need for costly drain cleaning services and keep your home looking its best.