Plumbing is complicated work but also something that every person should understand to some extent. After all, you don’t need to call an expert plumber every single time your toilet is clogged. Some things are best left to the professionals, but other, smaller plumbing jobs should be something you can totally handle yourself. Here are 3 common plumbing problems everyone should know how to fix.

But before we get to the list, there are some questions you should ask yourself before you go ahead and take a wrench to your sink. Answer these questions honestly for every job and you’ll save yourself a lot of time, money, and hassle.

1. Am I qualified?
There’s a difference between a clogged sink and installing a new one altogether. If it seems complicated and you don’t quite understand, call a professional.

2. How much time do I have? Many people don’t think about their own time when assessing a job. If you were to pay yourself for the job, how much money would you be willing to spend at your hourly rate. If it seems too much, call a professional. They will get it done faster and there’s little chance of them messing the whole thing up halfway through and not realizing for three hours.

3. Do I have the tools? Tools, especially plumbing tools, are expensive. If you have them, great, if not, get on the phone to someone who does.

Okay, now for the common plumbing problems:

Learn To Unclog A Toilet

It’s not a surprise why toilet’s get clogged, but the job of cleaning them can be either very simple or very difficult.

First off, you should know how a toilet works on the inside, so take off the lid and familiarize yourself with its mechanisms. In most classic toilets you’ll find the handle connects to a chain which pulls up a stopper allowing water to flow down into the bowl, and thus flushing the toilet. There is usually also a floater which controls the flow of water into the tank, as the floater rises the flow of water is cut off. Understanding how a toilet works can save you may save you from overflows at some point in the future.

How do you use a plunger?

First, make sure there is a some water in the bowl. The plunger is going to be pushing and pulling water in what is basically a hydraulic manner to put pressure on the blockage, hopefully dislodging it. No water in your bowl means no way to transfer the force you’re putting into the plunger into the clog.

  1. Grab your plunger. If you have a classic plunger where the the flange folds inwards make sure you carefully unfold it over the toilet, ensuring any old nasty water doesn’t slosh out onto you or any of your belongings. Did you get old plunger water on your hand? Better wash them and/or get busy with the hand sanitizer.
  2. Insert plunger into toilet. You’ll want to make sure the plunger is secure with the trap opening in the bottom of the bowl (the hole that everything is flushed down).
  3. Press down, fully engaging the plunger. Put some muscle into the actual plunging process and make sure that you follow throw fully compressing the plunger. If you don’t have your heart in it you won’t stand a chance at clearing most common blockages.
  4. Repeat until the you can hear the water drain. If you’ve done everything properly and the blockage isn’t too bad you’ll know when you’ve cleared it. Give the toilet a flush afterwards and refill the bowl, use this new water to rinse off your plunger before returning it to it’s home.

If you’re not able to easily clear the blockage we highly recommend calling the best plumbers in Toronto to help solve your issues.

How to Shut Off The Water

This is essential. If something does go wrong with your plumbing, you need to be able to turn the water off entirely, and fast. Find your water shutoff valve (or valves) and, every once in a while, make sure they’re working just fine. Water shutoff valves are usually located near your water meter, but the more localized ones will be located nearer to their appliances. Some things, like bathtubs and showers, may not have them, another factor to keep in mind.

Fix Your Clogged Garbage Disposal

This is a common problem that most people don’t know how to fix outside of running it longer. Most garbage disposal units come with a key to open the unit and clean it out, some need an Allen wrench. Either way, make sure the thing won’t be turning on while you’re cleaning it out and see what the problem is. But I will emphasize this again: ensure the garbage disposal unit is either turned off completely or won’t be turning on while you are working.

There you have it. With these three common plumbing problems, you can do some plumbing work yourself. Of course, there are plenty of plumbing problems that you should leave to the pros. But if you ask yourself these questions and have a little know-how about plumbing, you can save yourself time and money.

Andrew Olexiuk - Your Toronto Plumbing Expert
Andrew Olexiuk - Your Toronto Plumbing Expert
Andrew has over 20 years of experience as a plumbing contractor. He is co-owner and operator of Absolute Draining & Plumbing, a professional plumbing company serving residential & commercial properties across the Toronto, Ontario region.
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