Plumbing Tips and Tricks

Plumbing tips and tricks by Woodard Cleaning & Restoration in St. Louis, Mo.

When was the last time you had the tools, skills, or knowledge to handle a plumbing problem in your home? Don’t worry, most homeowners are totally clueless about plumbing and electrical issues. You might be thinking to yourself, “Why do I need to learn this when I can simply call a professional to handle the job?” While calling a professional is never a bad idea, there are several plumbing projects that can be easily handled without the help (or cost) of a professional. To help you with this, we have compiled a list of plumbing tips and tricks that you can use yourself.

Emergency Kit for At-Home Plumbers

Before you can tackle a plumbing project, you must first build your collection of plumbing tools. If you’re already pretty handy, you’ve probably got most of these items laying around your house right now. Create an emergency plumbing kit today, so that tomorrow’s clogged drain or leaky pipe is a quick fix.
  • Five Gallon Bucket - If a leak springs mid-project, you’ve got a dual-purpose tool holder/water catcher. You may also attach a tool caddy to the side of the bucket so that everything remains dry and organized.
  • Standard Cup PlungerIdeal for small drains, including bath tubs, showers, and bathroom sinks.
  • Forced Cup PlungerFeaturing a funnel, these plungers are used to apply that extra bit of force to clogged drains and toilets.
  • Medium-Sized Slip Joint Pliers & an Adjustable Wrench
  • Multi-Bit Screwdriver
  • Set of Allen Keys
  • Duct, Leak Sealing & Teflon Tapes - These are lifesavers during plumbing emergencies, serving as a quick fix until a more permanent solution is provided.
  • Blind Caps
  • Highly-Absorbent Paper Towels & Rags

Emergency Plumbing Tips & Tricks

Nobody expects you to become a master plumber overnight, but wouldn’t it be nice to know a bit more about the subject? Sure it would! The following plumbing tips and tricks are perfect when you find yourself faced with leaks, clogs, drips, and floods.

  1. Always know where your main water shut-off valve is, and how to turn off your water heater – This could mean the difference between a dry basement, and a basement that suddenly resembles a swimming pool.
  2. Every fixture in your home contains an isolation valve to stop water flow. Once a year, take the time to turn those valves on and off to ensure they are in proper working order.
  3. “Backing Off” is popular plumbing term, but what does it mean? This term is used to define the act of using two wrenches at once, turning in opposite direction.
  4. Slip-joint pliers are great for a variety of plumbing projects, but most commonly used to loosen collar nuts on a drain line.
  5. Broken supply tube causing a leak? No worries! Screw in a blind cap (you should have these in your emergency plumbing kit!) to seal off the leak. Remember, this is only a quick fix until a permanent solution is provided!
  6. Speaking of supply tubes, occasionally, their ferrules become scratched or dented, causing water to leak or drip. Simply wrap a strip of Teflon tape around the area, and you’ll be leak free in a jiffy.  Remember, this is only a quick fix until a permanent solution is provided!
  7. While we are on the subject of quick leak fixes, don’t forget about the wonders of duct tape and sealing tape! Both can be used to pull together cracked pipes. Remember, this is only a quick fix until a permanent solution is provided!
  8. When dealing with a clog in the kitchen sink, use a second plunger to cover the other drain. Why? Well, doing this allows you to build up the maximum amount of force so that the clog breaks free quickly and easily.
  9. When dealing with a bathtub clog, always unscrew the chrome cap to expose the entire drain and clog. Once you’ve done this, plunge the drain, but use a second plunger to plug up any overflow.

Feeling pretty confident in your plumbing skills? We hope so! Remember, some projects are simple enough to handle yourself, in that case use the plumbing tips we've provided for you. However, others require immediate attention from plumbing experts and certified water restoration teams. If you feel a job is too big to tackle on your own, trust your instincts and go with the flow.