A working water supply is something we all take for granted, so when it fails, it can be incredibly stressful. Not only that, but the problem can have a severe impact on your finances!
Luckily, there are things you can try before you concede to handing the majority of your month’s payslip over to the local plumber. In this article, we take a look at the ways to tackle piping problems yourself — and when you really should call a plumber instead.
Try — Blasting blocked drains yourself
Blocked drains don’t always need professional attention. Sometimes, they just need powerful care. With a little hard work, a pair of rubber gloves, and a strong one shot drain cleaner, you can usually take care of a blocked pipe without needing to ring for a plumber.
Sometimes, you don’t even need chemicals! Your first port of call should be trusty hot water. If your toilet or sinks are blocked, pour some boiling water down it to see if that is enough to loosen the blockage.
Try — Checking online for quick-fixes (if safe to do so!)
For something like an overflowing toilet, you might not need a plumber even if you’re not immediately sure what to do. If the problem isn’t causing any major or immediate threat, take a moment to look online for guides on how to fix common plumbing problems:
- Low water pressure can be caused by a calcium build-up on the aerator. Look up how to clean an aerator and you may avoid needing to call out a professional!
- A running toilet is a common issue that has a number of causes. By reading up on the basics of how a toilet works, you should be able to figure out the problem and whether or not it needs an expert hand to solve. If a valve isn’t broken, you might be in luck and be able to fix it on your own! Learn how to check the fill tube, adjust the fill height, adjust the flush handle, and replace the flapper, and you’ll be able to deal with the majority of causes of a running toilet.
- A small leaking pipe joint can be fixed with some plumber’s repair putty! This product hardens quickly, but once it does, it can stop a leak permanently.
- A leaky faucet can be repaired with a little know-how. According to Family Handyman, the majority of the issue is finding the replacement parts — the rest is simple, and it could save you a lot of money to learn how to do these basic plumbing fixes on your own.
If all else fails…
These tips may help you avoid a costly call-out. But of course, your safety is paramount. If you notice any of the following, it’s time to call a professional:
- Sudden, major flooding. You first port of call is to shut off the main water supply if a pipe has burst badly enough to cause rapid flooding.
- If there’s no running water in your whole house. This is a rare problem, as water outages tend to be localised. But if you find your whole house is without water, it’s best to call a plumber as soon as possible!
- If you smell natural gas. This one is a major red flag. If it’s not a simple case of a gas hob being left on, act fast. Open the windows and doors of your house and call a plumber. If the smell is close to your gas meter, call your gas company directly.
Plumbing problems can be a huge pain. But there are things you can do to try and solve the problem yourself. Or, at the very least, waiting until normal working hours (if it is safe to do so) to call out the plumber can provide notable savings compared to an emergency call-out.