Basic Plumbing Tips Homeowners should know before Hiring a Plumber

Mar 12, 2021

If you’re facing a plumbing emergency such as a burst pipe, a leak, or issues with your boiler, then calling a plumber is not really an option but rather a necessity. With their years of expertise and specialist training, they are best suited to resolve serious issues. That said, it is often possible to prevent many plumbing issues from escalating to a point where they become emergencies by taking consistent care of taps, drains and pipes and knowing how to fix small issues as and when they arise.  

While everyone’s plumbing system and general skill level in regard to DIY may be different, there are a few universal home plumbing tips that can ensure a longer life for your pipes, boiler, etc. Below, we’ve handpicked 5 top plumbing tips for homeowners that can keep your plumbing in great shape.  

No Grease down the Drain 

While it may feel easy to simply get rid of cooking residue, especially oil or grease, directly down the drain, this simple action could cause untold damage to your plumbing system. When the grease cools it dries down and hardens which can create blockages in your piping system that are incredibly difficult to budge. Save yourself the long-term hassle and opt for disposing of grease in a container that can be thrown in the bin instead.  

Protect Your Drains from Debris 

When it comes to food solids in the kitchen or hair in the bathroom, it may not be as easy to prevent them from going down the drain in the course of using a sink or shower as it is when it comes to food grease and oil. The best way to prevent debris that may customarily end up in the drain from clogging the drain is to use drain screens. These metal or plastic tools are specifically constructed to catch any solids. It also allows the user to pick up the screen and empty it of soggy food or hair rather than touching the waste itself.   

Unclogging toilets and sinks 

If you find that your sink is constantly draining incredibly slowly, this is most likely the result of a blockage further down the pipe. In order to protect your kitchen or bathroom pipes and ensure they don’t become damaged or cracked, there are a few steps you can take. Drain cleaner is of course the most straightforward solution but if it doesn’t seem to work or you don’t have any on hand, half a cup each of baking soda and vinegar can also help dislodge most blockages.  

If all else fails, you can attempt to shift the mass clogging your drain by unscrewing the p-trap section of the pipe underneath the sink. This is the easily recognizable U-shaped pipe. To ensure that you’ve turned off the water supply to the sink before you attempt anything, then place a bucket underneath the p-trap. Finally, unscrew both sides of the U-shaped pipe and move the clogging culprit out.  

Another related skill that’s important to have is the ability to unclog your toilet. While toilet clogs don’t happen very often when they do the process of resolving the issue can become very stressful very quickly. To prevent having to pay more than is necessary for a consultation and repair and any potential water damage, invest in a toilet plunger (they are larger and sturdier than standard sink plungers). Place the plunger into the hole at the bottom of the toilet and ensure that there is enough water to cover the top of the plunger. Simple thrusting motions are sufficient at this point and should be continued until you can hear the toilet start the flushing process.  

Turning off Water at the Main 

Often, in order to successfully carry out everything from minor to major work on pluming within a home, turning the water supply off at the main is imperative. As a result, it is important to know where your water shut-off valve is in your house and to know how to operate it. Having this knowledge can also help a great deal in preventing flooding and any related water damage. Generally speaking, water shut off valves are located along any outside wall of the house that faces the street.  

Checking for Concealed Leaks 

There is an easy way to check for potential water leaks before they are visible and have thus already begun damaging your home.  

Ensure that you have a stretch of time, anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes, and turn off your water supply completely. Locate your water meter and note down the values, then wait for the allotted time without turning the water supply back on. If the numbers on the water meter have changed in value within the 15-to-30-minute window, then it is likely that there is a leak somewhere in the system. If it is not one that is easily identifiable, such as a toilet running constantly, then you may need to consult a plumber.  

What to Keep in Mind When You Do Hire a Plumber 

On top of the tips for plumbing listed above, it is also important to consider what to watch out for before hiring a plumber if doing so is inevitable. There are three main questions to ask that can ensure that, as a homeowner, you have peace of mind about the work being carried out on your plumbing systems.

Check Licence and/or insurance 

One of the first things to check before hiring a plumber or working with a plumbing company is that they are licenced, bonded and insured. Not only is this the law in most countries, but it also protects you as the homeowner and consumer from paying extra to resolve any accidents or repair a job done in bad faith.  

Ask about Warranty 

Ensure that your plumber offers some kind of guarantee for the work provided as part of their written agreement offer. This should mention that work will be completed well and in a timely manner. It also assures that you’re not left without any options if something goes wrong.   

Request References 

Consider requesting references from sole traders or independent plumbers, or at the very least checking reviews on reputable independent websites. If their work is high quality and dependable, there is also usually a wealth of positive feedback evidencing that.  

Final Word 

We hope these tips have been helpful, but do not hesitate to rely on professional plumbing services if you ever feel overwhelmed by any plumbing issues or if they are a serious emergency. For more information about plumbing, visit our homepage 

Reference video: Got2Learn