DIY Plumbing Tips from Roto-Rooter
Some plumbing jobs are best left to the professionals, but our DIY plumbing videos can show you how to tackle projects that are safe for the weekend warriors and do-it-yourselfers among us. Watch as we give you our best plumbing tips for the care and maintenance of your home's systems. If you run into problems or just need the help of a professional, we'll be there. With regularly scheduled appointments and 24/7 emergency services, our team makes getting your project completed easy and can lend a hand when things go awry.
When it comes to home maintenance and repairs, many homeowners are saving money by doing some things for themselves. Roto-Rooter is America's largest plumbing repair company so we've seen homeowners do some pretty impressive DIY work, but we've also seen some dangerous results too. Some plumbing jobs will always require a professional if you want it done right. But here are some do-it-yourself plumbing tips that most folks can do on their own. Many tub and shower drains experience frequent clogs. Most backups are caused by hair. You can prevent hair clogs by placing a catch screen over the drain. Many attach with suction cups, and will stop hair strands from going down the drain. If you don't use a shower strainer, we recommend cleaning the drain monthly. First, put on some rubber gloves. Next, remove the drain cover, then straighten a wire coat hanger and bend the end into a small hook. Push it down into the shower drain several inches, then twist it around so it can grab any hair clogs. Pull it out and remove the hair into a trash can. Repeat the process going deeper each time and adjusting the size of your hook. Be sure to hang on tightly to the hanger so that it doesn't get stuck in the drain. Next, run some water down the drain to see if it's draining quickly. Then, repeat the entire process again. Once you're satisfied you've retrieved most of the hair, treat with a safe, enzyme promoting, drain maintenance product, like Roto-Rooter Pipe Shield. You may have noticed your old shower head has some clogged jets and a layer of white mineral buildup around its face. This will occur over time especially in areas with hard water. There's an easy way to clean away these deposits and restore full, even flow to your showers. Remove the shower head using a pair of Channellock pliers. Place an old rag or some electrical tape between the lock nut and the pliers to protect the shower head's metal finish. Turn counter-clockwise to loosen the head, then use your hand to remove it the rest of the way. Soak the shower head overnight in a bowl of vinegar, then brush away any residual minerals with an old brush. If your shower head is stuck or you just don't want to remove it, you can pour some vinegar into a plastic baggie, then fit it over the shower head using a bread bag tie or rubber band to hold it in place. The vinegar will dissolve most of the lime and minerals if left in place overnight. Have you ever tried to turn off the water to a sink or toilet only to find that the shutoff valve seems stuck in place? This happens when the rubber seat inside the valve dries out or becomes coated with lime and minerals. It's a good idea to exercise these valves a couple times a year by moving the faucet handle back and forth so it will move freely and easily in any emergency that requires that the water be turned off. But if the valve won't budge, be careful. Forcing it counterclockwise could break the valve if it's already open all the way. Use a pair of Channellock pliers to slowly move the valve in the clockwise direction at least a half-turn. Then carefully move it back in the counter-clockwise direction. Remember, lefty-loosey and righty-tighty. Repeat the process, moving it a bit more each time until the valve seat loosens and turns with less effort. If the valve's chrome handle starts to spin freely, use a screwdriver to tighten the setscrew to hold it in place, then try moving the valve handle again. It's a good idea for every member of the family to know where the main water shut-off valve is located in case you need to turn off the water supply to the house in an emergency. In the kitchen, many homeowners complain about unpleasant odors coming from kitchen sink drains. Food particles trapped in the disposer are the most likely cause. Run the water, then turn on the disposer. Pour in some ice cubes with half a cup of baking soda or lemon juice to eliminate most odors. Some leaks beneath kitchen sinks are caused by a loose connection on the sprayer handle. A simple twist to tighten it might be all that's required to stop the leak. More serious leaks around the base of the faucet probably require a rebuild kit containing new O-rings from the faucet manufacturer. Finally, if you're taking on do-it-yourself plumbing problems around the house, don't get in over your head. Know your limits and be careful. Some plumbing problems are best left to the pros. Remember, an experienced Roto-Rooter professional is just a click or call away. [Roto-Rooter jingle]