Some serious plumbing problems may require a plumber, but others can be solved by the homeowner. The problem is that many homeowners lack basic plumbing knowledge. Because of this, they may call the plumber for simple things, such as shutting off the main water valve to the home.
A homeowner should be familiar with DIY plumbing in order to stop leaks and make other simple repairs. Here are a few basic skills to master in order to save money on unnecessary plumbing fixes:
- Turn off the water in the house – A homeowner should be familiar with the location of the main water shutoff valve. It is usually found where the water meter is, typically buried in the ground near the street curb with a concrete cover. Others may be located on the side of the house. If you are unable to find where the shutoff valve is, the utility company can give you its location.
- Turn off the water for plumbing fixtures – You may not need to turn off the main water valve if you are only working on plumbing fixtures such as the kitchen sink or the toilet. There is usually a valve below the fixture which you can turn off by turning it clockwise. If you cannot find a shutoff valve for a fixture, such as a bathtub, you may have to shut off the water supply to the house.
- Turn off the water heater – Knowing how to turn off your water heater will be important in the event of overheating or a leak. If you are using a gas water heater, turn the gas supply knob to the off position. For an electric water heater, flip the circuit breaker or remove the fuse that powers the water heater. If you need to turn off the supply to the water heater, engage the cold water pipe shutoff valve.
- Fix a leaky pipe – You can fix a leaky pipe with epoxy putty or a pipe repair clamp, depending on the type of plumbing pipe you have and the extent of the damage. To repair using epoxy putty, establish the location of the leak, and turn off the water supply to that pipe. With a paper towel, dry the pipe to be fixed. Knead the two parts of the epoxy putty together, and apply the putty around the pipe. Allow the putty to set before enabling the water supply again. When using pipe repair clamps, follow the same procedure, but instead of applying the epoxy putty, place the repair clamp around the pipe and tighten the screws. The rubber gasket on the clamp will prevent the leak. Turn the water supply back on and check for leaks.
These are just a few of the basic plumbing repairs you can do at home. It never hurts to try, but if you do find yourself unable to fix a problem, don’t hesitate to get professional help.