Easy plumbing repairs for your home

If you’re a homeowner, sooner or later you’re likely to end up with a plumbing issue, whether it’s a clogged drain or no hot water. Before you dial a plumber, check out these do-it-yourself plumbing fixes that might just save you a call and some cash.


Clogged kitchen drain. A clogged up kitchen sink is one of the most common plumbing problems. If plunging the drain doesn’t clear the clog, it my be stopped up in the u-shaped pipe, or trap, found under the sink.

It’s relatively easy to check this pipe for clogs and clean it out as necessary. Before doing anything else, place a bucket underneath this u-shaped pipe under the sink to capture the water that has collected around the clog and prevent it from spilling all over. Depending on the type of pipes you have, either use a plumber’s wrench or your hands to loosen the large slip nuts on each end of the pipe.

Once both ends have been loosened entirely, remove the pipe and turn it upside down to let the contents fall into the bucket. Using gloved hands or an old toothbrush, you can clean out any more debris. Do the same for the pipe ends where you removed it. Then, rinse the u-pipe with water and put it back in the place, being sure to tighten the slip nuts. In many cases, this will free the clog. If not, you may need to call a plumber.

Running toilet. Toilets are quite simple in their mechanism and haven’t changed a whole lot over the years. If you’ve got one that seems to always be running and are tired of jiggling the handle, there are easy fixes. Most running toilets can be fixed easily with just a few adjustments or at most, require a quick trip to the plumbing aisle for an inexpensive toilet repair kit.

Take the cover off the tank and examine the float, ball, flapper and chain for signs of wear that are preventing them from moving or sealing correctly. If adjusting the float or chain doesn’t solve the problem, replacing the worn parts using a toilet repair kit should do the trick. Once the worn parts have been replaced with new, adjust the chain and float as necessary.

Lack of hot water. There’s nothing like stepping under the shower head and being greeted with a blast of cold water. If you experience a sudden loss of hot water, it’s most likely the pilot light on your water heater has gone out. Follow the instructions in your water heater owner’s manual on how to relight it.

If instead you get some hot water but it runs out too quickly, it may be time to drain your tank of sediment. If neither of these steps fix the problem, it’s time to call in the professional. Water heaters can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Slow bathroom drain. Loose hair, hair product, soap and other debris can build up over time and cause a bathroom sink to drain slowly. Don some gloves and remove the pop-off drain cover to clean out whatever is blocking the drain pipe.

If you have a plumber’s snake or auger, you can use it to loosen the debris and pull it up. Sometimes you may also need to use a plunger to loosen the clog. Flushing the drain with vinegar and baking soda may help as well, but avoid chemical cleaners which could damage the pipes. If the sink is still draining slowly, you will need to call a plumber.

Inoperable garbage disposal. You might think of your garbage disposal as an appliance that is there to grind up pretty much anything you feed it. But in reality, disposals need to be maintained and used with care. Food items like potato skins and even pasta can quickly render garbage disposals inoperable and clog drains.

It may be necessary to use a hex key, also known as an Allen wrench, to manually turn the disposal blades from the base of the unit and clear what is jamming it. Be sure to flush the drain with water. If you’ve cleared everything from the disposal drain, tried turning the unit with a hex key and hit the reset button, you may need to call in a professional if your disposal still won’t operate.

Lori Weaver About Lori Weaver

Lori Weaver is a writer and licensed real estate agent in Lexington, Ky. With over 25 years’ experience in communications and marketing across a number of business sectors, she provides content marketing, writing and social media services to a variety of B2B and B2C clients, with a focus on real estate., real estate investments and new construction. In her spare time, Lori enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.