Calling out a plumber to a home plumbing problem is likely something you have had to do on more than one occasional. While some things require a licensed plumber, there are occasions that with a little bit of knowledge, you are able to resolve yourselves (and save your money for when you really need it). We’ve put together some of the most common plumbing problems you may encounter at home with a step by step guide on tips to fixing.

      #1. Unblock a Toilet Without a Plumber

Difficult: Beginner

A blocked toilet is one of the most common plumbing problems, and quite possibly a plumber’s least favourite call to receive. If you find yourself with a clogged toilet at home (or worse – someone else’s home), there is a way you can try and unblock it yourself before calling in a plumber. Note: this will only work if the clog is from toilet paper and organic

Step by Step Guide

  • Stop the water flow. Remove the top of the tank and disconnect the chain to keep the valve closed.
  • Fill a cup with boiling water (if you do not have access to boiling water, get as hot as you can. The hotter the better)
  • Pour the water into the toilet. The heat will help dissolve the block.
  • If this method does not work, try adding a bit of soap to the water first and repeat

      #2. Fixing A Leaking Pipe Under Your Sink

Difficulty: Medium

Is your pipe under your sink leaking at the connection? We have a simple and cost-effective way you can try to stop the leak – before having to call a plumber. All you need is a bucket, plumbers’ tape, and a wrench.

Step by Step Guide

  • Turn off the water at the valve. Note: If you cannot find this under the sink you can turn off the main valve for the home
  • Place the bucket under the connection before proceeding
  • Using the wrench, loosen the pipes and disconnect them
  • Wrap plumbers’ tape around the threads in a clockwise direction
  • Reconnect the pipes. The tape will hold a tighter grip without having to replace the pipes

      #3. Fixing a Leaking Tap

Difficulty: Medium

A dripping or leaking tap can be one of the most common and irritating home plumbing problems to happen. Often left for too long, it can cost you extra on your water bill and usually occurs when the inner parts of your tap are damaged and worn out. Here’s instructions on how to replace worn washers, seals, and O-rings.

Step by Step Guide:

Compression Tap

  • Remove the decorative cap on the tap handles, remove the handle screw and pull off the handle.
  • Use a wrench, remove the packing nut.
  • Once you unscrew the stem, remove, and replace the seal washer that is held in place with a screw.
  • Next, remove the stem from the packing nut and replace the O-ring that is causing the leak.

Ball-Type Tap

  • For this type of tap, we recommend buying a replacement kit with all new parts is best
  • Remove the handle set screw and take off the handles
  • Using pliers, remove the cap and collar then there should be a specific tool in the kit to loosen the tap cam
  • Take off the tap cam, the cam washer and rotating ball
  • Using needle-nose pliers, remove the inlet seals and springs from the inner tap
  • Remove the O-rings and coat the news on in plumbing grease prior to rolling them on
  • Install the new springs, valve seats and cam washers while reassembling the tap

      #4. Unblocking a Sink Drain

Difficulty: Easy

Another very common home plumbing problem but also one of the easiest to fix (well in most cases!). Here is a quick and easy way you can unclog your drain using common pantry items and no harmful chemicals.

Step by Step Guide

  • Carefully pour some baking soda down the blocked drain
  • Immediately after pour vinegar down the drain
  • Cover the drain straight away. The chemical reaction between the baking soda and the vinegar will help loosen the clog and any food stuck in the drain
  • After 10 minutes, remove the cover and pour boiling water down the drain

      #5 Fixing Low Water Pressure in the Shower

Difficulty: Easy

There is nothing worse than hopping into a shower to find low water pressure. What people do not realise is, it is likely caused by an accumulation of scale, not a wide scale problem, and even better, an easy fix.

Step by Step Guide

  • Ensure the water is off then unscrew the shower-head
  • Take out the spray plate and leave it to soak for a few hours in a descaling solution
  • Reattach the plate

      #6. Getting Rid of Foul Smelling or Discoloured Water

Difficulty: Somewhat of a challenge

Do you have rust coloured or water with a bad smell? This can happen due to a build up of minerals in the water heater and/or a degraded anode rod. It is also not a major plumbing problem and we have some tips that may potentially fix the problem without you having to phone a plumber.

Step by Step Guide

  • Turn off the power to your water heater
  • Drain your water heater (this will remove the mineral deposits & the water)
  • Attach your garden hose to the valve at the bottom
  • Turn the value to release the water (Tip: drain the water outside if possible)
  • Look for the hexagon shaped head of the anode rod, located at the top of the heater
  • Using an air compressor, 1-1/16-inch socket, and 1/2-inch drive impact wrench to loosen the rod, then remove the rest by hand. (Tip: If it is stuck in place, use WD-40 to lubricate it first)
  • To replace the anode rod and ensure a good seal, rub teflon pipe thread sealant on the threads first

      #7. Save Money and Water

Difficulty: Easy

We bet this one caught your attention. Who doesn’t appreciate an easy tip to reduce their water bill? A very simple plumbing hack will save your dollars with every flush of the toilet by taking up a bit more space in your toilet tank.

Step by Step Guide

  • Add a full 500ml water bottle to the corner of your toilet tank. Every time you flush, the displacement means less water will be used.

(TIP: Make sure the water bottle stays at the bottom and doesn’t float around as it may get in the way of the flushing mechanism.)

      #8. Clear a Blocked Food Waste Disposal

Difficulty: Easy

You may have thought a blocked or clogged food waste disposal would require a call to the plumber, but in fact most of the time these things you can unblock yourself. A sign that your food waste disposal may be jammed is when it hums but doesn’t grind or stops before you’ve turned it off.

Step By Step Guide

  1. Turn off the power to your food waste disposal
  2. Find the hex-shaped hole at the bottom of the disposal
  3. Use a ¼ inch hex wrench and apply force to move it back and forth several times in both directions
  4. If there is no hex hole, use a short broom stick and put it in to the disposal from the top, pushing it against one of the blades and using it to push the impeller back and forth

       #9. Freshen Your Garbage Disposal

Difficulty: Easy

Does your garbage disposable have a lingering bad smell? There’s a high chance this is coming from rotting food in the pipes. If you encounter this problem, you do not need to call a plumber. Deodorizing garbage disposals can be done with no plumbing experience.

Step by Step Guide

  1. Put some lemon peel along with a few ice cubes down the disposal
  2. Run the disposal for 30 – 40 seconds and add a bit of washing detergent while it’s running. This will harden the remains and make it easier to remove from the blades and the lemon will naturally deodorize.

      #10 Retrieving a Small Item from the Toilet

Difficulty: Easy

That moment when your heart drops and you realise you’ve dropped a precious ring, earring or other small item down the toilet and you can’t see it. Try not to stress, follow our step by step retrieval guide. 

Step By Guide

  1. If you have a wet/ dry vacuum, remove the filter.
  2. Next, add the crevice or attachment with small opening to the hose if you are trying to suck up jewellery.
  3. Place the hose into the toilet at far down the drain as you can go
  4. Turn on the vacuum, you will likely feel or hear when the item is sucked up.

And that folks concludes our round up of DIY plumbing hacks you can do around the house. Please remember to use our tips with caution. Sometimes a home plumbing job can lead to more serious damage, trust us we’ve seen it. If our simple tips don’t work or the problem is out of your skill range please don’t hesitate to call a licensed plumber.

Liquid Plumbing Brisbane offer 24/7 emergency plumbing and service all Brisbane suburbs. We specialise in residential plumbing such as emergencies, general maintenance or installations.

Contact our friendly team on 0413 599 754.