When your home’s pipes and water supply begin to show signs of wear and tear, it can be quite an ordeal to repair them. Even worse, it’tends to be a recurring problem that drains your patience and sanity. To compound matters, plumbing has its share of idiosyncrasies that can make things even more difficult. For example, copper pipes make for much sturdier and long-lasting fixtures but are also more difficult to bend and join together; cast iron pipes are a lot heavier but are also more durable than their galvanized counterparts; and plastic pipes are great for indoor use but don't offer the same lifespan as their counterparts. In situations like these, it might feel like there’s no hope left—that you're destined to live with a plumbing headache for the rest of your life. But don’t despair just yet! These tricks will help you get past that initial hurdle and start enjoying a more peaceful, unclogged life from here on out.

Check for leaks before you call for repair services.

The first step to solving any plumbing issue is to identify where the problem is coming from. One of the easiest ways to do this is by checking for leaks. Leaks are especially problematic during the winter months, as they can make the whole house feel like it's perpetually damp. Fortunately, they're also fairly easy to fix: if you have a toilet or a sink that's leaking, you can usually fix it by replacing the rubber washer found underneath the bolts that hold the tank or the faucet to the wall. If you have any pipes that are leaking, it's usually a sign that they're corroded and need to be replaced.

Schedule regular maintenance appointments.

As with many things in life, it's not enough to just own the things we own. We also need to make sure they're in good working order and will last for as long as possible. Fortunately, plumbing is one area where you can see the benefits of regular maintenance. You should be taking care of your plumbing on a yearly basis, and your plumber can help you decide what you need to be doing at any given time. If you have a home with a septic tank, you should be taking care of it more frequently: every two to three months. If you have a city-issued water supply, though, you can probably get away with once every six months or so. It doesn't matter what your situation is, though: regardless of whether you have a private well, a city water supply, or a septic tank, you should be scheduling maintenance appointments with your plumber at least once a year.

Go with the cheaper option.

Whether you're replacing a section of pipe or installing a new faucet, you'll want to go with the cheaper option whenever possible. Why? Because you don't want to end up spending more than you need to on your plumbing projects. That's especially important if you're on a budget and need to install a new water line or repiping a house. If you can't afford to do it right, don't do it at all. If you're not sure what's the best option for you, speak to a plumbing professional.

Utilize the right tools for the job.

There's a reason why so many tools are designed with the plumbing industry in mind. While they might not be as exciting as some of the tools out there for other trades, they're incredibly useful when it comes to fixing your pipes. Some of the most important tools to have on hand during a plumbing emergency include a wrench, pipe cutter, and a utility knife. A wrench is essential for tightening and loosening fittings, a pipe cutter is a must for cutting through PVC pipes, and a utility knife is great for slicing through various types of caulk. You'll also want to have a bucket, a sponge, and a pumice stone on hand to clean out your drains. And if you can afford it, you should probably invest in a tripod-style plumbing snake.

Bottom line

As you can see, there are plenty of tricks for dealing with plumbing issues that go beyond "just call the plumber." While you'll want to always seek professional help for serious issues, there are plenty of things you can do on your own to smooth out the bumps and make the most out of your plumbing. With these tips, you'll be able to tackle any plumbing problem with ease and get your home back up and running quickly and efficiently.

Frequently Asked Question

  • Keeping the Water On During an Emergency
  • Overusing Drain Cleaners
  • Fixing Plumbing Issues on Your Own
  • Ignoring a Plumbing Issue
  • Using a Handyman Instead of a Licensed Plumber
  • Turning Off Your Heater in the Winter
  • Not Scheduling Plumbing Service
  • Have the Right Tools for the Job
  • Turn off All Water Before You Start
  • Use Natural Methods to Unclog Your Drains
  • Don't Put Trash in Your Garbage Disposal
  • Don't Overtighten Plumbing Connections
  • Don't Hesitate to Call for Help
Maintenance may also include inspection of your garbage disposal lines (and unit), dishwasher, and washing machine hoses and lines. Maintenance sometimes consists of a drain and flush of the water heater. If you've purchased a plumbing maintenance plan, read the fine print and always ask for clarification.
  • Over Tightening Plumbing Connections
  • Using Inappropriate Tape or Wrapping a Thread Tape Backwards
  • Using Drain Line Cleaners as the First Option
  • Handling Plumbing Jobs without the Necessary Spare Parts
  • Failing to Turn Off Water
  • Using Excessive Force on Valves Stuck on Shut Off