7 do it yourself pipe and faucet fixes

July 27, 2015

Some plumbing repairs are quite simple and don't require any plumbing expertise. Here are a few fixes that the average homeowner can tackle without professional help.

7 do it yourself pipe and faucet fixes

1. Replacing a showerhead

Usually this requires just screwing off the old head and screwing in the new one. However, if unscrewing the old showerhead is difficult, then here is what you have to do.

  • Apply penetrating spray (that releases corroded parts) and let it sit for several hours.
  • Use a tape-covered wrench or pliers to protect the finish.
  • Install the new showerhead following the manufacturer's directions.

2. Unclogging a tub with an auger

If a plunger doesn't work, then an auger should get the clog out. Here's how to do it.

  • Remove the cover plate on the overflow hole and pull out the stopper assembly.
  • Feed an auger through the overflow opening.
  • After the clog is removed, let water run down the drain for several minutes.
  • Replace the stopper assembly and cover plate.

3. Adjusting a pop-up stopper

You will need to adjust the stopper if your sink won't hold water, or if the stopper will not lift up high enough.  This is how to do it.

  • Find the set screw on the clevis, which attaches the horizontal pivot rod to the vertical lift rod.
  • Adjust the stopper by loosening the set screw and sliding the clevis up (to lower the stopper) or down (to raise it).
  • When you have found the right position, tighten the set screw.
  • If the stopper doesn't seem to travel up and down far enough, re-position the pivot rod on the clevis.

4. Keeping the aerator clean

The aerator is a cylindrical piece at the end of the spout. If it gets clogged, water pressure from a faucet will be low, or water will squirt out erratically.

  • Wrap tape around it and unscrew it with pliers.
  • Take the small pieces apart and clean them, especially the screen.

5. Working with old parts

Due to mineral deposits or corrosion, some parts may be difficult to remove. Here's what you need to do to make sure you get the work done correctly.

  • Don't force anything.
  • Apply penetrating spray and allow it to sit for a couple of hours before trying again.
  • When taking apart a faucet, always wrap the ends of pliers and wrenches with tape to avoid scratching the faucet's finish.

6. Recognizing pipe leaks

A drip in one place usually indicates a tiny hole or crack in a pipe that needs to be fixed immediately.  Here's how to do it:

  • Shut off water to the pipe.
  • Tighten a pipe repair clamp and put a rubber sleeve over the hole.
  •  Use plumbers' epoxy to temporarily repair a leak at a pipe joint. Wear rubber gloves and mix the two epoxy components together and apply the mixture to the joint.
  • This is only a temporary solution and the pipe will have to be replaced by a professional.

7. Dealing with frozen pipes

  • Turn off water to the affected area and open the nearest faucet.
  • Use a hair dryer to thaw it out, working from the open end of the pipe back to the frozen part.
  • Keep the hair dryer moving and never let the pipe get warmer than your hand can touch.

Following these steps means not having to call in an expensive plumber, saving you money and time.

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