What you need to know before calling a plumber

Plumbing trouble can sometimes be a symptom of a serious issue. But, in other instances, no water from the tap might just be because of a water valve that's shut off or a plugged faucet aerator. Here's what you need to know before calling a plumber.

What you need to know before calling a plumber

Your toilet is not a garbage can

  • Toilets are designed to flush away waste and toilet paper - nothing else.
  • Flushing down anything plastic like dental floss holders will likely lead to a clog that you could never unplug with a plunger.
  • Thankfully, you can avoid that sort of impossible clog if you just keep trash like floss holders in the trash can.

Low water pressure at the faucet?

  • Over time, your faucet's aerators get clogged with minerals or other bits of stuff that break loose from the inside of the pipes.
  • To remove an aerator, turn it clockwise when you're looking down on it.
  • You may have to grip it with pliers to unscrew it.
  • Once the aerator's off, you can take it apart and clean the pieces, but it's usually better to simply replace it.
  • When you go shopping for a new aerator be sure to take the old one along so you can find an exact thread match.

Got a leak?

  • Leaks are one of the most common complaints plumbers get.
  • Valves are one of the main culprits because they have moving parts and seals that can wear out.
  • The next time you see a suspicious puddle of water, look for a leaky valve before you call the plumber.
  • If you find that a leaky valve is the culprit, check to see if water is leaking out around the valve stem.
  • If it is, try turning the valve's packing nut (the nut right below the valve handle) about an eighth-turn with a wrench.
  • You'll know if you over-tighten the nut because the valve will be hard to turn. If tightening the nut doesn't stop the leak, the fix is a little tougher.
  • First, shut off your main water valve.
  • Then, remove the leaky valve's handle and nut and add to or replace the valve's packing material.
  • Now the valve shouldn't be leaking any more.

The next time you have a plumbing emergency, give these fixes a try and you might just be able to save some money and your plumber's time.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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