DIY Plumbing Projects you can Do During Quarantine
Let’s get started!
Shut Off Your Water
If you have never done any DIY plumbing projects before you may need some instruction on how to turn of water to your home. Since this is an essential step for a lot of plumbing projects we need to start here. First figure out where the main water line enters your home. This is often in the basement, crawlspace, utility room, garage, or even your yard. There is a handle (often red or blue) that you use to shut off the flow of water. When water is flowing, the handle, if circular, is open completely counterclockwise or, if it’s a ball valve, is parallel to the pipe. To turn the water off, all you have to do is turn the circular handle clockwise until you can’t turn it anymore or, if it’s a ball valve, turn it perpendicular to the pipe. Remember to turn the handle back once the project is over.
Replace Your Faucets or Showerhead
If it is time to replace your fixtures and you have bought a new faucet now is the time to change it. You will have to get under the sink to find where the water lines are going and shut off the water. You will have to loosen two sets of nuts to get the old faucet out. One holds the waterline the other hold the faucet to the sink. Once those nuts are off you lift the old faucet out and set the new one in place. The nuts for the new faucet need to be secured. First securing the faucet to the sink then the water lines to the faucet.
Changing your showerhead can be a DIY plumbing project, also. Loosen old showerhead with a wrench by turning it counterclockwise. Once the old head is off, discard it and dry the arm. Apply Teflon tape to threads with a tight seal and screw new head into place. Tighten the head all the way with a wrench and check for leaks.
If you don’t need to change the faucet but notice the water in your sink is flowing poorly you may want to change the aerators. This is a common issue, but once you unscrew your old aerator you should hold onto it and bring it to the store with you when you go to replace it. The new aerator needs to be identically sized and configured in order to work with your faucet. The aerators can unscrew by hand or with a wrench.
Caulk Tub or Shower
Luckily hardware stores are still open and while painting your house seems to be a popular activity re-caulking your tub or shower may be a better use of your time. You will need to get silicone or acrylic latex caulk, plastic razor blades and painters’ tape from the hardware store. First you need to thoroughly remove the old caulk with the plastic razor blades. Ensure the area is dry and use painters’ tape as a guide for new caulk and follow the instructions on the caulking tube. Use a damp rag to smooth out caulk after application and remove any access. Wait for the caulk to cure for 24 hours and the job is complete.
Clean Your Drains
This may be the time you need to finally give your drains some TLC. Wash them out with some things you most likely already have at home (no unnecessary trips to the store). Pour baking soda down the drain in your sinks and bathtubs then follow it up with vinegar. Let the solution sit for at least 5 minutes to dissolve any build up. Wash the solution and buildup through your pipes with hot water. If you have a garbage disposal at home another thing you can do is run ice cubes and salt through it to clean the blades.
Fix a Running Toilet
This one may be more of a challenge than any of our previous DIY plumbing projects. If your toilet is running constantly it may be a fix that you can do yourself. First turn off water to your toilet, flush, and look in the tank. If the valve is visibly in a state of decline you will need to buy a new one. You can see if you can install these yourself following the manufacturer’s instructions or call a plumber if you don’t feel comfortable. If the chain that pulls the flapper is too long or short, it can cause a problem as well. When it is too long you can adjust it with wire cutters. If the flapper is dirty it may also be a good idea to clean it with vinegar.
You can fix float problems as well. If your toilet tank overfills to the overflow tube, then the water levels are too high. The best way to fix this is turning the floats adjustment screw counterclockwise until the water level is about an inch below the overflow tube.
While we are on the topic of plumbing health, we are also aware that toilet paper may be hard to come by these days, but we would like to add a friendly reminder not to flush anything other than TP down the toilet. Kleenex, baby wipes, and paper towels that may seem like good alternatives are bad for your plumbing.
If you are uncomfortable with doing these DIY plumbing projects yourself, we are still available at Valley Fire Protection and Plumbing to safely help with your plumbing needs. Our plumbers are equipped with personal protective equipment and are ready to take on the task. Give us a call, and we can get these projects completed!