Plumbing never breaks at a convenient time. Typically, a problem will occur in the middle of the night or when it is time to go to work or an appointment. Calling out a plumber in an emergency can be an expensive proposition that can be avoided with the purchase and knowledge of a few simple tools.
Every home should be equipped with a plunger, or a ‘plumber’s friend’. It is a rubber cup on a stick that can be used to unclog toilets or sinks by anyone, regardless of how handy they may or may not be. Toilets can easily become clogged with too much toilet paper. This is a situation that can be quickly and easily rectified with a plunger. In the toilet, place the rubber cup over the hole at the bottom of the bowl. Use the stick to push the rubber cup up and down. This causes the water in the trap under toilet to move back and forth and to loosen the clog. This method will remedy almost every clogged toilet. There typically is no need to call a plumber.
Sinks can be plunged as well; however, the clogs in the sinks are typically formed by hair or other small items that can create more of a blockage than a typical toilet paper clog. If the plunger does not work in the sink, a liquid drain cleaner will usually remedy the situation. Liquid drain cleaners are sold in most hardware and large general retail centers. The liquid attacks the clog and eats away the material that is causing the blockage. It is very easy to use. Simply pour the liquid into the clogged drain and wait a specified time. Sometimes it will take multiple applications to unclog the most stubborn blockages.
Most homeowner’s worst nightmare is discovering a busted pipe or valve, and to have water spilling into the house. While this is a very unlikely situation, it is a good idea to have a plan of attack if it ever occurs. The most important thing to do in the case of a busted water pipe is to shut off the water supply to the house. This is accomplished at the water meter or water shut off valve located outside. Everyone should locate the shut off valve to the house soon after moving in so that they know where to go in the case of an emergency. Additionally, some valves require a key in order to turn them. These keys can be purchased at hardware stores. The key should be kept in a convenient place that is quickly accessible.
One more common issue in plumbing is the loss of an item into the drain of the sink. Rings in particular can quickly fall into the sink and disappear into the drain. There is a trap located just below that drain that will capture the item that is dropped. A pipe wrench is all that is needed to remove the trap and recover whatever was lost. There is a nut on either end of the trap that has to be removed. Once they are removed, the trap will come off.
Knowing how to remedy some simple plumbing issues can save precious time and money in the case of an emergency. Homeowner’s should be sure to purchase these few tools so that they are ready in the case that they are needed at a moment’s notice.