Simple DIY Plumbing Tricks
Whether you’re proudly “handy” or you’re just trying to save some cash, there’s plenty of reason to take on some plumbing projects yourself. But before you begin, it’s useful to know some tricks of the trade that will make your work all the easier. We’ve drawn up a list of our top tips to help you when you’re in a DIY plumbing pinch.
Bring in the Shop Vac for Tough Clogs
If you have a shop vac, it might become your best new plumbing assistant. Shop vacs are highly effective at removing stubborn clogs from sink drains and even toilets. This is especially true when you are trying to dislodge and retrieve hard items, such as watches, wedding rings, children’s toys, or toothbrushes.
Cut the Stuck Parts with a Hacksaw
Pipe joints, shutoffs, bolts, and other parts are prone to getting stuck in place. Metal components are particularly susceptible, since they tend to build up rust. But if you’ve got a hacksaw or oscillating tool handy, you can simply cut through these parts to loosen and remove them.
Loosen Stuck PVC Pipes with a Hair Dryer
If you’ve got PVC pipes that you just can’t seem to budge, applying a little heat can loosen things up. Grab a blow dryer and warm up the stuck fitting for a few minutes. Then, try unscrewing the pipe once again. You may need as many as 5 minutes depending on the ambient temperature. This trick is also useful when you need to quickly thaw a frozen pipe.
Get Tight Seals with Thread Sealant Paste
Tape and fiber may be a traditional threading solution, but you’ll get the best results when you use a thread sealant paste (also known as “dope”). It’s recommended that you use a paste that doesn’t harden entirely, as this will give helpful flexibility when the time comes for repairs or removals.
Prevent Valve Handle Snags with Pipe Insulation
Whether it's a spray nozzle hose or the myriad of items stuffed under your sink, it’s easy for different things to get caught on the valve handles of pipes. If this is a recurring problem, you can end the annoyance by covering the valve handles with foam tube pipe insulation. Make sure you use long enough sections to go well past the valves. This will create a continuously smooth surface that items won’t catch onto.
Use More Pipe Insulation to Quiet Creaky Pipes
Those foam insulation tubes are also highly effective at silencing noisy pipes. This problem usually occurs when the pipes move abruptly in response to strong water flow or heat. Adding padding around the pipes can prevent such abrupt movement and cushion any impact of the pipe hitting surrounding surfaces.
Don’t forget to apply foam to the anchoring locations, as these can often be the source of much of the noise. You may need to use some extra effort to stuff the insulation into the area between the pipes and anchors, but that snug fit will keep your pipes silent from here on out.
When it’s Time to Call in the Experts, Call Hamm and Sons
Unfortunately, not every plumbing problem can be a DIY fix. If you’re not certain what to do or you’ve hit the ceiling on your capabilities, there’s no need to stress. Our experts are ready to offer professional assistance ASAP.