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Plumbing Repairs You Can Do Yourself

Plumbing
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While plumbing repairs can be quite complex, there are basic plumbing repairs you can do yourself. Though some common plumbing issues are often handled by do-it-yourselfers, nearly any kind of plumbing job requires having at least some basic tools in your home. Do not, however, take on plumbing repairs if you feel uncomfortable and worried that you might make the situation worse. If you're interested in taking on some less complicated plumbing issues, here are a few that generally can be handled without professional help.

Thaw a frozen pipe. Don't wait until the weather moderates because frozen pipes often develop cracks and leaks. The water in the pipe expanded into ice, creating enough pressure to develop a small crack. Thaw the pipe yourself so you can immediately inspect for and take care of any leaks. The first thing to do for this plumbing repair is to turn on all faucets anywhere near the frozen pipe. Water in any sections that are not frozen could begin to move with the faucets opened and help to break up the frozen section. Use a blow dryer first to warm the pipe enough to melt the ice. If that doesn't work, try a cloth soaked in hot water and wrapped around the pipe. Other possibilities include sun lamps and heating pads that are water resistant. Be ready to turn off the water supply if a leak develops after the pipe is thawed.

Replace a toilet seat. When you purchase the new toilet seat, you will see that it comes with a set of hardware to attach the seat to the toilet. First, you will need to remove the existing seat from your toilet. With the toilet lid down, look to the back edge of the seat and you will see either the top of a pair of nuts and bolts or a decorative assembly covering the hardware. Lift that small decorative piece up and use a screwdriver to unscrew the two bolts securing the toilet seat. At the same time, you may need to hold onto the portion of the bolt that extends through the hole and underneath the toilet. With the bolt and nut are loose, take them out and then remove the seat. Install the new seat by placing the bolt into the hole in the seat and through the toilet, and then screwing the nut tightly onto the bolt.

Plunge a sink clog. First, make sure there is enough water in the sink to cover the top of the cup plunger. Place the plunger directly over the drain and stuff a rag or cloth into the overflow drain -- the opening directly across from the faucet. This will help to create the pressure needed to remove the clog. If the clog is in a kitchen equipped with a double sink, close off the sink that isn't clogged. Plunge quickly but forcefully without allowing the plunger to be removed from the sink drain. You may either notice the water draining, meaning you moved the clog and the pressure forced it down the drain, or you may bring the obstruction far enough up to reach and remove from the sink.

Unclog a toilet. This can be similar to the sink procedure, although you start with a different plunger. Use the flanger or ball plunger, which is designed to work in a toilet, for this plumbing repair. Again, make sure there is enough water to cover up the head of the plunger. If that does not drain the water, you can try a closet auger. This piece of equipment has a turn handle and a snake that is usually 5 to 8 feet long. Place the auger into the toilet and use the handle to advance the snake down into the drain. If you feel resistance, you have made contact with the clog. Continue to turn the handle and then reverse the process and remove the auger. That should cut through the clog and either push the obstruction down the drain or bring it up to the surface on the snake.

Each of these plumbing repairs is an example of common problems that many homeowners can handle themselves.

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