Clogged sinks and leaky faucets are two of the most common reasons people call plumbers.
All plumbing systems—even the best-maintained ones—eventually develop clogs; there is no way to avoid this. Clogged systems can affect your kitchen sink, the bathroom’s toilet and bathtub and floor draining. The best way to deal with a plumbing problem is to have a plumbing professional do what they do best, but many feel they must try something before calling an emergency plumber. Here’s a few things that you can try if you love doing things yourself!
Before calling your plumber, investigate and troubleshoot the clogged plumbing system yourself. The first resource you can try for any clogged sink is a plunger, as plungers can usually clear clogs from fixtures, such as sinks, tubs and toilets. To unplug a minor sink clog with a plunger, partially fill the sink up with water, and then start plunging. “Pop” the plunger several times, forcibly, before pulling it off of the drain opening. If your sink has double drains, be sure to use a wet rag to stuff the drain that you are not plunging.
To dislodge clogs that are stuck further down a drainpipe, you’ll need a “plumber’s snake” or a cable auger, which is a flexible steel cable fitted with a hand crank. Plumbers also use what is called a “closet auger,” which also dislodges more difficult clogs. An electric power auger can be used for larger clogs; this is essentially a large electric power auger.
Leaky faucets are also a common reason why customers call their local plumber. Before calling a plumber, several things can be done to try to fix a leaky faucet. As you start, be sure to shut off the water as best as you can. Close the sink drain as well by covering it up with a rag. This is done so that parts of the sink do not fall into the drain hole. Be sure to establish a convenient place to lay out the parts of the faucet as you fix it. Also, before you start to take apart the faucet, you’ll need to know what type of faucet you’re dealing with (compression, cartridge, ceramic disk and ball type). For each type of sink, you’ll need to pry off the handle’s decorative cap, remove the handle screw and pull off the handle. You’ll also need a wrench to unscrew the packing nut. You’ll see that most leaky faucets need new seat washers, as well as the “O-ring.” After unscrewing the stem of the faucet, you’ll remove and replace the seat washer, which is usually held in place by a brass screw. You’ll also need to pop the stem out of the packing nut and replace the O-ring, which range in size from 3/8 to 5/8 inches.