All homes should have a few essential tools to deal with plumbing emergencies in case they happen. Sometimes, all you need is a plunger to dislodge a clog in the drain, or some Teflon tape to temporarily seal a leak before it can be properly checked out and resealed. There are plumbing repairs that you can do yourself, but sometimes more harm than good comes from trying to sort out your plumbing problems with your hands and the trusty Internet. Read on to find out the difference.
1. Dripping taps
It's one thing to deliberately leave your taps dripping – something that's advised during winter to prevent in-pipe freezing – and quite another to endure the irking drip of a tap that refuses to shut completely. Leaking taps not only waste water, they will also get worse over time, leaving you with a tap valve that just rotates doesn't turn off the water.
Dripping taps are the result of worn, torn, stiff or dislodged washers – these are supposed to create seal to prevent water from passing through – which should be replaced. If you're handy and have the right tools, you can try to fix it yourself; otherwise call a plumber as soon as you notice the dripping. Leaving it unattended can corrode the valve seat leaving you with a completely broken system that will need emergency pro intervention.
2. Running toilets
You'll recognize this problem when you have to jiggle your handle several times to make it stop after flushing. A running toilet can crank up your water bill drastically, and it should be attended to immediately. Running is often the result of a problem with the flapper valve fitting, floater balance or loosening of the filler tube. You can buy a toilet repair kit at the home improvement store and fix the problem if you're handy.
If this doesn't work, it's time to call in a professional, as the running could be the result of a much bigger problem. Silent leaks are some of the most common: place some colouring in the water tank and wait to see if there's any colour in the bowl. If so, you have a silent leak – mention this when you put in a call to your emergency plumber.
3. Leaking pipes
You may notice this by a puddle of water formed under your plumbing, most commonly close to joints. You can use fitting compounds, leak tape and commercial joint fillers to temporarily seal the leak until a professional can repair or replace the pipe. Anything with pipe replacement should be handled by a professional; while not very difficult, it is inherently messy, especially for inexperienced hands.