Be Prepared – 5 Quicks Fixes to Common Plumbing Problems

Time is money. It’s a common phrase in business but it also applies to plumbing problems in your home. When a problem arises, the longer you wait to address it, the more costly the damage and repair will likely become.

A plumber looks at a water heater gauge.
By Minerva Studio for Shutterstock

Even if you’re not an experienced plumber, there are simple actions you can take right away. Here are five quick, temporary fixes to common plumbing problems. These tips can help you avoid a disaster and buy yourself some time until a professional plumber arrives to provide a permanent solution.

Unclogging shower drain

There are many potential causes of a backed-up or slow shower drain. But one of the most common culprits is soapy, scummy hair clogged in the trap, which is a bend in the pipe right below the drain.

Try to fish out the clump of hair with a simple tool called a Zip-It. This is a thin piece of plastic that you can easily insert down the drain. The tool has small barbs that grab on to hair, so you can pull it back up. If that doesn’t work, the next step is using an auger to break up the clog. But for really stubborn clogs, you may want to bring in a professional plumber.

Plugging leaky pipe

Pinhole leaks are common as metal pipes get older and corrode from the inside. If you notice a tiny stream of water coming from a pipe, you may even consider yourself lucky that you caught it before it gets worse.

Any time there’s a leak, the first thing you should do is shut off the water to that fixture or the main shut off valve the home. Next, clean and dry the surface of the pipe around the leak. Then apply an epoxy compound over the small hole. Once the epoxy dries, it should provide a short-term fix until the pipe can be replaced.

Fixing leaking pipe joint

When the seal of a pipe joint fails, it can create a leak that’s more difficult to fix than a pinhole leak. But there’s still a quick fix for you to try in order to prevent significant water damage.

In the plumbing section of your home improvement store, look for repair sleeves or rubber pipe connectors. These flexible products can wrap around plumbing joints to prevent water from leaking out. For this quick fix to work, it’s important that the product is sized correctly and wrapped snug around the pipe to create a water-tight seal. Again, this is only a temporary measure until you can have the pipe joint replaced.

Patching cracked porcelain

Porcelain is a fairly durable material, which is why it’s used for toilets, sinks, and tubs. However, under too much stress, porcelain can crack, leak, and cause significant water damage.

If you notice a crack in a porcelain fixture, there’s a two-step process to temporarily fill the gap. First, place plumber’s putty in the crack. It’s important to press in as much putty as you can to ensure a complete seal. Next, apply caulk over the putty. The combination of the two fillers should block water from leaking out of the crack – but only for a short amount of time. There’s no permanent fix to cracked porcelain, so the next step will be to have the broken fixture replaced.

Flushing water heater tank

No one likes to be surprised by a cold shower. A traditional water heater has a lifespan of around 12 years. But before that, sediment can build up in the tank that prevents the heater from doing its job properly. To give your water heater a boost, it’s a good idea to periodically flush the tank to remove any accumulating sediment. Here’s how you do it:

  • Turn off water heater unit and shut off the water supply to the tank
  • Drain the tank by opening a hot water faucet and letting it run for about 10 minutes
  • Attach a hose to the drain valve (typically located at the bottom of the tank) with the hose emptying to a floor drain
  • Open the drain valve, then turn the water supply back on
  • Allow the tank to flush until the discharged water is clear and free of sediment.

Plumbers in Schererville, IN

It’s good to be prepared for plumbing problems so you can avoid a big disaster. But remember, these fixes are only temporary. To resolve the issue for good, call the experts at Reichelt Plumbing. We offer flat-rate pricing and a one-year guaranteed for labor and parts. Call us today at (219) 322-4906.

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