Plumbing Tips for Homeowners

For the majority of home plumbing issues, it is best to contact a licensed plumber for investigation and repair.  However, there are some cases where you can safely attempt to repair a plumbing issue on your own before calling in the professionals.  Some examples are below.

If your shower head seems to be clogged, it could be because mineral deposits from hard water are blocking the holes the spray comes from.  Try removing the shower head and placing it in a bowl of warm vinegar for one hour.  You should find that most of the mineral deposits are dissolved, and anything remaining can be removed with an old toothbrush.

If your kitchen sink is backed up, the most likely culprit is the garbage disposal, as it can get clogged when grease or fibrous vegetables cling to the blades.  Before you attempt to unclog it, you need to turn off the power to the disposal via your circuit box.  Even with the power shut off, you should NEVER stick your hand into the disposal.  Instead, use a pair of tongs to pull out the debris, then flush the disposal thoroughly with warm water.  If your kitchen sink is clogged and you do not have a garbage disposal, you can try to loosen the material clogging the drain with a small plunger.

If your kitchen sink sprayer is getting stuck, it is a very simple fix.  The sprayer’s lengthy hose is likely getting wrapped around pipes and valves under the sink. Placing some half-inch foam pipe insulation around the pipes and valves should correct this problem.

If you discover a leaking pipe, it requires your immediate attention and triage.  You should first shut off the water supply to that pipe.  Then, wrap a sheet of rubber around the leaking area and clamp it down with either a sleeve clamp or an adjustable hose clamp.  Once you have the leak under control, call a licensed plumber for a full repair.