Common Plumbing Repairs That Homeowners Can Do Theirself

From showers to toilets, faucets to water pipes, Platinum Plumbing repairs many different things. Some of these repairs are simple enough for a homeowner to handle with a bit of instruction and the right tools, while others require the expertise of a professional. Plumbing leaks are one of the most common problems that homeowners encounter. Leaks can be caused by pinhole leaks (which can often be fixed with a simple repair sleeve), old age, or damage from tree roots.

Water Heaters

plumbing repair

A conventional tank water heater heats incoming cold water using either an electric element or a gas burner. As the water heats, it rises to the top of the tank and is sent to your faucets via a hot-water pipe. Only a few things can go wrong with this system, including a pilot light that flickers out or a circuit breaker that trips. Depending on the type of water heater you have and what is wrong with it, a plumber may be needed to repair it.

If the pilot light on your gas water heater won’t stay lit, you can try to reignite it by following these steps: Turn off your gas at the main valve, open the hot-water faucets to relieve pressure, and then turn on the pilot light. If this doesn’t work, it is time to call in a professional, as the problem will likely be deeper than a flickering pilot light.

It’s also possible that you simply don’t have enough hot water. If everyone in your home uses hot water at the same time, it can quickly deplete your tank’s supply. Check to see if other people in your household are running the faucets at the same time, and then try turning on the heater again.

Your water heater should be drained at least twice a year to remove sediment that can cause it to malfunction or rust out. The procedure is simple, but a professional should do it to avoid safety hazards and maximize the life of your unit.

Water heaters can last up to 30 years, but they often fail sooner than that due to neglect. Consult with a plumber to establish an annual maintenance schedule for your water heater to keep it running efficiently and to prevent unexpected problems. It is a good idea to have the drain valve and temperature and pressure relief valve inspected and replaced as necessary. A professional plumber can help you choose a new water heater that will best suit your household’s needs. They can also install it for you, if desired.


A leaky faucet is one of the most common signs that it’s time for some DIY plumbing repair. Sometimes only a few inexpensive O rings and washers are needed, but other times a main part—a cartridge, stem or ball, for example—needs to be replaced. Luckily, replacing these parts is usually relatively straightforward.

The first step is to shut off the water. Hopefully, whoever fitted your faucet thought to fit shut-off valves on the hot and cold supply lines that lead up to it. If not, turn off the water under the sink.

Next, remove the faucet handle. You can do this with a flat head screwdriver or pliers. After the handle is removed, look under the faucet for a decorative cap covering a screw or hex bolt. If there is one, unscrew it and set it aside. If there’s no cap, grip the hex head of the valve stem assembly with pliers and unscrew counterclockwise to remove it.

If the faucet is a cartridge, ball or ceramic-disk type, what is exposed after removing the handle will be different. Cartridge faucets: Take out the small circular threaded piece (called a retaining clip) that holds the cartridge in place. This may require the use of needle nose pliers to carefully take it out without marring the cartridge. Ball and ceramic-disk faucets: Remove the escutcheon cap, which is a piece of rounded metal that covers the disk cylinder.

Once you have the parts to fix your leaky faucet, inspect them for damage and clean them as necessary. The valve seat usually has mineral buildup that can be cleaned with white vinegar or rubbing alcohol. Also, the neoprene seals on cartridges can be replaced as needed.

Before you reassemble your faucet, coat any parts that have moving parts in plumber’s grease to prevent them from seizing up and becoming hard to move. Put the faucet back together in reverse order, taking care not to mix up the parts you’ve removed. When finished, turn the water on and test your work. If there are still leaks, tighten or replace the appropriate parts until you find the source of the problem.


Toilets are a common fixture that can be a source of frustration for homeowners when they are not working properly. A running toilet wastes water, adds to utility bills and can cause other problems in a home. A plumber can diagnose a toilet problem and fix it quickly and inexpensively. If you are comfortable with a little DIY, you can also make some simple repairs yourself.

Many parts can be replaced without disassembling the tank or removing the toilet. One of the most frequent problems is the water fill valve, which can be replaced by a complete assembly available at most home improvement centers and plumbing supply stores. Experts recommend replacing the fill valve about every five years as part of routine toilet maintenance.

Another common problem is a leaky drain flange. This can be fixed by removing the plastic caps that cover the bolts that hold the bowl to the floor and gradually tightening them. It may also be necessary to replace the wax ring that seals the drain flange.

A clogged toilet can be a real pain and often results in a sewer backup that requires a plumber’s attention. If the clog is caused by a large object, like a toy or a child’s diaper, try removing it with a drain snake. If you are unsuccessful, you should call a plumber for a more thorough cleaning.

Toilets are used in a variety of ways around the world, from flush toilets that sit by sitting or squatting to dry toilets like pit latrines. They are a critical part of a sanitation system that ensures that fecal matter is removed from the human body and does not contaminate waterways or groundwater supplies. In developing countries, improved toilets can reduce deaths due to diarrhea and other diseases caused by poor sanitation.


Drain lines are the pipes that carry waste water and sewage from all parts of your home to the sewer line. When these pipes break or clog, it can lead to wastewater backup and flooding in the home. This can also cause bad odors, mold, and bacteria. It is important to get these drain lines repaired as soon as possible to avoid extensive damage and high repair costs.

One of the most common causes of drain line breakage is tree roots. Tree roots are drawn to the warm, moist areas of drain lines and can cause them to crack or rupture. When this happens, the plumber will need to remove the damaged section of pipe and replace it. This can be expensive since the plumber will need to dig a trench to reach the broken pipe.

Another common cause of broken drain lines is poor installation. If the pipe was installed incorrectly, it may not be secure or strong enough to support the weight of the water and waste it carries. This can cause the drain line to collapse, which is expensive to repair.

If you suspect a drain line is leaking, it’s important to contact a plumber right away. Leaking drain lines can cause flooding and costly damage to your home’s structure and contents. The most effective way to fix a leaking drain pipe is to cut out the affected area of the pipe and replace it with a new piece. This is a more involved process than simply applying a rubber patch, but it is still within the scope of most DIYers who have some experience working with PVC.

In this Fix-It Guide on drain repairs, you will learn how a household drain system works, what often goes wrong with it, and how to recognize when your home needs a drain repair. The guide then provides simple, step-by-step instructions for how to clear a clogged sink or bathtub drain, how to adjust a bathroom sink stopper, and other basic plumbing repairs. It also explains how to use a plumbing auger and shows you how to repair a toilet drain leak with a simple, inexpensive method that doesn’t require the purchase of any special tools or skills.