There are some common residential plumbing problems that usually most people can resolve on their own. And there are a host of others more serious plumbing issues that are best performed by calling a professional like Althoff Industries. Knowing the difference can save you lots of frustration and potentially some serious repairs. Here are 5 simple solutions to some common residential plumbing problems you can likely handle on your own.

Plumbing Problem, Plumbing Solution

1. Leaking Faucet – As advanced as technology is in some areas of life, one constant has been the common residential plumbing problem of a leaky faucet. Faucet leaks are most often caused by a worn washer which can be easily replaced. In a single handle faucet, you know where the culprit is. If you have a two handle faucet, you can determine which is leaking by simply seeing if the water is hot or cold. If you can’t tell, you might as well just replace the washers in both as it is a simple fix.

a. Turn off the water supply to the faucet you are working on. It will be located under the sink.

b. If there is a decorative cap to the handle it will need to be removed. Unscrew the handle, usually with a Phillips head screwdriver.

c. Remove the valve nut or cover that is retaining the valve, and lift the valve out, exposing a washer underneath.

d. You may be best served by taking both the valve and the washer to a hardware store to ensure you get the proper replacement.

e. After replacing the washer, just reassemble your handle in reverse order.

2. Running or Leaking Toilet

Leaking or running toilets are other very common plumbing problems. First, turn off the water supply to the toilet and remove the tank lid. You may simply have a chain attached to the rubber flapper that is too long or short. If it is too short, it’s not allowing the flapper to close. If it’s too long, it may just be getting in the way of the flapper. If your running toilet is due to the float not rising high enough to stop the water from flowing into the tank, it can often be resolved by just bending the rod downward, Toilet tank repair parts and kits are found in any hardware or home improvement store and are inexpensive. A less common problem could be a leak in the big washer that is between the tank and the seat. That is a bigger job and unless you want to do some heavy lifting you may be better served calling in a pro.

3. Jammed Garbage Disposal

If a garbage disposal is jammed with something like a soda can pop top and had stopped working, you may be able to fix it yourself. That is if you have the right tool. There may be an Allen style wrench attached to the motor unit of the disposal. Make sure the power is off then you can insert the wrench into the bottom of the unit and manually turn the blades of the disposal. Once the item is freed, you should be able to carefully remove the item. Once the item is removed, restore power, turn it on, and it should operate normally. If not, give Althoff Industries a call.

4. Clogged Drains – You may be able to clear a clogged drain through a choice of chemical free solutions. You can get a small, inexpensive metal wire “snake” to slid down your drain to remove the obstruction. You could also try to remove the plug using a plunger. Another all-natural solution would be to pour some baking soda down the drain and add some vinegar. Often, the foaming reaction between the baking soda and vinegar can serve to remove a blockage.

5. Frozen Pipes – Frozen pipes are a common Chicago and Crystal Lake plumbing problem. The best cure for a frozen pipe is to turn faucets on and allow the pipe to warm by opening cabinet doors under sinks to get the pipes exposed to warmer air. Using a hair dryer, electrical heat tape or space heaters may help thaw frozen pipes but NEVER use an exposed flame. You are far better served by insulating potentially troublesome pipes ahead of time. If frigid weather is expected over multiple days, let faucets drip slowly to keep pipes from freezing. If pipes are freezing, any further expansion can lead to them bursting, causing serious problems and damage.

When it Comes to Common Plumbing Problems, Know When to Hold ‘Em and Know When to Fold ‘Em

At Althoff Industries, we are often called to finish a job a do-it-yourselfer has attempted themselves. If your problem is one you are comfortable in resolving, give it a go. If not, feel free to contact Althoff Industries. We are pleased to resolve Chicagoland plumbing problems.

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