A Handyman’s Guide to Toilet and Plumbing Repair

Your toilet is one of the most used fixtures in your home, and it’s often a source of frustration when it malfunctions. A little plumbing knowledge can help you tackle common household issues and save money by preventing problems from escalating into major repairs. This handyman’s guide offers tips and tricks for tackling a variety of toilet and plumbing repair tasks, from fixing a leaky faucet to installing a new toilet.

Fixing a Leaking Toilet

A leaking toilet can be caused by a variety of factors, but the most common problem is a defective flapper that’s not sealing properly. If this is the case, you can simply adjust the float or replace the flapper to fix the issue. Leaking can also be caused by a worn-out or faulty fill valve, which can be replaced with a new one to stop the flow of water from the tank into the bowl.

A Clogged or Running Toilet

Many toilet problems stem from flushing things down the drain that shouldn’t be there, like paper towels, wet wipes, feminine hygiene products, and more. These items can clog the drain and cause the toilet to run continuously, or they may damage the flushing mechanism and lead to a leaking tank. A clogged drain can usually be cleared with a basic plunger or a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. If these methods fail, you can try using a plumbing snake to clear stubborn blockages in the pipes.

The Toilet Flushes Slowly or Is Clogged

A common cause of a slow-flushing or clogged toilet is mineral buildup in the jet holes around the rim of the bowl, which can be removed with a dish soap and water mixture. If these methods don’t work, you can use a specialized plunger to remove mineral deposits or a drain snake to dislodge more serious blockages.

If the clog is too far down the drain, it may require professional attention from a plumber to remove without damaging your pipes. Other signs of a major clog include low water pressure in multiple household fixtures, visible water stains, or sewage smells.

Taking on some DIY projects might seem intimidating, but with the right tools and safety precautions, most homeowners can easily fix common plumbing problems. Essential tools for DIY jobs include a pipe wrench (a tool with adjustable jaws that can grip nuts and bolts of different sizes), a drain auger (a specialized tool designed to break up and retrieve stubborn clogs), duct tape (which is useful for securing electrical wires), and a set of pliers.

If you’re planning to do some DIY plumbing, always shut off your water and electricity before starting any projects. A stray spark could cause serious damage, and in the event of an emergency, you should contact a licensed plumber to address the situation. Never attempt to tackle a major plumbing project that requires the use of gas or a power tool, or any projects that would require a professional handyman services.

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