Save money by doing easy plumbing repairs yourself!
Depending on how comfortable you are with DIY projects, you can complete several minor plumbing jobs with the right tools. Many of these include methods to save or upgrade water, which can save you a great chunk of money in the long run. Some plumbers will even walk you through each step, especially if you’ve used their services before.
Hiring a plumber is a great idea because they can do the job lightning fast, which is crucial when it comes to a time-sensitive repair. Moreover, plumbers are experienced professionals who do this kind of work every day and who know the plumbing code.
But you don’t always need to ask for help from a plumber for every project. Some plumbing jobs are definitely DIY and can be easily handled by most homeowners. In fact, with large plumbing repair costs ranging anywhere from $500 to $800 and smaller projects costing $140 to $380, it’s no wonder that many people are choosing the DIY route.
So the good news is that you can do this, too. Here are 10 easy plumbing repairs you can tackle without calling a pro!
1. Add pipe insulation
Foam pipe insulation is valuable to maintain the warmth of the water in the supply pipes. You can do that without hiring a professional because it’s among the easy plumbing repairs that don’t require too much skill.
This being said, the next time you draw on the hot water side from a shower, tub, or sink, you waste less water while you wait for the hot water to show up. Wherever you can see exposed hot water supply pipes, you just have to wrap them with inexpensive foam pipe insulation, and that’s it! Easy!
2. Replace the kitchen sink sprayer
Here’s another example of easy plumbing repairs you can tackle yourself. Make sure that you know what kind of sprayer you have. Does it have a detachable hose? In most cases, older sink sprayers can be replaced without having to ditch the hose.
If there’s a tear in the hose, you may have to buy a new hose along with a new sprayer nozzle. Newer models generally come as one piece. In case you need to replace the hose, you’ll have to ensure you have plumbing thread. The good news is that all new parts come with instructions.
3. Reseal or replace a tub drain
Moving forward with the list of easy plumbing repairs you can do yourself, we introduce you to the next job: resealing or replacing a tub drain. The tub drain can be removed with a screwdriver and pliers. If you have time, pick up a tub drain remover tool at your local hardware store or home center.
Turn the drain out carefully in a counterclockwise direction and set it aside. Place some plumber’s putty (a clay-like substance) under the tub drain before you flip it into place. Without this putty, the tub will leak, so it’s important to use it.
Be patient with this step and ensure that there are no gaps between the tub and the putty. It’s best to roll the clay-like substance into 3/8-inch rope-like pieces and carefully press them onto the tub around the drain hole.
Install the new drain or place the old one back in, tighten it, and then wipe off excess putty using your finger. Some drains will feature a lever-operated plug. This typically lifts right out. The rubber gasket can be easily replaced if the tub isn’t holding water well.
4. Fix a broken pipe
When it comes to easy plumbing repairs, most people don’t know they are actually easy!
Dealing with a broken plumbing pipe can quickly turn into an existential crisis. However, the first thing to remember is that your house always has a main shut-off valve found somewhere on the perimeter of the house. You may even be lucky enough to locate an intermediary shut-off valve next to the broken pipe.
This scenario also adds to the list of easy plumbing repairs, and once you learn how to fix a broken pipe easily, you won’t need extra help in the future.
Once you’ve located the shut-off valve, you have the time and clarity of mind to evaluate the situation. With only a few basic tools and budget-friendly materials, you should be able to tackle the broken pipe by yourself.
A mid-run copper pipe that has a breakpoint can be cut on both sides of the leak and removed. You can join PEX plastic pipe to both sides using crimp-style fittings or push-fit fittings. Alternatively, you may want to switch the piece of pipe for a lever shut-off valve. This doesn’t need to be located in an exposed location, though.
Read on to discover other easy plumbing repairs!
5. Replace a toilet
This may sound like the type of job you need a professional to do, but it’s actually among the easy plumbing repairs you can tackle yourself. If you’re capable of moving a toilet seat around, you’re capable of replacing it too.
In fact, that’s the hardest part of toilet replacement. Once the old toilet is removed, you just have to clean up the closet flange, add the new wax ring, and set the new toilet in place. Next, you just have to make sure you tighten the bolts at the base of the toilet and link the water supply, and you’re up and running—literally.
The only potential issue might be if the current closet flange is rusted completely, which in this case would mean it can no longer be used again. When this happens, you may want to hire a plumber to help you install a new closet flange on a concrete slab floor.
If your subfloor is made of wood, installing a new closet flange is also among the easy plumbing repairs you can deal with by yourself.
6. Sump pump repair
Not every house has a sump pump, and while this is among the easy plumbing repairs, it may be labor-intensive work if you aren’t comfortable with doing any sort of electrical job.
One easy repair is fixing a constantly running motor. Make sure you unplug the motor before doing any work. If you have a submersible motor (one that is built to be set inside the well or pit), this is typically caused by debris or dirt getting stuck under the float switch, which is the large floater bulb that looks similar to the one in the back of your toilet.
Ensure you know how to drain and clean out your sump pit, or have a professional show you the next time you hire one.
7. Clogged drain
Last but not least on the list of easy plumbing repairs you can navigate around yourself is a clogged drain. Keep in mind that knowing how to prevent a slow or clogged drain is just as important as knowing how to fix it.
Use drain hair catchers in your bathroom (here are some great options from Amazon). Avoid putting food particles or grease down the kitchen drain, and make sure you know what kinds of food are okay to throw in your garbage disposal and how to properly operate it.
A slow drain could indicate a problem with a plumbing vent, which controls the air pressure in the pipes. When it comes to plumbing vent issues, they may be easy plumbing repairs, but they should be handled by a pro. However, if you have debris lodged in your drain pipes, you should be able to fix the problem with a sink plunger or snaking the drain using a cable auger. Both these tools can be bought at any hardware store.
Also, experts warn against using conventional drain cleaners. While many people recommend them, they can harm your plumbing system and break pipes made of soft metals. These products are also a temporary fix.
If you liked our article on easy plumbing repairs you can do without calling a pro, you may also want to read 7 Amazing Hacks to Fix a Slow Sink Drain.