We spend the majority of our lives taking the fixtures and fittings that make our houses work for granted. The vast network of interconnected pipes and tubes running under faucets or behind radiators responsible for keeping us warm and providing us with clean water.
That is, until the day you find yourself face to face with a dripping pipe, a seized fixture or a drain that just won’t be unclogged. Many times these frustrations can lead to time and money spent on plumbers or expensive treatments. To make your day easier we’ve compiled a list of basic plumbing problems you might face and how to fix them using a few tools and silicone spray.
The steady dripping of a loose faucet can get on anyone’s nerves. But thankfully it’s a problem that can usually be resolved with a few simple steps.
To start off with, turn off the water supply to your plumbing preventing any further flooding. Check to make sure it’s off by turning the faucet handles. You can usually find an appropriate valve on your water line below the sink. Tools you’ll usually require are:
To start off with we have to remove the faucet handles, these are usually attached to the main fixture by screws under the base or cap. Use your screwdriver to loosen these. If screws are rusted in place, a light application of the silicone spray will allow you to unscrew with ease, without staining the decorative parts.
Pulling up on the handles you’ll notice a nut fixing the valve in place. You must use your wrench to unscrew this and check for any damage. Remove the valve by pulling up or applying counter-clockwise pressure with your wrench. Inside the valve there will be seated an O-Ring and series of washers, inspect these for any breaks. If any damage is evident it will be necessary to replace them, make sure to head to the store and consult with an employee to find an identical set. In either circumstance, apply the silicone spray to each part this will prevent rust and breakage in the future.
Replace the parts in the same order they were removed.
Few everyday nuisances are as annoying as a showerhead or faucet that emits nothing more than a trickle of water, when you need to get clean. We’ve found a few solutions to help check and correct these problems.
There are a few different reasons you might be experiencing low water pressure so the first thing to do is figure out where the problem is occurring. To begin, you’ll want to go around the house and check every tap, both the hot and cold fixtures to ensure you are getting correct pressure. If the low pressure is localised to only a few areas, a clogged aerator or showerhead is the usually the culprit.
Aerators are located right at the end of your tap and can usually be unscrewed by hand. However on older fixtures you might find them harder to loosen. If you have to, use a pair of pliers but be very careful not to damage the delicate mesh. If the aerator still won’t budge with any form of gentle movement back and forth, apply WD-40 Penetrant spray. This will clear any resistance in a short while and allow easy removal.
Once removed you can soak the aerator parts in a solution of vinegar this will loosen any built up mineral deposits. After a thorough soaking you can gently brush away the broken up layers with a toothbrush. Once cleaned attach and tighten the aerator, run the faucet for a short while to clear any lingering clogging and check that water is flowing correctly.
Cleaning a showerhead can pay dividends in increased water pressure, as well as by providing a steadier stream. In most cases, rather than removing your showerhead you can get it clean by filling a plastic bag with vinegar solution, and pulling this carefully over the showerhead frame. Simply secure this with a rubber band or tie and leave it to soak for an hour or two. Run the faucet once more to clear any remaining deposits or vinegar residue. Then use a silicone spray for protection.
If the filter screen of the showerhead is clogged, then the showerhead will need to be removed. They can usually be loosened by hand. However as they attach directly to vital plumbing care must be taken not to yank out rusty fittings or apply too much pressure. In case of rust, simply apply WD-40 Penetrant spray to the affected join and wait until it is loose enough to remove by hand.
Once removed, reach inside the showerhead and remove the inbuilt filter. Leave this to soak in vinegar whilst you brush the rest of the showerhead inside and out with a soft bristled toothbrush. Once you’ve completed this process. Reassemble the component parts and spray with silicone spray. Then screw back onto the water pipe. Run some water through it to check pressure and clear the remaining residue.
While newer residences may use copper or plastic, anyone living in a home older than 30 years will have some section of their property running galvanised water pipes. Made of an iron base coated with zinc these are often subject to rust and leakages. Replacing an old system is expensive and strenuous, so many of you will prefer dealing with leaks as they occur. Here are some simple steps for replacing a section of pipe.
To start off with purchase an appropriate section of pipe to fit your needs, stores nowadays will be able to provide options in various dimensions. To calculate your required length, measure either end of the leaky piping from one join to the other, adding one inch to account for the joining threads.
Begin by shutting off the water to your mains. Locate the faucet running at the lowest point of your house and let it run, until no more water comes out. You will want to cover the floor in plastic sheeting with some sort of container handy to catch dripping water. Cut through the affected part of your piping using a hacksaw. The next step is unscrewing the uncut ends from either side of the pipe that remain, this is easier said than done as long use has often rusted these joins in place making them impossible to budge with any wrench. Liberally apply WD-40 Penetrant spray this into the pipe threading and wait for the fast acting lubricant to soak in and loosen the material. Once loose, remove either end with two pipe wrenches, one for grip and the other for leverage.
Screw a union nut onto each end of the new piping, reinforce this join by adding a ring nut to one section of the pipe to help hold it in place once attached. A compounding agent must be applied inside either end of the pipe and to each join. Use two pipe wrenches in tandem again to attach the replacement pipe.
With your leaky pipes and fittings secured and cleaned, low water pressure and drips should be a thing of the past. All thanks to a little extra plumbing know-how and a can of WD-40 silicone spray and WD-40 Penetrant spray.
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