plumbing tools

Whether you want to become a DIY plumbing expert or simply fix minor plumbing issues as they arise, you’ll need the right tools and a little guidance. This skill set can save you hundreds of dollars though since you can fix a dripping faucet or an overflowing toilet without reaching out to have a Red Deer plumbing professional do this work for you. You can also solve many other minor plumbing issues before they turn into more significant problems that only an expert can address for you. With this in mind, here are six tips, that when you’re armed with the right tools, will allow you to start fixing your plumbing problems today.

Never Fear Replacing Parts Inside of Your Toilet or Faucet

bathroom faucet

Making a mistake when taking apart the pipes under your sink or shower is sometimes messy. However, if you’re simply trying to replace the flapper on your toilet or the cartridge in your faucet, you can’t do much damage.

Old, worn out flappers typically cause leaks between your toilet tank and its bowl. These only cost a few dollars, and when you open the package, they come with directions that are easy to follow.

You can repair most modern faucets by simply changing their cartridge. Do this by removing a couple of screws.

So, when you hear your toilet running often or see your sink dripping, try replacing these parts by yourself.

Always Attempt to Remove Clogs Without Using Chemicals

When you see a drain that’s clearing slowly, don’t rush out to buy an expensive, chemical drain cleaner. Instead, use a snake to unclog the drain manually. All you do is insert it into the drain, and when you pull it back out, it will hopefully bring the clog culprit with it. If you don’t have a snake available, suck the clog out with a wet/dry shop vacuĆ¼m instead.

Look for Shower Head Issues

shower head

Using thread tape is an easy way to fix a dripping shower head. The leak simply means the threads aren’t connecting tightly. When this happens, you’ll want to unscrew the shower head, wrap some new tape around it in a clockwise direction, then re-attach it. If you see that you have a clogged shower head, soak it in some warm water and vinegar for an hour. You can also use a small brush to loosen any mineral deposits that are blocking its spray.

Use Thread Tape Instead of Thread Sealing Compounds

Thread sealing compound (a.k.a. pipe dope) commonly drips and smears. This is why it’s good to know that thread tape works just as well, if not better. All you need is some white, multi-purpose tape unless you’re working with gas or water. Then you’ll need yellow for gas and pink for water.

As you wrap the tape, roll it counterclockwise around your threads. If you’re working in a tight space, wrap the tape around a cheap pen and then apply it from there. Make sure you wrap the tape around your pipe threads three times for best results.

Loosen Tough Water Pipe Fittings With Heat

blow torch

When you wrestle with a wrench and still can’t get the trap under your sink or the pipe fitting loose, apply some heat to it. Brute force usually isn’t enough to budge hardened fittings. However, applying heat from a small propane torch for a few minutes will make a big difference. Make sure you only use this trick on metal water pipes — never on or next to gas or plastic pipes and fittings.

Improve Your Water Heater’s Efficiency

water heaterMake sure your water heater’s thermostat isn’t set too high. At 115 degrees Fahrenheit, your water heater should still have plenty of hot water for all your home’s needs. It’s also a good idea to insulate your water heater’s tank so that hot water stays hot longer. Just don’t cover the thermostat when doing so. Ask your utility company if they offer free or inexpensive insulating blankets. These are easy to install.

When you live in an area where sediment quickly collects in your lines or system, you’ll want to drain a quart of hot water from your tank every three months. This is also true if you’re using a well. Accomplish this task by turning off your water heater and opening its drain over a steel bowl or a bucket. Most of the sediment that’s settled at the bottom of your tank will drain out, and your water heater will run more efficiently.


Although you may feel reluctant to tackle a problematic plumbing issue on your own, you can fix a small clog or leak without calling a professional. Of course, you should still have a Red Deer plumber’s telephone number nearby for when you come across an issue; you can’t tackle on your own. Hopefully, you’ll find minor plumbing projects are both easy and satisfying to tackle on your own though.

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