There comes a time in every home owner’s life when he is faced with a potential plumbing catastrophe. But armed with a bit of knowledge, the effects of that incident can be minimized before it inflicts any significant damage to your home. By mastering a few simple steps, you may be able to save the cost of a service call.

Find the Shut off Valves

Do you know where your water main is located? Knowing where it is and how to shut off the flow of water into your home is important when faced with issues like a failed water heater or a busted water pipe. If that should happen, you should turn off the main valve which is located at the point where the water pipes enter your home.  They are heavy duty valves, much heavier than the lightweight valves used under sinks. Know where that valve is and how to quickly shut it off.

Toilet and Sink Leaks

Water leaks from sinks and toilets are the most common problem faced by homeowners. If you should suddenly notice a pool of water forming under your sink or if your toilet continues to flow after flushing, the first thing you need to do is shut off the water supply to those fixtures. For most sinks, including those in the bathroom, kitchen or laundry room, the shut off valves are normally located under the sink. You should turn off both the cold and hot water valves. Turn the valve to the right until the water stops flowing. The toilet has only one cold water valve.

Safe natural Drain Cleaning

Once the water stops you can proceed with repairs to your leaking faucets or clogged drains. Most experienced plumbers are not in favor of using harsh drain cleaners. They prefer using natural safe products and procedures to unstop clogged drains. One potential cure is to pour boiling water down the drain. After allowing it to sit for a few minutes, stick a wire clothes hanger down the drain and push around to break up the accumulated debris.

More Natural Solutions for Clogged Toilets

To avoid harsh store bought drain chemicals, try adding a cup of vinegar to the toilet bowl. Vinegar will break up much of the blockage. Another stronger natural drain cleaning solution can be made with 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of vinegar. This formula will fizz for a time, after which hot water should be added to free the clog; at least until the time you can have Bill Fenwick Plumbing come to investigate your situation.

Clogged Toilets

Clogged toilets can present a problem, especially if there are children in the house. Toilet bowls are a source of infatuation for the younger set and are a great place for them to dump toys, diapers and heaven knows what. Depending on the situation, many blocked toilets can be unstopped if you know how to use a plunger. A plunger is an important component of every home’s first aid kit. Before you run out and buy the first plunger you run across, be advised that plungers are designed for specific purposes.

Plungers — Choose the Right One

When shopping for a plunger, take note of the options available. You will see basic plungers with a rubber bowl shaped unit. That version is best suited for plunging sink drains on flat bottomed sinks. They are designed to fit snugly over the drain opening to insure an air tight fit while plunging.

Toilet plungers usually have a double bowl design feature. The narrower bottom part of the plunger bowl is designed to fit snugly into the outlet of the toilet. The idea is to depress the plunger snugly into that outlet. Pump water through the drain until the object is dislodged using even up and down strokes. While at the store, you will no doubt encounter plungers with plastic bellow shaped heads, avoid them. They may look sturdy but are not as effective as the rubber plungers.

Before using the plunger, try probing the toilet outlet with a wire clothes hanger. Shape the end into a hook and ease it down the drain to try to dislodge the obstruction. You may be successful in retrieving toys or other objects or in breaking up compacted debris.