Even the most well-maintained homes run into plumbing problems from time to time. That’s why we’ve compiled these helpful tips from our experts, friends, and neighbors for dealing with some of the more common plumbing issues that are likely to arise in most homes sooner or later.
1. Keep at least two plungers in the house.
You want two or more plungers for multiple reasons. First, for sanitary reasons, you don’t want to use your toilet plunger to clear a clog in your sink or shower. Second, you’ll find that a traditional cup plunger works best for sinks and showers, while a flange plunger works much better for toilets.
When would you need a third plunger? If you have a double sink and one side gets clogged, you’ll need to seal the other side with a plunger or stopper before plunging the clogged side.
2. Help a slow kitchen drain with boiling-hot water.
If water is suddenly taking a long time to drain from your kitchen sink, there’s probably a clog in the making. Pour some steaming-hot water down the drain, taking care not to splash yourself, to help break apart the clog and flush it through the pipe.
3. Unclog your showerhead with white vinegar.
When hard water is warm, this can cause the minerals in it to solidify on your plumbing fixtures. If water is no longer jetting out of all the holes in your showerhead, then hard water minerals are probably obstructing it
Soak the showerhead overnight in white vinegar. The next day, use an old toothbrush to remove any leftover residue. Rinse the showerhead with cold water and wipe it dry with a clean cloth.
4. Run some ice through your garbage disposal.
Your garbage disposal isn’t the easiest (or safest) appliance to clean, but here’s an easy trick. Just “feed it” a few ice cubes. The ice will clean the blades while they grind it up and help get rid of the gunk that tends to get stuck there.
5. Use food coloring to detect a leak inside your toilet.
When the flapper wears out inside your toilet, it becomes unable to stop water from seeping from the tank down into the bowl. As a result, your toilet keeps using water that’s supplied to the tank, even though no one is using the toilet.
If you hear what sounds like running water and suspect the flapper might be leaking, place a few droplets of food coloring into your toilet tank. Wait about half an hour, and then check your toilet bowl. If you see the color in the toilet bowl water, then you know the flapper needs to be replaced.