Go Back

5 Minor Plumbing Problems You Can Fix at Home

Every homeowner knows that there are things you can safely DIY repair and things you can’t. You can safely tighten a few bolts, change a filter, or change the light bulbs; you can even oil a squeaky dryer if you know how to reach the squeak. What’s more, you may also know better than to mess with the light fixtures, pull sockets out of the wall, or disassemble your plumbing. Often, homeowners call a plumber at the first sign of plumbing problems, but that may not always be necessary.

Just like other safe home maintenance tasks, there are several minor plumbing problems that almost any homeowner or their handiest friend can fix for themselves. So, before you call for repairs, let’s dive into five common plumbing problems that can easily be fixed at home with one or two hand tools that you likely have lying around.

1) Shower too Cold or Gets Cold Fast

One of the most common complaints -especially in a shared house -is that the water doesn’t get hot enough. Showers may be cut short by fast-cooling water temperatures and you may even be having trouble getting dishes and laundry done at the appropriate cleaning heat. The answer is to raise the water temp.

You might be surprised to hear that too-cold showers aren’t “just the house” and how it was designed, but rather it might be an actual setting on your water heater. Try nudging the water heater thermostat up by two or three degrees. This will keep the water in the tank much hotter so that it won’t cool as fast. It will heat everything from the kitchen sink and dishwasher to the shower water.

Flip: Shower and Taps too Hot, Burning Hands

If the water in your house is scorchingly too hot and regularly burns hands, nudge that water heater thermostat down by a degree or two so the heat caps at a safer level.

2) Jammed Garbage Disposal

Jammed garbage disposal is also relatively easy to fix – if you have the right tool. Check on the bottom of your garbage disposal for a hex shape. You can use an Allen wrench or a special garbage disposal key which will turn the grinders both forward and backward.

From there, carefully remove the obstructing objects (with the garbage disposal fully un-powered), then use the tool to roll the blades forward and back to let go of debris and clear the way. When you no longer hear grinding or feel resistance with each turn, then you’re done.  

3) Toilet Won’t Stop Running

If your toilet tends to run on, and on, and on, this is not just annoying. It’s also bad for your water bill. Fortunately, there’s a pretty easy fix. Open the toilet tank and check the chain and stopper. Chances are, your stopper has stopped just short of closing over the valve to the toilet bowl.

You can often fix this issue with a little jostle of the chain. If this happens regularly, replace the chain, stopper, and possibly the entire toilet tank system. Don’t worry, the instructions are on the box and it’s easy to do in just five to ten minutes.  

4) Pipes That Freeze Every Winter

Here in Saskatoon, we get a pretty good freeze in the winter, but your pipes shouldn’t. While pipes are at risk of a winter freeze, you can keep them from stopping up and from risking a burst with just a little insulation. In fact, even a vertically sliced pool noodle will do – but you can get plenty of pipe insulation from the store.

For pipes at the most risk, use a line of plugged-in heat wire which can provide a trickle of heat down the whole pipe length to prevent mid-winter freezing.  

5) Wobbly Porcelain

Does your toilet wobble when you sit or stand? Does your pedestal sink wobble when you lean? Can you see gaps around the caulk of your bathtub? You can fix these issues of wobbly porcelain with firm positioning and a fresh line of caulk. Re-caulking your tub, sink, and toilet is a routine task that more homeowners should do every few years. Doing this will extend the lifespan of each item and the quality of every bathroom – plus you can prevent leaks.

Taking care of your own plumbing problems is highly satisfying, when possible. But when you reach that critical point where the task requires greater expertise than your personal handiness, you can count on the experts at Pro Service Mechanical of Saskatoon, SK. From humble garage-based beginnings to a bustling multi-discipline team, we’re here for all your household plumbing (and HVAC) needs.  

Contact us anytime for your home plumbing services including casual repairs, fixture updates, new construction, and plumbing emergencies.