Helpful Plumbing Tips

Whether you own your home or rent it, there are bound to be times when you need to fix up minor plumbing problems.


There will be times when something goes wrong with your home plumbing, whether it be a leaky tap, a blocked drain, or a toilet that won't stop running. You don't need to call in a plumber elwood  for every minor emergency and we offer a few helpful tips for plumbing problems you can fix yourself and save money.



Clearing Blocked Drains

Drains can easily become blocked. In the kitchen the most common problem is a build up of fat in the kitchen sink pipes. What you don't realise when pouring fat - even a small amount of fat - down the drain is that this solidifies in the pipes. Over time this build up of fat traps other food particles that go down the drain and the drain becomes blocked.



Cleaning a blocked drain is a minor problem you can easily fix - without too much effort and without using toxic chemicals. The first step will be to use a Plunger to try and clean the blockage. You can buy a plunger at any Builders store and they cost around R40, depending on your location. This handy tool is a 'must-have' for any home and will come in very useful for small blockages in sinks or the toilet.




For maximum efficiency when using a Plunger, fill the sink or basin with just enough water to cover the head of the plunger. Place this over the drain and push up and down until the blockage releases.



Non-toxic method for cleaning blocked drains

If you find that a plunger doesn't clear the blockage the next step is to use non-toxic ingredients to clear the blocked drain. All you need for this is some White Spirit Vinegar and Bicarbonate of Soda. Place a dessert spoon of bicarb over the drain and then pour vinegar over this. The mixture will start to fizz and help dissolve fat blockages in the drain.

GOOD TO KNOW: Use this non-toxic drain cleaner on a regular basis to prevent fat build-up and possible blockages.



Toilet Won't Stop Running

If your toilet is fairly old, you may experience problems due to failure of the seals around fittings in the cistern (water tank). These seals degrade over time, or may be worn down due to grit in our municipal water supply. Worn seals can result in a continuous flow of water into the toilet and can easily be remedied by replacing the parts inside the cistern.



It is possible to buy replacement seals and cistern parts at Builders Warehouse - or buy online - and it shouldn't take long to replace these. If you're not sure about doing it yourself, buy the parts you need and have a plumber fit them for you. That way you cut down on the cost for any repair.



Dripping Taps

Dripping taps are a common household plumbing problem. Over time the seal inside the taps will wear out and need to be replaced. A new tap washer will only cost you around R10 and will take about 5 minutes to replace. You only need a spanner or wrench to remove the tap fittings and it's any easy DIY project.



If you're not sure how to go about replacing a tap washer, you will find helpful tips in this video for standard bib or pillar taps, or here for taps with a fitted cartridge filter.

You will find more plumbing tips in our Bathroom and Lifestyle sections.