Plumbing Repairs that Every Homeowner in Sydney Needs to Know
While owning a home feels good, you’ll often have to deal with plumbing problems. For instance, faucets, sinks, toilets, and other plumbing fixtures and fittings are prone to some problems once in a while.
Plumbing problems such as broken sewer pipes require the use of specialized skills and tools. In such cases, you’ll have to hire a professional and licensed plumber who provides services for emergency plumbing in Sydney.
Luckily, there are some plumbing issues that don’t require special skills or tools, and you can easily fix them.
Here’re five common plumbing problems and how you can fix them by yourself.
Fixing Reduced Water Pressure
It’s extremely frustrating to open the faucet only to be welcomed by trickling water rather than a powerful stream. Luckily, water flow problems are often easy to fix.
Here’re some tips for fixing reduced water pressure issues:
Check different faucets
If you notice reduced water pressure from a faucet, check whether other faucets have a similar problem. In case the problem is only noticeable in one specific faucet, then it might be as a result of accumulated mineral deposits.
In this case, remove the screen or filter at the tip of the spigot by rotating it counterclockwise. In case it’s clogged, rinse it thoroughly to remove the deposits.
Are all faucets affected?
If all faucets have reduced water pressure, then it’s a sign of a serious problem. In this case, call your municipality to confirm whether there’s a scheduled interruption of water supply or repairs in your area. If there’s no interruption, then the source of the problem is within your home.
To trace the source of the problem, first, turn off the faucets and other water appliances such as the dishwasher or washing machine. Next, check whether the gauge in the main water meter is moving.
If it’s moving and all faucets and appliances are turned off, then you probably have a leaking supply line between your home and the meter. If that’s the case, call a plumber for assistance.
Showerheads are prone to reduced water pressure, especially when using hard water. Rather than producing a powerful spray, a showerhead clogged with deposits will dribble.
In this case, detach the showerhead and soak it in undiluted white vinegar for several hours or overnight.
White vinegar will dissolve the deposits clogging the holes on the showerhead. Reattach the showerhead to enjoy a powerful water spray.
Preventing Condensation on the Toilet Tank
You have probably noticed condensation on the toilet tank after enjoying a steamy bath. If the condensation is extreme, you’ll notice water dripping from the toilet tank and form small water pools on the toilet floor.
Condensation occurs when the humidity and temperature levels rise within the bathroom atmosphere, but the surface of the tank is cool. Consequently, condensation will buildup on the tank.
For instance, when you take out a beverage from the refrigerator, you’ll notice droplets on the surface of the container once it’s kept under room temperature. This is exactly what happens with a toilet tank.
You can prevent this problem from occurring by installing a special anti-condensation liner in the tank. You can find the liner kit from your local plumbing supply store.
The kit is affordable and comes with user instructions on how to install the liner. Thus, you can easily install the liner yourself. The liner comes in the form of a foam. The foam is flexible enough for easier installation.
You’ll need to cut the foam to a size that’ll fit inside the tank. Some liners have a self-adhesive backing. Others require using a separate adhesive. Before installing the liner, turn off the water supply to your toilet and flush it.
Drain any water left in the toilet tank after flushing. You can use a small container and a sponge to drain it completely. Allow it to dry before installing the foam.
Next, install the liner and allow the adhesive to stick in place overnight. The foam will create insulation between the surface of the tank and cold water. That way, condensation won’t form on the tank.
Removing the Sink Trap
The sink trap is an S, J, or P-shaped pipe attached on the sink drain line, just before the drain pipe going into the wall. You can easily notice it beneath the sink. The trap is often prone to clogs, especially in the kitchen sink.
Most sink clogs are lodged in the trap. In case you drop a ring down the sink drain, you’ll probably find it in the sink trap.
In case your sink is draining slowly and plunging it doesn’t fix the problem, you’ll need to remove and clean the trap. Here’s how to remove and clean the sink trap:
Step 1: First, place a basin or bucket beneath the sink. The basin will catch any water residue in the trap when removing it. That way, you won’t have a dirty mess to clean on the floor.
Step 2: Next, locate the sink trap. It’s typically attached between the vertical drain pipe connected to the sink and the drain pipe leading to the wall. The sink trap is usually threaded in place from both ends.
Step 3: Rotate the nuts securing the trap counterclockwise to remove it. You can easily rotate the nuts with bare hands. If the nuts are stuck, use a pipe wrench to rotate them. However, be gentle on the nuts to avoid damaging them.
Step 4: Pull the trap downward and outward gently until it falls off. Be gently when wiggling it to avoid loosening the drain pipes from their connection points. Allow the residual water in the trap and drain pipes to empty into the basin you placed beneath the sink.
Step 5: Use a sturdy wire or thin metal bar to remove any debris stuck within the trap. Next, take the sink trap outside. Spray it with pressurized water to dislodge any sludge stuck in it. You can use a garden hose to spray the trap.
Step 6: Upon clearing debris and sludge from the trap, reattach it in place. Slide it gently into the drain pipes and rotate the nuts clockwise to secure the trap in place.
Re-caulking the Vanity Sink
Caulk is applied around the edges of a sink to prevent water from penetrating the area between the countertop and the basin. Caulking is first done when installing a new sink.
However, caulk hardens, cracks, and crumbles over time. Once it crumbles, water will seep through the seam and damage items stored in the cabinet. The wetness may also allow mold to grow in the cabinet.
If the caulk has deteriorated, you’ll need to reapply it along the seam. Buy pure silicone caulking from your local hardware store. You can either buy transparent silicone or a colored option that’ll match the sink or countertop.
A small bottle of caulk will be sufficient for this job. Upon buying the silicone caulking, follow the steps below on how to re-caulk a sink:
Step 1: Remove old caulk from the sink by scraping it off with a putty knife. Use a plastic knife instead of a metallic one to avoid scratching the countertop or sink.
Step 2: Wipe the area where the countertop meets the sink with a rag soaked in denatured alcohol. Doing so will remove any grime or soap scum from the seam.
Step 3: Allow the area to dry completely.
Step 4: Open the caulk bottle and squeeze out a miniature bead of the silicone caulk. Apply the caulk around the seam, which is the area where the countertop meets the sink. Keep squeezing out the caulk with consistent pressure to form a uniform caulking bead along the entire seam.
Step 5: Dampen one of your fingertips with some water. Carefully run the dampened fingertip along the caulking bead. Smoothen the caulking bead into the seam such that it forms a smooth groove. Rewet your fingertip several times when smoothening the caulk.
Step 6: Give the caulk enough time to dry before using your sink. The drying time may be indicated on the tube that came with the caulk. If the drying time is not indicated, allow it to for 24 hours.
Flushing the Water Heater
Mineral deposits buildup in the water heater tank over time. They make the water heater less efficient. You can maintain the efficiency of the hot water system and extend its life by flushing it bi-annually.
Most water heaters come with instructions on how to flush them. Although the flushing process may differ a little bit depending on the water heater model, the steps below will work for all common models.
Step 1: First, switch off the heater’s power supply. In case you’re dealing with an electric water heater, switch off its power supply by shutting off the circuit breaker. In case you’re dealing with a gas water heater, turn off the gas supply at the main shutoff valve.
Step 2: Next, turn on any hot water tap in your home and keep it running till the water coming out cools.
Step 3: Take a garden hose and attach one end to the hot water tank outlet. Place the open end of the hose on a nearby floor drain. In case the area doesn’t have a drain on the floor, direct the hose to a large basin or bucket.
Step 4: Next, locate the shut-off valve that controls the water flowing into the heater. It’s usually located somewhere along the water supply pipe leading to the heater. Shut it off upon locating it.
Step 5: Take a screwdriver (flathead) and use it to turn on the drainage valve on the hot water tank. You can find the valve on the drainage outlet where you attached the hose. Upon opening the valve, water will drain out through the attached garden hose. As water drains, it’ll drain mineral deposits and sludge from the tank. Take care not to get splashed by the water as it might be extremely hot.
Step 6: Use the screwdriver to close the drainage valve you had opened in the previous step. Next, remove the garden hose. Switch on the tank’s water supply and switch on the circuit breaker or gas valve.
Also read: 9 Common Plumbing Emergencies in Sydney Households