Diy Plumbing Repair
DIY plumbing repair refers to anything that we do ourselves to fix things that go wrong with our household plumbing. DIY plumbing repair may involve mending burst pipes, thawing frozen pipes, fixing leaks in pipework, repairing toilet cisterns, replacing washers in taps, repairing ballvalves, sorting out float problems in toilet cisterns, repairing mixers or perhaps even replacing a faulty tap. Before you begin, you need to have some idea of what has gone wrong and what is required in terms of DIY plumbing repair projects.
It's anybody's guess what repairs will be at the top of your list. Generally this is not something that you choose. That's because plumbing repairs are normally only necessary when something goes wrong - and more often at a decidedly inconvenient time, when we least expect it.
Here are some guidelines to help you identify and tackle your DIY Plumbing Repair jobs confidently and successfully:
First of all, don't wait until plumbing parts and fittings become totally worn. Act at the first indication of a dripping tap or slightly leaking pipe. That way you will avoid some of those unexpected and quite nasty emergencies. Identify the position of stopcocks and pipework so that you know where they are if something does go wrong. In temperate climate countries, the combination of an unexpected frost and inadequate insulation can easily cause pipes to burst. So check the insulation of your pipes and appliances, including hot water cylinders and storage tanks. If it's come loose or wears away, fix or replace the insulation material immediately.
If a pipe bursts, remember that the first thing to do is turn of the water supply. If the burst is on a straight section of pipe, you should be able to use a clamp-type repair kit. If you don't have a repair kit, use a piece of ordinary hosepipe about 100 mm or 4 long, depending on the size of the hole. Slice the piece of pipe lengthwise and slot it over the burst section. Then use wire twisted over the pipe to keep it in place. Otherwise use some other sort of clamps. If the pipe bursts at a compression joint, undo the cover nut, wrap plumber's tape around the seal ring and then retighten the nut. If the pipe bursts at a soldered joint, and you don't have equipment to resolder it, then cover the joint with two-part repair tape or use two-part epoxy putty to fix it.
Ballvalves, that are basically float-operated valves, also crack and wear out. You will find these valves in various places in the plumbing system, including cold water storage tanks, in central heating feed and expansion tanks, and in toilet or WC cisterns. All ballvalves work according to the same principle, with an air-filled float that is attached to the valve by an arm that rises and falls as the water level in the tank or cistern changes. Inside the valve is a plastic diaphragm or a piston with a rubber washer that closes off the water supply when the level reaches the required height. If these parts are worn or broken, you might find that the tank or cistern overflows. If the valve jams, then the tank will empty. If the valve is blocked, it'll take a long time to fill up. Either way, you're going to have to fix or replace the valve.
Faulty cisterns often leak, or they simply refuse to flush properly. There are various types of cistern, but most work with some kind of siphoning mechanism that draws the water into the flush pipe. As the cistern empties, the siphoning action stops. If the flush lever breaks, you might have to replace the hook that keeps it together. If the arm comes loose from the cistern, you will probably find that all you need to do is retighten the nut at the back of the lever. If the diaphragm in a cistern is torn or it wears through then the water won't siphon. Then you'll need to replace the diaphragm. At the same time check to make sure that the flush pipe isn't blocked as well.
Leaking taps are probably the most common DIY plumbing repair that needs to be done. It isn't surprising since we all use taps every day of our lives (well most of us do!). If a tap is leaking from the spout it's probably because the wash is worn or has split. It's not a difficult job to replace a washer, but remember to turn off the water supply to the tap first. If it's leaking from the handle, or you find the handle is difficult to turn, the spindle seal is probably worn. The older types of rising spindles were sealed with a special fibre packing that you'll need to replace. Newer taps have non-rising spindles with rubber O-ring seals that are quite easy to replace. If you have mixer taps, replacing washers is the same as for ordinary pillar taps, unless the mixer has a ceramic disc. But these are said to be maintenance-free so you shouldn't have to work with them. If you do, the tap itself might be faulty, so return it to the manufacturer.
Washers, seals and other parts needed for most plumbing repairs are cheap, so make sure you always have spares ready for your own DIY plumbing repair.