Almost any job seems difficult the first time you do it, whether it is making a salad or putting a new cord on a lamp. The same is true for working on your house plumbing. Of course, you can certainly Google “local plumbing company” or “plumbing service in Richmond VA” or “best plumber in Norfolk VA” but it can also be fun to make it a do it yourself project and save some cash for a romantic getaway.

A dripping faucet is a rudimentary problem that can be baffling; you must figure out how to get it apart – often the trickiest step of the operation – and what part is at fault. But once you have learned to cope with the everyday problems that beset sinks, toilets, and tubs, you will save money and the inconvenience of waiting for a plumber to come. Some plumbing jobs in the bathroom or the kitchen a plumber may not do at all, such as replacing a broken tile or a cracked soap dish. Many other repairs are so simple that today’s highly paid master plumber is reluctant to take them on; his time is more profitably spent on large plumbing projects.

Even those who think of themselves as all thumbs can master the steps involved in basic plumbing repairs. There are a few elementary guidelines that make the task easier.

  • Work slowly and be patient.
  • Turn off the water supply. If you are working on a faucet, close the drain to keep screws and other small parts from falling in.
  • When you dismantle the parts of a plumbing fixture, line them up in the order and orientation of disassembly so you can put them back together more easily without wondering which way apart faces.
  • Do not force apart “frozen” by corrosion; apply a few drops of penetrating oil, wait awhile – overnight if necessary – and try again.
  • Inspect parts for signs of wear or corrosion while you have a fitting disassembled. Replacing a worn part avoids future trouble and the necessity of dismantling the fixture or fitting again.
  • Keep on hand a supply of common replacement parts – faucet cartridges, washers, washer screws, and O-rings. That way you avoid the bother of a special trip to the shore and the nuisance of having to leave the water shut off while you are out matching the faulty part.

Finding the right replacement parts may be the most troublesome part of a plumbing repair. The best source is a plumbing repair. The best source is a plumbing supply store, which will have a larger stock of fittings and more knowledgeable salespeople than a hardware store or housewares store. Generally, it is better to buy parts made by the manufacturer of your fixture; in many cases, it is essential, for no others will fit.

Be prepared for frustration in the search for replacement parts. There is no standardization in fittings and fixtures, as there is in piping; many manufacturers make several types of faucets, all different. And since such equipment may last for decades, you are likely to find yourself with a model for which parts are no longer available. If you cannot find a needed part, replace the fitting – the job is surprisingly simple and you gain in convenience and appearance.

About Jeffrey Wyatt