A Beginner’s Guide to Tackling Plumbing Issues at Home

Whether it’s a clogged drain or a leaky faucet, plumbing issues can quickly become frustrating and costly if left unattended. Explore the basics of plumbing to gain a greater understanding of your home’s pipes and essential DIY tips and tricks.

Learn how to pinpoint plumbing issues and make minor repairs without the need for professional plumbers. Plus, get helpful insights into upcoming sustainable practices that will shape the future of plumbing.


There are many plumbing problems that can be a cause of stress and frustration for homeowners. However, learning some plumbing basics can help you manage these issues better. For instance, knowing how to identify common plumbing problems can help you properly handle them and save you money on the costs of hiring professional plumbers.

The basic functions of a plumbing system involve water supply and drainage. The former involves pipes that transport clean, fresh water to fixtures such as sinks and taps. The latter involves pipes that take away waste water and vent gases. A home’s water pipes are usually made of sturdy materials such as copper, PVC, or lead.

Leaky pipes, low water pressure, and blocked drains are all common plumbing problems that can affect a household. A good way to keep these problems at bay is by ensuring that you and your family members only flush toilet paper, trash, and sanitary items down the drains.


Your drains deal with a lot of water and debris each day. Over time, hair, food particles, soap scum, and more can accumulate, leading to slow draining and the potential for major clogs. Keeping your drains clean on a weekly and monthly basis can help prevent these issues from occurring, as well as keep your pipes in great shape.

Avoid using conventional drain cleaners, as many contain harmful chemicals. Instead, try a natural remedy of baking soda and white vinegar. Pour a third of a cup of baking soda into your clogged drain, followed by a third of a cup of vinegar. The chemical reaction should loosen the clog enough for you to flush it out with boiling water.

A few tablespoons of liquid dish soap can also be helpful at tackling grease clogs. Add this to a pot of boiling water and slowly pour it down your drain. The mixture will break up any fats, oils, and grease (FOG) that have accumulated and clogged your drain.


Before you can install a faucet, you need to decide how it will be attached to the water pipe. The most common type, a deck mount, is simple and straightforward, but it requires holes in the countertop or sink. There are also wall-mount faucets that attach to the wall instead of the sink, which saves space and allows for more creative designs, but they’re harder to reach for maintenance purposes.

Most faucets are constructed of brass, which is hard-wearing and resistant to rust and hard-water calcification. Other materials include copper and bronze, both of which are less durable but still relatively easy to work with. Brass is typically coated with chrome or other metals to resist corrosion.

When it comes to your exterior faucets, it’s critical to winterize them to prevent freeze damage. First, shut off the water at your home’s shutoff valve (you might need pliers to loosen it). Then, open up the bleeder cap on the outdoor faucet and drain any remaining water.


In addition to cleaning the toilet regularly, it’s also a good idea to clean the vent pipe that runs over it. Over time mineral deposits can build up and restrict flow, leading to a weak flush.

A clogged drain is another common toilet issue that can be difficult to fix. While you may be able to clear it yourself by dislodging a clog with a plunger, you’ll probably need to call in a plumber if the problem is more serious.

To keep a toilet smelling fresh, it’s important to only use toilet paper and avoid throwing things into the bowl that can’t be flushed. Items like feminine products, cotton balls and swabs, diapers, and paper towels are known to cause clogs and should never be put in a toilet. If you notice a strong, unpleasant smell coming from the toilet, check the shut-off valve. It should be located under or behind the toilet and turn easily when you press on it.