Hiring a plumber for major work is always a good idea. Sometimes, even seemingly minor plumbing problems may require an expert’s touch to fix. But that’s not to say you need to hire a plumber for every project. Here are some DIY plumbing projects in your bathroom you can definitely undertake on your own; no experience necessary.
1. Repair a Running Toilet
Toilets are prone to acting up now and then. But don’t call a plumber just yet. Most common repairs are DIY-friendly and can be carried out with just a few basic hand tools. Toilets are rather straightforward appliances, consisting of a few essential components. As a result, it’s fairly easy to diagnose the problem and fix it.
For instance, a running toilet often indicates a problem with the flush valve. The repair process is as easy as getting a valve from your nearest hardware store or Habitat ReStore and replacing your existing one.
What if your entire toilet needs replacing?
The good news is if you're capable of lifting and moving a toilet around, you're capable of replacing it. That's the hardest part, really. It's just a matter of removing the old toilet, cleaning up a bit, setting the new toilet in place, and tightening some bolts.
Resource: Ask This Old House: How to Change a Toilet
Caulking is the application of sealant in pipe joints to fill gaps and prevent leakage. It's a pretty handy skill to have and one anyone can learn. All you need is a caulking gun. This way, you can seal a draft around a window or apply silicone sealant to countertops and backsplashes.
The caulking process starts by removing the old caulk and cleaning the surface. You'll also want to touch up the paint or fix damaged surfaces at this point. Then it's as simple as loading the caulk gun and steadily applying the caulk. Keep a rag handy to quickly remove any caulk that gets in the wrong place.
3. Replacing a Bathroom Sink
A good way to give your bathroom a new feel is to replace the sink or vanity. The first thing you need to do is shut off the water supply. You can do this under the sink by turning the knobs for hot and cold water, or you can shut it off in your utility room if you know the lines leading to your bathroom. Open the faucet to let any water out.
Next, you need to disconnect the water supply to the faucet and the p-trap (the bent pipe under the drain). You can then remove your old sink. Be careful to cut any old caulk so you don’t damage your vanity if you’re keeping it. Then lower your new sink into place. This will be easy if the faucet tap(s) are already connected. If you’re replacing taps and the water spout make sure you buy one that matches your sink in terms of size and the number of holes.
Reconnect the p-trap under the drain and the water lines. Add caulk around the edge and drain if it’s required. Put a towel or bucket under the sink as you turn the water lines back on in case there are any leaks.
4. Replacing a Showerhead
Is the water pressure in your shower not up to par?
Replacing a showerhead can be done entirely by hand in a matter of minutes. Turn the showerhead counterclockwise to loosen it up. If it won't budge, grab a towel or a pair of slip-joint pliers for some additional grip. Clean the shower arm thoroughly, as there's likely to be some dirt and grime left behind. Wrap the shower arm with two or three layers of Teflon tape to act as a seal and twist the new shower head into place.
Make sure to consider the flow rate and water pressure when replacing your showerhead. It’s also a good idea to replace a faulty showerhead with a more energy-efficient, low-flow model.
When To Call A Plumber
Plumbing emergencies can happen at any time. It’s important to assess the urgency of the repair before making any calls. If the problem is localized, like a toilet that won't flush, it can usually wait until morning. However, if there's a risk of water damage, it's best to call in a plumber immediately. It's also recommended to bring in a professional when undertaking extensive plumbing projects or whenever you can't diagnose a problem.