DIY Plumbing, A Complete Guide for Beginners - image 1 - credit (1)

Home Improvements

DIY Plumbing - A Guide for Beginners

January 23rd 2024

When you have your own home, you're sure to come across some plumbing jobs from time to time that will need fixing & won't require a plumber. If you enjoy DIY projects or fancy saving some money, why not tackle your plumbing jobs yourself. Here is a DIY plumbing guide for beginners to help you fix some minor jobs.

Before You Start

Before starting any plumbing jobs, make sure you have all the tools you'll need so you don't have to stop part way through. If you find that you don't have a particular tool/s, head over to your local HSS branch or look at what we have online to buy & hire. From wrenches & pliers to plungers & screwdrivers, we will have the tools and accessories you'll need. Don't forget to wear protective eyewear & gloves when you're working too.

Basic Plumbing Jobs

Blocked Toilets - This type of blockage is a very common one and something each household is bound to experience. If you're finding the toilet is taking longer to drain or the water rises when you flush then there could be something in the pipes. But don't panic, there are different methods you can use to get your toilet working properly again.

You can use -

  • a plunger - this is a popular & effective tool as it can be used to unclog a range of pipes
  • a toilet auger - also known as a drain snake, this tool can be pushed directly into the pipe to create a hole in the blockage so it can be broken down to let water pass through. The same can be done with a wire hanger too!
  • hot water - the pressure of the hot water can help to push the blockage along the pipe as well as break down any grease or dirt that's built up.
  • baking soda and vinegar mixture - this natural solution is an alternative if you don't have any plumbing tools to hand. Pour 1 cup of baking soda & 2 cups of vinegar into some boiling water then pour it in to your toilet bowl. The mixture will fizz (don't worry, it's suppose to!). Leave it for an hour and then flush to check if the blockage has cleared.

Kitchen Sink Leak - There could a few reasons why your kitchen sink has a leak. To check, first turn off the main water supply with the stopcock (which is usually under your kitchen sink) to prevent extra water leaking. Just in case, place a bucket or bowl under the pipes. Using your hand, check there is no water coming out of the waste pipe and the hot and cold water pipes. If there is, the compression fittings could be loose. Use an adjustable spanner to tighten the fittings on the water pipes. You can tighten the waste pipe compression fitter by hand but make sure you don't overtighten the fittings. If your fittings are already tight, the leak could be coming from your plug hole. To check, put the plug in the hole and fill the sink with water. If you notice the water levels are dropping, water may be escaping around the sides of the plug. Unscrew the trap from the waste pipe and use the bucket to remove any water inside. Using a flat screwdriver, remove the plug hole - you might need to hold the fixture from underneath. When you've got the plug hole out, use a cloth to clean both sides of it as well as the waste pipe then reattach them both ensuring they are tight. Put the plug back in the sink and fill with water again to check for any leaking water. If you find that water is still dripping or leaking, contact a professional plumber as there may be a bigger issue that needs sorting.

Bleeding Radiators - To keep your central heating system working properly, one thing you can do for maintenance is bleeding your radiators. When air becomes trapped, it restricts the hot water & creates cold spots at the top of your radiator. When this happens, your rooms may not warm up properly and your radiators may start making strange noises. To bleed your radiators, first make sure you turn your central heating off & lay a cloth underneath the radiator to stop the floor from getting wet. Use your radiator key to open the valve, making sure you only open it slightly. The air escaping the radiator will sound like a hissing noise & once that's finished, water will start to come out so make sure to have a container to catch the water. As the water starts to come out, tighten the valve to close it. If you find the water coming out of the radiator is brown, that may be a sign of sludge which means you'll need to flush it. Turn your central heating on to check if your radiators heat up properly. If they don't, bleed the radiators again. If you're radiators continue to not heat up well, contact a professional gas engineer as there could be a bigger problem. Be sure to do this for all the radiators in your house every few months to keep them maintained so your home can continue to stay warm.

Connecting a New Washing Machine - If you need to replace your current washing machine, you can do it yourself in a few easy steps.

You'll need -

First, turn off the water supply so you don't cause any flooding when you disconnect the machine's pipes. Pull out the old washing machine and unplug it. Lay down a towel underneath the water pipes in case of an accidental leak. Disconnect the blue cold water hose pipe from the back of the machine and put it in the bucket to collect any water that's still in the pipe. Next, remove the drain hose from the waste pipe that'll be under your sink and pour out any excess water. Once all that has been done, you'll need to install your new machines cold water pipes to the washing machine and to the connection under the sink. (The new pipes are generally found inside the drum or stuck on the back of the machine.) After that, re-connect the waste pipes and double check all the pipes are tightly secured. Turn your water supply back on & your new washing machine is installed. Before pushing the machine back in, don't forget to plug it back in at the mains.

You my find you have other small plumbing jobs that we haven't covered. If you do, research how to fix it and what tools you'll need. Don't try to fix it without researching because you could make the issue worse. Also make sure you feel 100% confident before taking on your plumbing jobs. If you don't feel like you want to do the work yourself, find a local plumber who can do the job instead. You should also call a professional for your bigger plumbing jobs too.

Get in Touch

If you have any questions or queries about plumbing tools and accessories, get in touch with our live chat experts who are on hand & happy to help or contact your local HSS branch to speak to one of our colleagues.

About the Author

Samina Ahmed

Samina is a member of the E-commerce team. She has plenty of product knowledge & enjoys writing about all things DIY.

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