Useful Guide To Plumbing For Every Homeowner

Knowing a few plumbing tips and know-how in dealing with plumbing issues can save you the trouble and hassle needed to call a plumber down to deal with it and of course that extra dollar in doing so.

Here would be a few of the common plumbing problems that almost every homeowner face and a few easy and simple tips and tricks you can use to try and solve them.

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Clogged toilet

How do you tell if your toilet is clogging up? Usually, a few of the common tell-tale signs would be that your toilet isn’t flushing properly and that your water level keeps rising after you have attempted to flush it.

The common causes of a clogged toilet include:

  • Having low water flow
  • Having too much waste to be flushed down properly
  • Blocked plumbing vents
  • Debris stuck in your drain line
  • Problems with the sewer line

What can you do to try and mitigate or solve the issue?

  1. Stop overflowing

Firstly, it is always important to try and stop your toilet bowl water from overflowing.

It is vital for you to try and prevent or stop the water from overflowing as soon as possible as if you leave water puddles for a prolonged period of time on your floor, the water could seep into the cracks or gaps in your tiles or wall and the possible damage it over time.

Furthermore, there are a lot of bacteria in your toilet, it is not safe and hygienic should the water overflow to other parts of your home.

To stop the water from flowing into your toilet, find the water tap that can usually be located below your sink.

  1. Plunger

Next, you can always try using a plunger to try and get the debris stuck or is clogged inside your toilet bowl. The plunger is the most common household item and one of the most useful tools you can have in your house.

The suction cup at the top of your plunger would be the one that is responsible for getting any gunk stuck in your toilet out.

One good tip would be to get a plunger with a “lip” at the end so that it would be easier for you to insert the end into your toilet bowl much more easy to get the debris out.

Clogged drain

 You will know if you have a clogged drain as you will notice that your water is not draining away properly.

Some DIY hacks that you can try to clean out your drain:

  1. Using baking soda and vinegar

First, rinse your drain with hot water, then pour a cup of baking soda into the drain. Let the baking soda sit for about 1 minute. Thereafter, mix vinegar into a cup of hot water and flush the mixture down the drain. Let this rest for about 5 minutes and then rinse the drain with water.

The baking soda and vinegar will actually loosen up any junk or debris in your drain, allowing the debris to be cleared away when it has been rinsed with water.

Do note that this method best works if you have small clogs.

  1. Using a snake and millipede

This is yet another handy household tool that you can possess. As this tool is small and relatively long enough to enter into your drain or pipes, it can help you to remove any gunk in your pipes or drain.

This tool is relatively easy to use, simply put the tool into the drain or pipe, twist, turn and pull it out. The tool should be able to get any clogs or debris.

  1. Having a dripping showerhead

If you find that your showerhead is leaking water, usually what it means is that the tape or thread that is holding your hose and showerhead securely together is not done properly.

You can easily rectify this problem by just applying or replacing the tape or thread with a new one.

You can find this material easily in any of your self-fix or home-fix store near your home.

  1. Having a leaky tap

This usually happens when the seal is worn out. Replacing the seal would usually cut the deal.

Firstly, turn off the water main and open the tap to let out any residual water. Then, unscrew the handle, followed by the flange (located just beneath the handle) and remove the tap bonnet and spindle, which are underneath the flange.

Check to see if the O-ring is faulty or worn out. You can easily find the replacement at any DIY or home-fix stores. Once you have replaced the faulty parts, reassemble the tap and you are done.

Fix Your Plumbing Issues

One tip to maintaining your taps is to place a little waterproof lubricant on the O-ring and spindle

Things to know and take note of:

  1. Know where to find the water main
  2. Know where the main sewer line cleanout is
  3. Know where the water supply valves are

These tips can help you prevent any potential disaster in your toilet or home. With these useful know-hows, you might not need to go through the trouble of calling and finding a plumber at the last minute and save you a few extra bucks, having able to deal with the problem at hand yourself.

However, it is still wise to have a plumber contact saved just in case you are unable to identify and rectify the plumbing problem.

Getting a professional plumber not only saves you the hassle of having to figure the problem out but also the time to try to fix and solve the problem and risking complications when the job is not done properly.

Tell-Tale Signs Of Plumbing Before It’s Too Late

The faucets are making strange noises

One common tell-tale sign that you have some issues with your plumbing would be if you hear sounds coming from your pipes. It could indicate that things are clogging your pipes.

The water pressure is low

This issue is more likely to arise when you have a relatively old plumbing system, commonly found in older estates. There could be several reasons and causes that are causing your water pressure to below, and for ordinary joe like you and I, it might be tricky in trying to source the root problem and cause. One common cause of your low water pressure is generally a clog in your pipe or a leak. 

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Unpleasant odours emanating from the drains

Having unpleasant smells coming from your pipes or drainage area is a tell-tale sign that you have something clogged in your pipe that is decaying or rotting, or only just a pile of gunk stuck in your drain causing the sewage smell.

It is probably high time for you to either check your pipe and drain line or call in a professional to check on your plumbing as there is a good chance that somewhere in your plumbing system that there is an issue.

A damaged pipe or drain line could occasionally cause your water not to flow correctly and thus cause build-up to happen. It is always wise to consult a professional, to figure and fix the root problem.

Having Sluggish drains

Having sluggish drains could indicate that there is a blockage in your pipes. If you want to better prevent drainage blockage, it is good to clean and clear out your drains once in a while.

You can use a drain snake to do, which is a handy tool in helping you to pull out any gunk you have stuck in your drain. If your drains still appear to be clogged after trying out both approaches, call in a plumber, as this could indicate that there is some other issue at hand that you probably will not be able to identify and fix.

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Your walls have stains and damage

If you’ve observed that your walls are staining unexpectedly, or that your walls and flooring are bent, it could be an indication of a leaking pipe and gathering water.

When you encounter these signs, it is wise to find a plumber and resolve the problems quickly. Ignoring these signs can lead to:

  1. Incurring water bills due to the water leaks
  2. Severe water damage to floors and walls requires major restorations and drywall
    replacement
  3. The spread of mould and mildew, both of which are hazardous to human health
  4. Need for major renovation or repair to fix the sewer line

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Helpful Read: All You Need To Know About Mold Removal

Tips on how to better maintain your plumbing systems:

Check your water pressure.

You must ensure that your water pressure is optimal as if the water pressure is too high, it could cause your pipes to burst, rupturing the pipelines connecting to all your other appliances and a water source such as your washing machine and sink.

In this case, it is good to have a water pressure indicator and regulator to maintain the water pressure in your plumbing system. Do your due diligence in having your water pressure checked to better prevent any mishap.

Tools and Supplies You Will Need:

Do get yourself a pressure gauge, it will come In handy in the routine check of your plumbing system. You can easily find this appliance in any of your self-fix or DIY home hardware store. A tip would be to get one with the hose thread so that you can screw it into a hose bib or washing machine bib.

A pair of channel locks or tongue and groove pliers will also come in handy to help you install the pressure gauge onto the faucet to test the water pressure. This is just a handy tool to ensure that the gauge is tightened into the faucet.

Instructions

For you to get a more accurate and precise reading, ensure that water isn’t running elsewhere in the house, for example, if someone is using the toilet or washing their hands.

Be sure to check your washing machine if it is running to. When you test the pressure with a gauge, you measure the static water pressure; if the water is moving anywhere in your plumbing system, it may result in a falsely low reading.

Install the Pressure Gauge

Installing the pressure gauge is a relatively simple job. Remove the hose from the faucet, thread the pressure gauge onto the faucet and tighten it.

As mentioned, you can use the channel locks to help you in tightening the pressure gauge onto the faucet to ensure better that the water will not spill out when you are testing, or you can use your hand to tighten them.

Check the Pressure

When you are checking your water pressure, what you are hoping to get is that your water pressure should be within the range of 40 to 50 PSI.

For most water pressure regulators, the cut-off point would be at 75 PSI, so if your reading goes up to 75 PSI and above, it means that your regulator is faulty or possibly.

Do get it replaced or checked as soon as possible when you face this problem.

Helpful Read: Plumbing Cost Guide In Singapore

Do a toilet maintenance check.

When you are doing a maintenance check for your toilet, one right place to look out for would be your toilet’s tank, and this is usually located at the back of your toilet.

Look out for the flapper, which is a rubber that is located below the tank. This rubber is responsible for releasing the water needed when you flush. Make sure that there is no wear and tear and that the rubber is still correctly intact and working. This is important for your toilet to be working correctly and well and is usually the cause of leaky toilets.

To check if it’s faulty, put a couple of drops of food colouring into the tank and leave it overnight. If there’s colour in the bowl the next morning, your flapper needs to be replaced.

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Re-chalk your toilet

It is vital to re-chalk your toilet every once in a while and ensure that it is still in good condition. This is because what the chalk does is that it keep and ensure that there will be no water leaking out from your toilet.

This is important as if you find yourself with a leaky toilet, it could damage your floor, when water seeps into the cracks and gaps of your tiles, especially if your flooring is not water-resistant.

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Clean your tank

Over time, thick layers of scale, metal stains, bacteria, mould, and mildew can build up in your tank if you’re not cleaning it properly. The water in your tank is what is used for flushing any waste in your toilet bowl.

If the water is not maintained correctly, it makes it harder and much more challenging to keep your toilet bowl relatively clean. Avoid this problem early, by cleaning your toilet tank regularly.

Helpful Read: Handyman Services & Pricing Guide

Cost of Hiring a Professional Plumber vs DIY:

Some people are more inclined to fix plumbing issues themselves as they feel that they can save money. However, without the right expertise and know-how, we could mess up the plumbing work and do more damage. As a result, we will have to spend more money to hire a professional to rectify the problem.

Hiring a plumber might not be that expensive. It is always important to find out how they charge and any possible expenses that could incur during the job. Most plumbers charge by the hour; the material cost is usually minimal, and most of the expenses go into paying for the labour cost of hiring the plumber.

When you factor in the time and effort saved in hiring a professional plumber to solve your plumbing issues, the price you pay to engage the expert could be worth it, in comparison to taking up the project yourself.

With the proper know-how and expertise, you can be more certain that the professional plumber can fix and do up the plumbing work in a shorter period of time, with less hassle and knowing that the job will be done correctly.

Read also: Plumbing Cost Guide

Plumbing Projects That Are Best Left To The Professionals:

If you are taking of doing a total bathroom or kitchen overhaul, and it involves plumbing work, you might want to consider just leaving the work to the professionals rather than attempting to do it yourself.

Water Leaks

The issue of water leaks is caused by simple mechanical faults or loose parts in the water system. Simple plumbing repairs, such as repairing a leaking faucet, may necessitate the replacement of a washer and gasket or the tightening of a connector. If the leak is mild, this method may be effective.

However, should these simple plumbing repairs done by yourself not work, you may want to save the trouble by calling in a professional to fix the leakage.

Getting leaky basin tap, bathroom sink leaking, showerheads, pipes, toilet bowls and faucets professionally fixed will ensure that you conserve water and also prevent future potential trouble.

Further major damages to your plumbing system will be prevented too with regular plumbing maintenance with the right plumbers.

Rusty Water

Rusty water usually indicates that your pipes, water heater or storage is rusty. This calls for a mandated replacement of your plumbing pipes, or that it is time to purchase a new water heater. This may also mean that there is a problem with the safety of the water.

Seeing rusty water is usually a tell-tale sign of something more severe than plain, simple repair works. Our advice is for you to engage a plumbing professional whenever you see rusty water coming out of your faucet.

Sewer Odours

Sewer odours is an indicator of a more severe issue in your plumbing system. There could be many causes of sewer odours — here are 5 of the most common plumbing problems that cause sewer odours:

  • Inadequate drain traps or ventilation pipes.
  • A dry trap.
  • Toilet seals that broke.
  • Clogged vents.
  • Broken sewer lateral pipe or vent stack.

These issues are best inspected and solved (preferably for the long term) by professional plumbers. In most cases, an unpleasant smell in the sewage means there is a problem in your sewer line. If left untreated, you risk a sewage backup on your property.

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Clogged Pipes

Clogged pipes and clogged drains are prevalent plumbing problems in Singapore households. Most homeowners’ go-to option for clearing clogged drains or pipes is to use chemical drain cleaning solutions.

This method, however, is usually not the most effective and methodically correct way to unclog a pipe.

Your plumbing system might even be damaged from the toxic ingredients in the cleansing agents, therefore backfiring on the homeowners. As a result, ignoring the problem of clogged pipes can lead to even more severe plumbing problems.

For pipes that can’t be handled by a sewer snake or plunger, you need to call in an experienced plumber to safely and effectively clear the lines. Most importantly, this can help you avoid the need for expensive repair work for your toilet in the future.

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A Sudden Drop in Water Pressure

A drop in water pressure is indicative of a problematic plumbing system. A pipe may have developed an unnoticeable water leak, or the flow from the main water line may be obstructed or hindered by mineral deposits.

It is usually an arduous task to find the root cause of these problems. Chances are, you’d need to engage a professional plumber to find out the underlying cause and fit it.

The advice remains: Call a professional plumber whenever you notice a sudden water pressure drop.

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Burst Pipes

This is an uncommon sign in Singapore, but nonetheless, a problem that some homeowners might face.

Sometimes, burst pipes stem from causes such as temperature differences, or the freezing of water in the pipes, which may cause the pipe to break. Cracked pipes can incur hundreds of dollars in water damage.

In addition, locating affected pipes require a more trained eye, as damage commonly takes place below your foundation, in your yard or behind the walls.

Our advice is for you to call in a professional plumber, where the source of the leak can first be discovered, and the process of water abatement can immediately be started.

A professional plumber with experience can recommend the needed repair work in cases where there is damaged drywall, foundation or flooring. In worse scenarios where the extra moisture caused by the leak leads to the growth of mould in your home, you may need to engage mould removal services to solve the problem.

Soggy Patches in Your Yard

For homeowners in Singapore who own a yard or garden, Even though it hasn’t rained but you find some moist patches in your yard, don’t neglect them. Puddles that don’t make sense are a symptom of a plumbing problem.

Homeowners with an irrigation system should check this system first and make sure that it is not leaking in that location. There is a high chance that there might be a leak in the pipe underground.

Regardless of the cause of the leakage, it is wise to immediately contact a plumber to minimise the damages and hence the costs to remedy those damages.

If you do not have perfect information, knowledge and the relevant skills regarding major plumbing projects, you can set yourself up for further negative implications such as major property damage and personal injury.

Our advice remains: Call an experienced plumber immediately.

Renovation works

As renovation works involve extensive works, it is best to leave it to the professionals. This is because often, there are many other complications involved.

With the various connections involved, and possibly the legal works such as getting permits, doing it yourself might be too intensive and might be out of your expertise and knowledge.

Repair works

Some repair works, such as toilet repair, are also best left to the professional. Sometimes a simple leak might be due to severe problems that we, as amateurs and novice, might not be able to identify.

If you find yourself being unable to solve a plumbing issue that might seem trivial, then it would be wise to find and hire a professional plumber. The professional will know where else to look and figure the problem out.

Sometimes, the issue might be internal such as within your walls. Your plumber will be able to better advise you in going about the problem, such as hiding a separate contractor to hack the wall to get a better look inside the internal plumbing work.

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Plumbing Projects That Could Be left to DIY (possibly):

Replacing your faucet

If you find that your sink or tap is leaking water and your first attempt to troubleshoot the problem is to replace your faucet, you should be able to get it done yourself.

You can find replacement faucets in your nearby self-fix or home-fix stores. The work needed to replace your faucet is a relatively simple and easy one.

1. Firstly, turn off the water supply in your home. You can usually find the water source switch below your sink.

2. The subsequent steps that you need to follow to replace your faucet can easily be found in the manual instructions that usually comes along when you purchase a new faucet.

Most homeowners do replace their faucets by themselves. If it is merely a faulty faucet, it should be a manageable task.

If you find that replacing your faucet does not fix the problem, then it could be that your valve connection is damaged. In this case, you might want to consult a plumber] to help you with your plumbing problems.

Repairing your toilet

Sometimes, when you face issues with your toilet plumbing or toilet, it could be simple issues such as your chains being faulty or drains being clogged. Other times, it could be minor faults with the various parts that you find in your toilet.

More often than not, you should be able to repair and replace the parts easily yourself, assuming that the issue is just with the hardware being worn and spoilt. You can easily find the tools you need to repair the hardware at any homeware store.

Call in a professional if you find that the problem persists after you attempt to fix the issue. Professionals, as mentioned, have the license and expertise to fix your plumbing issues.

It is wise to spend that additional cost in hiring a professional and getting the problem fixed rather than attempting to fix it yourself. You could find yourself going in circles trying to find the root of the problem.

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Finding a Trusted, Professional Plumber in Singapore

Homees allows users to search plumbers based on proximity, availability and type of plumbing issues such as pipe leak, water pipes problems.

If you are looking for reliable emergency plumbing services, you can look for Homees to immediately have a ready plumber right at your doorstep.

Lastly, do check out Singapore’s Public Utilities Board (PUB). PUB has rolled out a series of quality standards to ensure only licensed plumbers are allowed to carry out water service and sanity work.

For more information, visit their page on licensed plumbers.

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Cost of Other Home Improvement Areas

Flooring is an integral part of a home design, and should you have a spare budget and would like some unique designs of your own, you can try speaking to a few interior design companies or renovation contractors for more designs ideas.

You can check out the cost of hiring professionals for other aspects of your home improvement project. Some of the general cost guides can be found below:

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