Contact Us

Service available 24/7

DIY Plumbing Hacks Every Homeowner Should Know


Stephens Plumbing

May 28, 2024

DIY Plumbing Hacks Every Homeowner Should Know

We’re always happy to lend a hand with routine plumbing tasks. But we also hate to see our customers give up their hard-earned money for easy plumbing fixes they can tackle in minutes. Whether it's fixing a leaky faucet, unclogging a stubborn drain, or replacing a toilet seat, here are a few DIY plumbing hacks every homeowner should know about.

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

That “drip, drip” you’ve heard at night is more than annoying. It’s wasteful and costly. The good news is that fixing a leaky faucet is often as simple as replacing a worn-out washer or a loose O-ring.

  • Turn off the water valve under your sink. Turn on the faucet and leave it open to drain the remaining water.
  • Next, remove the handle. If there’s a screw behind the handle, use a hex key or Allen wrench to remove it. If the handle has a top screw cover, gently pop it off with a flathead screwdriver. Then use a Phillips screwdriver to loosen the screw underneath the cover.
  • Now that the handle is free, loosen the faucet stem with pliers and pull it up and out. If you do not see any damage to the stem, you likely need to replace the O-ring and washer inside the seat.

Pro tip: Your replacement O-ring and washers should be an exact fit, so take them to the hardware store to compare with the replacement parts. Finally, reassemble, turn on the water, and test. If your sink is still leaking, it may be time to give us a call.

How to Unclog a Drain

Drains typically clog due to a mixture of hair, soap, and hard water. But more often than not, we find that hair is the guilty party.

Before you call in a plumber, give these DIY plumbing hacks a try:Zip Strip: A “zip strip” is a long, narrow, flexible plastic strip with tiny barbs along the edges, specifically designed to remove hair. Start by removing the drain stopper. Then, run the zip strip into the drain, turn the strip, and pull out the clog.

Plunger: If that doesn’t work, it’s time to reach for the sink-only plunger (emphasis on sink-only here). Start by filling up the sink halfway with hot water. Place the plunger over the drain, cover the sink overflow with a cloth, and pump the plunger up and down. Repeat.

P-Trap: Can’t get unstuck? It may be time to clean out the P-trap—that curved pipe under the sink. Before disassembling, place a bucket beneath the pipe to catch any stagnant water. While this piece can often be removed by hand, you may need a wrench. Once removed, clear debris from the P-trap, reassemble, and test.

Snake: If the clog persists, try using a hand- or drill-powered auger/snake. Before you get started, remove the P-trap again, as well as the small section of pipe that goes to the wall. Do not snake through the sink drain, as you could damage the porcelain. Feed the snake through the pipe, twisting it as you go. When the snake stops, give the snake another twist. Now, pull the snake back to remove the clog. If you’re still coming up short after trying these DIY plumbing hacks, give us a call. We may need to use a commercial drain snake or assess your plumbing for a more severe issue.

How to Replace a Toilet Seat

Installing a new toilet seat is a generally simple task. Before you head to the hardware store, measure the following to ensure your new seat fits the bowl:

  • The distance between the bolts (where the seat attaches to the toilet bowl)
  • The width of the bowl at its widest point
  • The length of the bowl from between the seat bolts to the outer front edge. (Round bowls should measure about 16 1/2 inches, while elongated bowls should be 18 to 18 1/2 inches in length)

Once you’ve chosen your toilet seat, it’s time to remove the old one.

Start at the top back of the bowl, where you’ll see the seat bolts. If necessary, pop off the covers using a flathead screwdriver. Under the cover, you should see either screws or bolts securing the seat to the bowl. Remove them, then lift them out of the holes in the toilet bowl. Clean the area around the mounting holes thoroughly. Then, repeat the disassembly process in reverse. Yep, it’s that simple!

When DIY Isn't Enough, Contact Stephens Plumbing

Don’t let a stubborn clog or plumbing issue ruin your day! If these DIY tips don’t do the trick, our friendly and knowledgeable team is only a phone call away. Whether it’s routine maintenance, replacement, or an emergency, we offer 24/7 service that’s fast, reliable, and cost-effective. Contact us today!


Join Our Team

Interested in becoming a part of the Stephens family? Submit your application now for one of our plumbing or HVAC jobs!