How to Succeed at DIY Plumbing -- and What Not to Do

Much like roofing projects, plumbing is generally a task that's better left to the professionals. But if you're determined to flex your DIY muscles on those pipes and tubes (and save some money while you're at it), we have some useful tips for fixing some common, minor problems without having to call a plumber.

Fixing a running toilet: This is a surprisingly straightforward homeowner fix that doesn't usually require a professional plumber, even if you don't have any plumbing experience, according to Family Handy Man. The main cause of a running toilet is a leaky flapper valve. A fast remedy is to simply install a new flapper (widely available at hardware stores for under $10), ensuring that it creates a watertight seal with the flush valve. TLC offers a step-by-step guide on how to fix a leaky toilet flapper.

Flapper seem to work OK? It could also be your toilet's ballcock or refill tube. This Old House takes you through the fixes in each scenario.

Snaking a drain: Tired of calling a plumber to snake your clogged main drainpipe? Snaking a drain is a pretty painless task, particularly if you have the right tools on hand. DIY Network recommends getting a jetting machine, which will break through clogs in the pipe. Jetting or drain cleaning machines can be purchased online. Once you've removed the cover from the cleanout on the main drain, it's just a matter of securing the hose and turning on the machine. DIY Network offers a step-by-step guide on how to snake the main drain.

For less severe clogs in say, bathroom drainpipes, a sewer snake and a plunger are effective options. Family Handy Man offers a step-by-step guide on how to fix minor drain clogs.

Fixing a leaky kitchen faucet. According to This Old House, a homeowner with a little wherewithal and a good wrench should be able to fix a leaky single-handed faucet in half an hour. It's just a matter of disassembling the cartridge faucet to assess the cause of the leak -- in many cases, a defective O-ring -- and replacing the old parts. This Old House has a step-by-step guide on how to fix a drippy kitchen faucet.

Don't have a cartridge faucet? Family Handy Man also offers DIY guides on how to fix rotary ball and ceramic disc faucets.

More about DIY projects for the home:
Want a Patio? Try Stamped Concrete as a Low-Cost Alternative
Use a Salvaged Tub to Turn Your Backyard Into a Soothing Oasis
DIY Kitchen Remodels for Investment Properties

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