“My toilet is leaking, my sink is leaking, my shower is leaking, my hot water tank is leaking.”
Step 1: Don’t Panic, locate your shut off valve!
Shut off valves are an integral part of the plumbing system, it ensures that your home is safe from water damage. Most fixtures will have a shut off valve on them, however by Canadian code, the minimum required shut off valves are 3 only, one for the hot water tank, the toilet and the main building. A great home builder will go the extra mile to ensure there are shut off valves at every fixture in the home, and not just put the minimum amount required to pass inspection. If you find your home is lacking on some shut off valves, please contact a qualified plumber to have them installed.
Step 2: Locate the leak
Now that the water is shut off, you need to find out where the leak is. If it is around the base of the toilet, then chances are you need to replace the wax seal. If it is at the kitchen or the bathroom sink, is it from the drainage portion of the plumbing or the supply side? If your leak is from the tap itself, chances are you need to replace a cartridge or the whole tap itself, replacing a faucet is not the most difficult thing in the world to do, just make sure the water is turned off and you wont cause a whole lot of damage. YouTube has alot of DIY plumbing instructions for people who are eager to tackle the challenges themselves. If the leak in the kitchen or the bathroom sink is on the drainage portion, you will determine where is it on the drainage. The most common issue for a leaking drain is at the ptrap union. Simply grab a pair of water pump pliers (channel locks), and tighten the union. If the drainage piping is leaking, then you might have to call a qualified plumber, however if you are feeling up to the challenge, then a hacksaw blade with glue and the proper fittings will fix the leak. Email me Jesse@ClearFloHVAC.com and ask for some free advice. If your hot water tank is leaking from the tank, then you need to replace the hot water tank. Sorry! Check out my other blog posts for maintenance of the Hot Water Tank, I have tips that can prolong the life of your hot water tank by a few years $$$$$
Step 3: Fix the leak and resume life
With the water turned off, you should feel fairly comfortable knowing that whatever you do, you wont cause a flood in your home. If your leak is on copper piping, STOP!! DO NOT CUT INTO COPPER PIPING unless you know what you are doing, it takes years to master soldering and brazing, there is an element of danger because of an open flame you will have to use. I have heard of many stories of people setting items on fires and causing 2nd degree burns to their hands, fingers, arms.
Its DANGEROUS! If you have to repair copper, then please consult a qualified plumber to have them do the repair, I hate hearing of horror DIY copper repair stories ending in burns. If you have a cheap faucet, then your best bet is to just replace it with another cheap one from the Home Depot, Lowes, Rona. Make sure you set aside a few hours for learning and going to the store a few times. A plumber that knows what he is doing should be able to do a bathroom tap swap in less than 15 min and a kitchen tap swap in less than 30. If your leak is from the base of your toilet, you might have to YouTube how to swap out a toilet, there is a nifty product out there that I use all the time called Liquiloc, is gels the toilet water so water doesn’t spill all over the floor.
Plumbing issues sorta put a halt on everyday life, best way to protect yourself from interruptions is to just maintain the system. It is better to maintain a little bit once in a while than to fix a broken system.