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How to solve the two most common bathroom plumbing issues

We get called out to a range of properties for bathroom problems ranging from a dripping tap to a whole new bathroom installation. We find that the same problems come up on a regular basis – most notably a blocked toilet or a dripping tap – so we’re sharing our expertise to help you with the little niggles you might be able to do yourself.

Blocked toilet

A blocked toilet is a less than ideal situation, especially if it’s the only toilet in the house. There are a couple of ways to try before calling out a plumber.

Unblock a toilet with washing up materials

You can have an initial go with things you’ll find in your kitchen – washing up liquid and warm water. Start by pouring about a half-cup of washing up liquid into the blocked toilet. The slippery nature of the washing up liquid can help lubricate the clogged pipe and allow any lodged debris to slide down more easily.

If the washing up liquid alone doesn’t do it, try adding hot (but not boiling) water. Fill a bucket with hot bath water. Never use boiling water, which could cause a toilet to crack. Pour the water into the toilet from waist height. The force of the water could dislodge the cause of the clogged toilet.

Unblock a toilet with a coat hanger

Get a wire coat hanger and unravel it. Push one end of the wire into the clogged toilet area. Prod the debris until it becomes loose and flows down the drain. A plumber might be more likely to use a drain auger as a better choice, but a wire hanger is something you’re likely to have around the house.

This is obviously a less pleasant option as there’s a chance part of the debris might stick to the hanger. You should look to wear gloves and thoroughly wash your hands afterwards. If you don’t have the stomach for it, calling a plumber is a better bet.

Fix a blocked toilet with a plunger

Most households will have one as default, and the trusty plunger can fix a lot of blockages. A toilet plunger fits over and seals a toilet drain. In the same way, as with the wire coat hanger, wear gloves.

Be gentle on your first plunge as initially, the bell of the plunger will be full of air. If you push too hard, you will force the air back around the seal and blow toilet water all over yourself!

Once you force out the air, plunge firmly in and out while maintaining the seal. You’ll be forcing water in both directions in the drain which will hopefully loosen the blockage. Plunge up to 15 or 20 times if necessary. Keep enough water in the bowl so the toilet plunger stays covered.

Dripping tap

A dripping tap might not seem like a big deal but long term you’re wasting water which is a money issue if you’re on a meter, and with drought-filled summers of late, not particularly socially responsible.

The noise can also be annoying and if for whatever reason, your sink starts draining more slowly, you risk it overflowing and damage to your property.

What kind of dripping tap do you have?

A dripping tap is essentially a kind of leak and where the leak is coming from will determine the type of repair you need to make.

If water is leaking from the spout you need to replace the washer. If water is leaking from under the handle then the valve O-ring will need replacing and if the leak is coming from under the spout then the spout O-ring will need replacing.

The type of tap you have will also depend on the part that you need. Find out more on how to replace these parts here.

Always remember to switch off your water before you start.

Find a reliable company for a boiler service in Surrey

To set up a service appointment, get in touch with Deacon Heating and Plumbing. We have experienced Gas Safe engineers and are a great choice when looking for a boiler service Surrey-wide. Call us at 07813522084 or contact us on our website.