We can’t all afford to call a plumber for every small plumbing issue. Therefore, it pays to know a few plumbing basics.
What to do in case of a plumbing emergency
Do you know the location of your stopcock? (Do you know what a stopcock is?)
A stopcock (tap) turns off the water supply, either to your home or to a fitting in the home. The main stopcock is located on the property boundary at the water meter. Turn this off in the event of a plumbing emergency.
Keep the area around the stopcock clean, for ease of access. Grease the stopcock from time to time to ensure that it does not seize up.
Blockages in the home
A sink or shower drain blockage is fairly easy to unblock.
Most frequently the blockage is in the u-trap behind, or under the sink. Undo the fastener and remove the pipe to get to the blockage.
Do not use caustic soda to remove blockages!
A buildup of hair causes a shower drain to block. Most drain caps are fairly easy to remove. They either clip or screw into the shower floor. Once the cap is off, remove any blockage. Run the shower on hot for a minute or so to clean out the drain.
Blockages outside the home
Look at the plumbing pipes outside your home. You will see that pipes have a small, medium or large inspection cap (eye). Open this cap to check for blockages that have not been cleared by cleaning out the drain, or u-trap. Use a hosepipe to flush the pipe out after the blockage has been removed.
Remove the grated cover at the gulleys and check for blockages if a plumbing drain outside your home is smelly. Use a drain auger, or cut off a piece of hosepipe to loosen a blockage.
Know where your rodding eyes and/or manhole drainage covers are, to check the flow. If caught early, you can resolve the problem by flushing out with a hosepipe.
Safety first when drilling into walls
When drilling into walls, in a bathroom or kitchen, take care not to hit a plumbing pipe or electrical conduit. Use an electronic multi-detector to locate electrical cables and water pipes.