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Plumbing 101: how to do common repairs yourself
Day or night, 24 / 7, we’ve got your pipes covered.


When it comes to home repairs, not all Los Angeles residents are created equal. For those of us who are naturally skilled, fixing a leaky sink or faulty dishwasher may not be a big deal; you may even enjoy it. But for everyone else, home repairs can be a bit daunting, if not downright nerve-wracking.

Plumbing problems seem to cause more headaches than other household projects, but they don’t have to. All you need is a little basic advice, some self-confidence, and sleeves to roll up – because you’re about to get down to work.

Here are a few common problems you may face, and some simple tips for fixing them.

Clogged toilet

From Santa Monica to Culver City, no one wants a clogged toilet. It’s just unpleasant to deal with. The first thing to try is a plunger. However, this doesn’t always work. If the toilet’s really backed up, then plunging may actually backfire, and cause the bowl to overflow. Try a few slow plunges first.

If the problem is instead a continuous draining, remove the lid from the tank and look inside. A common problem is the chain that connects the flush handle to the flapper valve. Specifically, is it stuck or wrapped around itself, causing the water to continuously drain out. Adjust the chain with your hand to see if that solves the problem. If not, then the flapper valve itself may be past its prime. Go to your local hardware store to replace it.

Clogged drain

White vinegar is the secret to cleaning everything. From simple appliances to bigger household projects, it’s packed with non-toxic superpower. If your drain is backed up and you can’t seem to fish out debris with your fingers, it’s time to bust out the white vinegar. Try combining it with baking soda, and then running it down the drain with hot water. This should break up any non-major clogs.

However, if this doesn’t work, you should call the best plumber Los Angeles has to offer. Hammer Plumbing and Drain can use more sophisticated methods of clearing a clogged drain, such as snakes or even pipe replacement if necessary.

Washing machine

A stopped washing machine can be a major headache, especially if you were just about to start a day of laundry. Those dirty clothes will have to wait, unfortunately. In the meantime, you can try a couple DIY tricks to get it started again. First, always make sure the machine is unplugged (this is actually a good rule of thumb, no matter what electrical appliance you’re working on). Pull the machine out if you can, and check that all of the knobs and hoses are connected. Also, are there are any kinks? Are the faucets turned to the On position?

Once you’ve checked all of these boxes, then examine the inside of the machine, and make sure there’s not a severe build up of lint. Remove any visible lint since, among other things, it’ll keep the machine from properly cleaning your clothes. To ensure that it stays clean, fill the tub up with water as you would if you were doing a load of laundry (but minus the laundry of course). Then add 3 cups of white vinegar (naturally), and then run a complete wash cycle. This should clean out any build up that was keeping it from running smoothly.