DIY Home Plumbing – Ideas, Instructions & Tips

1. Turn Off Your Home’s Water Supply

How to Do It: If this sounds like a straightforward task to you, that’s because it usually is. However, since it’s a prerequisite for many of the projects on this list, it’s essential that you know how to get it done. Every modern home has a main water shut-off valve somewhere on the property. The valve’s location depends on where the main water line enters the home:

  • Basement: In homes with basement foundations, the water line usually enters through a street-side basement wall or floor. The valve should be near the entry point.

  • Crawlspace: In homes built over crawlspaces, the water line usually enters through the street-facing side. If you can’t locate the valve in the crawlspace, it may be in the first above-ground entry point inside the home itself.

  • Slab: In homes built on slabs, the valve is usually in a utility room or attached garage. In warm regions with high water tables, such as Louisiana, the valve may be located in the attic.

  • Exterior: If you can’t locate your valve in the basement, crawlspace, garage, or interior room, check your yard. In warm climates, service lines sometimes break the surface near the street.

  • Your valve should have an obvious flow handle. If the water is on, this handle will be parallel to the pipe. Turn the water off by rotating the handle 90 degrees, so that it’s perpendicular to the pipe. Reverse to turn the water back on.

For this project, the only thing you will need is your bare hands. It will cost you $0 and it should only take 5 minutes.

2. Replace a Shower Head

How to Do It: Showerheads can be fixed, handheld, or both. None is particularly difficult or time-consuming to install, though attention to detail is important in all three cases. Follow this basic procedure for replacing a shower head is:

Loosen the old head with an adjustable wrench or slip-joint pliers and discard.

Use a solvent solution, such as CLR, to remove rust, calcification, and other debris from the shower arm.

Dry the arm, especially around the threads.

Apply Teflon tape to the threads and press down to form a close bond.

Hand-screw the new shower head into the threads.

Finish tightening with pliers or an adjustable wrench.

Turn on the water and check for leaks.

If leaks are present, tighten further or reapply Teflon tape.

To install a hybrid shower head with fixed and handheld components, you’ll need to screw in an extra piece – the diverter that controls water flow between the two heads.

The process is slightly more time-consuming, and you’ll need to refer to the manufacturer’s installation instructions to ensure that you’re connecting the diverter properly, but it’s not an order of magnitude more complicated.

For this project, you will need, a new shower head, a wrench or pair of pliers, Teflon tape, rust/lime remover, or mineral spirits. This will cost you $5 to $7 for a basic chrome shower head; upwards of $40 for a high-end model. This project should take 15 to 30 minutes.

3. Replace Faucet Fixtures

How to Do It: Replacing a faucet isn’t as hard as it sounds. This explainer assumes you’re not replacing the entire sink, just the actual faucet assembly. It’s adapted from this Lowe’s how-to:

Close the hot and cold valves under the sink. If the sink has no valves, turn off your home’s main valve.

Open the hot and cold taps to drain any remaining water in the lines.

Unscrew the water lines manually or with a basin wrench.

Disconnect the lift rod (the piece that opens and closes the drain).

Remove the nuts at the base of the faucet.

Manually unscrew the plastic slip nut on the P-trap (the bend in the drain line) and disconnect the drain flange.

Use mineral spirits or rust remover to clean around the drain and sink mounting holes.

If not already done, install a gasket at the base of the new faucet.

Insert the new faucet into the sink mounting holes. Tighten the mounting nuts.

If not already done, install the faucet handles and tighten with a hex wrench (usually provided).

Screw in the drain nut and fit tightly with the base gasket (push or screw-in).

Apply plumber’s putty to the drain flange and screw on over the drain body. Make sure the flange’s pivot hole faces backward.

Further, tighten the nuts and gasket.

Install and test the drain rod assembly.

Reconnect the supply lines and run the faucet. Check the entire assembly for leaks and retighten or reinstall as necessary.

Your new faucet should come with installation instructions. (How detailed they’ll be is another matter.) Where these instructions conflict with those provided by the manufacturer, refer to the latter.

For this project, you will need your new faucet assembly, plumber’s putty or silicone, a basin wrench (optional), mineral spirits, hex wrench (probably included in the faucet assembly). This will cost around $30 to $40 for a basic chrome faucet; upwards of $400 for a high-end model. The project should take from 60 to 90 minutes.

If you are not the type of person that does DYI projects, and you rather hire a professional, then you should contact us for a free estimate if you are in the Miami Dade Area.

Call today - (305) 770-6860