DIY Plumbing Tips: How to Fix Common Household Leaks

Household leaks can be a nuisance, but with the right knowledge and tools, you can tackle many of them on your own. At Walley Plumbing Company, we believe in empowering homeowners with the skills to manage minor plumbing issues, saving time and money. Here are some DIY plumbing tips to help you fix common household leaks.

Understanding the Basics

Before diving into repairs, it’s crucial to understand the basic plumbing system in your home. Water enters your home under pressure through supply lines and exits through drainage pipes. Leaks often occur in these supply lines, faucets, or connections due to wear and tear or faulty installation.

Essential Tools and Materials

To fix common leaks, you’ll need a few essential tools and materials:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Pipe wrench
  • Plumber’s tape (Teflon tape)
  • Pipe sealant
  • Replacement washers and O-rings
  • Bucket
  • Towels
  • Pipe cutter (for more advanced repairs)

Having these items on hand will make your DIY repair process smoother and more efficient.

Fixing Leaky Faucets

Leaky faucets are one of the most common household plumbing issues. They usually occur because of worn-out washers, O-rings, or seals. Here’s how to fix them:

  1. Turn Off the Water Supply: Before you begin, turn off the water supply to the faucet. This is usually done by closing the valves under the sink.
  2. Disassemble the Faucet: Use an adjustable wrench to carefully remove the faucet handle. Depending on the type of faucet, you might need to remove a decorative cap first.
  3. Inspect and Replace Parts: Check the washer, O-ring, and seals for any signs of wear or damage. Replace them if necessary. Use plumber’s tape on the threads to ensure a tight seal.
  4. Reassemble the Faucet: Put the faucet back together in the reverse order of disassembly. Turn on the water supply and test the faucet for leaks.

Repairing Leaky Pipes

Leaky pipes can cause significant damage if not addressed promptly. Here’s a simple method to fix small leaks:

  1. Identify the Leak: Find the exact location of the leak. This might require some inspection, especially if the leak is behind walls.
  2. Turn Off the Water Supply: Shut off the water supply to the affected pipe. Open nearby faucets to drain any remaining water in the pipes.
  3. Apply Pipe Sealant or Tape: For small leaks, wrap the affected area with plumber’s tape or apply pipe sealant. This is a temporary fix that can prevent further water damage until you can replace the pipe.
  4. Replace the Damaged Section: For a more permanent fix, use a pipe cutter to remove the damaged section of the pipe. Replace it with a new section, ensuring to use plumber’s tape on the threads and secure with pipe wrenches.

Addressing Toilet Leaks

Toilet leaks often occur around the base or from the tank. Here’s how to address them:

  1. Check the Wax Seal: If water is pooling around the base of the toilet, the wax seal might be compromised. Turn off the water supply, drain the toilet, and remove it to replace the wax ring.
  2. Inspect the Tank Components: If the toilet runs continuously, inspect the flapper, fill valve, and flush valve. These components can wear out over time. Replace any faulty parts with new ones from a hardware store.
  3. Tighten Connections: Ensure all connections between the tank and the bowl, as well as the water supply line, are tight. Use an adjustable wrench but be careful not to overtighten, as this can cause cracks.

Handling Showerhead Leaks

A leaky showerhead can be annoying and wasteful. Here’s a quick fix:

  1. Remove the Showerhead: Unscrew the showerhead using an adjustable wrench. Wrap the jaws of the wrench with a cloth to avoid scratching the finish.
  2. Clean and Re-tape the Threads: Clean the threads on the shower arm and the showerhead. Apply new plumber’s tape to the threads of the shower arm.
  3. Reattach the Showerhead: Screw the showerhead back onto the shower arm and tighten it with the wrench. Turn on the water to check for leaks.

Dealing with Outdoor Faucet Leaks

Outdoor faucets, also known as hose bibbs, can develop leaks, especially after winter. Here’s how to fix them:

  1. Replace the Washer: Turn off the water supply to the outdoor faucet. Remove the handle and the packing nut. Replace the washer inside the valve stem, using a new one that matches the old washer in size.
  2. Check the Packing Nut: If the faucet leaks from around the handle when turned on, tighten the packing nut. If tightening doesn’t stop the leak, you may need to replace the packing material inside the nut.

Preventative Maintenance Tips

Preventing leaks is often easier than fixing them. Here are some tips to keep your plumbing in good condition:

  • Regular Inspections: Periodically check all visible pipes, faucets, and connections for signs of leaks or corrosion.
  • Proper Winterization: In colder climates, ensure outdoor faucets and pipes are properly insulated to prevent freezing and bursting.
  • Soft Water Systems: If you have hard water, consider installing a water softener. Hard water can cause mineral buildup and damage pipes over time.
  • Gentle Handling: Avoid using excessive force when turning faucets on and off. This can wear out washers and seals prematurely.

When to Call a Professional

While many leaks can be fixed with basic DIY skills, some issues require professional intervention. If you encounter any of the following, it’s time to call Walley Plumbing Company:

  • Persistent leaks that recur despite repairs
  • Leaks in hard-to-reach or concealed areas
  • Major pipe damage or burst pipes
  • Uncertainty about the source of a leak

At Walley Plumbing Company, we’re here to assist with all your plumbing needs. Whether you’re tackling a minor leak or facing a major plumbing emergency, our team of experienced professionals is ready to help.


Fixing common household leaks is a valuable skill that can save you money and prevent significant water damage. With the right tools, knowledge, and a bit of patience, many plumbing issues can be resolved without professional assistance. However, don’t hesitate to reach out to Walley Plumbing Company for expert advice and services when needed. We’re committed to keeping your home’s plumbing system running smoothly. Happy DIY plumbing!