Plumbing systems are vital to any home. When something goes wrong with your plumbing, it can cause major issues and damage. Doing plumbing repairs yourself can save you money compared to hiring a professional. With some basic skills and the right tools, many common plumbing problems are DIY projects you can tackle.

Here are 10 DIY home plumbing projects with step-by-step instructions that you can complete yourself.

Unclogging a Sink Drain

A clogged sink is one of the most common plumbing issues in any home. Food particles, hair, soap scum, and other debris can slowly build up inside your pipes leading to slow drainage or a fully blocked sink. Instead of using harsh chemical drain cleaners, try these methods to clear the clog naturally:

Steps to Unclog a Sink Drain

  1. Pour 1⁄2 cup baking soda down the drain followed by 1⁄2 cup vinegar. The chemical reaction can help dissolve some of the gunk. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Boil a pot of water and carefully pour it down the drain. The hot water can melt and flush away grease clogs.
  3. Use a plunger to plunge the drain for several minutes, covering the overflow hole completely when pushing down. This creates pressure to dislodge the clog.
  4. Unscrew the P-trap under the sink to check for trapped debris you can remove. Make sure to have a bucket ready to catch water.
  5. Use a wire coat hanger or zip-it drain snake to fish out the clog.
  6. As a last resort, try a drain auger (drain snake). Insert it as far as you can and twist to grab and pull out the clog.

Unclogging a stalled sink drain is an easy DIY plumbing fix that can save you from needing to call a plumber.

Replacing a Leaky Faucet Cartridge

A leaky faucet isn’t just annoying—it can cost you hundreds of dollars per year in wasted water. Faucet leaks are often caused by worn washers and cartridges inside that need replacing.

Follow these steps to replace a cartridge yourself:

How to Replace a Leaky Faucet Cartridge

  1. Turn off the water supply lines under the sink.
  2. Pry off the faucet handle with a flathead screwdriver. Remove the screw holding the cartridge in place.
  3. Pull the old cartridge straight out and take note of how it was positioned. Bring it to the hardware store to make sure you get an exact replacement.
  4. Install the new cartridge in the same orientation and reassemble by replacing the screw and handle.
  5. Turn the water back on and test for leaks. If it still leaks, you may need to replace washers or O-rings as well.

Replacing a worn cartridge can stop leaks and restore your faucet to good working order. Doing it yourself takes less than an hour and costs a fraction of what a plumber would charge.

Replacing a Toilet Flapper

A running toilet that keeps filling and flushing automatically can waste thousands of gallons of water. The culprit is often a leaky toilet flapper that needs replacing. Here is how to do this easy fix:

Installing a New Toilet Flapper

  1. Turn off the water supply to the toilet. Flush to empty the tank.
  2. Remove the old flapper by unclipping it from the overflow tube.
  3. Take note of the size and type of flapper needed for your toilet model. Purchase the correct replacement.
  4. Clean mineral deposits off the overflow tube with steel wool or a cleaning pad.
  5. Hook the new flapper chain over the overflow tube and attach the flapper to the tank lever.
  6. Adjust the chain so there is about 1⁄2 inch of slack.
  7. Turn the water back on and test flush several times to check for leaks.

A faulty flapper is one of the most common DIY toilet repairs. The part is inexpensive, and replacing it takes less than 15 minutes. Doing it yourself can save the aggravation and cost of multiple service calls.

Installing a New Bathroom Faucet

Updating a worn-out bathroom faucet can give your whole vanity a fresh new look. With some plumbing knowledge and DIY skills, installing a new faucet is a weekend project you can handle.

Follow these key steps to take out the old faucet and put in a new one:

How to Install a New Bathroom Faucet

  1. Turn off the hot and cold shut-off valves under the sink. Open the faucet to release pressure. Disconnect and remove supply lines.
  2. Remove mounting nuts, screws, washers securing the old faucet. Lift the faucet out.
  3. Set the new faucet in place on the sink or countertop. Reuse existing washers or replace if worn.
  4. Slide on the mounting brackets and reattach supply lines. Hand tighten connections.
  5. Seal leaks at connections with plumber’s putty. Wipe away excess.
  6. Turn on shut-off valves and test for leaks. Re-tighten any connections that drip.

With standard household tools and some patience, you can install a fresh new bathroom faucet in a few hours for much cheaper than a plumber.

Replacing a Kitchen Faucet

Just like bathrooms, kitchens also get a lot of use. A leaky kitchen faucet that drips constantly can be extremely annoying. Luckily, most homeowners can replace a kitchen faucet on their own in 1-2 hours with basic DIY abilities.

Follow these steps for a smooth faucet replacement project:

How to Install a New Kitchen Faucet

  1. Shut off water supply lines and open the faucet to release pressure. Disconnect water lines and sprayer hose.
  2. Remove the mounting nuts holding the old faucet down and lift it out. Also remove any putty or silicone.
  3. Set the new faucet into place and hand tighten the mounting nuts underneath.
  4. Attach the sprayer hose and supply lines to the right outlets. Tighten with tongue-and-groove pliers.
  5. Seal any gaps or leaks around the base with plumber’s putty. Smooth out the putty with a wet finger.
  6. Turn on the shut-off valves and check for leaks at all connections. Tighten as needed.

With a few common hand tools and a little DIY know-how, you can upgrade a worn-out old kitchen faucet to a nice new model easily in an afternoon.

Fixing a Dripping Showerhead

Does your showerhead drip constantly, even when the water is turned off? Mineral deposits and limescale can built up inside a showerhead causing clogs and drips. Trying to scrub the deposits off is tedious and rarely works. It’s much easier to remove the showerhead and soak it in vinegar.

Follow these steps to clean a dripping showerhead:

How to Clean a Showerhead

  1. Unscrew the showerhead from the pipe using tongue-and-groove pliers or a wrench. You may need to spray WD-40 on the connection.
  2. Place the showerhead in a bowl and pour in enough vinegar to submerge it. Let it soak 30-60 minutes.
  3. Use an old toothbrush to gently scrub off any remaining mineral deposits. Rinse thoroughly.
  4. Reattach the showerhead to the pipe using pliers or a wrench. Test and tighten as needed.
  5. Turn on the shower to test. The flow should be improved, and the dripping should stop.

Doing a thorough vinegar soak and scrub removes most of the harmful mineral buildup inside a showerhead. Best of all, it costs practically nothing and takes less than an hour.

Repairing a Dripping Outdoor Faucet

Exposed outdoor faucets take a beating from the elements year-round. Drips and leaks are common wear-and-tear issues. Replacing washers and O-rings inside the faucet body is an easy fix you can do yourself.

Follow these DIY steps for repairing an outdoor spigot:

How to Fix a Leaky Outdoor Faucet

  1. Turn off the indoor shut-off valve for the outdoor faucet and open the spigot to drain leftover water.
  2. Unscrew the faucet handle and handle base to expose internal parts.
  3. Identify the worn washers and O-rings and remove them with pliers or a screwdriver.
  4. Bring the old O-rings to the hardware store to find exact replacements. Purchase new washers of the correct size as well.
  5. Put the new O-rings and washers in the correct spots and reassemble the faucet.
  6. Turn the water back on slowly. Check for any leaks and tighten joints as needed.
  7. Reattach the handle base and handle once you’ve confirmed the leak is fixed.

Doing a simple rebuild of the faucet seals can repair an outdoor spigot drip in less than 30 minutes, saving the hassle of replacing the whole unit.

Cleaning Clogged Gutters

Clogged gutters can cause water to overflow and seep into your attic or foundations. Preventing costly water damage is as easy as doing periodic gutter cleaning. Here are tips for getting your gutters into shape:

How to Unclog and Clean Gutters

  1. Use a garden hose to spray out smaller debris from ground level first. Position a ladder for close-up work.
  2. Scoop out piles of wet leaves and packed debris by hand in sections. Wear gloves to protect your hands.
  3. Flush the gutters again now that the major clogs are cleared. Make sure downspouts are also clear.
  4. Check for and remove any debris or nests blocking drainage holes along the gutters.
  5. Use a stiff gutter cleaning brush to scrub off stubborn organic stains and growth.
  6. Consider installing gutter guard screens to prevent future debris buildup after cleaning.

Doing a thorough gutter cleaning when clogs appear and before seasons change will ensure proper drainage and prevent water overflow damage.

Installing a Sump Pump

A sump pump collects groundwater seepage and pumps it away from your foundation to prevent flooding. Installing one yourself creates a backup system in case of heavy rains or water table rise. Here are the steps:

How to Install a Sump Pump from Scratch

  1. Dig a sump pit about 2 ft. wide x 2 ft. deep lined with gravel at the lowest spot near your foundation.
  2. Place a sump basin in the pit. Set the sump pump inside on the gravel base.
  3. Run PVC discharge pipe from the pump outlet up to ground level outside.
  4. Connect the pump to a grounded electrical outlet with a float switch to turn it on automatically. Test the float switch.
  5. Activate the pump to test it pumps water out properly through the discharge pipe.
  6. Cover the sump pit with a lid to prevent debris from falling in while still allowing water flow.

Installing a properly working sump pump provides peace of mind knowing you have a backup system to prevent flooding during heavy rains or rising groundwater.

Repairing a Burst Pipe

Pipes can burst due to freezing temperatures or pressure buildup, causing massive water leaks. Fixing a burst pipe quickly is crucial to prevent water damage. Here are the steps for a temporary repair until a plumber can replace the pipe:

How to Temporarily Repair a Burst Pipe

  1. Locate the shut-off valve for the burst pipe and turn off the water supply.
  2. Put on safety goggles, gloves, and waterproof boots if the pipe is still spewing water.
  3. Cut away drywall or panels to fully expose the burst section of pipe. Cut the damaged section of pipe out.
  4. Clean the newly cut pipe ends thoroughly. Chamfer the edges with sandpaper or a file.
  5. Measure the gap between the pipe ends and cut a coupling clamp to size with a hacksaw.
  6. Slide the coupling clamp over the pipe ends and tighten the bolts evenly.
  7. Slowly turn the water supply back on and check for leaks at the repair. Tighten the clamp further if needed.

The temporary coupling clamp repair can buy you time for arranging professional pipe replacement while immediately stopping the water flow from a burst pipe.

Fixing Low Water Pressure

Poor water pressure can make showers and faucets frustrating to use. There are several DIY ways to get your household water pressure back to normal:

Improving Low Water Pressure

  • Check faucet aerators and showerheads for mineral deposits and clean or replace them if clogged.
  • Make sure the shut-off valves under sinks and toilets are fully open.
  • Inspect supply pipes for kinks that restrict flow. Straighten or replace kinked sections.
  • Look for leaks in pipes, joints, valves and fittings that may be losing water. Repair any leaks found.
  • Drain and flush out the water heater to remove sediment buildup.
  • Have your water pressure regulator inspected. It may need adjustment or replacing.
  • If all else fails, call a plumber to check your home’s water pressure coming from the main line.

Diagnosing the cause of low water pressure and taking the right steps to fix it can restore normal flow for showers, sinks, and appliances.

Unlocking a Jammed Garbage Disposal

If the blades in your garbage disposal seize up, don’t reach inside! You can usually get a stuck disposal working again safely using one of these methods:

Fixing a Jammed Garbage Disposal

  • Flip the reset button on the bottom or side (not all models have this).
  • Insert an Allen wrench in the hole on the bottom and rotate back and forth to dislodge jams.
  • Use the small wrench that came with your disposal. Turn it back and forth to unstick the blades.
  • Look inside with a flashlight while rotating the wrench or Allen key to see what’s stuck in the blades.
  • Try inserting a wooden broom handle or rubber plunger handle into the top to dislodge objects while turning the bottom wrench.
  • As a last resort, you may need to call a plumber to remove the disposal motor and clear out debris by hand.

Avoid putting hands inside a jammed disposal, and never use harsh chemical drain cleaners. With some patience, you can usually get a seized garbage disposal working again safely.

FAQ About DIY Home Plumbing Projects

What tools do I need for basic DIY plumbing?

Having these basic tools on hand will prepare you to tackle many common plumbing repairs: adjustable wrenches, tongue-and-groove pliers, pipe wrenches, hacksaw, utility knife, screwdrivers, headlamp or flashlight, bucket, safety goggles, work gloves.

When should I call a professional plumber?

It’s smart to call a licensed plumber for major issues like a burst main water line, sewer line clogs, or re-piping the entire home. They have the expertise for emergency repairs and large-scale projects.

What are signs I may have a serious plumbing problem?

Warning signs of serious issues include low or no water pressure, major leaks, severe backups in multiple drains or toilets, a burst pipe, sewage smells, or water bubbling up from the ground outside.

How can I find shut-off valves in my home?

The main water shut-off is usually near the water meter or front exterior hose spigot. Individual sinks, toilets, and appliances have smaller shut-off valves underneath or behind them.

What precautions should I take when doing plumbing DIY?

  • Turn water supply OFF and release pressure before working.
  • Wear safety goggles, work gloves, and closed-toe shoes.
  • Place a bucket under pipes before unscrewing fittings to catch water.
  • Never reach hands into a stuck garbage disposal.
  • Be prepared for some water spillage and have towels ready.

How can I prevent plumbing issues in my home?

  • Don’t pour grease down sinks.
  • Use strainers in sink drains.
  • Don’t flush wipes or feminine products.
  • Clean pop-up stoppers regularly.
  • Fix minor drips promptly before they worsen.
  • Insulate pipes in unheated areas.

What plumbing projects should beginners avoid?

Leave major jobs like replacing a water heater, well pump, or main sewer line to the professionals. Also avoid gas lines, laundry/appliance hookups, and electrical work if you’re inexperienced.


Regular preventive plumbing maintenance helps avoid many expensive repairs down the road. Knowing how to tackle minor fixes yourself will save money and give you a sense of accomplishment. Use the step-by-step guides above to gain confidence for doing common plumbing repairs and installations around your home. Pay attention to safety and be ready to call a professional plumber for any complex or dangerous plumbing situations beyond your skill level. Over time and with practice, you may be surprised how many of your home’s plumbing issues you can take care of on your own.