If you’re looking to save money around the house then one way to do so is to teach yourself some DIY skills and get yourself the appropriate tools. Trades people can be very expensive, especially if you’re having to call them out in an emergency – and we all know that if something’s going to go wrong it will happen either on a Sunday or on a Bank Holiday, when call out charges are even more than usual! If you can can unblock toilets and drains yourself then you’re bound to save yourself money.
When it comes to drain problems you only really need two pieces of kit to be able to resolve many problems yourself – a plunger (under a fiver from a DIY shop) and a good pair of rubber gloves.
Unblocking a toilet
The toilet is one thing that you really don’t want going wrong in your house, but if you’ve got small kids who can be a bit over-enthusiastic with the amount of toilet paper required to wipe their bum then you’re probably going to have to deal with a blocked toilet sooner or later. It’s definitely worth learning how to unblock a toilet as it’s not at all difficult to do, yet making a wrong move could involve flooding your bathroom – and no one wants that.
The key thing is not to assume that flushing it again and again will solve the problem as it probably won’t. Once you’ve realised there is a blockage stop flushing and instead try to dislodge it using your plunger. In most cases this should sort things out and once it’s unblocked flushing again should prove that there are no longer any problems.
Clearing your drains
When it comes to your house’s main drains there are several things that could cause blockages – fat or grease being washed down the kitchen sink, sanitary products down the toilet, or leaves getting in where the drains go into the ground. Making sure you don’t let these things get into your drains in the first place will definitely help keep them unblocked. Pouring hot water down the inside drains regularly is one way of keeping them clear. And rather than waste your money on expensive cleaning products a combination of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar will do just as good a job if poured down and flushed with hot water. (There’s not much around the house that bicarbonate of soda and vinegar can’t do when it comes to husehold cleaning – and I’ve a whole series of other posts lined up using them very soon!)
If you have a problem with your outside drains then using drain rods may help to solve it. Whilst these can be a bit more expensive to buy yourself (anywhere between £10 and £50) you can also hire them or ask a friend of neighbour if they have a set you can borrow.
If previous residents of your house haven’t followed the tips above then you might need to call in the professionals to clear the problems once and for all.
In all these situations though, if in doubt ask someone to help you. You don’t want to create more expense for yourself by doing something wrong, so ask a friend or family member if unsure and if they can’t help call out the professionals. Paying for them to come out once and explain to you what they’re doing and answer your questions may well save you money and hassle in the long run.
For more thrifty money saving tips – have a look at Thrifty Mrs C.