DIY PlumbingThe following post has been contributed by Dan Whiteside.

With so much happening in the day-to-day running of a household, a leaking tap, blocked sink or slow-draining bath could be the last thing you need.

These issues can be extremely inconvenient, but are often resolved without having to call out an emergency plumber. That’s right, a little DIY can go a long way – so check out these four useful tips.

1)      Make the most of baking soda and vinegar

Have you ever tried combining baking soda with vinegar? Perhaps to help the kids create a bubbly model volcano or makeshift rocket for a school project? If so, you’ll know that it results in a fairly vigorous chemical reaction. But while this is ideal for scientific experiments, it’s also great for cleaning drains, so keep these two products nearby to prevent future blockages.

2)      Buy a kitchen plunger and some plumbing wire

A kitchen plunger is a household essential as it helps to dislodge food and miscellaneous objects stuck in your water pipes. It’s easy to use and could save you a fortune on plumbing bills, so make sure you buy one the next time you’re out shopping. What’s more, it’s also a good idea to stock up on plumbing wire, as this tends to reach what a plunger can’t. It’s fed down the plughole and can fish out anything nasty blocking the way.

3)      Take care of your outside drains

During winter, leaves, debris and rubbish can end up in your drains. This can cause an overflow of water and a lot of unpleasant smells, so take the time to unblock them. A drain rod or plunger should do the trick and hot water will help break down any fat and grease that might have accumulated. While you’re at it, rake your garden of leaves, clear grass and stones away from your plumbing system and buy a drain guard for extra protection.

4)      Don’t let small problems fester

If you spot a plumbing problem, deal with it sooner rather than later to prevent the issue escalating. A pipe with a slow leak, for instance, might not seem like a big deal but you’ll know soon enough if it cracks further or bursts. Similarly, banging noises in your water system might appear insignificant but they could be a sign of an airlock. This can cause a backlog and prevent the flow of water to your taps, so call in a professional plumber.

Whether you’re a DIY novice or have never repaired anything in your life, it’s always worth brushing up on or learning the basics.