DIY & Troubleshooting Tips

Try These DIY Tips Before Calling a Professional Plumber

Al’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning performs any repair your Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioner will ever need. We are available 24/7 for Emergency Repairs and Mon-Fri for non-emergency. Call us today to discuss your need and schedule a convenient appointment for the repairs.

Before you call us, here are some DIY tips you can try.


A slow or clogged Bathtub or Bathroom Sink Drain usually happens over time, resulting from build-up of hair and soap scum. A product called “Zip-It” works very well on hair clogs.

NOTE: Use Zip-It BEFORE drain-cleaner. Once you have put drain-cleaner in, it’s not safe to use Zip-It due to the presence of drain-cleaner which could flip into your eyes or on your skin.

Most minor Sink Clogs can be cleared with a Sink Plunger. Fill the sink until 1″ of water covers the bottom. Vigorously work the plunger up and down several times, then quickly pull it up and off the drain opening.

You will likely see black, foul-smelling debris come out, this is what is clogging the drain. Clear the debris and run water to see if drain is working well. If not, repeat the process until the drain works.

Toilet Clogs

Toilet Clogs typically occur in the trap below the bowl. Start with a Toilet Plunger to see if it can clear the clog. If that does not work, you will need an auger. Place the auger end into the bowl with its bent tip aiming up. Hold the tool shaft steady as you crank and push down on the handle.

You’ll feel the cable snake its way up and through the trap. Continue cranking until you’ve dispensed the entire cable (about 3 ft.). Retrieve the cable by cranking while pulling up on the handle.

Flush the toilet to clear out loosened debris. If it’s still a little sluggish, run the auger through the trap twice more: once up the left side of the trap, then again up the right side. This 3-step method will clear matter clinging to the sides of the trap.

NOTE: Use Rubber Gloves. The snake pushes itself through what has clogged the toilet — and we all know what typically caused the clog.

Replacing a Dripping Faucet

This video below, from Delta Faucets, instructs how to replace a faucet. Al’s Plumbing sells and installs Delta Faucets.

Fixing a Running Toilet

This How-to Article (with video) details typical repairs needed to fix a running toilet.

Water Heater Replacement

NOTE: Unless you are thoroughly knowledgeable about gas water heater venting requirements, call someone who is. Improperly vented gas water heaters can allow Carbon Monoxide into your home.

Back-drafting is the reverse flow of exhaust-fumes from the flue of a gas water heater. This results in combustion-byproducts coming into the living space. Gas water heaters use household air in venting, which makes them especially vulnerable to back-drafting.

Why does back-drafting happen?

Gas water heaters are designed to exhaust the combustion-exhaust to the outdoors through a flue. These hot gases rise through the flue and exit the home because they are not as dense as indoor air. Back-drafting is typically prevented with an outdoor fresh-air intake.

The pressure differential which allows for the rise and exhaust of combustion gases can be overcome by lack of adequate fresh-air intake at the water heater’s location. This can be caused by a high rate of indoor air removed from the home through; exhaust fans, fireplaces and clothes dryers.

Most DFW City’s Building Codes require a source of fresh-air for a water heater to prevent back-drafting. An air-intake is an opening for the purpose of allowing outside air to be drawn in. A Permit is required to replace a water heater. This will generate a city inspection to ensure the installation is correct and safe.

This photo shows a fresh-air intake (where the grill is on the wall) for a gas water heater.

This video shows the steps of a water heater replacement

NOTE: This video is not produced nor endorsed by Al’s Plumbing. It is provided only as a courtesy to demonstrate a gas water heater installation.

If installing a water heater is more than you feel comfortable with, call Al’s to do the job for you. We are open Mon-Fri for non-emergency repairs and 24/7 for emergency repairs.