DIY- Do It Yourself Water Repairs

Toilet RepairThe Murfreesboro Water Resources Department works hard to assure our customers have the necessary tools and services to access safe, clean water and manage utility costs, effectively. Mishaps such as leaks, an uneasy flow of water from your faucets or showers, and water pressure issues can be a major frustration. These repairs can also be costly and create water loss if water usage isn’t properly managed.

To fix these problems you can either hunt down an inexpensive, local plumber or try safely doing it yourself. The average homeowner can install high-efficiency shower heads and faucet aerators and repair dripping faucets and leaking toilets, saving 10,000 to more than 25,000 gallons per year for a family of four. Challenge yourself to prevent water loss with a few of our proactive steps below.

Toilet Leaks

Usually a toilet leak happens when your toilet fills up when it's not in use (or doesn't flush), water leaks from the side, or when there are apparent ripples in the water. To repair a toilet leak, usually all you may need to do it replace the toilet flapper or seal. It’s important to do this at least once a year, and to make sure you have the correct size flapper for your toilet model. Never settle for a one-size-fits-all flapper because it will ultimately result in water loss.

Indoor Faucet Leaks

Faucet DiagramTo repair an indoor faucet leak, you may have to bring out the tool box. Some tools you’ll need include an adjustable wrench, replacement washer, flat head screwdriver, pliers, a towel, and an awl. Here are the steps to repairing your kitchen or bathroom faucets:

Step 1: Turn off the water under the sink or the customer shut-off value.

Step 2: Remove the handle screw and the handle.

Step 3: Remove the packing and stem nuts.

Step 4: Unscrew the stem (by hand).

Step 5: Inspect stem hands for wear; replace if needed.

Step 6: Replace worn washers.

Step 7: Check seat for roughness. If there is roughness, redress or replace it.

Step 8: Put it all back together and turn on the water supply to check for leaks.

Outdoor Faucet Leaks

Outdoor Faucet DiagramRepairing an outdoor faucet leak requires some of the same tools as repairing an indoor leak, but you may also need penetrating oil and plumber’s grease. To detect these leaks, always remember your water usage levels can be monitored by your water meter monthly.

Step 1: Turn off water using shut-off valve located at your meter box.

Step 2: Using a wrench, remove the valve body at the large nut. Caution: These instructions are not to REPLACE the entire faucet-only to repair the valve.

Step 3: If necessary, use a screwdriver to remove the nut that holds the knob together and remove the knob. (This step depends on the type of outdoor faucet used.)

Step 4: Loosen the joints on the knob using penetrating oil (if needed).

Step 5: Use an adjustable wrench to unscrew the nut and remove the faucet assembly from wall.

Step 6: Remove the assembly and inspect it for corrosion.

Step 7: If the faucet assembly is stuck soak the joints with penetrating oil for several hours. Once the oil has loosened the faucet, hold the stem with pliers and tap them with a hammer to pop the assembly off.

Step 8: Remove the screw holding the assembly together.

Step 9: Use the awl to remove the old washer. Replace the washer; cover it with plumber’s grease and install the washer.

Step 10: Replace the assembly on the wall. Turn the water back on at the meter and check for leaks.

Ease of Water Flow

Faucet Diagram 2To complete a water flow repair, the main problems are that you may need to install a new shower head entirely or a new aerator for your existing shower head. The only tool needed to install an aerator is an adjustable wrench and below are the 5 simple steps to get it done:

Step 1: Turn off the water.

Step 2: Unscrew the old aerator and turn it to the left to loosen it. (Note: If you have difficulty removing the old aerator, you might need to use the adjustable wrench.)

Step 3: Clean the threads on the faucet. If calcium has built up, use vinegar to clean them off.

Step 4: Install the new aerator.

Step 5: Check for leaks.

Water Pressure

If The Problem Isn’t At Every Faucet…

You may have a clogged aerator. Check the screens for rust or other particles that may be restricting flow. Clean and/or replace the aerator.

Do You Have A Water Softener?

If so, put the softener on bypass and see if the pressure increased. If this increases your pressure, the problem is probably in the water softener that needs to be replaced. 

Is The Pressure The Same At Both Hot And Cold Fixtures?

If only hot water, the problem could be with your water heater. Check the shut-off valve near the water heater to make sure it is not closed or partially closed.

 **If you feel any water repairs are out of your hands, contact our Operations and Maintenance Department at 615-893-1223 for assistance. For information about D-I-Y Water Repairs, visit