Plumbing is a lot like life - one thing inevitably leads to another. Except in plumbing it's almost never good news! Allow for the unexpected. Start your plumbing projects when supplies are available and you have plenty of time to complete the job.
Whether you're replacing an older, worn-out faucet or doing some minor kitchen remodeling, you'll find that a new faucet seems to upgrade the look of your whole kitchen. Installing a new faucet isn't a difficult project, but be sure to check how many holes your sink has so that you can get the correct replacement. If your old faucet included a sprayer but you don't want one anymore, you can buy plugs to cover the extra hole in your sink. If the supply tubes underneath the sink aren't equipped with shutoff valves, now is a good time to install these handy devices.
If you're replacing a kitchen faucet, now is the time to think about installing an instant hot water device and a water filter.
Before you go shopping for a new toilet, measure the distance from the floor bolts to the wall (not the baseboard). Make sure the new toilet accommodates those measurements. If the distance isn't one foot, you probably have an older toilet that is a non-standard size. Ask for recommendations from your local Home Depot associate.
All by itself, replacing a toilet isn't a difficult job. However, it does take some time, it can be a little messy, and there can be some pitfalls. For example, it's not uncommon for the bolts that secure the toilet to the floor to be so rusted and corroded that you can't get the nuts off. You may have to cut the bolts off. Also, toilets are heavy and it's almost impossible to get two people on either side of a toilet at the same time for lifting. Be sure to plan plenty of time to do the job carefully -- and you won't get frustrated.
Many plumbing repairs call for shutting off your water supply. If you don't have shutoff valves under sinks and other fixtures, you'll have to shut off the water at your water main -- the place where water enters your home. This is typically a valve located near your water meter. Make sure this valve operates smoothly. If not, replacing it is a job for a professional.
Most drain problems can be prevented with a little regular care. Run hot water down your drains for a few minutes once every week to clear out accumulated soap and grease. If your washing machine empties into a laundry tub, tie an old nylon stocking over the end of the drain hose to catch lint and keep it from clogging the tub drain.