8 Common Plumbing Issues & How To Deal With Them
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This post is a collaboration with Precision Air & Plumbing.
Homeownership comes with its own share of challenges, but finding a leaking pipe or a mysterious puddle of water on the floor are some of the most alarming.
Problems with the plumbing can take on a variety of forms and they occur more often in the absence of regular plumbing maintenance. From the relatively small and inexpensive to a potential disaster that might destroy or severely damage property.
The majority of plumbing issues are a quick fix, provided that you have some basic tools and skills. Still, others may call for a higher level of expertise and require the services of a professional plumber.
Let’s go over common plumbing issues and how to fix them.
Out of all the plumbing problems out there, dripping faucets may be the most common but also the most ignored because they seem harmless. Still, a faucet that drips non-stop is a huge waste of water.
Fortunately, dripping faucets are easy to mend. The issue is often caused by a damaged washer, which means the dripping should stop after a new washer is installed. This is a relatively simple DIY that you can pull off on your own with a few basic tools and some knowledge in home repairs.
Another top contender, as far as common plumbing issues are concerned, is clogged drains. Everybody has experienced the inconvenience caused by a clogged drain at least once. Clogs are almost inevitable in sinks and shower drains due to the amount of dirt, fat, food, hair, and other foreign objects that pass through them daily. These things can accumulate and build-up in the pipes, eventually making it near impossible for water to move through.
If the clogging isn’t that bad, though, all it should take is some hot water with vinegar and baking soda to unblock it. Deeper and more obstinate clogs, however, may necessitate the use of a plumber’s snake or, better yet, call in a professional plumber.
Have you been noticing a puddle of water under your pipes? It’s one of the most glaring signs of a leakage. Pipes leak due to a number of reasons, including worn-out fittings, rusting, or erosion at the joints.
Applying plumbers’ putty or a fiberglass repair tape to the leaking section should do the trick if it’s just a minor leak. If your pipes are showing evident indications of wear and tear, however, your best course of action is to contact your local plumbing company for professional advice and repair.
Is your toilet taking a lot longer to flush? Slow-flushing toilets are a typical sign of clogging, but don’t worry because, most of the time, you’ll be able to clear the obstruction using a plunger.
On the other hand, a running toilet usually indicates a defective flapper valve – a rubber plug that regulates the water flow from the tank to the bowl, and replacing the damaged flapper valve should solve the problem. If it doesn’t, something else could be causing the problem, such as a hidden leak or silt build-up in the tank, and you’re better off calling an experienced plumber for help.
You turn on the faucet or the shower and there’s barely any water coming out. What could be the problem here? Water pressure, most probably.
There are several things that could affect the water pressure in your home. One of the most common is calcium or silt build-up in your shower head and faucet aerator. To remove deposits in your shower heads and aerators, soak them in vinegar overnight.
If this solution does nothing to improve the water pressure, contact your plumber because the problem must be with your pipes or the main water supply.
Has your supposedly hot shower turned freezing cold? There must be something wrong with your water heater – which could be anything from a silt build-up to a broken thermostat.
There are instances where flushing your water heater tank gets it to work properly again. If you don’t know the first thing about flushing a water heater or unsure how to do it, it’s wise to leave the job to a plumbing professional to avoid causing further damage.
Breaks in the water main can happen in two ways. It’s either the public distribution line itself fails or the delivery line that connects your home to the public main breaks. If it’s the former, there’s nothing much you can do about it but wait for your provider to fix it. As for the latter, the best thing you can do is enlist the services of a trusted plumbing service.
Water main leaks, on the other hand, are not as serious. However, you must address the issue immediately or you might find yourself dealing with a water main break in the future.
Sewer system backups are probably the worst plumbing issue you’d ever encounter. They usually happen due to a large clog or blockage, but they can also be due to sewer line damage caused by tree roots and other underground hazards you’re not aware of.
If most of your drains are clogged and there’s a foul odor permeating your property, you may have a sewer problem to address.
There’s no such thing as a quick or temporary fix for a sewer backup. You’ll need to call a plumber immediately to assess the problem and perform the necessary repairs.
Awareness and prompt action are the key to handling plumbing problems efficiently, whether at home or in your place of business. What seemed like a harmless leak can spiral out of control and turn into a plumbing nightmare if left unattended long enough. Fortunately, most of the things that could go wrong with your plumbing aren’t difficult to fix. You can repair them yourself, if you know how.
However, when faced with a plumbing issue that’s beyond your skill or capacity, always seek professional help. Attempting a DIY, without the right tools and know-how, might end up making things worse. Experts can get to and effectively address the root of the problem, saving you more time and money in the end.
About the guest contributor
Rachel Watson is the Senior Content Editor of Precision Air & Plumbing, a full-service HVAC, plumbing, and home performance contractor operating in Chandler, Arizona. Rachel enjoys yoga and writing articles about how to make home living more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.