Plumbing problems come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and intensities, usually when we least expect it. Sometimes, they make only a minor setback in our daily routine and require little time and effort. Other times, plumbing problems require professional help and turn out to be quite expensive. The question arises, how can people detect plumbing issues all on their own and take action to resolve them?
One way to know what causes the problem in your home is by understanding how the entire plumbing system works. We know this can sometimes take a lot of time and effort, which is why we created a shortcut to finding a plumbing issue. The following article provides a list of the most common plumbing problems that require some kind of plumbing work. Hopefully, it will help you fix issues you might have, prevent them, and figure out when to call for professional help.
Most Common Plumbing Problems and Solutions
Being aware of the most common plumbing problems will allow you to make a good choice when deciding whether to grab your tool belt or call a plumbing company. Our list contains not only the explanation behind each common plumbing problem but advice on how to resolve it.
We encourage passionate DIYers to handle their plumbing issues as long as they know what they’re doing and follow reliable instructions. However, as you will see in the following section, it’s not always easy to find the root of the problem, which is why we will recommend professional services quite often as well.
Clogged Drains and Toilets
Clogged drains take the first place on our list because they are extremely common in homes worldwide. The issue is also easy to spot, no matter which part of the plumbing system gets hit. Simply put, when you see water backing up as you empty a sink, the clogged drain is likely to be blamed. The same applies to clogged toilets, one of the most common bathroom plumbing issues. When the water backs up instead of flushing, there is a blockage somewhere in the drain.
DIY tip: Behind slow or clogged drains stand residues from soaps, hair, and other waste buildups. It often happens that pieces other than waste get into the drain and block it completely. Now, in most cases, clearing the blockage restores the drains and toilets. The simplest way to do it is by pouring chemical cleaners into the drain. That will resolve the buildups and allow water to pass through. More stubborn build-ups or solid items stuck in the drains require using a plunger. This plumbing tool is also efficient in resolving clogs in toilets.
Call a plumber: If you can’t remove the blockage yourself, consider calling a plumber. The help of a professional might be needed for repeated clogs as well, especially in the same drain. Also, keep in mind that you can damage the drain by using chemical cleaners frequently. On the other hand, plumbers have special equipment to remove clogs without causing damages to the drains.
Leaking Faucets and Pipes
Leaks in the plumbing system are pretty common and make a real nuisance for apartment and house owners. Most of the time, leaks occur in faucets and pipes because they are under a lot of pressure and have to wear out at one point. Leaking faucets are easy to spot and repair but leaking pipes not so much. The water typically drips out of the faucet and can be heard from a distance. However, pipes are usually hidden from our eyes and ears, so when they leak, it takes time to detect the issue. Most people suspect their pipes are leaking only when there are puddles of water below them.
DIY tip: Leaking faucets and pipes make one of the most common plumbing problems and usually are the easiest to resolve. With a little DIY work, you can repair most of the small cracks and damages that cause the leak. When it comes to the faucets, the leak most commonly occurs when the washer that seals the tap gets damaged. This little piece is super easy to replace. On the other side, most pipes leak at the joints and only need to be tightened up or patched in case of damages.
Call a plumber: However, if you notice large leaks in your pipes and faucets, calling a plumber is the best choice you can make. Pipe problems can be very complex and serious. If you can’t pinpoint the exact spot of the leak or approach the issue for any other reason, don’t hesitate to call a professional. You may save yourself from a larger problem or a DIY mistake because excessive leaks can damage the plumbing system as well as your property.
Pro Tip: Keep in mind that pipes tend to leak more during winter because they are stressed by freezing. If you have pipes exposed to extremely low temperatures, make sure to insulate them and prevent cracks and bursts.
Water Heater Issues
It’s not rare for water heaters to cause plumbing problems. These machines can malfunction for many reasons. Luckily, it’s easy to tell when they are the culprits. If you notice any dripping, leaking, or noises around your water heater, something is wrong. Freezing cold water under the shower might be even a bigger sign, though.
DIY tip: Among the things you can do to resolve the issue with your water heater is double-checking the settings. Sometimes, the thermostat needs to be readjusted, and the pilot light checked for proper functioning. You also might want to flush out the tank occasionally to remove the sediments from the inside.
Call a plumber: The truth is, most water heater issues need to be resolved with professional help. They are usually too complicated and hazardous to be fixed by DIYers. Therefore, if you notice leaks, strange noises, or other odd things about your water heater, call a plumber. Professionals will know what to do and how to safely perform the repair.
Low Water Pressure
Most plumbing problems in old homes revolve around low water pressure. The issue is quite inconvenient and affects daily water use because you can’t rinse anything or shower with low pressure. There are a few possible causes for this problem, and you can look up to most of them.
The first thing to check is whether the low pressure affects both hot and cold water or only one of them. If both are affected, you’re most likely having a problem with sediment buildups in the faucet aerators and showerheads. Another thing that could cause low water pressure is a pipe leak or corrosion buildup in the water heater.
DIY tip: If you have an issue with the faucet aerators and showerheads, you can clean these parts quite easily. You only need to remove the aerators from the faucets and be careful when cleaning the tiny pieces.
Call a plumber: If you notice a sudden change in the water pressure, and you can’t pinpoint the problem, call a professional. Your pipes might be leaking somewhere in the system.
Toilet plumbing problems are often the most annoying ones, especially the one with an always running toilet. You can still use the toilet, but it wastes a lot of water and makes an irritating sound all the time. So, what causes the problem, you may ask?
There can be many things behind the problem, mainly the parts inside the toilet that stopped working. The flapper valve, imbalanced float, loose-fill tube, and many other things can affect toilet performance.
DIY tip: You can try to repair or replace some of the toilet components you suspect for causing the problem. Tighten all the valves and look for potential damages. If repairing individual parts doesn’t help, you might need to replace all the internal components.
Call a Plumber: If you already made adjustments and replaced some parts, but the water won’t stop running, calling a plumber is a must. That will prevent further water waste and resolve the annoying issue within a few moments.
Sump Pump Problems
Sump pumps are great for protecting the property against flooding. However, they can malfunction just like any other machine or system. The only bad thing is that they can make a lot of trouble when they fail.
DIY tip: To prevent sump pump failures, perform simple performance checks every once in a while. Make sure everything is working properly, and consider getting a backup battery just in case of power failure.
Call a plumber: If the sump pump fails, you might want to call a plumber right away and avoid any DIY repairs. Professionals will know what to do and prevent further damages.
Garbage Disposal Issues
Another common plumbing issue comes from a jammed garbage disposal. When you run these appliances without water or dispose of foods that leave buildups, you add to the problem yourself.
DIY tip: You can open up the appliance and clean it from the inside without much effort. If you lost the key that came with your garbage disposal, try using a 1/4 inch Allen wrench.
Call a plumber: If for any reason you don’t feel comfortable with opening the appliance and cleaning it up yourself, a plumber will gladly do this instead of you.
Why Hire a Professional
As you can see in our suggested list of plumbing problems and solutions, you can perform some repairs on your own and save extra cash. However, larger plumbing issues require professional assistance because of their potential severity. When you think about it, you even save more money by hiring a professional plumbing team in most cases.
Plumbing companies offer more efficiency and accuracy in detecting and resolving problems. They provide professional equipment and experienced teams that know what to look for and how to fix a wide range of issues within short periods. That saves you from investing your valuable time and effort in searching for the most common plumbing problems and saves money you would otherwise spend on damages caused by them.