Plumbing Learning Resources – Common Plumbing Problems Around the House
Common Plumbing Problems Around the House
Most homeowners know that there are dozens of different plumbing problems that can spring up around the house, sometimes without warning. Some of these are more common than others, and sometimes there’s a quick fix, while in other cases they require attention from professional plumbing services.
As is the case with any potential problem around the house, the more you know the better. So, here are five of the most common plumbing problems you might run into:
1.Drip, drip, drip
From sinks to bathtubs to shower heads, if you can hear your taps dripping, and turning the faucet off does nothing to stop it, you have a leaky faucet. While the constant dripping might be annoying enough to keep you up at night, the potential effect on your energy bill could cost you more than sleep! A single faucet can send hundreds of liters of water per year down the drain, and a leak of one drip per second can potentially cost a lot more than a visit from your plumber.
Every faucet has moving parts that see daily usage. These frequently used fixtures are susceptible to wear and tear over time especially if the seals are damaged. Change in pressure can also cause problems.
2. Running toilets
When you can hear the constant sound of water filling up the tank in your toilet even when it’s not in use, what you’re really hearing is your water bill going up. Many homeowners go months, if not years, without having this issue fixed or even looked at by a licensed plumber. What you need to know is that a running toilet is an internal water leak. Therefore, if you ignore the problem, it could increase your water bill due to the many liters of water being wasted daily.
You may also have a silent leak – an easy way to find out is to add a few drops of food colouring to the upper tank. Wait 15 minutes and check the water in the bowl for any hint of colour. If it's tinted, your flapper valve is likely faulty.
A leaking or even a clogged toilet aren't the only problems you can run into. If you're having to jiggle the handle, the inner workings of your toilet – like the flapper valve, the float or the fill tube – might need some TLC. Sediment might also be affecting your toilet's ability to properly flush and fill.
3. Clogged or slow draining sinks
A sink that’s draining slowly is a very common plumbing problem, but one that can become serious quickly if it’s not looked after. A drain is designed to allow water through, keeping larger items out. However, when this gets blocked the water has nowhere to go, clogging up the sink, bath or shower basin as a result. If the clogged drain is in the path of waste water, you might find yourself dealing with unhealthy conditions, while other blockages can simply be inconvenient. In any case, at the first sign of a problem, it’s best to call a professional for a drain cleaning.
Remember, put a strainer in your kitchen sink to catch large chunks of food and other debris. Some of the most common culprits for clogs are items such as pasta, rice, coffee grounds and grease – all these should be disposed of in the garbage or compost bin. And a mesh tub strainer in your bathtub can keep hair, as well as small toys or bottle caps, from blocking the drain.
4. Leaky pipes
Since the kitchen is one of the most commonly used areas in the average home, it’s no surprise that it’s often the room with the most problems. Leaky pipes can be a more serious problem than a leaky faucet, because water that gets behind walls or into your home’s insulation can cause extensive damage. Most pipes will begin to leak near the joints, so keep an eye out for wet spots.
Temporary measures can address the immediate issue but the truth is if you detect water where it shouldn’t be, you may need plumbing repairs to replace a pipe or fittings. Leaky pipes are often a precursor to bursting pipes. And the damage and flooding that can result from that a burst pipe are expensive.
5. Low water pressure
Having low water pressure in your shower or faucets is another common plumbing problem that can be very frustrating. This situation can happen if your faucets or showerhead aerator screens need to be cleaned, if your showerhead needs to be changed altogether, if there’s a leak somewhere in your home, or if there’s corrosion inside your pipes. Turn on water faucets in sinks, showers and tubs to check if water pressure seems low.
Pressure at each fixture will likely vary but all should have a steady flow. If the pressure is low or uneven, a licensed plumber can find the source of the problem and determine the best solution.
6. Inconsistent hot water
Hot water from your faucet that's gets too hot or switches between hot and not hot enough can be caused by many factors, including an insufficient hot water tank size and competing appliances like a toilet or dishwasher. You may also have a faulty mixing valve – older valves often fail to adequately control water temperature or lack balancing features that are usually effective at keeping the temperature from fluctuating.Inconsistent hot water can be irritating or even lead to scalds or burns.
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