Common Plumbing Issues and Their Easiest Fixes
Every household depends on a smoothly functioning plumbing system, but not every homeowner knows what to do if something goes wrong with their pipes or plumbing fixtures.
In this blog, the expert plumbers from Leading Edge Mechanical Inc will go over common plumbing issues every homeowner should be able to recognize and provide tips that they can use to deal with them when they arise.
Drip-, Drip-, Dripping Sink Faucets
We've all heard the sound: water droplets rhythmically and incessantly pinging off the sink drain. Not only is the sound annoying, but the constant dripping is also a waste of water and can damage your sink.
Dripping and leaky faucets are among the most common repairs plumbers are called for. However, sometimes these leaky faucets result from a worn-out washer or gasket in the valve stem, and a repair can be attempted by the homeowner.
To get started, turn off your water supply and unscrew your sink faucet or handle to reveal the valve stem. Pulling it out, you'll see a dented, worn-out washer or blown gasket at the bottom. Then, you can go to the store to pick up the replacement parts and put your sink back together. No more leaky faucets!
Clogged Drains That Aren’t Doing Their Job Anymore
Clogged drains are usually caused by tangled hair in the drain, soap scum, food debris, or, in the worst cases, roots that have infiltrated your sewer line.
A standard plunger or drain snake can help you overcome most clogged drains. If that doesn't work, prepare yourself by purchasing a heavy-duty drain cleaner that can eat away any accumulated grime that’s stopping the flow of water through your drain.
Pour the solution down the drain according to the instructions on the bottle, and leave it there all day. Be sure to also take any recommended safety precautions to ensure you don’t breathe in the fumes from the drain cleaner. Your drain should work flawlessly by the end of the day or even after a few hours. Remember to thoroughly rinse away any chemicals before stepping in the tub barefoot again.
If the drain cleaner isn’t effective, it’s likely time to call in a plumber to take a closer look down your drain.
Running Toilets—No, You Shouldn’t Go Catch Them
In most cases, a running toilet is caused by an old 'flapper' or float valve. This damaged component means your toilet constantly refills with water rather than stopping once the tank is at its required flushing level.
To fix the problem, first, turn off the water supply to the toilet and flush it to empty the tank. Lift the lid off the tower at the back and inspect the flapper—the rubber stop controlling the bowl's water supply. If it no longer seals properly, you can purchase a replacement at your local hardware store.
If the issue isn’t the flapper, it’s likely your float valve. In this case, repeat the same water shut-off process we followed for the flapper issue. You can then purchase a replacement float valve kit from a hardware store or online and follow the instructions on the package. In general, these replacements will take a homeowner about 10 minutes.
If your toilet is still running without stopping after applying these fixes, it’s time to call a plumber.
Is Low Water Pressure Making Your Life a Misery?
If you have low water pressure, you're not getting the experience you want in most showers. Low water pressure is the culprit responsible for lackluster force from your showerhead or sink faucet.
In many instances, low water pressure is caused by a clogged aerator—the perforated metal piece the water passes through before reaching you—or a partially closed valve. Unscrew and clean your aerator to fix the problem. An excellent way of doing this is to soak your aerator in white vinegar for several hours before rinsing and replacing it. You can also double-check your valve behind the aerator to ensure it's fully open.
If those two solutions don't fix your problem, dial your local plumber for a more extensive fix.
Waking Up to a Malfunctioning Water Heater
When no hot water is coming from your tap, the first step in any scenario is to check and see if your pilot light has gone out. In most water heater issues, this is the problem.
If your pilot light is still glowing, or your water heater type doesn’t rely on a pilot, you may need to replace it or hire a professional for repairs. This is when you’ll need to call in a plumbing company.
Some Tips to Defend Against Common Plumbing Problems
Now that we've walked you through how to fix some of the most common plumbing problems, let’s provide some tips on what you can do to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Don't Ignore Leaks
Any leak in your home should be attended to swiftly, as the impending potential damage could be too severe to ignore. This includes sink leaks, faucet leaks, and especially pipe leaks. Water escaping into various areas of your home is never a good sign—it contains the possibility of mold and other damage that could be expensive and difficult to resolve.
Have a Plunger
A plunger is by far one of the most valuable and low-cost tools you could have to deal with plumbing issues. Useful in resolving clogged toilets and sinks alike, a plunger is a simple suction-based tool that should never be underestimated.
We recommend you purchase the classic plunger with a rubber head and wooden handle and keep it handy at all times.
Know Your Water Shut-Offs
When pipes burst or a toilet overflows, the first thing to do is shut off your water supply. Many of the fixes we suggest above begin with turning off the water, so an important way to be prepared for anything involving your plumbing is to know how to pull the plug and stop water flow to your system.
Take a moment to locate your shut-off valve, so you’re never caught off guard in an emergency.
Don't Put Food Down the Drain
Instead of jamming food waste down the sink while doing the dishes, dispose of your compost properly. Trust us when we say this will save you a very time-consuming and smelly afternoon of repairs.
Purchasing an in-sink food catcher is a great way to avoid food entering your plumbing. You can follow the same principle with a hair catcher in your shower.
Taking care of your plumbing system and learning more about common fixes are excellent ways to ensure you don't incur water damage in your home or undue stress in your home life.
If any of the above fixes fail to resolve your plumbing situation, know you can always call on the professional plumbers at Leading Edge Mechanical Inc. Offering speedy responses and affordable rates, we’re the area’s go-to source for plumbing solutions. Reach us at (218) 237-5125 anytime!