From Clogs to Leaks – Common Plumbing Problems and How to Fix Them
Plumbing is one of the most important systems in your home, and even minor issues can lead to bigger problems. Understanding the most common plumbing problems and how to solve them can save you time and money in the long run.
Clogged drains are a common problem and can be prevented by keeping an eye on what gets flushed down the toilet or into your sink. Hair, soap scum, food debris, and other items can all clog drains over time.
The plumbing system is one of the most important and often overlooked parts of any home. From a backed-up kitchen sink or bathtub to clogged toilets, if you don’t know how to solve a problem, it could end up costing you money.
Luckily, most clogs can be resolved with easy-to-find and inexpensive tools. But if they keep coming back, it’s time to call in a plumber for professional assistance.
Some drains can become clogged through the accumulation of hair, grease, soap scum and other debris that slows water flow. The best way to prevent these issues is by regularly cleaning your pipes.
If you suspect that a hair blockage is the culprit, Calabrese recommends using needle nose pliers or long tweezers to pull out any hair strands that might be blocking the pipe. If the hair doesn’t come out easily, he suggests trying an enzyme drain cleaner product.
Burst pipes are among the most common plumbing problems, and they can cause a lot of damage. The best way to avoid a pipe burst is to take care of your pipes by keeping them in good repair.
Then, if something does go wrong, you have the knowledge and skills to fix it. A professional plumber can do the work for you, or you can do it yourself.
One of the most obvious signs that your pipe has burst is a sudden drop in water pressure. If it happens more than once, call a plumber.
Another sign is puddles of water around the home. These can be anywhere in your home, but they are more likely to happen in the bathroom or in areas where water is used a lot.
The best way to prevent a pipe burst is to keep your pipes in good condition and to maintain proper insulation and heating. This can significantly reduce the chances of a pipe breaking and causing extensive damage to your home.
Leaky faucets are common and can cause a lot of headache for homeowners. Fortunately, most leaky faucet problems are simple and fixable by most people – you just need the right tools and some patience.
One of the most common causes for a leaking faucet is a problem with the internal parts of the faucet. This can include a mineral deposit, defective gaskets, o-rings or washers, and corrosion.
If you’re not sure how to find the right replacement parts, you can call a plumbing supply specialist. They should be able to help you identify the correct part for your faucet and order it for you.
Once you’ve gotten all the parts, it’s time to reassemble your faucet. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s assembly instructions carefully and consult a schematic whenever necessary.
Water Heater Issues
Water heaters are a necessity, but they can be frustrating when they start to fail. Understanding what causes the most common issues can help you troubleshoot and fix them yourself.
If your water heater seems to be rumbling and banging when it’s heating up, there could be a buildup of scale on the heating elements or the tank itself. This can be a very simple fix, but if it’s getting worse, it may be time to replace your heater.
The most important thing to remember when fixing your water heater is to take safety precautions. Electric water heaters are high-voltage appliances that come with risks of fire and explosion if not handled correctly.
Gas-powered water heaters are also a high-risk for fire and explosion if not handled properly. So before troubleshooting, be sure to turn off both your electricity and gas supply and test the wires with a non-contact voltage tester. Then, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for relighting your water heater’s pilot light or ignitors if necessary.
Emergency Plumbing Hacks Every Homeowner Should Know
Plumbing emergencies don’t just interrupt your day-to-day activities; they can also cause permanent damage. That’s why it’s important to know how to handle them until a plumber arrives.
In this episode of This Old House, Kevin O’Connor meets Richard Trethewey to learn about some simple tips and tricks for controlling a plumbing emergency until you can call in a plumber.
1. Turn Off the Water
Often, utilities such as water, electricity, and gas can cause a lot of problems in a home. A gas leak, a burst pipe, or an outlet that isn’t working can all create hazardous situations and require immediate action.
Knowing where your main water shut off valve is and how to turn it off can make all the difference in a plumbing emergency. This knowledge can save you thousands in repairs and prevent your home from flooding.
You should also know where all the individual shut off valves are located in your home. These are usually found on the supply lines to each fixture.
These shut off valves typically have a small, round handle that you can rotate clockwise to stop the flow of water. They are located on the supply lines for most appliances, toilets, and faucets.
2. Turn Off the Main Water Valve
Knowing where your main water valve is and how to shut it off in an emergency situation can help you save money on plumbing repairs and property damage. This is particularly true if you have an active pipe leak or burst pipes that may be causing major damage to your home.
In most houses, the main water valve is located in the basement or crawl space near the front of the house, depending on your climate and location. It is often hidden behind a removable panel.
Once you have found your main valve, turn it off by turning the handle clockwise until it is completely closed. Never try to force it open or close as this could cause irreparable damage.
There are two types of shutoff valves for a main water line: gate valves and ball valves. A gate valve, which looks like a circular spigot, is more common in older homes. It is often made of brass and closes by lowering a wedge-shaped gate into a slot. A ball valve, on the other hand, uses a pivoting stainless steel ball to close.
3. Identify the Source of the Leak
If you have a leak, it is important to know where it is coming from. A professional plumber will be able to identify the source of the leak and help you create a plan for fixing it.
A plumbing leak can be a terrifying experience. They can cause severe damage to your home and can be very expensive to repair.
Fortunately, there are several signs to look for when you are suspicious that you may have a leak. Some of these signs include a spike in your water bill, strange smells and noises, or discoloration on your walls.
The best way to determine whether you have a leak is to check the meter. After shutting off all the water in your house, make sure to check the meter again in an hour to see if the leak indicator has changed.
4. Remove Any Leftover Water
If you’re lucky enough to have a modern plumbing system, chances are you have a plethora of fancy fixtures. To keep the good stuff in good working order, you need to keep an eye out for the telltale signs of trouble. In the event of a leaky faucet or toilet, a quick sweep of your kitchen and bath can go a long way toward catching a red light before it becomes a flood. Thankfully, there are several dos and don’ts to help you avoid a trip to the ER. The best bet is to always have a backup plan, in case the worst happens. You never know when the unexpected will rear its head. This is especially true if your household includes young children who are unsurprisingly curious about all things manly and womanly.
Expert Tips for Saving Money on Plumbing Services
There are many ways to save money on plumbing services. However, it is important to know the difference between saving money and wasting it.
A plumbing professional knows exactly what to look for and can help you prevent problems from occurring in the first place. This saves you money in the long run and ensures your home stays in top shape.
Take Advantage of Coupons and Discounts
One of the best ways to save money on your plumbing bill is to snag a discount on new or existing service. Most plumbing companies have specials on a regular basis, so be sure to ask when you get a quote for any work. Some even offer freebies like water heater or garbage disposal rebates and special promotions on items such as toilet replacement.
In short, a discount is an excellent way to boost your bottom line without sacrificing quality or service. The best way to go about it is to tally the cost of your new or existing plumbing services with those of your competitors. This can be done by taking a close look at each company’s offerings and determining which offers you’re most interested in, while also taking into account your individual budget. This can lead to a more informed decision making process, which in turn means a happier customer and a better business overall.
Identify the Issue Before Calling a Professional
While some plumbing problems are simple enough for homeowners to do on their own, others need to be handled by a professional. A plumber has the knowledge and tools to identify what’s really going on behind the scenes, which will save you time and money in the long run.
If your toilet is slow to flush or you hear water running when no one is using it, this may be a sign of a leak. This can happen when a pipe bursts or there’s a blockage.
A drop in water pressure is also a sign of trouble. Whether it’s caused by a clog or a leak, low pressure is an issue that needs to be addressed right away.
If you’re remodeling your home, it’s wise to call a plumber before doing any work on your plumbing system. They’ll be able to stop a leaky faucet, banish bad smells from your sewer lines and keep your home in top shape.
Compare Prices Between Service Providers
If you’re looking to save money on your plumbing services, you’ll want to look for a company that has competitive prices. You may also want to consider getting quotes from multiple companies.
A plumbing estimator can be a valuable tool to help you compare the cost of different plumbers. This can save you a lot of time and frustration when it comes to hiring the right technician.
Another way to save money is to choose a plumbing company with a good reputation. This will ensure that you’re getting the best quality of work from the team.
The biggest challenge in comparing the costs of various plumbing companies is understanding all the variables that influence the price of each service. Some of the more common variables include fuel prices, building regulations, and tax rates.
Invest in Maintenance Plans
Investing in a maintenance plan for your plumbing system can help you save money in the long run. These plans typically include a range of benefits, including annual professional maintenance.
In addition to catching minor issues before they get out of hand, these plans can also help you avoid serious plumbing problems. This includes things like leaks, clogged drains, and other potential disasters that could cause costly damage to your home.
Another reason to invest in a maintenance plan is that it can increase the life of your plumbing systems. In particular, water pressure testing is important for ensuring that your plumbing fixtures and appliances don’t wear out sooner than they should.
Often overlooked, maintenance is an essential part of the overall health and performance of your business. Neglecting maintenance will lead to expensive repairs, equipment failures, and accidents.