3 Common Household Plumbing Problems

3 Common Plumbing Problems and How To Fix Them.

Plumbing problems are few and far between for most families but they still have to happen to someone.  Pipes can be broken, seals can leak, joints can slowly giveway and obviously inferior product installations can go sour.  There are a multitude of things that can go wrong with your plumbing but as professional plumbers there are a few common issues we are frequently called out to repair.

Some of these plumbing fixes can be handled by a competent homeowner who is no stranger to basic hand tools, if your plumbing problem is a little more complex then you likely need the help of a professional plumber.

#1. Leaky Taps and Faucets.  (kitchen, bathroom or laundry room sinks)

Leaky taps are often ignored until the problem becomes worse, or somebody gets annoyed enough at the constant drip, drip, drip that they’ve decided to do something about it.  It’s a good thing too, because left for a long, long time your leaky taps and faucets will waste a considerable amount of water.  Let’s not forget who’s wallet pays for the water, every drip you hear is money going down the drain.

If you catch the problem early you should be able to trace it’s origin through a careful inspection of the tap or faucet.  Check for worn out or missing washers or loose fittings.  Sometimes your tap may need to be replaced and if so don’t hesitate to contact a local plumber in your area.  It’s a relatively small job for them but you’ll get a warranty and peace of mind knowing all of the fittings were professionally installed.  It’s not uncommon for self installed taps and faucets to leak, especially when they haven’t been installed correctly.

#2. Clogged Sewer and Septic Drains

Your drains are designed to allow waste water to flow into your sewage system whether you’re on septic or city sewer.  Drains were not designed to dispose of childrens toys, hair brushes, tooth brushes, bars of soap, entire rolls of toilet paper or television remotes (all true by the way!).

Generally, it didn’t come out of your taps or from your body it shouldn’t be going down the drain.  If you can pinpoint the event that led to your clogged drain, a child flushing a toy down the drain for instance, you’ve got a fighting chance of getting this fixed without the help of a plumber but DO NOT make this worse for yourself.

For items like toys,brushes and other oddly shaped and hard objects your best bet is to actually remove the entire toilet and see if you can get the item out this way.  Chances are good it’s stuck inside the drain on your toilet, as the sharp curves generally catch these items.  You want to do it this way so you don’t accidentally force the blockage further down your sewer pipes creating a clog in your main drains.  Then you’ll need a plumber for sure.

If you cannot pinpoint the problem, but you know there is a blockage you also have the option of using a “sewer snake”.  You can rent one or buy one from most home improvement stores.  They usually come in 3ft – 50ft sizes and even larger for commercial applications.  You can feed the snake down your drain to hopefully loosen the blockage and either pull it out (they have a special head) or push it through the system.

It is not recommended you rent or buy a mechanical sewer snake.  These can cause major damage to your plumbing system if you aren’t careful.  If all else fails and you can’t fix the clogged drain, it’s time to call a plumber and you know you gave it your best shot.

#3. Faulty water heaters

This is especially a problem with older homes.  The hot water tank is often just forgotten about until there is a problem.  That problem unfortunately is usually a very big mess if it spills the water everywhere.  Losing hot water is a royal pain for most families.

Hot water tanks fail for a number of reasons, sometimes… And I say only sometimes, you can get away with an inexpensive fix.  Most times though, you need to consider replacing the unit.  They were never designed to last forever or the water heater manufacturers would be out of business.  The good news is that there are many modern and energy efficient models available such as Tankless water heaters.  If it’s time to replace your water heater than it’s always a good time to consider an upgrade to a better, more efficient model.

Your local plumbing contractor will be able to help you select the right heater for your application and do a very clean installation for you.