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5 Common Plumbing Problems

5 Plumbing Problems and How to Fix Them (And When to Call a Professional)

Plumbing issues are a common headache for homeowners and renters alike. From dripping faucets to low water pressure, these problems can range from minor annoyances to significant disruptions. Understanding the common plumbing problems and knowing how to fix them can save you time, money, and stress. In this blog post, we’ll explore five common plumbing issues, describe what causes them, provide step-by-step solutions to fix them, and explain why sometimes it’s best to call a professional plumber.

1. Dripping Faucets

Description: A dripping faucet is often caused by a worn-out washer, O-ring, or valve seat. These components can wear out over time, leading to a persistent drip.

Fix:

    1. Turn off the water supply to the faucet.
    2. Disassemble the faucet handle and use a wrench to remove the packing nut.
    3. Replace the washer or O-ring with a new one that matches the old one.
    4. Reassemble the faucet and turn the water supply back on. Test the faucet to ensure the dripping has stopped.

 

Why Hire a Plumber: If the dripping continues despite replacing the washer or O-ring, there may be a more complex issue with the faucet or the plumbing system. A plumber can diagnose and fix the problem efficiently, ensuring there are no underlying issues.

2. Slow or Clogged Drains

Description: Slow or clogged drains are typically caused by a buildup of hair, soap scum, grease, or other debris in the pipes.

Fix:

    1. Use a plunger to try to dislodge the clog.
    2. If the plunger doesn’t work, use a drain snake or auger to reach deeper clogs.
    3. For stubborn clogs, use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar or a commercial drain cleaner. Pour the mixture down the drain, let it sit for 15-30 minutes, and then flush with hot water.
    4. Prevent future clogs by using drain covers and avoiding pouring grease down the sink.

 

Why Hire a Plumber: If multiple drains are clogged or the clog is persistent, it might indicate a more significant blockage in the main sewer line. A plumber has the tools and expertise to clear the blockage and prevent potential damage to your plumbing system.

3. Running Toilet

Description: A running toilet is usually caused by a faulty flapper valve, which allows water to pass from the tank to the bowl. It can also be caused by an improperly adjusted float or a leaky fill valve.

Fix:

    1. Remove the toilet tank lid and inspect the flapper valve. If it’s worn or damaged, replace it with a new one.
    2. Adjust the float to ensure it stops the flow of water at the correct level.
    3. If the fill valve is leaking, replace it with a new one.
    4. Test the toilet by flushing and ensuring it stops running.

 

Why Hire a Plumber: If the running toilet persists after replacing the flapper valve and adjusting the float, there could be a more complex issue with the toilet’s internal components or the plumbing system. A plumber can provide a thorough inspection and precise repairs.

4. Low Water Pressure

Description: Low water pressure can be caused by various issues such as a buildup of sediment in the pipes, a partially closed shut-off valve, or a problem with the municipal water supply.

Fix:

    1. Check if the low water pressure is affecting all faucets or just one. If it’s just one, remove the aerator and clean out any sediment.
    2. Ensure all shut-off valves are fully open.
    3. If the problem persists, check for leaks in the pipes or consult with the local water utility to see if there’s an issue with the water supply.
    4. For sediment buildup, consider flushing the pipes or installing a water softener if hard water is an issue.

 

Why Hire a Plumber: Low water pressure can sometimes indicate serious issues such as pipe corrosion, hidden leaks, or problems with the main water line. A plumber can accurately diagnose the cause and provide a lasting solution.

5. Leaky Pipes

Description: Leaky pipes can result from corrosion, high water pressure, or damage to the pipe itself. Common signs include water stains on walls or ceilings, puddles under sinks, or a noticeable drop in water pressure.

Fix:

    1. Turn off the water supply to the affected area.
    2. Locate the leak and use a pipe repair clamp or epoxy putty to temporarily seal the leak.
    3. For a more permanent fix, replace the damaged section of the pipe. Cut out the damaged section and use pipe couplings to attach a new piece of pipe.
    4. Ensure all connections are secure and turn the water supply back on to test for leaks.

 

Why Hire a Plumber: Leaky pipes can cause significant water damage and mold growth if not properly repaired. A plumber can ensure the leak is fully fixed and check for any additional issues in the plumbing system.

Summary

Plumbing problems can be inconvenient, but with a little knowledge and some basic tools, many common issues can be resolved quickly and easily. By understanding the causes and solutions for dripping faucets, slow or clogged drains, running toilets, low water pressure, and leaky pipes, you can keep your plumbing system in good working order and avoid costly repairs. However, knowing when to call a professional plumber is just as important. A plumber can provide expert diagnosis, thorough repairs, and preventative maintenance to keep your plumbing running smoothly. Regular maintenance and prompt attention to issues can help prevent these problems from becoming major headaches.

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