Plumbing problems to watch out for

Have you been hearing the drip, drip, drip of your bathroom faucet throughout the night? Are you having issues with flushing your toilet? Is water pressure a problem in your shower?

The challenge with plumbing problems is that they might go undiscovered for quite some time. When the problem reaches a critical stage, we are slapped with a massive bill. Don’t allow a plumbing problem ruin your day; instead, plan ahead and avoid it.

Common plumbing problems in homes

1. Dripping Faucet/Tap

The most obvious detriment of having a dripping faucet is wasting water. Assuming a faucet drips only once a second, that’s 86,400 drips a day. That’s about 2,000 gallons a year, which is about 8 tons of water literally going right down the drain. This is an equivalent of 170 showers.  Fixing the leaks in your home could save up to 10 percent on your water bill.

Parts of a tap
  • Worn-out O-ring

One easy and cheap fix is to replace the O-ring. This is a small rubber ring that goes on the stem screw. It helps to hold the handle in place. When frequently used, the rubber gets worn out as the handle get pushed or pulled.

  • Bad Valve Seat/Washer

Between the faucet and the spout rests the valve seat and washer holding it into place. A leak at the spout can occur if these connections wear out or become loose.

It’s often difficult to avoid natural wear from daily use. Leaking faucets are expected over time. Turning faucets on and off carefully and avoiding use of excessive pressure on the knobs will help to reduce wear.

2. Toilet issues

Toilet plumbing problems come in many forms, but a running toilet is one of the most annoying. The toilet works, but it constantly runs, wasting water and causing an annoying sound. The flapper valve often lets water run if it no longer fits properly. An unstable float, a loose fill tube, or a leak are all possible causes.

Parts of a toilet tank

Check each component to find the specific problem. Ensure the fill tube, a thin flexible tube inside the tank, is still attached and directed toward the overflow tube. Adjust the float to ensure the fill valve shuts off properly.

Clogged toilets might overflow, have a pungent smell and can even get waste all over the floor. A few vigorous plunges should clear them. However, if water or sewage backs up in multiple locations within the home, something is seriously wrong. You may need a plumber to fix this.

3. Water Heater issues

This problem is easy to identify. You step into the shower expecting nice warm water but instead you get doused with cold ice water.

Mineral deposits cause problems in water heaters. The deposits can reduce the efficiency of the water heater, reducing the supply of hot water. Also, look at the temperature setting to ensure it wasn’t turned down accidentally.

When you have water heater problems, call an expert plumber unless the problem is straightforward to solve, such as relighting the pilot light or adjusting the water heater thermostat. Water heaters can be dangerous, and repairs can be costly, so it’s best to leave it to the pros.

4. Low Water Pressure

Having low water pressure makes showering less enjoyable and washing dishes a pain. This challenge could be as simple as trying to do too much at once. If you try to wash dishes and water the lawn, your shower might not work so well. To find out if the low pressure exists throughout the home, check different locations, one at a time.

If there’s just one location with low pressure, that particular fixture or set of pipes is probably blocked in some way. If the whole house has low pressure, one or more main pipes has an issue.

5. Clogged Drains

When you empty a sink or take a shower, you’ll notice water backing up, which indicates a clogged drain. The indicators of a toilet clog are usually more obvious. The water backs up in the toilet bowl instead of flushing regularly, it may even overflow.

In sinks and showers, hair is often the culprit, but other items, such as a shampoo lid, may enter the drain and block the pipe.

In toilets, the problem often comes when something other than dissolvable waste enters the toilet and gets flushed. Because solid objects can’t move through the pipe, they stay put, making water flow past the blockage and down the pipes difficult or impossible. A plunger works on both toilets and on drains. This simple plumbing tool helps loosen clogs using air pressure.

Let a professional handle clogged drains or a clogged toilet if you can’t easily remove the blockage yourself.

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