Few things are more frustrating for a homeowner than dripping faucets, weak water pressure, or a running toilet.
Not only does a faulty plumbing system serve as an inconvenience to you and your family, but it can cost you a significant amount of money on your water bill. Issues like leaking faucets or toilets that run constantly are also wasteful and have a negative impact on the environment.
Plumbing issues are common in just about every household. Homeowners tend to put them off for weeks or even months before addressing the issue. This is often due to the inability to fix the problem themselves or don’t have the time to wait for a plumber.
In my 20-plus years of experience as a professional plumber I have seen many of these common issues over the course of my career. Here are five of the most common plumbing issues and what you can do to fix them.
Most commonly overlooked plumbing issue homeowners face is dripping faucets. Many times, people let dripping faucets continue to drip for periods of time because it doesn’t seem like that big of an issue. However, over time a dripping faucet can drive up your water bill.
To fix a dripping faucet, simply remove the top of the handle to reveal a series of screws, washers and a rubber gasket which is the most likely cause of the drip. Remove the necessary screws and washers and replace the rubber gasket with a new one. Once put back together, it should create a tight seal and stop the annoying drip.
If you have experienced weak water pressure when taking a shower you know just how annoying it can be.
Homeowners rarely know what to do about low water pressure and sometimes leave it for so long they get used to it. If this sounds familiar there is a solution.
If the low water pressure is only in your shower check your shower head or faucet for buildup. Over time soaps and cleaning agents can build up film in your shower head causing the holes to close. When finding your shower head clogged you can clean it by soaking it in vinegar or rubbing alcohol.
After a few hours rinse your showerhead thoroughly and test it. If you find the pressure still low clean it again. If that still doesn’t work, you may need to replace your shower head.
If you find the water pressure is weak throughout your home, there may be a larger issue. In this case, you will want to consult a professional plumber to inspect your pipes for mineral or sediment buildup in your system.
One of the more frequent issues homeowners have with their plumbing is a toilet that runs for lengths of time after being flushed. A running toilet wastes a large amount of water and creates an annoying and persistent sound of running water.
If your toilet is continually running after flushing remove the top from the back tank and check if the flap is completely covering the hole at the bottom. If the flap is covering the hole, make sure the lever chain is properly situated and has enough slack allowing the flap to fit over the hole. When checking your system, you notice your flap is cracked or chain is broken then they will need replacing.
You can visit your local hardware store for inexpensive replacement pieces.
Another common problem is a slow-draining sink or shower. This often occurs when hair is clogged in the sink or shower drain, causing the water to back up.
Clogged drains are a relatively easy fix that can be taken care of with store bought drain cleaners. A natural way of unclogging your drains is using a combination of vinegar and baking soda to push the clog out, followed by boiling water to clear out the gunk left behind.
If you are consistently having issues with a slow drain, I suggest you use a bio-clean drain cleaner regularly. These cleaners contain natural bacteria and enzymes that digest dead organic waste found in your plumbing system keeping your pipes clear.
When it comes to addressing a leaky pipe, the problem is often not the fix but finding the location of the leak. If you have noticed puddles of water, chances are high that you have a leak.
I recommend inspecting the pipes you have access to and looking for the leak. Once the leak is found, the first step in the repair process is turning off the water supply.
You’ll then need to disconnect the pipe and apply a joint sealer to the area and put the pipe back in place. If you find the leak is caused by a crack or hole in the pipe and not the joint, I recommend calling your local plumber to rectify the problem in a timely manner.
All of these issues are common occurrences in a home and are relatively easy to fix. However, if you find yourself dealing with a plumbing issue you know you can’t fix yourself call a professional plumber. Sometimes trying to fix a problem without knowing what you are doing can make the problem worse.
Editor’s Note: Nelson Salas is the owner of Amigo Rooter & Plumbing in Phoenix. Salas is originally from El Paso, Texas and has worked full-time as a Master Plumber in Texas and Arizona.