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5 Common Plumbing Problems Every Homeowner Should Know

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Plumbing Issues Can Strike at Any Time

For any homeowner looking to keep their house ticking along nicely, understanding the most common plumbing problems and what to do about them is crucial. Plumbing woes can disrupt daily life, cause significant damage, and lead to costly repairs. Awareness and early detection can save both time and money.

Let’s take a look at five common plumbing problems: faulty water heaters, clogged drains, low water pressure, running toilets, and burst pipes. By recognising these issues and knowing how to address them, you can maintain functional and efficient plumbing systems in your home.

Problem No. 1: No Hot Water

The last thing anyone wants to find is a sudden loss of hot water in their home. Imagine waking up at the crack of dawn on a cold winter’s morning. You hop into the shower and turn on the hot water tap, only to find your electric or gas water heater has decided that it has no intention of working for you at all.

Gas and electric water heaters can malfunction for many reasons, from heating element failures to problems with the pilot light. There is also the possibility that it has simply reached the end of its natural lifespan and needs replacing. Whatever the issue, you’ll need to get on the phone with your plumber to arrange a thorough diagnosis of your water heater and bring some heat back to your cold water.

Rheem gas hot water system fitted to the wall of a home.

Problem No. 2: Clogged Drains

Clogged drains are a frequent plumbing issue in kitchens and bathrooms. They typically occur due to a build up of the following:

  • hair
  • soap scum
  • food particles
  • foreign objects

Over time, these materials accumulate and block the water flow, leading to slow drainage or complete blockages in single or multiple drains.

The types of clogs vary depending on the location. In kitchens, food particles and grease are common culprits, while in bathrooms, hair and soap scum are more likely to cause problems. Identifying the type of clog can help determine the best approach to clearing it.

What To Do About It

Simple methods to unclog a drain include:

  • using a plunger
  • pouring a mixture of baking soda and vinegar down the drain
  • using a drain snake

However, if these methods fail or the clog recurs frequently, it may be necessary to call for professional assistance. Persistent drain clogs can indicate more serious issues within the sewer lines that require expert attention.

Problem No. 3: Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure is a common issue that can affect showers, sinks, and other fixtures in your home. Several factors can contribute to this problem, including:

  • a build-up of sediment
  • leaky pipes
  • issues with the municipal water supply

Identifying the cause of low pressure is the first step in resolving the issue. If the problem is isolated to a single fixture, it might be due to sediment build-up. Cleaning the aerators and showerheads can often restore normal pressure. However, if the issue can affected multiple fixtures, you might be facing more widespread plumbing problems, such as a leak in the plumbing system or a problem with the water supply.

If in Doubt, a Plumber Can Sort It Out

If cleaning the fixtures doesn’t resolve the issue, or if you suspect a leak, it’s essential to call a plumber. They can inspect your plumbing system, identify the source of the problem, and recommend the appropriate solutions. In some cases, contacting your local water supplier might be necessary if the issue lies with the water supply.

Problem No. 4: Running Toilets

Running toilets are a common plumbing issue that can lead to significant water waste. This problem often occurs when the flapper valve inside the tank is faulty, allowing water to continuously flow from the tank into the bowl. Other causes include issues with the fill tube or float, or sediment build-up affecting the tank components.

Identifying the cause of a running toilet is essential for effective repair. A faulty flapper valve is the most common culprit. A licensed plumber can fix the issue by replacing the valve. If the problem lies with the fill tube or float, adjusting or replacing these parts can resolve the issue. Sediment build-up can be addressed by thoroughly cleaning the tank components.

Opened toilet cistern showing the inside components

Problem No. 5: Burst or Leaky Pipes

Burst pipes are one of the most common plumbing problems that can cause significant damage to your home. They commonly occur due to:

  • freezing temperatures
  • old or corroded pipes
  • excessively high water pressure

When a pipe bursts, it can lead to flooding, structural damage, and costly repairs.

Immediate action is crucial when dealing with a burst pipe. The first step is to turn off the main water supply to prevent further flooding. Next, open all taps to drain the remaining water from the pipes. This can help minimise water damage while you wait for a professional plumber to arrive.

How To Prevent Burst Pipes In And Around Your Home

Preventing leaky pipes involves regular maintenance and precautions. Insulate pipes in colder areas of your home to protect them from freezing temperatures. Regularly check for signs of pipe corrosion and replace old pipes as needed. Additionally, monitoring and maintaining appropriate water pressure can reduce the risk of pipes bursting, helping to avoid an unexpected plumbing emergency.

BONUS: Leaky Taps

Leaky taps are a common issue in many households. They often result from worn-out washers, O-rings, or valve seats, causing water to drip even when the tap is turned off. The constant drip can be both annoying and wasteful.

The consequences of ignoring a leaky tap extend beyond mere annoyance. Even a small leak can lead to a significant increase in your water bill over time. Additionally, persistent leaks can cause water damage to the kitchen sink and countertops, potentially leading to costly repairs.

Other Common Plumbing Problems

Of course, there are numerous other plumbing issues you might encounter at home that require the assistance of a licensed plumber or gas fitter. They include:

  • faulty gas appliances
  • sump pump failures
  • shower leak
  • gas leak
  • sewer line problems

Dealing with these gas and plumbing issues requires the licensed expertise of a qualified plumber.

Keep Your Plumbing System Free From Major Issues

Understanding and addressing common plumbing issues like malfunctioning hot water systems, a clogged drain, low hot water pressure, running toilets, and burst pipes can save homeowners significant time and money. Regular maintenance and prompt attention to these problems are essential to keep your plumbing system in good condition.

When in doubt, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. An emergency plumber can provide expert advice and solutions, ensuring your home’s plumbing remains efficient and reliable. Improper installation can just cause issues to spring up again. By staying informed and proactive, you can avoid the stress and expense of major plumbing emergencies.

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.

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