Let’s face it: plumbing problems are just a fact of life. It’s unlikely that anyone will develop self-fixing plumbing systems anytime in the near future, and when the only other option is to forego indoor plumbing entirely, coming to terms with plumbing problems and understanding them is probably the best option available.
Although there are plenty of proactive plumbing solutions that will help you avoid drainage and pipe problems altogether — some solutions which you can do on your own, and some which are best handled by professional plumbing services — it’s not possible to foresee every problem before it happens. The best thing you can do to protect your home and your family is simply to be aware of the most common problems, to know the signs of these problems, and to know when to call up your local plumbing services for help.
So without further ado, here are the top five plumbing problems that homeowners encounter today:
- Low Water Pressure: Low water pressure is what happens when you turn on the faucet or shower and the water just trickles out, with little or no any pressure in the stream. There are a few different reasons why this may happen, and in some cases, it could actually be caused by your town’s water supply system and not a result of your home’s plumbing system at all.
More commonly, however, low water pressure is caused by a build-up of dirt and debris on faucet aerators. Water naturally carries dissolved minerals as it passes through your plumbing system, and these particles are likely to collect on aerators and inside shower heads over a long period of time.
If you can remove the aerator, faucet, or shower head, it’s usually enough to let the fixture soak in a diluted vinegar solution overnight. If you can’t remove the fixture or if it just isn’t getting cleaner after soaking, you’ll want to contact your local plumbing services for some help. In some cases, the issue could be related to the pipes in your system; in other cases, your water might naturally contain unusually high amounts of a particular mineral or sediment — which your local plumbing company will able to determine for you — and some extra cleaning measures might be required.
- Dripping Kitchen and Bathroom Faucets: If there’s one small pet peeve that can get on your nerves faster than anything else, it’s that dripping faucet. Not only will dripping faucets waste gallons of water per day and cost you more in water bills, but if the dripping turns into a full-blown leak, you could be facing some serious water damage.
If you catch this problem early, don’t ignore it (or you could be facing a major renovation project because of water damage, as 36% of all homeowners have to do). Usually leaky faucets are caused by washers that are just worn down, although if the tap itself is too old, then you might be better off just replacing the whole faucet.
- Clogged Drains and Toilets: These are probably the most common culprits of plumbing problems, and again, this is an issue that you want to address as soon as you notice it. If you do, you might be able to fix it yourself.
Plungers and chemical clog removers work well for small blockages in toilets and sinks, but it’s important to remember that cleaning your pipes with a chemical-filled solution might actually cause more damage in the long run. If you find that you’re constantly dealing with clogged pipes, it’s likely that your removal solution isn’t actually removing the entire blockage. You might be surprised by how many people call up professional plumbing services to take care of the small fixture repairs like clogged drains, so don’t hesitate to get some help if you’re dealing with this problem on a regular basis.
- Leaky Pipes: The biggest issue with leaky pipes is that most homeowners don’t even realize there’s a problem until it’s a big problem. Kitchen and bathroom sinks tend to be used more than any other plumbing fixture, so it’s not surprising that they’ll show the signs of wear and tear before your other appliances do. The fact that most people don’t actively pay attention to under-sink pipes (usually because they’re hidden in a cabinet or behind a storage area) means that it’s easy for small plumbing problems to escalate quickly.
A small leak in your pipes is usually something that can be fixed quickly with the right tools, since most leaks are caused by the pipes being knocked out of place and/or loosening at the joint (probably a result of throwing too many rolls of toilet paper haphazardly into that bathroom cabinet).
Most hardware stores sell basic joint fillers which can provide a temporary solution, and if you happen to be particularly handy yourself, you can just tighten up the loose joint. If the leak happens to be a bit bigger — perhaps there’s a huge dent from your recent bathroom remodeling project, or the pipe has started to disintegrate or weaken — then it’s best to call up your plumbing services for a permanent replacement solution.
- No Hot Water: A lack of hot water may be the number one reason why homeowners call plumbing services for help, simply because this problem can’t be ignored for very long, and because it’s often caused by a faulty water heater.
After you make sure that the temperature setting on your heater hasn’t been bumped down and you’ve checked the pilot light (if you have a gas water heater), if you still don’t know what the problem is, don’t hesitate to call up your local plumber. Water heaters are essential for any residential plumbing system, but it’s important to remember that they have a finite lifespan and will need to be replaced eventually.
Home renovation projects can definitely be exciting, especially for new homeowners. Bathroom remodeling and kitchen remodeling are two of the most popular home repair projects today, with 78% of all home renovations including bathroom remodeling work and 69% including kitchen work — but these projects are substantially less exciting if you have to make the repairs because a small leak turned into the Niagara Falls in your own house.
When in doubt, if you know you have a plumbing problem on your hands, the best thing to do is to ask your local plumbing services for advice.