Demystifying Common Plumbing Issues

Homeowners know that they must become well-versed in handling a variety of home issues. For some, that means becoming incredibly handy, while for others that means having trusted trade partners on speed dial. The most common issues are often plumbing related. See how to handle these home problems if they come up.

Clogged toilets are common, but trouble comes when you flush repeatedly without addressing the clog. Instead of multiple flushes that will likely result in a mess, grab your plunger and plunge away. Key point: Make sure you have a toilet plunger, versus the more commonly owned sink plunger. Keep the plunger in the bathroom if possible, so that you don’t have to run around to find it, or cause a guest embarrassment by having to ask for one. Make sure the water is draining before trying to flush again. Drain cleaners contain serious chemicals that can damage your pipes, so consider other methods before using one.

Frozen pipes can be prevented. If you cover your faucets before freezing temperatures come, you’re more likely to avoid trouble. If you’re going on vacation, leave kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open to ensure good air flow to interior pipes. If the worst happens, and you discover a frozen pipe, it’s recommended you immediately turn off the main water valve to the house and call a plumber.

Dripping faucets drive even the most patient of us crazy. If a newly installed faucet is dripping, it is likely an installation problem and should be addressed by whomever installed it. If an older faucet suddenly develops a drip, this could mean that your o-rings or washers have worn out and need replacing. If you replace these and it is still dripping, it’s time to call in the professionals for a full evaluation and possibly a new faucet.

Leaky toilets are often a result of corrosion, a clog or a broken seal. You’ll want to determine the source of the issue and address it as quickly as possible  to avoid damage to the floor or subfloor.

Reduced water pressure can be caused by many things, so getting to the root cause is important. If it’s a faucet that’s affected, build-up of minerals on the aerator could be the problem. Remove the aerator and rinse any obvious debris and then soak it in vinegar to help dissolve any invisible build-up. Sometimes, corrosion of pipes is the instigator of the slow down and an experienced plumber is required.

Jammed garbage disposals happen. These are often due to not using enough water when running the disposal, or putting potato peels or other food items that don’t break down easily in them. Add these problems to silverware accidentally falling in, and it’s not hard to end up with a non-functioning disposal. Ensure the disposal is turned off, and then remove any debris you can. Hit the reset button and see if it’s good to go. If not, you’ll have to get the key to the disposal and do a more thorough clean-out.

Running toilets can waste immense amounts of water. The flapper valve is the most common instigator of the constantly running toilet. Replacing this valve is pretty straightforward and most novices can complete it with the help of an online tutorial and a new valve from the local hardware store.

Slow draining tubs, showers or sinks can often be caused by hair or other material build-up. Needle nose pliers or a drain snake can help you get the hair out, but be aware- it’s super gross!

It’s always good, and cheaper, to know how to handle the basics of your home’s plumbing issues. If your problem is not a simple one, calling in an expert is the best idea. If you need a recommendation for a good plumber, we’re happy to provide a referral.

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