A broken pipe or other drastic plumbing issues will mean that you need to call a professional problem to resolve the problem. However there are also less complex but still problematic issues that you don’t necessarily need to call in a plumber to address. With a little know-how, you’ll be able to resolve these problems yourself with relatively little stress. If you want to take your skills further, you can even check out available fast track plumbing courses, but you can resolve many common problems with no formal training whatsoever.
Here are some common plumbing issues you may experience in your home, and how to troubleshoot them.
General Advice for Doing Your Own Plumbing Repairs
Before we get into how to fix specific plumbing issues in your home, it’s important to mention a few key things to keep in mind when doing your own plumbing repairs. Plumbing work shouldn’t be taken lightly, as if you make a mistake this could end up creating a much bigger problem and costing you significantly. Before embarking on any plumbing-related task or project, make sure that you fully understand what the issue is. If you don’t really understand what is going on or how to fix it, consider calling a professional.
Additionally, make sure that you are fully prepared for the project before you start. Have a solid plan and make sure you have all the equipment and supplies that you’ll need. Having a professional plumber’s number at hand just in case is also a good idea. Finally, before you start any kind of plumbing work, be sure to shut off the main water supply – this avoids major water damage that may happen if something goes wrong.
Leaky faucets are some of the most common household plumbing issues. A dripping faucet may not seem like a big deal, but these drips quickly add up to a huge waste of water, not to mention a waste of money as your water bill skyrockets. A faucet that leaks at a rate of one drip per second will waste more than 30,000 gallons over the course of a year. This is the same as 180 showers! Leaky faucets are usually caused by damage to the washer that forms the seal within the faucet. This damage can occur with the washer tears, becomes displaced or simply stiffens over time, meaning it no longer forms a complete seal in the faucet and so allows some water to drip through. This means that replacing the washer will usually fix a leaking faucet. This is pretty easy to do with the right tools.
Another common plumbing issue you may have experienced in your home is clogged pipes. You’ll usually notice this when your bathroom or kitchen sink is draining very slowly, indicating that something is restricting the flow of water. In other words, the pipe is clogged: typically with fat or food remnants in the kitchen or hair and soap in the bathroom. It is important to address the issue as this problem can worse over time, and the pipe may eventually become blocked, meaning that the sink will not drain at all. There a few simple methods you can use to unclog a blocked drain. You can use a plunger to pull up any debris through the sink. You can also use a natural solution such as baking soda and vinegar, or a chemical solution. In severe cases, a chemical solution is the most effective. Buy an appropriate chemical solution from a hardware store and be sure to follow the instructions exactly. Always wear protective gloves and goggles, and never mix chemicals or products as this can produce hazardous gases.
Low Water Pressure
Low water pressure is a particularly common problem in older homes (though it can happen in newer homes too) and can make showering, housework, and other daily tasks frustrating or difficult. Low water pressure can be caused by a few different factors, including a broken water main, a leaking pipe, or a build-up of minerals and sediment in the pipes.
Here is how you can diagnose the problem:
- If your neighbours also have low water pressure and especially if the problem is sudden, a broken water main is probably to blame
- If you shut off all taps and your water meter continues to rise, you probably have a leaky pipe
- If neither of the above is the case and you’ve noticed the water pressure drop slowly over time, it is probably a build-up of minerals and sediment in the pipes.
A Clogged Toilet
One of the most inconvenient plumbing issues you can experience in your home is a clogged toilet. Indeed, this can be quite disastrous! A clogged toilet will not drain properly, and may even overflow. Usually this is caused by a blockage in the system or drains and can be easily resolved by clearing the blockage without needing to call a plumber. Blockages can commonly occur when a solid, non-dissolvable item is flushed in the toilet and doesn’t pass through the system, blocking water from flowing through. A plunger will normally resolve this issue, helping to loosen the blockage using air pressure. When using a plunger, make sure that you put it completely over the opening in the toilet before moving it up and down to create suction. If this doesn’t work, you can try a chemical drain cleaner or a plumbing snake: you’ll find the latter at most hardware stores and these are designed to remove blockages.