Common Plumbing Problems and Their Solutions
Plumbers don’t come cheap. Often you’ll have to pay over a hundred dollar, just to have them walk through your doors. So, while you need to get professional help for serious repairs and installations, you can take care of minor repairs on your own and save yourself some money. All you need is few tricks up your sleeve.
We have listed down some of the most common plumbing problems and their easy solutions. Look through the list to see how you can fix your plumbing issues:
Slow draining sinks
Sinks that drain slowly are a common annoyance for home owners. The culprit, in this case, is often a clog in the pipes attached to the sink. Here’s how you fix it:
The first thing you need to do is check the pop-up. If the pop-up is blocked with debris, clean it out. If that doesn’t help, use a plunger. Place the mouth of the plunger over the drain and move it up and down to dislodge the clog. If the sink still doesn’t drain properly, pour a mild drain cleaner from the stores, or make your own with baking soda and vinegar to clear out the clog.
Leaky pipes may not seem very harmful, that is, until you get your water bill. You’ll be surprised by the amount of water wasted, even through small leaks. When it comes to fixing a leak, usually the pipe needs to be replaced, which is best left to a plumber. But, if the leak is minor, or if you need a quick temporary fix, here is what you can do:
If the leak is at a joint, tighten the joint. If the leak is in the pipe itself, patch the leak with a patching kit. You can get it at any hardware store. If the leak is minor and the pipe is good, the patch should be enough. Otherwise, you’ll have to call in a plumber.
Low water pressure
Low water pressure often affects faucets once it’s old. To take care of low water pressure in the taps and faucets, you need to first determine the source of trouble and then repair accordingly.
Check all the taps and faucets in your home, including the hot and cold water taps. If the water pressure is low only in the hot water taps, check your water heater. If the problem is only in one area, the cause might be a clog in the faucet or aerator. Check, clean and replace the faulty part if necessary.
If the problem is all over the house, you’ll need to check the pressure reducing valve and water shutoff valve. Adjust them to increase the water pressure. Also check for leaky pipes and running toilets as they can also cause the water pressure to drop.
If nothing else works, install a water pressure booster at the water meter.
Clogged drains are pretty common in any household, even though they are preventable. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to get rid of the clog. Here are four ways you can unclog a drain:
- Place a plunger over the mouth of the drain and move the handle up and down to dislodge the clog.
- Use a drain snake to fish out the gunk that is causing the clog
- Boil water in a kettle and pour it down the drain while it is still boiling hot. Repeat it a few times if necessary to unclog your drain.
- Mix equal amounts of baking soda and vinegar in a cup. As soon as it starts to fizz, pour it down the drain. Let it stay overnight and wash it down with hot water.
Additional tip: While unclogging, try to avoid harsh store bought unclogging products if possible. They can damage the pipes in the long term.
Running toilet is a recurring plumbing problem in most homes. If you suspect the same problem with your toilet, there is a simple test you can carry out. Add a few drops of dye into the tank water. Leave the toilet as it is. Check in after a couple of hours. If you see the dye color in the toilet bowl, you have a running toilet.
The first thing you need to do is find out what’s causing the leak. Turn off the water supply and check the individual parts of the tank. There could be three things that caused running toilet.
- The chain connecting the flush level and rubber flapper: Jiggle the flush lever to see how far the chain stretches. If the chain pulls in the flush lever, even when the lever is at rest, it is too short. Replace it. If the chain hangs down even when the flush lever is pressed, it is too long. Cut it short and put it back in place.
- The Rubber Flapper: The rubber flapper tends to bend and break over time. Remove the flapper, clean it, and check for distortion or discoloration. If the flapper is distorted or broken, replace it.
- The Float position: Flush the toilet and watch as the water fills back in the tank. If the water level goes past the overflow pipe, adjust the rod connecting the float to the pump.
Drippy faucets are extremely annoying. On top of water loss and inflated water bill, the constant pit-pat can drive you crazy. Fortunately, the solution is very simple. Most often, the cause of drippy faucets is the seat washer. All you need to do is replace the old washer with a new one. Here is how you do it:
First, turn off the water supply to the faucet. Plug the drain opening so that you don’t lose any screw down the drain. Once you’ve done that, pry off the decorative cap, handle and nut. Pull out the stem. You’ll then see the O-ring and the rubber seat washer. Remove and replace the seat washer and put everything back the way it was.
If the handles are leaky instead of the faucet, replace the O-ring instead of the seat washer.
Jammed garbage disposal
Is your garage disposal jammed AGAIN? There is no need to worry. Un-jamming your Garbage disposal is pretty simple. Just follow the instructions below:
Most garbage disposals come with a key. The key goes into an opening at the bottom of the garbage disposal. Keep the key safe. If your garbage disposal gets jammed, simply insert the key into the opening and turn it to free the motor. If you’ve lost the key, you can also use an Allen wrench. Insert the wrench into the same opening and turn it in both directions to un-jam the disposal system.
Do you hear strange sounds on your sink every time water flows into the drain pipes? If so, the culprit is usually a clog stuck somewhere in the pipes. You need to clean it out before your pipes get blocked completely. Here is what you do:
You simply need to unclog your drains. As mentioned before, you can simply pour a pot of boiling hot water down the drain so that it flushes out the clog. If that doesn’t work, mix baking soda and vinegar and pour it in. Let it stay overnight and then wash it down with hot water.
If the water freezes in your pipes during winter, there is a simple way to thaw it. But, you need to act quickly before it makes your pipes burst. Here is what you need to do:
First, open the faucet so that the steam produced while thawing can escape. Then, wrap a heavy towel around the frozen area and pour hot water into the towel. Keep a bucket underneath to catch the running water. You can also use a hair dryer on the pipes. The process will be slower but it won’t make a mess.
Watching your toilet overflow can be quite terrifying. But instead of watching your house flood while the plumber arrives, you can stop the overflow by yourself.
If your toilet starts to overflow, turn off the water cut-off valve (turn it right). It is often located at the back of the toilet seat, near the floor. This will cut the flow of water that fills the tank. If overflowing has stopped, but the water level is slowly rising, lift and position the ballcock inside the water tank horizontally. It will stop the water from flowing into the toilet bowl while the bowl drains the excess amount of water.
Lose small jewelry in the sink
This might not strictly be a plumbing problem. Nonetheless, it’s very common and has a very simple solution:
If you accidentally drop your jewelry or any other tiny object down the sink, check the U-trap. The U-trap is a piece of U-shaped pipe that is right under your sink. Simply unscrew it from the rest of the piping. You might have to dig around a fair bit of gunk, but you can easily find whatever you lost.
- Before you try fixing anything, you need to learn about your home plumbing, find out the kind of plumbing system and materials used and do your research before handling any DIY repair project.
- Turn off the main water line before starting any repair work.
- You’ll probably get wet while repairing, so wear clothes you wouldn’t mind getting wet and dirty.
- To make sure that you get the right replacement, take the original part with you to the hardware store and have someone help you find the right part.
- While it’s fun to play plumber every once in a while, you need to get professional help for any serious plumbing issue. Know when you’re over your head and call a licensed plumber.
- Regular Plumbing Maintenance can prevent big shot plumbing problems in the long run. So have your plumbing system checked and serviced at least once or twice a year.
These tips should help you take care of minor plumbing problems by yourself. But remember, if you feel that the job is no longer in your hands, it’s best to call a plumber than affording risks, trying to do it yourself.
Let us know how things work out for you in the comments below.
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