When you are dealing with any plumbing problems, it is ideal that you handle the matter as quickly as you possibly can. While there is a science and art to dealing with plumbing problems, it all begins with awareness.
Awareness can also help you figure out when to take on the plumbing repair or call a professional. Below are some of the most prevalent plumbing problems you need to be aware of and how to fix them.
If you notice water backing up when you take a shower or empty a sink, it is likely that you have clogged drains. For toilet clogs, the signs are often more obvious. Instead of flushing normally, the water can back up the toilet bowl and may even overflow. Clearing the blockage will typically restore the toilet or drains back to normal.
Clogged drains occur when the drain is partially or completely blocked. In sinks and showers, hair is often the culprit. In toilets, clogging can occur when non-dissolvable waste gets flushed. Said items will not move through the pipe and hinder the water from flowing past the blockage and down your pipes.
When to call a plumber: Get the help of a professional when you can’t remove the blockage on your own. You will also need the help of a plumber if you experience repeated clogs in the same drain.
Leaking faucets and pipes are common in houses and faucets. While not considered a plumbing emergency, dripping faucets are often a nuisance and a waste of money. Fixing the leak can help you save as much as 10% on your water bill. A leaking faucet that’s left unattended can add up to a staggering 3,000 gallons yearly.
Replacing the washer responsible for the leak can solve this problem. While this can be a DIY job, you need to remember that replacing the washer is a lot easier with specialty tools. Since leaking pipes are more complex, it is best left in the able hands of professionals.
When to call a plumber: Have a plumber replace the washer if you don’t have plumbing knowledge and experience. More often than not, leaking pipes will require the help of professionals.
Water heater problems are easy to spot. If you get doused by freezing cold water when expecting a nice warm shower, you have a heater problem. Other signs of a possible heater problem include puddles of water, noises coming from the heater unit, and discolored water.
If your heater runs on gas, check if the pilot light is on. Check also the temperature setting to make sure it has not been turned down accidentally. If mineral deposits are the culprit, flush out the sediments by draining the water tank. If there is water pooling, you need to check with a professional as your heater might need to be replaced.
When to call a plumber: If the fix is simple, like adjusting the heater thermostat or relighting the pilot, there is no need to call a professional. However, if you have a problem caused by something else, calling an experienced plumber is recommended. Water heater repairs can be complex and extensive, so it is better left in the hands of experts.
In old houses, low water pressure is a very common problem. However, the issue can occur in new homes as well. Depending on the cause, low water pressure has the potential to worsen over time. Whatever the cause may be, low water pressure can make it difficult for you to shower and rinse things.
If you suspect build-up is causing the low pressure, check the shower heads or aerators first. Unscrew the end of the water tap and clean it. To loosen any build-up, soak the aerator in vinegar overnight. If the low water pressure is caused by something else, getting the help of a plumber is recommended.
When to call a plumber: If the water pressure decreases drastically and you can’t pinpoint the exact cause, get in touch with a seasoned plumber right away. You might have a leak in your pipe. If there are corrosion issues, a plumber can also help repair or replace the affected sections.
If you notice signs of a plumbing issue, act fast. A small clog or leak that is left unattended can quickly turn into a massive headache. Plumbing issues can hit you when you least expect them.
That said, you need to have a local and trustworthy plumber on speed dial so you can have the issue resolved right away before it can cause further damage. WSSC provides some guidelines to help you find and verify a plumber: https://www.wsscwater.com/findplumber.
About the author
Rachel Watson is the Senior Content Editor of Precision Air & Plumbing, a full-service HVAC, plumbing, and home performance contractor operating in Chandler, Arizona. Rachel enjoys yoga and writing articles about how to make home living more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.