Plumbing problems are a part of homeownership, and they can happen when you least expect them. While some issues may require the expertise of a professional plumber, there are several common household plumbing problems that you can tackle on your own with the right tools and knowledge.
A dripping faucet isn’t just annoying; it can also waste significant water over time. The culprit is often a worn-out washer or O-ring. To fix it, turn off the water supply to the faucet, disassemble it, replace the damaged part, and reassemble it.
Clogged drains in sinks, showers, or tubs are a frequent annoyance. You can use a plunger or a drain snake to clear the blockage. If that doesn’t work, chemical drain cleaners are an option but use them sparingly as they can be harsh on your pipes. Regularly cleaning hair and debris from drain stoppers can help prevent clogs.
A running toilet can waste a lot of water and inflate your water bill. Often, it’s due to a faulty flapper or malfunctioning fill valve. To fix it, replace the flapper or adjust the fill valve as needed. Make sure the water in the tank reaches the proper water level.
Low Water Pressure
Low water pressure can make daily tasks like showering and doing dishes frustrating. The cause can be mineral buildup in the faucet aerator or showerhead. Remove and clean these fixtures, or consider replacing them with high-efficiency models.
Leaking pipes can cause water damage and higher water bills. If you discover a leak, first turn off the water supply to the affected area. Then, assess the damage and replace the damaged section of the pipe. If you’re uncomfortable doing this, it’s best to call a plumber.
Water Heater Issues
If your water heater isn’t delivering hot water as it should, check the thermostat settings and ensure it’s not set too low. Sediment buildup in the tank can also reduce efficiency. Periodically drain and flush the tank to remove sediment.
Garbage Disposal Problems
A jammed or noisy garbage disposal can be a headache. First, make sure the power is turned off. Use a hex key to turn the disposal and free any obstructions manually. Press the reset button on the disposal unit or check the circuit breaker if it’s still not working.
In colder climates, frozen pipes can be a major concern. To prevent freezing, insulate pipes in unheated areas and allow faucets to drip during cold weather to keep water moving. If a pipe does freeze, use a heat source like a hair dryer to thaw it slowly.
Sewer Line Backup
A sewer line backup is a more serious issue that may require professional help. Signs of a backup include multiple drains clogging simultaneously, or sewage smells. In such cases, it’s best to call a plumber to assess and resolve the problem.
Water Line Leaks
If you notice a sudden increase in your water bill or a wet spot in your yard, you may have a water line leak. Locating and repairing a buried water line can be challenging and is typically a job for a professional plumber.