17 Most Common Plumbing Problems & How to Fix Them

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Plumbing problems can be relatively minor and inexpensive. But more severe issues, like sewer system backups, can be disastrous if not tackled immediately.

To avoid damage to walls, floors, and overall personal property, it’s crucial for you to know about the problems that generally occur in every home’s plumbing systems. This will help you find solutions to the issues within no time.

No, we don’t mean seeking assistance from your reliable and professional plumber, at least, not for the trivial issues. If you have the correct tools and knowledge, you’ll be able to solve these problems on your own.

On that note, we’ve carefully created this guide of the 17 most common plumbing problems and their quick fixes. We’ve also listed a few general DIY plumbing tips at the end of this article to help you out.

So, without further ado, let’s get going!

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10 Most Common Plumbing Problems & Issues and Tips How to Avoid Them

  Most Common Plumbing Problems & Their Fixes

In this section, we’ll be addressing the 12 general plumbing problems that are common to every household. Along with this, we’ll provide solutions to tackle each problem without any hassle.

  1. Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure makes it challenging to use any plumbing system at home. To fix this, you’ll need to find the primary cause of this issue. So, the first thing you should do is check your hot and cold water faucet’s water pressure.

Calcium and sediment build-up in the aerator are usually the most common reason for low water pressure. But always remember that this plumbing problem can also be a symptom of more complicated issues like hidden water leaks at home, blocked sewer lines, and pipe corrosion.

That’s why it’s crucial to detect the problem before looking for a fix. If you notice that mineral deposit on the aerator is the primary issue, soak it in vinegar to clean it.

You may also do the same for your showerhead. Simply dismantle it and clean off any dirt or soap. You can then use a toothbrush that’s soaked in vinegar to scrub and loosen mineral deposits.

Once that’s done, a toothpick or something similar can be used to poke off loose deposits. After this, you may soak the parts in vinegar overnight to dissolve any leftover deposits.

  1. Dripping Faucets

We’ve all come across this problem at some point in life. Dripping faucets not only lead to water wastage and cost you money, but they can also be a nuisance.

Usually, the issue arises due to worn-out washers or O-rings that can be easily replaced. However, corrosion or even improper installation of the faucet can lead to dripping.

So, how do you tackle this plumbing problem? It’s best to seek assistance from faucet repair services as soon as possible to prevent further wastage of water. But even an average householder can also fix the issue with proper tools and a bit of prior plumbing experience.

  1. Leaky Pipes

You might not know that your bathroom or kitchen pipes are leaking until a thorough inspection is carried out. Nonetheless, it’s a plumbing problem common during the winters when water can freeze, causing pipes to burst.

This is an issue that requires an immediate fix since it may cause irreparable damage to your furniture and floor. That’s why regular inspection is a must to ensure the durable and timely repair or replacement of the pipes, saving both your time and money.

Now, pipes can leak due to several reasons, such as corrosion, excessive water pressure, stubborn clogging, and cracked pipes or seals. Regardless of the cause, you can’t ignore the problem as it can cause more damage to your plumbing system and home.

That said, if you don’t have the skills, tools, and equipment to deal with the problem, reach out to a professional plumbing contractor to prevent future damages.

However, you can also take the necessary measures to prevent the pipes from bursting in winters. To prevent the pipes from freezing, just allow the cold water to drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Make sure you keep the thermostat at the same temperature during the day and night.

  1. Slow or Clogged Drainage

Drainage problems like slow or clogged drains can lead to plumbing disasters and even health hazards, so they need to be tackled quickly. Now, if you notice obstruction in only one drain of your home, it means that the issue is localized in the area of your home.

These drains are usually clogged due to the build-up of hair, soap, and other foreign objects over time. The only solution to this plumbing problem is routine drain cleaning.

On the other hand, if you notice multiple slow or clogged drains, then you might be dealing with sewer line issues, which can potentially be a more complicated problem. In such cases, it’s better to call a plumbing company to prevent sewage backup and get the issue fixed safely.

  1. Running Toilets

Like dripping faucets, even running toilets wastewater up to 200 gallons per day. This is a common plumbing problem that usually occurs when the flapper valve controlling the water that passes from the toilet’s tank to its bowl is faulty. But the fix for this issue is relatively simple, provided you have access to a toilet repair kit.

Other than this, sediments or mineral build-up may affect the flushing and filling of your toilet. You should also check for silent leaks, especially if your water bill seems comparatively high. Simply put some food coloring in the upper tank and see if the color paves its way to your toilet.

  1. Leaking Hose Bibb

Hose bibbs that aren’t protected may crack or begin to leak after the cold winters. As such, leaking hose bibbs are common plumbing problems in the spring and summer seasons. 

For this reason, we’d suggest you invest in frost-proof hose bibbs, which reduce the chances of future leaks.

  1. Slow Draining Tub

 

Hair and debris often obstruct the flow of water down as it drains out of a tub. To remove the objects causing this problem, you’ll require a pair of needle-nose pliers.

However, at times, removing the debris stuck in the drain can be quite challenging, especially when you have no prior plumbing experience and tools to perform the task. In such cases, reach out to a dependable plumber without wasting any time.

  1. Clogged Bath

Like your bathroom sink, even baths and showers get clogged with hair and soap over time. To clear the blockage, you might require a plunger. All you have to do is add petroleum jelly to the suction pad to improve the seal. To keep the plunger fully submerged, make sure that the shower has sufficient water.

Vinegar and baking soda can also help dissolve the clogged debris. Apart from this, you can try minimizing the problem by installing a drain guard.

  1. Jammed Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are common appliances found in every household under a kitchen sink–between the sink’s drain and trap. However, they do get jammed when you run them without water, allow silverware to get inside, or dispose of food substances, such as potato peels and cornhusks.

So, what should you do to fix this problem? Your first step should be to hit the reset button. But if it doesn’t work, open it up using its key. A 1/4-inch Allen wrench can also be used for the purpose of freeing the motor.

  1. Faulty Water Heater

You’re in the shower rejuvenating, and suddenly the water becomes cold. There can only be one reason for this–a faulty water heater, which undoubtedly calls for a plumbing crisis.

Now, your water heater can fail for a number of causes–the pilot light might go out or the thermostat may be at fault. You can’t even ignore the possibility of sediment build-up in the tank.

Whatever the issue, you’ll need the help of a professional to inspect, maintain, and fix the loose electrical connections or heating element failures of the water heater.

  1. Sewer System Backup

It’s time we addressed the issue of sewer system backup in detail because, frankly, this plumbing problem is a nightmare for many homeowners. In fact, it leads to multiple drains and toilet blockages with a foul odor of human waste.

To be honest, fixing this issue is challenging and quite expensive, depending on the location of the blockage. If it’s on your property, it’s natural that you’ll have to bear the expenses. For sewer system backups on public roads, the water company has to come forth with assistance.

Nonetheless, you’ll have to pay for a plumber just to locate the blockage before you even think about how to fix it. But we suggest calling your water company first, as they won’t charge you anything if they’re at fault.

That being said, there are three primary causes of this plumbing problem. Firstly, the main sewer might be clogged. To minimize this issue, make sure you check what you flush down your toilet. Diapers, face wipes, napkins, and tissue paper are a strict no.

Secondly, the tree roots may have invaded your pipeline, pushing through the cracks in the pipes. They may also surround a pipe and crush it. Lastly, the old sewer lines might collapse or break over time since these pipes were built using cast iron or clay.

  1. Sump Pump Failure

You must have come across this problem at least once in your life. Sump pump failure can occur due to problems with the internal unit or an external issue.

That said, the primary causes of your sump failing include stuck switches, improper pump installation, clogged discharge pipes, and heavy rain. Pumps older than ten years are also prone to failure, so make sure you get them repaired or replaced.

Common Plumbing Problems In Old Houses & Their Fixes

Apart from the plumbing problems generally noticed in your home, older houses can present particular issues that need immediate attention. In this section, we’ve highlighted the five common plumbing problems found in old houses and provide solutions to each problem. So, what are we waiting for? 

Let’s dive right in.

  1. Polybutylene Pipes

Since polybutylene pipes are affordable during the late 70s to the early 90s, it’s the primary material used. However, these pipes are too fragile to withstand even the most common disinfectants found in the public water supply.

Plus, they have a tendency to react with the oxidants present in water over time, which, in turn, makes them brittle and weak. That’s not all! Polybutylene pipes crack from inside out, and once ample mini-fractures are formed in them, they wear out completely and rupture, causing the most annoying plumbing issue–water leakage.

This is why polybutylene water pipes are no longer accepted by the United States building codes. To avoid unnecessary lawsuits, it’s best to get them removed from your old house as soon as possible. For this, you’ll require the professional help of a plumbing service.

  1. Galvanized Pipes

Next up, we’ll address the issue of galvanized pipes that are usually made from iron coated in zinc. These pipes were most commonly used in American houses built before the 1960s but are no longer accepted by building planners and designers today. This is because the zinc coating of the pipe erodes over time, leading to corrosion and breakage.

The pipe accumulates rust on the inside, which makes the passages gradually smaller, thereby compromising the water pressure. In other words, it deteriorates the overall water flow and quality.

That’s not all. The clogging seen in these pipes is quite dense and big. As a result, the pipes may burst. The only solution to this problem is replacing the damaged section of the pipeline.

  1. Old Fixtures

The original fixtures used in older houses, including valves, faucets, and spigots, often get compromised over time. With years of use, they’re bound to result in foul odor, water leaks, and inflated utility bills. 

This is why it’s crucial to get them replaced every few years with the latest plumbing supplies and fixtures.

  1. Pipe Bellies

For those who don’t know, the earth underneath your house is rarely completely static. As such, the shifting and changes that occur over time can cause water pipes to buckle or bow.

These bends and deformities are referred to as “pipe bellies,” which may interrupt the water flow. They also eventually lead to blockages and sewer line backups as sediments and other build-ups collect in the sewer line pipe bellies.

That said, if your pipe belly has been a nuisance in the past and present, it’s best to have it removed before you line the pipe. You won’t be able to do this alone, so call a nearby professional plumbing company to get the job done.

  1. Previous Plumbing Work & Repairs

An old house is basically inherited from one or more previous owners who might have avoided the expenses of employing a professional plumber. Consequently, the quality of earlier plumbing repairs might be variable and inadequate.

When you purchase an old house, that’s why we’d suggest reaching out to a plumbing service near your locality. And then get the plumbing system of the entire house checked, including the pipelines, faucets, drainage systems, and toilets.

General DIY Plumbing Tips

You don’t always need to depend on the services of a professional plumbing service company or a plumber to tackle your plumbing problems. Here, we’ve listed a few general DIY plumbing tips for you to follow whenever you notice an avoidable issue, which needs your immediate attention.

  1. Before attempting any plumbing fix, make sure you turn off the main water line.
  2. Plumbing can get messy. So, always assume that you’ll get wet and dirty. Hence, dress accordingly.
  3. When it comes to plumbing fixes, tools and preparation are key. Take the right measurements and ensure that you have everything you need before you begin the repairs.
  4. Even with the right tools and experience, things can go wrong. So, keep a professional plumber’s contact number in hand.

Final Words

Problems can always crop up with your plumbing system, so it’s advisable to stay in touch with a trusted plumber. Their state-of-the-art tools and equipment and, of course, years of expertise, will help you diagnose and fix any plumbing issue.

But even then, you should know more about the plumbing problems common to every household. This won’t only allow you to find the real cause of the issue but will also enable you to find quicker solutions to the problem.

On that note, we’ve reached the end of our guide. And, we hope you were able to gain all the required information related to the topic.

With this, we’ll take your leave. ‘Till next time!

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