There is never really an ideal time to have a plumbing problem, and the cost associated can be just as unwelcome as the inconvenience. The problem is, they are infrequent enough that you never really learn how to fix them and when they occur you have left ankle-deep in water and wondering what just happened. Rather than waiting for the next plumbing catastrophe, get ahead of the problem and educate yourself on how you can fix these problems and save yourself the drama. From flimsy faucets to rusted pipes, we’ve researched the most common plumbing issues and provided a guide to fix them.
Blocked drains are surprisingly common, so much so that you can even find a dedicated blocked drain plumber when you notice those tell-tale signs. If you want to tackle this one on your own, you can try to dissolve or unclog the block using items you already own. Pour half a cup of baking soda down the problem drain, followed by half a cup of vinegar. From there, you want to clog the drain using a cloth or rag, allowing the liquid and powder to bubble and dissolve through the clog. You may need to repeat this process a couple of times if it is particularly stubborn, waiting thirty minutes for the bubbles to make their way through before starting again.
Don’t forget to use your plunger if you have one, as they can be quite effective if the blocked drain is clogging with soft matter. Plungers are not only effective in the bathroom, and everyone should keep one under the kitchen sink, as the simple pull motion is surprisingly powerful and can remedy many small to medium clogs and blocks.
Is there anything more annoying than the constant drip of a faucet? This is an issue that everyone has surely experience, and while it may seem like only a small amount of water, those drips equate to hundreds of liters in the year. Are you willing to cover that on your next water bill? Nine times out of ten, a dripping faucet is a result of a stiff or worn internal washer, which can be dislodged over time. This is an entirely achievable problem to fix, but it will require the right tools before you put your head under the sink. A basin wrench and some rib-joint pliers should be more than enough to tighten that faucet and stop the drip.
The sound of a running toilet is even more disconcerting than the constant drip of a loose faucet, and the wasted water is far more significant. A toilet will run long after a flush due to a faulty flapper, which is responsible for controlling the water that passes from the tank (back unit) and into the bowl. There are running toilet DIY fix kits that you can buy online or at various home improvement stores.
If that does not work, you might have a different problem which is caused by sediment impacting the filling and flushing of your toilet. If your water bill seems suspiciously high, you could have a silent leak. This running water will be quieter than the more common problem that a DIY fix kit will remedy, so quieter does not mean less urgent in this case. Another great hack is to pour some food coloring in the top tank and watch to see if that coloring makes its way into the toilet bowl. If it does, then it is a sediment issue and you may need to call a plumber.
Low water pressure
It’s an unfortunate phenomenon that low water pressure always strikes when you are most looking forward to a hot shower. Many households accept this pressure as something that is part of the home, but you can actually do a thing or two to fix or diagnose the issue. This problem is quite common in older homes, as the result is usually caused by broken or corroded pipes that are harder to get to and replace in old homes. The aerators, which control the flow of water in your sink and shower, get a build-up of sediment, so try to soak the aerator in vinegar overnight to give it a cleanout and then reattach. For the shower, you can remove the showerhead and do the same. You can also use an old toothbrush and toothpick to further clean off the minerals, making sure the holes are clean and not clogged.
Hopefully, you are not feeling more empowered about your plumbing circumstances and prepared should anything go wrong or start to play up. If you believe the issues are beyond your knowledge or seem dire, absolutely call a plumber as you don’t want to cause any irreparable damage.