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Exploring the Most Common Plumbing Issues

Plumbing issues are inevitable when you own a home. Although some issues occur as a result of normal wear and tear or aging fixtures, but others can be caused by how a system is used and maintained. Experienced plumbers are used to dealing with plumbing issues of all sizes, from minor inconveniences to major problems. Here we’ll explore the most common plumbing issues plumbers handle, and what is usually the underlying cause, so you can take some preventative action and protect your home. Leaking Pipes: Leaking pipes can cause massive amounts of damage to your home. Since most pipes are obscured behind walls or in ceilings, you may only see a damp spot on your drywall to indicate that there is a leaky pipe in your home. Unfortunately, even the smallest leak can lead to a large volume of water, causing damage to your drywall and woodwork. This can encourage mold or lead to rot that compromises the structural integrity of your home. There are a number of problems that can cause a leaking pipe, including:
  • Corrosion
  • Cracked seals
  • Joint damage
  • Excessively high water pressure
  • Incorrectly laid pipework
  • Stubborn clogs
Regardless of the cause of a leaking pipe, this is one common plumbing issue that needs immediate attention. The longer a leaking pipe is ignored, the greater the potential damage to your plumbing system and your home. Fortunately, an experienced plumber has the expertise and tools to trace the source of the leak and correct the problem. A Dripping Faucet: The annoyance of a drip, drip, drip from a leaking faucet is not only wasteful, but costly. Dripping faucets are often caused by an O ring or washer that has worn out due to regular wear and tear. This is an easy issue to correct, as you can simply unscrew the faucet and install a new washer. Unfortunately, this is not the only cause of a dripping faucet; it can be caused by improper installation or corrosion. While it may be tempting to ignore a dripping faucet, it is worth calculating how much water it is wasting. Even a small leak, dripping one drop of water a second, can waste over a gallon of water every day. Therefore, it is important to address any dripping faucets as quickly as possible. If you don’t feel confident checking or changing the washer, speak to your local plumber who can assess the faucet to determine the underlying cause of the leak. A Running Toilet: Running toilets can waste as much as 200 gallons of water each day, which is a massive amount of wasted water. You may not notice that water is running into the bowl even after you’ve flushed, but you may be able to hear the sound of trickling water when your house is otherwise silent. There are a number of causes of running toilets, including a damaged or improperly sized flapper chain, a worn out flapper seal, a damaged flush valve, a corroded toilet handle or refill tube issues. An experienced plumber will evaluate your toilet to determine the underlying cause of the problem. He or she will then advise you of if a component needs to be replaced or if there is a more serious issue that needs to be addressed. Low Water Pressure: There is nothing more frustrating than finding you have low water pressure when you’re trying to shower or complete other household tasks. A weak water pressure can make using almost every plumbing system in your home a challenge, but it is often a symptom of a bigger plumbing issue. Low water pressure can be caused by a blocked or cracked sewer line, a sewer or drain clog, pipe corrosion, or a hidden water leak inside your home. Fortunately, experienced plumbers can trace any underlying plumbing issues inside your home that could be compromising your water pressure. A Leaky Hose Bibb: Leaking hose bibbs are a common issue, particularly in spring and summer. After a cold, long winter, unprotected hose bibbs can be vulnerable to damage, and they can crack. This can cause the hose bibb to start to leak. This issue can be easily prevented by investing in a frost proof hose bibb, which will reduce the risk of a future leak. If your hose bibb is already cracked, the damaged part will need to be replaced. If you have reasonable DIY skills, you should be able to take your hose bibb apart, replace the damaged component, and reassemble it. But, if you’re not feeling confident, this is a simple task for a professional plumber. Slow Running or Clogged Drains: Drainage problems can be a plumbing disaster if they are not quickly addressed. While a slow running drain may not appear a major issue, this is caused by a clog, and it’s not going to resolve itself. Generally, if you have one slow running or clogged drain in your home, the problem is localized to that specific area of your home. This is most common in bathrooms because soap, hair, and other debris has accumulated over time. Installing a hair trap or routine drain cleaning can prevent these issues. If you have multiple slow running or clogged drains in your home, it is a warning sign that your home has a sewer line problem. To prevent wastewater backing up into your home, you need to call in a professional. Water Heater Malfunctions: Most of us take the hot water in our homes for granted, so when your water heater cannot provide enough hot water or stops heating water altogether, it can be a massive inconvenience. Water heater issues usually stem from a build up of sediment, corrosion, improper installation, heating element failure, broken or loose electrical connections, or the wrong size of system for the size of your home. Fortunately, an experienced plumber can assess your water heater to determine any underlying issues and explain the options to correct the problem. Sump Pump Failures: A sump pump can fail due to a stuck switch, clogged pipe, improper installation, or even just wear and tear. Unfortunately, this can put your home at risk of damage during the next period of heavy rain. Therefore, it is always a good idea to have your sump pump checked by an experienced plumber. By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.