Fix Your Leaks: Quick DIY Plumbing Tips

5 Common Plumbing Problems and How to Fix Them

Under Sink

Encountering a plumbing problem is almost a rite of passage for homeowners. From the annoyance of a dripping faucet to the panic of a clogged drain, these issues can disrupt your daily routine and impact your water bill. But not all plumbing problems require professional intervention. Armed with the right knowledge and tools, you can address many issues yourself. This article covers five common plumbing problems and provides straightforward, expert advice on how to fix them, potentially sparing you the cost and inconvenience of calling in a professional.

1. Leaky Faucets

  • Symptoms: Persistent dripping, increased water bills.
  • Fix: Most leaky faucets can be remedied by replacing the washer or O-ring. Turn off the water supply, disassemble the faucet, and replace the damaged part.
    • Note: Sometimes you won't have a shutoff right where the faucet is located. When you run into a scenario like this, it's safest to go to your main water cutoff which could require a water key.
Leaky Sink
Leaky sink with poor connections

2. Clogged Drains

  • Symptoms: Water backing up, slow drainage.
  • Fix: For minor clogs, a plunger or a plumber’s snake can clear the blockage. Baking soda and vinegar followed by hot water can also help dissolve grease buildup.

3. Running Toilets

  • Symptoms: Water running constantly, noisy tank, HIGH water bill.
    • Note: The current federal standard for flow rate on toilets is 1.6 gallons per minute (gpm). If you pay about $0.05 for 10 gallons of water and you have your toilet constantly running for a whole day, your bill would be about $12 higher a day when you let this issue persist. 
  • Fix: Often caused by a faulty flapper or filler valve. Testing the flapper for wear and replacing it can usually solve the problem.
Running Toilet
Toilet fill valve continuously running

4. Low Water Pressure

  • Symptoms: Weak water flow from faucets.
  • Fix: Check for and clean any sediment buildup in aerators or showerheads. If the problem persists, inspect for leaky pipes that may need repair.

5. Faulty Water Heater

  • Symptoms: Lack of hot water, strange noises from the tank.
  • Fix: Regular maintenance, such as flushing the tank to remove sediment, can extend the life of your heater. For electrical issues or leaks, professional help is recommended.

FAQs

How can I prevent plumbing problems?

Regular maintenance, such as inspecting pipes for leaks and avoiding pouring grease down the drain, can prevent many issues.

What should I do if a plumbing issue is beyond my skill level?

If a problem seems complex or if you’re unsure of the solution, it’s best to call a professional plumber to avoid causing further damage.

Are chemical drain cleaners safe for my pipes?

Frequent use of chemical cleaners can corrode pipes. For minor clogs, mechanical methods like plunging or snaking are safer and often more effective.

Conclusion

While some plumbing problems may require professional attention, understanding how to handle common issues can save you from unnecessary stress and expense. By following the practical advice outlined in this guide, you can quickly address and resolve the most frequent plumbing concerns, keeping your home’s plumbing system in top condition.

Remember, when in doubt, it’s always safer to consult with a professional plumber to ensure your plumbing issues are resolved efficiently and effectively.