As your home ages, you might find you are frequently calling the plumber. In some locations, such as along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia, the presence of a low water table and hard water can accelerate specific plumbing problems. Lines can become corroded and clogged with minerals, parts break, and appliances get worn out.
Performing regular inspections and maintenance can help prevent common plumbing problems and prolong the life of your system. It’s important to understand the most common problems you will encounter.
5 Common Plumbing Problems and What To Do
Typically, problems with running toilets occur because the flapper valve inside the tank is letting water pass from the tank to the toilet bowl, the float is imbalanced or the fill tube comes loose. To check the toilet, remove the tank’s lid and visually monitor it after a flush. The flapper should close and get a good seal after the flush. And as the water rises in the tank, it should stop just before reaching the overfill tube. If it doesn’t, then the float might need to be adjusted. If the flapper seal is worn, the float broken, or another problem exists, there are repair kits available at most home repair stores. Your local plumber can also help you with repairs.
For dripping faucets, often the culprit is a worn out washer or o-ring in the handle. To fix a dripping faucet, turn off the water beneath the sink and remove the handle to get to the washer and o-ring. Check the condition of the washer, o-ring, and other parts and replace them if needed. After you reassemble the handle, turn on the water slowly and check if the leak has been fixed. You might also have pressure variances in the line from mineral deposits. If the leak persists, it can eventually damage your faucet and the faucet will need to be replaced.
Low Water Pressure
When you have low water pressure coming out of a faucet, it is often the result of mineral buildup or scale. Installing and maintaining a water softener and particulate filter can help to reduce mineral buildup. But even with a softener and filter, deposits will accumulate over time in the faucets, shower heads and pipes. To help reduce mineral buildup in faucets and shower heads, periodically remove the faucet head and clean them with a toothbrush and white vinegar. When removing a faucet head, be careful not to lose any small parts and remember the order for reassembling.
Issues with your pipes can sneak up on you and be costly. The key is to catch small problems before they get worse. Check under sinks, behind toilet tanks, around water heaters, and along any exposed piping for moisture. The best prevention is to fix small leaks once you catch them. Unfortunately leaks can be elusive. Therefore, keep an eye out for any unexplained wet patches on the floors, ceilings or walls. Bulges and cracks can also warn of leaks. And review your water bill monthly. Often the only indication of an elusive leak is an unusual increase in your water usage.
Slow or Clogged Drains
Drain problems are usually the result of waste and sediment buildup or an item getting stuck in the line. In some cases, a plunger may work to break up the waste and sediment, or to dislodge an item that is stuck. To clear your drains and prevent buildup, regularly clean them with drain cleaners. Choose the appropriate cleaner that is specific for your sink, toilet or appliance and follow the directions. Or use a homemade cleaner of white vinegar and warm water.
You might be able to handle some of the simpler plumbing problems. But if simple maintenance doesn’t work, you have a bigger problem that requires more skill, experience and possibly specific equipment. No matter how big or small, High Priority Plumbing can tackle all plumbing problems quickly and efficiently. Call us at 770.860.8110 in Atlanta or 912.373.7707 in Savannah.