Being a homeowner involves coping with a variety of issues and accidents that might happen at home. Plumbing-related issues are among the most frequent challenges that homeowners encounter. No family is safe from plumbing system problems since they can happen at any time. Plumbing problems can range in severity from relatively simple ones (i.e. leaky faucets and blocked toilets) to much more serious ones (i.e. sewage backups and burst pipes).
Regrettably, a lot of us still have a bad habit of neglecting to maintain our plumbing fixtures. We only become aware of the issue and pay attention when a significant disaster eventually occurs, by which time it is almost too late to repair the damages to the majority of our home’s property and possessions.
Impact of Plumbing
One must appreciate the value of plumbing, and one should not take the plumbing system for granted, says Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Rosenberg. If we must remember, the absence of an effective p lumbing system caused the early human civilizations to experience great discomfort and disease. Because they were so uninformed about proper hygiene and lived in squalor due to the lack of plumbing systems, people in those times frequently contracted serious infections and communicable diseases. However, the invention of plumbing allowed for adequate water management and a sustainable source of clean water for homes.
Common Plumbing Problems and Fixes
Plumbing maintenance is a necessary component of homeownership. People at home must all be informed of the typical plumbing issues that can occur in the house and the fixes they can do to mitigate the problem without needing to hire a qualified plumber. Following are some plumbing-related problems that are most likely to arise in the household and some work you can perform to address them:
- Bathroom Drain Blockage
Inevitably, soap, hair, and other residue may build up over time with frequent bathing or showering in the bathroom, clogging the bath and shower drains. A plunger or snake is often required to unclog a drain. If you make sure that there is enough water in the shower to completely submerge the plunger, using the plunger to unclog the drain works nicely.
- Dripping Faucets
Every homeowner may experience this common failure in their home, but regardless of how little the leak is, it needs to be fixed right away to prevent it from growing larger. Undoubtedly, a dripping faucet may be very inconvenient. Along with the annoying tapping noises that go along with the ongoing leaking, this issue results in water waste, which raises your water bills. It’s a good thing that leaking faucets are a DIY fixable problem. All you need to have is the right equipment and a basic knowledge on how to disassemble and reassemble a faucet and replace faulty components that lead to leaks. To address the issue, WM. Henderson (2022) offers the essential methods listed below:
- Cut off the faucet’s water supply.
- Disassemble the dripping faucet’s handles.
- Take off the valve stem or cartridge.
- Inspect components like seals, rubber washers, and O-rings for potential damage.
- Replace the damaged components with brand new, identical parts.
- Reinstall the faucet.
- Leaky Pipes
This plumbing problem is most prevalent in the winter, when your pipes freeze and burst. Because of this, it is necessary to regularly inspect your piping system for potential issues. Make sure to check if there are blockages, cracks, corrosion, and high water pressure as these could result in the pipes leaking. Chahine (2022) suggests avoiding instances of frozen and burst pipes by taking the following preventive measures:
- Let your taps slowly drip. The continuous water flow will reduce the pressure in your pipes.
- Adjust your thermostat and allow warm air to be circulated throughout your house.
- Slow Drain
A slow drain is a typical minor problem, much like clogged drains. However, it needs to be fixed right away to save the drain from becoming totally obstructed. Sinks that take a long time to drain frequently have clogged drains as a result of food particles and/or fat or oil that has solidified. Goodman (2022) asserts that pouring chemicals down the drain to dissolve the clog can be effective but it must be done with great caution. If you improperly apply chemicals, it can eventually damage your pipelines. Hence, to avoid harming your pipes, you may opt to use a much safer DIY alternative such as using vinegar and baking soda, which is still proven to help unclog your drains.
- Running Toilet
Having a bad fill valve, a leaky flapper, or an overflow tube at the wrong height oftentimes causes a running toilet. At times, the leaks originate from the toilet base, an indication that the wax seal beneath the toilet has failed, thereby causing water to collect around the base. Fortunately, repairing a running toilet is simple and can be done without calling a plumber as long as you have a few basic plumbing tools, including a hacksaw, pliers, and perhaps a new fill valve so you can substitute the bad one. However, there are certain tactics you can use for the repair work, such as a) inspecting the flapper; b) checking the fill valve and flush valve to identify the leak’s source; and, lastly, c) applying food coloring to identify a hidden leak.
- Jammed Garbage Disposal
The ability of garbage disposals to pulverize any food particles that pass through your drain makes them highly useful. However, with time, especially when used without water and when silverware or large debris gets inside, this machinery can also become worn out and occasionally clog up. The first thing you should do in this situation is turn off the device and then open it. A plumber can assist you with the solution if you are unable to open the disposal with the key that came with it.
- Sewer Line Back-up
Being faced with a backed-up sewer system can be very stressful and unsanitary. A surefire sign that a sewer line is obstructed is having a lingering foul smell similar to that of human waste, which may come from your drains in the kitchen or bathroom. If the issue occurs on your property, fixing the clogged sewer system may be very expensive and you must retain the services of a plumbing professional to determine the location of the blockage. However, if the water company is to blame and the back-up issue is on a public road, expect an intervention from the water company; they will arrange to get it resolved for you. Nevertheless, you must be cautious about the things you flush down your toilet and drain in order to prevent similar issues in the future. According to the rule, do not use your toilet and drain as a trashcan. Also, sewer line back-ups may also be due to tree roots encroaching on your pipes.
Takeaway Message for Homeowners
By being aware of typical plumbing issues, homeowners can be ready to take action before the problem worsens and becomes unfixable. Of course, qualified plumbers are available to help us with our plumbing concerns, and they can bill up to $200 per hour, yet it’s still an advantage if we homeowners understand the significance of plumbing, the preventive measures to ave our plumbing, and the fundamentals of fixing plumbing problems.