How to Fix 8 of the Most Common Plumbing Problems

Someone snaking tub drainWhen owning a home, the last thing you ever want to worry about is plumbing issues. Unfortunately, there’s no magic way to get around them. Whether you’re a professional plumber or not, some useful basic plumbing tips and tricks can help save you precious time, money and sanity in the process. 

In this article, we provide some helpful insights on how to take care of some of the most common plumbing problems you’ll more than likely encounter at some point.

Plumbing Problem #1: Slow draining sinks

Ah, the dreaded slow draining sink. There’s nothing more annoying than realizing your sink is still trying to drain after turning off the faucet five or more minutes ago. While annoying, you don’t need to call a plumber right away. Most likely there’s some blockage restricting water flow. 

To fix a slow draining sink, you’ll want to start by using a sink plunger to remove any blockages. If you’re still out of luck in the kitchen, simply pour a pot of boiling water down the drain and blue Dawn dish soap, followed by a cup of vinegar and baking soda. Let the mixture sit for a few hours, then flush the drain with cold water. For your bathroom, you can use a vinegar and baking soda mixture as well.

Plumbing Problem #2: Dripping faucets

Not only is the sound of a dripping faucet infuriating, dripping faucets are also incredibly wasteful and costly if not taken care of fast. Just a few days of dripping can cost you a significant amount of money. Typically, fixing a dripping faucet is fast, easy and inexpensive. 

You’ll want to start by shutting off the water valve under the sink. If that doesn’t work, then you should shut off the water supply to your house. Next, you will removing the faucet’s handle. Once the handle is off, you will be able to access the valve seat and packing nut. Tighten the packing nut using a wrench or replace the valve seat using a seat wrench. If the leak persists after tightening the packing nut or replacing the valve seat, you may need to replace the entire valve.

Plumbing Problem #3: Clogged drains 

We’ve all experienced a clogged drain at some point. Whether it’s from hair, soap or old food, having a clogged drain can make everyday necessities — like cooking and showering — a real chore. Similar to a slow drain, it should be a pretty easy fix. We recommend pouring a baking soda and vinegar solution and letting it sit for a few hours followed by flushing it with cold water.

If you’re still out of luck, your best bet is most likely a sink or drain snake. Simply put the snake down the drain and slowly spin the snake around and pull it out of the drain. Out will come the snake along with some hair, soap and whatever may be stuck there. Be careful when snaking – depending on the type of pipe you are dealing with, the pipe can easily be punctured.

Pro tip: We highly recommend you avoid using chemical drain cleaners. Excessive use can permanently damage your pipes and be detrimental to your health.

Plumbing Problem #4: Jammed garbage disposal  

While garbage disposals are one of the greatest kitchen appliances, they do tend to jam from time to time. If yours is jammed, there’s no need to worry. Try hitting the reset button, often this will be your fix. If not, you’ll need to manually open the blades to figure out what’s wrong. Every garbage disposal comes with a designated key to for this purpose. If you no longer have a key, then a 1/4 inch Allen wrench should do the job.

Plumbing Problem #5: Running toilet

When trying to fix a running toilet, the first thing you’ll want to do is try to find the source of the leak. Look for any visible signs of water on the floor or on the walls around the toilet. Once you have located the source of the leak, the next step is to turn off the water supply to the toilet. There should be a valve located on the wall behind the toilet or on the floor under the toilet. Turn this valve clockwise to shut off the water supply. 

After the water is off, you will need to remove the water from the toilet tank. Flush the toilet and then hold down the handle to drain as much water as possible from the tank. Once the tank is empty, you can inspect the various parts of the toilet to determine the source of the leak. Common causes of toilet leaks include a faulty flapper, a broken flush valve, or a damaged fill valve. Depending on the problem, you may be able to simply tighten a loose connection or replace the faulty part.

Plumbing Problem #6: Water heater issues

Water heater issues can range from minor problems like a lack of hot water to more serious issues like a leaking tank. One common issue is a malfunctioning thermostat, which can cause the water to be too hot or not hot enough. A build-up of sediment in the tank can interfere with the heating element and cause the water to take longer to heat up. 

Typically, it’s best to hire a professional for water heater issues unless it’s a minor issue.

Plumbing Problem #7: Low water pressure 

Low water pressure is typically more of a problem for older homes. The main cause? Usually leaking pipes, drain and sewer clogs or a buildup of sediment over time. This can also be caused by older pipes having so much build up and corrosion, which means they need replaced. More than likely, the issue is a buildup of sediment. This can easily be fixed by removing the aerator on your faucet and soaking it in vinegar overnight.

Plumbing Problem #8: Leaky pipes

Leaky pipes are wasteful and potentially damaging to everything in their path if not fixed. Once you’ve located the source of the leak, you’ll need to evaluate the size of the leak. If the leak is small, wrap the leaking area with pipe tape as a temporary fix, making sure to overlap the tape as you go. Then, clamp the tape in place using a pipe clamp until a proper fix is in place. If the pipe is damaged or the leak is larger, it might be time to contact a professional to repair or replace the pipe altogether.

Get in touch 

While it’s important to know some basic plumbing skills as a homeowner, we encourage you to seek professional assistance if needed. Lucky for you, our team of local, professional plumbers serve Stark County and Summit County with a variety of plumbing services.   

Contact us today to get started.