A home’s plumbing system is a complex network of pipes, drains, valves, fittings and fixtures, all connected to provide water supply and wastewater removal. When you think of a problem occurring within the system, the worst usually comes to mind—a leaking water heater, a burst pipe or a sewage backup. We get many phone calls regarding minor plumbing issues; however, they are unique in that they could actually turn into a serious problem if not repaired.
Putting minor plumbing nuisances into perspective
If faucet drips fill an 8 oz. glass every 15 minutes, it totals approximately 180 gallons per month—almost enough water needed to take a shower everyday for 4 months. (source)
Showerheads that drip lightly following use can waste up to 500 gallons per year—this is actually enough to run the dishwasher every other day for 2 months. (source)
This is so common and seemingly harmless, but what most homeowners don’t know is a leaky, dripping faucet can quickly add up to trouble and increase utility bills. It’s true that fixing a faucet leak in a timely manner can save you up to 10% on your water bill. Luckily, fixing a dripping faucet is a basic repair that a professional plumber can complete in very little time. It typically involves replacing the washers, but in some cases a tap replacement is necessary.
Every homeowner has experienced the messy inconvenience of a clogged drain. If the clog impacts several drains, the issue could be further into the main drainpipe—not easily cleared unless you’re an experienced plumber. Words of caution on fixing clogs: Don’t use chemical cleaners. These solutions may temporarily clear the drain, but soon the clog will be back and pipes have likely already sustained damage.
Blocked Up Toilets
Whether it stops running, refills to the verge of overflow, or someone put too much paper inside (or worse—a foreign object), blocked up toilets are no fun. These can usually be fixed with a plunger, but persistent clogs may require the use of a snake. When all else fails, contact Carroll Plumbing & Heating Inc. Some clogs require toilet disassembly in order to return to regular operation, a job that should be performed by a professional.
Toilet Will Not Stop Running
Do you constantly hear a toilet running even well after it’s been flushed? Many times this is because of a defective flapper, or a problem with the fill or flush valve. Sometimes toilets run constantly because the water level is too high. Again, because there are several moving parts inside the tank, our technicians don’t recommend disassembling a toilet.
Low Water Pressure
Low water pressure, also referred to as low flow, can be a result of several problems like debris and mineral buildup in pipes, corrosion inside pipes, or leaks in the home’s plumbing system. Sometimes something as simple as changing the showerhead or replacing the faucet or shower aerator screen can fix water pressure problems. In some cases, low flow signifies a more serious issue—an active leak that requires the skill of a plumber.
Water Heater Woes
Water heaters are the most expensive component in our home’s plumbing system so it’s important to take care of them. Routine maintenance prevents many of the common water heater problems like sediment build-up, corrosion and water temperature issues. Cleaning and flushing the tank, as well as checking internal parts and the heating element are services performed during maintenance. Tankless water heaters need maintenance, too–it’s just a little bit different than what’s performed on conventional models.
Preventing plumbing problems
While some of these common plumbing problems occur with normal aging and wear and tear, others are entirely preventable. There are a number of things you can do to ensure your plumbing stays clean and maintains optimum performance:
- Avoid putting certain things down drains—the kitchen sink should never be used as a trash can, and bathroom drains should have a grate to protect chunky soap scum from going down.
- Don’t use chemical solutions to clear drain clogs. These cause more damage than good, and can end up permanently damaging pipes.
- Familiarize yourself with your plumbing system. If anything else, know the location of your main water shut off valve.
- Last, but not least, sign up for preventative maintenance. It will pay for itself by preventing repairs and equipment replacements down the road.