The 7 Most Common Plumbing Problems in Your Home

Dripping faucets

Doesn’t every home have at least one dripping faucet? Some are more noticeable and intolerable than others. A small drip is not only a waste of water but can cost you a substantial amount of money if left unchecked. Question for you… How many potential dripping faucets do you have in your home? Hint: Don’t forget all bathroom sinks, showers and tubs, kitchen sink(s), hook-ups for your dishwasher, refrigerator, washing machine, clothes dryer (yes, new clothes driers with wrinkle guard have waters hook-ups). And don’t forget all your outside taps, they can leak as well!

Leaky pipes and water lines

This can happen in any home at any time. Having said that, older homes with lead or copper pipes need to be inspected on a regular basis as they can lose their integrity and ability to keep water inside. Most leaky pipes will fail at the joints. Always be on the look out for leaking pipes and be prepared to fix them immediately. Even a small leak can cause expensive damage to your home.

Running toilet

You may be surprised to learn a running toilet can run through as much as 500 liters a day (equivalent to 110 gallons). Running toilets are usually caused by water leaks inside the tank typically caused by fatigued parts. Sometimes, a few adjustments to these parts can “buy” you a little extra time. For older traditional toilets with easy to access tanks and readily available replacement parts, a do it yourself repair job is doable and makes perfect sense.

To fix a running toilet check out the following:

  1. Make sure that water is filling directly from the fill tube to the overflow tube, and not spilling over. If it’s spilling over your bowl will never fill properly and hence give you a less than adequate flush.
  2. You may need to lower the water height in the basin to prevent it from spilling into overflow tube. When water gets too high in the basin and water spills into the overflow tube, the fill valve never shuts off and the water continues to run.
  3. Adjust the flush handle and flapper chain. A chain that’s too short or tangled won’t allow the flapper to close and water will continue to leak into the bowl. On the contrary, a chain that’s too long, or a flush rod that hits the bottom of the tank lid, won’t be able open the flapper wide enough for a full flush. You know you got this problem when you need to hold down the lever for a few extra seconds to get a proper flush.
  4. If your toilet is over 10 years old you are on borrowed time to be thinking about replacing your flapper. This is the plastic or rubber unit that seals the drain of the basin and allows the basin to readily fill up with water. If its not sealing properly you toilet will run continuously.

WARNING: For the newer low flush toilets, the inside of the tanks are more complex. It would probably make sense to have a professional inspect and repair these toilets.

18,000 gallons = 82,000 liters

Slow or clogged drains

Slow or clogged drains are a very common plumbing problem. Most clogged drains in the home are a result of hair in the bathroom sink drains and food or grease or oil in the kitchen sink drains. For bathroom sinks, opening the trap (the curved pipe that hold water below the sink) is often enough to clean out or remove the problem that is usually a “nasty” ball of hair.
Most kitchen sinks also have traps below that can be opened up for cleaning. Although you may find it more effective to use a plunger to create the suction required to unclog the drain enough to get the stuck food or grease on the move.

Tubs and washing machine drains also have traps but they are much harder to access and hence would recommend a plumber to help you unplug your drain.

WARNING: Sewer drains or floor drains are not something we recommend a do-it-yourself approach for. For clogged sewer and floor drains you should call a plumber to get it inspected and fixed.

One more thing: Slow drains can be a warning sign of bigger problems. So be wary when you can’t completely unclog a stubborn drain. You may want to get the drain inspected.

Sump pump failure

Sump pump failure may be due to prolonged periods of heavy rain. Three reasons that can cause a sump pump to fail is the clogging of frozen discharge lines, power failure and lack of maintenance. Make sure to clear areas of debris near discharge lines. To avoid a power failure, you could consider installing a battery backup system. Make sure to test your system every 2-3 months to make sure it is functioning properly.

Water heater

The water heater is one of those luxuries that are hard to do without. When your water heater goes down, you will have difficulty washing your clothes, your dishes and most importantly yourself! There is nothing worse than a cold bath or shower in the morning! Yearly maintenance and routine inspections are highly recommended to avoid untimely breakdowns.

Noisy pipes

Noisy pipes happen when you turn the water on and off. These noises are caused by loose pipes or something called water-hammering. Water-hammering is a specific plumbing noise that occurs when you shut off and instantly stop fast-moving water, creating a shock wave and corresponding hammer-like noise. You should take note of your noisy pipes to locate the tap or taps involved in bringing on the noise. Doing so will help your plumber pinpoint the noises faster when they arrive.