5 Plumbing Problems and Solutions

From on July 13, 2009 in Bathroom Remodel

drain.jpgPhoto credit: mobilestreetlife

Good plumbing in the home is often taken for granted and should be checked on a regular basis. Some good old-fashioned preventative maintenance can ensure that your plumbing system stays at peak performance for a long time. On the other hand, if you’re already experiencing trouble, here are five solutions to some pesky plumbing problems.

  1. Clogged Drain: A slow drain in the sink and bath could mean a number of things. Grease, food materials, and even tree roots could be slowing down the home’s drainage system. The first option is to try a plunger on the clog. Everyone has tried this at one point or another. For more persistent clogs, a high pressure jet sprayer or snaking the line will break up grease clogs and tougher solid material. If the drain is still not working, the problem may be further down the line. Snaking equipment is limited in terms of its reach. The clog may be building just out of your equipment’s range. Take care of your water lines with some preventative maintenance. Avoid pouring chemicals, grease, and paint down the drain. These elements can form sticky traps in the water lines and are hard to clear. Also, have the venting checked, sometimes inadequate or improper vents can be the problem.
  2. Toilet that won’t flush: Okay, so the toilet is slow to flush or won’t flush at all. Sometimes objects, from pencils to plastic combs to toys, can combine with toilet paper to form a barrier. Check the trap area and see if any objects are blocking the drainage.
  3. Leaky faucet: You want to address this problem quickly. Over time, a leaky faucet in the kitchen or bathroom can add up to a higher-than-normal water bill. Start by turning off the water. The shut-off valves are located underneath the sink. Once this is complete, then you can safely work on the faucet. Most of the time, a leaky faucet is caused by a worn-out washer. Follow this procedure to remove the washer and fix the leak.
  • Remove the handle or valve. This is the hot or cold tap.
  • After taking out a small screw in the handle, the stem should be removed.
  • This requires a crescent wrench, just turn and loosen the stem.
  • At the bottom of the stem is the rubber washer, this should be replaced. If that doesn’t fix the leak, then it may be time to call a plumber.
  • Leaky water heater: If your water heater is leaving a small pool of water, it could mean condensation is occurring or the tank is getting too old. In any event, a homeowner should be able to tackle some of these common water heater problems. Reasons for puddles of water: 1) Condensation; cold water fills the tank and drips down to form a small puddle. 2) Temperature relief valve; this device senses pressure and will allow water to seep through, if the water thermostat is set too high. 3) Drain valve; adjusting this can prevent inadvertent leaking. 4) Water pipes connected to the heater may be leaking. Find where the water is escaping and tighten the fitting. 5) Tank could be corroded; if this is the case, you’ll have to replace the unit.
  • Leaky pipes: Metal pipes are difficult to repair, if you have metal pipes that are leaking, your best bet is to call a professional plumber. For PVC piping, you’ll need some tools and a little know how to complete the job.

    • Locate the leak and cut out the existing section of pipe that’s damaged. Try to use a bucket to catch the excess water.
    • Coat the ends of the segmented pipe with solvent to clean rough edges and then coat the joints and new piping with quick setting piping cement.
    • Quickly attach the joints or piping, then hold for 15-30 seconds. Now repeat the drill with the old ends of the piping. Attach the new with the old and now you’ve fixed the leak.
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