Common Household Plumbing Problems

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Sooner or later, every home experiences a few of the most common household plumbing problems. These can be annoying and frustrating. Fortunately, many of these common problems may not require a call to a plumber. Others, however, may need professional help.

Drippy Faucet

Even if your kids remember to turn the faucet all the way off (and congratulations if yours do), faucets sometimes still drip. The likely cause is a worn-out washer. If it’s just the end of the faucet (where the aerator is), unscrew the aerator and check the washer. Replace it if it has become stiff or worn. If that doesn’t fix the problem, the issue could be in the faucet handles. Look for the manufacturer’s instructions online, and find out what they recommend for troubleshooting. If dismantling your sink faucet hot and cold handles seems like too much for you, it’s time to call the plumber. Dripping faucets can waste hundreds of gallons of water over time, and that will cost you money unnecessarily.

Running Toilet

A running toilet is surely near the top of the list of common household plumbing problems. If the tried and true “jiggle the handle” trick doesn’t work for this one, the problem is probably a worn or faulty flapper valve. Your local hardware store probably stocks repair kits. These are easy to install and inexpensive.

If the flapper valve is fine, but the toilet still runs, you might have a worn-out fill valve. Replacing that valve is also fairly simple, but it does require you to turn off the water supply to the toilet, empty the tank with a flush, and disconnect the water supply and the valve from the outside bottom of the tank that holds the fill valve inside.

Clogged Drains

It isn’t always necessary to attack a clogged or slow-running drain with harsh chemicals. Your hardware store may sell a serrated plastic stick that you can shove down into the drain and pull up and down and around a bit. This will collect hair and any glop the hair collects and lift it out of the drain. Wear gloves, because this can get gross. For tubs that require a plug to fill, avoid clogs with a drain basket or screen that fits into the drain hole during a shower and catches hair before it plugs up the pipe.

Low Water Pressure

There are many possible causes of low water pressure. Some may be as simple as a water supply valve that isn’t all the way open. Leaks in individual fixtures or appliances can cause low pressure also. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause isn’t in your house at all—it may be a problem with your city supply or a leaking service pipe that connects your home to the city main under your front yard. Call a plumber if you can’t identify the reason for low or fluctuating water pressure. Leaks aren’t always easy to find, and a licensed plumber can help you figure out what’s going on—and how expensive it might be to repair.

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