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Simple Solutions to 8 of the Most Common Home Plumbing Problems

plumbing problemsYou step out of the shower to dry off and start your day, but you notice that the faucet keeps dripping.

And no matter what you try to do, it won’t stop.

In your mind’s eye, you see money leaving your wallet with each drip of water you can’t stop. And naturally, your eyes may become leaky all of a sudden, too.

If you own a home, chances are you’ll eventually run into some plumbing problems. But the good news is that not all problems are complicated to solve.

Here’s a rundown on the simple solutions to eight of the most common plumbing issues you’ll face.

Let’s get started!

1. Plumbing Problems: Your Faucets Are Dripping

This issue is such a common one that you’d be hard pressed to find somebody who has not experienced it.

Unfortunately, as we alluded to earlier, a dripping faucet isn’t just irritating — it can also be expensive. Did you know that a faucet can easily drip hundreds of gallons of water in a year’s time?

In the case of most dripping faucets, the culprit is a dislodged, worn, torn or stiff internal washer.

To solve this issue, turn your home’s water supply off — including both your sink handles and the knobs below your sink that control the flow of water entering your sink from your main line.

Next, take off your handle knobs’ decorative parts using a screwdriver, and use an adjustable wrench to loosen your packing nut. Then, take out the stem (this part of your faucet will either twist off or pop off).

Take a good look at the nut and stem. If they look okay, you probably need to replace the washer and O-ring. Note that your replacement O-ring and washer should be a perfect fit.

Next, reassemble all of your faucet parts, and test the faucet to see if the leak problem has been solved.

If you haven’t solved the problem, it’s likely time to call in a professional plumber to fix it. The issue may be a worn-out seal, broken plumbing, valve seat corrosion or loose parts — issues your plumber can easily address.

2. Your Shower Drain is Clogged

If you’re facing this issue, clogs of soap and hair are probably the culprit.

In this situation, you may need to use a snake or plunger to clear the blockage. You might also be able to use vinegar and baking soda to dissolve your clog.

3. Your Toilet is Clogged

If you notice that your toilet bowl is filling up but does not drain away, you have a clog problem.

The culprit? It’s probably a mixture of human waste and paper.

The good news? You can typically fix a clogged toilet using a plunger. However, if this doesn’t work, a drain auger or sewer snake may help you to loosen your blockage.

If you’re still having trouble, you may need to replace your toilet. (Click here to find out when it’s time to replace your toilet.)

4. Your Water Pressure is Low

Notice water trickling of your trap instead of gushing out? This might be a sign that your water pressure is low. This is a particularly common issue in an older home.

Perhaps your pipes are broken, or maybe they have corroded over the years. It’s also likely that mineral deposits and sediment have built up on your aerator.

To address this problem, simply use vinegar to soak and clean your aerator. If the problem is your showerhead, you can soak it or replace it.

5. Your Pipes Are Leaking

If you’ve got leaky pipes, this can understandably be a major nuisance. However, it can also damage your floors and furniture. On top of this, it can cause dampness that encourages cockroaches to invade your home.

Leaks often occur at pipe joints. Fillers, tape, and compounds can typically provide temporary fixes. However, you may need to simply replace a fitting or pipe piece for a more permanent fix.

6. Your Sink is Draining Slowly

If you’re faced with this problem, a blockage is likely restricting the flow of water in your sink.

If you’re having this problem with your kitchen sink, your drain might contain food remnants and congealed fat. Meanwhile, if the issue lies with your bathroom sink, it’s likely that soap and knotted hair are causing your problem.

You can use a plunger to try to clear the clog, or you could pour vinegar and baking soda down the drain. A chemical clog remover might also prove helpful. Even a snake could do the trick.

If none of this works, then consulting a plumber for guidance is your best bet for solving your drain problem.

7. Your Water Heater is Faulty

You’re enjoying a steamy shower one moment and then suddenly feel cold pellets on your body.

Your water heater has failed.

A number of issues could cause a failing water heater. For instance, perhaps your pilot light has gone out, which means it needs to be relit.

Other problems may include the buildup of sediment, or a faulty thermostat.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s best that you hire a professional plumber to inspect and repair your water heater if the issue has nothing to do with your pilot light.

8. Your Garbage Disposal is Jammed

Although your garbage disposal can certainly be useful, it can also jam sometimes.

This can happen if you run it without water, or if you dispose of potato heels or cornhusks in it, for example. If silverware gets inside it, this can also pose a problem.

If pushing your disposal’s reset button doesn’t work, you can clear your jam by inserting a hex wrench underneath your disposal and then cranking in both directions to make sure that your impellers are freed up. You should be able to find a hole in the disposal’s underside area that is shaped like the hex wrench.

How We Can Help

In addition to highlighting how to tackle common plumbing problems, we offer a wide range of advice for mastering other do-it-yourself tasks around the house.

Take a peek here to find out what other projects you can do on your own to keep your home in tip-top shape this fall.

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