When people think about homeownership, they routinely think in terms of popular home renovations like kitchens, bathrooms, and landscaping. Those are the updates and upgrades that turn a house into your home. Once you get the renovations out of the way, though, things take a turn into the more mundane maintenance that keeps your home running.
That means things like gutter cleaning, roof inspections, and winterization. It also means dealing with inevitable plumbing problems. If you’re new to the homeownership game and don’t know what to expect, keep reading for nine plumbing issues most homeowners face.
1. Leaky Faucets
Almost every homeowner must cope with a leaky faucet at some point. Not only are leaky faucets an annoyance, but they also waste gallons of water every day. Over the course of a year, you can literally send thousands of gallons of clean water right down the drain.
In most cases, the problem is a worn or broken washer. If you’re a serious DIYer, you can fix it yourself. If you don’t like the hands-on work, you’ll want a residential plumber for the job.
2. Malfunctioning Water Heater
A malfunctioning water heater is one of the more frustrating plumbing issues you can face as a homeowner. You want a hot shower and can’t seem to do better than a lukewarm shower. The dishwasher doesn’t work properly because the water isn’t hot enough.
A lot of things can go wrong with hot water heaters. It could be anything from electronics to the heating element. If you’re wondering when to call a pro like Active Plumbing in for plumbing repairs, this is the time.
3. Clogged Drain
Possibly the most common of all plumbing problems, a clogged drain can disrupt your whole routine. After all, a clogged drain in the bathroom can leave your shower non-functional or force you to shave and brush your teeth in the kitchen. A clogged drain in the kitchen can make food prep and washing dishes all but impossible.
Most clogged drains are an accumulation of things like hair, grease, and soap scum. A plunger or pipe snake can often dislodge a clog. The same goes for chemical clog busters.
If it’s a recurring issue, a home plumber can often find a fix for the problem.
4. Leaking Pipes
Leaking pipes are a serious problem in any home. The water from that leak can damage walls, floors, and even the support structure of your home if left for too long.
Leaks will also encourage the growth of mildew and mold. These can create unpleasant odors or even trigger respiratory issues.
In the vast majority of cases, this is not a problem you want to take on as a DIYer unless you have some substantial plumbing experience. Different kinds of pipes require different kinds of fixes. Get it wrong, and you not only waste your own time, but you can make the problem worse.
It’s almost always best to call in a plumber for leaks.
5. Low Water Pressure
Low water pressure might seem like a problem that should have an easy or obvious cause and solution. Unfortunately, low water pressure can happen for lots of reasons, such as:
- Leaking pipes
- Corroded pipes
- Fixture issues
- Partially closed valves
- Faulty pressure regulator
The problem might even stem from the water main itself if you live in an urban or suburban area. You can potentially track down the problem yourself or call a pro to do it for you.
6. Running Toilet
Another very common plumbing issue is a running toilet. While not a threat to your home’s integrity, it does waste water and drives up utility bills. The good news is that toilets are relatively simple mechanisms. There are only a few things that can cause excessive running:
- Leaking flapper
- Faulty handle
- Flapper chain issues
- Faulty refill tube
While not the most pleasant work, you can replace most or all of the internal workings of a toilet yourself.
7. Clogged Toilet
Few things are worse than a clogged toilet. There are also a few common culprits for clogged toilets. In most cases, it means you or someone in your household has flushed something you shouldn’t like:
- Paper towels
- Feminine hygiene products
- Ear swabs
Any of these can get stuck somewhere in the drain pipe. Plungers and pipe snakes are typically the most effective DIY fixes. If a toilet remains firmly clogged, you’ll want a pro to take a look.
8. Sewer Line Problems
The most likely problem with a sewer line is a simple blockage. The same things that will catch in your toilet drain and block it can also block the main sewage line. A plumber can typically clear the blockage.
In some cases, though, the sewer line itself cracks or breaks. In those cases, you will absolutely need a professional to come out and replace the sewer line.
9. Gas Appliances
Many homeowners forget that it’s a plumber, not a general contractor, who installs natural gas or propane lines for your home and appliances. If you’re gas stove, kitchen range, or hot water heater acts up, you should call in a plumber.
Do not take on gas line repairs yourself. It can prove dangerous for you and your home if you lack the appropriate training for the work. This is another one of the times when you should always default to calling in a plumber to do the work for you.
Plumbing Problems and Your Home
Every homeowner will face plumbing problems sooner or later. Even if you don’t flush inappropriate things down the toilet, you’re still fighting a running battle against nature and basic wear and tear.
Fixtures get old and wear out. Pipes get old and wear out. Extreme cold snaps can make pipes burst even if you take precautions.
You should find a reliable plumber before you need them for emergency repairs. Write down their number and post it somewhere you can find it easily.
Looking for more home maintenance and repair tips? Check out the posts in our DIY & Household section.