Most people feel it is better to be prepared than to be caught unawares, and what better way is there to be prepared than to know what can go wrong and how to deal with it. Therefore, we have compiled a list of the most common plumbing issues homeowners face in Australia (and around the world). By knowing the most simplest of problems you could face with your plumbing, and how to avoid them, the less time and money you will have to spend to fixing them.
The Top 5 Common Plumbing Issues
This is one of the most common plumbing problems in the world, therefore, it is no surprise that Australians also experience this issue. Some households have to deal with a clogged toilet at least once a year. A blockage in the pipe that clogs the toilet is normally caused by a foreign object, which should not have been flushed down the loo, or by an excess of toilet paper being used. Although this issue has an easy fix (using a plunger or a plumbing snake to dislodge the blockage), many people would rather leave it to the professionals. To avoid having to get your hands dirty or calling out a plumber, take precautionary measures to avoid a blocked toilet, such as only using the toilet for what it is designed for; not flushing down items such as nappies or sanitary pads; and managing the amount of people who use one toilet.
It is not only the toilet that can become blocked, but any drain in the house, from the kitchen sink to the bathtub. A blockage can restrict the flow of drainage or not allow the drainage of a fixture. Depending on the fixture the drain pipe is connected to, the drain may be blocked by hair, grease, or food scraps. Although it is important to monitor what ends up washing down your drains, if you do experience a blockage or slow drainage, you can use a plunger or drain snake to dislodge or break up the obstruction and restore normal drainage flow. You can also use drain cleaners to dissolve a blockage. An effective homemade drain cleaner uses equal amounts of baking soda and distilled white vinegar. Once the mixture has been poured into the drain, leave it to sit for 30 minutes before following it up with a full kettle of boiling water. Chemical drain cleaners will also solve your problem of a blocked drain, but may also damage the interior of your pipes, and they can be dangerous to work with. It is better to use a DIY or homemade method before turning to chemical cleaners, and even then, it may be best to just call in a professional.
The usual culprit for a leaky tap is a damaged or worn washer. A washer is a small rubber ring that sits underneath the screw of the tap that is connected to the handle. When you turn the tap on, the screw lifts and allows water out of the tap spout. When you close a tap, the screw places pressure on the washer, which makes a seal, and prevents water from coming out of the tap. Therefore, when the washer is no longer in good condition, water can seep through, causing the fixture to leak. A leaky tap simply requires the washer to be replaced. In the case of a different leaky or running fixture, such as a toilet, there could be several aspects or mechanisms within the toilet that are not working correctly. If you are able to locate the cause of the leak, it will most likely be a part that needs to be replaced. However, if you are unable to find a problem, you need to call in a plumber.
Water Heater Issues
Water heaters do not last forever, and as with many other appliances, they start to break down and lose functionality and effectiveness. This normally occurs around the 10 year mark, and can result in a low supply of hot water, water may pool outside the heater’s tank, or your hot water from the tap may take on a rust colour. When you realise you may be experiencing an issue with your water heater, call a professional. It is not advised to try and repair or replace a water heater by yourself, especially if you are inexperienced. If you do try to solve the issue yourself through DIY methods, you could risk voiding the warranty on the water heater, or being seriously injured.
Weak Water Pressure
If your water supply seems to slowing trickle out of your fixtures, it could be because of low water pressure. The most common cause of this is a build up a minerals in the water (calcium and lime) on the interior of the fixture, such as in a shower head. To avoid or solve this problem, the best thing to do is to clean the shower head in a descaling solution, which will remove the mineral build up. Faucets that have weak water pressure usually has a build up of minerals in their aerator, a plumbing device that is attached to the tip of a faucet and is used to restrict the amount of water from the faucet. Removing the aerator and giving it a clean before replacing it onto the faucet normally fixes this problem. If you still experience problems after you have
cleaned off any mineral buildup, you may have to consider replacing the shower head or faucet.
Although these plumbing issues are simple and will most likely not create large scale damage to your plumbing. It is still important to deal with these plumbing issues, and deal with them correctly. Therefore, it is always best to have the number of a local plumber on hand for when you need it.