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6 Common Plumbing Problems & Solutions

a photo of a Lazard plumber installing a pipe

Plumbing issues are the kind of things no one likes to talk about, but everyone wants to know how to fix. Whether you’re a homeowner, a landlord, or a property manager, understanding the common plumbing problems you might encounter and how to solve them can save you a lot of time, money, and stress.

One in five Brits would wait in excess of four days to fix a clogged toilet or leaky pipes, wasting up to 400 litres of water per day. New research reveals that Brits are putting off fixing simple plumbing problems like leaky toilets of any type and dripping taps, which can lead to huge water wastage.

Here, we’ll cover the 6 most frequent plumbing problems, offering simple solutions you can try at home and providing insights into when it’s time to call in a professional. By the end of this post, you’ll be empowered to tackle these pesky problems head-on, ensuring your plumbing woes are nothing more than a distant drip in your memory.

Why Calling a Plumber is Always a Good Idea

Before we dive into the specific plumbing issues, it’s important to note that when in doubt, always call a professional plumber. While a clogged drain may seem minor and easy enough to fix on your own, attempting DIY plumbing can often lead to bigger and more expensive problems down the line.

Plumbers are trained and experienced in dealing with all kinds of plumbing services, from small leaks to major pipe bursts. They also have the proper tools and equipment to fix problems efficiently and effectively, saving you time and money in the long run.

Not only that, but calling a plumber can also ensure that any necessary permits and building codes are followed, avoiding potential legal issues down the line. So while it may seem tempting to try and fix a plumbing issue yourself, it’s always best to leave it to the professionals.

6 Common Plumbing Problems & Solutions

Here at most common plumbing problems we plumbers face on a daily basis, we have provided some basic solutions but always call in a professional for a job done well!

Addressing the Annoying Drip-Drip of Leaky Faucets

The infamous leaky faucet is not just an auditory annoyance; it can waste gallons of water and spike your water bill. Leaks often signify damaged parts like the washers or O-rings just inside the faucet. The fix is usually straightforward and can often be sorted with a few simple tools:

Step-by-Step Solution:

  • Turn off the water
  • Before you start any work, turn off the shutoff valves under the sink.
  • Disassemble the faucet
  • Use a screwdriver or a wrench to take the faucet apart carefully.
  • Inspect for damage
  • Check the condition of washers, O-rings, and other components. Clean any buildup you find.
  • Replace the parts
  • If anything is visibly damaged, take it to a home improvement store to find an exact replacement.
  • Reassemble
  • Put the faucet back together, and turn the water back on to see if the leak is fixed.

When to Call a Professional:

  • If the faucet is extremely old or the water pipes are in poor condition, consider calling a plumber to avoid causing further damage.

And if you want to know some more of the plumbing dos and don’ts, we also have a list of them.

Dealing with Drain Drama – Clogged Drains

Clogged drains are the second most common plumbing problem in homes. Whether it’s in your kitchen from cooking grease or in your bathroom due to hair, soap, and other debris, clogs can cause major inconveniences. Here’s what you can do to clear them:

Step-by-Step Solution:

  • Use a plunger
  • Ensure there’s enough water to cover the top of the rubber bell. Plunge vigorously for several minutes.
  • Try drain cleaners
  • Chemical cleaners and drain unblockers can be effective but can also be harmful if not used properly. Always follow the instructions on the label.
  • Use a plumbing snake
  • A flexible metal cable that can reach and break up clogs further down the drain.

When to Call a Professional:

  • When the clog is particularly stubborn. Some clogs may be deep in the plumbing, so if your efforts don’t work, it’s best to seek professional help for drain cleaning to avoid potential damage to your pipes.

Flushing Out the Problem – Running Toilets

Running toilets of any type are not only noisy; they can also cost you significantly in wasted water. The culprit is often a faulty flapper valve or a flapper chain that is too tight. Here’s how to fix it:

Step-by-Step Solution:

  • Adjust the chain
  • The chain should have some slack when the flapper is closed. Adjust it accordingly.
  • Replace the flapper
  • Turn off the water and flush the toilet to drain the tank. Remove the old flapper and take it to the hardware store to find a matching replacement.
  • Check the fill valve
  • Sometimes a running toilet can be caused by a faulty fill valve, which may need adjusting or replacing.

When to Call a Professional:

  • If you’re uncomfortable with the toilet mechanisms or the problem persists, or if multiple toilets are experiencing the issue, it’s best to have a professional take a look.

Water Woes – Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure can make simple tasks like showering or washing the dishes an exasperating experience. Corroded pipes, leaks, or buildup in faucets or shower heads can all be to blame. Address the issue with these simple steps:

Step-by-Step Solution:

  • Check for a shut valve
  • Make sure all shutoff valves leading to and from the water metre are fully open.
  • Inspect for leaks
  • Look for signs of water damage and mould along the walls and ceilings.
  • Clean fixtures
  • Mineral deposits and sediment can build up over time in faucets and showerheads.

When to Call a Professional:

  • If the cause isn’t a simple blockage that you can clean yourself, it may require power flushing in your plumbing system.

Troubles with the Plumber’s Best Friend – Water Heater Issues

Research shows that of the 25.2m estimated homes across England, 90% are thought to have a boiler – that’s 22.6m properties reliant on their boiler working to heat their home and water. It’s estimated that of these 22.6m boilers, 2.3% will break down over the course of the year.

Few things are more unwelcome than a cold water morning shower, often the product of a malfunctioning boiler. If you don’t have hot water or it runs out quickly, it’s time to troubleshoot:

Step-by-Step Solution:

  • Check the power source
  • For an electric heater, the power source could be the issue. For a gas heater, ensure the pilot light is on.
  • Tinker with the thermostat
  • Sometimes, the temperature setting could be too low.
  • Drain the tank
  • Close your water supply valve and attach a hose to your water heater’s drain valve. Open the valve, and when the water runs clear, close the valve, turn the water supply back on.
  • Inspect for leaks
  • Check the hot water heater for any signs of moisture or water around the base, which could indicate a leak.

When to Call a Professional:

  • Water heaters involve dealing with electricity or gas, so if you are not experienced with these systems, it’s best to have a professional inspect and repair your water heater.
checking central heating controls Hornchurch, Essex

Pipe Leaks – How to Plug the Flood

Leaking pipes are every homeowner’s nightmare, causing destruction and incurring high repair bills. The first step is to locate and fix the leak to prevent further damage to your home:

Step-by-Step Solution:

  • Locate the leak
  • Look for wet spots, mould, and dark rings on your walls and ceiling.
  • Shut off the water
  • You must stop the flow of water before making any repairs.
  • Repair the pipe
  • Depending on the type of pipe and the size of the leak, you may be able to use a pipe repair clamp, epoxy, or a pipe sleeve to fix it.

When to Call a Professional:

  • If you are unsure about the location of the leak, don’t have the tools or expertise to fix it, or feel uncomfortable working with pipes, it’s crucial to call a plumber immediately.

Preventive Maintenance Tips – Keeping Your Pipes Perky

Keeping your plumbing in good shape isn’t just reactive; it should be proactive too. Here are some tips to maintain a healthy plumbing system:

  • Schedule annual inspections
  • Do not overuse chemical drain cleaners
  • Be careful what you flush – only human waste and toilet paper
  • Regularly inspect hoses on appliances like washing machines and dishwashers

The Hidden Fears of Plumbing Problems

Often, clients may hesitate to call a plumber due to fears like hidden costs, damage to their property, and a job left unfinished. The key is selecting a reputable plumber, discussing costs upfront, and reviewing the work thoroughly.

Hidden Costs

  • Always ask for quotes and ensure they cover all potential costs, including labour, materials, and any unexpected work.
  • Ask your plumber to note and inform you of any additional work necessary as they go along.

Damages to Home

  • To avoid potential damage, clear the area around the work site and protect nearby furniture or belongings.
  • Attend to small problems before they become large disasters.

Job Completion Anxiety

  • A professional plumber should guarantee their work. Always ask about warranties or guarantees.
  • Insist on a detailed completion report that outlines the work completed and any further recommendations.

Looking for Experienced and Friendly Plumbers?

Understanding and being prepared for common plumbing problems empowers you to maintain a well-functioning plumbing system. 

With these insights and solutions in hand, you can troubleshoot and repair many issues yourself, while also knowing when to defer to a professional. Remember — a little knowledge and preparation can go a long way in keeping your home dry and your plumbing healthy.

With Lazard, you can expect a prompt and professional service every time, with the work carried out by a friendly and reliable plumber. All works completed by us are covered under our 24-month guarantee, so if anything goes wrong, we’ll be back to put it right.

We offer plumbing services, heating and gas services, bathroom renovations and landlord services in Hornchurch, Upminster, Essex and London.

Contact us today or get a free quote!

Common Plumbing Problems FAQs

Can I use chemical drain cleaners to unclog my pipes?

Chemical drain cleaners can be effective in clearing blockages, but they can also cause damage to your pipes and the environment. It’s best to only use them as a last resort and follow the instructions carefully.

How often should I have my plumbing inspected?

It’s recommended to have your plumbing system inspected annually to catch any potential problems before they become major issues.

Why is my water bill higher than usual?

A sudden increase in your water bill could be a sign of a leak or other issue with your plumbing system. It’s essential to investigate and address the problem promptly to avoid further damage and high bills. So, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your water usage and bills for any change

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