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Most Common Plumbing Problems

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Most Wiconsin homeowners will encounter plumbing problems at some time. Regular use and wear and tear causes system components to become clogged, worn, or broken. Many of these plumbing issues have simple DIY solutions that most any homeowner can handle. Of course, when you need professional plumbing assistance, Plymouth Plumbing & Heating is your reliable 24/7/365 choice for plumbing repairs, including nights, weekends, and holidays. 

Left unresolved, even the simplest common plumbing issues can cause serious water damage to your home. So, it pays to be aware of the most common plumbing problems, their cause, and some quick fixes you can try yourself with simple tools and inexpensive materials. Here are the most common plumbing problems we encounter in Wisconsin homes. 

Leaky Faucets

The steady dripping of a leaky faucet can be torture, but it can also raise your water bill and waste precious resources. In fact, one leaky faucet in your home can waste hundreds of gallons over a year’s time. Leaky faucets do not resolve on their own, but get worse over time, costing you more and more. 

Most leaky faucets are caused by one of two problems: a partially clogged end cap or a worn internal washer. To remedy both plumbing issues, remove the end cap from the faucet. Clean out any debris from the screen. This may require soaking with baking soda and vinegar or another dissolving solution and then giving the cap a good scrubbing with a toothbrush. If the internal washer is stiff, worn, or torn, replace it. Then replace the end cap securely and test the faucet. 

Persistent leaky faucets that cannot be repaired by cleaning the cap or replacing the internal washer should be replaced. There are many models and styles from which to choose, including green, water-saving models

Slow Sink or Shower Drains

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Slow sink drains are a common plumbing issue that is caused by how we use the sink in question. Kitchen sinks can become partially or completely clogged with congealed fat and food particles. This is especially true when you have a garbage disposal installed in one of your kitchen sink drains. Bathroom sinks are more likely to become clogged with hair, soap residue, or other debris, as are shower drains. 

The simplest DIY method to clear slow or clogged sink drains is to pour in a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar. Allow this mixture to work for 15-20 minutes, then run hot water through the drain. There are also chemical clog removers you can use; just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. These can damage your plumbing if used too much, so be careful. 

You can also use a plunger or plumbing snake to clear clogged sinks or shower drains. When using a plunger, add some petroleum jelly to the edge of the cup for a better seal, especially when there is no standing water. 

Clogged Toilet

Every home will likely experience a clogged and overflowing toilet. Something blocks the toilet drain and doesn’t allow the water and waste to flush away. The resulting additional water from the tank causes the bowl to overflow, making an unsanitary mess. Most toilet blockages are caused by too much waste and/or toilet paper. Small children can also add the occasional toy that gets lodged and causes a blockage problem. 

The normal DIY method for fixing this plumbing problem is a plunger. Hold the plunger upright and give several firm plunges down and up. Be sure the plumber cup is covered with water to facilitate a good seal for the proper suction. Repeat this action until the water drains from the bowl. Then flush and clean the toilet. 

If that doesn’t work, a drain auger may be necessary to loosen up the blockage. If this method fails to solve your plumbing issue, it’s time to call a professional plumbing service. A clogged toilet should not be left unresolved for health reasons. 

Running Toilet

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A running toilet can waste 200 gallons of water a day, costing you precious dollars. Most running toilets are caused by a flapper valve that does not form a proper seal at the bottom of the tank. Look for sediment at the opening under the flapper valve or a tangled handle flush chain that prevents the valve from closing properly. 

If these components seem worn or faulty, they can be easily replaced with an inexpensive toilet repair kit from your local plumbing supply store. Or, your local plumber can perform these repairs quickly and efficiently. 

No Hot Water

If the water in your sink or shower does not get hot after an appropriate time, or you seem to run out of hot water much quicker than before, this is a problem with your hot water heater. There are multiple plumbing issues that can cause a water heater to fail. The pilot light may go out, and you have to relight it. Sediment can build up and cause problems with the heating elements. The thermostat can fail. 

Aside from relighting a pilot light, you should contact a licensed, professional plumber to evaluate your hot water heater. They can safely and efficiently perform any diagnostics and repairs necessary, or recommend the best water heater for replacement. 

Clogged Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are likely the most-abused appliances in our homes. We frequently jam anything and everything down the garbage disposal and attempt to grind it up and rinse it away. Running them without water, disposing certain food substances like potato peels or egg shells, or running them without being sure they are not blocked with flatware can cause problems. 

With the garbage disposal turned off, remove any objects that may be visibly jammed. Pull out clogged food or other organic material. Test the disposal. If it seems to be clear but will not run, the garbage disposal motor may be damaged. 

You should call a professional plumber to evaluate your garbage disposal if it will not operate. Do not attempt to open or dismantle the unit. Any warranty on the unit could be voided. 

Leaky or Burst Pipes 

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Leaky pipes are a significant plumbing problem that should not be ignored. They can cause damage to your belongings as well as your home’s components. Standing water and persistent moisture can also encourage mold and insects to proliferate. 

When a leaky pipe is discovered, shut off the water to the pipe if possible before performing repairs. Some commercial tape and compounds can be used to reseal joints or plug small holes in certain types of pipe. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for these products and check frequently for recurring leaks. 

When pipes freeze and burst, this is an immediate plumbing issue to be resolved quickly. shut off the water to the pipe or at the main inlet to your home. Call a professional plumber to replace broken pipes and restore water service. 

Backed-Up Sewer System 

Sewer system backups are smelly, nasty, inconvenient, and can be very expensive. When multiple drains are clogged or backing up, toilets back up or will not drain, a backed-up sewer system is likely the culprit. Sewer blockages on your property are your responsibility to repair and will require the services of a licensed plumber. Call one immediately to resolve this plumbing problem, as it presents a health hazard as well as risk to your home and its contents. 

Professional Service for Plumbing Problems

Many common plumbing problems can be handled with DIY measures quickly and easily. However, many times a plumbing issue can escalate to become more serious or difficult. When that happens, you need trained, experienced, and reliable plumbing professionals who can perform the necessary repairs to get the water flowing again. Plymouth Plumbing & Heating serves all of eastern Wisconsin with emergency plumbing repairs for all manner of plumbing problems. 

Plumbing problems can happen at any time of the day or night. Call Plymouth Plumbing & Heating for professional service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call us now to ask for assistance. 

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