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Plumbing Problems

Ashwini Kulkarni Sule Nov 22, 2018
Want to relieve yourself of paying a plumber $20 for a mere 15 minutes work? Then here's your DIY guide for the common plumbing problems and solutions to fix them.
All of us have encountered some or the other distressing plumbing problem in our lives. Blessed are the people who never had to watch the sight of clogged drains, dripping faucets, flooded toilets, or broken pipes spraying water in all possible directions.
Worst is the situation, when you have to call a plumber and he charges you a hefty amount for a few minutes work. However, you can easily save these charges by fixing the minor problems on your own at home and that too in very less time. For this, you first need to understand the working of this system and the common issues may that arise.

Working of a Plumbing System

It is the system that brings in freshwater and takes the waste water out of your home. It is not a single system but a collection of systems that work independently or collectively in some cases. Water is supplied to your home under pressure through the water supply system.
It comprises galvanized steel or copper pipes that carry water to faucets, plumbing fixtures, outdoor hose bibs, sprinklers, etc. Drainage or waste plumbing system does not work under pressure like the supply system. Gravity is the only force that moves the waste to the sewage or septic system.

Common Problems and the Solutions

Issues with this system arise as the excessive usage tends to worn out the parts in the faucets and fixtures. Blockages, in the path of sewage water is one reason of drainage clogging.
Blockages in the trap or pipe also cause flooding of toilets. Although a plunger or a pump can come in handy to get rid of most of the blockages, a bit of knowledge is needed for some advanced ones.

Dripping Faucet

Faucet drips or leaks indicate that a washer has worn out and needs replacement. Washers or seals of compression faucets are constantly under pressure so they wear out pretty frequently which may corrode fixtures, stain sink bowls, and waste water.
Since, the disc, cartridge, and ball faucets are washerless they are less prone to dripping as compared to compression faucets. However, they do have moving parts which are sealed by O-rings which need replacement occasionally. Thus, most of these are associated with the wearing out of the part, depending upon the type of faucet.

Scaled up Shower Head

Hard water is often responsible for the scaling of showers. The salts in hard water accumulate and form a layer on the shower head, making it impossible for the water to come out. So, if you have to use hard water, make sure you choose a shower head with a rubber faceplate. This helps to rub and scale away particles regularly.
A quick fix for a badly clogged shower head is to detach the faceplate and soak it in white vinegar overnight. A toothpick or a stiff nailbrush can be used to clear the loose scales.

Bathtub Spa Jets Don't Work

If your bathtub spa jets suddenly stop working, check the electrical panel's circuit breaker to see if it has tripped. If so, manual resetting is required. If that does not help, check if the equipment has a 'high limit manual reset' or a separate circuit breaker. If it has either of these, try resetting. If this persists, seek professional help.

Toilet Plumbing Problems

If the water doesn't drain out of the WC fast enough when you flush, it means there is some blockage in the trap or in the pipe from the toilet to the soil stack. A toilet plunger is all you need to fix it. You can also get wire snakes or augers to dislodge blockages. They are easily available at the hire shops.

Clearing a Clogged Drain

If your drain is moving slowly, it could be an onset of a clog or the vent system has a blockage. You can always opt for a chemical drain cleaner to open a slow-moving drain, but the caustic nature of the chemicals can damage certain kind of pipes. It may also interfere with the chemical balance of the septic system.
When clogged, the regurgitating caustic solution in the bathtub or sink can burn your skin, making it dangerous to plunge or snake the drain.Hence, choose your cleaning method effectively. If both these methods prove ineffective, you can connect a hydraulic bladder to a garden hose, and then try to explode the clog.
However, in case of a major issue, you should always rely on professional help. Tampering with boilers or radiators without adequate knowledge is a bad idea.