common plumbing issues need professional help

09 Sep 2020

When Common Plumbing Issues Need Professional Help

Nearly every renter or homeowner has a few basic tools around for dealing with minor household or plumbing issues. Frequently, a slow drain or clogged toilet can be resolved with a few basic tools and a little elbow grease. If you are of the handy sort, changing out a worn washer, or replacing a wax toilet seal is not big deal. Bigger plumbing jobs, however, should be saved for your Clarke & Rush Plumber, Sacramento, since trying to repair these on your own may potentially cause more harm and damage than the original problem may have.

Plumbing Maintenance

One effective way to reduce or eliminate expensive repairs to your home’s plumbing is by implementing a regular maintenance schedule. It may often seem like issues with your plumbing appear out of nowhere, but a regular maintenance routine can be instrumental in catching these problems before they turn into major headaches. Those stealthy leaks in sink drains or below water heaters will cause major damage over time, affecting the structural integrity of your home. Water seeping through plaster or drywall can cause mold or mildew growth that can make your family sick, and wood or porous tile flooring can warp or discolor from leaks.

Routine Maintenance Tasks

Most routine maintenance tasks are easy enough to undertake for the average homeowner. A thorough inspection is is fundamental to any effective maintenance schedule. Your plumbing fixtures certainly get used every day, but most minor issues can’t be discovered with just a quick glance. Go through each room in your home and visually examine your plumbing. Examine all exposed pipes, including behind toilet tanks and under sinks, for any signs of leaking or moisture. On a hot or humid day, some condensation on a cold metal pipe is normal, so note any moisture, then re-check the pipes when it is cooler. Look for signs of rust or corrosion on brass or copper fittings; corrosion occurs more rapidly on damp metal, so corroded connections could reveal a slow leak.

Turn on the taps in tubs, showers, and sinks to monitor water pressure. Some variation is normal between different faucet styles and purposes, but all of them should have a consistent flow. Observe how quickly the water drains after you test the faucet, too; slow drains could signal a clog in the making. While you’re making this inspection, flush all toilets to ensure they don’t run or leak at the base, which can be a sign of a bad wax seal.

Professional Inspections

Inspections performed by a certified Sacramento, CA, plumber will give you a more in-depth understanding of your property’s plumbing systems. A qualified plumber will check the water heater, garbage disposal and every other component of your home’s plumbing system. Other assessment options may include lead testing, filter system inspections, and a video examination of pipes.

After a thorough inspection has been performed, remove and clean the aerators on your faucets and shower heads. Sediment can collect and slow down the flow of water. If you’re searching”plumber Sacramento,” our team at Clarke & Rush will take care of this and other steps for you. Some of the maintenance duties our licensed plumbers can perform include:

  • Water pressure assessment and adjustment
  • Drain treatment to maximize flow rate
  • Pressure tests to detect hairline leaks
  • Cleaning of garbage disposals and water heaters

Common Plumbing Repair Jobs

At times, even the most thorough plumbing inspection and maintenance schedule is unable to prevent occasional clogs or leaks, particularly in older homes. The high water table in the Sacramento area also often contributes to septic system issues that may affect drains and toilets. Oftentimes, these common problems have equally common solutions.

Dripping Faucets

If you have ever tried to fall asleep with a steadily dripping faucet in the next room, you know just how aggravating this common issue can be. In addition to being annoying, a dripping faucet also wastes water and can increase your water bill. A single leaky faucet can send hundreds of gallons of water per year down the drain one little drop at a time.

Water in your homes pipe is under constant pressure to keep it flowing. When you shut off a faucet, there are rubber or silicone washers that form a tight seal to keep extra water from squeezing out of the tap. With time, these washers dry out, harden, or just plain wear out, and allow water through, causing that tiny, yet loud drip. These washers can usually be replaced fairly simply, if you possess the right tools. If the leak has been going on for a significant length of time, the valve seat may have become corroded, rusted, or damaged, which will require more extensive repairs that are best left to a professional.

Not every sink has these washers to hold back the flow of water. Ceramic taps, also called disc or canister taps, use durable ceramic plates that press together to form a seal. Although they need maintenance less often than rubber washers, the repair job on taps like these is much more complex than a simple washer replacement. If your sink is operated with levers instead of separate knobs, chances are you have a canister or ceramic disc tap.

Low Water Pressure

When water that should be flowing strongly is reduced to a mere trickle from the tap, you are probably experiencing low water pressure. This issue may not even be related to the plumbing in your home, but rather to the municipal water supply. It is uncommon, but a rupture in a water main can impact your home’s water pressure. The more common cause of low water pressure is sediment build-up or deposits in faucet aerators.

Nearly every water supply on earth carries dissolved minerals in it. These minerals can eventually deposit themselves on metal surfaces, like your pipes. If your home has a water filtration system, them the sediment collects in systems filters and gets disposed of when the filters are changed. Without a water filtration system, these deposits collect inside shower heads and aerators, clogging them, and restricting the flow of water.

Most kitchen faucets are equipped with aerators that simply unscrew from the end of the faucet for easy cleaning. Removing the aerator and letting it soak overnight in plain white vinegar with usually work to dissolve any mineral deposits. Bathroom taps and shower heads may not be removed as easily, but attaching a plastic bag with vinegar over it will be just as effective at cleaning them.

If, after clearing the shower heads and aerators of sediment, you are still observing low water pressure, the problem may be more severe. A major leak or tree roots in pipes are a plumbing emergency that can not only cost thousands to repair, but can also do major damage to your home foundation or infrastructure. A sudden or substantial decrease in water pressure with no apparent cause warrants an urgent call to a Sacramento plumber who can determine and diagnose the cause.

Running Toilet

If you are constantly jiggling the handle to make your toilet quit running after every flush, it could be time to replace its inner workings. The usual culprit of a constantly running toilet is a faulty flapper valve, which causes the float to become unbalanced, or the fill tube to work its way loose. Toilet repair kits are found at nearly every home-improvement store you can find, and they are compatible with almost every model of toilet. They are also inexpensive and simple to install.

There are times, however, that a running toilet has a more sinister cause. If you have already replaced the flapper, float, and fill tube, it is possible you have a sediment build up that is affecting the filling and flushing of your toilet. A noticeable increase in your monthly water bill may be symptomatic of a silent leak. A silent leak can be detected by adding a few drops of food coloring to the upper tank, then waiting 15-20 minutes to see if any of the color has leached into the bowl. If this occurs, then the flapper valve is not working properly.

For more detailed information on when to repair vs. replace your toilet, click here. 

Leaky Pipes

Whether a routine inspection reveals a puddle under a pipe or you get an unpleasant surprise when you reach under your sink, leaks of any size are an expensive hassle. Leaks commonly occur at pipe joints, and that is probably why there are dozens of fitting compounds and joint fillers available commercially. These products are not an actual fix, however, much like putting a bandaid on an arterial spurt. A definitive repair usually means replacing a length of pipe and/or its fittings.

Although replacing a leaky U-joint under your bathroom sink is not a complicated repair, it has the potential to be a sloppy one. This is one where you may prefer to have a professional handle it, particularly to minimize the mess. In a pinch, while waiting for your emergency plumber to arrive, you can implement a compression clamp, and a rubber sheet, or plumber’s tape. These temporary stop-gaps can minimize water damage, but are easily removed for a permanent resolution.

Slow or Clogged Drains

When the water that goes runs your tub, toilet or sink won’t drain, it is likely you have a partial or complete clog. In many cases, your plunger can be counted on to clear the problem.Plungers utilize air pressure to displace a clog, but they do not eliminate them entirely. Chemical clog removers are okay to use on occasion, but with repeated or constant use, they can severely damage some plumbing materials. If you experience clogs on a regular basis, you should call a professional plumber to diagnose the problem.

When to Call a Professional Plumber

Some issues are too complicated or hazardous to attempt on your own, not to mention inexperience or improper tools can do more harm than good. Hire a licensed Sacramento plumber for the following tasks, and for the safety and the integrity of your home:

  • Installation of new pipes, sinks, or tubs
  • Water heater problems
  • New construction that requires building permits
  • Septic tank leaks
  • Sewer line breaks or leaks

If you have questions, want to schedule a maintenance visit or have a repair emergency, contact Clarke & Rush online, or call us at 916-609-2669

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