Almost every homeowner or renter has a few essential resources on hand to deal with minor plumbing emergencies. Many times, a clogged toilet or gradual drain may just require a little elbow grease and a plunger to work as intended. If you’re handy around the house, you can generally tackle a small repair such as changing a worn washer or replacing a drain cover.

However, larger plumbing repair jobs need professional attention. Attempting to repair some common issues such as slow drains or leaking toilets could lead to bigger problems later.

Plumbing Maintenance

One way to prevent costly repairs for your home is a regular maintenance schedule. Because many issues with your plumbing sneak upon you, a thorough inspection is the secret to catching small problems before they grow.

Hidden leaks in sink drains or below water heaters are more than just a nuisance; over time they can cause structural damage. Water that seeps into sheetrock or plaster contributes to mould growth. Porous tile or wood flooring can discolor or warp when wet.

Routine DIY Maintenance Tasks

Many routine maintenance tasks are easy do-it-yourself jobs. An inspection is the foundation of any maintenance schedule. You may use your sinks and tubs daily, but you might not notice minor issues unless you put aside time for an inspection. Go through your home and take a peek at your plumbing.

Examine all exposed pipes, including under sinks and supporting bathroom tanks, for any signs of moisture. On a humid day, some condensation on a chilly metal pipe is normal, so note any dampness and check the pipes again if the home is cooler.

Assess for signs of rust on brass or copper fittings; corrosion occurs more rapidly on damp metal, so corroded connections could reveal a gradual leak.

Switch on water faucets in sinks, showers and showers to monitor water pressure. Some variation between different faucet fashions and purposes is normal, but all of them ought to have a steady flow. Note how fast the water drains after you examine the faucet, also; slow drains may mean a clog waiting to happen. While you’re making your rounds, flush toilets to make sure they don’t run or leak at the base, a sign of a faulty wax seal.

Professional Inspections

Inspections from a certified Long Beach plumber supply you with a more comprehensive look at your home’s pipes and drains. Your inspector will check the water heater, garbage disposal and each area of your home’s plumbing system. More comprehensive assessments might include remote video inspection of plumbing, lead testing and filter system inspection.

Schedule an appointment

After a thorough inspection, remove and clean aerators on faucets and shower heads. Sediment can build up and slow water flow. If you elect for professional plumbing maintenance, your plumber will take care of this step and others for you. Some of the maintenance responsibilities a licensed plumber can perform include:

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

Common Plumbing Repair Jobs

Even the most thorough plumbing maintenance inspection will not stop the occasional clog or leak, especially in older homes. The high water table at the Long Beach, CA area also contributes to septic system problems that can affect toilets and drains. Many of these common issues have equally common solutions.

Dripping Faucets

If you have ever tried to fall asleep with a leaking faucet in the next room or wrestled with a kitchen sink that didn’t know when to stop, you know how annoying this frequent issue can be. A dripping faucet also drives your water bill higher. A lone faucet can send hundreds of gallons of water each year down your drains a drop at a time.

Water entering your own home is under pressure to move it through the plumbing. When you switch off the tap, rubber or silicone-based washers form a water-tight seal that prevents additional water from pushing its way through the pipes and out of the faucet.

Over time, washers can get stiff, torn or dislodged, allowing a little trickle of water and creating that annoying drip. While you can replace washers yourself, the repair job can be more of a challenge than you might anticipate without specialized tools. If the leak has gone on long enough, the valve seat may have become worn or corroded, necessitating a more involved repair that’s best left to a professional plumber.

Not all sinks have washers to hold back the flow of water. Ceramic taps, also called disc or canister taps, use durable ceramic plates that fit together to form a seal. Although they need maintenance less often than rubber washers, the repair task is more complicated than a straightforward washer replacement. If you have a lever-operated sink or bathtub instead of one with separate knobs, then you probably have a ceramic disc or canister tap.

Low Water Pressure

If water that should gush, only trickles from the tap, you have low water pressure. This issue may not be related to the pipes in your house but to the municipal water supply. It is rare, but a break in a main line can temporarily lower your water pressure. A more common cause of this problem is a build-up of residue or sediment faucet aerators.

The water entering your plumbing carries dissolved minerals in it that eventually deposit themselves on metal surfaces. If you have a filtration system, then these residue end up in the filters and get changed; without such a system, these mineral deposits accumulate on interior surfaces of aerators and shower heads, clogging screens and slowing flow.

Most kitchen faucets have easily eliminated aerators that just unscrew from the tip of the faucet for easy cleaning.

Taking off the aerator and soaking it overnight in a vinegar solution will generally dissolve the calcium residue shared in Florida water supplies. Shower heads and bathroom faucets may not be as easy to remove, but you can affix a plastic bag filled with vinegar into the shower head overnight to clean it.

If you still detect low water pressure after cleaning aerators and shower heads of sediment and deposits, you may have a more intricate issue. A leak or breach at pipes leading into your home is an emergency that may damage your home’s infrastructure or foundation. Sudden and significant reduction in water pressure without a known cause merits a call to a licensed plumber that can pinpoint the reason for the change.

Running Toilet

If you are tired of jiggling the handle to make your bathroom behave after flushing, it may be time to replace its own internal workings. Toilets typically run when the flapper valve that lets water pass from the tank into the bowl no longer fits properly, the float is imbalanced or the fill tube comes loose. Toilet repair kits operate for most models and require little effort to install.

Occasionally, though, toilets run for more complicated reasons. If you have replaced the flapper, float apparatus and fill tube, you may have sediment that’s affecting proper flushing and filling. Higher water bills could also indicate a silent leak.

To detect a quiet leak in your bathroom, add a few drops of food coloring to the upper tank and wait 15 to 20 minutes. Look at the bowl for any sign of color; if you see tinted water, your flapper valve isn’t functioning as it ought to.

Dealing With Leaky Pipes

Whether your regular inspection reveals a puddle below a pipe or you get an unpleasant surprise when you reach under your sink, leaks can be a costly nuisance. Leaks usually happen at joints, which is why commercial joint fillers and fitting compounds occupy plenty of shelf space in the local hardware store. These goods are a temporary fix, though; a permanent plumbing repair may mean replacing a length of pipe or its fittings.

Although replacing a leaky U-joint below your sink isn’t a complex repair, it is a messy one. You may want to have a professional handle it for you to save the clean-up time. Until the plumber can get to your leak, use a compression clamp and a rubber sheet or leak tape. These temporary repairs keep water from spraying but are easily removed when it is time for a permanent solution.

Slow or Clogged Drains

When the water that goes to a sink, tub or toilet won’t move out, you probably have a partial or entire clog. In many cases, your useful plunger can fix the problem. Plungers use air pressure to dislodge a clog, but they can’t eliminate it entirely.

Commercial drain cleaners and clog removers are safe for many drains for occasional use, but these caustic materials can damage some pipe materials if used too frequently. If you are dealing with clogs on a regular basis, it is time to call a professional Long Beach Plumber.

Even if you don’t have a comprehensive clog, debris from plumbing can slow drainage into a trickle. Shine a flashlight into the drain and see if you can spot the issue. A pair of pliers or tweezers might be able to reach a clump of hair or fallen bottle cap that’s obstructing your pipes. Installing drain screens can prevent detritus from finding its way into drains.

Do-It-Yourself Plumbing Repair Tips

Before tackling any repair, turn off the water main. Dress to get wet. Even if you’re careful, plumbing maintenance and repair is a messy task. The adage to measure twice and cut once applies to pipes, washers and other fittings as well as to carpentry. When it’s possible, take parts to be replaced to the hardware store with you to be certain that you’re buying the right product.

Keep a professional Long Beach plumber’s number handy. You may not need the number, but if you snap off a valve and have a geyser on your kitchen, you will be glad you kept it near your phone.

When to Call a Professional Long Beach Plumber

Some issues are too dangerous or complicated to tackle alone. Employ a certified Bradenton, FL plumber for the following tasks for your safety and the integrity of your home:

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