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 need a little elbow grease and a plunger to function as planned. 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.
But, larger plumbing repair jobs require professional attention. Attempting to repair some common issues such as slow drains or leaking toilets could lead to bigger problems later.
One way to prevent expensive repairs for your home is a regular maintenance program. Because many issues with your plumbing sneak upon you, a thorough inspection is the key 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 leads to mold growth. Porous tile or wood flooring can discolor or warp when wet.
Regular DIY Maintenance Tasks
Many routine maintenance tasks are easy do-it-yourself jobs. An inspection is the foundation of any maintenance program. You may use your sinks and tubs daily, but you may not notice minor issues if you don’t set 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 cold metal pipe is normal, so notice any dampness and check the pipes again if the home is cooler.
Assess for signs of rust on brass or aluminum 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 functions is normal, but all of them need 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. As 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.
Inspections from a certified Long Beach plumber provide you with a broader 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
- Frequent Plumbing Repair Jobs
Even the most comprehensive plumbing maintenance inspection won’t 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.
If you have ever attempted 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 home is under pressure to move it through the plumbing. When you turn 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.
As time passes, washers can get stiff, torn or dislodged, allowing a little trickle of water and creating that annoying drip. Though 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 require 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 displays 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 to the shower head immediately 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.
If you are bored 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 many 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, then you may have sediment that’s affecting proper flushing and filling. Higher water bills could also indicate a silent leak.
To discover a quiet leak in your bathroom, add a few drops of food coloring to the top tank and wait 15 to 20 minutes. Take a look at the bowl for any indication 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 the reason why commercial joint fillers and fitting substances occupy tons of shelf space from the local hardware store. These products are a temporary fix, however; a permanent plumbing repair may mean replacing a length of pipe or its fittings.
Although replacing a leaky U-joint under your sink isn’t a intricate repair, it is a messy one. You may want to have a professional handle it for you to save the clean-up moment. Until the plumber can get to your leak, use a compression clamp and a rubber sheet or leak tape. These temporary repairs prevent water from spraying but are easily removed when it is time for a permanent solution.
Slow or Clogged Drains
After the water that goes to a sink, bathtub or toilet won’t go out, you probably have a partial or whole clog. In many cases, your useful plunger can fix the issue. 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 thorough 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 is possible, take parts to be replaced to the hardware store with you to be certain that you’re buying the right product.
Maintain a professional Long Beach plumber’s number handy. You may not want the number, but if you snap off a valve and have a geyser in 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 bathtubs
- Water heater issues
- New construction that requires construction enables
- Septic tank leaks
- Sewer line breaks or leaks