Common Plumbing Problems & How to Fix Them

man looking at leak

Leaky Faucets and Pipes

Dripping Tap Repair

That persistent drip-drip-drip of a leaky faucet is more than just a minor annoyance; it's a siren call to water wastage and increased utility bills. Fortunately, you can tackle this common household problem with a bit of know-how. First, identify your faucet type: is it a compression, cartridge, ball, or disc faucet? Each type has its repair method, but generally, you'll start by shutting off the water supply and disassembling the faucet to reach the culprit—often a worn washer or O-ring. With the right tools in hand, such as an adjustable wrench and replacement parts, you can perform a faucet facelift that not only stops the drip but also extends the life of your fixture.

Pipe Leak Quick Fixes

When it comes to pipe leaks, time is of the essence to prevent water damage. Before you can get a professional to make permanent repairs, quick fixes can help you mitigate the situation. Plumbers or Teflon tape is a go-to for sealing minor leaks at threaded joint connections. For small holes or cracks, a temporary patch with epoxy putty can be a lifesaver. These solutions can buy you time, but remember, they're just a band-aid until a plumber can arrive. For a long-term fix, you'll want to replace the affected pipe section or call in the experts from your local plumbing service.

Clogged Drains and Toilets

Clearing Blocked Sink Drains

A clogged sink can throw a wrench in your daily routine, but before you reach for harsh chemical drain cleaners, consider some eco-friendly methods. A good old-fashioned plunger can work wonders on a blocked sink—just make sure you're using it correctly to create a strong seal and suction. For more stubborn clogs, a plumber's snake, also known as a drain auger, can navigate the twists and turns of your pipes to dislodge blockages. And don't overlook the power of natural solutions like baking soda and vinegar; these pantry staples can fizz their way through minor clogs and keep your drains smelling fresh.

Toilet Unclogging Techniques

When faced with a clogged toilet, the plunger is your first line of defense. A flange plunger, with its extended rubber lip, is specifically designed for toilets and can generate the necessary suction to clear most blockages. For those clogs that just won't budge, a closet auger—essentially a snake designed for toilets—can reach deeper into the drain to break up the obstruction. Remember, the key is persistence and the right tool for the job. If these techniques don't do the trick, it might be time to call in a professional plumber from your city and state to restore your bathroom to working order.

Running Toilet Troubleshooting

Flapper Valve Replacement Instructions

A running toilet is not only a nuisance but also a silent water waster, often due to a faulty flapper valve. This rubber seal is the gatekeeper that controls the flow of water from the tank to the bowl. Over time, it can deteriorate or become misaligned, leading to a constant trickle of water—or a full-on run. Diagnosing a bad flapper is usually straightforward: if the water in your toilet tank is running into the overflow tube, it's time for a replacement. With a new flapper in hand, the replacement process is simple and requires minimal tools, making it a quick and satisfying DIY fix.

Adjusting the Float Mechanism

Another common cause of a running toilet is an improperly adjusted float. This component determines the water level in your tank; if set too high, water will continuously flow into the overflow tube and down the bowl. Adjusting the float is a delicate balance—too low, and your flushes will be weak; too high, and you'll hear the haunting hiss of wasted water. Most modern toilets have a screw or clip that allows for easy adjustment of the float arm or cup. A few tweaks can make all the difference, ensuring your toilet fills to the proper level and conserves water in your home.

Low Water Pressure Issues

Aerator Cleaning and Replacement

Low water pressure in your sink can turn simple tasks like washing dishes into a time-consuming chore. Often, the culprit is a clogged aerator—the small screen at the end of your faucet. Over time, mineral deposits can build up and obstruct the flow of water. The good news is that cleaning or replacing an aerator is a breeze. Unscrew it from the faucet tip, soak it in vinegar to dissolve the buildup, and scrub it with a brush. If it's beyond redemption, a new aerator is inexpensive and can be screwed on in a snap, instantly improving your water pressure and making your sink more efficient.

Showerhead Maintenance for Better Pressure

Nothing saps the joy from a shower like weak water pressure. But before you blame your plumbing, check your showerhead—it might just need a little TLC. Mineral deposits can clog the nozzles, reducing water flow and pressure. A simple cleaning routine can restore your shower to its invigorating glory. Remove the showerhead and soak it in vinegar to break down the deposits. Use a small brush or toothpick to clear the nozzles, then rinse and reattach. For persistent problems, consider replacing the showerhead with a high-efficiency model designed to provide a strong spray even with low water pressure.

Water Heater Malfunctions

Pilot Light and Thermocouple Fixes

Waking up to a cold shower is a rude awakening that often points to a water heater issue. If you have a gas water heater, the pilot light may have gone out, which is a relatively common and fixable problem. Carefully following the manufacturer's instructions, you can relight the pilot light using a long lighter. If it keeps going out, it might be the thermocouple, a safety feature that cuts off the gas when the pilot light's out. That's when it's time to bring in a professional to swap out the faulty part.

Sediment Flush Procedure

Over time, sediment can accumulate in your water heater, compromising its efficiency and lifespan. Flushing this sediment out is a maintenance must-do that can improve performance and prevent malfunctions. The process involves turning off the power or gas to the heater, connecting a hose to the drain valve, and letting the water (and sediment) flow out. It's a straightforward task, but it does require some caution—hot water and working with gas or electricity demand respect. Regular flushing, as recommended by the manufacturer, can keep your water heater running smoothly and ensure you always have hot water when you need it.

Dealing with plumbing issues can be daunting, but with the right guidance and a bit of elbow grease, many common problems are within your reach to fix. If you're a homeowner or renter in the city and state area with basic DIY skills and a desire to maintain your home's plumbing, these tips and tricks can save you time and money. However, when a problem is beyond your expertise, don't hesitate to call the professionals at Sunrise Plumbing. Our experienced team is here to provide top-notch service and ensure your plumbing is in perfect working order. Contact us today for all your plumbing needs!