Plumbing problems come in all shapes and sizes from a relatively minor water leak to a major sewer backup that could lead to significant damage to personal property. There are several common plumbing problems that many homeowners face at one point or another.
When an unexpected plumbing situation arises, you may be wondering if you should call a plumber or attempt to remedy the issue on your own. There may be times when tackling a DIY home repair might make sense. However, plumbing is one area where taking matters into your own hands could actually cause more harm than good.
The following are 10 common plumbing problems people often try to fix themselves but shouldn’t.
1. Clogged Toilets
Of all the plumbing emergencies to have, a clogged toilet is right at the top of the list. In some instances, you may be able to unclog the toilet using a plunger. However, you may not always be able to remove a major clog with a household plunger. If your attempts at clearing the clog have repeatedly failed, it’s best to leave the job to an experienced plumber. The issue could be that an obstruction is more complex than a household plunger can fix or that the clog is further down in your plumbing line than you realize.
2. Plugged Drains
When a plumbing drain gets plugged, you might be tempted to use a plumbing-based chemical or snake to remove the clog. There can be problems with this approach. Plugged drains can be tricky situations to deal with, and using harmful chemicals can only make matters worse. Certain chemical cleaning formulas could lead to the gradual corrosion of the pipe lining. Using a plumbing snake could cause damage to your drain pipes, too, resulting in the need for costly and unnecessary repairs.
Rather than attempting to clear a plugged drain yourself, call a professional plumber who will have the experience and the tools necessary for removing the clog without causing further damage.
3. Leaking Faucets
Leaking faucets are a common plumbing issue. When a faucet drips constantly, the wastewater that’s produced can increase your monthly water bills. In fact, a single leaky faucet can waste many gallons of water annually.
If you’re dealing with a leaking faucet, trying to resolve the issue on your own could be a mistake. Pinpointing the exact source of the leak can be difficult, and special tools are often needed to remove plumbing connections and parts. You might be better off relying on a professional to identify the source of the leak.
4. Low Water Pressure
Sometimes, low water pressure in your kitchen or bathroom sink faucets could be caused by debris buildup in the faucet’s aerator. If this is the cause of the low water pressure, you should be able to handle the repair yourself by simply unscrewing the aerator, cleaning off the debris buildup and screwing the part back onto the faucet.
On the other hand, many low water pressure problems are caused by serious issues like fractured pipes, major water leaks or eroded water lines. If a thorough aerator cleaning doesn’t return your water pressure to normal, it’s important to call a plumber who can assess the matter and determine the proper course of action.
5. A Lack of Hot Water
Nothing can feel as frustrating as dealing with a lack of hot water when you’re taking a shower or washing dishes. If you find yourself in a situation where your water is only lukewarm or isn’t heating at all, you can simply check the thermostat on your hot water heater to see if it’s set to a less-than-ideal temperature.
If the temperature setting isn’t the source of the lack of hot water, the issue might be a broken heating component, sediment deposits, corrupted gas lines or water line cracks. Water heater connections include both gas and water line hookups that can be tricky to handle. Repairing a water heater involves knowledge of intricate pipe work that could cause serious flooding if mishandled. Due to the risky nature of gas leaks and the plumbing complexities of water heaters, the best thing to do when you’re experiencing a loss of hot water is to schedule professional plumbing service.
6. Frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes are a common occurrence during chilly fall and winter months. Many homeowners assume the best way to remedy a frozen pipe is to melt away the frost with a heat source. However, if mishandled, a pipe can be subjected to further damage. If you’re dealing with frozen pipes, leave the pipe-thawing process to your local plumber.
7. Garbage Disposal Issues
Standing water in your sink can be a nuisance. While your garbage disposal performs heavy-duty work on a regular basis, eventually, it may quit functioning properly. If your garbage disposal won’t work at all, verify that the circuit breaker is still supplying power. Also, remove any debris or foreign objects that might be blocking the device.
If the issue still isn’t resolved, call a plumber to correct your garbage disposal issue. A trained plumber will be aware of additional methods that can be used to unjam, repair or replace your garbage disposal.
8. Sewer System Backup
Sewer system backups come with a lot of unwanted drama. If you’re dealing with multiple clogged plumbing lines or toilets accompanied by a very unpleasant odor, the culprit is most likely a backup in your sewer system.
There are a few common causes of sewer system backups. The first is a major clog due to inappropriate items such as feminine products, diapers, napkins or facial tissues being flushed down the toilet. The second is tree roots that have invaded the pipes, causing significant cracks. Finally, sewer system backup can be caused by breakage or collapse from older plumbing lines that are made of cast iron or clay, which can significantly deteriorate over time.
Responsibility for dealing with a sewer system backup often depends on the location of the blockage. If the source of the blockage is out on a public road, your water company may offer to fix the damage. If the blockage is on your property, though, you’ll need to hire a plumber to locate the source and repair your sewer system.
9. Gas Line Installation or Replacement
Gas line installations or replacements are among the most dangerous components of the home to work with. Taking a gas line project into your own hands is one of the biggest DIY plumbing projects to avoid. Only licensed and experienced plumbers should handle these projects.
10. Plumbing Vent Clogs
Your plumbing vents typically exit your home through the roof. Over time, debris can create clogs in plumbing vents. Unless you have the tools and the know-how to go onto the roof and remove the clog, you should probably avoid handling this project on your own.
The next time you’re in need of reliable plumbing service, don’t hesitate to contact the friendly professionals at Air, Plumbing & Heating Solutions in Randallstown. From water heater repairs to gas line installations, we cover it all. Regardless of the size or scope of the project, we’re committed to doing the job conscientiously and properly every time. Contact Air, Plumbing & Heating Solutions today to find out how we can assist you.