Common Plumbing Issues: Do You Know When to Call a Professional?

The average lifespan of most residential pipes is between 20 and 50 years, depending on the material used (brass and copper last longer than galvanized steel). Even though that sounds like a long time, you can experience leaks and breaks much sooner. Depending on the workmanship and installation of key plumbing parts — you could even have chronic issues in relatively young plumbing systems.

In other words: all homeowners have plumbing issues at some point. They are better addressed sooner than later, but since most pipes and parts are buried beneath your home or hiding in walls — you may not catch them immediately. Do you know how to identify serious issues early on. More importantly, do you know when it’s time to call for help? Here are five common plumbing issues and how to address them.

1. Slow or Clogged Drains

Hair, grease, and other debris can quickly clog a drain or cause it to move water more slowly. Getting rid of obstructions is usually a DIY project. You can use over the counter chemicals, though many plumbers will warn you against it (at least as a regular practice) because the chemicals can erode your pipes. The better option is to use a snake to pull the obstacle out of the drain without pouring hair-eating chemicals down the pipe. If you have a drain with standing water, it’s better to call someone in to take a look. There could be a serious issue in the line that calls for a pro — not two bottles of drain de-clogging chemicals.

2. Leaky Pipes

There are several red flags that point to a pipe leak. The most obvious are standing water in your basement or a water stain on the ceiling. However, if the floor feels super warm right above a hot water line, you could also have a hidden leak that hasn’t made it’s way through the floor yet. Just because you can’t see the leak doesn’t mean it’s not doing damage to your walls or foundation. In the majority of cases, you should call a plumber to handle a pipe leak. A section of the pipe probably needs to be replaced. What’s more, the plumber may need to use special equipment to locate the exact place of the leak and drill into a slab. Left untreated, a leaking pipe could result in major structural damage and mold.

3. Dripping Faucets

Dripping faucets can waste a ton of water. If you have a faucet dripping just three times per minute, you could be wasting 157 gallons per year! What a money trap, right? This common plumbing issue can usually be fixed by swapping out your sink or bath faucet with a newer model. Even better, you can probably do it on your own as long as you know how to turn the water supply off during the repair.

4. No Hot Water

You’re looking forward to a hot shower at the end of a long day. You step inside, turn the handle, and… ice cold water pours out and never warms. Ugh. There are a few things that could be wrong with your water heater. There could be sediment build up, the thermostat could be bad, or a simple valve mistake could have turned it off. Anything aside from relighting the pilot light or turning a valve should be left to a professional.

5. Running Toilet

Running toilets are another major waste of water. You’re losing multiple gallons per day while the toilet runs intermittently. It could be an old flapper, or a more complicated issue could be the culprit. Try opening the tank to look for bubbles or signs of a leak. Most hardware stores will have the parts you need to fix the issue. When exchanging the flapper or other basic parts doesn’t do the trick, it’s time to call the plumber. Don’t allow the issue to persist.

Do you have major plumbing issues in your home? If you know the entire system needs to be replaced or septic issues have entered the mix — things will get expensive quickly. If you’re not in a position to fix it all, selling your home may be the best solution. California Family Homebuyers purchases homes in less-than-perfect condition all the time. Give us a call at 916-496-3737 to see if we can help you!

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