5 Common Plumbing Problems (And How to Prevent Them)

Some plumbing problems can be massively destructive to your home or business, such as flooding or burst pipes. But most of the time, you’re going to struggle with much smaller and more common problems.

The good news is, they’re easy to avoid by taking just a few preventative measures.

1. Dripping Faucets

Faucets comes in four varieties: compression, ball type, ceramic disk, and cartridge.

A dripping faucet is due to a poor seal. For a cartridge, ceramic disk, or ball type faucet, the problem is simply that the O-ring or neoprene seal needs to be replaced. These are very inexpensive and can be picked up at any hardware store.

A compression faucet, on the other hand, is almost guaranteed to drip eventually. These depend on rubber washers to seal the valve, which inevitably wear out with heavy usage and need to be replaced from time to time.

In both cases, the best way to prevent a problem is to take it easy on your faucet. Don’t use force to close it. If you find you need to use force to stop the drip, your faucet needs to be fixed. It’s only a matter of time before it will drip non-stop.

2. Slow Draining Sinks

A slow draining sink is caused by a partially clogged draining pipe. To prevent your pipes from clogging in the first place:

  • Never pour oil or grease down the drain. It will harden and stick to other particles that would have otherwise gone down the drain easily, thus forming clogs.
  • Use a strainer to catch larger bits of food or other materials before they go down the drain.
  • Pour half a cup of baking soda into the drain, and then add half a cup of vinegar. This will help break up any small clogs that have started to form. Pour boiling water roughly 15 minutes later to further clear it out and melt any sludge or slime that’s sticking to the pipes.

3. Clogged Toilets

Toilets clog for one of two reasons: Someone’s been flushing things that shouldn’t be flushed, or too much is trying to be flushed down at once.

Prevention is simple:

  1. If it’s not toilet paper, or it didn’t come out of your body, it doesn’t belong in the toilet.
  2. If you’re using a lot of toilet paper, flush before there’s too much of it in the bowl. While toilet paper is designed to dissolve in water, it will form a clog if there’s too much of it.

4. Running Toilet

A running toilet will drain more than your toilet bowl: it will drain your bank account. Slowly but surely, you’ll be wasting water and wondering why the water bill has gotten so high.

The good news is that these are easy to detect and fix. Often, you can simply hear a toilet draining and filling itself up over and over again. But it usually starts far more subtly. To make sure none of your toilets are running, simply drop a few drops of food coloring into the tank. If it shows up in the toilet bowl within an hour or two, you’ve got a running toilet.

The cause is almost always a poor seal with the flapper valve, and these can be fixed with a toilet repair kit or with a call to your local plumber.

5. Leaky Pipes

Pipes do a lot of work to keep you supplied with clean water and to quickly wash away grey water. But we don’t often think about what we can do to take care of them and keep them in good shape.

A leaky pipe is, simply put, a damaged pipe. Usually it happens at a point where two pipes connect, but it can also happen if a pipe has been damaged or corroded over time.

To keep your pipes happy and healthy:

  1. Ask a plumber to check your water pressure. Anything over 60 psi can, over time, do serious damage. A healthy level is 30-50 psi.
  2. Consider installing a water softener. When your water has high mineral content, we call that hard water. Those minerals can cause corrosion and a build-up of minerals inside your water supply pipes. A water softener helps to get those minerals out before they reach your pipes.
  3. Prevent your pipes from freezing by: a) Making sure every room in the house is above 16° Celsius all year round; b) insulate any pipes that may be exposed to colder temperatures than that; and c) shut off and drain any pipes that lead outside.

A little prevention can go a long way to making sure your pipes stay happy and healthy for many years to come. But when things go wrong, be sure to keep MG Plumbing Solutions in mind.