How to Troubleshoot Plumbing Problems
The easiest way to solve plumbing problems in your home is to hire a professional plumber but, if you are one of those DIY (do-it-yourself) types, you might be tempted or perhaps ultimately failing to resist the desire to fix it yourself. The first thing to do when attempting to solve any plumbing problem is to troubleshoot it. That is, know the cause of the problem and decide on a course of action. Here are a few steps:
1. Listen to the dripping noise
Dripping is the most commonly overlooked plumbing problem, perhaps because it doesn’t really disturb us that much. But if you are going to add up the hundreds and even thousands of dripping during the course of the day and then multiply that to a month, you would realize that it already amounted to gallons of water. Constant dripping is a hole in the pocket if not given attention, so, the first step in troubleshooting plumbing problems is to listen and close those drips.
2. Look for evidence of leakage
Leakages are more evident and more disturbing than just drippings and that is why it requires immediate attention. This can create a huge hole in your pocket and bundles of inconveniences if not given attention. Leakages can be caused by pressure, corrosion, loose fittings, or cracks because of freezing. The best way to fix a leak is to replace that part causing it.
3. Determine the cause of slow drain
There are times that the flow of water will slow down delaying the things that you want to do like taking a shower. This is easier to troubleshoot if you have installed service valves in the right places. All you need to do is close the service valve and check the line that is possibly slowing down and make the necessary fix.
4. Check your water meter
If you are having a hard time checking for leaks, the last thing to do is to close all faucets and check if the water meter is moving. If it is, there is a leak. But you have to remember also that small leaks will hardly register in the meter over a short period of time so it might be difficult to detect using this method.
These are some of the ways in which you can troubleshoot some common household plumbing problems. There are still many techniques out there so don’t hesitate to learn them as well.
Fast Repairs for Common Plumbing Problems
You might not have noticed it but plumbing requires an unbroken network of pipes from the source down to the last faucet in your home. If there is a break in this network, then you have a plumbing problem. When there is a problem in the plumbing system at home, you will have an extensive mess or a handsome bill or both. Here are the most common plumbing problems and their solutions:
1. Overflowing toilet
If we are going to talk about plumbing problems, the worst of them is perhaps that overflowing toilet. Since there is nothing pleasant about this job, you are better off calling the plumber, but if you are brave enough you can start by turning off the shut-off valve underneath the toilet seat. This will stop the flowing water. Then, replace the old flush valve that is connected to the waterline and adjust the float accordingly.
2. Broken pipe
Broken pipes can turn your house into a swimming pool if not fixed immediately. The best thing to do when this happens is to turn off the main service valve to your house. Then you replace the broken pipe that caused the problem.
3. Clogged sink
A clogged sink is a common occurence when solid waste are just disposed into it. When this happens, you can use a plunger or a plumbing snake to free the clog. There are also enzymes that you can use to melt the clog and clean up pipeline underneath the sink.
4. Faucent that won’t shut off
When the faucet won’t shut off the best thing to do is just to replace it with a new one. But before you can do that, make sure to turn off the service valve for that line.
If common plumbing problems are not fixed, you will have bigger problems when the bill comes. It is still cheaper and more convenient for the home when broken plumbings are promptly fixed.
Home Plumbing Problems – To Fix Them Yourself or To Hire
In a sense, plumbing problems at home can easily be solved because they easily get obvious. Before long, you will hear the dripping, the restroom is almost like a swimming pool, the faucet won’t stop and some such things are not easy to hide. But knowing the problem is only halfway down the cure path. You still need to make your hands dirty with it. In fact, the only way you can deal with it is to fix it.
If you are aware that in some areas a plumber can cost $80 an hour, then you would know the value of having some rudimentary plumbing skills. Although some problems are harder than others, it doesn’t mean that they are impossible to fix. All you need to have is some instructions, the right tools and a truck load of patience.
On the otherhand, if you don’t have the skills nor the inclination to learn and apply what you’ve learned, you can always hire a professional plumber. The advantage of hiring professionals is that they can handle almost any problem involving pipes, from unclogging a bathtub drain to replacing a garbage disposal. For as long as you put a high premium on your time (imagine trying to find the leak in a 1500 meter long pipe) and can afford their service, hiring a plumber is always the better solution. There are a lot of mobile plumbing services that you can call anytime. The most important thing is, when you have plumbing problems at home you have to fix it immediately.
PEX Plumbing Problems–The Advantages and Disadvantages of Using PEX Pipe
PEX pipes are developed in the 1960s to replace copper or brass like Kitec pipes. Although it has been used in Europe for years, it was only introduced in the US in the 1980s. This kind of pipe has the advantages of being easier to install because of its flexibility, it can withstand extreme temperature and it is even resistant to the kind of chemicals used in plumbing today. Nice as it is, PEX along with polybutylene pipes have their own problems and it must be considered before laying down the first pipe. Here are some of the disadvantages of using PEX pipe:
1. It is not suitable for outdoor use
PEX pipe is designed primarily to be used indoors and under the ground. Although it is freeze resistant, it cannot withstand a direct hard freeze. It also cannot withstand a direct exposure to the heat of the sun. These two extremes in temperature will weaken the materials in the pipe.
2. Rodent bites
For some reason or another, PEX pipes are just attractive to rodents and it is not uncommon to find it damaged from the being chewed out by them.
Biofilms are known to build up in PEX used in non-chlorinated water. Although this is not much of a problem in chlorinated water, for water that has stayed in the pipe for extended period, biofilm forming bacteria do begin to grow.
When PEX pipes break, repairs can be a problem because the fittings that you will have to use are a bit more expensive compared to those of copper. The tools that you will have to use are also different and expensive as well.
These are some of the disadvantages of using PEX, but it is a really good replacement for copper or brass and the problems associated with it is easily cancelled out by its advantages. This is the reason why sales in PEX pipes is continually on the rise while that of brass and copper are at an all time low.
Plumbing Problems Toilet–How to Troubleshoot Common Toilet Plumbing Problems
As already mentioned above, toilet problem is the worst plumbing problem there is. The most common problem with the toilet is clogging although it is not the only one. There are times when the tank can make all sorts of noise or it can overflow. Here are some tips if you want to fix some common toilet plumbing problems:
1. As already mentioned, the toilet tank is where most of the problems occur so that is where you check first. Although there are different models of toilet tanks, there are only two major parts in it; the fill valve and the flush valve.
2. The fill valve, as the name suggests fills the toilet tank with water. This is where water from the source passes through in order to fill the tank with water for one usage. If water does not get into the tank, this is the part that you will need to check.
3. The flush valve is the part that seals the water in the tank from overflowing into the toilet bowl. When this is broken, the water will just continue to flow towards the toilet bowl. All you need to do to fix this type of problem is to replace the flush valve.
4. When the toilet is clogged, you can use a plunger to pump the clogged toilet down or a plumbing snake to clear the water passage.
Just make sure that you are brave enough to fix toilet problems because you will definitely meet some unpleasant experience when you are solving this one. In most cases, people will just hire somebody else to fix a toilet problem for them.
Plumbing Drain Problems–How to Fix Problems Associated with Waste Water
After water is being used, it has to have a way of going away. Most of us believe that water just go away after we use it but that is only partly true because it will pass through a complex drainage system before it will enter the sewer system. Along the way, when there is clogging in the drainage system, waste water can start to fill up your home and you can just imagine how nasty that is. Here are simple ways to fix and avoid clogging in the drainage system:
1. Clean the trap
The trap is there basically to trap solids and prevent them from getting into the drainage system and eventually clogging them. If the trap is regularly cleaned, no solid can get into the drain, preventing it from clogging.
2. The pitch
The pitch is the angle of the drain pipe and consequently, the angle by which the water will flow. The entire drainage system is based on the theory that water will flow by gravity. If the angle of the piping is not right, then the water will have the tendency to back flow. It is generally considered good to have a 1/4 inch per foot of slope when laying down the drain pipe.
The vent which is another aspect of the draininage system will be discussed below.
Plumbing Vent Problems–How to Clear a Clogged Plumbing Vent
If you have already cleared the drains and waste water still flows slowly, the most probable reason behind this is that your vent may be clogged too. Since vents are facing upwards, bird droppings and other debris can easily clog it. This is especially true if it is uncovered. Here is how you can clean a clogged vent:
1. Climb up the roof safely and locate the vent. This is usually located above the bathroom. Be very careful especially if the roof is slippery. The vent is usually a pipe that extends about 1 to 2 feet and around pipe 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
2. With a flashlight, try to see if there are any blockade in the vent like leaves and bird droppings. If there are, then you have to clean it by flushing it with water.
3. So that you can effectively clear the vent, put the garden hose at high pressure and shoot water down the drain. You can also use the hose like a plumbing snake and dislodge a clog. As the hose cleans that vent, you can hear water bubbling through it. So that you won’t need to clear the vent again, make sure to cover it with a net.
Fixing Plumbing Problems–Do It Yourself Plumbing Repair
Contrary to common belief, you can easily solve most plumbing problems. If you have the time and motivation to do it, you can. As already mentioned, hiring a professional plumber can be expensive and if you would just fix the problem yourself, you can definitely save a lot of dollars.
Some plumbing supplies even come with instructions on how to install them and all you need to do is to follow. With the right tools and the right desire, plumbing is not impossible. Added to that, there are a lot of DIY plumbing resources over the Internet and you can always watch instructional videos on Youtube.
There are times though that you will really need a skilled professional and needless to say, you need to be ready to pay. Things like a pipe that is leaking underground and you don’t have much time to locate the leak would definitely need a professional plumber.