Plumb­ing prob­lems and how to fix them

Lesotho Times - - Property -

ALMOST ev­ery home­owner or renter has a few es­sen­tial tools on hand to cope with mi­nor plumb­ing emer­gen­cies. Many times, a clogged toi­let or slow drain may need a lit­tle el­bow grease and a plunger to work as in­tended.

If you’re handy around the house, you can gen­er­ally tackle a small re­pair such as chang­ing out a worn washer or re­plac­ing a drain cover. How­ever, big­ger plumb­ing re­pair jobs need pro­fes­sional at­ten­tion. Try­ing to re­pair some common is­sues such as slow drains or leak­ing toi­lets could lead to big­ger prob­lems later.

Plumb­ing Main­te­nance

One way to pre­vent costly re­pairs to your home is a reg­u­lar main­te­nance sched­ule. Be­cause many is­sues with your pipes sneak up on you, a thor­ough in­spec­tion is the key to catch­ing small prob­lems be­fore they grow. Hid­den leaks in sink drains or be­low wa­ter heaters are more than just a nui­sance; over time, they can cause struc­tural dam­age. Wa­ter that seeps into sheetrock or plas­ter con­trib­utes to mould growth. Por­ous tile or wood floor­ing can dis­colour or warp when wet.

Many rou­tine main­te­nance tasks are sim­ple do-it-your­self jobs.

An in­spec­tion is the foun­da­tion of any main­te­nance sched­ule. You may use your sinks and tubs daily, but you might not no­tice mi­nor con­cerns un­less you set aside time for an in­spec­tion. Go through your home and take a look at your plumb­ing. Ex­am­ine all ex­posed pipes, in­clud­ing un­der sinks and be­hind toi­let tanks, for any signs of mois­ture.

After a thor­ough in­spec­tion, re­move and clean aer­a­tors on faucets and shower heads. Sed­i­ment can build up and slow wa­ter flow. If you opt for pro­fes­sional plumb­ing main­te­nance, your plumber will take care of this step and oth­ers for you.

Common re­pair jobs

Even the most thor­ough plumb­ing main­te­nance in­spec­tion won’t pre­vent the oc­ca­sional clog or leak, es­pe­cially in older homes. The high wa­ter ta­ble in the Sara­sota and Braden­ton, FL area also con­trib­utes to sep­tic sys­tem prob­lems that can af­fect toi­lets and drains. Many of th­ese common is­sues have equally common so­lu­tions.

Drip­ping Faucets

If you’ve ever tried to fall asleep with a drip­ping faucet in the next room or wres­tled with a kitchen sink that didn’t know when to stop, you know how an­noy­ing this common prob­lem can be. A drip­ping faucet also drives your wa­ter bill higher. A sin­gle faucet can send hun­dreds of gal­lons of wa­ter per year down your drains a drop at a time.

Wa­ter en­ter­ing your home is un­der pres­sure to move it through the pipes. When you turn off the tap, rub­ber or sil­i­cone-based wash- ers form a wa­ter-tight seal that pre­vents more wa­ter from push­ing its way through the pipes and out of the faucet. Over time, wash­ers can be­come stiff, torn or dis­lodged, al­low­ing a tiny trickle of wa­ter through and cre­at­ing that an­noy­ing drip. While you can re­place wash­ers your­self, the re­pair job can be more of a chal­lenge than you might ex­pect with­out spe­cial­ized tools.

Low Wa­ter Pres­sure

When wa­ter that should gush only trick­les from the tap, you have low wa­ter pres­sure.

This prob­lem might not be re­lated to the pipes in your house but to the mu­nic­i­pal wa­ter sup­ply. It’s rare, but a break in a main line can tem­po­rar­ily re­duce your wa­ter pres­sure. A more common cause of this prob­lem is a build-up of de­posits or sed­i­ment on faucet aer­a­tors.

The wa­ter en­ter­ing your pipes car­ries dis­solved min­er­als in it that even­tu­ally de­posit them­selves on metal sur­faces.

If you have a fil­tra­tion sys­tem, th­ese de­posits wind up in the fil­ters and get changed; with­out such a sys­tem, th­ese min­eral de­posits col­lect on in­ner sur­faces of aer­a­tors and shower heads, clog­ging screens and slow­ing flow. Most kitchen faucets have eas­ily re­moved aer­a­tors that just un­screw from the tip of the faucet for easy clean­ing.

Tak­ing off the aer­a­tor and soaking it overnight in a vine­gar so­lu­tion will gen­er­ally dis­solve the cal­cium de­posits common in Florida wa­ter sup­plies. Shower heads and bath­room faucets may not be as easy to re­move, but you can af­fix a plas­tic bag filled with vine­gar to the shower overnight to clean it.

Run­ning Toi­let

If you’re tired of jig­gling the han­dle to make your toi­let be­have after flush­ing, it might be time to re­place its in­ner work­ings. Toi­lets typ­i­cally run when the flap­per valve that lets wa­ter pass from the tank to the bowl no longer fits prop­erly, the float is im­bal­anced or the fill tube comes loose. Toi­let re­pair kits work for most mod­els and re­quire lit­tle ef­fort to in­stall.

Oc­ca­sion­ally, though, toi­lets run for more com­plex rea­sons. If you’ve re­placed the flap­per, float ap­pa­ra­tus and fill tube, you may have sed­i­ment that’s af­fect­ing proper flush­ing and filling. Higher wa­ter bills could also in­di­cate a silent leak. To de­tect a silent leak in your toi­let, add a few drops of food col­or­ing to the up­per tank and wait 15 to 20 min­utes.

Leaky Pipes

Whether your reg­u­lar in­spec­tion re­veals a pud­dle un­der a pipe or you get an un­pleas­ant sur­prise when you reach un­der your sink, leaks can be a costly nui­sance. Leaks usu­ally hap­pen at joints, which is why com­mer­cial joint fillers and fit­ting com­pounds oc­cupy plenty of shelf space in your lo­cal hard­ware store.

Th­ese prod­ucts are a tem­po­rary fix, though; a per­ma­nent plumb­ing re­pair may mean re­plac­ing a length of pipe or its fit­tings.

— Aquaplumb­ingsara­sot

One way to pre­vent costly re­pairs to your home is a reg­u­lar main­te­nance sched­ule

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