5 Common Plumbing Problems And How to Fix Them

All properties require a maintenance schedule to keep all fixtures and appliances in order. Properties aren’t built to last forever and it’s important for owners to maintain their property to withstand issues that come with time and age. The plumbing to your property is one of those areas susceptible to issues. Common plumbing problems can be universal from property to property. Regular checks by yourself as the owner and a maintenance schedule by your plumber can prevent many plumbing problems. But most home owners don’t call a plumber unless they need to. In some cases, the plumbing problem may not require a plumber. Here are five common plumbing problems and how to fix them.

#1 Blocked Drain

A blocked drain is one of the most common plumbing problems property owners experience. If the water drains slowly down a basin or sink, or if the water builds up in the bowl while the tap is running, you know you have a blockage on your property. Here are some checks you can do and possible solutions before you call your plumber.

Check Your Overflow Relief Gully

An overflow relief gully (ORG) is a drain-like fitting that is located outside your property. If the sewer to your property ever backs up, it allows the effluent to flow outside, rather than inside your house. If you have a blocked drain in your home, check if the sewerage has overflowed. If it has, the first port of call is a plumber who will require a jet-rodder machine to remove the blockage.

If there is no overflow through the ORG, the blockage is in one of the waste pipes, running to the appliance or fixture. You may be able to fix this without a plumber by

  • Removing the obstructing object (Kids can be notorious for flushing odds and ends down the toilet. Don’t try to flush it away if it’s lodged in the pan trap. Try and remove it so it doesn’t travel further down the sewer line causing a bigger blockage problem)
  • Using a plunger. A plunger can be used on most fixtures. The suction action can sometimes2 unblock the drain.
  • Pouring a mix of bi-carb soda and vinegar down the drain to break-up congealed fats or sediment in the pipes
  • Using a drain cleaner

If these tips don’t work, you will need to call your plumber to unblock the drain.

#2 Leaking Tap

Leaking taps are just as common as blocked drains and they certainly keep plumbers busy.

The most common reason for taps to leak is because their washers need to be replaced. In Australia, you can change your own washers; this doesn’t have to be done by a plumber. However, one step that gets missed by the common homeowner is the process of re-seating the tap. This ensures the new washer sits flush in the tap. Plumbers know the importance of this step and are often called out by homeowners when they’ve attempted to change their own washers but still have a leaking tap. If you want to avoid the muck-a-round, call your plumber to replace the washers.

For mixer taps, the cartridge may need to be replaced to fix the drip. The cartridge in mixer taps has an average 5-year warranty. Providing you have your warranty paperwork for your mixer, your plumber can arrange to have the cartridge replaced under warranty. You will have to pay for the labour charges involved in replacing the cartridge though.

Ceramic disc spindle taps that leak will require the ceramic discs to be replaced. Some plumbers opt to replace the spindles altogether as it can be fiddly replacing the ceramic discs.

If the taps are old, you may consider getting them replaced. No amount of maintenance may fix the problem, so rather than waste money on trying to fix a tap that won’t stop leaking, invest the money into new taps. Your plumber must install these for you.

#3 No Water Through Your Tap

You don’t realise how much you rely on water until it doesn’t come running through the tap. If you have no cold water coming through your tap here are some things to check before you call your plumber.

  1. Check if the water runs through every tap in your house. If none of the taps have water, it could be that your water meter has been turned off OR your local council may be working on the water lines and may have turned the water off in your area. Usually, you will be notified if the water is turned off in your street, but sometimes you may not be forewarned. Call your local council to confirm. Also check your water meter tap is on.
  2. If it’s only one isolated tap where no cold water runs through, the washers will need to be replaced on that tap. Change the washers in both the hot and cold taps.

#4 No Hot Water

Nothing can be more disappointing or frustrating when you get home from a long work day, to have a hot shower and you have no hot water.

If no water comes through the faucet or shower rose when the hot tap is turned on, the issue will be the washer. Replace this and the hot water should freely run through.

If there is water that runs through the faucet when the hot tap is turned on, the problem lies with your hot water unit.

The solution will depend on the type of hot water unit you have.

Gas Hot Water Units

  • Check the pilot light is on. Relight if it’s gone out.
  • Check your hot water unit has gas.
  • If you still can’t find the problem, call your local plumber.

Electric Hot Water Unit

Anything could be at play that causes your hot water unit to not produce hot water. The tempering valve may no longer work, the relief valve may need to be replaced or your hot water unit may have a tank leak. Call your local plumber who will be able to advise on whether the hot water unit can be fixed, or should be replaced.

#5 Leaking Pipe

A leaking pipe can occur anytime. Most often they can be an easy fix by a plumber. Identify where the leak is coming from and this will help the plumber know what fittings they will need to bring out to fix the leak. Leaks can happen on waste and water pipes. Often a seal can break or a fitting can loosen.

Some leaks can be harder to locate and may require a bit of extra investigative work to locate. If a water leak is underground, a leak locating machine can be used to find where the pipe is leaking. The machine will tell the plumber and home owner how deep the pipe leak is, to avoid the whole yard being excavated to fix the leak.

While there are some things you can do as the homeowner to fix common plumbing problems, often your plumber should be the first port of call. If you experience any of these common plumbing problems, why not contact Yarrow Plumbing! Their licensed and qualified plumbers have a wealth of knowledge and experience to ensure your plumbing works as it should.