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8 Plumbing Problems That You Should Fix ASAP

12 August 2021

 

It's a well-known fact that plumbing problems are a pain. And while some smaller issues can be fixed on your own, the majority of issues require an experienced plumber to prevent further problems in the future. This is especially true for homeowners who have little experience with home and plumbing repair. The last thing you want to do is ignore a problem and let it get worse over time. Fixing the problem right away minimises the severity of the issue, making it far more efficient and cheaper in the long run. 

Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure is when water flow from your bathroom and kitchen taps are much slower than usual. It feels more like a gentle stream than a fast gush. Plenty of houses face this problem for a number of reasons, including issues like cracks and leaks. The longer you let it go untreated, the more damage will be caused. So, what causes low water pressure?

  • Clogs and leaks in pipes.
  • Debris, tree root and mould growth in water supply lines.
  • Pipe corrosion.
  • Multiple taps opened at the same time.
  • Problems with your main water supply line.
  • Build-up of scale in the water supply line.

If you ignore the problem, you may end up spending more money to fix it down the track. Low water pressure is tricky to fix on your own with little to no experience. Some indications could be damp spots in your home or outdoors indicating cracks or leaks in your water supply line.

Assuming the problem isn't a shut or partially shut valve, the best way to deal with low water pressure is to contact a plumber and let them inspect and fix the issue.

Slow Drainage

Sludge, silt, soap scum and hair can collect in your drain trap. This prevents water from flowing properly and causes slow drainage. Slow drainage is a plumbing problem that affects most homeowners but it's difficult to notice until your drain starts to back up and overflow.

Slow drainage usually occurs due to pipe blockages caused by issues like soap scum, hair, baby wipes, non-flushable items, tree roots and debris getting stuck in drainpipes. Some telltale signs include:

  • Slow flow of water down kitchen and bathroom sinks that take longer than usual to empty.
  • Foul smell coming from the drains when you run the taps in one or more areas around your house.
  • Showers and bathtubs that don't drain properly.
  • Toilets that back up after flushing.

To prevent this problem, it's important to avoid flushing anything other than toilet paper down the toilet drain. Also, avoid sending food particles and other debris down your kitchen sink. Use drain cleaners where possible to keep your pipes free from obstructions. Drain strainers are also great at catching hair, soap scum, food and other debris that doesn't build up in your pipes.

Despite all your preventive measures, some issues like tree roots and other build-ups may be unavoidable. In this instance, it is best to contact a professional Sydney plumber who will use advanced CCTV technology to identify and fix the specific area of the blockage.

Water Spots on the Ceiling

Water spots on the ceiling and walls can indicate a problem with your plumbing system. Water spots appear because of plumbing leaks either in your internal pipes or roofs. Apartments and homes with shared laundry facilities may also notice water spots when washing machines and dishwashers leak in one place but can affect multiple households.

While small water spots caused by ageing and dry paint can be covered with a new coat, major water sports will require the services of a professional plumber. So, how can you prevent water spot problems?

  • Check your pipes regularly and turn off the source of leaks if you find something obvious.
  • Any taps or pipes causing visible water spots should not be used until a plumber can fix the problem.
  • Make sure your external pipes and hoses are well maintained.

For any major water spots that get worse, you may need to turn off your water supply mains and call an emergency plumber as quickly as possible to prevent major structural damage to your home.

Leaking Taps and Pipes

There are plenty of reasons why pipes and taps leak, including poor installation, excessive use and damage over time, tree root and mould growth, old taps and pipes, and pipe corrosion.

Ignoring the problem will result in major damage in the long run. Not only can it stain your ceiling, floor and walls, but it can also severely warp the internal structural foundation of your home, costing tens of thousands of dollars to fix. So, what to do if you notice leaking taps and pipes?

  • Turn off your water supply.
  • Remove leaking taps and washers and replace them with a new one.
  • Clean out any calcium deposits and sediment around the tap that may be causing water to leak out.
  • Check whether the leak has been fixed.

If the problem persists, it may not be as simple as tap replacement. A professional plumber will be able to pinpoint the exact source of the problem before providing a customised solution.

Water Heater Malfunction

Water heaters can stop working for a number of reasons. The most common one is that it's too old and needs to be replaced, but there can also be issues with the heating element, leaks within the system, or if air gets into the pressure release valves. Some signs of a malfunctioning water heater include:

  • Increased gas or electricity bills because of a malfunctioning heating element or leakages within the system.
  • Frequent bursts of cold water while showering, or even no hot water at all.
  • Bathrooms smell of rotten eggs from sulphur in the water - typically a sign of bacterial growth in the water tank.

If you think there is a problem with your water heater, your first step is to turn off the gas or electricity to prevent any accidents while you inspect the system for any noticeable leaks. A more thorough inspection of the water heater should only be done by a professional and licensed plumber with the tools and experience to handle these types of systems.

Ideally, you should do regular maintenance checks on the water heater to spot and repair small problems before they turn into major, more expensive issues.

Foul Smells from the Drain

There are numerous causes for foul smells from the drain. For instance, sewage gases can build up due to blockages and obstructions affecting water flow. Other reasons for foul smells include rotting food scraps, grease, oil, animal fat and other debris stuck in your drainpipes.

  • Pour drain cleaner and use a drain snake to push out any blockages.
  • Use a plunger to loosen and remove any surface-level obstructions causing the odour.
  • Pour baking soda and vinegar down the drain every few weeks to kill off any odours and bacteria.

If none of these steps work and the foul smell persists, it may be time to call in a professional. While you can solve minor problems on your own, there are times when a professional is essential and clearing blocked drains to emit foul odours without any obvious reason will fall into this category.

Mould Growth on Floors and Walls

Mould is a fungus that grows in damp, humid conditions and thrives in the absence of light. It often develops when there's excess moisture in the air due to a leaky roof or broken pipe, but can also grow from other sources such as water seeping through walls.

If you have mould growing inside your home then it will normally be visible on walls and floors in damp areas such as bathrooms. Mould spores are invisible to the naked eye, but you can sometimes spot them by looking for a powdery coating or a fuzzy white substance on surfaces. Some of the major health risks of mould in your home include:

  • Allergic reactions - mould can cause allergic reactions, breathing difficulties, severe coughs, itchy throat and eyes, asthma, wheezing, and chest tightness.
  • Viruses and bacteria infections - mould spores can also be inhaled, which can cause infections and diseases from viruses and bacteria.
  • Pneumonia - excessive exposure to mould can cause pneumonia, which is a serious condition that requires hospital treatment.

Mould is typically an indicator of a leak somewhere in your plumbing system that might not be immediately visible to you. In this instance, it's always best to hire a professional who can get to the root of the problem quickly and effectively.

Clogged Toilets

Clogged toilets are one of the most common plumbing problems many households face today. They can get blocked for a number of reasons, including flushing down excessive toilet paper, hair, baby wipes, sanitary pads and other materials. Clogs will occur when these items get stuck in your drainpipes or because of an accumulation of grime and dirt inside your pipes over time. Some signs of a clogged toilet include:

  • Toilet fails to flush properly.
  • Toilet bowl water level starts rising.
  • Eventual overflow of sewage water onto your toilet floors.

Clogged toilets can be a major problem if left unchecked, which is why it is important to try and prevent them in the first place. If you think you have a clogged toilet, use a plunger or drain snake to try and clear any pipe blockages. If this doesn't work, call a professional plumber as quickly as possible. A plumber has the right tools to find the source of the blockage and break it down before it starts to overflow in your bathroom.

If you have a plumbing problem that needs to be fixed, don't wait. It's important to enlist the services of a professional plumber right away to avoid more serious problems down the road.

I'm Jason Rogers, a property investor with an engineering background. I love building and construction projects and helping homeowners navigate their way through property renovations and developments.

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