PART 2-How to Troubleshoot Common Plumbing Problems Before Calling a Professional

August 17, 2023

Dealing with plumbing problems can be frustrating, but before you reach for the phone to call a professional plumber, it’s worth trying to troubleshoot the issue yourself. Many common plumbing problems can be resolved with a few simple steps, saving you time and money. Let’s take a look at some common plumbing problems and provide troubleshooting techniques to help you address them on your own.

Close-up of faucet with turned drop water in modern bathroom. Horizontal crop with shallow depth of field
Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure is a common plumbing issue that can be caused by many different things. Start by checking if the problem is isolated to a specific faucet or affecting the entire house. If it’s localized, it may be due to a clogged aerator or mineral deposits in the faucet head. Clean or replace the aerator to improve water flow. If the low pressure persists throughout the house, check the main water valve to ensure it is fully open. Additionally, inspect the pressure regulator, as a faulty regulator can cause low water pressure and may need professional attention.

Clogged Drains

Clogged drains are a frequent annoyance in many households. To clear a minor clog, try using a plunger or a drain snake. If the clog persists, consider using a chemical drain cleaner, but be cautious and follow the instructions carefully. For stubborn clogs, a natural alternative is a mixture of baking soda and vinegar followed by hot water. If these methods fail, it’s advisable to contact a professional plumber who can use specialized tools to clear the blockage without causing further damage.

Person wearing a purple glove using plunger to unclog toilet.
Running Toilet

A running toilet can waste a significant amount of water and inflate your utility bills. To troubleshoot this issue, check the flapper valve inside the toilet tank. If it is not sealing properly, it may need to be adjusted or replaced. The float mechanism can also be a culprit, as it may be set too high or too low. Adjust the float to the appropriate level to stop the running water. If these adjustments don’t work, it’s recommended to call a professional plumber to diagnose and fix the problem.

Leaky Faucets

Leaky faucets not only waste water but can also be an annoying source of constant dripping. The cause of a leaky faucet is often a worn-out washer or O-ring. Turn off the water supply to the faucet and disassemble it to replace the damaged parts. If you are unsure about the process, consult online tutorials or seek the help of a professional plumber. Fixing a leaky faucet is a relatively simple task that can save you money on your water bill and prevent further damage.

Close up of clogged shower head with very low water pressureWater Heater Issues

If your water heater is not providing hot water or is experiencing other issues, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot the problem. Start by checking the pilot light on a gas water heater. If it’s out, relight it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For an electric water heater, check the circuit breaker to ensure it hasn’t tripped. If the water heater is still not functioning correctly, it’s best to consult a professional plumber who can diagnose and repair the specific issue.

Tankless water heaters can have their own unique issues. Many of them have minimum flow rates which can keep the water heater from heating. Faucets and shower heads with low flow gallon per minute ratings save water but may keep your water heater from firing. Because of this, you may have some faucets that get hot water and others that don’t. Removing flow restrictors can sometimes remedy the problem. Also, since they are condensing water heaters, they have a drain line that exits the home. The condensation drain line can clog or freeze up in cold weather. If the water heater is not running, first check to be sure the breaker has not tripped, then locate the drain line to outside and make sure it is producing condensation. You may need to call a professional to fix your drain issue.

Frozen Pipes

In colder climates, frozen pipes can be a common plumbing problem. If you suspect frozen pipes, turn off the main water supply immediately to prevent bursting. Thaw the pipes using a hairdryer or heating pad, starting from the end nearest to the faucet. Do not use an open flame or excessive heat, as it can damage the pipes. Once thawed, turn on the faucet slowly to allow the water to flow and check for any leaks. If you encounter difficulties or suspect a pipe has burst, contact a professional plumber right away.

Close-up Of Woman wearing pink gloves Using Plunger In SinkBy following these troubleshooting techniques, you can tackle common plumbing problems before calling a professional plumber. Remember to exercise caution and seek professional help when needed, especially for complex or potentially dangerous issues. Regular maintenance and preventive care can also help prevent plumbing problems in the future, saving you from unnecessary headaches and expenses.

Kelleher has been a trusted heating, cooling and plumbing company in the Richmond area for over four decades now. We encourage you to let our family help your family with all of your plumbing and home comfort needs. Reach out to us today!