If you own a building, you are likely to have encountered at least one of these common plumbing problems. From a blocked kitchen sink to a broken toilet, these occurrences often happen spontaneously, but some of them can be avoided by altering simple activities you may not even realise you’re doing. This article will cover seven of the most common plumbing problems, the reasons why they may be happening, and the ways to treat and avoid them in the future.
- Blocked Kitchen Sink
The first indicator you may be given that you have a blocked kitchen sink is a foul smell coming from the pipes. The smell is often comparable to sewage or rotton eggs, thanks to the hydrogen sulfide gas created by mould and bacteria breeding in your pipes. Mould thrives in warm and wet environments, and if you are running hot water through drains which take some time to dry out, it will grow. Furthermore, there may be a gurgling sound from your blocked kitchen sink as water drains through it. This is because the water is working to get past the built-up mould and the sound echoes upwards.
There are certain food-stuffs and other materials that should not be put down drains which can cause a blocked kitchen sink. Thick food items like pasta and rice are some obvious contenders. But you may not have considered how damaging cooking oil and coffee grounds can be to your kitchen drains. Pouring cooking oil down your drain can not only create blockage within your pipes as it hardens, but it can also lead to the development of fatbergs in the sewer systems. These are waxy, greasy balls of fat which stick to the walls of sewers and collect debris. Coffee grounds follow the same process, they harden in your drains, and collect various debris to create an even larger problem.
The best way to treat these common plumbing problems is to pour baking soda and vinegar down the drain and allow it enough time to break the blockage down. Baking soda and vinegar is an amazing DIY cleaning solution, but when combined with mould, fat, and foodstuffs, can create harmful gases. So it is important to put a rubber stopper in your drain while the process is working, and allow for enough time for the solution to slide down the drain, away from the plug hole.
2. Broken Toilet
One of the most common plumbing problems is a broken toilet. Your toilet can break in many different ways, including clogging, leaking, the water level dropping, whistling, sluggish flushes, and so on. A clogged toilet can have many causes, mainly too many things being flushed at once.
3. Clogged Bowl
If the clog is located in the bowl, the problem can be easily resolved with a simple plunger. The plunger helps to dislodge the offending materials, break them down, and make it easier for the toilet to flush. Unless of course there is hard plastic in there, in which case you’ll need a pair of high-rise gloves.
4. Clogged Siphon
If the source of your borken toilet is a clogged siphon, an ordinary toilet plunger won’t do anything. For this, you need a flange plunger. A decently sized one will help to reduce splashing and provide lots of suction to really help you get in there and solve the problem.
Leaking can be difficult to notice if the reason isn’t a cracked external component like the bowl or cistern. Internal leaks can be detected with the help of a little food colouring. By putting just a few drops in the cistern, you will easily notice if it is leaking if food colouring gets into your bowl for seemingly no reason. The reason for the leak may be that the flapper isn’t tightly settled into the valve seat, or that the gasket has failed. Tightening the flapper and replacing the failed gasket should stop the leak in its tracks.
6. Dropped Water Level
If your broken toilet is presenting itself in the form of a dropped water level, this could be for various reasons. For example, a damaged fill tube can shut off the flow of water to the bowl too quickly and create a much lower fill. Perhaps the toilet bowl has cracked. Although unlikely, this does happen, and it can prevent the water level from hightening past a certain point. If this is the case, a replacement of the bowl will be necessary, as porcelain cannot be repaired (even with noodles). The fill valve may be damaged, in which case a replacement is necessary and should have your water levels back to normal immidiately.
Whistling in your toilet is another of the common plumbing problems that is usually caused by a faulty fill tank valve. The deterioration causes the whistling sound and leads to an increase in water usage. A simple replacement will fix this problem.
8. Sluggish Flushing
Blocked leachfeilds can cause this common plumbing problem. Only homes which have septic tanks will have this problem if the leachfeild is blocked, but in ordinary toilets, the problem is usually caused by clogging or lack of water. By cleaning the leachfeild in a septic tank, or unclogging the debris in a normal toilet, the problem will be resolved.
There are many common plumbing problems which can plague your toilet. So, it is important to always seek a professional opinion.
9. Broken Radiators
The last of the common plumbing problems on this list is a broken radiator. When we say ‘broken radiator’, we are referring to radiators which do not expel heat as they should. The main reason for this is usually trapped air which prevents warm water from circulating in your radiator properly. This can cause cold spots and uneven heating which makes heating a room take far longer and more expensive. Air can get trapped in your radiator through small leaks caused by loose spindles and valves. The best way to solve this problem is to bleed your radiator. You can do this by first turning your heating off entirely, waiting for the radiators to cool, and releasing the bleed valve. A hissing sound is your indication that you’ve released the valve enough. Some black water may be expelled from the valve, but this is normal. Once the hissing stops, close the valve. You’re not trying to flush your radiator, just bleed it.
If your radiator isn’t hissing, there’s a chance it is simply blocked. Closing the inlet and outlet valve at each end of the radiator, removing the screw from the centre of the bleed valve, and inserting the radiator key to turn a quarter anti-clockwise can remedy the blockage. Be sure not to open this valve too much, as excess water will be leaked.
If the pressure gauge on your boiler is normal, you have completed the bleed successfully.