5 Common Plumbing Issues and What to Do About Them

Plumbing problems range from the annoying tap drip to the leak in the wall that eventually becomes a flood. We all want to address these problems ourselves to save on water, frustration and money. However, it is an area where most of us aren’t sure what the right solution is.

Here are five common plumbing problems and what to do about them – including the times you can fix it yourself for free and the times you must call a professional.

Clogged Drains

Clogged drains are first evidenced by water slow to drain until it will not drain at all. Whether it is human hair bound to soap scum, skin particles, grease or other substances, you want to clear the drain so the sink or tub can clear. The first step is to remove the drain stopper and clean it. Second, you can use a drain plunger to try to loosen the mass, though you’ll want to block the overflow drain so the material doesn’t end up clogging that drain instead. If this doesn’t work, you’ll want to call in a plumber with a drain snake. In the future, use a hair strainer over the drain.

If you’re dealing with a kitchen clog, don’t try to rinse food down the sink drain if you don’t have a garbage disposal, and don’t pour grease down the kitchen drain. In the case of grease, it will layer the pipes the way fat is supposed to clog your arteries, but instead of a heart attack, the pipes close up and the food disposal, if you have one, is subject to seizing instead. If your garbage disposal needs to be replaced or you want to have one installed, contact a professional.

Clogged Toilets

Clogged toilets typically occur when you have a mass that cannot break apart or dissolve. If you have a very large mass of faeces, for example, use a plunger to try to break it up. A plunger is more likely to work in this case than if would if someone accidentally flushed a nappy down the drain, but it is cheap save for your elbow grease. If all else fails, you should contact a plumber. They can clear the pipe whether the clog is in the toilet itself, the pipes, or down at the street. And only a plumber has the tools to clear roots in the wastewater line that may be causing the toilet to clog.

Let’s talk about prevention. Don’t flush feminine hygiene products don’t the drain. Don’t let someone flush wipes that aren’t designed for it down the toilet, and flushing too many at one time can cause a clog.

Leaking Boiler

The cause of a leaky boiler is often hard to diagnose, as you need to first work out where the leak is actually coming from. Most commonly, a leak will occur due to a broken pressure/temperature valve or a broken seal. This plumbing issue can be serious in some cases, as a leak could cause the electricals to short circuit. If your gas boiler is leaking, you need to take even more caution.

To ensure your safety, get in touch with plumbers who cover boiler repair and leave it to them to fix. Another safety tip recommended by Plumbing Care Services (who are plumbers in Cheltenham) is to have your gas boiler checked annually for any problems as to avoid serious problems. You can read more about the need for this and other plumbing services at

Kitchen Sink Backups

We’ve already addressed the issue with food grease clogging the pipes. However, sometimes it is caused by food particles or excess soap particles clogging it. You can try to clear it by running hot water down the drain to soften it. Add a dollop of liquid dish detergent to break it up and flush it with hot water for five more minutes. The soap will help break up any food stuck together. Then use a plunger to try to shake it loose, followed by a rinse with hot water. If this doesn’t work, you can try a chemical drain opener. Remember to be careful of any backsplash from chemical drain cleaner, since it will irritate your skin. If all else fails, contact a plumber.

Dishwasher Flooding

Dishwashers may flood or fail to drain for several reasons. Clogged drains for the whole household will affect other drains before the average dishwasher overflows. You can check the dishwasher drain yourself in case last night’s mashed potatoes and gravy is caked on the drain cover, preventing it from draining. If there is a bit of food stuck in the air gap used to send dirty water to the kitchen drain, you may be able to take off the hose and clear it yourself. If the dishwasher drain hose is clogged, you may be able to shift the appliance so it drains properly. If the dishwasher has a grease clog in its hoses and pipes or cannot get enough water because of leaking intake pipes, you’ll want to call a plumber.

If the dishwasher takes forever to fill, this could mean the water intake valve needs to be cleaned or replaced. If that isn’t the issue, it is a sign of low water pressure that a plumber needs to address since it may be due to a water leak somewhere upstream.

While some plumbing issues can be caused by negligence and fixed with a little know how, it is sometimes better to ask for help from a reputable plumber. However, keep these few tips in mind next time you’re experiencing issues with your plumbing system, the issue might not be as serious as you may think.

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