As the saying goes, “knowledge is power.” That’s why we try to make sure customers around the Fox Cities area are aware of some of the most common plumbing issues homeowners face. That way, you can keep an eye out and possibly prevent these problems from happening at your home. Below, we’re sharing some of the most common plumbing issues that the Watters team sees around the area, as well as some causes and potential easy fixes.
1. Dripping faucets
Most of us have experienced the annoying “drip, drip, drip” noise that comes with a leaky faucet. While this may not seem like a pressing issue to many homeowners, dripping faucets can waste hundreds of gallons of water and cause your water bill to spike. Oftentimes, dripping faucets are caused by a worn-out washer, loose or worn-out O ring, and build-up and corrosion. Sometimes cleaning, tightening, or replacing the broken or worn out part of the faucet can help.
2. Slow drains in sinks and tubs
No one likes a slow drain and dirty water filling up to your bathtub or sink. Generally, slow drains in your bathroom sink, bathtub, or shower come from hair, which can easily get trapped in the drain. Food (and build-up from grease, oil, and fat) is the likely culprit in the kitchen, which is why you should always use a drain strainer and properly scrape dishes before washing in the sink. While those are the most common culprits, we’ve also seen slow drains caused by issues with the sewer line and septic system. Your best defense is to clear hair, food, and other debris from your drain as much as possible. Also, use caution when using chemicals to unclog drains, as those can cause corrosion and other issues with your pipes.
3. Clogged toilets
Yikes. This is possibly the “grossest” item on our list that no one wants to deal with. Yet, it is unfortunately common. Other than the obvious answer, one common cause of clogged toilets is flushing things you shouldn’t, such as diapers, wipes, and feminine products. We’ve also had a number of calls about mischievous youngsters who flushed toys, keys, and other random items down the toilet when their parents weren’t looking. Depending on the age of your toilet, older low-flow toilets have also been problematic. They’re not as well-designed or powerful as today’s models and can develop clogs fairly easily. Many clogs can be fixed with a plunger or simply cutting back on the overuse of toilet paper, but consistent issues or foreign objects may call for a visit from one of the plumbing experts on our team.
4. Low water pressure
There’s nothing worse than low water pressure when you’re trying to shower, wash your hands, or fill up a glass of water. Low water pressure throughout your house can be caused by clogs from a build-up of mineral deposits and other debris, leaks, faulty pressure regulators, too many people using water at once, or possibly a valve issue. Some quick fixes include checking to see if your main shut-off valve is open completely and coordinating with others in the household to reduce using water all at once. If that doesn’t work, a plumbing professional can help diagnose the problem and get you the desired pressure.
5. Jammed or broken garbage disposal
Garbage disposals come in handy — until they don’t work due to clogs or broken parts. The most common cause here is that people aren’t aware of food that shouldn’t go down the garbage disposal, so they put it in and it causes a clog or other damage. Sometimes, things accidentally go down the disposal as well, such as bones or silverware, which causes damage. Your best line of defense here is to closely watch what’s going down the disposal and sort out unwanted items into the trash, compost, etc. Always use caution when reaching your hands or other objects down the disposal..
6. Leaking pipes
Leaking pipes are nothing to mess around with. In addition to high water bills, they can cause water damage, mold, and other major issues. Generally, leaky or dripping pipes are caused by broken seals around appliances or connectors, clogs from food and other debris, corrosion and damage due to age, or even tree roots. You’ll likely need to work with a plumbing professional to correct leaking or damaged pipes right away.
7. Frozen pipes
This is a common issue here in the Fox Cities and Green Bay area. We receive our fair share of calls about it every winter. As you likely guessed, frozen pipes are caused by the cold temperatures we get here in our frigid Wisconsin winters. Opening cupboard doors and keeping your home at 55 degrees or higher, even when you’re out of town, can help keep pipes from freezing and bursting.
8. Running toilets
This may not seem like a huge problem, but running toilets are common and can quickly cost homeowners hundreds of dollars on their water bill. Generally, toilets run due to a failed flapper seal or flush valve, a leaky fill valve, or an old or corroded handle. These are all pretty easy and cost-effective fixes.
9. Sump pump backup/failure
We get calls about sump pump failures and issues every spring when the snow starts to melt here in Wisconsin. Most sump pump issues are caused by problems with the switch, power failure, improper installation, and lack of maintenance. You’ll want to be sure that you check your sump pump regularly and have the right size pump for your home.
10. DIY mistakes
While this isn’t a plumbing issue per se, we often get calls from well-meaning DIYers who got in over their head with a bathroom remodel or plumbing project. Mistakes happen when homeowners don’t have the necessary expertise, tools, or products to pull off whatever project they’re working on, which can lead to costly plumbing mishaps.
The Top X Plumbing Mistakes DIYers Make
Work with Watters Plumbing
Hopefully, this helps you and your family prevent some of these common plumbing issues in your own home. If you’re experiencing any of the above plumbing problems or other plumbing-related issues, our team of expert plumbing professionals is standing by 24/7.
Request an estimate or give us a call.