Common Plumbing Problems & How to Fix Them

hand unclogging toilet

Leaky Faucets and Pipes

Dripping Dilemma: DIY Fixes for Leaky Faucets

A leaky faucet is more than just an annoyance; it's a silent budget drainer that can significantly increase your water bill over time. The good news is that with a little know-how and some elbow grease, many faucet leaks can be remedied by homeowners themselves. The first step is identifying your faucet type — compression, cartridge, ball type, or ceramic disk. Each type has its own specific repair method. For example, a compression faucet typically requires a new seat washer, which can be replaced by removing the handle and unscrewing the packing nut. On the other hand, cartridges and ceramic disk faucets may need new O-rings or a replacement cartridge. You can stop that drip and restore peace and quiet to your sink with a few common tools like a wrench, screwdriver, and replacement parts.

Pipe Peril: Patching Up Leaky Pipes

Leaky pipes can cause significant damage to your home if not addressed promptly. While a permanent fix should be left to the professionals, temporary solutions can hold you over until help arrives. For small leaks, a pipe clamp can be a quick fix. This involves placing a rubber pad over the leak and clamping it in place to stop the water flow. For a more substantial but still temporary fix, epoxy compounds can be used to seal leaks. It's important to shut off the water supply before attempting any repairs and to thoroughly dry and clean the pipe area. These temporary measures can prevent water damage and give you some breathing room to schedule a professional repair with a trusted local plumber like Mayes and Sons Plumbing. 

Clogged Drains and Toilets

Drain Disasters: Clearing Up Sink and Shower Clogs

When water starts to back up in your sink or shower, it clearly shows a clogged drain. The culprit is often a buildup of hair, soap scum, and other debris. Consider more environmentally friendly and safer alternatives before reaching for harsh chemical drain cleaners. A plunger can often dislodge clogs, especially if you use it correctly by creating a good seal and applying vigorous plunging action. For more stubborn blockages, a plumber's snake, also known as a drain auger, can be inserted into the drain to break up or retrieve the obstruction. Another method involves baking soda and vinegar, which can create a fizzing action that helps to clear the clog. Regular maintenance, such as using a drain strainer and flushing drains with hot water, can prevent future clogs and keep your plumbing in top shape.

Toilet Troubles: Unclogging Without a Plunger

When faced with a clogged toilet and no plunger in sight, don't panic — there are still options to remedy the situation. One popular method involves hot water and dish soap. Pour a generous amount of dish soap into the toilet bowl, followed by a bucket of hot water from waist height to create pressure and help dislodge the clog. Another tool you can use is a wire coat hanger, straightened and wrapped with a rag to prevent any damage to the toilet bowl. Gently push the hanger into the drain to break up the blockage. These methods can be surprisingly effective, but if the clog persists, it may be time to call in professionals like Mayes & Sons Plumbing Co., who have the expertise and tools to handle even the most stubborn toilet troubles.

Running Toilets and Silent Leaks

Constant Flow: Fixing a Running Toilet

A running toilet can waste an astounding amount of water, leading to an unwelcome spike in your utility bill. Fortunately, fixing a running toilet is often a simple task that doesn't require a plumber's license. Start by removing the tank lid and inspecting the flush mechanism. The problem is often with the flapper or the fill valve. If the flapper is worn or warped, water can continuously leak from the tank into the bowl, and it should be replaced.

Similarly, if the fill valve malfunctions, it may cause the tank to overfill and continuously run. Most hardware stores carry replacement parts; with basic instructions, you can perform these repairs yourself. Remember to shut off the water supply to the toilet before starting any work, and always test the flush mechanism several times after making repairs to ensure the problem is resolved.

Hidden Hazards: Detecting and Repairing Silent Leaks

Silent leaks in your plumbing system can go unnoticed for a long time, but they can be as wasteful and damaging as more obvious leaks. To detect silent leaks, keep an eye on your water bill for any unexplained increases in usage. You can also conduct a dye test by adding a few drops of food coloring to the toilet tank and waiting to see if the color appears in the bowl without flushing. This indicates a leak between the tank and the bowl. Additionally, regularly checking your water meter can reveal hidden leaks. If the meter continues to move while all water is turned off, there's likely a leak somewhere in your system. Once you've identified a silent leak, it may be time to call in the Mayes and Sons Plumbing experts to ensure the repair is done correctly and efficiently.

Low Water Pressure and Dripping Showerheads

Pressure Problems: Solutions for Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure can turn daily routines like showering and washing dishes into frustrating tasks. The cause of low water pressure can vary from clogged aerators to faulty pressure regulators or even issues with the main water line. A simple fix for low pressure at a faucet is to clean the aerator—the screen at the end of the faucet—by unscrewing it and removing any debris. If the problem persists throughout the house, it may be due to a malfunctioning pressure regulator, which will require a professional's touch. In some cases, mineral buildup or corrosion in the pipes could be restricting water flow, which is a more complex issue that definitely calls for the expertise of a plumbing professional. Regularly checking and maintaining these components can help ensure consistent water pressure in your home.

Showerhead Snags: Fixing Drips and Improving Flow

A dripping showerhead or one with weak flow can be a source of irritation and water waste. Often, the issue is caused by mineral deposits blocking the tiny holes in the showerhead. A simple cleaning with vinegar can dissolve these deposits and restore flow. Remove the showerhead and soak it in a bowl of vinegar for several hours, then use a small brush to clean out the openings. Replacing the showerhead may be the best option if it is beyond cleaning or damaged. When it comes to drips, it could be a sign of a worn-out washer or O-ring, which can be replaced following the manufacturer's instructions. Keeping your showerhead clean and in good repair conserves water and makes for a more pleasant shower experience.

Water Heater Issues

Cold Showers: Addressing Water Heater Malfunctions

Stepping into a cold shower can be a rude awakening, and it's often a sign that your water heater needs attention. Common issues with water heaters include faulty heating elements, a tripped circuit breaker, or a malfunctioning thermostat. Resetting the circuit breaker or the high-temperature cutoff for electric water heaters may solve the problem. If your water heater is gas-powered, ensure the pilot light is lit and the gas valve is open. If these quick fixes don't restore hot water, the heating elements or thermostat may need to be replaced. Due to the complexity and potential hazards involved in repairing water heaters, it's advisable to seek professional assistance. Regular inspections and maintenance by a qualified technician can prevent unexpected cold showers and extend the life of your water heater.

Maintenance Musts: Preventing Water Heater Problems

Preventative maintenance is key to avoiding water heater problems and ensuring a consistent hot water supply. One important step is to flush the tank annually to remove sediment that can build up and cause corrosion or reduce heating efficiency. Additionally, checking the pressure relief valve can prevent excessive pressure buildup, which can be dangerous. Inspecting the anode rod, which protects the tank from corrosion, is another critical maintenance task. If the rod is significantly corroded, it should be replaced to prolong the tank's life. By keeping up with these maintenance tasks, you can avoid the inconvenience of water heater malfunctions and potentially costly repairs. For those uncomfortable performing these tasks themselves, Mayes and Sons Plumbing offers professional water heater maintenance services to keep your system running smoothly.

Call Mayes and Sons Plumbing Today

If you're experiencing any of the common plumbing problems listed above and need a helping hand, remember that Mayes and Sons Plumbing is here to assist. Our expert team can provide quick and efficient plumbing services to meet your household's needs. Don't let a small leak become a big problem — contact us today for reliable plumbing services and ensure your home's plumbing system is in top condition.

Call Mayes and Sons Plumbing now at (330) 366-8653 or send us a message online