common plumbing problems

Mastering DIY Solutions for Common Plumbing Problems: Your Go-To Guide

Every homeowner, especially those with older properties, is no stranger to a common plumbing problem. These can range from dripping faucets to clogged drains or even more complex issues like broken pipes. In contrast, many of these problems are minor and can be tackled with some basic knowledge, a good set of tools, and a dose of patience. However, others certainly demand the expertise of a seasoned plumbing professional. Some issues can escalate quickly, risking damage to your home and pocket. Moreover, many homeowners may not realize that with consistent maintenance, you can eliminate many of these plumbing challenges entirely. Regular check-ups, understanding the basics of your home’s plumbing system, and staying proactive can save you both time and money in the long run.

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My Toilet Won’t Stop Running

On an average basis, a toilet with a leaking drain can result in the wastage of approximately 200 gallons of water per day, corresponding to a total of 6000 gallons each month. Typically, the main culprit behind this issue is a deteriorated toilet flapper. Replacing it is a budget-friendly solution that doesn’t require advanced DIY skills. While most toilet leaks might be audible, some could prove more elusive. To detect a potential leak, follow these steps:

  • Introduce a few drops of food coloring into your toilet tank.
  • Wait for approximately fifteen minutes.
  • Inspect your toilet bowl.

If the water remains clear, your toilet is functioning properly. However, if the water is tinted, a leak is present.

WaterSense for Water Conservation. A Common Plumbing Problem

My Water Pressure is Low When I Take a Shower

I’ve noticed a decrease in water pressure during my showers. Troubleshooting this issue is advisable to examine whether low water pressure is affecting other areas of the house as well. If the problem seems confined to the shower, a potential solution involves removing the showerhead. By placing it inside a securely sealed plastic bag containing white distilled vinegar and allowing it to soak overnight, you can effectively address the issue of limescale and mineral deposits arising from hard water. These deposits are often responsible for hindering optimal water flow, resulting in reduced water pressure. By taking these proactive steps, you can restore the enjoyable water pressure you deserve for a revitalizing shower experience.

My Outdoor Spigot Continues to Drip

The persistent dripping from my spigot has become a concern. Over time, the wear and tear on our outdoor spigot, also known as a hose bibb, can lead to this dripping issue. The good news is that replacing the outdoor spigot is well within the capabilities of the average do-it-yourself enthusiast. Taking fast action is advisable rather than delaying the repair of your dripping faucet any further. 

Consider this: Even a seemingly minor drip, occurring about 20 times per minute, can accumulate into a significant waste of water. A dripping spigot can squander as much as 86 gallons of water each month, translating to a staggering 1052 gallons annually. This not only puts a strain on the environment but also impacts your wallet, adding up to an estimated cost of approximately $21.82 per year. Opting for a prudent solution, such as investing in a quality brass hose bibb, can make a notable difference. The cost of a brass hose bibb, which typically amounts to just over $15.00, is a modest investment compared to the potential financial and environmental losses caused by prolonged dripping. Addressing this issue ensures efficient water usage and demonstrates your commitment to sustainability and responsible home maintenance.

Dripping Faucets Are Another Common Plumbing Problem

Like all fixtures and appliances in our household, faucets undergo wear and tear over time. When confronted with a leaky faucet, it’s worth considering the replacement option over immediate repair. Typically, when a faucet begins to leak, it often indicates that it’s reached the age of around eight to ten years, if not older. This sign of age and deterioration can serve as an indicator that a more sustainable solution might be in order.

Curious about the environmental impact and potential wastage associated with your leaking faucet? You can gain insight into the extent of water wastage by utilizing a drip calculator, which provides a clearer picture of the water loss due to the leak. Embracing technology to understand the potential consequences of a leaky faucet helps you make informed decisions and underlines your commitment to responsible water usage practices. Remember, taking proactive steps can make a significant difference in conserving water resources and maintaining the efficiency of your home’s water systems.

energy efficient plumbing fixtures

The Drains in Our Bathroom Are Slow-Moving

This is probably the most common, especially if you have teenagers. The drains in the bathroom move slowly because, over time, soap, hair products, toothpaste, phlegm, hair, shaving cream, and skin cells cling to the drain creating a bacteria called black slime or black sludge. You have several options for clearing it. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, remove the sink stopper and remove the clog with a coat hanger or a Zipp-It.

The main clog is usually wrapped around the stopper or is accessible from the top of the drain. Once you remove the ball of hair and black slime, pour boiling water down the drain. You can also clean the drain with vinegar and baking soda. However, If you are not a do-it-yourselfer, you can use a gel-type drain cleaner. Another option for black slime clogs is an organic drain cleaner such as Green Gobbler, Eco Punch, Bio-Clean, or Drainbo, an all-natural drain cleaner. 

A Clogged Toilet Leads Our List of Common Plumbing Problems

In the majority of instances, a blocked toilet presents a straightforward solution. The recommended tool for every household to possess is a plunger, serving as the primary tool for fixing toilet clogs. This action creates a vacuum effect that dislodges the blockage. Position the plunger correctly so it maintains strong suction throughout the process. This step typically resolves the issue; however, if it proves ineffective, your attention might need to shift toward utilizing a compact closet toilet auger. 

These augers are specialized tools designed to navigate the twists and turns of the toilet’s plumbing to reach and break up stubborn clogs. These handy tools can be easily acquired at Home Depot for a minor amount, making them an affordable and practical addition to your household maintenance supplies. Alternatively, investing in a handheld auger could be beneficial if the clog persists. These augers, which extend up to 25 feet, offer an extended reach and enhanced capabilities for tackling more challenging clogs. Despite their increased reach, they are still user-friendly. You can purchase one for less than $30. With their effectiveness and versatility, the compact closet toilet auger and the handheld 25-foot auger constitute valuable assets in maintaining a smoothly running household.

A Broken Water Heater is Another Common Plumbing Problem

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend fixing your water heater yourself—a water heater, whether gas or electric, should only be repaired by a plumbing professional. But there are some things the average do-it-yourselfer homeowner can do, such as light the pilot and perform annual maintenance, which requires draining the tank and removing sediment. A water heater has an 8 to 12-year life cycle. You can extend that by draining the water and sediment from your tank once a year.

The Sewer Line is Backing Up

If your sewer lines are backing up, then all drains in your home are either moving slowly or not at all. If the problem is isolated to one drain in your home, then the focus should be on clearing that one drain. We’ll assume that the problem is with your sewer main. A clogged sewer line is no common plumbing problem, so we recommend calling your plumbing expert. There is a practical side to clearing a sewer main because it would require renting a commercial plumber’s snake and then going through the cleanout to reach the clog. Sometimes, an industrial snake will not do the trick, especially if tree roots cause the problem.

I Have a Jammed Garbage Disposal

Unjamming your garbage disposal is something every homeowner or renter can accomplish. When purchased, every garbage disposal comes with a “jam buster wrench.” If you isolate the problem to one drain in your home, then you should focus on clearing that one drain. It looks like a double-sided Allen wrench. You can purchase one at any home center for less than $8. I’ve seen them for as little as $2. Insert the wrench into the bottom of your disposal and move it back and forth – applying significant pressure. You have accomplished your goal once you can get the “jam buster wrench” to spin freely. Next to the place where your wrench is a red overload protector button – make sure you reset it. Turn on the water and disposal if it jams. You might have to repeat the process.

Top-Notch Plumbing Services and a Hassle-Free Experience 

At Big B’s Plumbing, we understand that a common plumbing problem can disrupt the comfort and functionality of your home. These issues can be frustrating and inconvenient, from leaky faucets to clogged toilets. However, our team of dedicated plumbing experts provides effective solutions that restore peace to your household. By promptly addressing problems like leaky faucets, we prevent wasted water and potential damage to your property. Our skilled technicians are well-equipped to diagnose the root causes of plumbing issues and implement lasting solutions.

We take pride in offering affordable and accessible solutions. Whether it’s a minor repair or a more involved issue, our goal is to provide you with a hassle-free experience and a smooth plumbing system. Remember, our commitment to excellence ensures that no common plumbing problem is too big or small for us to handle.

Brandon and Family, Licensed plumbing contractor

Family Owned & Operated

My name is Brandon Mageno. I'm the founder, President, and CEO of Big B's Plumbing Company. As the founder, I never thought about being average or good. My passion for being the best plumbing company in Southern California has always been the same. Providing plumbing services to this great county is simply in my DNA. Nothing makes me happier than to see a satisfied customer. Learn More About Us

What People Are Saying...

I called Big B's Plumbing because I the hot water would not turn off in our master bathroom. I tried to turn the valve off under the sink and it broke off, so I had to shut off the main water to the house. It was noticeable the valves were original to the home. When I called, the rep stated that I would be informed about the service tech and their experience along with services offered "On The Spot". I was on a bit of a time crunch...
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Found them on Google and they had good quality reviews. Made the call and set up the appointment for same day. Dispatch called me a few hours later to confirm our appointment and let me know that the technician Mathew was on the way. This was supposed to be an easy job once Mathew arrived. But it turned out to be so much more than that. Without hesitation or a sour look on his face, he dove deep into his van...
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Jeremy T

Randy was very knowledgeable and professional. He helped us figure out what we could do with the space given for our bathroom with our remodel. He picked out perfect fixtures and the work he did was beautiful. The cleaned up properly when they were done and everything was handled in one day! I will be calling for Randy anytime we have any plumbing needs. Thank you for doing such a great job!
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