Plumbing issues can be difficult, expensive, and time consuming for any home owner, but could be crippling for a new homeowner who’s never had to deal with one before.

tackling common plumbing

You may be able to fix some things on your own with the right resources at your fingertips, like a home maintenance manual or YouTube video, but if you cannot, then being able to at least diagnose the problem can make it easier for you to hire a professional plumber to get the job done.

Here are a few common plumbing problems you may encounter and ways to overcome them.

1. Broken pipes

Many municipalities, including Elk River, Zimmerman, and even smaller communities like Mora face aging infrastructure, and that includes gas, sewer and water pipes that are coming to the end of their useful life. Of course, some of the pipe replacement is the city’s responsibility, but some of the financial burden will fall on local residents and homeowners.

When it comes to broken water pipes there are a few common signs you should be aware of. Signs of a major leak could be reduced water pressure, damp spots in your yard, or a sewer smell in the house. If you notice any of these things it’s important you contact a professional licensed plumber right away.

2. Leaking faucets

Leaking faucets can run up your water bill and cause damage if the pooling leaks in a place you can’t see. Even a slow drip can cost you significantly each week. But, in most cases, the cause is something that could take you minutes to fix such as a faulty seal on the valve holding back the pressure of your water supply. 

To fix this, turn off the water supply and then remove the faucet assembly. Usually, the problem is the seat washer or the cartridge. Take the old washer or cartridge with you when you go to buy a replacement, as you’ll need one exactly the same size. 

3. Slow drains

When trying to diagnose slow drains there are a couple of clues to consider. For example… if only one drain has slowed, it’s likely to be a localized clog. So, in this case, the first thing you want to do is inspect the drain and see if anything obvious is clogging it or try using a plunger to clear it. You can use a toilet plunger or you can purchase a plunger designed specifically for sinks.

If this doesn’t work you can try putting a half cup of baking soda down the drain and chase it with a half cup of vinegar. The reaction between the vinegar and soda causes a strong bubbling effect that will help loosen grease and gunk from the pipe walls. Let it sit for a couple hours then send down some boiling water to wash it out.

If you believe there’s a big grease build up problem in your pipes then you may want to use a stronger concoction. Mix a half cup of salt and a half cup of baking soda with a pot of hot water. Pour this down the pipe and let it sit overnight.

If you experience constant drain problems, look into having the pipes inspected, professionally blown out or snaked, or possibly replaced. 

4. Toilet problems

If you’re not getting enough water in the tank to fully flush the bowl, try bending the float arm up just a bit. This will allow the tank to fill higher before the water turns off.

If there’s plenty of water in the tank but not enough makes it into the bowl, check the tank ball on the flush valve and consider resetting the guide.

If neither of those solutions work, there could be buildup from hard water in the small holes that sit under the rim of the inside seat. These small holes are where the water comes out, and buildup can block the water.

You can try using a mirror to inspect them and a wire coat hanger to unclog them.

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