Common plumbing problems and how to fix them

There are some common plumbing problems that everyone is likely to encounter at some point, so knowing what causes these issues and how to address them can help better prepare you. That said, sometimes the issue can be invisible, which makes it hard to recognise that there is something amiss. So, how do you know if you have plumbing problems?

Here at Nuflow, we’ve identified the issues we come across most often as well as the common causes. It’s important to be able to diagnose plumbing problems, and know what to do when they arise to make sure they don’t get progressively worse.

Blocked pipes and drains

Luckily, it’s pretty obvious when you’re facing issues with a blocked pipe or drain. The signs are immediate, whether it be a slow-emptying sink or shower water that doesn’t want to go down the drain. It’s best to tackle this plumbing problem quickly, and prevent it from becoming a much bigger issue.

What causes it?

There are a few things that might be clogging up your pipes and drains. It could be:

  • a blockage, like a build-up of fats, oils, scum, hair, or food scraps that have been washed down the sink
  • poorly planned configuration, causing things to get trapped in a bend or protruding junction
  • tree roots that have made their way into your pipes through tiny cracks and grown out to fill the space
  • a break or split in the pipe, which has trapped matter or caused soil to collapse inside it

At Nuflow, we’ve even seen cases of cement finding its way into a pipe during construction and solidifying later!

How to fix it

It could be a quick fix, so it’s always a good idea to try clearing it yourself first. You can do this by pouring boiling water down the drain to loosen up any build-ups. If that doesn’t work, have a crack with a plunger or some chemical drain cleaning products.

If the issue still isn’t resolved, you’ll need to call in professional help. They can use pressure cleaners to blast away blockages, and if needed, Nuflow’s pipe relining can fix any breaks with minimal disruption.

Leaking taps

The washer is a part within your tap that sits on something called a valve seat. These pieces work together to form the tap’s seal at the base and stop water getting through. When the washer gets damaged, or the valve seat is corroded, this can cause the tap to leak. It’s the same for the O ring, which sits just under the handle cover. If it gets worn out, water will start to drip through. It can also be a case of a bad installation.

What causes it?

The washer is a part within your tap that sits on something called a valve seat. These pieces work together to form the tap’s seal at the base and stop water getting through. When the washer gets damaged, or the valve seat is corroded, this can cause the tap to leak. It’s the same for the O ring, which sits just under the handle cover. If it gets worn out, water will start to drip through. It can also be a case of a bad installation.

How to fix it

If you feel confident with a bit of DIY, you can take your tap apart and check the condition of the O ring, washer, and valve seat. If anything looks to be on its last legs, you can choose to replace it yourself.

When problems persist, or you don’t feel confident tackling it on your own, you may have to call in an expert. This job is much easier to do with professional plumbing tools and you can rest assured knowing it’s been fixed correctly.  

Low water pressure 

Low water pressure can be one of the most frustrating plumbing problems out there. You’ll likely know as soon as you turn on your water and are met with a disappointing drip that your water pressure is low. It makes simple tasks, like washing the dishes or showering, much more difficult than they have to be – not to mention annoying!  Weak water pressure can come on with no warning or gradually get worse over time.  

What causes it?

You might find the dip in your water pressure is be due to a water main break. If your neighbours are experiencing the same thing, this is likely the cause. Otherwise, it might be due to a build-up of calcium, minerals, or sediment in your taps and showerheads, or in the pipes themselves. These build-ups significantly slow your water flow.

How to fix it

First things first, get in and get your hands dirty by giving your taps and shower heads a good clean. We recommend unscrewing the ends so you can remove the aerators, and soaking them in vinegar or other cleaning products to eliminate any calcium build up. If that doesn’t solve the issue, the build-up may be in the pipe itself. A professional can clear this with a pressure cleaner, and blast away any sediment that’s impacting your water flow.

Backed up sewer    

This is a big one, and probably the worst plumbing problem to deal with. But how do know it’s happening? Well, you could be facing a number of smaller issues that might seem unrelated, like multiple drain and toilet blockages, but these are symptoms of a much larger problem. Plus, there will be a pretty nasty smell permeating through your home.

What causes it?

Your backed up sewer could be thanks to issues with the main sewer being clogged. Otherwise, old sewer lines are often made from cast iron or clay, making them prone to collapse. These materials, combined with the warm, damp soil that surrounds them, also makes it easy for tree roots to get inside, or to surround and crush your pipes.

How to fix it

Sadly, this is not a problem you can fix on your own. Call in the professionals, and they can assess the damage and let you know whose responsibility it is to get it repaired. If the sewer that’s causing the issues is not on your property, then it falls to the local water authority. If it is on you to correct, the experts can suggest the easiest, most cost-effective method for resolving the plumbing problem. Find out more about responsibilities surrounding pipe ownership here.

Call Nuflow for help

If you’re dealing with plumbing problems related to your pipes, it’s time to give Nuflow a call. We’ll use our CCTV camera to identify and locate the issue, then determine the best way to proceed. Our pressure cleaners can easily remove blockages and build-ups, and if there are any further damages, our pipe relining can save the day. This non-invasive method is cost effective and timely, meaning your plumbing problems will be resolved in no time. Get in touch today.

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