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10 Best Quick Fixes for Common Plumbing Problems

plumbing problems

Plumbing problems have a knack for showing up at the most inconvenient times, like when you’re about to take a relaxing shower or host a dinner party. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a professional plumber to handle some common plumbing issues. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through quick fixes for those pesky problems that can occur in any home. So, roll up your sleeves, grab some basic tools, and let’s tackle these plumbing woes together!

1. Dripping Faucets

That relentless drip, drip, drip sound from a faucet can drive anyone crazy. Not only is it a nuisance, but it’s also a waste of money and water. Here’s how to stop that drip:

Fix: First, turn off the supply of water to the contrived faucet. Then, remove the handle using a screwdriver or an Allen wrench, depending on the type of faucet. 

Once the handle is off, you’ll likely find a small cartridge or washer that needs replacing. Head to your local hardware store, get the appropriate replacement part and follow the instructions to install it. Turn the water supply back on, and bid bye to the drip!

2. Running Toilet

A running toilet is another plumbing woe that can make your water bill skyrocket. It’s not only wasteful but can also keep you up at night. Here’s how to fix it:

Fix: Remove the lid from the toilet tank and inspect the flapper valve at the bottom. If it’s not sealing properly, it could be allowing water to escape into the bowl. 

Try adjusting the chain length to ensure a tight seal. If that doesn’t work, you may need to replace the flapper, which you can find at a hardware store. Alternatively, you can replace the entire flush valve if it’s old and worn.

3. Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure can make even the simplest tasks, like showering or washing dishes, frustrating. Here’s a quick fix:

Fix: First, remove the aerator from the end of your faucet spout. This small mesh piece can accumulate debris over time, causing a decrease in water pressure. 

Clean it thoroughly and screw it back on. If this doesn’t solve the problem, check other faucets in your home to see if the low pressure is isolated to one fixture. If it’s a widespread issue, you might need to consult a professional to assess and fix the problem.

4. Clogged Sink or Shower Drain

A clogged sink or shower drain can put a damper on your daily routine. No one wants to stand in ankle-deep water while showering or have a sink that won’t drain properly. Here’s a quick fix:

Fix: Try a plunger first. Set the plunger over the drain and build a seal. Push and pull the plunger strenuously to dislodge the clog. If that doesn’t work, you can use a simple DIY drain cleaning solution. 

Pour a mixture of equal parts baking soda and vinegar down the drain, followed by hot water. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then flush with more hot water. For tougher clogs, you may need a drain snake or auger to clear the obstruction.

5. Leaky Pipe

A leaky pipe can cause water damage to your home if not addressed promptly. Here’s a quick fix to stop the leak temporarily:

Fix: Turn off the supply of water to the distressed area. Next, wrap the leaky pipe with rubber or silicone tape, which can provide a temporary seal until you can make a more permanent repair. However, note that this is only a short-term fix. You’ll need to replace or repair the damaged section of the pipe as soon as possible.

6. Frozen Pipes

If you live in a cold climate, frozen pipes can be a real headache. They can burst and cause extensive damage to your plumbing system. Here’s what to do if you suspect frozen pipes:

Fix: First, turn off the supply of water to the area of concern. Then, open the faucet connected to the frozen pipe slightly to relieve pressure and allow melting ice to escape. You can use a hairdryer or a space heater to gently warm the pipe and thaw the ice. Never use open flames or high heat, as this can damage the pipe. Once the pipe has thawed, keep a close eye on it for leaks and insulate it to prevent future freezing.

7. Noisy Pipes (Water Hammer)

A water hammer is that loud banging noise you hear when you turn off a faucet or a valve. It’s caused by a sudden change in water flow. Here’s a quick fix to quiet those noisy pipes:

Fix: Install water hammer arrestors, which are devices designed to absorb the shock and prevent the banging sound. You can find these at your local hardware store, and they’re relatively easy to install. Simply turn off the water supply, drain the pipes, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to attach the arrestors to the problem valves.

8. Smelly Drains

A foul odor that comes forth from your drains can be unpleasant. It’s often caused by a buildup of organic matter in the pipes. Here’s how to freshen things up:

Fix: Pour a mixture of baking soda and vinegar down the drain, followed by hot water. This can help break down and flush away the organic matter causing the odor. You can also try flushing the drain with a mixture of lemon juice and hot water for a natural, pleasant fragrance.

9. Leaking Water Heater

A leaking water heater can result in damage and inflate your energy bills. Here’s a quick fix to contain the leak until you can address it properly:

Fix: Turn off the power supply or gas to the water heater and the water supply to the unit. Place a bucket or a container under the leak to catch the water. You can also attach a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater and direct it into a bucket or a floor drain. 

Remember, this is just a temporary measure. You’ll need to consult a professional plumber to determine the cause of the leak and repair or replace the water heater.

10. Stuck Garbage Disposal

When your garbage disposal gets jammed or stuck, it can disrupt your kitchen routine. Here’s a quick fix to get it running smoothly again:

Fix: First, turn off the power supply to the garbage disposal to ensure your safety. Underneath the disposal, you’ll find an Allen wrench socket. Insert an Allen wrench into the socket and manually turn it clockwise and counterclockwise to dislodge the obstruction. Once it moves freely, turn the power back on and test the disposal.

When to Call a Professional for Plumbing Problems

While these quick fixes can handle many common plumbing problems, there are instances when it’s best to call a professional plumber:

  • Burst pipes or major pipes that need immediate attention.
  • Sewage backups or strong sewer odors in your home.
  • No hot water or persistent issues with your water heater.
  • Gas line issues, such as gas leaks are hazardous and require expert handling.
  • Complex plumbing installations or extensive pipe repairs.

If you’re ever unsure about your ability to fix a plumbing problem or if the issue is beyond your DIY skills, it’s safer and more cost-effective to call in a professional plumber. They have the knowledge and tools to diagnose and resolve plumbing issues efficiently and effectively.

In Conclusion

In summary, quick fixes for common plumbing problems are invaluable for homeowners, saving both time and money. These solutions prevent minor issues from escalating into major headaches. However, remember that professional help is crucial for more complex problems to ensure the long-term health of your plumbing system.

Louw Bros Plumbing: Your Trusted Partner for Comprehensive Plumbing Solutions

With branches in Cape Town, Plettenberg Bay, and Knysna, Louw Bros Plumbing offers a wide range of expert services, from leak detection and geyser installation to drainage maintenance and emergency repairs, ensuring the highest quality and customer satisfaction across South Africa.