(064) 602 6792

Cape Town

(066)126 8306

7 Worst Plumbing Problems and How to Solve Them

worst plumbing problems - drain cleaning.

Plumbing problems can be a homeowner’s nightmare. From leaky faucets to backed-up toilets, these issues can disrupt your daily life and potentially lead to costly repairs if not addressed promptly. 

The good news is that many common plumbing problems have straightforward solutions, and some can even be fixed without professional help. In this guide, we’ll delve into the 7 most common plumbing problems and provide practical solutions to help you regain control of your home’s plumbing.

1. Leaky Faucets

The Problem: Drip, drip, drip – a leaky faucet can be incredibly annoying. It’s not just the sound; it’s also the wasted water and the potential for higher water bills.

The Solution: Most faucet leaks occur due to a worn-out or damaged washer. Turn off the faucet’s water supply, remove the handle, and change the washer. If you’re not comfortable doing this, a plumber can take care of it quickly.

2. Clogged Drains

The Problem: Slow-draining sinks or tubs can be caused by a buildup of hair, soap scum, or debris.

The Solution: For minor clogs, you can try using a plunger or a drain snake to clear the blockage. Chemical drain cleaners can also be effective, but use them sparingly as they can damage pipes. Prevent future clogs by using drain screens to catch hair and debris.

3. Running Toilets

The Problem: A toilet that keeps running long after you’ve flushed can waste a substantial amount of water and money.

The Solution: Lift the tank lid and check the chain, flapper, and fill valve. Adjust or replace any parts that appear damaged or misaligned. If the issue persists, it may be a problem with the float or the flush valve, which might require professional repair.

4. Low Water Pressure

The Problem: When your water pressure suddenly drops, it can make tasks like showering or washing dishes frustrating.

The Solution: Check for mineral buildup in your faucet aerators or showerheads. Remove and clean them if necessary. If this doesn’t solve the issue, there could be a hidden leak in your plumbing system. In that case, calling a professional plumber is the wisest choice.

5. Water Heater Issues

The Problem: No one enjoys a cold shower. If your water heater isn’t providing hot water or you notice strange noises coming from it, there might be an issue.

The Solution: Start by checking the thermostat on the water heater. Ensure it’s set to the appropriate temperature. If the water still isn’t hot, there could be a problem with the heating element or a sediment buildup. For complex issues, it’s wise to consult a plumber or water heater specialist.

6. Burst or Leaking Pipes

The Problem: Burst or leaking pipes can cause significant water damage to your home.

The Solution: Immediately turn off the water supply to your home to prevent further damage. If the issue is a minor leak, it might be possible to repair it with a pipe clamp or patch kit. For burst pipes or major leaks, it’s essential to call a professional plumber for immediate repair.

7. Toilet Backups

The Problem: A clogged toilet that overflows is a common and distressing issue.

The Solution: If you notice your toilet is about to overflow, remove the tank lid and press down on the flapper to stop additional water from entering the bowl. Then, use a plunger to unclog it. If this doesn’t work, a toilet auger can help break up more stubborn blockages. To avoid future backups, be cautious about what you flush – only toilet paper and human waste should be going down the drain.

Preventive Maintenance Tips for Your Plumbing Problems

  1. Regularly clean your drains and pipes: Prevent clogs by periodically cleaning your drains with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, followed by hot water.
  2. Invest in a water softener: If you live in an area with hard water, consider installing a water softener to reduce mineral buildup in your plumbing.
  3. Schedule annual plumbing inspections: Professional plumbers can identify and fix minor issues before they become major problems.
  4. Be cautious with what you flush: Avoid flushing items like wipes, sanitary products, and paper towels, as they can cause blockages in your pipes.
  5. Insulate pipes in cold weather: Prevent frozen pipes in winter by insulating them and letting faucets drip during freezing temperatures.

When to Call a Professional

While many plumbing problems can be solved with DIY efforts, some situations call for professional help. Here are some indications that it’s time to call a professional plumber:

  • Multiple clogs: If you have multiple clogged drains in your home, there may be an issue deeper in the plumbing system.
  • Low water pressure: Persistent low water pressure could indicate a hidden leak or other serious problem.
  • Persistent leaks: If a leak keeps coming back, it might be a sign of more significant plumbing issues.
  • Complex water heater problems: Water heater issues can be tricky, and fixing them often requires professional expertise.


Dealing with common plumbing problems doesn’t have to be a source of stress. With a little knowledge and the right tools, you can often tackle these issues yourself. However, you must know your limitations.

When in doubt or when facing more complex problems, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber. By taking action promptly and staying on top of preventive maintenance, you can keep your home’s plumbing in good shape, saving you money and frustration in the long run.

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.