When it comes to home drainage, a lot of plumbing problems can happen. From toilet issues to pipe problems, the potential for plumbing catastrophes is around every corner of your home — literally.
It’s important to maintain every aspect of your home’s plumbing anatomy, from the washing machine and dishwasher to small water-based appliances and drainage systems. While you’re performing plumbing maintenance, watch out for Warner Service’s warning signs of a plumbing catastrophe:
- The toilet is blocked or clogged. This is one of the most common plumbing problems, whether it’s because your kid turned the toilet into a small bathtub for a stray kitten or because they flushed a Happy Meal toy.
- You throw grease and/or leftover bones down the kitchen disposal. Hard materials like chicken bones and eggshells aren’t meant to be shredded by the tiny blades of a kitchen disposal.
Though the blades are powerful, throwing these leftovers down the drain causes the blades to break and fall into the pipes, leading to costly damage.
Fats and oils also cause clogging due to their sticky properties. Avoid putting celery, carrots, and potato peels down the disposal, too.
- Flushing turns the shower water cold. Older homes come with pipes that aren't conducive to taking a hot shower and flushing the toilet simultaneously. The real solution is to reduce how quickly the toilet uses water.
- You find a frozen pipe. If you turn on the faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. If one pipe freezes, it’s likely that others have frozen, so check every faucet.
Turn on your faucet and keep the water running at a constant slow drip. Apply heat to only the frozen section of the pipe by using an electric heating pad, hair dryer, portable space heater, or warm water-soaked towels. Apply heat until the water pressure is fully restored.
Warning: Don’t use any device that has an open flame or chemically flammable properties.
- The toilet overflows. You hit the handle one too many times, and water started spilling over. Has it been a little too cold outside?
How do you fix toilet overflow? Prevent this plumbing problem with Warner Service’s Your Toilet’s Running; Better Go Catch It: How to Fix an Overflow.
- The water heater is too hot. When a water heater is first installed, professionals turn its temperature to around 170 degrees Fahrenheit just in case.
However, many homes don’t require that much steam and pressure. This winter, turn down the water heater between 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent a burst or leak (and reduce heating costs between 6 to 10 percent).
Tip: To be more environmentally friendly, contact an expert during the warmer months about installing a tankless water heater or going solar.
- Water gathers. If water is on the floor around your toilet, fix the problem right away to avoid moisture damaging the subfloor. Check the tightness of the tank bolts, fill valve/ballcock, mounting nut, and supply tube coupling nut. You may need to replace the washers.
If it's humid and water is dripping from the side of the tank, it's condensation. Use proper ventilation or purchase a toilet liner kit, a foam panel placed inside the tank.
Water leakage may also be caused by a wax ring that no longer seals or a cracked toilet base. If the toilet leaks constantly, the toilet base is cracked and must be replaced. If leaking occurs during or after a flush, replace the wax ring.
- The toilet handle won’t budge. Lowe’s suggests removing the tank cover and cleaning the mounting nut (located on the inside behind the handle) for smooth operation. If a buildup of lime is around the mounting nut, clean it with a brush dipped in vinegar.
If you’re a prepared homeowner, you don’t worry about water pipes whistling or a water heater knocking sound.
However, if you need some extra help avoiding plumbing catastrophes, download Warner Service’s Plumbing Maintenance Checklist by clicking on the button below. As always, our experts are available to assist you in a plumbing emergency.