Common Plumbing Issues with Quick Fixes

plumbing problems at home

When we suddenly get a plumbing issue at home it can be very stressful and it is highly likely we are going to have to call upon the services of a plumber or even have to use the emergency plumber option – Both are expensive and if we try to put off any plumbing issues then it can leave us with significant water damage to walls, floors, furniture and even neighbouring property.

A spot of DIY at home nearly most of us can manage from replacing cracked tiles to a rub down and re-varnish of floor boards. Across the internet there are many informative blogs, photos and videos giving you step by step guidelines on the subject of DIY, this stretches to both electrics and plumbing though these two being highly recommended that you get the professionals in. Most times when it comes to plumbing issues we are requiring things to be done relatively quickly or if not more or less instant as it can involve both water or gas flooding your property. For any major renovation works requiring moving of water pipes, taps, gas pipes, radiators, boilers and more then you have the time to book in the necessary professionals, including plumbers, and the works can be done over a scheduled period at a pre agreed cost, ie when modernising your kitchen from old to new – There is no stress when the work is planned!

As with any property, the older the more so, there will always be both maintenance and repairs required. It might not be simply as and when you accidently knock a nail through a water pipe, but it could be a leaky taps, blocked radiators or knocking water pipes.

Here are some common plumbing issues that can happen in our homes with a quick fix for each or at least a remedy for the time being until you are able to get a professional plumber / gas (safe registered) engineer to help you:

  • Knocking / Banging / Noisy (water) pipes: If you can locate and get to the pipes which are making noises then you can look to, in most occasions, remedy the problem by placing around the pipes wrapping / insulation so they stop banging against other pipes or objects (joists they run through). You might have to remedy noisy pipes by easing their routes ie if and when they expand due to heat (usually hot water / heating pipes) then some tighter areas they are routed through would require some work on so that any expansions can take place without resistance / friction. How to fix water hammer.
  • Leaky Tap: How many houses have this problem! If you can, turn off the water locally (check for a isolation valves or blue / red switch) or if there is no value then you will have to close off the water supply to the property and drain your water system. Once value is closed / water is drained then you can unscrew the tap to work on it where you will find that either the rubber washer needs to be replaced or there is a worn O-ring or you can replace the tap in full. This will remedy those annoying leaky taps!
  • Stopping a running Toilet: The first thing to check is that the chain connected to the flapper isn’t slacking and wedging itself beneath the valve, allowing water to escape. If this is the case however, you can easily trim the chain. If this doesn’t fix the problem, the issue may lie with the flapper itself. The rubber flap can get worn down over time, and you can easily replace it with an inexpensive universal flap. source plumbingemergencyrescue
  • Why is my Radiator Cold: If your thermostat is correctly set and you still have a cold radiator or it is cold top or bottom then it is likely to be one of the following issues – The radiator valve is closed and requires you to turn it on – There might be air pockets in the system and this requires you to bleed the air from the radiator which you need a radiator key and turn the valve at the top left/right of the radiator to release the air out slowly until you hit water – There might also be a blockage in the system and a build up of sludge / rust in the radiator which requires you to shut off the radiator in question (or drain down the system) and simply drain out the unwanted liquid.
  • Leaking pipes: Here is a problem we do not wish to see especially if it is no fault of our own and especially if the pipes are difficult to access which can cause significant damage to decoration ie under tiled floor or in a wall. The good thing is that today there are many great temporary fixes that include Epoxy putty, pipe clamps and even a Slip Coupling which will require you to cut the pipe and replace the leaking area. For all these fixes you will need to have turned off the water source and drained the system down.
  • I smell gas: All gas leaks should be treated as an emergency and you should always seek professional advice from a gas engineer. Do not use any electrical items to include switches for lights, open windows in the effected area at least, call a gas engineer – If you can, locate the gas meter and turn off the gas supply (there are also usually emergency telephone numbers you can telephone via your gas supplier). Lastly, as a further security, you are advised to leave the property.
  • Blocked / Slow Drains: Drains can be blocked for many reasons such as dirt/leaves/rubbish and most times are quite easy to locate the sourse of the blockage. Sometimes, especially if waste pipes are blocked at home, you can use a standard ‘sink and drain’ unblocker / cleaner. Other times, for internal waste pipes, you are recommended to check the waste pipes under the sinks (usually these unscrew apart and require you just to have a bowl underneath to capture any access water – Clean this area out of waste). For external drains which are blocked you are recommended to lift any man hole covers on your property to find the source and use drain rods starting from the nearest waste hole inspection point from your property – Run water down to locate the source of the blockage. If the blockage is internal you can also use boiled water to release / dislodge greasy / fatty build ups, plungers are a great tool and also simply mix half a cup of table salt with half a cup of baking soda and pour it down the blocked drain. Leave it to work for 10-20 minutes and then pour boiling water down after it.
  • Blocked Toilet: The magical tool for many when a blocked toilet occurs is to fill a bucket of cold water and quickly pour it down the toilet so to force the blockage out. It can also be plunger time for when the toilet is blocked as this can easily release a temporary blockage. Another way is to remove as much of the excess water in the pan as possible and safely dispose, then add a cup of washing up liquid and then a kettle of boiling water which will help to lubricate the waste pipe area and lid away the blockage.

Title image credit: Pixabay

Christopher Walkey

Founder of Estate Agent Networking. Internationally invited speaker on how to build online target audiences using Social Media. Writes about UK property prices, housing, politics and affordable homes.

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