A whopping 300 gallons of water run through the average U.S. household’s pipes every day. That amount often seems manageable until the day a pipe springs a leak! When you’re trying to handle a burst pipe or standing in waist-deep water in your basement, it becomes clear just how much harm all this water can do if left unchecked.
Of course, these major emergencies are clear signs that you need help. When should you call a plumber for smaller issues?
Though you can attempt a DIY at some of the common problems below, most of them require extensive knowledge and troubleshooting. If you notice any of the red flags on this list, make sure to contact an expert as soon as possible.
1. Your Sink Drains Too Slowly
Slow drains are among the most common plumbing problems homeowners face. Because the issue is so minor, it can be tempting to ignore it.
However, slow drains always get slower over time. Worse, leaving the problem unchecked may allow the drain to clog completely. A complete water blockage is always more invasive and expensive to fix!
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to fix your slow-moving drain on your own with a plunger or a simple flush you can do at home. If not, make sure to hire a plumber to resolve the issue.
2. Your Faucet Is Dripping
Dripping faucets are more than auditory annoyances. They can also waste a lot of water, which is bad for both the environment and your wallet.
A faucet may drip for several reasons. Often, it happens when a washer, gasket, or O ring has grown loose. Tightening these fixtures may be enough to solve the problem with basic tools.
Other issues are hard to tackle on your own. Water pressure problems, a deteriorated valve seat, and damaged cartridges may require professional inspection or replacement. Contact a plumber in your area if you can’t figure out why your faucet keeps leaking.
3. The Water Pressure Is Low
Water pressure can be a tricky problem to fix. If you have a water pressure gauge, which is easy to find at any home improvement store, connect it to a faucet or hose bib to check the water in your home. Your water pressure should fall between 30 and 80 psi.
We often recommend talking to your neighbors first to see if they’re also dealing with water pressure issues, as this might mean the problem lies with the city water system. If not, you may be dealing with a more localized issue.
Low water pressure can make it hard for your pipes, plumbing fixtures, and appliances to work as they should. It can even damage them over time. Contact a plumber as soon as possible to avoid further problems.
4. Your Water Is Discolored
Brown, cloudy, or otherwise discolored water should raise red flags. This discoloration doesn’t often present a health hazard, but you should still avoid drinking your tap water until you know where the issue lies.
If there are no notices about discoloration on your utility company’s website, you may be dealing with rusty or damaged pipes. Mineral deposits from your water heater may also be a culprit. These issues can be hard to troubleshoot alone, so be sure to search “plumber near me” for help.
5. There’s No Water at All
A lack of water is a major plumbing dilemma. Check multiple sinks and faucets before you panic, call your neighbors and water company, and look for any signs of a major leak. You should also check your water main to see if anything has triggered it to stop your water flow by accident.
From there, an emergency plumber can help you figure out the most likely causes of your lack of water. Possible reasons may include a clogged tap connection, aging or clogged pipes, or a malfunctioning water heater. Leaks and corrosion may also be to blame.
6. There’s No Hot Water
There’s nothing less satisfying than a cold shower after a long day at work. When you can only get small amounts of hot water or no hot water at all, it’s time to check your water heater.
Something as simple as a flipped high-temperature cutoff switch may be the reason for your cold water. However, you should also check for other warning signs.
If you have a gas-powered heater, take note of any possible gas leaks or pilot light problems. If you have an electric heater, be sure to check the breaker box.
If none of these are the problem, you’ll want to get hold of an experienced plumber. Water heaters use complex systems to function, so this is one fix you won’t want to DIY.
7. Your Water Heater Is Leaking
Along the same vein, a sweating or leaking water heater should be a major red flag.
Loose gaskets, worn connections, and a loose or damaged drain valve may be the cause of your leak. Aging systems are more likely to develop leaks than newer ones, as the average water heater lasts between 8-15 years.
If you haven’t kept up with the system’s basic maintenance by draining your water heater once every year or so, you may be dealing with a sediment buildup. These buildups can wreak havoc on your system and damage it over time. A bad enough sediment buildup can even cause a premature tank failure.
8. The Toilet Won’t Stop Running
A running toilet is one of several plumbing problems you may feel like ignoring. After all, this issue isn’t damaging your home in any noticeable way. However, a running toilet can waste gallons upon gallons of water, which can make your utility bills skyrocket.
Several different components can wear down or break to make your toilet run, so your plumber may need to troubleshoot the issue for a while before they can fix the problem. Often, they will need to tighten or replace parts to stop the water.
9. The Toilet Is Overflowing
There are a few plumbing issues on this list that you might be able to fix on your own, and an overflowing toilet is one of them.
If you’re lucky, you’re dealing with a simple clog. Don’t flush the toilet again!
Instead, put on some rubber gloves, remove a bit of water from the toilet if needed, and try plunging the clog. If you have a toilet snake, you may also be able to use this tool for trickier clogs.
If these tactics don’t work, an expert plumber can help! You may be dealing with a stubborn clog that resists basic tools, a blocked vent pipe, or a high filler float. Whatever the plumbing issue, having a pro by your side can help you address it.
10. There’s a Weird Sewage Smell
Strange smells from your water are never a good sign. The smell of sewer gas, in particular, should always be alarming. Take note of gassy odors and the smell of rotten eggs.
The smell of sewage may be a sign that there’s a problem with one of your bathroom’s drainage points. You may also be dealing with a burst pipe somewhere in your home. In the worst-case scenario, your sewer or main drain may have deteriorated or taken damage.
This is not an issue you should ignore! Call a professional to get to the root of your odor issues. The best plumbers will offer sewer drain cleaning, repair, and inspection to help clients get rid of toxic gases in their homes.
11. You’re Hearing Strange Noises
It’s not uncommon for a plumbing system to make small noises as water comes through the pipes. The majority of plumbing noises are not a big deal. However, if you start to notice anything that lies outside your home’s normal pattern of sounds, take note!
Rattling may be a sign that your pipes are unsecured and loose. Squealing or screeching noises may warn you that it’s time to replace a component. Gurgling sounds may be your drain line or main sewer backing up.
If the sounds are coming from your water heater, you’ll most likely notice banging. These noises are often heavy sediment crashing around the tank as water flows through.
If you’re not sure whether you should worry about a sound from your plumbing, get a professional to check out the sound.
Know When to Call a Plumber
If you’re struggling with any of the issues above, don’t do it alone! A seasoned professional can help you troubleshoot your problems and pinpoint a solution. Call a plumber for fast assistance and more peace of mind.
When you’re ready for expert help, trust the team at Master Plumbing. As the Idaho plumber of choice for three generations running, we’re here to inspect, repair, maintain, and replace your home’s plumbing as needed. To learn more, contact us with questions or schedule your plumbing services today!