Common Plumbing Problems

The 4 Most Common Plumbing Problems

( — June 20, 2019) — Plumbing mishaps almost never come at the right time and nearly always feel unpredictable. However, just like with every other field, they stay neatly within the 80/20 rule: 80% of the time, you will run into the same 20% of issues. Put together by plumbers in Lancaster, Texas, the plumbing problems listed below will affect almost every homeowner at some point. Learn how to handle them here.

1. Clogged Bathroom Pipes

Whether they are affecting your shower drain or your kitchen faucet, clogged drains are generally easy to recognize; slow draining and raising water levels both quickly create yucky buildups and even the occasional overflow.

What to do about them?

Clogged drains in your shower or bathroom sink are most likely caused by hair and soap buildup. In these cases, you have two easy options: either a chemical clog remover (such as Drano) or the more labor-intensive but safer plunger. When choosing between the two, keep the following in mind:

  • Frequent use of chemical methods is bad for your pipes. Don’t use this method more than once a year.
  • Never mix different chemical products.
  • Hair clumps can be surprisingly resilient to chemicals, and they’re also likely to be the main player in shower drains. If anyone in your home is suffering from hair loss or has long, dark tresses, head straight for the plunger.
  • Make sure that the base of the plunger is completely covered by water; otherwise, you won’t be able to create the desired “void” effect. For better results, line the plunger with some petroleum jelly.
  • If the problem reappears in less than a month, then there’s a bigger clog further down. Call a professional.

2. Clogged Kitchen Sink

Unlike with bathroom faucet, kitchen sinks tend to get clogged with fatty or organic deposits. This makes them respond better to chemical cleanses, as long as the garbage disposal has not been compromised.

What to do about it?

This may or may not be something you can fix on your own, depending on the tools available to you:

  • If the clogged sink is attached to your garbage disposal machine, then the first thing you must do is reset the latter. Then, check if the blades are still moving properly. If they’re not, call a plumber! Fixing a garbage disposal by yourself may be dangerous.
  • Mild clogs can be dissolved without the use of chemical clog removers. Try adding baking soda, vinegar, and warm water first.
  • Kitchen sinks rarely fit a full plunger fully. If a chemical clog remover is a no-go, you may need to use a plumber snake.

3. Dripping Faucets

Unnerving, common, and potentially very expensive, the slow waste caused by a dripping faucet can wreak havoc on your next water bill. They may be easy enough to fix on your own, provided you are relatively experienced and have access to a full set of tools.

What to do about them?

This will depend largely on the type of faucet you have. “Compression” faucets (the kind that you twist open) are easier to handle:

  • Start by removing the decorative cap. This will let you take a quick glance inside.
  • If you see any buildup inside, you may just need to take it apart, wash it thoroughly (distilled vinegar works well for this), and put it back together.
  • Otherwise, you will most likely need to replace the seat washers – a small rubber ring that sits underneath all the screws. Measure them before buying a replacement!

More modern ball-type faucets will require a professional, as they break easily.

4. Overflowing Toilets

Most people are not willing to admit how common overflowing toilets are in their home. Most of the time, they’re caused by a simple lack of fiber in the diet. However, if you suspect the cause of the clog is bulkier than normal (which is especially likely in homes with children), then this may be a more complicated operation.

What to do about it?

Other than staying calm, you should:

  • First, close the toilet’s valve. This is usually located near the bottom or the back, and if it hasn’t been used in a while, it may take a show of strength.
  • Open the tank lid and manually close the rubber flapper.
  • As soon as the water levels stop rising, start plunging. The petroleum jelly trick will be useful here.
  • Try adding warm water directly into the bowl to loosen the contents of the pipe below.
  • Keep an ear out for any metallic sounds, as they usually mean that there´s a non-organic object causing the clog. In this case, a plumbing snake (and a plumber) may be necessary.

Plumbing is hard and messy work, so never hesitate to call for aid when needed!


New research from WRAS has revealed that the most complained about plumbing problem in the UK is a dripping tap, with more than one in ten UK homeowners experiencing this issue in the past five years.

Dripping taps, even a small trickle, can waste both water and consumers’ money. Fixing a dripping tap could save homeowners at least £18 a year if they are on a water meter, as well as 5,500 litres of water.*

The study of 2,000 homeowners, commissioned by the Water Regulation Advisory Scheme (WRAS), also found that leaking pipes, clogged drains and a continuously running toilet topped the list of homeowners’ complaints.

  1. Dripping tap (14%)
  2. Leaking pipe (11%)
  3. Slow or clogged drains (10%)
  4. Running toilet (9%)
  5. Burst pipe (6%)
  6. Water temperature issue (5%)
  7. Noisy pipes (5%)
  8. Frozen pipes (4%)
  9. Flooding (3%)
  10. Water storage tank failure (2%)

Want to fix a common plumbing problem but unsure where to start? Our Company Director Ed Barros of Tooting-based Happy Dog Plumbing, has some helpful info in regards to some common problems – some easily solvable, some which may need a hand from your friendly Tooting engineer!

Some plumbing problems can be fixed at home with a little know-how. We often give advice over the phone, thus saving the client time and money. However, we’re always ready and able for when things get a little more advanced!

Dripping taps

Standard taps which have rubber washers often drip as a consequence of over-tightening. People tend to shut taps off tighter than they need to which deforms the washer to the point where it is not able to shut off at all – hence the drip. This is easily fixed with either a new washer or a tap reviver kit.

Shower temperature not consistent

If the shower is the only source of inconsistent hot water, then the thermostatic cartridge is often the cause. Unfortunately, a lot of showers do not have any logo or manufacturers details, but we are often able to identify the shower from a picture, so we always ask clients to email images to save them time and, of course money. Once identified, this type of job is usually completed within an hour, restoring consistent hot water.

Leaking taps, overflowing tanks / WC’s

Often leaks or running overflows are considered an emergency if the water is not containable and / or causing damage. However, there are often local isolation valves on taps, water tanks and WC’s which turn the water off. This can take the panic out of a leak situation by allowing the water to be turned off to the offending item without affecting the water to the rest of the property. Clients can then arrange for an engineer to attend and carry out the necessary repairs.

Bleeding a radiator

When your radiator is hot at the bottom and cold at the top, then it means there’s air in the radiator and it therefore needs bleeding. This is a really simple process which only takes a minute, and our video below offers step-by-step instructions. If you have a sealed system, then you’ll need to top up your boiler pressure afterwards…