Did you know that a leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water each year? That’s equivalent to taking about 180 showers. In fact, Americans waste an estimated trillion gallons of water — or $6 billion worth — each year because of leaky faucets, running toilets, and other household leaks. So what can you do to save a little money and rely less on your local plumbers? Here are some tips you can try to fix some of the most common plumbing problems.
A leaky faucet, or even a leaking pipe, are two of the most common plumbing problems that people encounter. You can usually see or hear when there’s an issue — but if you don’t address it quickly, the problem can get worse and cost you a lot of money.
Leaks are likely caused by a tear or break in the washer, which is what usually forms a watertight seal. The valve could also corrode or wear down. If it’s a pipe that’s leaking, high water pressure or deterioration could be to blame.
Natural wear and tear to faucets and pipes is normal. To help prevent it, try not to apply excessive pressure to faucet handles. Inspect pipes regularly, as moisture, rust, or lime buildup could be signs of a leak. If you can’t replace a washer, valve, or pipe yourself, call local plumbers to do it.
Another common plumbing problem is a clogged drain or toilet. A slow or clogged drain is due to a partial or full block, often caused by hair, built-up soap, grease, or a foreign object. In a toilet, the culprit is usually something that shouldn’t have been flushed or too much toilet paper.
You should try a plunger or chemical drain cleaner — though you should use these sparingly, as they can cause damage if used too much — to remove the blockage. You can even try using a snake from your local home improvement store. If the blockage still doesn’t come out, you may need a professional.
Prevent future blockages by teaching children what can and can’t go in toilets and drains. Be sure to only flush dissolvable products. Use a hair catcher in your drain and regularly clean drains. If something clogs frequently, it may be time to call local plumbers to see if there’s a more serious problem.
No Hot Water
Not getting hot water usually means that there’s something wrong with your water heater. Besides getting little or no hot water through your faucets, you may also notice drips or leaks around the water heater or even a strange sound coming from the unit.
You should first check your pilot light. It may just need to be re-lit or turned up. If that’s not the problem, you may need to empty and clean your hot water heater. Sediment, mineral deposits, and scale buildup can affect your hot water heater’s efficiency. If this still doesn’t fix the problem, you may need to replace the heater altogether.
To prevent future problems, make sure you flush your water heater regularly, check the pressure valve, and check for leaks. You can hire someone to service it annually, as well.
A toilet that never stops running usually means that something inside isn’t working. A common culprit is the flapper valve, which can shrink and crack, and sometimes needs to be replaced to fit tightly again. There could also be an imbalanced float, loose tube, or a leak.
First, check that the flapper is closing completely. If it isn’t, adjust it or replace it. If the flapper isn’t the problem, adjust the float and check the chain. You may need to replace some of these if they aren’t working properly. You can check for a leak by putting food coloring in the tank—if you see it come into the bowl, you have a leak. If you replace everything in the tank and the water continues running, you may need to call local plumbers or replace the toilet.
The best way to prevent a running toilet is to inspect the parts regularly and replace them when necessary. Many times, plumbing issues can be prevented or easily fixed, either by you or by a professional. Just be sure not to let a problem go for too long. Doing so could end up costing you more money.