The most common plumbing emergencies often come with a steep repair bill, but in many cases, the needed repairs can be avoided. Even for the not-so-handy homeowner, understanding common plumbing problems and what causes them can build your awareness and help extend the life of your fixtures and plumbing system.
Common plumbing problems
Depending on your location and the scope of work, hiring a professional plumber can cost between $175 to $450 with the average price being $300. You may also be stuck with paying for an emergency service if a pipe bursts or toilet fails in the middle of the night or on the weekend. The most common plumbing problems include:
Kitchen sink clog: From food particles to grease buildup, the kitchen sink can become clogged by a number of things. A minor clog may not warrant a call to an emergency plumber, but if water refuses to go down the drain at all, it’s time to call for some help.
Clogged toilet: The toilet in an average home accounts for 30 percent of the monthly water usage, so there’s no doubt the toilet has the best chance of developing a problem. If the toilet clog can’t be released by a plunger or plumbing auger, you may be dealing with a more severe blockage in the sewer line.
Clogged bathtub or shower: Soap scum and hair can combine to form major blockages in your shower drain. Clear your drains once a week with green ingredients: baking soda and vinegar. Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain and slowly follow with one cup of vinegar. The duo will eat away at soap scum buildup and help prevent clogs.
Leaky faucet: A slow-dripping faucet may not seem like a big deal, but just one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year. That’s enough water to take more than 180 showers.
Water heater leak: The average traditional water heater lasts 10 to 12 years, but without proper maintenance, it won’t work nearly as efficiently as it should. If you notice a leak or dent in your unit, call a local plumber immediately.
Burst pipe: Freezing temperatures, shifting soil and corrosion are major causes of leaking pipes.
Avoiding the most common plumbing problems doesn’t take a lot of work. By scheduling a routine plumbing inspection each year, you’ll be aware of small problems before they become major issues. A professional plumber can look at your exposed pipes, offer leak detection services, and even survey the inside of your pipes to ensure you’re not dealing with clogs or invasive tree roots. Search for a plumbing company that offers sewer camera inspections to see the condition of the inside of your pipes.
Not only will you avoid many emergency plumbing issues with routine annual maintenance, but you’ll also extend the life of your entire plumbing system. Most modern systems are designed to last for 60 years or longer, but tending to small issues as they occur can strengthen the whole system.