Troubleshooting Common Household Plumbing Problems

Experiencing plumbing problems in your home not only creates a lot of hassle, but it can also cause damage if left unchecked. Knowing what to look out for and having the skill to rectify any issues can be especially useful to help save time and money.

Running Toilet

A running toilet is often as easy to fix as it can be annoying. You are likely to only become aware of this plumbing problem when you hear that the water tank is in action, though no water is being used, or you hear the tell-tale sound of a trickle from the toilet. Where this is the case, check the toilet bowl to determine whether a continuing trickle of water is flowing down the rear of it after flushing.

To fix this problem, flush the toilet once before removing the cistern lid to access the mechanism. The trickle is caused by water continuing to flow down the overflow pipe and is likely caused by a defect in the lever chain or flap lid that it's attached to. Make sure that these are correctly positioned and nothing is out of place. Test the flap lid to ensure that it can open and close properly. Ensure that the ball cock doesn't drag against the side of the cistern.  

Blocked Plughole

Finding that water is taking longer than usual to drain away is often a sign of a blockage and should not be ignored. Where a sink or tub quickly fills without the use of a plug, cover the run-off hole by pressing a rag firmly against it before working the plughole with a plunger. Though this act may slightly quicken the flow of standing water, it's unlikely to solve this plumbing problem entirely. If this doesn't work, use a drain snake to dislodge any debris blocking the drain.

Once the standing water has been cleared, carefully pour a caustic soda solution into the drain and leave it to work in accordance with the instructions.

Stationary Washing Cycle

Putting on your washing machine only to find that it stops mid-cycle while full of clothes, water and suds can be a panic-inducing plumbing problem. Whether your washing machine uses the same waste pipe as your kitchen sink or whether it stands alone, you need to locate this pipe to release the blockage, which could be an errant sock or an accumulation of sediment. If you've retained the instruction manual, use this to show you where to locate the pipe. Have a large bucket handy before unscrewing the pipe to catch the water that's in the machine. If necessary, use a coat hanger to dislodge any blockages. The removal of the water should enable you to open the door.   

Leaking Pipe

Water leaking from a pipe, especially those that are hidden away, is the type of plumbing problem that can cause substantial damage if it's not located in a reasonable amount of time. If you see a patch of damp on a wall or ceiling, investigate thoroughly to find the cause. Pay attention to areas where pools of water have appeared, especially if no faucets have been used nearby.