How to fix the top 5 plumbing faults…  

Many of the top five plumbing faults occur gradually over time. If you can catch them early you will save yourself money, time and energy dealing with a large repair in the long run. Knowing the plumbing basics will enable you to solve many of the top most common plumbing problems by yourself. Have a look at our handy guide on how to fix the top 5 most common faults……. 


1. No hot water 

Not having hot water is the most common problem in any household. This mainly arises due to water heater or boiler problems. Here are some quick checks to make before calling a plumber. 

 If you have a gas water heater with a pilot light (blue flame burning in the centre of the heater):-

-Check to see that the flame is lit.  

-Check the temperature setting hasn’t been turned down or knocked by mistake.  

-Set the temperature to high so the water heater can provide adequate amounts of hot water.  

-Is the water heater is powerful enough to meet the demands of the household. 

-The water heater may have to be reset. (The action steps here depend on the specifics of the water heater). If you have the instructions to do so and feel confident then reset the boiler. If not, please call a professional plumber. 

– Often, not having hot water is due to a lack of water pressure in the boiler. Simply turning up the water pressure will bring your boiler back to life. Again the exact method of this will depend on the make, model and age of your boiler. Please refer to your instruction manual if you have one or call a Gas Safe engineer if you are unsure in any way. 

-It goes without saying that if you are on a pre-payment meter; please ensure that there is sufficient credit in the meter to pay for the hot water!!!! 


2. Clogged up pipes and drains 

The best solution here is to be careful what goes down the sink in the first place. Hair and soap scum clogging up bathroom sinks/showers/baths and fats and foodstuff blocking the kitchen sink are the most common problems. The symptoms of this are when water is slow to drain away or in severe cases, will not drain away at all (a complete blockage).  

 Should the situation arise where there is a partial blockage to your sink, pipe or drain then try the following tips:- 

-Simply try passing very hot/boiling water through the system to melt any fats and use the force of the water to pass the blockage out of the pipes. 

-Manually try to unblock anything with your fingers that is at the surface such as hair caught in a sink filter or sand caught in a drain. 

-Use baking soda and vinegar to  break up any unwanted clogs.  This causes a chemical reaction which acts to dissolve the blockage. Since we want the the reaction to take place at the blocked area, first pour in a cup of the baking soda then pour in a cup of the vinegar then leave for at least half an hour for the reaction to have effect. You can increase the measurements for a larger blocked area. Then wash away with boiling water and test if it has unblocked your pipe or drain. (Always use caution when using any chemicals- home made or shop bought – wear gloves and avoid contact with your skin and face, especially your eyes). Pouring in the hot water from an elevated height increases the force which can help to break up the blockage. Just be careful; if you are pouring water from too high then it will splash back and possibly burn you in the process. If you pour from too low then not enough force gets to the blocked area. If none of these tips work then it’s time to move onto the trusty plunger. A plumbers friend indeed.

-Use your plunger to force air pressure through the system to dislodge a clog. However, its effectiveness depends on the severity and location of the blockage. If the plunger is not sufficient, try a plumbers snake which is a long flexible rod designed to go round the bends in pipes and push this in as far as it will go and hopefully it will reach the blockage and have enough force to break through the clogged up area. 

-If you feel confident in doing so, then you can remove the P-Trap and/or U-Bend to try and locate the blockage and then use the methods from above to try and remove the clogging in the pipe. 


3. Dripping taps 

If you have dripping taps in your home, you should be able to fix them yourself if you know some plumbing basics.  

-Firstly, make sure that the water is turned off at the mains.  

-Next unscrew the top of the dripping tap and check under the top section which may need to be popped off with a screwdriver.  

-Check the washer for any signs of decay, pitting or cracks.  

-Typically a worn washer is the problem with a dripping tap.  

-Simply replacing this with a new washer resolves most of these problems. 


4. Leaking pipes 

Pipe leaks are one of the top plumbing problems and can be a very serious one if they are not dealt with right away. Pipe leaks usually happen at joints. If the leak is caused by a loose joint, simply tighten up the joint by hand or a spanner if needed. You can fix a leaky pipe temporarily by using a leak tape or rubber sheet but if you are not confident in what you are doing then please call a professional plumber. 

If you have a leaking water pipe then get it repaired sooner rather than later because leaking water pipes can cause extensive water damage to floors, walls, and your possessions potentially costing you thousands if left untreated.    


5. Running toilet 

A running toilet left untreated often causes toilet leaks but you can easily avoid these additional problems by fixing the running toilet sooner than later.  

 -The first thing to do is to turn off the water to the toilet system.  

-Then lift off or remove the lid of your toilet to take a look at the inlet valve and the float. 

– If water is not shutting off and it keeps overflowing then the float may not be sealing properly.  

-Flush the toilet so there is no water in the bowl and move the float up and down to check if the water shuts off when you do this. If it does, the float is working.  

-You will need to adjust the height of where it shuts off the water.  

-However, if the float is not shutting off the water, there is a good chance it needs to be replaced. This can be done easily by a professional plumber. 


Final words 

These are the top 5 most common plumbing faults that you will be able to fix without calling a plumber if you know some plumbing basics. However, if you are in doubt in any way and still unsure about what to do, it is always best to call a professional plumber.

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