Certain plumbing issues you can learn to live with or fix yourself. That pullout kitchen faucet that gets caught on the pipes beneath the sink, or the leaking flapper that causes your toilet to run, are minor issues that you can solve with a quick YouTube tutorial. However, other problems are beyond your control. Ignore them or postpone getting a professional repair, and you’re placing your plumbing system -- possibly your health -- in jeopardy.
Here are seven plumbing issues that require the immediate attention of a professional plumber.
Don’t Delay Resolving These Urgent Plumbing Problems
1. Water Pressure is Low
You turn on the shower expecting a soothing blast of hot water but what you get is a trickle. Bummer! Low water pressure is a frustration you can’t put up with for long. This is a problem that only becomes worse with time. That’s why we advise having your plumbing investigated immediately.
- A leak in the main water supply line: If every faucet and showerhead has a sudden drop in water pressure, you may have a problem with your main water supply line. Your private water supply line branches off from the public line, and, like any pipe, it’s subject to corrosion and leaks.
- Hard water: If the loss in pressure has been more gradual, hard water might be to blame. Water that’s high in mineral content can form a scaly build-up inside your water lines, impeding flow. And the Central Valley has notoriously hard water. Consider investing in a water-treatment system.
- A slab leak: Pipes that run underneath your home’s foundation can also leak due to settling or faulty installation. A slab leak of leak can go undetected for a long time, causing significant structural damage. In addition to low water pressure, slab leaks can cause mold, mildew, pooling water, and hot or cold spots on the floor.
2. Multiple Drains Are Slow or Clogged
If your plunger is seeing a lot of action and you’re going through gallons of chemical drain cleaner, then you have a severe clog that’s beyond your control. It’s also important to note that chemical cleaners can cause damage to your pipes. When every drain in your home is slow or clogged, you likely have an issue with your main sewer line. When the main sewer drain is compromised, your sink, shower, and toilet drains won’t function properly.
- Grease build-up: Sure, it’s convenient to pour cooking grease down the drain. However, grease cools as it goes further down the line, where it will eventually congeal into a sticky mass in your sewer line.
- Tree roots: Roots worm their way into the smallest openings to absorb water and nutrients in your sewer line. Once inside the pipe, the roots will grow to form a stubborn obstruction. Slow drains aren’t the only sign of a root-invasion. If the toilet bubbles or gurgles when you turn on the faucet, that indicates trapped air in the plumbing system.
- Collapsed sewer line: Modern sewer lines are made of durable PVC plastic. But lines installed in the ’50s and ’60s were commonly made of galvanized steel,cast iron, or even Organgeburg (a coal-tar impregnated wood pulp resin material). They’re good for about five decades before they rust or corrode. Sewer lines can also become misaligned. Over time, the soil erodes around them, causing them to detach completely.
3. Water Pressure is Extremely High
Ideally, your home’s water pressure should be between 60 and 80 pounds per square inch. (The closer to 60, the better.) When water pressure exceeds this range, it can cause several problems, including dripping faucets and running toilets. Just like high blood pressure stresses your body, high water pressure also strains your plumbing system and shortens the lifespans of your water-using appliances.
- Thermal expansion: Your water heater could be the source of your high water pressure. Water volume expands when it becomes hot, adding pressure to your plumbing system. To help alleviate this, consider installing an expansion tank onto your water heater.
- Faulty pressure regulator: A pressure regulator manages the water pressure coming into your home from the municipal line. Over time, this device can wear out or malfunction.
4. Sewage is Backing Up
As a rule, wastewater should go one direction -- out! When it comes up back up through your sink or bathtub, you don’t need to be a plumber to know something’s wrong. This is rarely a one-time event. You can expect this unsanitary situation to happen again, so don’t delay in contacting a plumber.
- Tree roots: Those pesky roots again! Roots in your sewer line not only stop up your drains, but they’ll also cause sewage to reverse course.
- Clogs: A clog consisting of hair, grease, or other solid matter in any one of your drain lines can push waste back into your home.
- Damaged sewer line: When your private sewer line can’t transfer waste to the municipal sewer line, either it’s collapsed or misaligned, waste has nowhere to go but back into your home.
5. Water is Rusty
A stream of brown water from the tap could suggest a problem with your water supply line or water heater. Rusty water isn’t unsafe to drink (though it might taste gross), but it’s unsightly and will stain your sink and bath basins, so get this resolved ASAP.
- Rust or sediment in the water heater: If only your hot water is discolored, then there’s something wrong with your water heater. Either the tank is loaded with sediment or it’s corroding from within. The appliance can be flushed to remove residue, but if that doesn’t work, you’ll likely need to replace your water heater.
- Corroded pipes: If only cold water has a rusty tint, your water supply line is corroding, causing minerals to leach into your water.
- An issue with the water main. It might be the city’s fault. If all of your water suddenly goes brown, there may be a breach in the municipal water line. Call your water company. Chances are, they’re already aware of the problem and are working on it.
- Burst water softener: Resin produces an orange/brownish color. If the resin bed in your water softener is damaged, the water coming out of your fixtures or filling your toilet will have a rusty tint.
6. A Loud Bang When You Turn Off the Water
If you brace yourself for a loud CLA CLUNK every time you turn off a faucet or shower, then you have a water hammer. It’s more than annoying: all that banging and rattling can loosen pipe connections, resulting in costly leaks.
High water pressure: When water in the line comes to a sudden halt, it creates a hydraulic shock wave that reverberates throughout your home. A water hammer can occur any time a line is closed, such as when your washing machine is done filling -- BANG! - or when the washing machine finishes a cycle -- CLUNK! A professional plumber can muffle the noise with a water hammer arrestor. It’s a small vertical cylinder installed on the line that absorbs the shock.
7. Drains are Smelly
You’ve tried everything -- hot vinegar flush and deodorizing solutions -- but that stinky smell from your drains persists! This suggests a problem deep within your drain lines that no amount of baking soda can solve.
Dirty drain lines: Scummy build-up in your drains can be a source of unpleasant odors. Not only that, this sludge slows drains. A professional hydro-jetting service can effectively clear the lines with a blast of high-pressure water.
Sewer gases: This is a worst-case scenario. Your plumbing system is designed to keep dangerous sewer gases out of your home. However, if the wax toilet ring is compromised or a vent stack is clogged, gases can enter your home through the drains.
Turn to the Phoenix Area Plumbing Pros
No matter the plumbing issue you’re facing, Plumbing & A/C Medic and its fleet of fully stocked vehicles are prepared to fix it quickly and cleanly! We’re so confident in our services that we back each appointment with a 100% guarantee. To schedule your appointment, call (602) 975-2306 today.