The Rookie’s Guide to Identifying and resolving Plumbing Problems

  • (Guy Plumbing & Heating, Inc./Houzz)

  • (SC Photography/Houzz)

  • (General Meeting/Houzz)


You would think that a running toilet or a leaky faucet is a trivial problem in your home, something for your handyperson to take on later, when you have other jobs around the house to do. But make no mistake: Never skip an infusion. Leaks, even minor ones, can add up to big increases on your water and even heating costs. “You’d be surprised how much is going down the drain and how much you pay by you do not repair it,” says plumber Scott Campbell of Penn Central Plumbing Services in Pennsylvania.

What’s more, the repair of leaky faucets and toilets in the majority of what most professional plumbers do, and trying to fix a faucet yourself, or hiring your neighbor’s uncle, can lead to serious problems. “It is a quick and easy solution, but something that you want to call a professional,” Campbell says.

If you are not sure where to start with tackling a plumbing project, from a small leak to a full-blown master bathroom remodel — here is a little of what you need to know before taking the plunge.

Project: Plumbing problems

Why: To repair leaky faucets and toilets, unclog backed-up drains, replace or relocate pipes during a renovation

Plumbing Basics

There are four main areas of plumbing, according to Dave Guy of Guy Plumbing & Heating in Menlo Park, California:

Drain cleaning and repair. This includes rooter companies that unclog drains.

Water repair and replacement. Boilers usually need to be replaced every 15 years.

Contractors plumbing. This category includes refurbishments, renovations and the move of fixtures. They are also intended as a rough plumbers.

RELATED: Considering the Remodeling of Your Bathroom? Browse Bathroom Vanities

Service and repairs. The majority of plumbing calls fall in this area, including leaky faucets and toilets, and other sanitary matters.

Common Problems

As I said, most plumbers deal with the service repairs. Think running toilets and leaky faucets. Not all of these problems immediately visible. Many times, you will not know that there is a problem until you receive your water bill. Naz Derkach of Public Plumbing in Toronto, says a running toilet can end up costing you an extra $300 per month.

And that is included problem. It does not include the damage caused by water leaks on the floor or on the inside of your walls and ceiling. “Every little problem, whether it’s a small gasket that needs to be changed, or a toilet tank that needs to be built up, can be a big problem,” Derkach says.

Performed toilet. If you ever lie awake at night listening to your toilet just has to fill, then you know what a running toilet.

But not all leaky toilets make noise. Guy, a third-generation plumber, says calls about the high water bills make up a large part of his work.

To save time and money, he recommends that the brand and a part located inside the toilet tank) on hand when you call a plumber. In this way, a plumber can come up with the right part instead of coming to your house to establish a diagnosis, where to find the right part and return to repair. With that information handy, the Guy can often help homeowners solve over the phone or a part sent and to talk to the owner of a house by replacing it.

Leaky faucets. Drippy faucets are hardly benign. This problem occurs when the cartridge in a faucet rust or break over time, Campbell says. “You’d be surprised how much is going down the drain and how much you pay by you do not repair it,” he says. And if it is hot water that is leaking, you can feel the impact on your heating costs.

RELATED: Replace Leaking Faucets for the Bathroom

Campbell says that many homeowners try to fix faucets, or the convening of a general handyperson, only to end up with scratches and dents in the finish or other problems, such as cut the bolts that force homeowners to replace the entire faucet. “Most homeowners do not have the right tools,” he says.

Clogs. In the spring, roots come to life, Derkach says, resulting in many of the damaged pipes that are causing the sewer to back up. Low-flow toilets, also known to cause drainage problems, according to the Man, who says that during the flow of the water has decreased, the amount of waste that goes down is not yet, which can lead to backed-up drains. “The sewers need to be flushed with plenty of water and remain clear,” he says.

Rocking toilet. If you sit on the toilet and notice they are swaying a bit, that could be an indication that there is a leak under your toilet where the rotting of the wood underneath. Water stains on the ceiling below your toilet are of a different indicator, or, if there is no ceiling below, the grout lines around the base of your toilet could be darkened.

Water relief valve and radiant heat. This makes it to a small percentage of the problems, but can result in a very high water bill, because it is not likely you will see any problems. Plenty of water safety valves, leave the house and drip in a bush or other area around the outside of your house.

The same is true for a radiant-heat lines. If a line breaks in your radiant heat system and comes out in the porous ground without the puddling, you will not know until that high water bill arrives.

Frozen or burst pipes. If you live in a very cold area and head out of the city in the winter on vacation and does not keep the heat in your home or weatherize your plumbing, you could come home to the damage of a burst pipe. This occurs when water freezes in a pipe and expands, breaking the pipe open. As the ice thaws, water flows out, where the incident occurred, from which it can be in your walls or ceiling. Special machines can help prevent the freezing of pipes by sending a high voltage of the electricity in to heat up the line.

If in the winter, you turn on the faucet and hear the water moving, but nothing comes out, you could have a burst line, even if you do not find the evidence of water, Derkach says. It is time to call a plumber. And then study on methods to winterize your house.

Leaking water heaters. This is an emergency situation, Campbell says. As soon as you notice that sufficient water is leaking from, it is almost too late. Call a plumber immediately. That leak could last for a week, resulting in extensive flooding and water damage.

Dishwashers. Campbell says leaky dishwashers are another problem need rapid action, especially if you have hardwood floors. If you notice water under the sink in the kitchen or around the base of the dishwasher, call a plumber before you risk damage to the wooden floor.


Plumbing problems is usually not something you want to try yourself or something that you want to call your handy friend or family member to solve. Derkach says that only about 5 or 10 percent of the people are able to do a good job of repairing or installing a faucet. He says 90 percent of the time people try to solve a toilet, they make more mess. “It would cost them less money to call a pro in the beginning usa. try to solve it yourself,” he says.

Campbell warns homeowners try to take on plumbing work itself. “What many people don’t realize is the damage the water could cause if you not, the tub drain on the right or in the toilet is directly or the fitting in the wall is not glued well,” he says. “Sometimes the damages which [costs] more than the other items that you could do in the remodel.”

And you want to hire the right person, on the basis of the type of plumbing problem and in line with the four types of plumbers mentioned earlier. “I have it to my house, that I keep,” says Guy, who has 40 years of experience as a plumber. “I have my own plumber who is employed in the well. You can’t be good at everything. Sometimes you have to face the music and hire someone to do the job right.”


Plumbing fees vary greatly, depending on the region, the scope of work and the type of work.

Some plumbers cost for the service and per hour. Make use of a fixed rate. Guy charges $146 for a one-hour initial service call, then in 15 minute increments after that, plus the cost of the parts. If he or his crew have to leave the job site and return at another time, they put the time on hold and resume once they return.

Derkach usually for a $50 assessment fee for most general calls. If a customer proceeds with the work in accordance with the offer, which is usually $150 to $200 for basic repairs, he will waive the assessment fee. If there is a large problem, such as a ceiling leak, he charges a $155 assessment fee, plus the cost of repairs.

Campbell charges $65 for a half hour with the diagnosis. Costs after that depend on the size of the work.

Required Permits

Permit requirements are dependent on the city and the size of the work. If you’re moving plumbing around, you are likely to need a licence. When you are making emergency repairs with a licensed professional, it’s probably safe to skip the permits. But always check together with your plumbing professional.

Original article on Houzz

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