As houses age, plumbing problems often occur in sinks, tubs, showers, and toilets. These problems are typically leaks and malfunctions in the fixtures usually caused by wear and tear of parts in the fixtures.
Six common plumbing problems and their causes are discussed here.
Shower Diverter Malfunction
If a shower diverter, which is the pull and valve on the top of the tub faucet spout, does not send all the tub water to the showerhead when pulled, then the shower diverter is malfunctioning and needs repair. Most of the time, a broken shower diverter is related to a worn-out gasket or mineral deposits in the valve assembly. The repair requires the removal of the tub faucet spout and replacement of the gasket or cleaning of the mineral deposits. The replacement gasket must match the manufacturer and model of the faucet spout fixture. Replacement parts may be found at your local hardware store and plumbing supply house. Licensed and qualified plumbers are great resources to repair this condition.
Faucet Spout Drip
Much like a faucet handle leak, a drip from the faucet spout occurs mostly from a worn-out washer but may occur when the O-rings and/or the gaskets in the valve are deteriorated due to wear and tear. Mineral deposits from the water over a lengthy period can also create a spout drip as well as a broken valve. Repair of the condition requires careful disassembly of the fixture to observe the damage. Replacement parts must exactly match the manufacturer and model of the fixture. This repair requires turning the water valve OFF and draining the service lines to the fixture PRIOR to the repair. Licensed and qualified plumbers are your best resources for repairs.
Sink Drain Leak
A sink drain leak is quite common in houses. The leak is generally caused by loose fittings due to misalignment of the pipe joint beneath the sink, which creates a breach in the seal of the joint. If this condition exists, patiently realign the pipes with the joints to create a secure joint interlock. If metal piping is installed beneath the sink, corrosion caused by mineral deposits can corrode the piping creating holes in the pipes or joints. If this condition exists, replacement of the damaged pipes is needed.
Faucet Handle Leak
A slow leak in a faucet handle generally happens when the O-rings and/or the gaskets in the handle valve are defective because of corrosion or tear in the gasket, or there is a restriction in the valve due to mineral deposits. The repair for damaged rings and gaskets is the removal and replacement of the defective O-ring and/or gasket. The replacement parts must match the damaged parts exactly based on the manufacturer and model of the fixture. Replacement parts may be found at your local hardware store and plumbing supply house. If mineral deposits are causing the leaks, it is more practical to replace the faucet valve rather than attempting to clean the valve. These repairs require turning the water valve OFF and draining the service lines to the fixture PRIOR to the repair. Of course, licensed, and qualified plumbers can assist in this repair.
Clogged drains are common in household sinks, basins, and tubs. The restrictions are often related to the collection of hair and soap products in the drain with a higher frequency of the clog being in the “P-Trap” (curved pipe) below the sink or basin. A clogged drain line servicing the kitchen sink may contain grease, food, and food by-products. The repair and management of clogged drains may be as simple as the application of commercially available drain cleaners applied by homeowners. More complex approaches, such as disassembly of plumbing drain lines and/or auger techniques to remove restrictions will likely require the services of licensed and qualified plumbing contractors.
Toilet Tank Leak
When a toilet leaks or cycles, the cause is usually corrosion or misalignment of the flapper valve or a broken float valve inside the toilet tank. The flapper valve is a large valve that is lifted when the toilet handle is pushed and seals the tank from the toilet bowl. The float valve is the part inside the tank that rises or falls with the level of the water in the tank. If the flapper valve is corroded or the float valve is broken, replacement of the valve is needed. If the flapper valve is misaligned, adjustment to the valve is needed to seal the bottom of the tank.
State licensed plumbers are valuable resources for the repair of your plumbing problems if the task is beyond the ability of a do-it-yourselfer.