Home Plumbing A to Z Plumbing: Common Problems and Solutions

A to Z Plumbing: Common Problems and Solutions

by Michael Blount

Plumbing is one of the most important systems in any home or business. Properly functioning plumbing ensures we have access to clean water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and more. However, plumbing issues can arise at any time due to factors like aging pipes, buildup and clogs, pressure problems, and equipment failure. Ignoring plumbing problems allows them to worsen and can lead to water damage, mold, high utility bills, and even health hazards.

When plumbing problems pop up, many homeowners are tempted to fix the issues themselves. However, plumbing can be complex, and seemingly easy jobs can turn complicated fast. Improper plumbing repairs often exacerbate issues and can even damage the system further. Calling in professional plumbers ensures the job is done right the first time.

For residents and businesses in the local area, A to Z Plumbing & Heating Inc. offers reliable plumbing services for maintenance, repairs, and installations. With years of experience, they have seen all kinds of plumbing problems and can quickly diagnose issues and make repairs to get plumbing systems working properly again.

This article will cover common plumbing problems homeowners face, tips for diagnosing and repairing issues, preventive maintenance, when to call a pro, and how to choose a qualified plumber like A to Z Plumbing & Heating Inc. Let’s dive in.

Common Plumbing Problems

Plumbing systems have several components, including pipes, shut-off valves, supply lines, drains, vents, fixtures, and more. Issues can arise in any part of the system and range from annoying leaks to catastrophic system failures. Here are some of the most common plumbing predicaments homeowners encounter:

1. Clogged Drains

Clogged drains are one of the most frequent plumbing headaches. Drains can become clogged with hair, grease, soap residue, and other debris. Clogged sinks, tubs, and floor drains will drain slowly or not at all, resulting in standing water.

According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to clear a main sewer clog is $270 and clearing clogs from sinks, tubs, and showers averages $109. Preventing clogs with regular drain maintenance can avoid these costs.

2. Leaking Fixtures and Pipes

Dripping or leaking taps, pipe joints, toilet tanks, and showerheads waste water and can cause property damage if left unrepaired. The EPA estimates that leaky faucets alone waste nearly 1 trillion gallons of water annually nationwide. Even small leaks add up over time.

3. Low Water Pressure

Restricted water flow at taps and showers can make tasks like washing dishes, laundry, and bathing difficult. Clogs, undersized pipes, failing pressure regulators, and well pump problems can all lower water pressure.

4. Loss of Hot Water

Lack of hot water for showers, laundry, and washing makes everyday life challenging. Hot water heater failures, broken elements, leaks, sediment buildup, and thermostat problems can prevent hot water heaters from properly heating water.

5. Noisy Pipes

Squealing, banging, and clanging noises from pipes are symptoms of larger problems. Trapped air, water hammer, loose pipes, failing parts, and high water pressure can cause noisy pipes. The noises indicate plumbing repairs are needed.

Addressing plumbing problems quickly avoids compounding issues, property damage, high utility bills, and other headaches. But accurately diagnosing problems is crucial for proper repairs.

Tips for Diagnosing Plumbing Problems

Pinpointing the exact locations and causes of plumbing predicaments allows plumbers to fix issues efficiently. Homeowners can use the following tips to help diagnose problems before calling a plumber:

1. Locate the Source

Trace issues back to the source to identify defective fixtures, clogged drains, leaking pipes, and other specific problems causing the problems. Listen and look for clues like running water, dripping ceilings, bubbling drains, and damp spots.

2. Consider Pressure

Check water pressure at several faucets and showers. Low pressure at only one indicates a clog or issue with that specific fixture or supply line. Low pressure throughout means a larger problem with main lines or the home’s overall water pressure.

3. Check Valves and Pipes

Inspect shut-off valves and exposed pipes for leaks, corrosion, and damage. Leaks around valves likely mean a bad seal. Rust spots on pipes can indicate leaks inside walls about to burst through.

4. Test Toilets

Pour colored water into toilet tanks and wait 10 minutes to check for leaks if toilets run continuously. Check flappers, fill valves, and overflows for cracks and improper sealing.

5. Evaluate Hot Water Heaters

Check hot water heater pressure gauges, temperature settings, sediment levels, and signs of rust or leakage. This helps determine if lack of hot water stems from element failure, gas supply issues, or other common problems.

Thorough inspections along plumbing systems helps identify issues. Household members can also report problems in certain locations to aid diagnosis. Once the source and nature of the problem are determined, repairs can be made.

Tips for Fixing Common Plumbing Problems

Some common plumbing repairs can be completed by savvy DIYers with proper skills and tools. But attempting complex repairs without training risks damage, injury, and costly complications. Calling professional plumbers is highly recommended for major plumbing issues or any repairs homeowners feel uneasy tackling.

Here are tips to try safely fixing minor plumbing problems:

1. Clear Clogs with a Plunger

Force-cup and flange plungers can clear many sink, tub, and toilet clogs. Cover drains completely with the plunger, push down firmly 10-15 times, and repeat until water flows freely. Avoid using drain cleaners, as they can damage pipes.

2. Clear Drains with a Snake

For stubborn clogs, feed a drain auger or snake into drains to break up and hook debris. Rotate cables to work through bends. Run hot water to flush debris once the clog is clear. Avoid using snakes on toilets.

3. Tighten Loose Joints

Slow drips at pipe joints often just require tightening slip-joint pliers a quarter-turn. Ensure washers are in place before tightening. Replace worn washers if leaks continue after tightening.

4. Replace Supply Lines

Swapping damaged, bursting, or leaking supply lines under sinks and toilets with flexible braided stainless steel lines is an easy DIY fix. Use proper fittings and take care not to kink lines.

5. Clean Aerators

Rinse debris from faucet aerators with water or wipe with a brush. Be careful not to damage delicate aerator screens while cleaning. Cleaning aerators can improve pressure and flow from faucets.

6. Insulate Pipes

Insulating exposed pipes with pre-split foam tubing keeps pipes from freezing in winter. Follow product directions for proper installation. Never use flame-based thawing methods on frozen pipes.

7. Flush Hot Water Heaters

Draining several gallons from the tank’s drain valve flushes collected sediment from the bottom of hot water heaters. Flushing extending heaters’ lifespan. Completely draining heaters requires turning off power and water first.

For major repairs, such as pipe re-routing, Pressure Regulating Valve installation, replacement flappers and valves, gas line repairs, and repiping projects, always call certified plumbers. They have the expertise to make complex fixes safely and correctly according to local building codes.

Tips for Preventing Plumbing Problems

Routine plumbing maintenance helps avoid many common plumbing headaches and expensive emergency repairs down the road. DIYers can incorporate the following preventive measures:

1. Clean Fixtures and Drains Regularly

Clear hair, soap residue, and debris from shower and sink drains weekly using plastic drain snakes. Once a month, flush drains with hot water, baking soda, and vinegar to keep pipes clear.

2. Check Supply Lines and Shutoff Valves

Inspect exposed pipes and valves under sinks annually for leaks. Operate shutoff valves to ensure they function properly. Replace corroded or damaged pipes and valves before they fail.

3. Update Old Fixtures

Swap outdated, leaking faucets, showerheads, and toilets with water-efficient models. Modern fixtures improve water pressure and prevent leaks and waste.

4. Monitor Water Usage

Notice spikes in water bills that signal leaks within plumbing systems. Conduct periodic leak inspections under sinks, around toilets, and near hot water heaters, pipes, and valves. Catching leaks early minimizes damage.

5. Maintain Water Pressure

Use pressure-reducing valves (PRVs) on main water lines to maintain safe pressure between 40-80 psi. Consistent pressure prevents pipes from failing over time.

6. Install Drain Screens

Fit drain screens over tub and sink drains to catch hair and debris before going down pipes. Remove and clean monthly to keep drains clear and prevent clogging. Avoid chemical drain cleaners.

7. Insulate Pipes

Insulate exposed pipes with pre-split tubes to prevent freezing in winter. Properly sealing and insulating attics and crawl spaces also protects pipes. Know the location of main water shutoffs in case pipes freeze.

8. Upgrade Sump Pumps

Routinely test basement sump pumps and consider upgrading undersized or older units. Proper sump pump functioning prevents water seepage and flooding during heavy rains.

9. Learn Shutoff Valve Locations

Identify the locations of main shutoff valves for the water supply entering your home and shutoffs for sinks, toilets, washing machines, and water heaters. This allows quickly shutting off water during leaks or pipe bursts.

Staying proactive with plumbing care reduces costs and prevents damage from leaks, flooding, and other catastrophes. But for major upgrades or issues beyond DIY abilities, contacting professional plumbers for repairs is wise.

A to Z Plumbing & Heating Inc.

For reliable plumbing services in the local community, A to Z Plumbing & Heating Inc. has served residential and commercial clients for over 15 years. Founded by experienced plumbers Alex Johnson and Zack Davis, A to Z Plumbing & Heating prides itself on quality workmanship, honest pricing, and exceptional customer service.

Their team of fully-licensed master plumbers undergo continuing education to stay current with the latest plumbing codes, equipment, and repair techniques. Whether tackling simple fixture repairs or whole-house re-piping, they work neatly and efficiently to minimize disruption to properties. Their fleet of fully-stocked plumbing vehicles enables completing most repairs on the spot.

A to Z Plumbing & Heating provides a full range of residential and commercial plumbing services, including:

  • Drain cleaning and unclogging
  • Leak detection and repair
  • Pipe inspections and maintenance
  • Fixture installation and replacement
  • Water heater installation and repairs
  • Sump pump replacement
  • Pressure regulating valve installation
  • Whole house repiping
  • Gas line installation and repair
  • Sewer and drain line replacement
  • Remodel plumbing
  • New construction plumbing
  • Commercial plumbing upgrades

The company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and rave reviews for their prompt response times, clear communications, and lasting repairs. They offer upfront pricing with no overtime charges and provide a satisfaction guarantee on all workmanship and parts.

Whether addressing a sudden leak, periodic maintenance, or a bathroom remodel, A to Z Plumbing & Heating has the skills and experience to handle all local residential and commercial plumbing needs. Their accurate troubleshooting, quality craftsmanship, and attention to detail keep their clients’ plumbing systems operating safely and efficiently for years to come.

Plumbing Problem Statistics and Facts

  • Up to 900 billion gallons of water are wasted annually in the US due to household pipe leaks and dripping faucets, according to the EPA.
  • The USGS estimates that the average American family uses over 300 gallons of water daily and spends nearly $1,000 annually on water and sewer bills.
  • Drain clogs account for up to 80% of all residential plumbing repair calls, says HomeAdvisor.
  • 75% of U.S. homeowners hire professional help for plumbing repairs, rather than attempting DIY fixes.
  • The average lifespan of copper pipes is 28 years. Old, corroded pipes are prone to bursting and leaking.
  • Replacing all failing pipes in the U.S. would cost over $1 trillion dollars, making preventive maintenance critical.
  • Up to 70% of a building’s heat loss results from improperly insulated hot water pipes and tanks.
  • Dripping faucets and leaking toilets together can waste up to 200 gallons of water daily in a home.
  • Low water pressure costs American households $2.5 billion annually in increased water bills according to the Water Systems Council.

Regular maintenance and timely repairs keeps plumbing systems operating efficiently and prevents costly damages. Hiring professional plumbers provides homeowners with peace of mind knowing that repairs are done properly.

Tips for Hiring a Professional Plumber

While some preventive plumbing care and minor repairs can be DIYed, hiring professional plumbers for complex repairs or major issues is advised. Here are tips for finding quality plumbers:

1. Verify Licensing

Check that plumbers hold valid, current licenses in your state. Licensing proves plumbers meet training and competency standards for safe plumbing work.

2. Look for Experience

Choose established plumbers with years of experience, rather than fly-by-night operations. Experienced companies have seen all kinds of plumbing problems and can likely diagnose issues quicker.

3. Read Reviews

Research plumbers on review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List. Favor companies with consistently positive reviews praising professionalism, timeliness, cleanliness, and work quality.

4. Ask About Services

Confirm plumbing companies provide the specific services you need, whether drain cleaning, water heater repair, repiping, or other residential and commercial plumbing needs.

5. Request an Estimate

Get a detailed written estimate for repairs upfront and clarify what is covered. Avoid plumbers requesting full payment before inspecting problems.

6. Verify Insurance

Select insured plumbers in case damages occur during repairs. Liability insurance protects your property.

7. Check Warranties

Ask about warranties on workmanship and parts. Multi-year warranties showcase plumbers’ confidence in their repair quality.

Taking time to find professional, established plumbers with excellent reputations prevents regrets down the road. They have the experience and skills to accurately diagnose problems and make repairs properly the first time, avoiding recurring issues or botched jobs.


Our homes and businesses depend on properly functioning plumbing to provide clean water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and sanitation. However, plumbing problems ranging from annoying leaks to major blockages can arise at any time. Catching and addressing plumbing issues early prevents more extensive repairs and water damage down the road.

While some preventive plumbing maintenance and minor repairs can be DIYed, complex repairs involving main lines, gas pipes, sewer lines, and major fixtures are best left to professional plumbers. Their years of training and hands-on experience allow efficiently diagnosing and fixing problems to keep plumbing systems working safely and reliably.

For quality plumbing repairs and services in the local community, A to Z Plumbing & Heating Inc. offers reliable solutions. Their licensed, experienced plumbers provide maintenance, installation, and repair services for both residential and commercial clients. By staying proactive with plumbing care and calling A to Z Plumbing at the first sign of issues, local homeowners and businesses keep their plumbing systems operating at peak condition.

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