5 Common Plumbing Issues & How To Fix Them

5 Common Plumbing Issues & How To Fix Them

Plumbing issues are incredibly common. While older properties with outdated plumbing systems tend to suffer more issues, problems can arise in any home. It’s tempting to ignore the nuisance of a dripping tap or running toilet, but doing so will cost you in the long run.

As well as wasting water, these innocuous issues often lead to more substantial damage to your plumbing down the line. More urgent issues include blocked drains and defective boilers. If you’re experiencing either of us, you’ll need to call in an expert immediately. 

Below, we’ll explore some of the most plumbing issues you’ll undoubtedly have to deal with at some point, along with some tips on how you can fix them, how to avoid them and their estimated costs.  

Common Plumbing Issues You Are Having At Home

1. A Clogged Drain

Clogged drains are often the culprit of everyday plumbing problems. Even a minor blockage can lead to a shower drain or kitchen sink becoming clogged. Pouring fat or oil down your kitchen sink? Just because it passes through the sinkhole, doesn’t mean it’s finding its way out of your plumbing and into the sewer system. 

Even products like toothpaste and shampoo can lead to bathroom drains becoming clogged after enough time. What’s more, it’s easy for main sewer drains to become clogged if you’re flushing things like kitchen rolls and wet wipes down the toilet.  

How To Fix It 

The good news is that many blockages can be cleared easily. A plunger usually proves effective enough to unblock toilets and kitchen sinks. Just by applying suction and air pressure, you can loosen the blockage. Sometimes, the blockage will find its way through your plumbing and into the sewer system. At other times, suction can help you bring it closer to the surface, allowing you to remove it manually. While plungers can also prove useful for unblocking a toilet, they’re not always effective. 

If a standard plunger isn’t enough to resolve the problem, it’s worth looking into a drain snake instead. Chemical cleaners are also an option. If the blockage is particularly bad, you’ll need a cleaning solution that can penetrate standing water. If you can’t fix the problem yourself, it’s time to call in a plumber in Cork 

How To Avoid It 

Avoiding a clogged drain is easy enough. In the bathroom, avoid flushing anything other than toilet paper. In showers, keep an eye on the plughole and remove hair and other debris regularly. Furthermore, make sure you’re not pouring oil or fat down the sinkhole in the kitchen. It’s also a good idea to use a waste strainer to ensure food particles don’t end up in your plumbing.  

Estimated Cost 

The cost of unclogging a drain varies. To unclear a blocked toilet or kitchen sink, expect to pay in the region of €120 When it comes to clearing a main sewer drain, expect to pay around €200

2. Leaking Faucets

leaking tap

While a leaking tap isn’t a plumbing emergency, that constant dripping can become a huge annoyance. What’s more, a leaking faucet can slowly add to your water bill if left unchecked. The cost can stack up if you have several leaking faucets throughout the home. Plumbing leaks are a problem, leading to gallons of water being wasted every week. While dripping faucets are easy enough to spot, leaking pipes are a different matter entirely. In many cases, the first sign of a problem is water damage to a ceiling.  

How To Fix It 

Most faucet leaks are caused by wear and tear of washers. Once these washers degrade enough, the faucet can’t seal properly. This leads to a small, but steady stream of water being constantly released. If the washer isn’t replaced in good time, the entire valve can become damaged. New washers are inexpensive and easy enough to replace yourself. However, if you need to replace a washer with an awkward faucet, you might not have the right tools available. As such, it’s best to call in the services of a local professional like our plumber in Mallow 

How To Avoid It 

You can’t stop wear and tear. Eventually, a washer will wear out. However, there are some things you can do to extend their life. For starters, avoid being heavy-handed when turning your faucets on and off, as excess pressure can damage the washers. If you do notice a drip, check the condition of the washers and aim to replace them as quickly as possible. The longer you leave a dripping faucet, the more likely it is that the valve seat will corrode. Eventually, you may need to replace the entire faucet.  

Estimated Cost 

Fixing a leaking faucet is affordable, with prices starting at approximately €100

3. Boiler Issues

man fixing a boiler

Countless boiler issues can lead to further problems with your plumbing. While a gas boiler service can preempt many of these issues before they become more serious, there might come a time when you find yourself with a leaking unit or a boiler that’s struggling to heat water. Older boiler systems tend to be the worst offenders, especially if replacement components have become hard to source.  

How To Fix It 

This all depends on what the actual problem is. An annual service should identify any major complications, with replacement parts quickly sourced and installed to prevent any further issues. If you’re struggling to heat your home, your radiators may be the culprit, rather than the boiler itself. In this case, you’ll need to think about how to flush radiators 

How To Avoid It 

How often should you service your boiler? Ideally, your system should be inspected once a year to ensure it’s in optimal condition. If you’re stuck with an older system, it might also be worth switching it out for a more efficient model. The cost of gas boiler replacement can seem steep, but you’ll make considerable savings in the long run.  

Estimated Cost 

Again, this depends on what the actual issue with your boiler is. Annual boiler service costs €99, while power flushing will set you back around €650 

4. A Running Toilet

man unclogging a toilet

Running toilets are one of the most infuriating plumbing problems. The toilet may still work, but the cistern will constantly fill with water and force a flush. Not only does this result in constant hissing and flushing sounds, but it also wastes a staggering amount of water. The main cause of a running toilet is a damaged component. It could be that the cistern float isn’t balanced properly or a fill tube is leaking. Alternatively, a flapper valve might have become damaged.  

How To Fix It 

If you know what to look for, remove the cistern lid from the back of your toilet and inspect the inner components. If everything looks okay but the toilet continues to run, you’ll need to think about the entire flush system.  

How To Avoid It 

As with leaking faucets, there’s no real way to stop wear and tear. All those internal components have a shelf life, so they’ll need to be replaced eventually. However, you can make a saving by regularly inspecting the condition of things like flapper valves and fill tubes. It’s far easier to replace a single component than swap out an entire system.  

Estimated Cost 

Basic toilet repairs cost €120. However, if you need to replace all the internal components, expect to pay around €160

5. Low Water Pressure

If you live in an older property, you’ve probably had to contend with low water pressure. Although pressure levels can change from day to day, you’ll generally find it difficult to enjoy a decent shower or fill a sink quickly. Low water pressure can be caused by several things. A damaged main supply line can be the cause. Check with your immediate neighbours to see if they’re experiencing something similar. 

However, the culprit may be closer to home. An internal leak can be sapping your water pressure, as well as damage your property. Detecting a leak yourself is surprisingly straightforward. Avoid using taps and other water supplies in your house for a few hours, then check your water meter to see if there’s any change to your usage. If there is, take this as a sign that you leak.  

How To Fix It 

Try cleaning the aerators attached to your faucets to see if this improves water pressure from your taps. In the bathroom, do the same with your shower heads to see if this makes a difference. If you notice no change in water pressure, it’s time to call in the professionals.  

How To Avoid It 

Calcium and mineral deposits can affect water pressure. Filtration systems can be installed to help tackle this, but they’re expensive. Checking faucets and pipes regularly is the best way to track changes to water pressure.  

Estimated Cost 

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for fixing low water pressure. Installing new aerators and components to improve faucet pressure will cost you around €120. Installing filtration systems costs €200 while repairing leaking pipes will set you back around €120 

Need Help With Plumbing Problems? 

While many plumbing issues are easy enough to tackle yourself, you can make a problem even worse if you don’t know what you’re doing. While a damaged washer or poorly-fitted valve can be replaced quickly enough, there are often other problems you don’t see. If a leaking pipe remains unchecked, you can end up paying a small fortune in water charges. That’s even before you consider the structural damage those leaks are causing to your property.

Struggling to nail down the source of low water pressure? Need help with a faulty boiler? At Complete Plumbing Solutions, we’re here to help with any emergency. For years, we’ve been the go-to plumbing experts for residential and commercial customers throughout County Cork. Do you need to arrange your next gas boiler service? Want to talk about power flushing or pump services? Get an online quote today or call the team on (085) 169 4244. 

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