Common Plumbing Issues: DIY Troubleshooting Tips and When to Seek Help


Plumbing concerns in your home can go from minor nuisances to major headaches in no time. Whether it’s a dripping faucet, a sluggish drain, or a faulty water heater, these issues can disrupt your daily routine, cause water damage, and even increase your utility bills. In this comprehensive guide, we explore common plumbing issues, offer simple troubleshooting tips, and discuss the right time to call in the professionals.

Dripping Faucet


Ever been kept awake by the relentless ‘drip, drip, drip’ of a leaky faucet? Not only is it a sleep-depriving annoyance, but these minuscule drips can add up to substantial water waste and higher bills over time. A worn-out washer, O-ring, or valve seat frequently causes this problem. If you are handy with tools, disassembling the faucet to replace these parts might solve the issue.

Bear in mind that incorrect repairs can sometimes make the problem worse. If the leak persists after your DIY attempt, especially after a few of them, Plumb Now is the professional who will get the job done.

Clogged Drain

From the kitchen sink to the shower, a clogged drain can put a halt to your day’s plans. Often, the culprit is a build-up of fats, oils, hair, or soap scum. To tackle this issue, try using a plunger, a plumber’s snake, or a hand auger.

Another solution is a homemade drain cleaner made from hot water, vinegar, and baking soda. Yet, avoid using chemical drain cleaners as they can corrode your pipes. Despite your best efforts, if the blockage remains, it’s best to call in an expert.

Running Toilet


A running toilet, while less noticeable, can be a significant waste. The usual suspects in this scenario include a faulty flapper valve, fill tube, or float. Inspect the tank, adjust the float, or replace the valve to fix the problem.

Despite your endeavors, if the toilet continues to run, it’s prudent to seek professional help. A skilled plumber can diagnose more complex issues like silent leaks or mineral build-ups affecting the toilet’s function.

Frustratingly Low Pressure

A shower with low water pressure can turn your refreshing morning ritual into a frustrating experience. Common causes are sediment build-up, pipe corrosion, or a problem in the local water supply.

You can attempt to increase the pressure by cleaning your showerhead or faucet aerator. Nonetheless, if the pressure remains low throughout your home, you might have a serious problem requiring expert intervention.

Water Heater

A cold shower on a winter morning is the telltale sign of a faulty water heater. This could be due to sediment build-up, faulty thermostats, or broken heating elements.

Try flushing the tank or adjusting the thermostat for a simple fix. However, never attempt DIY with gas heaters due to the risk of gas leaks or explosions. For persistent or complex issues, hire a professional plumber.

Burst or Leaking Pipes

Burst or leaking pipes can lead to catastrophic water damage. Causes range from temperature changes and pipe corrosion to high pressure and clogs.

If you observe a leak, shut off the water supply and apply waterproof tape or a clamp as a temporary fix. Given the severity of this problem, professional help is always recommended.

Unpleasant Sewer Line Backup


An unpleasant odor or multiple drain backups could indicate a serious issue – a sewer line backup. Tree roots, flushed debris, or structural defects might cause this problem.

Professional intervention is crucial here as DIY can worsen the situation, increasing health risks due to exposure to raw sewage.

Plumbing Fixture Installation

Installing a new sink, shower, or toilet involves knowledge of both the plumbing system and building codes. An improper installation can lead to leaks, water damage, and code violations.

While DIY videos can guide you for a minor upgrade, it’s wise to hire a plumber for a significant overhaul or a new installation.

Sneaky Water Stains/Damage


Discoloration on walls, ceilings, or floors often points toward hidden leaks. Left unchecked, these leaks can cause mold growth, structural damage, and costly repairs.

If you spot any water stains, investigate immediately. And, if you can’t locate the source, it’s time to call a professional.

Unseen Frozen Pipes

In colder regions, frozen pipes can be a recurring problem. If your pipes freeze, the water flow is restricted, and they can potentially burst causing further damage.

If you suspect frozen pipes, try thawing them using a hairdryer or a heat lamp. Yet, to prevent this issue in the future or to fix a burst pipe, you will need a professional plumber. The job is often too much for non-pros.

Noisily Rattling Pipes

Your peaceful home environment shouldn’t be disturbed by the sounds of rattling pipes. The noise, often referred to as ‘water hammer,’ may be due to high water pressure or loose pipes.

Installing a water pressure regulator or securing loose pipes may resolve this issue. However, recurrent noises should be evaluated by a plumber.

Stinky Foul Odors from Drains

Foul odors from drains indicate a clog, a dry trap, or a vent issue. Cleaning the drain or filling the trap with water might solve the problem.

But, if the odor persists, consider bringing in a professional. This odor could signify a larger issue like a broken vent or a sewer backup.

Gas Plumbing Issues


Smelling gas in your home is a serious safety concern. The cause could be a leaking gas pipe or a poorly installed appliance.

If you smell gas, evacuate your home immediately and call a professional. Never attempt to fix gas plumbing issues on your own as it can lead to explosions or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Unexpected Plumbing Emergencies

A sudden burst pipe or a major leak constitutes a plumbing emergency. In such situations, immediately shut off your main water valve and contact a plumber.

Remember, quick action can mitigate water damage and potentially save you thousands in repair costs.

Recognizing When to Engage a Professional Plumber


Some plumbing issues can be addressed with simple fixes, while others require professional intervention. Knowing when to call a plumber can save you time, money, and potential disasters. When DIY attempts fail, when problems recur, or when you face complex or hazardous situations, it’s time to turn to the professionals.

Final Reflections

Navigating through common plumbing issues can seem daunting. Yet, with a dash of knowledge and a sprinkle of DIY spirit, you can tackle minor issues and prevent further damage. But remember, it’s equally important to recognize the gravity of a situation and when to call in a professional. Keep your home safe, sound, and leak-free with the right blend of DIY gumption and professional expertise.