If there’s one thing you can look forward to as a homeowner, it’s dealing with plumbing issues. Okay, you probably won’t look forward to these things with giddy anticipation, but they’re going to happen at some point. Often it feels like they appear out of nowhere, or just when you think everything is going well. Then all of a sudden there’s a leak in the basement or your water pressure has gone caput. While there is no helping some of the common plumbing issues, others can be delayed or even preempted. Follow along for a look at the most common issues and their causes.

Backed Up

You flush the toilet and the bowl fills with water, but nothing’s going down. Usually this is a case of too much of something that isn’t able to pass through. You’ve got a clog. If you have small children in the house, it’s very possible they just haven’t mastered the concept of moderation in which case the odds are a bit against you. Toilets can get backed up from either human waste or too much toilet paper. If you’re flushing anything other than toilet paper and your numbers one and two, then the likelihood of a clog is even higher. Plungers can fix this in a matter of seconds. If plunging doesn’t work, time to call the professionals for a diagnosis and repair.

When it comes to showers, baths, and sinks backing up it could be a couple things. Hygiene products, hair, and general build-up from calcium and sediment over time will slow the drain of your tubs and sinks. This, again, is a pretty easy fix. By removing the drain cover – after you’ve donned a pair of rubber gloves ‘cause it’s gonna get real icky real fast – you can pull out any built up clumps of hair, and clean away any other build up. You could also snake it with a straightened wire hanger or auger to loosen and retrieve whatever’s in the way. Whatever you do, do not resort to harsh drain chemicals. They often do more harm than good as they corrode and further damage your pipes.

Under Pressure

High water pressure in the kitchen does a lot to clear away food debris from dirty dishes. It’s also just a lovely thing to have in the shower. Your water pressure may be dulled because of calcium, lime or rust deposits building up over time. Cleaning the shower or faucet head will reduce this issue. If, however, that’s not the case it could be coming from your water heater. The pilot light might need to be reignited. When you have pressure issues using both hot and cold water, grab a phone and call Joe the Plumber.

Garbage Disposals

Gotta love a good garbage disposal. It makes cleaning the kitchen so much easier. But believe it or not, though, it isn’t built to handle any old thing. Disposals are good for most food scraps from the end of your meal. Fruit and vegetable skins, on the other hand, shouldn’t be left for the disposal. Put those larger, thicker items in the trash, not down the drain. It’s also unwise to run the disposal without any water running into it. Foreign object, needless to say, like utensils and wedding rings can also do a number at damaging the blades and generally mucking things up. If the reset button doesn’t do it, dial that plumber’s number.

Running Toilets

Oh gosh. It’s not just a noisy nuisance, toilets that are constantly running are constantly costing you money! The good news is, these are often very simple fixes that don’t require the help of a professional. Most of the time it’s the flapper that needs to be replaced. In other cases it might be the chain or a case of needing to readjust the float. Whatever the diagnosis, don’t waste any time (or water and money) letting it go by the wayside.

Leaky Faucet

Similar to the running toilet, this pesky problem wastes hundreds of gallons of water every single day. It may be – like your low pressure problems – a matter of deposits and build-up that have corroded parts of the faucet. Otherwise, you’re likely to need to replace a part such as the O-ring, gaskets, or washers.

Where’s The Hot Water?

Think of all the times someone freaked out in a movie and they were then immediately tossed into a cold shower to shock their system into calming down. They’re no fun. No hot water is also a problem in the kitchen when you’re trying to sanitize your hand wash only dishes. When the temperature is wacky, it’s a problem with your water heater. The pilot light could need to be relit, or the issue could be more complex. You’re best calling a professional repair plumber to diagnose and resolve whatever is plaguing your water heater. The equipment itself is finicky and expensive. Repairs are still cheaper, though, than replacements so don’t mess it up.

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