Sometimes, the first reaction to a minor, simple plumbing problem is to call a professional. Other times, people get overconfident in their ability to handle major snags by following a how-to article off Google. In our years servicing the full gamut of possible plumbing complications in California’s Torrance, Gardena, and South Bay regions, we’ve developed a list of the five most common problems we’ve encountered, how to correct them, and when it’s time to phone in for an expert.
Like with sinks and showers, there are certain materials you shouldn’t send down a drain. Detritus like sand and paper scraps shouldn’t be flushed, but any clogging they cause is normally correctable with diligent plunging. While the traditional red-rubber all-purpose plunger is a reliable tool for sinks and showers, the black-rubber toilet plunger with the funnel-like extension is especially effective at de-crapping a crapper that’s backed up. In the worst case scenario, a plumbing snake may be used; failing this, it may be necessary to call a plumber.
Debris such as hair, shavings and dirt can progressively back up a sink or shower over time and lead to multiple clogs that can be temporarily fixed with Drano or Liquid Plumber. Vinegar and baking soda is another popular DIY fix for this, as is disassembling sink traps and removing and discovered clutter. However, in some cases a plumbing snake is necessary to permanently remedy the issue. If the snake doesn’t work out, there may be a hard obstruction deeper into the pipeline which a professional needs to look at.
Trickling and Leaking Faucets
A leaking tap can often be corrected by tightening or replacing the washer nuts inside the assembly. A trickling faucet tends to result from sedimentary backup in the aerator, which can be unscrewed from the end of the faucet and cleaned. Alternatively, the washer nuts may need to be unscrewed some.
Malfunctioning Water Heaters
A common cause is sedimentary buildup. It’s almost always a better idea to leave it up to a professional, but for those that must fix it themselves, this is what you can do: shut off the heater’s power and water supplies, open a hot-water faucet in any sink or tub in the house, open the heater’s drain valve to drain the hot water, then turn on the heater’s water supply to clean out any detritus in the valve. Afterwards, reassemble everything.
Pipe Leaks and Blockages
Scaling happens when minerals build up inside a pipe or connected fixtures, narrowing the breadth through which water can pass. A minor blockage can be fixed by disassembling the pipes and using a pipe-cleaning device to remove them. Minor pipe leaks can temporarily be corrected by using epoxy putty or amalgamation tape. In both cases, it’s usually better to call in a professional and have the issue remedied properly and fully, however.
Many plumbing issues arise in beach hotels due to sand buildup when users wash themselves off. This can be corrected by educating the general public, but it can also be helped along by informing people how to reverse simple plumbing conflicts on their own. However, plumbing projects that require moderate disassembly and a general understanding of the system behind it are better left up to a professional.