For most homeowners, plumbing is a necessity and not a luxury.  When plumbing doesn’t work properly, homeowners panic.  Although some plumbing problems are easy to fix, homeowners turn to a professional out of ignorance.  Some knowledge of how to fix basic plumbing problems can save a lot of money and spare a household many hours of frustration.

According to the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Information Bureau, most homeowners still lack basic plumbing repair skills.  The following is a list of the top 10 questions homeowners ask plumbers:

Why is my Kitchen Faucet Losing Pressure?

Answer: Assuming that the kitchen faucet is the only faucet with an issue, you probably have a faulty valve.  Typically, we recommend calling the plumber to replace a valve, to ensure that you will have a tight seal on your new valve and no future problems.  However, if you are (or live with) a true DIY’er, then you can shut off your water line, disassemble the valve, and replace it.  Of course, you will need to follow the exact instructions for your specific brand of valve and sink, and you need to know what you’re doing.  If corrosion in your pipes caused the problem, then you likely have similar problems at other faucets, and may need to repipe your home.

Why are all of my Taps Dripping?

Answer: Most likely, the washers to your taps are worn out and need to be replaced.  Twist the spindle and remove the fastening screw, then replace the washer and check whether problem is solved.  If not, you may need to replace the spindle and screw too.

Why is my Toilet Flowing Continuously?  

Answer: It seems there is a defect with your toilet tank.  The reason water flows continuously once you flush is that the stopping mechanism is faulty.  This mechanism consists of a ball cock assembly, trip lever, float arm, lift wire, guide, tank ball and flush valve seat.  Ideally, once the water level reaches a certain height, the tank ball will trigger the trip lever, causing the valve to close.  If it is not closing, then either the ball is not rising high enough to trigger the lever, or the valve is not closing properly.  Lift the toilet tank lid to check for any breakage or interruption of the system and fix it.

Why is my sink draining slowly?

Answer: Slow draining sinks are a common plumbing problem.  The stopper that closes to stop up the sink often collects hair and debris over time, slowing the flow of the drain.  To get the drain flowing smoothly again, pull out the stopper and clean the debris out.  If that doesn’t give you optimal results, you can also use the Zip-it, a handy plumbing tool, to clean out the drain.

What is the Best Way to Handle a Clogged Toilet?

Answer: In many cases, you only need a plunger to unclog your toilet.  If that doesn’t work, you can try an auger that can often be more effective in removing difficult clogs.  When these two options don’t work, have a professional plumber check the toilet.

There is an Unpleasant Odor Coming from my Septic Tank.  What’s the Cause?

Answer: Odors are mostly due to clogging up of both the upper chamber of the tank and the inlet drains since they take quite some time to degrade.  To solve this problem, reduce your oil and grease usage.  A better solution involves installing a separate system for your oil and grease.  In any case, you may need to consult a plumbing company to clean the upper chamber and intake lines, or advise you about a chemical compound that can dissolve the grease.

How do I Fix my Overflowing Bathtub?

Answer: Your best option is to remove the drain cover in your tub, and then use thin pliers to remove whatever it is that’s blocking the inside.  You can try using a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to dislodge and remove the debris.  If the clog is more stubborn, or located further down the line, then you may need professional tools.  Because some of these solutions can damage your plumbing in the hands of inexperienced helpers, we strongly suggest calling the professionals at Biard and Crockett; that’s why we’re here.

How can I Tell if my Pipes are Freezing?

Answer: The best indication of freezing pipes is a drop in water pressure.  As ice accumulates inside of your lines, it restricts the flow of water, thereby reducing pressure.  When you notice this, close the water inlet first before exploring available options to avert the problem.

What are the Dangers Posed by a Slab Leak?

Answer: The extent of the damage depends on how fast the water is leaking and where it accumulates.  Leaking water can form pools beneath your floor, causing your floor boards to rot or grow mold.  It can jeopardize your electrical connections, or even accumulate inside your floors and walls, allowing moisture inside the house and weakening your drywall and wood.  Even if the pooling water finds a way to drain out from under your foundation, it can slowly leach sediment away from your foundation and weaken it.  If the leaking line is a sewer line, the sewage will also contaminate every area it touches with dangerous bacteria and other pathogens.

How can I Clean my Clogged Drains?

Answer: Baking soda and vinegar can dislodge some grease-based clogs.  It helps clear the drains of accumulated grease.  You can also try reaching debris that is close to the drain cover.  If neither of these solutions work, call a professional.