Bathrooms should be havens of peace and tranquility where you can relax and get away from the stresses of the day. Unfortunately, bathrooms are susceptible to a host of problems, ranging from minor and irritating to serious and costly to fix. In many cases, bathroom-related plumbing problems are due to a lack of maintenance or poor design.
Below, you’ll learn about the five most common plumbing problems homeowners experience, their causes, and how to fix them. The sooner you address these issues, the better, as smaller problems can escalate.
1. Silent Leaks and Burst Pipes
Burst pipes don’t always announce themselves with flooding. In many instances, pipes can crack and cause continuous leakage, leading to severe water damage that can affect your home’s plumbing system and structural integrity. Not only that — silent leaks can also waste hundreds of gallons of water per year, leading to massive water bills.
Pipes can start leaking for any number of reasons. The most common reason is age, as the older the pipe, the more likely it is to suffer from corrosion. Older pipes are brittle and can crack at the slightest hint of pressure.
In other instances, high water pressure or clogs can exceed the tolerance level of pipes, causing them to burst. Even minor clogging can put increased pressure on your pipes, leading to increased wear and possible leaks.
Silent leaks are often difficult to detect. However, one of the first hints that you have a silent leak is a higher water bill, especially if you haven’t dramatically changed your usage. You can also spot mold growth on walls, floors, and ceilings, mostly in the bathroom and around the rest of the house.
You’ll often need to call a professional plumber to find the leaky area and offer solutions. In some cases, you may need to replace part of the pipe, while in others, it may be better to replace all of your aging plumbing.
A plumbing tip that’s significantly less invasive is trenchless pipe replacement. This method allows the plumber to replace leaky pipes without having to go into your walls and flooring. This technique is significantly quicker, which makes it more affordable.
2. Clogged Drains
Slowly draining water is usually the first indicator of a clogged drain. Even if you’re careful about only flushing appropriate items and avoiding hair falling into the shower drain, clogs are a natural consequence of bathroom use.
However, it’s always better to address a clogged drain before it becomes a serious plumbing problem. Small clogs are relatively easy to remove. But if you ignore them, they can catch other debris in your wastewater, leading to a larger and more serious clog.
Clogs in slow drains are due to any number of unwanted items finding their way into your plumbing. Some of the most common culprits in the bathroom include hair, excess toilet paper, and wet wipes. For the kitchen, food products and grease can be to blame.
Most clogs start very small and are generally washed away during the normal course of bathroom use. However, clogs can catch on something, like an uneven pipe, and start interfering with your wastewater flow.
Small clogs also act like traps that catch any other debris in your plumbing system. Eventually, the clog will become almost solid and will prevent any water from draining. At this point, you risk not only plumbing problems but also massive damage to your pipes, drain overflow, and leaking pipes.
Some people try addressing drain clogs with harsh chemical drain cleaners. However, traditional drain cleaners are very corrosive, can damage your pipes, and may still fail to show good results.
If you have constant drain issues, you need a reliable drain cleaning solution that doesn’t rely on having the plumber around every couple of weeks.
The DrainShroom is a drain snake that penetrates deeply into your plumbing to remove any nasty clogs before they cause further issues. All you need to do is attach it to your power drill and watch as it removes any clog-causing hairballs within a 3-foot radius of the drain opening.
Because hair is the most common reason for drain issues, it’s vital to catch it before it becomes a problem. The Shroom range of products, including TubShroom, SinkShroom, and ShowerShroom, is designed to catch any unwanted waste before it enters your drain.
Shroom products fit into almost every sink, shower, or drain, making them perfect for all households. By preventing waste from entering your drains in the first place, you’ll experience fewer clogs and other plumbing issues.
3. Low Water Pressure or Poor Water Supply
Weak pressure is the bane of a good, long shower. If your showerhead is delivering a light spring rain when you want Niagara Falls on your head, you may have an issue with your water pressure.
Low pressure doesn’t just affect your shower quality. It also results in increased water usage as you wait for droplets to come out of the faucet and showerhead, and it may even affect the life of your washing machine and fixtures.
Water pressure is usually due to an issue with limescale buildup on your faucet and showerhead. Your faucet has an aerator that decreases water usage without affecting pressure. As limescale builds up, it can block the airflow of the aerator, resulting in a water flow slowing to a dribble.
Another likely culprit is a clogged pipe. Small clogs will cause a buildup of pressure behind the blockage and lower the water pressure in front of it.
If a plumber has recently come in to fix plumbing problems, your valve opening may not be correctly set. A valve opening that is too open or closed can lead to changes in pressure and may even cause further issues like leaking or burst pipes, a leaky faucet, and high water bills.
In some cases, low pressure isn’t due to any issues with your plumbing but is instead a problem with the water supplier or your city. Some cities have regulations lowering overall citywide pressure that water suppliers need to follow. Suppliers can also run into issues with intermittent water supply.
Your first step should be to call your supplier and get information on any problems with your water supply. If there aren’t any problems here, you’ll need to do some investigating.
If you’ve also been having plumbing issues with slow-draining water or a dripping faucet, you may have a clog. Use a drain snake like the DrainShroom to break up any clogs.
If you can see limescale build-up on your showerhead or faucet, use a descaling solution or replace your faucets and showerheads.
Limescale buildup is a constant concern for households with hard water, and you may want to get a plumber to install a soft water system in your home.
4. Constantly Running Toilet
A constantly running toilet can be incredibly irritating as well as expensive. Toilets are surprisingly complex pieces of machinery. When one part of the flush mechanism fails, it can be tricky to identify and resolve the issue.
There are three main reasons why toilets keep running after you’ve flushed:
- Wrong float height
- A leaking flapper
- The refill tube is too long
To determine what diagnosis fits your toilet problem, just open the toilet tank and look inside. An obvious sign is seeing water moving and flowing around the toilet tank rim after the toilet stopped flushing.
If the toilet stops flushing midway or flushes at a slower pace, the float is at the wrong height. A leaking flapper causes your toilet tank to fill up when it’s not supposed to. If you hear a suctioning sound similar to a drinking straw sucking out the last drops of water, the refill tube is too long.
Before you call a plumber, you may try fixing your toilet on your own (it’s often easier than you think). All you need is a bit of willingness, some DIY know-how, and a handful of tools from your local hardware store. However, you may also need some tools like a multi-bit screwdriver and cutting pliers. In the event of a more complex cause, you may need to call the experts for professional plumbing repairs.
Note: Be sure to turn off the toilet's shutoff valve before attempting these fixes.
1. Lower the Float
If you have too much water in the toilet tank, it can leak into the toilet bowl via the overflow tube. To avoid this, adjust the water level in the tank by changing the float height.
So, how much water is too much? Look inside the toilet tank for the words “water line” on the inside walls. This is where the water should stop after flushing. Water stopping below and above the line are problematic.
2. Replace the Flapper
Another common issue is an old flapper that doesn’t seal correctly and allows water to run from the tank to the toilet bowl. Replacing the flapper and chain is relatively simple once you have the replacement part.
To make your job easier, first, drain the water from the tank by shutting off the supply and flushing the toilet. Then, remove the old flapper by detaching the chain and removing the pins on the side of the overflow tube. Some flappers involve a valve that releases and seals the water inside the tank using a chain or lift wire. These may have a nut you’ll need to unscrew before taking it out. Reverse the process to attach the new flapper.
Make sure to check whether the flapper chain is short enough. Too short and the flapper will not close, letting water flow after the toilet stopped flushing. If it’s too long, it will keep interfering with the flapper seal, resulting in a running toilet. While there is no set length for a flapper chain, the correct length is long enough to close the flapper valve without leaving the excess chain drooping in the tank.
3. Shorten the Refill Tube
If the refill tube is too long, it may keep continuously pumping water into the bowl. The refill valve creates suction, so if it’s too long, it will keep pulling water from the tank instead of the overflow.
All you need to do is remove the refill tube from the overflow and pull out the holding clip from the other side. Grab the new refill tube and reinsert the tube end into the overflow tube. Reinsert the clip end into the fill valve.
If none of these solutions fix your problem, you may want to enlist professional plumbing services.
Have the opposite problem of a slow-flushing toilet? Find a fix here.
Mold is a type of fungus that grows on organic matter. It needs warmth and humidity to thrive and tends to love bathrooms and kitchens. It’s one of the most common bathroom plumbing problems that people encounter due to mold’s pervasive nature.
Hundreds of species of mold can grow in your bathroom. Some are just ugly, while others may cause serious health concerns, such as asthma, allergies, and even toxic mold poisoning.
Mold loves humidity and warm spaces, both of which the bathroom provides. Good ventilation can help slow down the growth and spread of mold, but spores are everywhere and will typically latch on to bathroom fixtures, faucets, and grout. While mold likes organic surfaces like wood, many species have evolved to grow on cement, grout, and other common bathroom surfaces.
Mold is also a common sign of leaks, especially when it occurs in well-ventilated areas.
Your first step to avoiding mold is to install some form of ventilation in your bathroom. This will decrease the humidity in the space and discourage mold from growing.
If you start seeing black spots in your shower, sink, or toilet, use a mold remover to get rid of the problem. Most commercial mold removers will have fungicides that stop the reoccurrence of mold.
In some instances, mold can be incredibly stubborn. You might consider hiring a local mold removal expert who can tailor their mold removal and prevention recommendations to your situation.
Address Common Plumbing Problems Early
Most bathroom issues are small enough that people tend to ignore them at first. However, most plumbing problems won’t resolve themselves without human intervention. Drains won’t magically unclog themselves, your faucet won’t stop dripping, and the wax ring in the toilet won’t suddenly start working.
Ignoring these small problems will only make them bigger. Slow-draining drains will start to overflow, water damage will affect your home’s structural integrity, and you’ll waste a lot of water waiting for the faucet to stop leaking.
Basic preventative maintenance can help keep most of these issues from recurring. One solution is replacing older fixtures. Another plumbing tip is to incorporate Shroom Company products into your bathroom.
SinkShroom, TubShroom, ShowerShroom, and ShowerShroom Ultra will catch hair and jewelry — common causes of bathroom sink, shower, and bathtub drain clogs — while allowing water to pass through. Additionally, DrainShroom is an easy-to-use auger and drain snake that unclogs blockage deep inside drain pipes.
Are you looking to eliminate plumbing problems and clogged drains for good? Look no further than our complete 'Shroom drain protection line! We have award-winning solutions for every drain in your home.