3 of the Top Problems in Plumbing Systems

3 of the Top Problems in Plumbing Systems

Let’s dive into 3 of the top problems in plumbing systems. Homeownership comes with many responsibilities, and maintaining the plumbing system is one of the most crucial yet often overlooked tasks. Whether you’re a seasoned homeowner, a DIY enthusiast, or a property manager, understanding common plumbing issues and their solutions can save you time, money, and headaches.

Running Toilets

Issue: A running toilet is not just an annoyance; it can save significant water and inflate your utility bill. The constant sound of flowing water usually indicates some internal components malfunctioning.


  • Identify the Source: Open the toilet tank and inspect the flapper, flush, and fill valve.
  • Replace the Flapper Valve: Often, the flapper valve becomes worn out and fails to seal properly. Replacing it is straightforward.
  • Adjust the Float: The toilet will continuously run if the water level is too high. Adjusting the float can help control the water level inside the tank.
  • Check the Refill Tube: Ensure the refill tube is short enough and fits correctly above the overflow pipe.
  • Dripping Faucets

Dripping Faucets

Issue: Dripping faucets are more than just a source of irritation; if left unaddressed, they may eventually lead to increased water bills and potential water damage. A dripping faucet usually indicates a problem with the internal mechanisms, such as the washer, O-ring, or valve seat.


  • Turn Off the Water Supply: Before you begin, turn off the water supply to the faucet.
  • Replace the Washer: The washer is a common culprit for leaks. Unscrew the faucet handle and replace the old washer with a new one.
  • Inspect the O-ring and Valve Seat: If replacing the washer doesn’t solve the issue, check the O-ring and valve seat for signs of wear and tear. Replace if necessary.
  • Call a Professional: If the problem persists after you’ve tried these steps, it may be best to consult a professional plumber for a more in-depth inspection.
  • Clogged Drains

Clogged Drains

Issue: Clogged drains are a frequent issue in many households, often caused by the accumulation of hair, soap, grease, and food particles. Persistent clogs can lead to slow drainage, unpleasant odors, and water damage.


  • Use a Plunger: A plunger can effectively remove minor clogs in sinks and toilets. Make sure to use a plunger designed for the type of drain you’re working on.
  • Apply a Drain Snake: For more stubborn clogs, a drain snake (or auger) can reach deeper into the pipes to try and break up the blockage.
  • Natural Remedies: A baking soda and vinegar mixture can help dissolve minor clogs. To use this natural remedy, pour the baking soda mixture down the drain, wait about 30 minutes, and then flush with hot water.
  • Chemical Cleaners: While chemical drain cleaners are effective, they should be used sparingly because they can damage pipes over time.
  • Preventive Measures: Install drain screens to catch debris, and regularly clean your drains to prevent buildup.
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Preventive Maintenance Tips

  • Regular Inspections: Regularly inspect your plumbing system to catch issues before they become significant problems. During these regular inspections, look for signs of leaks, corrosion, and wear on all visible pipes and fixtures.
  • Proper Disposal: Be mindful of how you flush your toilets and pour down your drains. Avoid disposing of grease, coffee grounds, and fibrous foods in the kitchen sink.
  • Seasonal Preparations: Prepare your plumbing for colder months by insulating pipes to prevent freezing and bursting.

When to Call a Professional

So, as many plumbing issues can be resolved with many different DIY methods, some situations require the expertise of a professional plumber:

  • Complex pipe repairs or replacements
  • Persistent leaks that cannot be traced to a specific source
  • Major sewer line problems
  • Water heater malfunctions

Knowing when to call a professional may help prevent costly repairs and ensure the longevity of your plumbing system.


Plumbing issues are inevitable in homeownership, but many can be managed with some knowledge and effort. By understanding common problems like running toilets, dripping faucets, and clogged drains, you can proactively resolve these issues and maintain your home’s plumbing system effectively. Remember, preventive maintenance is critical; don’t hesitate to call a professional when in doubt.

Stay vigilant, address issues promptly, and enjoy a hassle-free plumbing experience!

Resources: https://raleighnc.gov/water