Signs You Could Have a Plumbing Problem

A plumbing problem can be extremely disruptive. We expect fresh, clean water that’s available at a tap’s notice. Plumbing problems destroy those expectations. The following watchouts can help you decide if you need a plunger or a plumber.

A plumbing problem can sneak up out of the blue, causing disruption in a life where you’ve come to expect that everything should always run as it should. Like losing electricity in a blackout, losing access to fresh, clean water can turn your life upside down as you rush to handle the issue, usually at substantial inconvenience and major cost to you. The best thing to do is to attack plumbing issues before they become plumbing disasters. Check out below for some plumbing problem watchouts.

Leaky Pipes

If you’ve ever opened up the cabinet beneath your kitchen or bathroom sink and noticed drips coming from one of the pipes, you’re most likely dealing with a plumbing issue that can get progressively worse if it’s not dealt with right away. A leaky pipe often means that the pipe is rusting, creating holes for water to seep through. You will need to replace the rotted section of the pipe at the very least and possibly the entire pipe. A great plumber can let you know for sure.

Frequent Toilet Back Ups

There is quite possibly nothing more “ew!”-inducing than a backed up toilet. A toilet that can’t flush is not only gross, but it can also quickly turn into a major sanitary issue. Plunging the bowl may take care of the problem temporarily, but if the issue keeps happening, the problem is probably deeper in the tank. You may have a septic tank that needs to be emptied. If you own a single-family home, call your plumber stat. If you own an apartment in a co-op or condo, alert the board ASAP as the issue could very quickly end up affecting other apartments in the building.

Sink Draining Slow

If you’ve noticed that it’s taking a long time for your sink to empty of water, you’re most likely dealing with a blocked pipe. Some people try clearing the drain with gentle solutions like (blue) Dawn dishwashing soap and hot water. Dawn cuts grease really well, and the hot water helps melt and push through the blockage. If that doesn’t work, you’ll want to call a plumber. Commercial drain cleaners can be effective, but they’re also corrosive and can cause damage to fragile, rotting pipes.

Sputtering Faucet

You’ve most likely experienced a sputtering faucet at one point and simply attributed it to a moody faucet. That’s only true if it doesn’t happen that often. If it happens all the time or in more than one faucet in your house, it could mean there’s a cracked water pipe somewhere in the building’s plumbing system or the main water line. You’ll need a plumber to take a look and see if it is a local issue or if it’s centered on your home’s system alone. Waiting to handle it could deal with more costly and disruptive repairs down the road.

Dripping Faucet

A constantly dripping faucet is annoying at best, while costly and evidence of a deeper hidden problem at worst. Your water bill can be driven up by hundreds of dollars a year by a seemingly light drip. The washers that prevent leaks from happening can become torn or loosen over time, causing a leak. Replacements can be found at your local hardware store.


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  1. brian
    March 8, 2017

    This is a good article. One thing to point out is that some of these problems can be fixed on your own (if you’re handy). YouTube is your friend. But if you’re not sure, you should probably call a plumber so you don’t make matters worse.

    • Victoria Keichinger
      March 9, 2017

      Great tip, Brian! Thanks for sharing.

  2. John
    March 27, 2017

    My wife and I keep towels under our sink and I noticed that they felt a little damp. I couldn’t see any leaks from the pipe, but I could smell a musty smell which I think is an indicator of mold. The article mentions that drips under your bathroom sink can indicate a leak, but I haven’t actually seen a drip. Would you still recommend having a plumber come look at it? If our line needs repairs, I wouldn’t want to put it off until later.

    • Lindsay Listanski
      April 4, 2017

      Probably a safe bet!


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