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If you are like most San Antonio, TX homeowners, you don’t give your plumbing a second thought until something goes awry. It’s at this point that you have to call for emergency plumbing repair. Most people are capable of handling small, common problems on their own, like unclogging a partially clogged toilet. But when it comes to something like a clogged pipe (or worse yet, a burst pipe), calling in a pro is the smart thing to do. And the sooner the better. Once you suspect a problem, the time to dial up a professional is at hand. Instead of waiting for a calamity with your plumbing, be aware of the warning signs your plumbing system is sending out—the faster you nip a problem in the bud, the less it will likely cost to repair it.
So, what could your plumbing system be saying to you? If you are “listening,” then it might give you some subtle or even downright obvious cues that it needs some TLC. Let’s run down some of the most common signs to be on the lookout for in and around your home that indicate a need for plumbing repairs in your future.
Phantom Water in the Pipes or Toilet
Do you hear water running in the toilet or the pipes but no one is using the water? If so, there’s a pretty good chance that a leak has sprung somewhere in your plumbing system. Investigate a little further, looking for obvious signs of a leak, such as brown or wet spots on floors, walls or ceilings. If you find a wet spot and it is warm to the touch, then the leak probably stems from a hot water pipe or line. Water running in the toilet may mean that the flapper has become damaged or is worn. Some homeowners are comfortable enough to do a DIY flapper replacement; others are not, and if that’s you, then your plumbing professional can easily replace it for you. However, if the noise you hear coming from your toilet tank is a hiss-like noise, then that’s an indicator of the need for total replacement of internal components in the tank, which is a plumbing repair that’s beyond the scope of most DIYers.
Water Meter Spinning without Water Being Used
Take a look at your water meter. Is it spinning, but you know for sure that no one is using the water—no one just flushed a toilet and the washer, dishwasher, and shower are not in use? If so, then you definitely have a problem and one that can be quite costly. Turn off the water heater valve. Does the meter stop spinning? If so, then the water leak is in the hot water pipes, which is good info to let your plumber know when you call for plumbing repairs.
Do you hear a gurgling noise when you run your dishwasher or washer or when you flush the toilet? Gurgling is the very first sign of a compromised or clogged drain. The sound occurs when the system tries to find air, and it nearly always indicates that a line is trying to back up into your San Antonio, TX, home. The best course of action is to turn off the water to the house until a plumber arrives—this helps avoid any huge mess.
Is it taking longer than usual for your bathroom or kitchen sink or your bathtub or shower to fully drain? This generally means one thing—a clog. You may be able to use a drain cleaning product to fix the drain yourself, either on its own or in combination with a plunger. However, if the clog is a real beast, you may need to call out a plumber, since your efforts may lead to damage to your pipes, exacerbating things and necessitating even more plumbing repair work.
Assuming you paid your water bill, a total lack of water coming through the pipes can mean that you have a compromised pipe or an undiscovered blockage. A pro plumber has the right tools and expertise to locate plumbing breaks and blockages, even behind your home’s walls, so get him on your case ASAP to get the water flowing again.
Low Water Pressure
The good thing about low water pressure as a sign of a pending plumbing repair is that most of the time the problem is just buildup of gunk in the aerator of a faucet. Removing the aerator (most just screw off), cleaning it, and then placing it back on the faucet may be all that you need to move on with your day and avoid a call for plumbing repairs. However, if that doesn’t help, things may be a little trickier. You could be looking at a water leak somewhere in the plumbing system, erosion of your waterline, or a fractured pipeline. These are all complex issues that require the expertise and equipment of a plumbing professional.
Oooh That Smell!
Malodorous scents that develop over time or that come out of nowhere should never be ignored. If you start smelling rotten eggs or a sulfur-type odor out of nowhere, that can be an indication that a sewer pipe or vent pipe underneath the home or on the property is broken. The smell isn’t just hard to live with; a broken pipe in the sewer can cause environmental problems and even cause damage to your home’s foundation. It should be addressed right away.
No Hot Water or Water Isn’t Hot Enough
There are a few reasons that the temperature of the water coming through your pipes may not be hot enough for your needs. You may just need to turn up the thermostat on your water heater. Your water heater’s heating element may be failing or may have failed already. Call out your plumber for an assessment of the issue.
Keep bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of San Antonio, TX, on speed dial for these and all other plumbing repair needs.