You know to call an emergency plumber when there’s water gushing onto the floor. It’s harder to identify plumbing problems that aren’t so messy or urgent, even though they can cause just as much damage if they’re neglected. To make sure you’re not letting plumbing issues slide, here are four common signs that there is something wrong right under your nose:
A High Water Bill
Your water bill being slightly more expensive is probably a sign of increased use or a hike in water rates. But if your bill has suddenly climbed from your regular rate to an unbelievable expense, there is something wrong with your plumbing and you need to get to the bottom of it fast.
Last year, CityNews reported on a Scarborough resident who received a $2,500 water bill — the bill said he used almost 1.5 million litres of water in 5 months. The resident was obviously shocked by the incredible expense. After he called Toronto Water about the problem, they sent a plumber to inspect for a cause of the surge in water consumption and found a leak in his toilet.
Toilets are common culprits of hidden water consumption. Whether they have an invisible leak or a faulty tank float, they can make the rate on your bill skyrocket in a matter of days. If you notice a significant change in your rate, call a plumber to investigate your home system. Let them know if you’ve spotted other warning signs for leaks like gurgling noises, moisture damage or puddles of water.
After we find the problem area, we can work to fix it, so your plumbing runs smoothly and your water bills return to their regular rates. You can learn about our drain repair services to see how we respond to leaks and the long-term warranties we offer for our high-quality replacements.
Low Water Pressure
You will notice that you have low water pressure when you turn on a tap and see a weak stream coming out of the faucet. Or worse, you get ready to step into the shower and see that the water is practically dribbling out of the showerhead.
The first thing you should do when you spot low water pressure checks if it’s happening in multiple fixtures — when it’s just one faucet, you’re probably dealing with mineral buildup in the aerator. The resolution requires for the aerator to be cleaned or replaced, and then the stream should return to normal. You need to worry when the flow of water has reduced throughout the entire house.
Check to see if your water shut-off valve is turned on completely. A partial opening could be restricting flow to the house’s fixtures. If that isn’t the culprit, one of these plumbing problems is likely restricting the flow:
• Leaking faucets
• “Spitting” when the faucet is turned on
• Shortened life-span for washing machines, dishwashers and water heaters
These situations require different repairs, so you should call a plumber to confirm the problem first. A clear diagnosis is one of the many benefits of getting your drains inspected by trained experts in the field — they will take out the guesswork that comes with plumbing issues. This way, you don’t jump to conclusions and assume you need to replace all of your pipes when all you need to do is have one of them thawed out.
It’s normal for pipes to make a little bit of noise. You’ll hear the rush of water after the toilet flushes or when the washing machine starts a cycle. What you should be concerned is when you hear water hammer — it’s a loud banging or thudding noise that is reminiscent of a hammer hitting a nail.
Water hammer occurs when an outlet abruptly closes as the water is running down the pipe, like when you turn off the washing machine. Since the exit is suddenly closed, the stream slams into the closed valve and sends a shock wave through the pipe system. The problem is tough on the plumbing and should be dealt with as soon as possible. There are several solutions to fix water hammer.
Check The Air Chambers
The first solution is to replenish the air chambers, which could be full of water. Air chambers were installed inside of plumbing systems to protect them from water hammer. They were designed to absorb the impact of the water when an exit suddenly closed.
You can get rid of water hammer by draining the water from the air chambers when you turn off your home’s main supply valve — it’s usually placed near the water meter on the lowest level of the house. Open the faucets on the top level of the house to let air flow into the system. Then, open the faucet in the lowest level of the house and keep it on until all the water has been flushed out. When you’re done, shut the taps off and turn the supply valve back on.
Check The Water Pressure
If you don’t have problems with air chambers, you could be dealing with high water pressure. As you can guess, high water pressure is the frustrating opposite of low water pressure — instead of a weak trickle coming out of the faucets, the water comes out of taps in a breakneck stream. The problem will damage your plumbing and fixtures over time. It can also raise your chances of disasters like a blown out washing machine hose.
Additional signs of high water pressure that you should notice other than water hammer:
- Leaking faucets
- “Spitting” when the faucet is turned on
- Shortened life-span for washing machines, dishwashers and water heaters
Test the pressure to confirm any suspicions. The average level for water pressure should be 60 psi — if it’s over 80 psi, you have a problem. Have a professional plumber install a pressure reducing valve to make sure the pressure stays at an appropriate level. If you already have one installed, it’s clearly not working and it either needs to be adjusted or replaced entirely.
Check The Straps
Another cause of water hammer is when your pipes aren’t fastened correctly so that the power of the descending stream makes them bang and shake. A professional plumber can fix the situation by tightening the mounting straps and checking if all the connections are good. It’s possible that the plumber or handy-person that first installed the system did a poor job.
When you’ve considered all other causes, you can fix water hammer by getting a water hammer arrestor installed to stop the shockwave from affecting the hot and cold lines. Contact a plumber to help you with the installation, so your pipes can stay nice and silent.
Before you think of replacing your dishwasher, you should check to see if your plumbing is the reason it’s on the fritz. Otherwise, you’ll buy a fancy upgrade and find that it suffers the same problems as the last one. Here are some specific signs that prove your plumbing is affecting your dishwasher:
Your dishwasher smells terrible, even after you run it through an extra cleaning cycle. Bacteria from drain build-up is likely causing unpleasant odour. You can try to get rid of the dishwasher smell by pouring a cup of baking soda and a cup of white vinegar down the attached drain — this is either the drain for the garbage disposal or the kitchen sink. Wait for fifteen minutes, then follow up the baking soda and vinegar with a hot water rinse. If you still notice the odour, the drain has a significant clog.
Too Much Water
Finding a little bit of water at the bottom of the dishwasher after a cycle is completely normal, but you shouldn’t have a pool sitting under the rack. The problem could point to a filter basket full of food scraps and debris. If that is clear, it could be a drain hose obstructed by build-up. Or, it could be a clog in the connecting drain — if you notice issues with the garbage disposal or kitchen sink, this is probably the root cause.
Kitchen Sink Back-Up
You realize that whenever you turn on the dishwasher, water appears at the bottom of your kitchen sink. Finding dishwasher back-up in your kitchen sink drain means that there is a clog in your plumbing system diverting the wastewater up through the nearest exit, instead of down the drain line.
If you spot any of these issues with your dishwasher, you should call a plumber to inspect the machine and nearby drains. Our drain and sewer cleaning services will locate the obstruction as soon as possible and deal with it so that your dishwasher runs properly — this means no foul smells, no back-ups and no water spilling out onto the floor.
We are available at any time of day to deal with plumbing emergencies and investigate issues. We are dedicated to providing excellent customer service so that you feel happy and satisfied for choosing us as your first call. If you want proof of our commitment, visit our website to hear what past customers have to say about us and the services they received.
Your pipes may not be able to speak, but they are trying to tell you something. When they make noise, ruin your appliances or escalate your bill’s rates, they are saying that you need professional intervention. Listening to these warnings will make sure you catch problems before they get much worse and save yourself money in the future.