Common Warning Signs Your Plumbing Is Telling You.
Updated: Nov 25, 2019
Drain cleaning shouldn't be expensive, unless the line has had severe neglect or overuse. It takes a plumber less time to show up, unclog it quickly, and clean up his mess than it takes to go shopping for products that most likely won't work and will leave you with the mess. Plus I'm not a fan of people using caustic acidic products, I've seen what they can do to plumbers, and their equipment. Nowadays many plumbers charge a fee if there is a large amount of chemical poured in the drain. I'm afraid I have to agree with this, it's dangerous, causes immediate damage to
Most plumbers diagnose almost every problem with sound, sight, smell and taste....Ok maybe not taste (eww gross!). But this leads me to my point today. You have all these tools, and maybe while they aren't quite used to pinpointing and troubleshooting complex plumbing problems, they are certainly capable of letting you know you need to have something checked out. Follow me along as we run a gamut of the most common issues and easily diagnosed symptoms plumbers and now, YOU can know.
1. Garbage Disposal Death Rattle
Ok, most plumbers only get called out when the bottom of the kitchen cabinet is caving in from constant moisture. Usually one full sink of water and a pass with a flashlight will reveal the culprit. A leaking garbage disposal or a few bad connections dripping under the sink. The most common symptom of a disposal going bad is a metallic sounding rattle with a larger than normal vibration. This is caused by frozen rusted components inside the grinding part of the disposer, which causes premature wear of the bearings and seals, then causes water to leak past the electric motor and into your cabinet.
Listening after you clear the disposer of debris for a smooth humming sound indicates all is well. If you continue to hear something unusual, continue to run the disposal for a couple more minutes while running water and see if clears up. If it doesn't, call a professional to have it checked out.
Also, I'm seeing lots of disposals freezing up from lack of use nowadays. It definitely is necessary to run your disposal each day to keep things moving well. It won't hurt or clog your pipes in any way and will keep your disposer working longer, as long as it's used as intended.
2. Gurgling Or Slow Drains
This one seems obvious.... But it often goes by unresolved because it hasn't crossed the line of inconvenience. However these smaller problems often cause larger ones. I've seen many customers use acidic drain cleaning products for weeks on end, which cause the pipes to become weak and thin increasing the chance of breaking. Another common misstep is using plastic drain tools or cheap snakes from home improvement stores (which break easily) - this can result in costly repairs.
Drain cleaning shouldn't be expensive, unless the line has had severe neglect or overuse. It takes a plumber less time to show up, unclog it quickly, and clean up his mess than it takes to go shopping for products that most likely won't work and will leave you with the mess. Plus, I'm not a fan of people using caustic acidic products - I've seen what they can do to plumbers and their equipment. Nowadays, many plumbers charge a fee if there is a large amount of chemical poured in the drain. I'm afraid I have to agree with this - it's dangerous, causes immediate damage to the snake and surrounding areas, and honestly, if you had to work with it, you would want hazard pay also.
3. The Constant Hiss or Pipes Vibrating
I've never met a customer that didn't call for a quick appointment over vibrating pipes. Again, when a catastrophe seems imminent, customers want something addressed. But, vibrating pipes are caused by only a couple of issues, and they aren't hard or expensive to fix. Often they are caused by a constant leak, which creates a small vibration. Once it spreads to other areas, the vibration compounds and bang! Vibrating pipes. Finding the small leaks or constant hiss is something that should be done quickly. As the vibration grows, so does the chance of a major leak. This can also be the start of a slab leak (a leak under the foundation of your home). Once the soil becomes saturated, it can seep up and cause thousands of dollars of damage.
While the repair may be larger than a homeowner wants it to be, it's important to get a handle on it quickly to prevent major damage.
4. The Gurgling Toilet
This one is about to be something you'll remember!
This is the start of a clogged main sewer line. You know... that pipe that takes all the human byproducts safely to the city sewer. If left unchecked, sewage will quickly backup, filling the bathtubs and showers. Toilets won't flush, laundry won't get done, water damage (sewage water) can happen, dogs and cats start living together, mass Hysteria!
If you're lucky enough to get the gurgling toilet, which is actually trapped air being forced out by rising water in the pipes, STOP USING WATER! Turn off the laundry, stop the dishwasher, no showers, dishes have to wait. Call a plumber IMMEDIATELY - it's going to cost what it costs. These are often a sign of sewer damage like root intrusion, and will be an issue to maintain, or permanently repair. A good plumber will recommend what's best.
5. The Old and Knocking Water Heater
How old is your water heater?
Almost no one can tell me the answer when I ask. To be honest, most people go through a couple of cars before they have to change a water heater. Truth is, water heaters are installed and forgotten until they leak and cause water damage. This was almost okay, back in the days of glass coated tanks, water heaters used to last 15 to 20 years. Those days are long gone. Tank-style water heaters have undergone many changes in the recent years. They have had to become more efficient, meet certain environmental guidelines, and be safe. As a result, typical tanks only last around 10-15 years and are recommended to be replaced at 10 years.
Knocking can occur at any age of water heater, hence "Old" and knocking. If it's 2 years old and knocking, chances are it's okay, just noisy. Add 10 plus years of age on that knocking, and you're going to have a leak soon. Best to keep ahead of the mess and call a plumber to replace it sooner than later.