Every Australian household and business has plumbing and it’s an essential part of modern life. However, plumbing problems are bound to occur from time to time and because not everyone is a plumber, you will likely have some common questions regarding plumbing and associated issues. Let’s look at some of the top plumbing questions that are asked and answer them for a better understanding.
How Much Does a Plumber Cost?
There really is no set answer to this very common and fair question, as the cost involved will largely depend on the extent of the problem, what materials need to be purchased/used, and the time it takes to resolve a plumbing issue. This is why plumbers and other tradies don’t state-set prices. The best you could hope for regarding an inquiry is a very rough ballpark figure, but one you should expect will change once the plumbing job has been completed.
There are simply too many variables with plumbing work and repairs to be able to quote exact prices beforehand.
How Do I Know If I Have a Hidden Water Leak?
Many water leaks are obvious, such as a tap that’s dripping or water pooling in the cabinet below the kitchen sink, but what if you suspect you have a water leak somewhere (maybe due to an increased water bill) that you can’t readily see?
If you suspect a water leak but can’t see one, try switching off all water sources inside the home and then go outside and check your water meter. If it’s ticking over, it means water is likely leaking somewhere. Call in a plumber to locate the leak and repair it.
What Causes Low Water Pressure?
A leaking water supply pipe is one obvious cause of low water pressure, but it’s not the only possible culprit. There could be a problem with the valves that deliver the water to the premises, or there could even be a build-up of debris in the water pipes that are slowing down the water flow. Another possibility is the local council has reduced the pressure in your area to conserve water.
Check with your neighbours to see if they also suffer from low pressure. If not, it’s time to get the plumber in to figure out the issue.
What Causes a Smelly Drain?
A build-up of bacteria in the pipes is a common cause of smelly drain lines, as these bacteria often exude a gas known as hydrogen sulphide. It can often be resolved by pouring a mixture of baking soda and vinegar down the offending pipe to kill off the bacteria that are causing the offensive odour. Another alternative is to pour some bleach down the pipe. Follow these remedies up with a good dousing of warm water.
If neither of these methods proves effective, you might want to call your plumber and see what they can do to eradicate the smell.
Why Do I Have a Slow Or Blocked Drain?
The most obvious and likely cause of a slow or blocked drain is debris collecting somewhere within the drainage system. This common plumbing issue is generally avoidable if you’re careful about what you flush down the drains.
For example, in the kitchen, refrain from pouring oil down the drain as it’s sticky and will cause other debris to collect in the pipe. Also, avoid flushing food scraps down the kitchen sink. In bathrooms, a build-up of hair can cause a blockage, as the hair acts as a net to collect soap scrum and anything else that might find its way down the bathroom sink, shower drain or bathtub plug hole.
You could try plunging the drain to see if that frees it up or administering domestic chemical drain cleaners. If these fail to resolve the slow or clogged drain, get your plumber in to sort it out.
What Causes Pipes To Bang Against the Walls?
This is known as a water hammer and is yet another fairly common problem in household plumbing. Air bubbles in the pipes that are being compressed cause the pipes to move and shake, often sounding like someone is hammering on the walls. A water hammer can also be caused when the water suddenly stops or changes direction.
A plumber can readily resolve the issue. They will ensure the pipes are properly secured, so they don’t have any range of movement to cause that annoying banging sound.
The Toilet Is Blocking Up – Why?
Just as with slow or blocked drains, a clogged toilet is generally the result of foreign materials being flushed down into the sewerage pipes. Only human waste and toilet paper should ever be flushed down a toilet. If household members get into the habit of flushing away sanitary napkins, baby wipes, paper towels and other materials that don’t readily degrade, the result will be a blocked toilet.
This is one of the most horrendous plumbing problems a household can face and something that needs to be resolved very quickly, so if your toilet becomes blocked, get your plumber in to fix it and be careful what you flush down the toilet from then on.
Do I Really Need a Plumber?
With some minor plumbing issues, you won’t need to call a plumber in. If you’re competent and confident in doing so, you can attend to the following plumbing issues yourself:
- Changing a tap washer
- Fitting a new shower head or shower hose
- Installing a new drain cover
- Ensuring the hot water tank is topped up
- Plunging toilets and drains
- Drain cleaning and deodorising
Most other plumbing issues will require the expertise of a licensed and experienced plumber. By law, a licensed plumber can only carry out some plumbing system problems or installations.
These are the most common top plumbing questions asked by residential and commercial customers. For total peace of mind, rather than tackling issues on your plumbing systems yourself or putting up with it, call in a plumber and have the problem resolved professionally and properly.