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The Warning Signs of Home Plumbing Issues

Posted on 07/12/2020 by Gabriel Halimi

Your home is a lot like a pet. While things might seem okay on the surface, something could very easily be quite wrong. And while you can’t ask your house to tell you how it feels, there are still a lot of signs that the trained eye can pick up on. When it comes to your home’s plumbing system, ignorance is far from bliss. You want to be aware of any issues as soon as they arise, lest you end up paying thousands in water damage. Keep your eyes, ears and nose open. Your home just may be trying send you warning signs of a big plumbing issue. 

The Sounds

The sound of extra water movement or the clanking of components may be the closest your home can come to directly asking for help. Here are some of the most common sound symptoms of a plumbing issue.

Gurgling

Laundry machines, dishwashers and toilets shouldn’t gurgle. If running these appliances results in any gurgling noises, you’ve likely got a clogged or otherwise compromised drain. If you notice gurgling start up when you begin using an appliance, immediately turn the appliance off to avoid backing up water into your home or plumbing system. After the water has been shut off, you can assess the location and severity of the clog.  

Unexplained Water

As a general rule, you should only hear water when someone is using it. If there are no appliances running and you can still hear water moving through the pipes, it’s a pretty good sign you’ve got a leak somewhere. If you don’t trust your hearing, check your water meter. It should not be spinning when no water is in use. 

Identifying where the leak is coming from can be difficult, especially if it is within the walls. Look for the obvious signs of water damage like brown or yellow discoloration on walls or ceilings. If you cannot identify the location of the potential leak on your own, don’t wait for it to get worse. Instead, call a plumber for immediate advice.   

The Smells

Foul odors are more than unpleasant or embarrassing, they’re often the first signs of a larger plumbing problem. Here are the two main smells that are likely to occur alongside a deeper plumbing issue. 

Gas

Smelling gas is never a good sign. In fact, it’s usually a pretty clear warning to get out of your home.

If any of your appliances produce a gas-like odor when in use, turn them off immediately. Gas leaks are serious and dangerous problems, and the first phone call you make should be to your local utility company. 

Sulfur or Sewage 

On the less life-threatening side of things, you may also notice the smell of sulfur or sewage in your home. This signals a broken vent or sewer pipe somewhere below your house. Besides being unpleasant, leaving this problem untreated can harm the environment and even ruin your home’s foundation. 

The Sights

Much of your plumbing is likely nestled inside your walls, making sight the least useful sense for detecting plumbing trauma. That said, there are still a few places to keep your eyes peeled for potential issues. 

Slow Draining

Is the bathtub still draining even though you got out fifteen minutes ago? Slow drainage is one of the most common plumbing problems, especially in bathrooms where hair tends to get everywhere. Kitchens are another place where drain issues occur frequently, especially in the plumbing beneath the garbage disposal. It pays to glance in your garbage disposal and down other drains every now and then to see if anything’s gotten stuck. If the clog is down lower, slow water drainage will typically be your first clue.  

Clogged drains don’t usually need professional help to clear up if you get to them in time. The longer you wait, however, the more likely you’ll have to pay for a plumber to fix it. And remember to go easy on the chemical cleaners, as they can damage your drains. Opt for natural drain cleaners, instead. 

Low Pressure 

Another common sight is low water pressure. If you turn on the shower head and notice it’s only trickling out, then it’s time to investigate. Kitchen and bathroom sinks can suffer from low water pressure, too, often due to dirty aerators. 

Protection and Prevention

We don’t always catch the warning signs our homes send us, and some plumbing problems may occur with no noticeable symptoms at all. When a vigilant eye can’t quite cut it, adding a plumbing security system like Flo can help you rest easy. Even when you’re not home, Flo monitors your home’s plumbing and alerts you of irregularities or potential plumbing issues. Flo can swiftly detect everything from an inefficient bathroom appliance to a burst water main. If you can’t always be there to listen to you home, install security that can.

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