Indoor plumbing has had an incredible impact on our lives. It offers convenience, time savings, and tremendous comfort. However, we tend to take it for granted. That’s largely because most of what makes your home’s plumbing system work is tucked out of sight behind the walls – the pipes, joints, elbows, and such.
The problem is that this also makes it difficult to tell if there’s a small but growing problem with your home’s plumbing. Below, we’ll discuss some of the ways you can determine if your home is in need of plumbing work before the issue becomes serious.
A Gurgling Sound
Your home’s plumbing system makes noise. You hear the dishwasher running and draining. You hear the toilet flush. The shower creates sound as the water strikes the tub. However, if you hear a gurgling sound, it could mean you’re in for a problem. Of course, it can mean different things depending on when and where you hear the gurgle.
If you hear a gurgling while you’re running your dishwasher or your washing machine, chances are good that you are about to experience a backup and water will soon stop draining and begin puddling up within your appliance. If you hear a gurgling sound from the toilet when it is not in use, the system is trying to find air, and a backup is likely. Call a licensed plumber as soon as possible.
Water Running through the Pipes
It’s normal to hear water running through your pipes to some extent, at least while someone is using a water-based appliance, taking a shower, or after the toilet has just been flushed. However, if you hear flowing water when no one is using the water, or has used it in the last few minutes, chances are good that there’s a leak somewhere in your system.
If you suspect that there’s a leak, you can do several things to identify where it is and how severe the issue has grown.
- If possible, turn off any running water in the home and check your water meter. Look at the gauge. Is it moving? If so, you definitely have a leak (provided no one decides to open a tap while you’re outside at the meter).
- Next, check your walls and ceilings for dark spots. These might be brown (dried water spots) or they might be wet (a current leak).
- Feel the spot if it is wet. If the spot is cool, then the leak is from your cold water line. If it is warm, then your leak is from the hot water line.
- To verify a suspected hot water leak, turn off the outflow from your water heater and check the meter again. If it has stopped spinning, you’ve nailed it.
If you discover that you do have a leak somewhere in your home, calling a plumber should be your next step. Provide them with the location and nature of the leak if you have that information, but if you haven’t been able to locate it, don’t worry. An experienced professional can track it down.
Strange Sounds Coming from Faucets
When you open a tap, the only thing you should hear is the hiss as water comes out. However, for some people, that flow of water is preceded or accompanied by strange sounds. It could sound like groaning or screeching, and it might not sound like a problem caused by a leak at all. Rest assured that your pipes aren’t haunted, though.
Screeching, hissing, groaning and moaning sounds are all related to air being trapped in the plumbing lines, which means that your bleed-off system is in need of a little TLC. A plumber can set this problem straight in short order.
Does your sink or tub struggle to drain water out as fast as it flows in? Even if it has always been sluggish, this is a prime sign of trouble with your plumbing. In most cases, it’s an indication that there’s a blockage somewhere in the pipes, but it might indicate incorrectly sized pipes.
The first action should be drain cleaning – you can try this on your own with a drain snake, boiling water and baking soda, and other at-home methods. However, if the problem doesn’t get any better, it’s best to call in the professionals to get it sorted out.
There are many signs and symptoms of plumbing problems within your home. You can try to remedy some of them on your own, but many will require the skills of a licensed plumber.