Talking to customers on service calls one of the most common comments is usually something like this; “I don’t know what happened. There wasn’t any warning at all.”
The average homeowner may not know it, but most plumbing problems don’t happen overnight or all at once. There are often warning signs that can alert you that something is wrong and, if you heed those warnings, it could save you a lot of money in plumbing services and repairs.
A common overlooked symptom of a potentially costly plumbing problem is a sputtering faucet. Most people attribute the occasional ‘cough’ from the faucet as a sign of a little harmless air in the pipes. If this only happens occasionally, that’s usually true, but if you have one or more faucets in different parts of the home doing this, or if it’s an ongoing thing, then you probably have something amiss with your plumbing. The coughing is air in the pipes, and if it’s happening a lot it means that you have a crack or break somewhere in a water pipe. This is usually with a main line coming into the house and can lead to an extremely costly repair.
If you’re experiencing this problem your first move should be to call the water department and have them check your meter and the surrounding lines. If they find no problem on their end you need to call us and we will come over and locate the leak before it becomes a break and costs you money while depriving you of water service.
That little drip of water off a basement pipe might be something to be concerned about as well. Most homeowners chalk this up as condensation or just a ‘normal’ leak, and sometimes that’s the case. However you should monitor the leak. If it becomes more than just a few drops per hour, it’s time to get it checked. It’s a good idea for homeowners to inspect their exposed pipes a couple of times a year to make sure there aren’t any undiscovered drips. If you find a puddle, it’s usually time to give us a call before things get out of hand.
Stuck drains and toilets also give warning signs, but people typically don’t know what to look for when it comes to plumbing problems. If you have a completely clogged sink drain chances are the drain got slow before stopping totally. Regular drain cleaning might have prevented it. Usually a homeowner will notice this and think it’s just something that happens normally. It is true that drains will sometimes slow for harmless reasons, but these instances usually last only a few minutes or hours. A drain that is consistently slow for a longer period of time is a sign that something is obstructing the pipes and should be checked by a professional. The same is true of slow toilets or shower drains. An occasionally sluggish drain is no sign of alarm, but if you find yourself in need of a plunger on a regular basis, it’s time for some help.
Paying attention to the early warning signs means problems can probably be repaired without a major investment. It starts getting costly when it’s necessary to tear out pipes, dig up lawns, or do major work to correct a problem. So the next time your faucet coughs when you turn on the water it might be trying to tell you something that could save you a lot of money, if you pay attention. Don’t hesitate to give us a call even if it’s just for advice over the phone. We’d much rather help you stop a small problem before it escalates into a major issue that can cause a costly repair.