If you've noticed slow drains throughout your entire house, your plumbing system may be suffering from a blocked vent. These vents are designed to equalize the pressure in your pipes, so the disruption of airflow can also cause changes in drain speed. A plumber can help you find the block or clear clogs so that your sinks and bathtubs drain efficiently.
Problems with the O ring, a screw designed to hold the faucet handle in place, are a leading culprit when it comes to leaky faucets. It's also common for a worn-out washer or a washer that hasn't been installed correctly to cause continuous dripping. Washers can be replaced easily by most homeowners. If all seals and washers are in good condition, you may have a problem with the valve seat, which connects the faucet with the pressure mechanism's spout. Get professional help to clean or replace a valve seat.
The most common culprit is a faulty flapper. This is a flap of plastic that looks like a drain cover. The flapper is attached to a chain that lifts it up when the toilet is flushed. This changes pressure inside the toilet, allowing dirty water to escape. After dirty water has been cleared from the toilet, the bowl and tank begin to fill. The tank is fitted with a special float that is designed to stop the tank from filling once it has reached a certain level.
If your toilet won't stop running, check to see if the flapper is closing all the way. If it isn't, figure out what the problem is and fix it. You might need to replace the chain or buy a new flapper. If the chain is getting caught under the flapper, shorten it so that this can't happen again. If this doesn't fix the problem, make sure that the valve is open all the way and adjust the float arm. If you discover that your toilet has faulty valves, rely on a professional to take care of repairs.
Instead, attempt to clear the clog first by using a plunger. You can use a plunger in your bathroom or kitchen sinks in much the same way as you use it in your toilet. If a plunger doesn't work, try removing the stopper on your sink's drain to see if something near the surface is clogging the pipe.
Many homeowners have success clearing small clogs by pouring boiling hot water down the drain or by pouring equal parts of baking soda and white vinegar down the drain. If none of these basic remedies work, you may need to talk to a professional plumber about having your drains snaked. Snaking can break up tough clogs, but you should also take care to cover drains and avoid dumping grease down them so that clogs don't build up again in a few weeks.
If your disposal has power, be sure that it's switch is in the off position and run the water for at least one minute. Then, take a pair of tongs and stick them down the drain, running them around the disposal. Check to be sure that no objects are stuck. Remove the tongs, turn on the water and try running the disposal again. If it still won't work, it's time to call a plumber.
Debris or dirt in the water.
Mineral deposits in your plumbing line or faucets.
Faulty pressure regulators and water valves.
Low municipal water pressure.
Leaky or faulty pipes.
Cleaning your faucets and showerheads can help restore good water pressure. If basic cleaning doesn't help, have a plumber inspect your home's plumbing system. Your plumber will be able to fix any faulty valves or leaky pipes. Your plumber can also talk to you about using a pressure boost system or having larger pipes installed in your home.
Put a drop or two of food coloring in your toilet's tank. If the coloring moves to the toilet bowl, there is a leak between the flapper in the tank and the toilet bowl.
Locate your water meter. Turn off the water shutoff valve closest to your house. If the meter is still turning, there is a leak between your meter and your home.
Find your home's hose bib, which is the pipe to which hoses are hooked. Listen carefully for the sound of running water.
Check outdoor hoses and sprinkler systems to see if the ground around them is soaked with water.
Pipe clamps: These clamps can be fitted directly over your pipe and screwed down. They feature a rubber gasket to create a water-tight seal.
Pipe thread sealant: These sealants are applied directly to the pipe, creating a lock-tight seal when the pipes are then joined together.
Sealing wrap: Sealing wrap, which looks like pipe or plumbing tape, is applied to the male end of a threaded pipe to create extra traction between male and female pipe ends.
Copper: Copper pipes have long been used in plumbing thanks to their durability and recyclability. Copper is a great choice if you need long-lasting piping and can afford to pay premium prices for this popular material.
PEX: PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) pipe is highly flexible and can be snaked through walls with ease. Though PEX pipes have only been in use for 30 years, they've shown good durability.
CPVC: CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) pipes are ideal for homeowners who want to take care of installation themselves. These pipes are relatively flexible and are installed with a simple joint system.
Polypropylene (PP): PP pipe, which is used throughout Europe, is similar to PVC pipe but is joined together with heat instead of chemicals. It is considered the top choice when water safety is a concern.
If you plan on buying a demand or tankless water heater, you'll first need to determine the flow rate and temperature rise required to provide sufficient water to your home. You can calculate the flow rate by making a list of all appliances in your home that use hot water and noting how many gallons of water each appliance uses per minute. Add all of these flow rates up to determine the minimum flow rate needed for your home.
Then, subtract the temperature of the incoming water from the desired water temperature. If you don't know the input temperature, assume it is 50 degrees. Subtract 50 degrees from the maximum temperature to which you need water heated. This is the temperature rise needed for your home. Look for a water heater that meets both your flow rate and temperature rise needs. A professional plumber can easily make these measurements for you when you decide it is time to purchase or replace a water heater.
If you want to buy a solar water heater or a traditional, tank-based model, ask a plumber or HVAC contractor to help you with sizing calculations. Your contractor will be able to manipulate calculations to meet your efficiency needs.
If you are consistently shocked even when plugging things in safely, though, there may be an issue with the outlet itself. The same shock that's hurting you could easily ignite dry wood or dust and start a fire in your home. Call an electrician to check out the offending outlet, determine the source of the shock and fix the problem right away.