Common Plumbing Problems and How to Prevent Them

Common Plumbing Problems and How to Prevent Them - Lee Company

Have you ever woken up to a surprise puddle under your kitchen sink or a clogged toilet when you’re expecting guests? If so, you’ve been on the frontlines of the common plumbing problems many Tennessee homeowners face.

When it works, we hardly notice our plumbing. But when it doesn’t… it can throw a wrench into our daily routines. This blog is your guide to understanding and maintaining your home’s plumbing, packed with practical plumbing tips and maintenance tricks to keep those pesky plumbing issues at bay.

Top Plumbing Problems in the Bathroom

When it comes to home plumbing issues, bathrooms often take center stage. From morning routines to bedtime preparations, our bathrooms see a lot of use. And this constant activity can give rise to a variety of plumbing problems.

So, what are the most common culprits turning your tranquil bathroom into a plumbing battlefield? We’ll outline them below:


It’s no surprise that clogs top the list of bathroom plumbing problems. In fact, a study by Google Consumer Surveys revealed that 44% of homeowners frequently deal with blocked drains.

Toilets are the most common target for clogs. This is because toilets are often misused to dispose of inappropriate materials like:

  • “Flushable” wipes
  • Cotton swabs
  • Feminine products.
  • The occasional toddler toy
  • Other objects that don’t break down in water

But even the wrong type of toilet paper or too much toilet paper will lead to pulling out the plunger on a regular basis…

For your shower, bathtub, and sinks, it’s easy for hair, toothpaste, and soap scum to clog your drains. This can quickly turn a clear drain into a stubborn obstruction.

Think about your own bathroom habits: are you doing enough to prevent these pesky clogs?

Here’s what you can do to prevent clogged drains in the bathroom:

  • Place a filter over your bathtub, shower, and sink drains to catch hair, soap scum, and other objects.
  • Avoid using large amounts of toilet paper and stick to single-ply brands.
  • Don’t flush anything that doesn’t belong in the toilet, and teach your family to follow the same rules.
  • Check drains regularly for slow drainage and take action as soon as you find a clog.

If you’ve been battling a clog, here are 5 ways to unclog your drains.

Leaky Faucets and Shower Heads

Those small drips from your faucet or shower head might seem insignificant, but did you know that a leaky faucet dripping at the rate of one drip per second can waste 3,000+ gallons of water each year? That’s the equivalent of 180 showers!

Even a minor leak can increase the average household water bill by a money-wasting 10%!

Leaky faucets and shower heads aren’t just an annoyance, they’re a drain on both your wallet and the environment.

When was the last time you checked your bathroom fixtures for leaks?

Here’s what you can do to prevent leaks and save money:

  • Check all fixtures for signs of leaking or dripping water regularly.
  • Replace old, worn-out washers in faucets as soon as possible.
  • Turn off the main water valve when leaving town for extended periods.
  • Encourage your family members to report any faucet leaks or dripping shower heads right away.

If you’re worried about the potential damage and water waste caused by leaks, consider installing a Moen Flo Smart Water Monitor and Shutoff system. These innovative smart devices can be easily installed by professional plumbers and provide an extra layer of protection.

By automatically shutting off the water supply when leaks are detected, the Moen Flo system prevents costly water damage and helps conserve water. Contact Lee Company to learn more!

Running Toilets

Running toilets may not seem as destructive as a leaky pipe, but they can stealthily rack up your water bill. A constantly running toilet can use up to 200 gallons of water per day!

Thousands of gallons of water wasted every year means a lot of money right down your toilet bowl​…

Can you hear the faint hissing sound of a running toilet in your home? That’s your cue to check for a faulty flapper, handle, or fill valve:

  • The flapper: A rubber component that seals off the tank from the toilet bowl. This can become worn over time, causing water to leak from the tank into the toilet bowl. To prevent this, check your flapper regularly for any signs of wear and replace it if necessary. You’ll find it in the bottom of the tank.
  • The toilet handle: This is the lever you flush with, and it can also cause running issues. If it’s too loose or too tight, it might not lift the flapper high enough or allow it to close properly. Make sure your handle is properly adjusted, and replace it if it’s broken or worn.
  • The fill valve: This valve is responsible for refilling the tank after a flush. It can wear out and cause the toilet to run continuously. Check for any signs of damage and replace them if needed.

Low Water Pressure

Nothing ruins a refreshing shower like low water pressure. It’s a common issue in many homes, often caused by:

  • Clogged aerators
  • Leaky pipes
  • Or even municipal water issues

Here are some handy tips to keep the pressure flowing as strong as a waterfall in the Smoky Mountains:

  • Remove mineral deposits from faucet aerators by soaking them in vinegar.
  • Check any exposed pipes for visible signs of leaking.
  • Listen for the sound of water running behind walls when all taps are off.
  • Stay aware of any municipal water issues in your area.

If you’re still not getting enough oomph behind your shower, consider installing a water pressure booster to increase the flow.

Bathrooms, with their array of water-dependent fixtures, are often the epicenter of home plumbing problems. But with a little vigilance and preventative maintenance, you can make your bathroom more of a spa-like retreat than a plumbing frustration.

Top Plumbing Problems in the Kitchen

In the heart of the home – the kitchen – plumbing problems can cook up quite a storm. From the sink to the dishwasher, even the smallest plumbing issue can transform your kitchen from a haven of home-cooked meals to a hotbed of water woes.

Here’s your recipe for success against common kitchen plumbing problems:

Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals grind down waste and keep our sinks clog-free. But even these kitchen workhorses can run into trouble. They can jam, overheat, or even leak.

Most of the time, these issues are due to improper use (meaning they’re totally preventable!).

Here’s how to keep your garbage disposal running smoothly:

  • Don’t treat your sink like a trash can – dispose of grease, coffee grounds, eggshells, and fibrous foods in the garbage.
  • Avoid pouring oil, fat or greasy food scraps down your drain.
  • Run cold water for before, during, and after using your garbage disposal to ensure all food particles are flushed away.
  • Regularly clean and maintain your garbage disposal.

Clogged Sink

Just like in your bathrooms, your kitchen sink’s drain and pipes can easily become clogged. Grease, food particles, and other debris can all cause a nasty blockage.

The tips above for preventing clogged drains apply here, as well. But you can also install a mesh sink strainer to catch food particles before they enter your pipes.

It’s also a good idea to flush your drain with hot water and baking soda every few weeks or so. This will help break down any existing grease and debris in the pipes, keeping them clear for longer.

Do not use chemical drain cleaners because the corrosive nature of these products can damage your pipes.

Leaky Kitchen Sink

A leaking sink can be as frustrating as a slow-cooking pot roast that just won’t finish. Whether it’s dripping faucets or leaky pipes under the sink, these issues can lead to higher water bills and potential water damage.

To prevent your sink from leaking:

  • Regularly check under the sink for any signs of moisture or water damage.
  • Monitor your faucet for drips and fix leaks promptly.
  • Make sure all connections are tight, and replace worn-out washers and seals.

Dishwasher Problems

Dishwashers are a godsend for time-starved homeowners! But when they malfunction, you might find yourself up to your elbows in suds.

Leaks, drainage problems, and failing to clean dishes properly are common issues that could indicate a need for maintenance or repair.

Help your dishwasher continue to make your life easier:

  • Regularly inspect the door’s seal for wear and tear and replace it if necessary.
  • Clean the dishwasher filter regularly to prevent clogs and keep the machine running efficiently.
  • If dishes aren’t getting clean, check the water temperature. It should be around 120 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal cleaning power.
  • If your dishwasher isn’t draining, it could be a clog in the drain hose or a problem with the pump. Here are some troubleshooting tips for a dishwasher that won’t drain.

In the kitchen, where the culinary magic happens, plumbing problems can spoil the broth. But with these tips, you’ll be well-prepared to keep your kitchen’s plumbing in check.

Other Common Plumbing Issues in a House

Let’s take a quick tour around the house to explore other common plumbing issues:

  • Frozen or Burst Pipes: Tennessee winters can be unforgiving, causing unprotected pipes to freeze and sometimes burst. Insulating your pipes can help prevent this chilly predicament. Here are our other pro tips for preventing burst pipes.
  • Water Heater Woes: A cold shower can really put a damper on your morning. Regular maintenance and timely repairs can keep your hot water flowing. Here’s what you can do if you have no hot water.
  • Water Hammer: That loud bang in your pipes isn’t a ghost; it’s water hammer! This occurs when water flow is suddenly stopped, causing a shockwave through your pipes. Here’s how to handle water hammer like a pro.
  • Sewage Backups: Nothing says “plumbing emergency” quite like a sewage backup. Blockages in the main sewer line can cause a nasty mess that’s hazardous to your health. Keep your family safe by knowing the signs of sewage backup and having a reliable plumbing professional on speed dial.

Common Plumbing Problems in Old Homes

The average Tennessee home is 36 years old. And other homes in the state were constructed all the way back in the late 1700s! While a charming older home could be a source of pride and joy — it’s probably also a source of plumbing problems.

All plumbing systems have a lifespan. Some components, like water heaters and sump pumps, should be replaced about every 10 years, while your supply lines and drain pipes can last anywhere from 20 to 100 years, depending on the material.

If your charming older home has become a hub of headaches, it might be time to assess and update your plumbing system:

  • Schedule a licensed plumber to inspect the condition of your pipes and fixtures.
  • Consider replacing old galvanized, copper, or cast iron piping with modern materials like PVC, CPVC, or PEX.
  • Replace outdated water heaters that could be costing you a fortune in energy bills.
  • Install low-flow fixtures to conserve water. WaterSense-labeled models for toilets, faucets, and showerheads can save you water, energy, and money over time.

When to Get Professional Help with Plumbing Problems

Tackling minor plumbing issues on your own is a practical way to save money, but professional help is essential for more serious problems.

If you don’t feel comfortable dealing with an issue or you’re noticing multiple plumbing issues around your home, it’s time to call in an experienced plumber.

Consider a Home Maintenance Plan from Lee Company. Starting at just $12 per month, you’ll get:

  • Annual inspections of your plumbing system, along with heating, air conditioning, and electrical systems.
  • Discounts on service calls, parts, labor, installations, and renovations.
  • Priority service without emergency rates.

With Lee Company, peace of mind is part of the package. Contact our licensed and insured team today if you’re in too deep with plumbing problems in Tennessee, Kentucky, or Alabama.

Are you experiencing plumbing problems in your home?

CALL US NOW AT 615.567.1000