Some Common Plumbing Problems and How to Repair?

In this blog post, you’ll read:Hard water has calcium and magnesium dissolved in it. How hard it is based on how much contaminants are in the water. Most water already has these and other minerals in it. But suppose your water has more than 120 mg of hardness per liter (or more than 7 grains per gallon). In that case, it can start to cause problems, such as buildup or residue that can stop water from flowing through your pipes could result in costly maintenance.
Table of Contents

What Is Hard Water?

Hard water has calcium and magnesium dissolved in it. How hard it is based on how much contaminants are in the water. Most water already has these and other minerals in it. But suppose your water has more than 120 mg of hardness per liter (or more than 7 grains per gallon). In that case, it can start to cause problems, such as buildup or residue that can stop water from flowing through your pipes could result in costly maintenance.

Signs of Hard Water

You might not need a test to determine if your home’s water is pretty hard. If you have hard water in your home, you may perceive the following signs:

• Limescale that stops showerheads and faucets from working.

• Sinks, toilets, and showers get dirty with mineral stains.

• Low pressure of the water.

• Detergents and soaps barely lather.

• Over time, glasses and other dishes get cloudy spots.

DIY Test for Hard Water

diy test for hard water
diy test for hard water

You can do an informal test individually. Pour a cup or jar with 12 ounces of water from the tap. 2. Add 10 drops of liquid soap (not detergent). Fit the lid and vigorously shake or swirl the mixture for a few seconds. 4. Check for foam on the surface. If there are many bubbles on the surface and clear water underneath, you have soft water and can end testing. 5. If you do not see foam and the water underneath is hazy, continue the process with 10 drops of soap until you do. You have hard water if it takes 40 or more drops of soap to produce suds. This at-home test for hard water is informative but not entirely accurate. You still lack a specific number for your water’s hardness level. In addition, other additional elements affect water quality.

Test with a Water Hardness Titration Kit. 

This more precise test is accessible online and at some pool supply stores. Fill a small bottle with water up to the line on the side, and then add a chemical from the package drop by drop. The drops required to induce a color shift indicate the water’s hardness.

• Additional digitally-displayed tests are typically meant for circumstances like excessively soft water. They are costlier and are not required for residential testing.

Send Your Water to A Lab Where Professionals Test the Water.

This option is more expensive, so you should only select it if you need a detailed analysis of your water, including its minerals and contaminants. If you have a well or other private water source, it’s a good idea to have a sample tested at least once a year. However, testing for contamination is more important than testing for water hardness. If you run a spa or another business that depends on clean water, you may also want to have your water tested. Ask a university agricultural extension for help if you don’t know how to find a lab to test your water.

How is Water Hardness Measured?

Most tests for hard water tell you how hard the water is in grains per gallon (g). But some labs use milligrams per liter (mg/L), the same as parts per million (ppm). One part per million just means that one unit out of a million is a hard water mineral. One dry grain of wheat equals one grain per gallon, which is about 1/7000 of a pound. One gpg is equal to 17.1 ppm. If the result of your hard water test is given in parts per million or milligrams per liter, you can find the hardness in grains per gallon by dividing the total hardness level by 17.1.

Water Hardness Scale: How to Read the Water Hardness Testing Results

Knowing the various water hardness testing scales is essential to understand your test results. Results are in a numerical value indicating the amount of calcium carbonate or calcium carbonate equivalents present in a given water unit. Here is a short reference for the water hardness scale, showing results in both mg/L and gpg:

To understand your test results, you need to know the different scales for measuring the hardness of the water. The results are given as a number that shows how much calcium carbonate or calcium carbonate equivalents are in a given water unit. Here’s a quick guide to the water hardness scale, with results given in both mg/L and gpg:

Level of Hardnessppm or Mg/LGrains per Gallon (gpg)
Soft0 – 17.10 – 1
Slightly hard17.1 – 601 – 3.5
Moderately hard61 – 1203.5 – 7.0
Hard121 – 1807 – 10.5
Very Hard180+10.5+
Specifications

How to Identify and Resolve Water Hardness Problems

Examine your laundry. 

Clothes can become rough and stiff from the soap scum accumulating in hard water. There is a risk that it won’t get the clothes clean at all, which could turn whites grey and bright colors dull or even leave a sour odor. If you’re having trouble, try some of the following:

  • Raise the temperature of the washing machine.
  • More detergent should be used.
  • Add a non-precipitating water conditioner before you put detergent into your washing machine.

Check for the white scale.

Mineral deposits from hard water can cause a white scale to form in plumbing fixtures. It’s highly likely that it’s also happening in your pipes if it’s occurring there. Unfortunately, this issue has no simple solution; a water softener must be installed. If you don’t do anything, the hard water will eventually clog your pipes, lowering water pressure and limiting the lifespan of your plumbing. But, if the damage is limited and your lines appear to be working fine, you may want to try some low-cost options.

Deal with problems in the shower.

Hard water can irritate your skin, make your hair dull and stiff, and even leave a layer of soap on your skin. If you don’t want to buy a water-softening system for your home, try these:

• Put a water softener in your showerhead and add salt to it occasionally. (Showerhead “softeners” that don’t need salt are filters and won’t soften your water.)

• Use a chelating shampoo and a moisturizing conditioner once a week to make your hair feel better. Chelating shampoos are meant to remove minerals from your hair; the ingredient “EDTA” is usually in them (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid).

Look for spots and etching on your glassware. 

If your water is hard, your glasses will have white spots after you wash them. Two types of damage can be done by hard water:

• Hard water spots are stains on the surface that can be cleaned with vinegar or an abrasive cleaner like baking powder.

• “Etching” breaks the glass for good, but you might be able to get rid of the damage with a glass polishing kit. When the etching isn’t too deep, it looks like a rainbow film, but the glass becomes opaque when it is.

• Either turn down the dishwasher’s temperature or rinse your dishes better before putting them in. This will make it less likely that either kind of damage will happen.

The Solution to Hard Water

 To treat hard water, a whole-house water filtration system is required. This secures your entire residence and its appliances against the corrosive effects of hard water. There are two standard methods for treating hard water.

Water softeners

water softeners
water softeners

Ion exchange is how a water softener eliminates hardness-causing calcium and magnesium. Resin beads filled with sodium ions remove minerals from the water that enters your home through a tank. During the ion exchange, sodium ions are exchanged for magnesium and calcium ions. The scale-preventing hardness is removed from the water before it enters the home. Water softeners have been criticized for adding sodium to the water. However, water softening is the most successful method for removing water hardness and its repercussions.

Anti-scale systems

anti scale systems
Anti-scale systems

Anti-scale systems, salt-free water conditioners, or descalers utilize template-assisted crystallization (TAC) to crystallize hardness minerals and prevent them from forming scale. Anti-scale systems do not soften the water in any way. These are water treatment systems. The water remains as hard as before the crystallization process; however, the minerals cannot stick to surfaces. Anti-scale devices effectively prevent scale from clogging faucets and pipes in the home (the hardness crystals can clear out the preexisting scale from pipes.) Ultimately, you will not get the same significant gains as you would with a water-softening system. Water conditioners will not brighten clothes, enhance the lather of soap, or prevent dishes from appearing hazy and unwashed.

Are There Any Health Risks Linked with Hard Water?

There are no major health problems that come from drinking hard water. But hard water can cause skin and hair to dry out. When you wash your hair often with hard water, your scalp can feel itchy. The minerals in hard water can also alter the pH balance of your skin, making it less effective as a barrier against harmful bacteria and infections. Persons with eczema might be more likely to get sick. If your skin and hair are always dry, you might want to get a water-softening system for your home.

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Problem No#02

 Why is My Toilet Overflowing?

toilet overflowing
toilet overflowing

There are three potential causes of an overflowing toilet. A clogged or clogged drain that prevents a proper flush, an incorrectly fitted float that causes the tank to overfill, or a blocked vent pipe that replenishes the air in the line after each flush. To tackle this issue before it escalates, it is necessary to determine why the toilet is overflowing so that you may either resolve it yourself or engage a professional plumber. Look at this article to determine why the toilet can overflow and what to do if this occurs.

What are the causes of toilet Overflowing?

Sewage Issues

Roots from the trees in your yard can clog the pipes that connect your house to the main sewer line. If wet wipes or paper towels are flushed down the toilet, they can cause a clog over time. Even cleaning products that say they can be flushed don’t break down as quickly as toilet paper. If your sewer line is clogged, it can cause your basement to flood or your toilet to overflow.

If the sewer line can’t drain, the sewage will return. It will get in through your home’s lowest point, usually a basement toilet. If you turn off the water to your home and your toilet is still overflowing, there could be a clog in a city sewer line near your home. Contact the sewer department in your area and ask them to look for problems.

Clogged Pipes

If your toilet or pipes near it to clogged, water won’t drain when you flush. Most of the time, these clogs happen because people use too much toilet paper. Some older low-flow toilets get clogged easily, so you may need to flush more than once.

Even if your drainage system is conventional, you should always have a plunger on the side to clear a clog. If you can’t get the clog out on your own, call a plumber to use a drain snake to clear the drain. Homeowners often need help to get rid of clogs that take a long time to drain.

Turn off the water to keep the problem from getting worse, and get rid of any water as soon as possible. If you don’t, it could get into your floor or walls and do much damage. After everything is dry, you should clean all the places where the water touched.

Since it came from your toilet, it might have sewage and bacteria that could make you sick. If you smell bad things or see dirty water, leave your home and have it cleaned by a pro to avoid illness. If you have trouble removing bad smells, look professionally at your HVAC system.

Backflowing Septic Tank

If you have a septic tank, you won’t have to care about adjacent construction causing plumbing issues. Still, you must be careful about draining out the tank and performing regular repairs to maintain the septic system. If the septic tank is complete, it is nearly impossible to flush waste and wastewater into the tank. Therefore, when you flush the toilet, debris from the bathroom and the septic tank may backflow into the residence, causing the toilet to overflow.

Similarly, suppose the pipe to the septic tank or the septic tank itself is blocked, preventing waste from entering or departing the tank. In that case, flushing the toilet will result in waste backflowing into the residence and the toilet overflowing. Call a professional specializing in septic tank repair and maintenance to troubleshoot your septic system, empty the tank, and make any required repairs to address the issue.

Blockage vents

A plumbing duct is a vertical pipe that links all of the plumbing fixtures in a home. It allows air to enter your pipes to replace the air flushed down the toilet drain. Generally, it has an outlet on the roof.

If it becomes clogged with debris, such as leaves or pine needles, the water will cease draining or drain slowly. Even if the toilet does not overflow, you may experience bubbling sounds or unpleasant odors after flushing it. It can also create suction that can cause pipe damage. A professional should be contacted to clean your vents. Safely removing debris is complex and requires specialized equipment.

How to solve it?

1. Switch off the water supply to the toilet. The majority of toilets have a supply line near the bowl’s base. The string must contain a valve. Turn the valve anti-clockwise to stop the flow of water to the toilet. If you cannot identify this valve, proceed to the subsequent step.

2. Remove the cover from the tank. Raise the float cup or ball high enough to stop the water flow. Turn off the water supply to the house if the water continues to run. The water supply is often positioned in the basement near the water heater and resembles a valve or knob. Turn the knob or valve to halt the water flow. Turning off the water eliminates the immediate running water issue if the problem is a clog instead of a sewage backup.

3. Put on a pair of disposable or rubber gloves.

4. Drain excess water from the bowl’s rim using a small cup or pail. If the water is clean, pour it into a sink; if it’s dirty, pour it into a plastic bucket. Once the flood has been contained, pour the contaminated water back into the toilet and flush it again.

5. Line up the plunger’s rubber cup in the middle of the toilet bowl’s hole. Apply downward pressure gradually initially, increasing the speed and severity with time. If a clog is responsible for the overflow, a plunger will loosen the obstruction and allow water to exit the pipes.

6. Employ a toilet auger to retrieve foreign things that cannot be extracted using a plunger. Put the tube end of the drill as deeply as possible into the toilet hole. Put mild pressure on the opposite end of the auger to release the snaking part while simultaneously rotating the auger. Take the drill out of the spot if you feel pressure or resistance, which indicates the obstruction has been eliminated.

7. Reposition the float mechanism to lower the tank to prevent overflowing. Check the chain connecting to the float is not kinked or knotted. The float is not trapped on any part of the toilet.

8. Call a plumber to inspect your external plumbing vents if the overflowing problem persists. A blockage in your exterior vents will cause the bowl or tank of your toilets to overflow.

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    Problem#03                         

How to Fix the Leaky Hose Bib?

leaky hose bib
leaky hose bib

Hose bibs usually differ from faucets inside homes, with a device that looks like a cartridge to control the water flow. The faucet on a hose bib is made of brass, copper, or stainless steel, and you can open and close it by turning a wheel or a handle. The handle is attached to a threaded valve stem with a rubber packing washer at the end. The garden hose is wound around the threads and held in place.

A leaky hose bib can waste a lot of water and could cause damage to the outside or inside of your home. Leaks cause the average home to lose 10,000 gallons of water each year. About 10% of homes lose more than 90 gallons of water daily. Many of these leaks come from outdoor faucets, which individuals often overlook.

What are the causes of a leaky hose bib?

The following are the most common reasons why hose bibs leak.

Loose packing nut

loose packing nut
loose packing nut

The packing nut behind the faucet handle could come loose over time, causing the faucet to leak constantly.

Worn-out washer

worn out washer
Worn out washer

A small rubber packing washer is attached to the valve stem of an outdoor faucet. As the washer wears out from age, heat, cold, or too much use, it can start to leak.

Frozen hose bib

When temperatures decrease below freezing, water in your pipe can freeze and burst if not drained. This kind of water pipe problem usually doesn’t pop up until the following spring. Remember that a frozen pipe can alter the water pressure and cause water damage inside and outside your home.

Age.

Over time, minerals will build up in the bib as water flows through it. This will hold water. These tiny cracks will make the bib look old over time.

Primary Concerns When Fixing a Hose Bib

Checking for leaks in your faucet regularly is essential because even a minor leak can lead to a hefty payment. Garden faucets in many homes constantly drip water. The remedy only takes 10 minutes and costs less than $10, yet few people know this.

There are three potential sources to investigate to fix the leak:

Bonnet Packaging Nut

The part that can be adjusted is the metal piece beneath the handle. It’s possible that all that’s needed is to tighten this portion (often called a “nut”).

Bonnet Packing

This is the rubber insert that goes into the packing nut. If the water still drips after you’ve tightened the packing nut, this may be the problem. Unscrewing the faucet and replacing the packing in the bonnet is the next step. Unscrewing the faucet and replacing the packing in the bonnet is the next step.

Washer

The rubber washer can be found at the stem’s insertion point. This component needs to be changed if it shows wear indicators.

depth frost proof hydrant
depth frostproof hydrant

How to Fix a Leaky Hose Bib?

To fix a leaking hose bib, tighten the packing nut first, then replace the washers. Here is how to fix it:

  • You can close the hose bib’s water shutoff valve (water supply valve). You’ll find it within the hose, close to where the hose bib is linked to the wall. If you cannot locate the shutoff valve for the hose bib, you should turn off the main shutoff valve.
  • With a screwdriver, pull out the screw that holds the handle. Remove the handle straight out and off.
  • Finally, spin the packing nut counterclockwise using an adjustable wrench and pull it out.
  • From the hardware store, you should take the stem assembly and the packing nut (also known as a bonnet). To replace the packing, stem washer, and stem screw, consult a salesperson for assistance in locating the correct replacement parts.
  • Replace the stem by screwing in the stem washer.
  • Insert the packing nut’s old ring with a new one and install the new packing washer. The stem must be placed in the slot afterward. Suppose the nut doesn’t have a washer and instead has packing inside. In that case, you must remove the packing, replace the washer with the stem, and then coil new packing string around the stem until the nut’s cavity is nearly entire.
  • Insert the stem assembly within the faucet body and secure the packing nut. Put the knob back in place and flip the switch.
  • Start the water supply by opening the shutoff valve. More pressure can be applied to the packing nut to stop a leaking bib.

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Problem#04  

 How to Fix a Leaky PVC Drain Pipe?

Polyvinyl chloride pipes, also known as PVC pipes, have durable and lightweight properties, making them an effective solution for irrigation, plumbing, and sewage. PVC pipes are usually white or cream. They are joined with couplings and solvent cement, which melt the top layer of the pipes and stick them together. Most of the time, PVC is used for drain pipes because it is easy to work with and cheap. Most PVC damage can be fixed by repairing the existing line to stop the leak. But if the damage is too bad, the whole pipe might have to be replaced. To help you figure out how to fix or replace your PVC pipes, we’ve listed five ways you can do either.

Common Reasons for PVC Leaks

Here are the most common reasons why PVC pipes need to be fixed or replaced:

• Improper installation

A leak can happen if a PVC fitting isn’t put on the pipe correctly. Most of the time, this is caused by a loose fitting that lets water leakage.,

• Wrong adhesive glue

Ensure you buy the proper PVC cement so it doesn’t break down too quickly. Before you choose a glue, check the label to make sure it’s made to stick to PVC. Even if you choose a suitable adhesive, it will break down over time and must be fixed.

• Freezing temperatures

Even though PVC doesn’t freeze quickly, it can become brittle and break in cold weather. If you stay in a cold climate, you should insulate your pipes so they don’t freeze.

What will you be required for this project

Using Rubber or Silicone Repair Tape

  • Scissors or utility knife

Using Repair Epoxy

  • Plastic disposable putty knife (if needed)

Using Fiberglass Wrap

  • Scissors or utility knife

Using Rubber and Hose Clamps

  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Screwdriver

Materials

Using Repair Epoxy

  • Clean rag
  • Two-part epoxy patch kit

Using Rubber or Silicone Repair Tape

  • Clean rag
  • Rubber or silicone repair tape

Using the Fiberglass Wrap

  • Fiberglass wrap
  • Clean rag

Using the hose clamp and rubber

  • Two or more worn gear hose clamps to fix the pipe
  • Piece of sheet rubber
  • Clean rag

PVC Pipe Repairing Using Fiberglass Wrap:

Fiberglass wrap or tape is made of fiberglass cloth coated with a resin that reacts with water. It’s an excellent way to stop a leaking PVC pipe for now. When the fiberglass is put on the pipe, the water-activated resin hardens around the pipe and slows the leak.

• Again, the first step is to thoroughly clean and dry the pipe to remove any residue and water. The patch fabric will stick to the pipe best if it is clean and dry.

• Cut a piece of fiberglass tape or wrap it around where the water is getting in. Wet the fiberglass tape and tightly wrap it around the broken area. Keep the tape at least two inches long for best results. It will be best to follow the instructions from the maker.

• Give the activated resin in the fiberglass some time to harden completely. This shouldn’t take more than 15–20 minutes.

Repair a PVC Pipe with Silicone or Rubber Repair Tape

electric ball valve PVC
electric ball valve PVC

 Silicone or rubber repair tape is a heavy-duty, thick, self-adhering tape. It is elastic and slightly gelatinous, so it may be stretched. Repair tape is most effective on pipe cracks as opposed to leaking joints.

Clean and Dry the Pipe

Wipe the pipe or fitting with a clean cloth to thoroughly clean and dry it. Repair tape is more likely to succeed if it immediately forms a strong bond with the PVC plastic.

Using Repair Tape, Wrap

Cut a section of repair tape and securely wrap it around the leaking PVC joint or pipe, extending the wrap well past the repair area on both sides. An advantage of repair tape is that it can be spirally wrapped for a significant distance if a pipe develops a longitudinal crack. Cutting a length of tape and threading it around the pipe with care may be necessary for narrow spaces.

Check the Repair

Pour water through the drain and observe the area for leaks. The use of repair tape should be seen as a temporary solution; the damaged section of the pipe or fitting should be replaced as soon as possible.

PVC Pipe Repair Using Epoxy:

Repair Epoxy, which can be purchased in putty and liquid form, creates a strong bonding between PVC pipe and joints.

Use a clean cotton rag on the pipe for thorough cleaning and drying. The Epoxy will only adhere to the pipe and fittings if they are dry and debris-free.

• Following the manufacturer’s directions, you must now mix the Epoxy. You must incorporate a catalyst and an epoxy resin to make the patching material.

• Several of these products come in syringes, making it optional for consumers to mix them before use. Simply press the two interlocking plungers. The syringe’s applicator can apply the epoxy liquid directly to the affected area. Certain epoxy materials, however, need to be mixed by hand to form a putty-like material before being applied to the broken section of pipe with a disposable putty knife.

• When working in confined areas, liquid Epoxy is preferable to putty. Little time is available to apply the Epoxy to the damaged area once it has been mixed.

To stop the leak, apply the mixture to the broken section of the pipe. It is suggested that a bead of Epoxy be run around the entire junction.

Please wait while the Epoxy dries. Then, follow the manufacturer’s directions for the proper amount of time. The average time for the bond to achieve full strength is 20 to 30 minutes, but it might sometimes take as long as an hour. After the Epoxy has dried, you can test it for leaks by pouring water down the drain.

Fix PVC Pipe Leak Using Rubber and Hose Clamps:

Compression is used to fix minor leaks in PVC pipes with rubber tapes and hose clamps. It’s a temporary fix for leaky pipes that doesn’t require a trip to the store. If the leak is only in one spot, you can put a piece of rubber over it. Find a patching rubber (an old bicycle tube works well).

• This method works best on smooth pipe parts because the patching rubber can fully contact the pipe surface. It doesn’t work very well where pipes and fittings come together to join.

•Use a cotton cloth to clean the pipe well and dry it, especially where the repair was made.

•Cut a piece of rubber to fit around the leak in the pipe. You can do this with a utility knife or scissors. Place the over the part of the pipe that is broken.

• Station a pair of hose clamps with worm gears on the pipe and rubber patch. The clamps should be put right over the ends of the pipe’s crack. Hold the hose clamps tightly until you can see that the rubber is fully pressed. If the clamps are in the right place, they should completely close the crack.

• Run water through the drain as usual and look for leaks. The way to fix it works, but only for a particular time. This means it’s only a short-term fix. As the leak gets worse, the rubber tape and hose clamps will no longer work.

How to Fix a Leaking Hose Bib (Woodford Model 19)
Williams Plumbing & Heating

Replacing PVC Pipe and Fittings 

A PVC pipe is often so severely broken that a simple repair is impossible. The broken component can be replaced with a PVC pipe in this situation. Initially, turn off the water supply to the pipe using a local water shutoff switch near the pipe or the main water supply.

1. Using a hacksaw or ratchet cutter, cut the pipe about 1 inch from the right and left sides to the damaged location.

2. Remove excess water from the pipe and dry it with a cotton cloth.

3. After separating the damaged PVC pipe, dry-fit the replacement pipe in the hole and verify that the new pipe fittings are compatible with the existing PVC.

4. Apply PVC primer solvent to the pipe fitting replacement’s interior and the current pipe’s exterior.

5. Apply glue to the inner surface of the replacement fitting and the existing PVC pipe.

6. Using a twisting motion, insert the pipe into the replacement fittings, ensuring that the pipe adheres to the glue.

7. Maintain a firm grip on the pipe for 10 to 15 seconds to create a firm binding.

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