A Guide To Troubleshooting Plumbing Pipe Problems
Troubleshooting plumbing pipe problems sometimes leads you far from familiar faucets, sinks or toilets. Often the trouble occurs somewhere else, deep in the span of water supply pipes running through your home. Because these problems usually involve a hardened metal pipe with soldered joints, the do-it-yourself options for the average homeowner with household tools tend to be limited.
However, making a diagnosis, or at least an educated guess, about what’s going on and where can help you communicate the problem to an experienced plumber and understand proposed repairs.
Here are some common issues and what might be causing them:
- Leaking pipe – A threaded joint may have loosened. If the joint can be tightened, that may stop leakage. Alternatively, waterproof epoxy paste applied to the joint externally may seal it. If these options fail, a plumber will be required to disassemble the segment and replace it with a permanent soldered joint. Another option: a hole or small split may have developed in the pipe. If the leaky portion is accessible, a wrap-around pipe clamp available at home centers can be placed on the leaking spot and tightened to seal the leak. If not, have the segment removed and replaced by a plumber, who can also evaluate your plumbing for potential leaks elsewhere.
- Ruptured pipe – Turn off the main water supply immediately. Be aware of the hazard of electrocution from leaking water inside the home. Call a plumber to replace the defective segment of pipe.
- Dripping pipe but no leak – It’s probably condensation on a cold water pipe. Foam pipe insulation available at home centers can be placed on exposed segments of the pipe to stop condensation.
- Noisy hot water pipes – Steam caused by a water heater thermostat set too high or a defective thermostat may cause rumbling in pipes. The Department of Energy recommends a water heater thermostat setting of 120 degrees.
- Pipe banging – The pipe is loose at a support bracket somewhere. Secure the pipe and/or add some cushioning material to the bracket.
When troubleshooting plumbing pipe problems call for an experienced professional to make the repairs, give us a call. We’re here to help!
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wilmington, Delaware and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
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