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Here's How to Diagnose Plumbing Problems in Your Louisville Home

Diagnose Plumbing Issues

Plumbing problems of all shapes and sizes exist in Louisville households, sometimes right under the noses of occupants! Water heater malfunctions, dripping faucets, leaky pipes, low water pressure, old sewer lines that break, and cracked pipes are just a few of the plumbing issues that may pop up at any time.

No matter what plumbing problem you face at home, whether you’ve identified it yet or not, Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling provides the plumbing repairs needed to protect your residence from major water leakage and damage. Contact us anytime to have a professional plumber inspect your sewer line, multiple drains, or water pipes and diagnose issues resulting in restricted performance. We also explain how you can investigate the source of a plumbing problem on your own, so you can determine if you are able to perform a fix or if you need to call a plumber.

How Do Plumbers Diagnose Plumbing Problems?

Not everyone knows what they need when they call a plumber and that’s absolutely okay! When you request services from a professional plumber, they will come to your home and identify the severity of the problem- from a running toilet to a major plumbing problem.

Luckily, plumbing industry pros have been trained to identify and fix a range of home plumbing issues. During your service call, your plumber may take certain steps or use proper tools which help them assess your situation from the outside and better diagnose the problem.

  • Your plumber may ask different household members about the matter at hand. These conversations can provide a wealth of helpful information, helping the plumber gather the complete picture about the symptoms people in the house are experiencing.
  • One of the most impressive skills a plumber has to offer is their ability to find the root of the problem through inspection. By observing how the plumbing system performs, simple symptoms are on display, providing valuable clues that lead to identifying the underlying issue. Low water pressure combined with little water flow from a shower head or the faucet on the kitchen sink indicates that there might be an issue with improper installation, or mineral buildup and sediment flowing through the pipes may have created the clogged sink fixture. If a plumber sees that all plumbing fixtures are having issues, it may indicate there’s an issue with the water lines supplying hot water or cold water to the home. Paying attention to clogged toilets and slow drains throughout the living areas can clue the plumber in toward the location of the clogged pipes for a faster repair job that ends a slow drain or sewer line problems.
  • With the correct tools, a plumber can look even more in-depth regarding the home and plumbing system to pinpoint plumbing problems and where they are hiding.
    • The right infrared detection equipment can allow a professional to quickly take the temperature of cold water or hot water within pipes or water heaters. With these tools, they can even detect warning signs of hidden catastrophes to locate leaks behind walls.
    • A sewer scope uses a small camera that is inserted into the sewer line. These cameras are simply pushed into the line until the plugs are seen. Sewer cameras come in many sizes and they are small enough to fit into a standard drain line and long enough to reach the sewer line from the main clean out to inspect every inch of the home’s sewer lines.
    • Moisture detectors can help spot leaks in walls, floors, and other parts of the home. These tools can be used to find water that is flowing from leaky pipes and is not visible, as well as water that is building up in a ceiling, under a floor, or behind a wall.
    • If you have a gas leak from a faulty water heater, there could be a potentially dangerous buildup of gas in the home. Gas leak detectors are used to find or rule out plumbing issues associated with fuel leaks in gas water heaters.
    • A plumber can analyze your water quality if you’re noticing discolored water coming out of your faucet or issues with odor. Water discoloration can occur with corroded and rusty pipes, commonly affecting old copper pipes and galvanized pipes. Heavy mineral deposits in a supply line or hot water heater can also cause water color to change as well as sometimes produce odors.

Advice for Detecting Plumbing System Issues at Home

While it’s important to know the basics of plumbing, there are many cases where it makes sense to call a plumber. It’s easy for many homeowners to fix a clogged drain or dripping faucets, but if these minor plumbing issues go ignored, they will snowball. Adding one plumbing issue to another causes the problem to grow and spread, which can quickly turn into full-blown plumbing emergencies.

When plumbing problems are relatively straightforward and not so serious, you may be confident in making these plumbing repairs yourself. Knowing the difference between a small issue and larger problem can be difficult, but you need to know how to differentiate them so you can call a plumber when professional services are warranted. Below, our plumbers share some important advice to help you discover plumbing problems at home and gauge their severity so you know if you need the help of a plumber or not.

Track Monthly Water Bills

If your water bill is much higher than normal, your home may have a leak. Inflated utility bills are a telltale sign of a leak, especially when the surprise water bill increase is unexpected and there’s no obvious explanation for a water bill that is so high.

If this happens, your water meter can help you investigate your water bill mystery. Cut off all sources of water, such as kitchen sink and bathroom sink faucets as well as appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine. All water needs to be turned off in the home in order to see whether the meter continues to increase or the dial on the meter moves. If your water meter has a leak detection dial, take a look to see if it’s turning – if there isn’t one on your meter, check the numbers on the water meter dial itself and see if they continue to move. Movement on the water meter even though all sources of water consumption are turned off in the house indicate a leak somewhere in your home’s plumbing system.

Now it’s time to look through the house to try and find those leaks. When it comes to finding leaks, they may be difficult to pinpoint, especially if they’re so minuscule — that’s why you should be sure to look in low-traffic places when you’re trying to find the leak. Check the kitchen sink and bathroom sink for dripping faucets, look under your washing machine and dishwasher for any damp spots, and inspect the area around the hot water heater – these areas are considered high-risk zones. A running toilet is actually a type of leak, and leaks can occur in a number of spots throughout the fixture. Adding food coloring to the upper tank can help you more easily spot leaks between the toilet tank and toilet bowl. Silent leaks and hidden leaky pipes aren’t as easy to diagnose as leaks in exposed pipes, so watch for wet spots, dampness, or even mold growth on surfaces in the home.

Investigate the Home’s Slow Draining Pipes

A slow drain, even though an annoyance, is a problem you can tackle on your own, depending on the location of the clogged pipes. With some basic knowledge and simple tools, you’ll be able to trace slow drains and clear a clogged drain in no time at all.

  • If you notice water slowly draining from one fixture in a room, like the clogged bath tub drains or clogged sink drain piping, a blockage likely only impacts that one fixture. Remove the strainer or stopper from the sink or tub. In many cases, the clog material is pretty close to the end of the drain line and you can remove it easily. If your clog is affecting a kitchen sink with a garbage disposal, be sure to turn off power to the appliance before you attempt to remove food substances that are stuck inside the drain.
  • If all the slow draining pipes seem to be confined to one part of the home, a clog is probably sitting in the branch drain line. This drain pipe carries matter, wastewater and human waste, from the fixtures to the home’s main drain line. Depending on its location, you may be able to remove the clog using an auger or plumber’s snake
  • When slow draining pipes exist across the house, the source of the problem is probably in the main drain line serving the home, which connects to the buried sewer line just outside the house. At this point, any clog is pretty deep within the plumbing system and you should call a plumber to deal with this plumbing issue.
  • Sewage backing up into drains across the house indicates sewer system backup. This is typically caused by tree roots, pipe bellies, and other blockages of the main sewer line that runs from the house to the septic system or municipal sewer lines. Contact your plumber to schedule emergency plumbing repairs right away as exposure to sewage and sewer odor is hazardous.

Keep a Close Eye on Winter Water Pipes

Frozen pipes can cause a lot of damage to your plumbing and home, but there are steps you can take to prevent this seasonal plumbing issue. Once temperatures stay consistent below about 20 degrees, freezing pipes become a real risk. If you have any knowledge of your house’s pipes, the first step is to check each individual pipe to see if they offer water flow when you turn on the faucet, or if low water pressure is all you get. If the dripping faucet doesn’t offer water and is plagued by low water pressure, it’s likely frozen somewhere down the pipe – in which case you should call a local plumbing service right away.

Frozen pipes need to be thawed immediately to prevent burst pipes. Quickly uncover the location of a frozen pipe section with these tips:

  • If only one faucet has low water pressure, the ice is likely in only that fixture’s supply pipe.
  • If all fixtures in a room or area are impacted by water pressure and water flow problems, the supply line branch is probably frozen.
  • When all faucets and fixtures in the home display symptoms of freezing, the main water supply line has likely frozen over.

Louisville Plumbing Repair

Plumbing problems can be big or small, and impact our day to day lives in various ways. Don’t get distracted and ignore a plumbing issue until a major plumbing problem has formed! Call Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today for plumbing repair in the Louisville area.

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