It's easy to take functional plumbing for granted ... until it stops working and becomes a big headache.
There are plenty of things about having your own place that is stressful, but one of the biggest is plumbing problems. Knowing there is an issue, or even a potential issue, that could be costing you money and could ultimately turn into a huge, wet emergency is a special breed of stress. If the plumbing in your home is experiencing any of these issues, it's time to have a plumber come out and check on things ASAP.
It Drips When It Shouldn't
There are several places in the home where you may notice dripping water, especially in the middle of the night when the whole house is quiet except for that persistent "drip, drip, drip" sound, like your own version of The Tell-Tale Heart. Drips in sinks or the tub are the easiest to ignore, after all, the water isn't going anywhere that it could hurt something. Pipes that are dripping and causing water damage under cabinets or behind walls likely feel like a much bigger issue. The truth is that both are issues. Even if the water that drips all day and night isn't damaging your home, it is damaging your wallet. If you don't believe it, place a bucket or a bowl under that drip and see how much water it catches in a day. You're still paying for that water, even though it's not being used.
It Doesn't Flow When or How It Should
The other side of the dripping faucet coin is turning on the tap and not having water come out, or at least not having it come out how you'd expect. For some people, this may be an issue of low water pressure. Generally speaking, you should have enough water pressure to run an appliance or two and flush the toilet without having your sink run dry. If you're noticing low pressure, it's time to have a plumber come out. If it is a single fixture that is experiencing low pressure, that could be an easy fix, possibly even a DIY project. If it is your whole house, however, you will certainly need a professional to figure out what is wrong.
If instead of low pressure the issue is that the water doesn't come out as warm or as clear as you expect, these are also signs you need a plumber. Water that doesn't get or stay hot could be caused by an issue with your water heater or be due to pipes running through uninsulated areas and cooling too much. A professional plumber will be able to figure out what the cause of the issue is and the best fix.
It Doesn't Drain
This is the biggest no-brainer of the list: if the tub or sink isn't draining or the toilet isn't flushing, you likely have a clog. While a toilet that backs up once in a blue moon isn't a huge issue, if it happens a lot, you need to make sure there isn't a larger clog than just too much toilet paper. Likewise, if multiple fixtures are all backing up, your issue could be potentially huge and disgusting if it eventually results in a sewage backup into your home.
It's Making A Noise
Pipes make noise, especially in older homes, and sometimes it's an annoyance but not a problem. If you've got pipes that gurgle and bubble, however, that could be the sign of a serious clog. This is especially true if the sink or tub in another room gurgles or backs up when you drain a fixture somewhere else.
Are there any other symptoms of major plumbing headaches that we missed? Let us know in the comments.