Troubleshooting Plumbing Problems: Leaks, Noises, Flushes & Stopcocks
Well, here’s some top tips for solving a variety of house-hold plumbing problems, including...
- Leaking Overflow Pipe
- Whining Noises or Pipe Hammer
- Toilet Flushing Problems
- Noisy Shower Pump & Surging
- Leaking Radiator or Stopcock
- Creaking Pipes
- Taps Not Turning Off or Constantly Dripping
Leaking over flow pipe?
This is normally a white pipe, found at high level on the exterior of the building which is constantly leaking water. This is due to the ball valve being faulty and not stopping the water filling the water tank or toilet cistern, so it over flows.
You can stop this by tying up the ball valve arm with some string to stop the flow of water, at least until you can get a professional plumber to look at the problem.
Whining noise or pipe hammer?
This occurs when high pressure water is travelling through a tap or a ball valve and, while running can cause a loud whining noise. Also, when the valve or tap is turned off, fast moving water comes to an abrupt stop, causing a shock wave through the pipe work resulting in a loud bang.
This can be repaired by a plumber either a) replacing the noisy valve with different type, b) securing lose pipe work or c) fitting an arrester to the pipe-work to act like a shock absorber.
Toilet not flushing properly?
The common cause can be a faulty toilet handle or push button which just needs to be tightened up or replaced. It can also be the symphonic mechanism inside, which needs to be replaced as some of them work on air pressure.
Noisy shower pump?
A noisy shower pump is often caused by air getting into the pump but not getting out again, causing the operation of water travelling through the pump to become noisier. You can resolve this by lowering the shower head on the shower, to allow the air to escape to quiet the pump.
Sometimes you can get the shower pump surging on and off, even when the water is not running with the shower pump off. This can burn the pump out if not resolved. This problem is known as a “server air lock” - to resolve this, turn the electrical supply to the pump off and wait for your plumber to arrive to remove the air lock.
This will stop the pump from burning out and will cost you less money.
Leaking radiator valve or stop cock?
This happens when the spindle packing inside the vale has worn out or become damaged by lime-scale, corrosion or oxide sludge.
The vale will normally leak when in the “mid-open” to “closed” position. This problem needs to be repaired by a professional plumber, but you can stop the leak by opening fully or closing the vale or stopcock until the leaking stops.
Usually it can be repaired by repacking the stem but sometimes the vale or stop cock will also need replacing.
Common areas that suffer “creaking” pipes are usually your waste water pipes, when running hot water or when the central heating comes on.
When pipes get hot, whether it’s due to hot water running, central heating of radiators or letting the plug out of a hot bath, they expand. If a pipe is in a tight spot, hole, wall or under the floor running through a joist or floor board, they will make a noise when expanding.
The solution is to make the place the pipe travels through bigger and the noise will disappear!
Taps not turning off or constantly dripping?
If you have taps that are constantly dripping or won’t turn off, there’s 3 possibilities why:
- The washers in the tap need replacing
- The taps spindle is broken and new taps are needed
- The taps do not have washers and need a new cartridge
If you are on a water meter turn of your mains water supply otherwise this sort of problem will cost you a fortune in water costs. So isolating your water supply is the first point of call and then call a local plumber.
Hope you find these plumbing problem-solving tips useful!
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Author: Tony Hernandez