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5 Common Plumbing Problems in Geelong & How to Fix Them

Plumbing repair of drain pipe cartoon

Plumbing issues are a part and parcel of homeownership, often appearing at the most inconvenient times. Geelong, with its unique climate and infrastructure, is no stranger to plumbing problems. Here are five common plumbing issues faced by residents of Geelong and some practical tips on how to tackle them.

1. Dripping Faucets/Taps - An Annoyance

One of the most common and annoying plumbing problems is a dripping tap. It not only wastes water but can also increase your utility bills. Most often, a dripping faucet is caused by a worn-out washer or O-ring. Tools needed to fix this are an adjustable wrench and a screwdriver.

To fix this issue, turn off the water supply to the faucet. Then, use the screwdriver to remove any decorative parts of the handle. Next, use the wrench to loosen and remove the bonnet nut. Take out the stem and replace the old washer or O-ring with a new one before reassembling everything.

If the problem persists, it may be a sign of corrosion or improper installation, in which case a professional plumber’s assistance is recommended.

zoom in cartoon of dripping tap

2. Low Water Pressure - What's The Cause?

Low water pressure can make even simple tasks such as showering or washing dishes frustrating. This problem can stem from various sources, including a build-up of sediment in pipes, pipe corrosion, or leaks. But the likely situation is that low water pressure is a widespread issue that your water supplier is probably already aware of. Check with your neighbours if they also have poor water pressure. If so, then there is nothing for you to do except wait for Barwon Water to sort it out.

If it's not widespread but only your house has low water pressure, then the most common cause of a localised low water pressure issue is a clogged aerator.

What is an aerator? It is the small filter at the end of your faucet or showerhead that mixes air with water to give you a steady stream. Over time, it can become clogged with debris and mineral deposits, reducing water flow. To fix this issue, unscrew the aerator from the faucet using pliers or your hand if it’s not too tight. Then soak it in vinegar overnight to dissolve any build-up before rinsing and reattaching.

If the issue isn't resolved, it might require a more thorough inspection of your plumbing system, best conducted by a professional plumber.

cartoon depiction of copper water pipe blockage causing low pressure

3. Running Toilets - You Can Fix It Yourself!

A running toilet can waste 100 litres of water a day, or more. This issue is typically caused by a faulty flapper valve, which controls the water that passes from the tank to the bowl. Fixing a running toilet often involves replacing the flapper or adjusting the float arm to ensure it stops water from flowing when the tank is full.

What tools and replacement parts are needed? An adjustable wrench, a screwdriver, and a new flapper valve can be purchased at most hardware stores or a Bunnings. Firstly, shut off the water supply to the toilet. Then, drain the tank by flushing it and use a towel to soak up any remaining water. Remove the old flapper valve and replace it with the new one, ensuring it is securely in place. Finally, adjust the float arm if needed, make sure there are no leaks and turn on the water supply. Test the toilet by flushing and letting it refill to make sure it has stopped running.

If the issue persists, it could indicate a more significant problem with the toilet's internal mechanisms and would require a professional plumber to diagnose and fix.

toilet repair cartoon

4. Clogged Drains - Usually Easy To Fix!

Hair, soap scum, food particles, and other debris can easily clog drains in sinks, showers, and bathtubs. A plunger or plumbing snake is usually enough to clear minor clogs. However, for tougher blockages, a chemical drain cleaner or removing the drain cover and physically removing the blockage may be necessary.

If you know the likely cause, then this will determine the best type of tool or chemical to use to fix it. For example, a plunger is best for clearing hair clogs, and a plumbing snake can tackle more stubborn blockages like food particles or grease. If it's a build up of mineral deposits, a chemical drain cleaner may be the most effective solution. You can sometimes see if there is a build up if you shine a torch down the drain and have a look.

Preventative measures such as using drain screens and regularly pouring hot water down drains can help prevent clogs. In some cases, clogged drains can also be a sign of a more significant issue with your plumbing system. If you notice frequent clogs or multiple drains are clogging at once, it's best to call in a local plumber for an inspection and proper diagnosis.

Clogged drain plumbing tools snake and plunger cartoon

5. Leaky Pipes - A Sneaky Gripe!

Leaking pipes can cause significant damage to your home's structure and can also lead to mould growth. Signs of a leaky pipe include wet spots on walls or ceilings, musty odours, and increased water bills. Depending if a pipe is cracked or broken before a tap or after the drain, a leak may be easy or difficult to spot.

If you suspect a leak, turn off the water supply and inspect your pipes for any visible damage. In some cases, the cause might be as simple as a loose connection, which can be tightened with a pipe wrench. However, if the pipe is damaged or corroded, it will need to be replaced.

To prevent leaks from occurring in the first place, it's essential to regularly inspect your plumbing system and address any minor issues before they become major problems. Additionally, knowing where your main water shut-off valve is located can help minimise damage in case of a leak. It's also a good idea to have an annual plumbing inspection to catch any potential issues early on.

Cartoon of leaking copper water pipe

Our Geelong Plumbing Services Can Help!

In conclusion, understanding how to identify and fix common plumbing problems can save you time, money, and frustration in the long run. Remember to always turn off your water supply before attempting any minor repairs you can fix yourself and don't hesitate to call in a professional if needed. By taking preventative measures and addressing issues promptly, you can maintain a functioning plumbing system in your home and avoid costly repairs or damage in the future. So, be proactive and keep these tips in mind for a stress-free and smoothly running household.

Also, don't ignore any signs of low water pressure, running toilets, clogged drains or leaky pipes. Keep an eye out for potential issues and address them promptly to avoid major problems down the line. Remember, prevention is always better than cure when it comes to plumbing problems!

If you are unsure on how to fix any of these problems yourself, don't stress, we are here to help with any type of plumbing issue you need fixed throughout Geelong.



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