The plumbing system in your home is not something you typically think about until there is a major problem.  You probably do not even have a plumber you call (or maybe have ever called!)

However, there are a few warning signs that are cause for a visit from a plumber to avoid a bigger emergency.

1.    Weak Water Flow

Low water pressure or a slow stream from a faucet indicates an issue in distribution.  If it only affects one faucet it is usually the faucet aerator.

However, if water pressure is low in several areas around your house it signals a bigger problem.  It could mean a leak in the water supply line, an issue with your water main or an issue at the hot water heater.

2.    Slow Drains

If the issue involves only one or 2 sinks/tubs/showers, it is probably a clog near the train, which could potentially be fixed easily. However, it may require snaking.

If all the drains in your home are slow, it could be a sign of a bigger problem, like tree roots in the sewer line.

3.    Outrageously High Water Bills

If you have noticed a significant increase in your monthly water bill it could indicate a problem.  (Writer’s Note:  We had this problem, our bill tripled, and it was a leak from our whole home humidifier, running water directly into the drain and our money down the drain with it!)

If there is no reason for a high water bill (filling a pool, watering your lawn, etc.) there could be a problem.  Toilets that run means water is constantly filling the toilet tank and the toilet valve is not sealing properly, it could be a leak in a pipe somewhere, or even your whole home humidifier.

4.    Sewer Odor

Every drain needs a trap, and every trap needs a vent.  Those traps and vents prevent sewer gas from entering your home.  The vents move the odor out of your home, the traps create a “water plug” that is a barrier for stopping sewer odors from coming up through the sink/tub/shower drain.

If you smell sewer gas in your home, it is likely that either a trap has run dry or a vent line has cracked.  A dry trap is easily fixed by pouring water into it; however, a cracked vent line warrants a visit from a plumber.

5.    Shaky Toilet

If the toilet wobbles when you sit down, it is a sign there is an issue.  The problem may be as simple as tightening the seat. If the toilet itself is wobbling it could be the bolts connecting it to the floor may need to be tightened.  Both easy fixes.

However, if the seat is tight, the bolts are tight, and it is still wobbling it is probable the wax seal around the toilet drain has failed.  A common issue with older homes.  It also indicates that water may be leaking onto your subfloor, which can cause a major problem.

6.    Brown Spots or Bubbling Paint

If you have noticed brown streaks on your walls or ceiling or paint has begun to bubble or peel off this is a strong indication of moisture.  The most common causes include a roof leak or a plumbing leak.

7.    Lack of Water in Winter

If your water pressure drops or stops completely in the winter, there is a good chance your pipes have frozen.  This is not something you can deal with later; it is an issue that needs to be dealt with immediately.

Homes with supply lines that run through an attic or crawl space or other unheated area are more susceptible to frozen pipes during cold winters.

Ice has formed in the pipe and it is acting as a barrier that is holding the water back from flowing through the pipes.  It is important to get this issue looked at by a plumber as soon as possible to prevent a burst pipe and major water leak.

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