How to Diagnose Plumbing Problems for Your Indianapolis Home

Many different plumbing issues can plague the home plumbing system, such as a faulty water heater, slow drains, sump pump failure, dripping faucets, sewer system backup, leaky pipes, low water pressure, clogged pipes, rusty pipes, a running toilet, mineral deposits in water lines, and more. Unfortunately, not all plumbing problems produce clear warning signs, nor does each type of plumbing problem always produce symptoms.

Silent leaks and any other type of plumbing issue that goes unnoticed can be a serious threat to the house. Over time, a major plumbing problem can develop if the system does not receive the plumbing repairs it needs.

At Mr. Plumber, we understand it’s not always easy to determine what is wrong with your home’s plumbing system. Many homeowners can easily recognize irregularities like poor water flow from a bathroom sink or kitchen sink but aren’t aware of the malfunctions behind them. When you don’t know what’s wrong, you don’t know how to fix it – and this can lead to issues getting pushed off for long periods of time, possibly until they’ve become so bad that a hefty amount of work will be required not only to fix the plumbing problem but the damage caused to the home through water leakage and other consequences.

Mr. Plumber helps Central Indiana homeowners uncover hidden plumbing issues fast, so they can get the repairs they need right away for the safety and benefit of their homes and families. Today, we’ll walk you through some of the proper tools a professional plumber uses to investigate and trace plumbing disturbances in the home, as well as tips to help you diagnose plumbing problems on your own so you can know when to call a plumber.

Methods a Professional Plumber Uses to Pinpoint Plumbing Problems

Anytime a professional plumber visits a customer’s home for service, the exact plumbing problems they face may or may not be immediately known – to them or to us. Believe us when we tell you it’s ok if you cannot tell us exactly what is wrong with your plumbing system before we come out – it’s our job to know how to inspect your plumbing system and fixtures to uncover the flaws that stop you from getting full use and enjoyment from your home.

If you call a plumber for repairs, he or she will use different methods and correct tools while in the home to diagnose exactly what is going on and where the problem sits in the system. Some of the most helpful diagnostic tools we rely on include:

  • First, we talk to the homeowner and the other occupants about the matter at hand. We want to know if there is anything they can tell us about the problem, how long has it been going on, and what they have tried so far to rectify it. Getting first-hand accounts from the people who live there is not only a good way to gauge how bad the issue really is, but it’s a chance to ask if they have noticed any other plumbing problems around the house – because the plumbing issues may be related and this info could help lead us to the source.

  • Next, we take a look around the residence and perform a visual inspection of the plumbing system. We want to get eyes on the operation of slow drains, clogged toilets, exposed pipes, and more. If we can observe the symptoms our customers have described, it may help us gain a better understanding of the situation as some things can get lost in translation as many people attempt to describe a plumbing problem.

  • There are a number of proper tools at our disposal which can be used to help us dig deeper and track down those plumbing issues that aren’t so straightforward. These tools can include:
    • Infrared detection devices allow us to perform temperature readings on hot water and cold water in each supply line, the water temperature within water heaters, and even if there are suspect temperature swings behind a wall – which is a common sign of a hidden leak.

    • A sewer camera helps us look deep down into the home’s sewer lines in search of clogged pipes, cracked pipes, pipe bellies, and other sewer line issues that cause blockages or slow-draining pipes. The camera can also show us what the clog is made of, which may be food substances or tree roots, as well as the location of that matter inside the sewer line.

    • Moisture detection equipment is sometimes helpful in diagnosing hidden leaks where there are no easily visible signs. By measuring the moisture content in an area, we may be alerted to the possibility of leaky pipes installed under floors, in ceilings, and in walls.

    • In homes with gas water heaters, gas leak detectors may be used to determine if the hot water heater is venting incorrectly or if the gas supply line is leaking, both of which could be caused by improper installation. With this information, we are able to make the necessary repairs or install a new water heater to keep the family safe.

    • Water quality analysis can be very helpful as we investigate issues related to water lines. Rusty pipes often cause water to take on a dingy appearance from the tap. This usually happens when galvanized pipes or copper pipes start to break down. This analysis can also tell us about mineral deposits in the supply line, as these deposits can restrict the pipe, lead to low water pressure, cause reduced water flow, and create an odor from the home’s tap water.

Homeowner Tips for Diagnosing Plumbing Issues

There are many parts of a home plumbing system, from the water heater to the sewer line, right down to a kitchen sink drain. With so many different system components, many things have the potential to go awry at any point in time. If you’re not a professional plumber, it’s completely understandable that you may not know exactly what plumbing issues are going on after only hearing about a few symptoms.

Even though the plumbing system can seem complex, many of the most common plumbing repairs required around the house can be completed by savvy homeowners. Even if you’re highly handy, you still must be able to diagnose a plumbing problem before you can set out to fix it. Some  basic knowledge on how to diagnose plumbing problems is also helpful because it can help you determine the severity of an issue and if a plumber’s expertise is needed to do the job.

We’ve put together some basic guidance to help you diagnose some of the plumbing issues you’re most likely to face both now and in the future. Use this information to keep your plumbing system in top shape and to call a plumber for help as needed.

Watch Household Water Bills

Pay attention to your water bills each month so you can easily identify inflated utility bills if they arrive. If your water bill ever unexpectedly shoots up and you can’t come up with a clear cause for the increase in water use, a leak is a strong possibility.

When you receive a high water bill, use your water meter to verify your leak suspicions. Turn off every faucet, fixture, and appliance that uses water. At your meter, watch to see if the leak indicator fluctuates or if the meter numbers continue to move. Any activity on your meter, when all water sources are off indoors is a sign there is a leak inside.

Observe Slow Drains

A slow drain is a sign of a clog somewhere in the drain line of your house. Observing how each fixture drains can help you spot where the clog sits and determine if you can remove it.

  • Only one slow drain, like a bathroom sink drain, usually means the clog is in that fixture’s drain. If you remove the stopper, you can likely pull out the blockage. If you’re removing a clog from a kitchen sink with a garbage disposal, always turn off the power before working on the sink drain.

  • If slow drains impact a common area of the home, a clog could be in the branch of the drain line extending to that area. It may be possible to extract clogs using a pipe snake.

  • When slow drains impact all plumbing fixtures, the main drain line is probably clogged. You need to call a plumber to attend to clogs here.

  • Sewer system backup and sewer odor from drains stems from blocked sewer lines that connect to the local sewer lines or the home’s septic system. This issue should be fixed by a professional plumber.

Pinpoint Pipe Freezes

Frozen pipes can burst quickly, causing major water leakage and damage. If your pipes freeze, you need to be able to thaw them fast. Learn how to locate a frozen pipe so you can get to work or call a plumber to help.

  • Low water pressure and restricted water flow from a single tap tells you the frozen pipe probably feeds that fixture only.
  • If all fixtures in an area suffer those symptoms, the branch supply line is likely frozen.
  • When all fixtures in the home suffer water pressure and water flow issues, the home’s main water line could be frozen.

Central Indiana Plumbing Repairs

Mr. Plumber is here to assist you with any plumbing problems you have within your Central Indiana home. Contact us today to make an appointment for plumbing repair services. 

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