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The holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year, but an unexpected problem with your plumbing is bound to leave you feeling anything but merry and bright. However, we want you to know that if the sounds of sleigh bells, Hannukah hymns, and Kwanzaa drums are being silenced in your home by tones of drips and gurgling, you aren’t alone. In fact, the holidays are one of the most problematic times of the year for plumbing systems due to factors like an increase in houseguests and chillier temperatures.

Read on as we run down the sounds of the season you DON’T want to hear—and what you can do to fix the problem.

Gurgling from the drain

Most people assume that a little drain gurgling is normal. Hint: It’s not. A gurgling sound coming from a drain is an indication that a clog has formed somewhere in the line, and water is struggling to pass through. A clog that’s not addressed will only grow with time and lead to issues much more severe than an unpleasant gurgle.

The first thing you should do is a visible inspection to look for a blockage, like food, debris, or hair. Next, you’ll want to use a snake—a long, flexible cable affixed with an uncoiled spring—to dislodge the blockage. If a snake doesn’t work, you can also try a plunger. Both a snake and a plunger can be purchased from any hardware or big-box home improvement store, and both are easy to use.

Drips from the faucet

Once you hear it, you won’t ever be able to unhear it. Of course, it is the sound of a leaky faucet that steadily drips into the sink, and it’s enough to drive you mad. It’s also an incredible waste of money at a time of the year when a lot of us are pinching pennies to buy that perfect gift for someone special.

There are many different reasons a faucet might leak, from bad washers and cartridges to worn-out seals and water pressure woes. To fix the problem, you’ll want to start by doing a little investigating. After you turn off the water supply by shutting off the valves under the sink, you’ll want to plug the drain and remove any decorative parts that cover the handle knobs. After you do that, look for any parts that are damaged or nuts that need tightening. Lastly, replace the washer and O-ring, and reassemble the faucet. Chances are that tune-up will get the job done—but if not, you may need professional help from a plumber.

Running water from the toilet

Remember that influx of holiday houseguests we talked about earlier? Well, the toilet is definitely one of the fixtures that get hit the hardest as a result. Toilets are not the most complex part of a home’s plumbing system, but there are a few different parts that can become faulty and cause the toilet to run endlessly.

You’ll want to first check the water level in the tank to determine if it is running into the overflow tube. If it is, the water level should be corrected through an adjustment of the screw that attaches to the float fill valve by turning it a quarter-turn counterclockwise until the water level is about an inch below the top of the overflow tube. You should also inspect the flush valve chain to ensure its length is adequate so the flapper can open and close properly. While you’re there, give the flapper a look as well to ensure it is structurally sound.

Video: How To Stop A Running Toilet

Whistling from the faucet

Whistling along to “Jingle Bells?” That’s good. Whistling coming from the faucet? That’s bad. This common complaint from homeowners is usually due to water being forcefully pushed through an opening much smaller than what the plumbing components were designed to support (meaning the pressure is too high). It could also come from a rubber washer that has become dislodged or a collection of buildup from hard water. In any event, the whistle or squeal is likely to intensify as the water pressure increases.

The simplest way to check your water pressure is to connect a pressure gauge (these are readily available at the same stores where you’ll find snakes and plungers) to an outdoor spigot. If the pressure is higher than 60 psi, it’s too high. Adjusting the pressure can be tricky, so calling a plumber to help may not be a bad idea. To fix a dislodged washer, turn off the water supply and unscrew the faucet nozzle. You should be able to correct the washer’s positioning from there by hand. As for a collection of hard water, you can remove the faucet from the sink and clean with a toothbrush and white vinegar. That said, hard water doesn’t just go away on its own, so you may want to invest in a whole-home water softener.

Our holiday wish is that the only sounds you hear in the coming days and weeks are laughter and merriment—but if you do happen to pick up on one of the sounds we covered above, the professionals at Prime Plumbing are here when you need us. Save time, call Prime!

 

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