Do you have a blocked drain, leaking toilet or other plumbing issue that isn’t serious enough to warrant calling out – and paying – a plumber, but is enough of an irritation to make you want to resolve it? We’ll do our best to answer your most common plumbing questions in a series of posts, and to tell you what signs to watch out for that indicate when you need to call in a professional.
Q1: Why does the toilet keep running after it has been flushed, and how do I stop it?
A1: This is one of the most common plumbing questions, usually caused by the rubber flap in the bottom of the toilet tank not closing properly. This means that as fast as your tank fills up, the water is escaping into the toilet. This can be a major cause of water loss and result in a high water bill. Test it by putting a few drops of food colouring into the tank and watch to see if it appears in the bowl. You can stop this by checking that the chain connecting the flush handle to the flap is working properly, or buy a new flap and install it if the old one is damaged or not sealing shut for other reasons.
Q2: Why is my water bill suddenly so high?
A2: If you’ve experienced a sudden hike in your water account, the first plumbing question to ask is whether you have any leaks on your property.
- Start with the toilet and follow the steps above to see if that’s where you’re losing water.
- Check all faucets to see that they close tightly and don’t drip.
- Make sure that no water is running anywhere, then take a look at your water metre to see if it’s turning.
If there is movement in spite of everything being off, you may have a leak in a pipe somewhere. That’s when you need to contact your local plumber to come in and do a thorough inspection.
Q3: Do I need a plumbing inspection before bidding on a home for sale?
A3: If you’re in the process of buying a home in the GTA, find out its approximate age. If it’s an older home, the regular inspection report may not highlight pressing plumbing questions. Most inspectors only check the readily visible parts of the house; few get licensed plumbers to do complete camera inspections, which is the only way to identify common GTA problems.
- Tree roots in the drainage systems
- Burst or leaking water pipes inside the walls
- Damaged sewer pipes underground and clogged running traps – either underground on the premises or under the street.
By the time you discover what it’s going to cost you to dig up the driveway and patio, fix the damage and replace the paving, it’s too late to negotiate a reduction in price that covers the cost of a plumbing inspection and repairs. For any home more than 10 years old, unless the seller can produce records of a recent inspection, rather pay the additional cost to get one done.
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