10 Common Plumbing Problems [2022]

10 Common Plumbing Problems [2022]

On average every household in South Africa faces at least one of the 10 common plumbing problems in 3 years which can impact the quality of life. These 10 common plumbing problems can range from relatively minor problems like dripping faucets and running toilets to huge problems like a burst sewers or major line leakages which cause structural damage to property if left unattended. Fortunately, if you are based in Johannesburg contact Isocool pty Ltd plumbers when faced with any one of the problems. Click here to see the areas we cover.

At Isocool pty Ltd we have extensive experience working in the plumbing field and have decided to put together this article to make you aware of some of the 10 common plumbing problems we normally encounter and what to look out for and do in case of emergency. Keep reading to learn more on the 10 common plumbing problems as this information might save you thousands of dollars in losses one day.

The 10 common plumbing problems

  1. Dripping faucets.
  2. Slow draining sink.
  3. Clogged bath or shower drain.
  4. Clogged toilet.
  5. Running toilet.
  6. Faulty water heater.
  7. Low water pressure.
  8. Jammed garbage disposal.
  9. Leaky pipes.
  10. Sewer system backup.

 1. Dripping Faucets 

Dripping faucets are among the top most common plumbing problem that it’s rare to find a home which hasn’t experienced this issue at one point in time. Dripping faucets if left unattended can push up your water bill significantly. In addition, the constant dripping sound is a source of irritation which can drive you nuts when you want peace and quiet.

Common Plumbing Problems
Dripping faucets

Just one single faucet can drip away hundreds of gallons over the course of a year hence the need to fix it. The cause of dripping faucets in many cases is an internal washer that has become stiff, torn, worn, or dislodged over time.

Anyone with some DIY skills can usually fix this problem by disassembling the faucet, replacing the faulty washer and reassembling it. However, if you fear attempting repairs on your own might do more harm than good then worry not, contact us anytime for professional plumbing services in Johannesburg and its surrounding areas.

  2. Slow Draining Sink  

This problem is typically caused by a blockage that is restricting water flow. Your kitchen sink drain may contain things like congealed fat and food remnants. In a bathroom sink, the blockage is more likely to be caused by knotted hair and soap. In rare instances the position of the sink might have shifted due to poor workmanship when installing it, this causes the weight of the sink to reshape the piping making it sit in a skewed position which is not efficient when draining water.

Common Plumbing Problems
Technician working under the sink

Quick fix solutions for clearing a clogged sink involve using a plunger, pouring down baking soda and vinegar or a chemical clog remover, or using a plumber’s snake. If the problem is left unattended or doesn’t go away after attempting these DIY solutions, then it will likely worsen over time, until eventually the drain is completely blocked.

Contact Isocool pty Ltd for professional plumbing services in Johannesburg to come and fix your drain sink problem once and for all. In case you decide to attempt repairs on your own be careful not to damage the piping when prying them open as this will live you with a much worse problem than you had before. Below we are going to share with you a DIY solution which doesn’t require tempering with the plumbing.

 How to Unclog a Sink Drain Using Chemicals

  • Be sure to follow all the directions on the packaging and make sure not to use too much.
  • Wear gloves and goggles for safety.
  • Don’t mix chemicals. This can produce poisonous gas.
  • Pour chemicals down the drain.

Note: Chemicals can cause damage to your drainage pipes if used repeatedly, so we highly recommend not resorting to this method continuously as it will compromise the pipe integrity.

 3. Clogged Bath or Shower Drain

As with slow draining bathroom sinks, bath and shower drains generally get blocked up by clogs of hair and soap. Clearing the blockage may require the use of a plunger or a plumber’s snake. Baking soda and vinegar can sometimes dissolve the clog too though rarely and we highly advise against chemical use.

Common Plumbing Problems
Clogged bath tub

The problem will usually get worse over time, if not dealt with. The issue can be prevented from recurring by buying a drain guard to catch the hair.

 How to Unclog Your Shower Drain Using a Plunger

  • Adding petroleum jelly to the edge of the suction pad will improve the seal.
  • Make sure there is enough water in the shower drain so that the end of the plunger is submerged.
  • Plunge vigorously.

If your DIY attempt fails, contact Isocool pty Ltd for professional plumbing services in Johannesburg as the blocked shower drain might be a symptom of something much more serious.

 4. Clogged Toilet 

When the toilet bowl fills up and doesn’t drain away, you’ve got a clog. This is one of the worst types of blockages as it has the potential to flood your property and cause untold misery. The blockage is normally caused by a mixture of paper and human waste and other materials being flushed which are not supposed to be flushed in the toilet.

Clogged Toilet
Clogged toilet

Clogged toilets can normally be fixed with a plunger. If that doesn’t work then a sewer snake or drain auger can be used to loosen up the blockage. These tools are not readily available at most times and we recommend contacting a professional plumbing service like Isocool pty Ltd to assist. DIY solutions normally prolong an inevitable big blockage hence it’s wise to call a professional plumbing service to assist in time.

 5. Running Toilet

A running toilet can be costly as 200 gallons of water may be lost each day. The most common culprit is a faulty flapper valve which controls the water that passes from the tank to the bowl. This is fairly straightforward fix with a toilet repair kit available at any hardware store for any technical person.

However, if you have no idea what to do, do not attempt repairs on your own but contact a professional plumbing service.

Less commonly, toilet runs may also be caused by sediment affecting the flushing and filling. If your water bills seem high, check for silent leaks by putting some food coloring in the upper tank and see if it makes its way to the bowl without flushing. Contact a professional plumbing service in Johannesburg like Isocool pty Ltd for advanced diagnoses if the problem persists.

 6. Faulty Water Heater (Geyser) 

This problem may not be discovered until you are in the shower and the water suddenly goes cold. There are multiple issues that can cause a water heater to fail. The pilot light may go out, and you have to relight it. A build-up of sediment in the tank can also cause problems. Another time, it may be the thermostat that is at fault.

Technician fixing a geyser
Technician fixing a geyser


Generally speaking, you will want a professional to inspect, maintain, and fix your water heater, unless it’s something very basic like the pilot light needing to be relit. Contact Isocool pty Ltd for professional plumbing services in Johannesburg to come and help with your faulty water heater.

 7. Low Water Pressure 

If your water trickles out of the tap rather than gushes, this may be a symptom of low water pressure. This is often a problem in older homes. Low water pressure can be caused by a number of issues, a common one being leaking pipes that have become broken, worn, or corroded over time.

If its low water pressure in a shower that’s the issue, more often than not it’s caused by a build-up of sediment and mineral deposits on aerators. You can soak the aerator in vinegar to clean it. If it’s the shower that’s the problem, then you need to either soak the showerhead in vinegar or simply replace it.

Contact Isocool pty Ltd plumbers in Johannesburg if you feel this is overwhelming. Below is a DIY solution to clean a showerhead with vinegar.

 How to clean a showerhead with vinegar 

  • Dismantle and the clean off any dirt or soap.
  • Use a toothbrush soaked in vinegar to scrub and loosen any mineral deposits.
  • Use a safety pin or toothpick to poke off any loose deposits.
  • Soak the parts in vinegar overnight to dissolve any leftover deposits.

 8. Leaky Pipes 

Leaky pipes can be more than just a nuisance, they can cause damage to furniture and floors, and the dampness can encourage bugs like cockroaches and termites. Leaks almost always happen at the pipe joints. Tape, compounds, and fillers can often provide a temporary fix, but for something more permanent, you need to replace the piece of pipe or the related fittings. This may well require using a plumber. Contact Isocool pty Ltd for professional plumbing services in Johannesburg.

Leaks are more common in the winter when water can freeze, expand, and cause pipes to burst.

 How to prevent pipes bursting in winter

  • When the weather is very cold, allow the cold water to drip from the faucet. Running water, even just a trickle, helps to prevent the pipes from freezing.

 9. Jammed Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are very useful appliances, but they do jam sometimes. Running them without water, disposing certain food substances such as cornhusks and potato peels, or allowing silverware to get inside can cause problems.

Your first DIY step to fix the issue should always be to hit the reset button, if that doesn’t work, then you will need to open it up. If you have lost the key that comes with the garbage disposal, then a 1/4-inch Allen wrench can be used to free the motor.

If you need further assistance when your DIY attempt fails then consider calling the professionals to take a look. Contact Isocool pty Ltd for professional plumbing services in Johannesburg.

 10. Sewer System Backup

Sewer system backups are, frankly, a nightmare. They can be smelly, nasty, unhygienic, inconvenient, and expensive to fix. If you have multiple drains and toilets not working and a bad odor of human waste, this is likely your problem.

Responsibility for fixing the issue really depends on the location of the blockage. If it is on your property, then it’s your problem. If it’s out on the public road, then your water company should fix it. Unfortunately, you may have to pay for a plumber just to locate the blockage, though it’s often worth calling your water company first if you suspect that the blockage is not on your property.

There are three common causes:

  • First, the main sewer is clogged. You will likely need professional help to fix this. To minimize this happening in the future, watch what you flush down your toilet (no diapers, facial tissues, napkins) and avoid tipping grease down your drain.
  • Second, tree roots have invaded the pipes. Roots can push through cracks in pipes or surround a pipe and crush it.
  • Third, old sewer lines may break or collapse. Modern sewer lines are made from plastic, but they used to be built from cast iron, or clay, which are prone to decay over time.

We have exhausted the 10 common plumbing problems and explored how you can try to tackle them on your own. But remember DIY repair attempts normally result in causing more damage 80% of the time. If you unsure on what exactly to do then consider employing the services of a professional plumbing service.

If you are in Johannesburg we recommend you contact us as we have extensive knowledge solving all kinds of plumbing problems. You can view the areas we cover by clicking here.

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6 COMMENTS

  • DCM
    18 October 2022, 8:39 am REPLY

    Nice and helpful guide the home owners can follow through for their plumbing needs.

  • Emma Clemantine
    30 December 2022, 10:48 pm REPLY

    All the problems stated by you in this article have faced by me. The best part about this article is that you have also provided solutions to these problems in this article. Thank you for sharing this very informative article with us.

  • Pipes Mechanical Services in Phoenix
    24 January 2023, 1:35 pm REPLY

    I recently read a blog post about common plumbing problems and I found it to be extremely informative. The post covered a wide range of issues, from clogged drains to leaky faucets, and provided detailed explanations of the causes and solutions for each problem. I appreciated that the post included both DIY fixes and when it’s best to call a professional plumber.

  • North Vancouver Heater Repair
    25 January 2023, 6:48 am REPLY

    Does a great job of highlighting the most common plumbing problems that homeowners and businesses may face in 2022. The post is comprehensive and well-researched, providing solutions and prevention measures for each issue discussed. The author’s writing style is clear and easy to understand, making it a helpful resource for anyone looking to maintain or improve their plumbing.

  • MF Plumbing and Gas Solutions
    31 January 2023, 6:49 am REPLY

    The post provides a list of 10 common plumbing services and problems and their solutions. The information is presented in a clear and concise manner and covers issues such as leaky faucets, clogged drains, and low water pressure. The post provides valuable information for anyone encountering plumbing problems in their home.

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