Plumbing and Pipes on a Brick Wall.

Everyone has plumbing problems at some point. Hopefully when they do occur, they will be minor and easy to manage. Sometimes, though, you will discover a plumbing issue of unknown origin and have to start looking for the source. Here are four common causes of major home plumbing issues.

Sewer Backup

If your home’s toilets are backing up, it may be due to your underground sewer line. Problems can develop when nearby tree roots grow underground to entwine and sometimes damage or rupture the sewer pipes. Older sewer fixtures can corrode or break down over time. You could end up needing a sewer line replacement. A plumber or county water and sewer department official can answer questions and provide information about how to have the problem diagnosed and treated.

Worn Plumbing Fittings

Living in an older home means your original plumbing fixtures could begin to show signs of wear and tear. The fittings might come loose or disintegrate, causing drips or leaks. If you notice wet spots or puddles in the basement near your plumbing, look for specific areas of possible damage that may be the source of the problem. If the pipe fittings appear to be rusted or corroded, but you don’t see signs of leakage, look for signs of mold that may suggest an unseen rupture.

Tub and Shower Problems

When bathtubs and showers begin to back up and overflow if left unattended, there may be a drain problem that needs to be addressed. A tub drain that slowly releases the pooled water might confirm a drain issue. You might be able to clear the blockage by using tools like a snake or pouring baking soda and vinegar into the drain. Avoid using harsh chemicals, as they are generally corrosive and can damage the drainpipe permanently.

Sink Drains

Sink drains can also get clogged and cause annoying backups. If the problem extends deep into the home’s plumbing, it can cause a significant backup. Use the same approach to clear the problem as you would for a tub or shower blockage. Sometimes, just running hot water down the drain can clear a minor clog. But more substantial blockages could require more detailed measures or the professional help of a plumber.

Take action at the first sign of a plumbing problem in your home. Don’t wait for the issue to escalate, when it will be more costly and time consuming to fix.