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What Could Go Wrong With My Plumbing?

on June 11, 2024


NRG Protects is committed to making home care less stressful. Our focus is on our customers and helping them protect the household systems, appliances, and devices they rely on every day. We also believe in empowering customers and giving them the tools to make choices that are best for them. With educational resources, à la carte protection plans, and simple, robust coverage, we’re focused on taking the worry out of normal wear and tear repairs, and our 97.2%* claim approval rate gives our customers the peace-of-mind they need to get back to the things that really matter. Like our Fortune 500 parent company, NRG Energy, Inc., we’re always looking for innovative ways to make life easier. *Based on claims filed and served in 2022. Each claim will be independently evaluated on its own merits. Your experience may vary.

Essential know-how for keeping your home’s  pipes flowing smoothly

Let’s face it. Your plumbing system is probably one of the least glamorous things to invest in. But if you’ve ever experienced water heater problems, leaky pipes, or poor water pressure, you understand how essential indoor plumbing is to make everyday life comfortable.

Pipes, fixtures, and parts of your plumbing can degrade with age and can become damaged in a variety of unexpected ways. Even small things like having additional guests in your home can put an extra strain on an already struggling toilet. In fact, many plumbers cheekily refer to the day after Thanksgiving as “Brown Friday” in their industry.

While you may not find yourself facing a holiday clog anytime soon, plumbing emergencies have a nasty habit of popping up when you least expect them. 

To prepare you ahead of such surprises, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common plumbing problems you may encounter as a homeowner, as well as a few handy tips to help prevent them.

Dripping faucets and showerheads.

A steadily dripping faucet can waste more water than you think. This is usually caused when a washer inside the faucet or showerhead becomes damaged or dislodged.

What to do: If you have some basic tools and DIY know-how, you might want to try replacing this washer yourself – just be sure to shut off the water supply to the faucet first. When in doubt, trust this job to a licensed plumber.

Clogged drains.

Slow or clogged drains in your kitchen or bathroom are often caused by a buildup of residue.

What to do: Start by dislodging the clog with a plunger, plumbing snake, or other manual clog removal tool. Then, if that doesn’t work, try a combination of baking soda and white vinegar.

To prevent future clogs, refrain from pouring fatty liquids down kitchen sinks and use mesh drain guards on bathroom drains to catch hair and other debris.

Running toilets.

Much like a dripping faucet, a running toilet can lead to significant water waste. The common culprits, a cracked or worn flapper. A flapper is the rubber plug at the bottom of your toilet tank. If its not a crack that is causing the leak, check to see if the flapper chain is long enough. It could be holding the flapper slightly open.

What to do: If you suspect your toilet is running, try adding a few drops of food coloring to the water in the tank. If the water in the bowl turns the color of the water in the tank in a short amount of time, it means your toilet is running and you’re wasting water. You’re in luck. Flappers are easy to replace and can be found at any local hardware store.

Corroded and leaking water heaters.

The average lifespan of a water heater is 8-10 years. The odds of corrosion increase with time. If you find rust on your water heater tank or water pooling around it, it is very likely that your water heater has rusted from the inside out.

What to do:  To help prevent this issue, drain and flush your water heater annually. This removes the sediment that often causes corrosion. Remember, a rusty and leaky water heater should be replaced, not repaired.

Hard water.

This is less of a problem with your plumbing and more of an issue with your water supply. If you live in an area rich in certain mineral deposits, those minerals are likely present in your water. This can give water an unusual taste, make clothes feel stiff and scratchy after washing, and even damage your pipes and fixtures over time.

What to do: You can check the quality of your water with hard water test strips. You can find them in many plumbing supply and hardware stores. Water-softening systems are a great solution for hard water problems because it neutralizes the minerals that cause such issues.

Jammed garbage disposal.

To avoid damage, a garbage disposal will shut down to prevent strain on the motor. A piece of silverware, a bone, fibrous vegetables like asparagus, or even starchy foods like potatoes or pasta can gum up the blades.

What to do: Your garbage disposal may allow you to manually turn the blades off from the bottom of the unit. Using a screwdriver or hex wrench; try turning the blades while running hot water to loosen the clog. Never stick your hand into the garbage disposal from above. Once the clog is cleared, you may need to press the reset button to get it started. It is located on the bottom of the unit as well.

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