Some plumbing problems are easy to diagnose, but many times they are quite difficult. If a drain is clogged, you have to determine where the blockage is in order to clear it. Leaks, on the other hand, can be much harder to diagnose. Leaks can come from the water supply or from drains. Sometimes a leak can just be the symptom of a blocked line. That is why it is important to correctly diagnose it.
Water comes in through the water supply lines, generally 1/2″ and 3/4″ in a residence. These pipes are usually copper or plastic, called PEX. Supply lines can either leak or burst. The most common causes for this are pipe freezing or pipe corrosion. Once the leak is found, that section of pipe should be replaced. Faucets and toilets can leak, in which case they need to be rebuilt. A toilet is easily repaired, while nowadays it is often cheaper and wiser to simply replace an entire faucet.
Drain lines are made out of PVC, Cast Iron Pipe, Vitrified Clay Pipe (or Terracotta), Galvanized Steel and in very rare cases, Orangeburg Pipe. PVC is the newest and most reliable. It can dip in the ground. Clay Pipe allows roots to grow into it. Cast Iron and Galvanized Steel can corrode. Orangeburg Pipe is made from tar paper and hasn’t been used in decades.
Steps to Diagnosing a Problem
Water Supply Problem