Being a landlord means being prepared to deal with maintenance problems such as plumbing issues. Whether you’re preparing your property for new tenants or managing multiple rentals, knowing how to take care of common plumbing issues quickly can save you time and money as well as keep your tenants happy. Here are six of the most common plumbing issues that you might encounter as a rental property owner:
#1 Clogged Toilets
Tenants should be able to unclog toilets by themselves, especially if you provide them with a plunger. No landlord wants to deal with a tenant’s dirty business (literally), so if a tenant calls you to report a clogged toilet, advise them to wait around ten minutes or until the water level completely lowers. Then, instruct your tenant to plunge it, completely covering the hole with the suction cup before giving it a firm plunge.
If this doesn’t work, you may need to purchase a drain snake. This is relatively cheap and can be bought at any hardware or home improvement store. To unclog stubborn toilets with a drain snake, simply slide it down the drain until you feel the clog. Next, turn the drain snake clockwise to allow it to hook to the object that is causing the clog. Pull it out slowly and voila! You have an unclogged toilet.
#2 Slow Draining Sink
Most of us are familiar with this common plumbing problem. Over time, the pop-up plug inside your sink will accumulate hair and other debris, resulting in a blockage inside the drain. To clear the path from the drain to the sewer, all you need to do is remove the debris. There are several ways to approach this problem, but the most common and convenient fix is removing the pop-out and giving it a thorough clean. Most pop-ups can be unscrewed and reinstalled using pliers.
You could also clear the clogging substance using chemical drain cleaners, but be extremely careful when using them! Certain chemical drain cleaners are harmful to the skin and eyes and may damage household materials such as wood, aluminum, and fiberglass. You can also find recipes online for safer alternatives that can be DIY-ed using common kitchen ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda.
#3 Running Toilet
A running toilet might not seem like a serious concern, but it can actually be more expensive than a clogged toilet. When your toilet is constantly running, you waste more water, which means that your water bill will skyrocket unless you do something about it — ASAP. The problem is that a running toilet is hard to detect since most people leave the bathroom before the toilet has even fully flushed. Its faint sound isn’t noticeable from other rooms in the house, either.
Once your tenant reports a running toilet, be sure to repair it immediately. The most common fix involves replacing the flapper valve, which you can buy for a couple of bucks at the hardware store. If this doesn’t fix the problem, you may need to hire professional plumbers. Working with a property management firm can be useful in this case, as they can save you the time of looking for a trustworthy vendor. Property managers already have a vast network of reputable plumbers.
#4 Dripping Faucets
This seemingly minor issue might not seem like a major concern, but with every drip, your water bill gets higher, so it’s best to address this problem as quickly as possible. The good news is that fixing a dripping faucet is relatively simple — all it takes are a few tools and a brand-new washer. Here’s how you can fix a dripping faucet before your tenant has the chance to complain to you about how annoying the drips sound:
First, shut the water. The valve is typically found underneath the sink. Next, remove the faucet handle using a screwdriver. Once it’s off, you will find a tiny, circular washer. Simply take it off, replace it with a new washer, and reattach the handle.
#5 Leaking Pipes
A leaking pipe is one of the most common repair problems faced by property owners and property managers. Fixing a leaking pipe takes more than just the skills of a DIY-er, but if you’re up for a challenge, there are several ways you can fix this problem. But before anything else, be sure to shut the water completely by turning the main water valve off — you do not want a surprise shower!
After you determine where the leak is, you can either patch it up with epoxy putty or a pipe repair clamp. If you’re using putty, simply apply it around the pipe and then leave it to harden. Once you’re confident that the putty has solidified, turn on the water and keep an eye on the pipe for any leaks. If you’re using a clamp, carefully position the clamp around the leaking area, ensuring that the rubber gasket is on top of the leak. Tighten the clamp so that it doesn’t budge. Turn on the water and inspect for leaks.
#6 Low Water Pressure
If water trickles out of your showerhead, faucet, and other plumbing fixtures, this may be a sign of low water pressure. The most likely cause is sediment build-up in the aerator. As water travels through your pipes, it can leave mineral deposits that can accumulate over time, which results in restricted water flow.
The good news is that the tools you need to fix this problem are probably lying around in your home. Simply remove the aerator or showerhead, scrub or poke off any deposits using a toothpick or safety pin, and then soak it in vinegar overnight to completely remove any leftover debris.
There are some plumbing issues that require the attention of professional plumbing services, but it still pays to know your way around your rental property’s plumbing system.
If the task of handling clogged toilets and leaky faucets becomes too burdensome, you might benefit from hiring a property management firm such as Luxury Property Care. We have seasoned property managers who can handle addressing tenant requests on issues about plumbing and much more. Being in the industry for decades, we’ve established a vast network of reputable vendors, including plumbers and handymen who offer quality services at the best prices.