When working on your home’s plumbing, it is very important that you pay attention to your plumbing fixtures. You need to take your time to check if they’re firmly tightened. This is because loose plumbing fixtures can easily cause major and costly plumbing problems down the line. The following covers everything you need to know about loose plumbing fixtures and how they can be fixed.
Causes of Loose Plumbing Fixtures
The following are some of the causes of loose plumbing fixtures. These may occur separately or in combination with one another.
If you hire a poor-quality plumber with no experience in plumbing, they’re likely to leave behind improperly secured pipes and loose plumbing fixtures. This could result from not using pipe straps and clips properly to hold the plumbing systems together.
Therefore, this will result in sideways slippage between the different plumbing systems. The slippage subjects the plumbing fixtures to shear stress, which will loosen and eventually break them.
Rapid Temperature Changes
An unexpected extreme temperature change inside the pipes can force the pipes and the plumbing fixtures to contract or expand drastically. This usually happens when the plumbing fixtures and the pipes are not made of the same material. This drastic expansion and contraction cause the plumbing fixtures to loosen.
High Water Pressure
You may have experienced the aggravation of low water pressure in your home as it can make showers quite unpleasant. While everyone believes adequate water pressure is much better than low water pressure, you also need to think about high water pressure.
When there is too much water pressure inside the pipelines, it causes the pipes to vibrate, which in the end loosens the plumbing fixtures. Indoor water pressure is recommended to be between 40 and 60 PSI. You can always purchase a water pressure gauge to test the water pressure inside your home.
Plumbing fixtures can also become loose over time as a result of the “hammer” effect. A water hammer basically occurs when rapidly flowing water runs into a closed valve in your plumbing system. When the water stops suddenly, it causes the pipelines to vibrate vigorously. The more these vibrations occur, the more the plumbing fixtures loosen and move out of place.
Warning Signs of Loose Plumbing Fixtures
One of the biggest warning signs of loose plumbing fixtures is a significant drop in the water pressure inside your home. When the plumbing fixtures are loose, it means that the water appliances in your home will take much longer to fill up. This ends up affecting the water temperature and increasing your home’s water bill.
Additionally, low water pressure means that showers take longer, which is very dissatisfying. If the plumbing fixtures are not tightened in time, using two water taps simultaneously becomes almost impossible, and in due time, the water pressure is reduced to nearly a drip.
As a homeowner, the last thing you want to deal with is water leakage as it can easily damage your property. When the plumbing fixtures are loose, they’re capable of leaking water silently for months or even years without being detected.
This constant leakage will eventually lead to mold buildup, which poses a health hazard to your entire household. Also, constant water leakage can cause structural and foundational damage to your home. This will end up costing you thousands of dollars and a lot of inconveniences to fix.
To avoid these leakages, it’s best to conduct a regular plumbing inspection to ensure that your plumbing fixtures are tightened before causing any significant damage. This will help save you a lot of money in the long run.
Another warning sign that comes with loose plumbing fixtures is that of drainage problems. Just like water leakages, drainage problems can easily cause damage to your property if the plumbing fixtures are not tightened in good time.
For example, if you have loose plumbing fixtures that connect to your shower or hot tub, every time someone takes a shower, the water will drain into the inside of the walls. Over time, this will have the same effect as water leakages or even worse.
Increased Water Bills
Loose plumbing fixtures can easily lead to increased water bills in your home. This is because when the plumbing fixtures are loose, they’re likely to leak water for a very long time without being noticed. Therefore, if you start receiving a higher-than-usual water bill, be sure to check the plumbing fixtures to ensure that they’re not causing any leakages.
Besides the high water bill, the water leakages and drain problems resulting from loose plumbing fixtures can leave behind very costly damages. If the problem is not fixed promptly, you might even end up getting drywall or structural framing replacement, which tends to cost thousands of dollars.
Tips for Tightening Plumbing Fixtures
Tightening plumbing fixtures isn’t quite as simple a task as it sounds. The following are some tips that will help you tighten plumbing fixtures like a pro without causing any damage.
Hand-tight Is the Right Way
It might seem to defy common sense, but for your plumbing systems to disperse water properly, the plumbing fixtures don’t have to be super tight. It’s best when the plumbing fixtures are hand tight to ensure that water flows properly.
It’s very important to note that making the plumbing fixtures super tight might prevent water from flowing properly and also warp the rubber seals. Super tight plumbing fixtures bear a higher probability of leaks compared to hand-tight ones.
Avoid Stripping the Threads
Like wide bolts, there are threads inside plumbing fixtures that make it possible for the fixtures to screw tightly onto the pipes. If you strip these threads, it will be nearly impossible to loosen or even tighten the plumbing fixtures on the pipe. This makes it very likely for leaks to occur and the pipes to crack or even break, especially when there is high water pressure.
Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey
When putting on plumbing fixtures, it’s important to note that turning them to the left loosens them while turning them to the right tightens them. Remembering this will help you avoid bad seals and stripped plumbing fixtures.
Use Plumber’s Tape
When putting on plumbing fixtures, ensure that you use plumber’s tape as it creates a stronger and waterproof seal. This means that you won’t have to tighten the plumbing fixtures more than you need to, and it will protect the pipes against leaks.
Keep the Plumbing Fixtures Warm
If you’re working on an exterior project, it’s best to ensure that you wrap the plumbing fixtures in magnetic insulation. When water shoots through the fixtures when the weather is extremely cold, the pipes can end up freezing, thus cracking or even bursting. Wrapping the plumbing fixtures in magnetic insulation will keep the temperatures stable all year.
Detecting and tightening loose plumbing fixtures requires the expertise of a professional plumber. Are you looking for reliable pipe repair and leak detection services in Gilbert or a surrounding area? At AZ Water Systems LLC, we offer a full range of plumbing services for pipes and drains, water heaters, toilets and faucets, garbage disposals, sump pumps, and even water treatment systems. Contact us today at AZ Water Systems LLC and let us cater to all your plumbing needs.