Signs You Need To Call A Plumber For Your Bathroom, According To An Expert

No one likes plumbing emergencies, especially those that create a big mess or require paying an expensive repair bill. Yet, it's never wise to put off calling in a licensed plumber to handle repair needs, especially since doing so could help you avoid bigger problems later, such as significant leaks or a toilet that stops working for good. And speaking of toilets, the bathroom is, of course, one of the most common areas of the house to need some type of plumbing attention.

According to Fixr, the national average cost to hire a plumber is $90 an hour for a journeyman, with a range from $75 to $150 per hour. This may sound pricey, but there are some occasions when the cost of hiring a professional is well worth it. In this exclusive interview with House Digest, Jake Romano, the manager at John the Plumber in Stittsville, Ontario, shares some of the most important signs to watch out for in order to gauge whether you need a plumber for your bathroom. If you're not sure if a current problem warrants investing in professional plumbing repairs, here's how to know it's time to call.

There are frequent toilet clogs

Sometimes a toilet clogs for obvious reasons, such as a toddler dropping an action figure into the bowl. Other times, there are bigger concerns. "A properly designed drain system shouldn't have issues very often. In fact, a well-built plumbing system should have very few issues in general. So if you're dealing with frequent clogs, there's an issue somewhere," shares manager Jake Romano. The complicated part of the process is determining what the underlying cause is.

"Sometimes it's as simple as adjusting the toilet fill valve to allow more water into the tank. But sometimes, sections of your drain system must be replaced." Romano reveals that tidbit before offering an example of a recent client's house that was entirely plumbed with drains that were only 2 inches in diameter. He says, "They were dealing with frequent clogs because 2-inch drains are not meant to handle clumps of toilet paper and human waste." If you've had frequent clogs over a short period of time, or the same toilet continues to be a concern, have a plumber take a closer look to see what's really happening.

Water is pooling around the toilet or the toilet is always running

There are many reasons why the bathroom floor could be wet, such as splashes or leaks from the tub or shower. Yet, when that water seems to only be found near the toilet, the concerns are more challenging. Jake Romano states, "If you have water pooling around your toilet, that's a good time to call a plumber. It could simply be that the wax seal needs to be replaced, but sometimes it's caused by a crack in the porcelain, or the shutoff valve is worn out." Addressing these concerns as soon as you notice them is essential. "Leaks should never be ignored as water can surprise you with how far it can cause damage," shares Romano. That water could penetrate into the particle board of your vanity cabinet or the drywall, for example.

Another concern is with a toilet that seems to always be filling with water. "A running toilet is often a very easy fix, and it might not even need a plumber — but it shouldn't be ignored," advises Romano. "You'd be surprised by how much water can be wasted by a running toilet and how much it can affect your water bill."

You see signs of water damage under the sink

What's lurking under your sink, and when was the last time you cleaned it all out? Doing so is vital, according to Jake Romano. "Many homeowners store a lot of junk under their sinks for obvious reasons. While I'm not against this at all, I think it's important that homeowners periodically check under the sink for signs of water damage, including warping, rot, mold, etc.," he says. To spot this, look for discoloration or areas where the particle board is soft and squishy. You may even notice a musky smell in the space, which could be a sign of hidden mold. Romano goes on to say, "What often happens is there will be a minor leak under the sink that goes unnoticed for extended periods of time because of how little water is leaking. But this water will absorb into the cabinets or underneath and cause all kinds of damage."

Most of the time, any type of leak needs to be addressed. Romano reassures us, saying, "The fix is often as easy as tightening something. However, shutoff valves are sometimes the culprit, and they need to be replaced." Be sure to turn to a licensed plumber to handle this more significant problem.

Water has damaged the ceiling below

A drip in the basement under your bathroom can be alarming, especially if it has gone unnoticed for a while and suddenly looks major. This is definitely a reason to summon a plumber to the house. "We often get calls because of water damage showing up in ceilings below bathrooms," says Jake Romano. You may not always have a drip, but perhaps discoloration on the white of the ceiling or even mold growth. Romano continues, "A common cause is messy showering habits that result in lots of water escaping the shower, as well as poor seals in your bathroom."

The first step in this situation is pinpointing the underlying problem; from there, a plumber can help you with the fix. Romano shares, "Resealing the shower and whatnot is very quick and easy. However, if you've got a leak in the plumbing, we might need to cut into your ceiling to replace damaged pipes." Of course, everyone hopes for the easier resealing job. Help yourself avoid more expensive repairs by having a plumber troubleshoot issues as soon as you notice this concern.

You are having water temperature issues

A cold shower when the hot water runs out and you're not expecting it, is not much fun at all. Sometimes a bigger tank and timed showers are the answer. Other times, there's a plumbing issue. "If your whole home is experiencing hot water issues, the issue is likely at the water heater or mixing valve. However, if you're noticing that the hot water is isolated to the shower, for example, that could mean there's an issue with your shower valve," explains Jake Romano.

If that's the concern, it may require more extensive renovations. Romano suggests that when a plumber needs to cut into your wall or tile to fix an issue, you might as well go all in and upgrade to a new shower valve. Your plumber has the tools and skills to minimize the amount of construction repairs needed in most cases, or they can provide you with guidance on fully renovating the space. This isn't work you want to put off since a leaking valve can worsen the damage, and hey, maybe it's just time for a little upgrade.

Your faucets are dripping

You may not hear it until the middle of the night when everything else in the house is quiet, but a dripping faucet is more than just an annoyance. It is often an indication that a repair is needed (and that your water bill will be higher this month.) Jake Romano states, "Dripping faucets are often fixed by replacing the cartridge. There are [instructional videos] available online, along with repair kits. But for many homeowners, it's not worth the trouble. Instead, they call plumbers for faucet cartridge replacements." Most often, this is a quick fix.

Romano shares another tip as well, noting that, with some brands, faucet cartridge replacements are free. You may be able to contact the manufacturer directly to request one, or your plumber can. Keep in mind that hard-to-find parts can increase the repair costs for even the simplest of projects. Romano strongly recommends going with a brand that is popular, which should make finding those replacement parts easy.