Whether you are a current tenant or moving out for the first time, you should be aware of common plumbing problems in apartments. The average American family can use 300-400 gallons of water per day. Multiply this by the number of families in an apartment complex, and it starts to add up. The American Apartment Owners Association states that Louisiana landlords must keep property “maintained in a condition that suits the tenant and should be kept safe. Any damages that provide a danger to the tenant and their family should be attended to immediately.” While it is the landlord’s responsibility to fix plumbing issues, it is also your responsibility as a tenant to be aware of what can go wrong and, if possible, catch the warning signs before they become a larger problem. Keep on reading to learn about the most common plumbing problems in apartments.
How Apartment Plumbing is Different
Apartment buildings have different plumbing needs depending on the type of unit structure.
Multi-Story Apartments are tall buildings that need a specific system of pressure and drainage so water can reach every unit on every floor. Some are not allowed to use the municipal water supply due to their height and must use their own storage tanks. Multiple Dwellings are units like condos that are, in terms of plumbing, structured similarly to houses. These contain different plumbing types like vertical stacks and horizontal lines that ensure clean water comes out where it is supposed to, and dirty water and debris get drained out.
Knowing what kind of apartment you live in can help you be aware of the problems that may arise.
Top 5 Common Plumbing Problems in Apartments
Leaks are the most common plumbing problem in apartments. Even if a leak is small, it still has the potential to lose hundreds of gallons of water over time if left unchecked, which could drive up a water bill quickly. Usually, dripping faucets need a new washer or tightening to restrict water flow, which the landlord should take care of.
Leaks may not always be obvious, like a sink dripping. Sometimes there can be damage to your hard-to-reach pipes, and you will not even know it, so keep an eye on your utility bill for unusual water usage or charges. When the apartment is quiet, keep an ear out for any noises that could indicate water flow. If you experience a drop in your hot water supply, it may be an indication of a leak in the water heater, and you should alert your landlord about the need for a replacement.
Any drain can become clogged with hair, dirt, or other debris, and clogs are the most common cause of damages to apartments. Toilets are usually most at risk since they get used frequently and quickly accumulate material, especially in apartments. While you can clear most everyday clogs with a plunger, toilet backups can be an expensive and messy issue to fix, so report any clog to your landlord so they can keep track.
To prevent clogs, make sure not to flush anything other than organic material and toilet paper. Flushed soap, toys, clothes, medicine, and feminine hygiene products can cause major backups since those materials are not designed to break down in the same way. Hair is a common culprit of clogged tub drains, so keep the pipes clear by buying a hair catcher. For kitchen sinks, never pour cooking oils, grease, coffee grounds, or flour-based foods, like rice or pasta, down the drain since these are the most common causes of kitchen clogs.
If water from taps is discolored or begins to have a strange taste, it can signal pipe damage or water contamination. Rusted pipes are usually to blame for both symptoms, but it is essential to check all faucets in the apartment to see how far the problem goes. If the issue is contained to one pipe, it could be easily replaced, but if multiple faucets are affected, you could be just one victim of a more significant issue. Report water issues with a landlord, and ask neighbors about the water quality in their units. Contaminated water is a health hazard, so it is essential to determine the cause of the issue as soon as possible.
Bathroom Floods and Ceiling Damage
Flooding is one of the biggest issues in apartment living because it comes with a risk of ceiling damage. If you have neighbors below you, a plumbing issue in your apartment can lead to a flood that affects the floors below. The most common area for these accidents is the bathroom since many apartments construct them on top of each other.
Flooding usually occurs from lack of drainage, damaged pipes, or an accidental overflow from a bathtub or sink. Landlords are responsible for ensuring routine maintenance on their plumbing systems, but you can be held accountable for damages if your negligence causes a flood. Stay alert to potential overflow and occasionally inspect your appliances for possible damages and secure hose attachment.
It’s essential to know the dangers of winter weather on plumbing since frozen pipes can have devastating effects on apartment living. Frozen water puts internal pressure on pipes, leading to cracks or bursts that lead to water damage. Such bursts can interrupt the water supply to apartment residents for hours or even days at a time, so preparation should always be a priority. Landlords should consider insulating plumbing pipes to lessen the chance of freezing. In cases of an emergency, all tenants should be informed on how to prevent pipes from freezing.
Need a Pro? Call on Goodbee Plumbing
If you are experiencing any of these common plumbing problems in Louisiana apartments, it’s time to seek out Goodbee Plumbing. We have been serving the Gulf Coast for 14 years and are familiar with all types of plumbing systems. Whether it is a system for one family or you need to take care of multiple tenants, Goodbee’s quick response times can resolve your unit’s plumbing issues for affordable prices. Engage our same-day services if you have a problem that cannot wait. We have many plumbing services available, so call us today to resolve any common plumbing problems in your home or apartment complex.