Insights, How To | 27th Oct 2022 | 10 min read

The 10 most common plumbing problems we see in London homes

The 10 most common plumbing problems we see in London homes

Plumbing issues can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. That’s why it’s important to recognise the most common plumbing emergencies so that you can take action quickly and effectively to avoid further costs and damages to your property.

When it comes to plumbing problems, prevention is better than cure. By anticipating the types of problems that are most likely to arise, you can reduce their likelihood of happening or getting worse.

We have outlined the 10 most common plumbing problems in London and the UK, as well as causes and prevention methods, to help you know what to look out for.

1) Dripping Taps

As one of the most common plumbing problems in the UK, most of us will have experienced a dripping tap. It’s not just a source of irritation; the waste of water can also increase your bill. Over the course of a year, a single faucet can waste hundreds of gallons of water, and in this we are all looking to save money where we can.

Causes & Solutions

In many cases, an internal washer that has become stiff, detached, torn or worn out over time is the root of a dripping/leaky tap. If this is the issue, it can usually be resolved quickly and efficiently.

The water supply to the dripping tap is switched off, then disassembled and replaced and reassembled. Whilst this plumbing problem is not classed as an emergency, it is wise to call local plumbers in order to prevent further dripping and water bills.

2) Slow Draining Sink

Another common plumbing problem, slow draining sinks can indicate a variety of underlying issues with your water flow. If you know that your sink is not draining as efficiently as normal, it’s important to act on the issues quickly as it can lead to more severe and costly problems down the line.

Causes & Solutions

This issue is often brought on by a blockage that prevents water from flowing freely. Congealed fat and food waste might be present in your kitchen sink drain. Whereas the blockage in a bathroom sink is more often brought on by tangled hair and soap.

Using a plunger, chemical clog remover, or even using a local plumber’s expertise and equipment for unclogging a sink are all viable options for preventing a fully blocked sink.

A Pimlico engineer tests the water pressure of a shower

3) Low Water Pressure

If your water trickles out of the tap rather than gushes, that may be a symptom of low water pressure.  If there is a quick dripping after turning the tap off, it is likely that there is an issue with the tap. Rapidly decreasing pressure in part of the house could be a sign of rusted pipe. A sudden loss of pressure throughout the property, however, could indicate a water main break which is common in older homes. In this instance, it is important to call an emergency local plumber as soon as possible.

Causes & Solutions

Low water pressure can be caused by a number of issues. A Common one being leaking pipes that have become broken or corroded or worn over time. If there is a problem with low water pressure in the shower, sediment and mineral deposits on the aerators are typically the cause. The aerators can be cleaned in chemicals or even vinegar, which again should be carefully done by a plumbing expert. If the shower itself is the issue, you should either take the actions above or have it replaced entirely to avoid a low water pressure in the future.

4) Clogged Bath or Shower Drain

Is water taking longer than usual to drain in the shower or bath? Or is water rising to your ankles when taking a shower? Furthermore you may notice an odour in your bathroom. It’s important to attend to these bathroom plumbing problems ASAP, to prevent costly problems down the line.

Causes & Solutions

Hair and soap clogs frequently cause bath and shower drains to become blocked, as is the case with bathroom sink blockages.  Clearing the blockage may require the use of a plunger or a plumber’s snake depending on the severity.

If the issue is left unattended, it usually gets worse over time. By Purchasing a drain guard to trap the hair, the problem can be avoided or the risk of it occurring again can be reduced.

5) Clogged Toilet

You get a clog when the toilet bowl fills up and fails to empty, which is fairly common and easy to spot. Most common toilet plumbing problems can be easily identified by yourself, however the prevention or solution should always be carried out by a certified plumber.

An obstruction is typically brought on by a combination of paper and human waste. A plunger can usually unclog a clogged toilet. If that doesn’t clear the clog though, then a sewer snake or drain auger can be used instead.

An engineer fixes a toilet cistern cupboard

6) Running Toilet

A running toilet can be extremely costly; up to 200 gallons of water may be lost each day and can seriously increase your water bill. It is vital that you address the problem early on to avoid any more expensive bills. It is obvious to spot a running toilet. Water will continuously pour into the overflow tube if your float is set too high, giving the impression that your toilet is running nonstop. This can be confirmed by removing the toilets tank cover and watching the overflow tube when flushing.

Causes & Solutions

A common cause of this toilet plumbing problem is the flapper valve that controls the water flow from the tank to the bowl. This can be fixed with a simple toilet repair kit that can be bought at a hardware store. However, one of expert local plumbers in London would also take care of this problem quickly and efficiently for you.

7) Faulty Water Heater

One of the most common plumbing emergencies; this may not be noticed until the water in the shower suddenly turns chilly – leaving you in for a bit of a shock. Nobody enjoys turning on the shower and being blasted with ice-cold water. It is therefore important you act quickly.

Causes & Solutions

A water heater failure can be caused by a variety of problems. It might be necessary to relight the pilot light if it goes out. Having too much sediment in the tank can also be dangerous. The thermostat might also be to blame.

Generally speaking, unless it’s anything extremely simple, like the pilot light needing to be relit, you should have a professional come in to inspect, maintain, and repair your water heater.

8) Leaking Pipe Under Sink

Leaky pipes can be more than just an inconvenience; they can harm floors and furniture, and the dampness they create can attract pests like cockroaches. The heater valve can be replaced if it is damaged, but a new heater is required if the entire system is broken. If overlooked, you could wind up spending a lot of money on heating your water.

Causes & Solutions

The pipe joins are almost always where leaks occur. Tape, compounds, and fillers can be used as a temporary fix, but for a more long-lasting solution you must replace the pipe and connected fittings. Winter is the worst time for leaks due to the water freezing, which can expand and burst pipes. With a leaking pipe under the sink, it is better to be safe than sorry. In this instance, use a plumbing expert to prevent ruptured pipes in the future.


A pimlico engineer accesses an outside drain to inspect the water lines

9) Broken Water Lines

Water-seeking tree roots, or disruption to the ground such as digging, can attack underground water pipes, causing a range of plumbing problems that need immediate attention. As a result, there can be damp spots all around your house, very little water pressure, and bad water quality.

Causes & Solutions

The ground may move as a result of temperature fluctuations, or unusually dry or wet weather. The water main pipes eventually break as a result of this. A break may also result from sudden changes in pressure, or the age of the main as corrosion may cause older pipes to crack.

The responsibility to fix this usually lies between the proper tower and the water main company. Whilst it’s not possible to fully prevent bad weather or corrosion, you can certainly halt the progress of their impact by watching your waste disposal. Nevertheless, contact one of our local plumbers in London if you suspect any of the symptoms of a broken water line.

10) Sewer Back-Up

This is the worst and most fatal common plumbing problem for homeowners. When sewers backup, it can be nauseating, uncomfortable and expensive to fix. An obstruction or damage that stops wastewater from draining away from your home leads to a sewage backup. This typically occurs in the main sewer line that joins your home to the public sanitary sewers, though it could also occur in other places.

Causes & Solutions

When it comes to this nightmare plumbing emergency, there are usually 3 common causes:

  • The main sewer is clogged, which will require professional plumbing help to prevent in the future.
  • Similar to broken water pipes, tree roots can push through cracks in pips of surround a water pipe and crush it.
  • Third, outdated sewer pipes could collapse or break. While cast iron and clay, which are prone to degrade over time, were once used to construct sewer lines, they are now made of plastic.


Two engineers speak to each other on a job site

How Much Does a Plumber In London Cost?

Location can have an impact on the hourly cost, with plumbers in London and the southeast often charging differently to other areas of the UK.

Our local plumbers in London provide bespoke estimates based on your exact requirements. You can get a quote from us between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. If necessary, however, appointments can be made outside of these times, and in the case of an urgent plumbing emergency, even sooner – with plumbing repairs beginning right away! Contact Pimlico for more information.

How Do I Find a Good Local Plumber?

It’s important you always look out for tell-tale signs such as accreditations, years of experience, and material guarantees. At Pimlico we are proud to have a multi-trade team of highly-skilled individuals, ready to help you in any area of your home. With over 40 years’ experience, a range of accreditations and professional plumbing services, we have acquired many satisfied customers.

Contact Pimlico for Common Plumbing Problems in London

Whether you notice any of the common plumbing problems listed above, or have an emergency plumbing problem in London, it is important you contact one of our experts. We can help fix, find the solution or prevent any future plumbing problems.

24/7 & Emergencies 020 8108 0808