If you live in an apartment, all of your plumbing problems, theoretically, should be handled by your landlord. Of course, as many renters will tell you, that’s not always the case, and sometimes it can take weeks, if not longer, for the landlord to ever get around to addressing your repair needs. Sadly you just never know when that might be. Some of these plumbing issues might not have anything to do with you. If it is leaking around the foundation of the house and you let the landlord know, it’s now his or her reasonability, and if the foundation cracks because of their inability to correct the problem, that’s on them. But what happens if a plumbing problem directly affects your wellbeing and belongings? Hopefully, your landlord will fix the situation quickly, but if not, here is what you need to know about common plumbing problems in apartments and maybe how to fix the issues yourself (when needed).
Some of The Most Common Plumbing Problems in Apartments
Oh, the clogged toilet. Is there any worse nightmare than being at a house party, flushing the toilet, and watching the water move up instead of down? It’s a truly terrifying experience. In most cases, this is something that you can handle yourself. It’s also why you need to invest in a toilet plunger. Yes, the landlord is responsible for most repairs, but a clogged toilet usually can be addressed right away. And you probably don’t want to sit around your apartment for days with a clogged toilet. That’s not the greatest experience.
With a plunger, you’ll be creating a vacuum within the toilet plumbing as you pump. This will help break up the clog and other issues within the toilet (usually). Once the clog has been moved, the toilet will then flush. You just need to be careful and not over pump the created vacuum. If you do, this can damage the plumbing and lead to other problems within the apartment’s plumbing system. This is especially the case if you’re in an older building. Maybe you fell in love with the old 1920s charm of a particular building, so you decided to move in. That’s great, but it also means you’re probably dealing with old pipes that can’t necessarily handle extreme pressure.
When dealing with older toilets and plumbing, you’ll want to take it slow. Pump the plunger once or twice, then pull it out and start again. This will help create small vacuums over and over again within the plumbing, all without drastically placing pressure on the pipes.
This might not seem like that big of a deal. After all, it’s just a small drip, and if you can’t hear it is it even an issue? Well, it is if you’re paying for water. This drip can quickly add up to hundreds of wasted gallons of water every year. You may end up spending hundreds of dollars on this water. So if there is a dripping sink, you’ll want to have it addressed.
Generally, don’t try to correct the leaking faucet on your own. Usually, this means you’ll need to take the sink faucet apart and install a new gasket, rubber stopper, or other seals. It’s easy enough work to do, but if you don’t do it correctly, it may end up costing more to repair, and then your landlord might charge you for the repair. Instead, contact your landlord and let them know what’s going on.
You should always be mindful of what you put down the drain. For example, in the kitchen, never put coffee grinds down the sink. That is just going to cause all kinds of problems. If the drain is clogged, you can try the old baking soda and vinegar trick. Mix baking soda with water until you have a thick, pourable paste. Once down the drain, add in the vinegar. This will foam everything out. As you let it set, bring a pot of water to boil, then pour the boiling water down the drain to clean out the rest of the clog. In the event this doesn’t work, you can pick up a liquid drain cleaner.
Keep Your Receipts
Here’s the thing. It is the responsibility of your landlord to address plumbing issues (unless stating in your rental agreement that you are responsible for repairs, but that likely is not the case). If they are unable to address your plumbing issue and you end up correcting it yourself, that is money out of your pocket you should not have been forced to spend. Maybe you like repairing stuff, or maybe you had to out of necessity. Whatever the reason is, it’s your money that was spent on the repair. So keep the receipts of your repairs and expenses, then give a copy of the receipts to your landlord when you deduct it from rent. Don’t give the original copies, though. Keep these for yourself.
Contact Your Landlord
You should never be forced to call a plumber on your own. When you run into a plumbing problem within your apartment, you first need to determine if it is something you should address right away. A clogged toilet is usually something you can fix, and the clogged toilet may be due to using too much toilet paper or even attempting to flush something that shouldn’t be flushed. However, if the problem is something you are unable to readily address right away, you need to let your landlord know. It is now their responsibility to address the situation. If they fail to do this, though, and it is hampering your quality of life, you might need to contact a plumber.
Before you do this, let your landlord know you are going to call a plumber if they don’t address the issue and that you’ll be taking all the cost out of your rent. This is not your responsibility, but not all landlords are great landlords (remember this when it comes to extending your lease down the line). Keep all receipts from the plumber, then photocopy the receipts and include them with your rent when you deduct the cost of repairs.