Why Your Plumbing Fixtures May Loosen

Loose Plumbing fixture


Out of sight, out of mind. This little aphorism, unfortunately, applies to many important things in life – and your plumbing is chief among them.

So long as your home was built competently, each pipe and plumbing fixture inside it was installed with tight connections. That’s because loose piping means weak seals, and weak seals mean leaks. And leaks are very bad. The dripping sounds they make are annoying. The water they waste is expensive. The loss of water pressure they cause makes showering less satisfying and filling pots take longer.

Leaks also cause property damage. All water is corrosive thanks to the dissolved oxygen it contains. Worse yet, when water saturates a home’s flooring, walls and frame it creates ideal conditions for black mold, a fungus which is hideous, can cause serious health issues, and may eventually cause entire ceilings to collapse.

All of this is to say that you don’t want loose plumbing. But here is the kicker: However competently your home may have been built, its plumbing fixtures are certain to loosen over time. Why does this happen – and what can you do to stop annoying, expensive, and damaging leaks? Let’s begin.

Temperature Changes Loosen Plumbing

Hot, cold, hot and then cold again – the water passing through your home’s plumbing is always changing things up. All metals expand when heated and contract when cooled, including whatever metals your plumbing is made of. The degrees to which plumbing fixtures expand and contract are invisible, but those tiny changes add up and gradually loosen plumbing over the decades.

Wear and Tear Loosen Plumbing

Your plumbing is not an installation on display at a modern art gallery (although we’re sure it would look right at home there). It is made to be used – and you use it often. When you turn a faucet’s knob or press a toilet’s handle, you create tension, pressure, and friction that loosen plumbing connections. However gently you treat your plumbing fixtures, you simply cannot use them without loosening them. Furthermore, the aforementioned inherently corrosive nature of water only does more to gradually weaken your plumbing components’ connections to one another.

Changes in Pressure Loosen Plumbing

Every time you turn on a faucet, valve or other fixture, you’re causing water to surge toward an opening. When that surging water encounters air within the pipe, it becomes pressurized, which places pressure against the surrounding plumbing.

Even the gentlest amounts of pressure can gradually loosen plumbing. High water pressure can destroy plumbing quite quickly, however. If you notice any of these three signs of excessive water pressure, contact a Sioux Falls plumber at once (assuming your property is located in or near Sioux Falls, of course):

  • Running toilets
  • “Banging” sounds emanating from pipes
  • Faucets that leak or sputter when turned on

How Do You Fix Loose Plumbing Fixtures?

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Treat your plumbing fixtures gingerly, never using more force than is necessary to turn them on or off.

Occasionally check your plumbing fixtures for corrosion and damage to their washers and other nexuses where plumbing components meet. Tightening or replacing the appropriate part can prevent additional damage if you see water leaking out of a connection between two pipes or a pipe and faucet.

Is a patch-and-seal product like Gorilla or Flex Tape a definitive fix for loose plumbing? Not at all, but when judiciously applied, it can ward off additional damage until you arrange professional repairs.

That brings us to the only surefire fix for loose plumbing fixtures: professional repairs. Whether you need your home’s entire plumbing system replaced or simply want one loose pipe or fixture to stop leaking, then we welcome you to contact PrairieSons today. We’re the greater Sioux Falls, SD area’s complete solution for all plumbing problems, and we’re equally prepared to serve you for all your HVAC needs!