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Ultimate Guide to Bathroom Plumbing

Your bathroom has a high concentration of plumbing fixtures. Bathtubs, showers, sinks, and toilets are used daily and can develop various issues, many of which are related to wear and tear. The efficiency, safety, and integrity of your home can depend on how well these components are installed and maintained. Fortunately, NexGen can help with all your bathroom plumbing needs, avoid hassles, and save you time and money, but we’re also glad to share a few insights.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Bathtub
Chapter 2: Shower
Chapter 3: Sink
Chapter 4: Toilet


A bathtub is a large fixture that includes taps, a tub spout, and a showerhead. It’s usually placed against a wall, behind which is a hidden valve assembly. A bathtub also has a drain (connected to PVC or ABS pipes) and can feature a door or shower curtain. Some of the most common problems and solutions with bathtubs include:
  • Dripping Faucets/Showerheads: These elements are usually part of the same fixture and connected to the same valve. If a faucet and/or showerhead is dripping, they and the connected valve may need to be replaced.
  • Slow/Clogged Drain: Hair, soap, and other gunk can clog up a shower drain. There are various ways to address this, from liquid drain cleaners to using a plunger. Stubborn bathtub drain blockages should be dealt with by a plumber.
  • Drain Odors: If bacteria or other microbes infest a bathtub drain, it can smell like rotten eggs. A sewage odor can mean your sewer line is backing up. There are home remedies to deal with organic causes, but we recommend hiring a professional for a permanent solution.
  • Mold Growth: Mold grows where there’s moisture, so ventilating your bathroom by leaving the shower curtain or door open or running the exhaust fan for 20 minutes can help. Also, consider using mold-resistant silicone caulking.
  • Damaged Caulking: The caulking provides a seal between the tub and the wall. Damaged caulking should be removed (use a solvent if necessary). Clean the area before applying new caulking. To be neat, place strips of masking tape up to 3/16” from the joint, lay and smooth out a bead of caulking, and peel the tape off (this yields a straight and neat caulked edge). However, hiring a handyman or plumber can save time and effort.


A shower is a waterproof enclosure with a faucet that’s connected to plumbing behind the wall. It also has a drain, plus a door or curtain. To run properly, a shower relies on a working water supply and drainage system. But various problems can impact usability, such as:
  • Leaks: A worn valve is the most common cause of a shower leak or dripping shower head. Replacing it requires shutting off the water supply. The task is not complicated, but people usually hire a licensed plumber for it.
  • Drainage Problem: Hair and soap often clog up shower drains. These form a residue that builds up over time. A drain cleaner alone may not provide a permanent solution, so it’s best to call a plumber to clear the drain and prevent future clogs.
  • Smelly Drains: Shower drains are just as susceptible as tub drains to microbial infections. Hydrogen peroxide poured down the drain can eliminate the odor overnight. If the odor persists or is musty (can indicate mold growth), call a professional. To prevent mold growth on walls and ceilings, you can use mold-resistant paint.
  • Leaking Enclosure: Shower enclosure leaks can come from the junction between the floor and wall or where the door meets the shower opening. If the shower is poorly constructed, it can leak through the tile grout. Leaks around doors can often be resolved with caulking; other leaks require rebuilding the enclosure.


A bathroom sink has a bowl, faucet, mechanical drain stopper, and drain pipe with a P-trap that helps hold back sewer gases. The supply lines are usually a smaller diameter than other bathroom supply pipes. There are numerous types and configurations of bathroom sinks; any one of them can develop the following issues:
  • Dripping Faucet: People often ignore this problem, but it can waste a lot of water over time. It usually requires replacing the cartridge or washer. Older, corroded faucets are more prone to breaking. Call a plumber if your efforts to fix/replace the faucet are unsuccessful.
  • Slow or Clogged Drain: Soap, toothpaste, cosmetic products, hair, and other materials can build up in a bathroom sink drain. Sometimes they collect on the drain stopper, which you can clean yourself. But other causes may be deeper in the drain line.
  • The Sink Drain Smells: Microbial odors can be resolved with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. Pour two cups of it down and leave it overnight. The odor should be gone by morning. If not, remove the stopper and place a rag in the drain to block the overflow passage. Then, fill the overflow line with hydrogen peroxide and wait two hours to take the rag out.
  • Leaking Drain Pipe: A break in the drain pipe connection, a leaking drain trap plug, or a faulty pipe joint can cause water to pool in the vanity cabinet or on the floor. Broken drain stoppers and degraded caulking can also contribute to leaks from top-mounted sinks. A professional can address these challenging situations.
  • Old Sink Caulking: A sink sitting on a countertop has molded joints that can leak if the caulking starts to deteriorate. Splashed water can then leak and pool under and around the sink. Unless you’re great at caulking, call a professional for help and to check for other potential issues.
  • Failed Drain Stopper: The stopper has a mechanism that lets you open or close the drain. Although it’s reliable, a stopper can malfunction if the retaining nut loosens. You can often tighten the ring around the pivot rod to stop the leak. Drain stopper mechanism replacement can be a DIY or a plumber’s job.


A toilet has a more complex water supply and waste drainage system than other bathroom plumbing fixtures. Water is supplied to the tank every time you flush; it is stored until it’s required. The flush mechanism consists of a series of components to control the water level and fill the tank while venting maintains pressure to prevent a backflow of sewer gases. Common toilet issues and their solutions include:
  • The Toilet Flushes Slowly or Is Clogged: Plungers provide an easy way to unclog the toilet. But mineral deposits and stubborn blockages can require a plumbing snake to remove, which you’ll need a professional for. If you have an older toilet, they may recommend replacing it.
  • Running Toilet: A toilet may run constantly if the flush valve is leaking. The problem may also occur if the fill valve is defective or improperly adjusted. A homeowner can repair these issues, as the risk of water damage is low, but calling a licensed plumber can ensure it’s done properly.
  • Toilet Leak: A leak can do significant damage, considering the amount of water that goes through a toilet. It can originate from the pipe or hose that supplies the tank (the connection will need repair), where the tank connects to the bowl (requires replacing a gasket), or where the toilet sits on the floor (will require draining the tank, unbolting the bowl, and installing a new ring before replacing the bowl and tank).
  • Toilet Overflow: An overflowing toilet usually has a blockage preventing the water flowing in from draining out. To stop an overflow, turn off the valve on the tank’s supply pipe. If there isn’t one, turn off your main water supply and call a plumber.

Call NexGen for Your Bathroom Plumbing Needs

Our licensed and insured technicians provide emergency plumbing repairs, leak detection, pipe repair/replacement, and drain cleaning services. Customers in Los Angeles and Southern California can expect prompt, high-quality service, 24/7. No matter what kind of issue you’re having, we can resolve it quickly. For immediate service, competitive pricing, and a free estimate, call (805) 301-6788 today.