What Happens When You Ignore Plumbing Problems?

Most homeowners understand that with property ownership comes a certain amount of maintenance and upkeep. Many people in the UK enjoy DIY. Therefore, when a problem arises in the home, they feel able to deal with it. Calling in professional services is sometimes essential, but many people are capable of dealing with minor issues themselves.

leaking tap

However, there are times when amateur DIY enthusiasts fail to spot problems that professionals would pick up. Or, the homeowner tackles a problem but only succeeds in a temporary fix that could lead to bigger concerns later on.

All homes will experience plumbing problems from time to time. Most commonly it will be leaky taps or pipes. But, sometimes, a plumbing issue can turn into a catastrophe. If plumbing problems are poorly fixed, not spotted in time, or simply ignored, disaster could strike.

What happens if you fail to maintain plumbing?

Most people understand that sticking one’s head in the sand solves nothing. Failing to fix problems usually leads to them growing bigger. “Calling a friendly and local plumber to check the home could avoid larger problems down the line.” says North East Plumbing.

Listed in this short article, are some of the potential results you might face if you don’t fix or maintain plumbing in the home. Here are a dozen possible outcomes from ignoring plumbing problems.

1. Catastrophic flooding

Many homes in the UK have water tanks to supply their hot water requirements. These tanks on average hold up to 300 litres of water. It should be easy to imagine then how much damage that much water would cause if the tank burst.

Hot water tanks last perhaps ten years. It is worth checking older water tanks for signs of rust as this could potentially point to the tank bursting in the near future.

2. Burst pipes

A small leak can quickly lead to a larger one. Ignoring small leaks will eventually lead to a bigger hole which in turn can lead to a burst pipe. The winter also brings problems for pipes.

There are good reasons to undertake seasonal maintenance. One reason is to avoid burst pipes. As the temperature drops, pipes can freeze. Don’t ignore the arrival of cold weather. Check if your pipes need lagging, and you will avoid having a flood.

copper pipe

3. Could block the sale of a house

Ignoring known plumbing problems, or hashing a repair, could stop your home sale. When a buyer puts an offer in for a house they will carry out an inspection. If this inspection finds plumbing problems – and it will – then the sale will be paused while you carry out repairs.

It will be far better to fix plumbing problems properly before the house is put on the market. This will lead to a smoother sale and increased trust between you and your buyer.

4. Pests and infestations

Another reason for stopping the sale of a home is pests and infestations. Not surprisingly, there will be problems selling a home with pests or renting it. Leaks and drips create pools of water and damp environments. Many pests are attracted to the environment that small leaks help to create.

Regardless of whether you are planning to sell a home or not, no one wants to live with pests. It may be surprising, but many pests like moisture including cockroaches, termites, drain flies, and silverfish. Ignore leaks and you may have some unwanted guests arriving.

5. Lower water pressure

Leaks will lead to lower water pressure. The higher a building goes, the harder it is to maintain water pressure. Therefore, many flats in the UK have water pumps to mitigate this problem.

When water pressure drops you could find yourself with problems showering or washing in upstairs bathrooms. If you notice lower water pressure, then this could be a sign of leaking pipework. If you cannot locate a leak then it may be advisable to ask a plumber to find the problem.

running tap water

6. Bad smells

Small leaks lead to damp patches which in turn can lead to mould. When a home has damp and mould it will develop unpleasant odours. And these smells should not be ignored as they could point to a health hazard.

7. Health hazards

Bad smells caused by leaks and water damage can indicate the presence of mould. Damp, mould, and mildew can all arise from unfixed plumbing issues. Aside from causing unsightly patches on ceilings and walls, damp and mould are damaging to health.

Young children, babies, and the elderly are most at risk. But, damp and mould can impact health for anyone.

Some of the symptoms caused by mould and damp in a home are:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Respiratory problems
  • Wheezing
  • Runny nose
  • Runny eyes
  • Asthma attacks

In the worst cases, damp could trigger an asthma attack, or even lead to a lung infection. Ignoring plumbing problems may not just damage your home, but your family’s health too.

8. Contaminated water

Small holes in pipes may not seem too significant. After all, what’s a slight drop in water pressure compared to paying for pipes to be replaced outdoors? However, when water pressure drops, bacteria, and dirt could make their way into any hole and enter the water system.

9. Your toilet may back up

Nobody wants raw sewage on the floor of their bathroom. But ignoring gurgling sounds or other noises from your toilet might lead to that outcome. Gurgling sounds might indicate a blockage in the sewage line. Over time this blockage will get bigger until eventually wastewater has nowhere to go but back into the bathroom.

bathroom with shower

10. Increased water bills

Ignoring leaks or drips will lead to higher water bills. Already, water bills are rising by up to 7.5%, so ignoring plumbing problems will only see even higher costs. In April, water bills in England and Wales are set to rise by £31 per year and £19 a year in Scotland.

With the cost of living crisis and inflation already stretching family budgets, reducing utility bills is a must. Simple plumbing fixes could lead to lower water bills. And avoid much bigger problems later on.

11. Water damage

Ignoring plumbing issues could lead to significant water damage. If a damp patch appears on a ceiling it could be the sign of a leaking pipe. Regardless of the cause, it shouldn’t be ignored. Fixing a water-damaged ceiling can cost £1,500 and take weeks to repair.

Typically, damage caused by water costs homeowners anywhere from £500 to £6,000 to fix. Water can damage the structure of a building leading to extensive repairs. All of which may have been avoided by checking and maintaining plumbing.

12. Higher plumbing bills

As mentioned right at the start of this article, ignoring problems usually only results in bigger ones later on. Failing to spot the signs of water leaking, or botching repairs, will inevitably lead to more work being needed later.


It is unlikely that most people would actually ignore known plumbing problems, but it does happen. More likely that a person will not spot a plumbing issue until it has grown much bigger. Or a person may not know how to spot the signs of leaks.

Carrying out an inspection of the home periodically could help to spot signs of leaks and fix them early on. Look for damp spots and moisture, and strange smells. Gurgling noises in the bathroom could mean drainage problems.

If you have a plumbing problem, it is better to get it tackled properly so as to avoid potential disaster and huge costs later on.