No matter how careful you are, plumbing emergencies can happen when you least expect them. From the obvious burst pipe to the not-so-obvious leaky faucet. In both cases, the urgent need for attention is real and can cause significant damage if not taken care of promptly. When you spot any one of the following common plumbing issues down below, it’s important to address it before it escalates. In the event of an emergency, it’s best to call a professional plumber, like Danika, for help.
Proper system maintenance is the key to a life free of plumbing problems. You can rest easy knowing your home is protected from plumbing issues when you take preventive measures promptly. To help you understand and recognize the common plumbing problems and keep them at bay, we have compiled a list of seven plumbing issues that need urgent attention, but before we get into it, let’s define “a plumbing emergency.”
What is a Plumbing Emergency?
Plumbing emergencies generally involve a sudden and unexpected problem that compromises the safety and/or comfort of your home, which can cause damage to your property or create health hazards if left unresolved. Those threats usually require immediate attention from a certified plumber. A plumbing emergency should have the following characteristics:
- Cause significant damage if not taken care of promptly.
- Impact the safety and/or comfort of your home.
- Affects multiple plumbing components.
- Requires professional help for repairs.
- Can cause health hazards if left unresolved.
Many common plumbing issues can cause severe damage if left untreated.
7 Common Issues Found in Residential Plumbing
1. Frozen or Burst Pipes
A burst pipe can cause significant water damage on your property and should be taken care of immediately. A leaky pipe is never good, but a burst pipe is even worse. It can flood your home in minutes and cause extensive damage to your basement and walls. When you spot a burst pipe, it’s important to turn off the main water valve to avoid further damage.
Frozen pipes can also cause problems since they will expand and rupture if water freezes within them when the weather gets colder. When water freezes in a pipe it expands and cracks the pipe since there’s nowhere for the water to go. Consequently, water may start leaking from them and quickly cause water damage to your home.
To avoid the risk of a burst or frozen pipe, it’s essential to insulate your pipes in cold weather and turn off the main water valve when going on extended vacations or periods of inactivity.
2. Water Heater Issues
Water heaters are an essential part of any home, and when they fail, it can be a significant inconvenience. We rely on them to provide hot water for washing dishes, laundry, bathing, and other activities. When they have an issue, the symptoms can be anything from a lack of hot water to a leak.
In worst cases, it can be a broken tank, a failed heater element, or a gas leak which can be a fire hazard.
To avoid water heater issues, have your tank inspected and maintained at least once a year. This simple precautionary measure can potentially save you thousands of dollars in emergency repair.
3. Overflowing Toilet
An overflowing toilet is one of the most unpleasant occurrences in any home. An obstruction in the plumbing system or a clogged drain line often causes it. When the floaters start to float to the top and overboard, it can send your blood pressure through the roof!
To avoid immediate spillover, you can turn the water off by twisting the small valve at the back of the toilet. This can save you the unpleasant pleasure of cleaning up your own doings from the floor.
To fix the toilet, check to see if you can clear the obstruction by flushing a few times or using a plunger. A drain snake is probably your last DIY resort. If that doesn’t work, you should call a plumber as soon as possible. A professional plumber will be able to assess the situation and provide you with a solution to prevent a future overflow.
4. Sewer Backup
A sewer backup is a serious plumbing emergency that you should address as soon as possible. Several different things, including tree roots, debris buildup in the lines, or a broken pipe, may cause the blockage in your pipes. Any of these reasons (and not these) slows down drains, causing sewage to back up from cleanout pipes, and produces a nasty smell in the home, making it uninhabitable.
The DIY techniques to unclog a pipe might not be enough in this kind of situation, so it’s important to call a professional plumber for sewer repair services as soon as possible.
5 . Gas Leak
Arguably the most serious plumbing emergency, a gas leak can be incredibly dangerous. A gas leak can have a very distinct, sulfur-like odor and may cause dizziness, headaches, and other symptoms.
Natural gas and propane are extremely flammable, so it is important to turn off the gas supply and evacuate the building if you smell a gas leak. Do not attempt to solve the issue yourself, and contact a professional plumber immediately. A qualified HVAC technician near me can also determine the source of the leak and work on repairing it promptly.
6. Clogged Drains
Clogged drains are a common plumbing emergency that can be caused by a variety of things, including:
- A buildup of soap, grease, food, and other debris
- Foreign objects that have been flushed down the sink
- Tree roots that have grown through the pipes
These kinds of clogs can cause slow-moving drains and require professional help to be fixed. A plumber can use special tools such as a drain snake or hydro jetting to remove the clog and restore the flow of water in your drains.
7. Leaky Faucets, Showerheads, and Pipes
Although they may seem minor compared to other emergencies, leaky faucets or pipes in the household can add up to a significant amount of water waste over time. Even small drips can be wasteful and dangerous, as they may lead to mold growth, water damage, and even structural issues.
Statistics show that a leaky faucet or showerhead can waste between 5 and 20 gallons of water daily, translating to hundreds of dollars in water bills and expensive repairs. If a standard DIY fix doesn’t work, contact a professional plumber to inspect your pipes and determine a more permanent solution.
You can calculate the volume of wasted water with a drip calculator!
In conclusion, plumbing emergencies can be a nightmare for any homeowner, especially when they occur suddenly. Knowing how to identify common plumbing emergencies and take action to prevent them can help save significant time, money, and stress in the long run.
Homeowners should avoid DIY repairs whenever possible and call a pro plumber to address these issues properly. With proper preventative maintenance and quick action, many of these issues can be resolved quickly and efficiently.