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Plumbing Emergencies

Understanding Common Plumbing Emergencies and How to Handle Them

Plumbing emergencies are a homeowner’s worst nightmare. Water damage from these can threaten occupants’ safety and harm homes.

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to minimize the severity of the problem. Understanding what constitutes a plumbing emergency can help you decide whether to call a pro immediately.

Burst Pipes

A burst pipe is a plumbing emergency that can cause water damage to your home. It typically occurs when pipes freeze, are under too much pressure, or are aging. To avoid this problem, it’s essential to have your pipes checked regularly and not put too much stress on them. The best plumbing service can help minimize the damage when your pipes burst.

If you suspect a pipe has burst, turn off the main water supply to your home as soon as possible. This will stop new water from entering the system and prevent additional problems like furniture damage or wall and ceiling stains.

Look for signs of a burst pipe, like large puddles or water leaking from a crack or hole in your ceiling or walls. You may also hear banging or clanking noises from your plumbing as the displaced water moves around. The longer a burst pipe goes untreated, the more severe the damage and the higher your water bills will be. 

A plumber can fix the burst pipe and restore your home’s water supply. In the meantime, you can use a piece of rubber, wood, and a clamp to seal the leak for the short term until a plumber arrives. However, this method will only hold up briefly, so it’s best to call a plumber immediately.

Clogged Drains

A clogged drain can be an emergency. If your sink, tub, or shower isn’t draining correctly, you could experience water backup and property damage.

You also want to pay attention to it, as it can signify a bigger problem with your pipes or sewer system.

Whether you notice water backing up into your shower while trying to wash or a smelly sewage backup in your kitchen sink, it’s best to call a plumber as soon as possible. While there are some DIY tips for unclogging drains, a clog is usually too big to tackle alone.

While it’s tempting to reach for a chemical drain cleaner, these can be toxic for your family and pets. Instead, try pouring boiling water down the drain. It can dissolve mildew, slime, and soap scum and help break the clog.

Frozen Pipes

Water pipes are especially susceptible to freezing when exposed to cold temperatures. As the molecular structure of water freezes, it expands and puts pressure on the pipe until it finally bursts. Frozen pipes are more than an inconvenience and can significantly damage your home.

One of the first signs that you have frozen pipes is when multiple faucets suddenly stop producing water or have shallow pressure. If you notice no water coming from your faucets, immediately turn off the water main valve and call for plumbing services.

Once the water has been turned off, the next step is to locate the frozen pipe and determine how to thaw it. If the frozen pipe is located in an area you can reach, it may be easier to thaw it by running a space heater or leaving cabinet doors open so that heat can reach the frozen section of the pipe.

If the frozen pipe is located in an unheated area of your home, such as a crawl space or basement, it may be more challenging to locate and thaw the blockage. Start by turning off any water sources where the frozen pipe is located, and then begin heating the surrounding area of your home.

Low Water Pressure

Water pressure issues can make everyday activities frustrating and even unsafe. When washing machines take longer to fill, shower heads dribble instead of spray, and faucets have low water flow, it’s time for homeowners to call an emergency plumber.

Homeowners experiencing low water pressure should start by determining how widespread the issue is. If the problem only affects one fixture, it may be easier to locate the source. However, if the issue is throughout the entire house, it could be a sign of a more significant issue that should be addressed soon.

A congested or damaged water line is the most common cause of low water pressure. If the home is older, it is likely to use galvanized steel pipes that can develop rust holes over time. Replacing the old pipes will improve water flow and pressure if this is the case.

If a homeowner suspects this is the case, they should shut off their main water valve and open all fixtures in the house to clear out any resting water. It’s also a good idea to ask neighbors about their water pressure to see if they are experiencing the same issue. If so, it is likely a local municipal water supply issue and not specific to the home’s plumbing. Having the right plumbing solutions in place can help prevent these emergencies from occurring in the first place.

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