Causes of Plumbing Emergencies and What to do When They Occur
The worst nightmare of any homeowner is having a plumbing emergency. They can create havoc at your home and you may not know what to do at that time. You can take certain steps to minimize the problem or call and emergency plumber at the earliest to help you.
Causes of Plumbing Emergencies
Plumbing emergencies are caused due to a variety of reasons. Some of them are listed below to help you realize that you need to do something about it, or call the emergency plumber ASAP:
a) Clogged sinks or drains: When the drain or the sink refuses to drain out or drains out slowly, it could result in you having to call an emergency plumber. This is due to the fact that if the drain is clogged severely, the water flow may stop completely.
b) Clogged toilet: When the toilet makes strange noises, refuses to flush or leaks, there is a possibility that an emergency plumber will be required.
c) Clogged bathtubs and shower drains: These result in water rising to the ankles and in some cases there may be strange gurgling sounds heard. This is due to the buildup of hair and soap scum.
d) Leaky faucets and toilets: These not only are annoying but they also increase the water bills, cause rust formation and foster the growth of mold.
e) Leaking water heaters: When there is a leak to the hot water supply not only will you waste a lot of power on water heating but also it could cause property damage. In such cases, the valves can be replaced easily but if the valves of the heater have rusted, then a new water heater will be needed.
f) Leaking washing machine hose: These sometimes crack or bulge behind the washer. If they are not attended to, it could lead to rust and mold.
g) Burst pipes: Due to freezing and thawing, the pipes that are exposed burst in time and this would need the pipe to be replaced.
h) No hot water: This happens when the heater malfunctions or there are issues with the electrical circuit or even plumbing leaks.
i) Sewer system backup: These cause bad odors from clogged drains, toilets that gurgle and water which pools on the basement floor drains.
What to do During a Plumbing Emergency
The first step you could take is to call an emergency plumber at the earliest. However, you too could take some steps to minimize the damage done to your home. Here are tips and steps you could follow in addition to calling an emergency plumber, when you have a plumbing emergency:
a) The main valve should be shut off in cases of leaks.
b) The water heater should be turned off by switching the gas water heater switch to a pilot position.
c) The isolation valves will stop the water flowing to the particular fixture while allowing the water to service the rest of the house when the leak is being attended to.
d) If a supply tube has broken and is the problem which is causing the leak, a blind cap should be screwed in so the leak can be sealed off till it is fixed.
e) When the ferrules in the supply tube are dented or scratched, there will be water leakage. In such cases, Teflon tape should be used till permanent repairs are undertaken.
f) Duct tape or sealing tape for pipes can reduce the leak in the crack of a pipe. This however is a temporary measure.
g) A cup plunger can be used for unclogging bath tubs, showers as well as sinks. Forced cup plungers are good for toilets or kitchen sinks.
h) When the kitchen sink is unclogged, a second plunger should be used to cover the other drain and so more force is obtained to remove the clog.
i) Toilets can be unclogged using a forced cup plunger.
Bathtub clogs can be removed by removing the chrome cap. When this is done the drain is visible and you can see the clog. Then you need to use the plunger to unclog, and the second plunger is used to plug the overflow of the tub.
These steps can be carried out when there is an emergency and when you cannot wait for the emergency plumber to arrive. However, meanwhile contact the emergency plumber so that he can check the plumbing for further issues and resolve it permanently and you can be care free.
Guest Contributor, Mary Mathis