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common emergency plumbing problems

7 Common Emergency Plumbing Problems

 |  Blog, Plumbing

If you are a homeowner, you may find yourself experiencing a number of common plumbing issues. These problems can lead to home damage if not corrected quickly! That’s why it is always important to have the phone number of a quality plumbing service on hand, one that provides emergency services and professional standards of care.


1. An Overflowing Toilet

When it comes to bathroom nightmares, an overflowing toilet can drive you up the walls. Toilets tend to clog when they are filled with something other than ordinary toilet paper and human waste. Nevertheless, some toilets that have a narrow outflow may experience clogging from even normal use. It is always practical to have a plunger on hand and even a snake to remove more serious obstructions lodged into place.

Toilets rarely overflow after a simple clog. In most cases, the person in the bathroom continues to flush the toilet more than once before the water level reaches the tipping point, and spills onto the floor. Children are more often the culprits because they are not sure what to do in the situation and may be embarrassed to request assistance. In the worst case, the rubber seal inside the tank will not seat properly. This leads to a constant flow of water that just spills onto the floor and possibly into the ceiling and rooms below if not stopped in time.

The first step, in this case, should be to remove the tank lid. If you can see that the rubber stop is not sealing properly, disconnect the linkage to the flush handle and seal it manually until the water level rises and stops. You should simultaneously send someone down to the basement to shut the main water line off. You may also want to sacrifice some old clothes or towels to stop the water from penetrating the floor or walls.


2. Clogged Drains

Drains can clog easily if you have long hair or have a habit of rinsing a lot of waste or grease down the sink. In most cases, if you are dealing with a bathtub or shower, dense clumps of accumulated hair is to blame. The hair doesn’t always get stuck in the drain cover. Sometimes it will work its way past the cover and build up insidiously below. Using a snake or a special tool specifically for removing hair clumps is usually the only remedy. You should not waste your time using solvents that saturate the air with chemicals and may only improve drainage somewhat in bathroom showers and sinks.


3. Leaking Pipes

Pipes have a tendency to leak at the unions. The pipe itself is a long solid piece of metal that will only leak if it is damaged by an object or severely corroded. Leaks can also form if the water in the pipes freezes and the pressure deforms the pipe. The union joints of a pipe are often held together with solder or screwed together and sealed with Teflon tape. Over time, the Teflon tape can degrade and lead to leaks. Movement and temperature changes can cause solder joints to crack.

The pipes may need to be resoldered, fitted with new Teflon tape, or replaced in sections that are leaking. It is also possible to patch a leaky pipe with rubber or waterproof tape for an inexpensive band-aid repair. Pipe unions are sanded and prepped for solder with a flux to delineate the parameters. Then, the joined pieces are heated up with a torch as the solder is applied.


4. Bursting Pipes

A bursting pipe is a nightmare that no homeowner wants to come home to witness. Although pipes can burst in the winter if the water gets too cold and it freezes in the pipes, it is more often that corrosion is to blame. A pipe that looks sturdy from the outside may, in reality, only have a few millimeters of material left and a lot of pressure that it cannot handle. If your pipes burst, it is important to shut off the water immediately and remove any furniture and valuables. A damaged pipe can flood a home with more than 12-gallons of water an hour.


5. Water Heater Issues

A damaged water heater can literally explode and shoot through the ceiling or turn into a gas bomb. Even a tiny gas leak near the water heater can build up enough accelerant in a room to ignite the whole unit. If the water pressure safety valve fails, the water pressure alone can be explosive. For these reasons, it is always a good idea to have your water heater flushed and inspected annually to check for leaks and problems. The plumbers can also keep an eye on the anode rod and replace it before corrosion consumes the more delicate parts. The anode rod is there to absorb the oxidizing effects of the water as a protector for the entire system.


6. Sump Pump Troubles

Like anything, years of wear and tear can take a toll on a sump pump. A sump pump is used to clear out low-lying water in basements and other areas. The heavy duty cycles and old electrical wiring that builds up thermal resistance will eventually lead to failure. It is also possible for the pickup screen to clog or for the impeller to get hung up on material sucked into the pump. Having a backup pump to use while you make a thorough inspection of the original is a safe practice that can save you the headaches and hassles of repeated flooding failures.


7. Backed Up Sewage System

A backed up sewage system can be a nightmare. You may suddenly see an overflow of foul-smelling brackish water coming out from the seams of your walls. The drains might be clogged up or may expel more water through the walls when you flush the toilet or use the sinks. You may also hear strange noises gurgling from the drains. You are more likely to experience a sewage backup if you have old narrow plumbing that doesn’t handle toilet paper and other materials well. This is more commonly seen in third world countries but can happen anywhere.