Many of us take the availability of clean, flowing water for granted. Water is available for use whenever one needs to take a shower, brush their teeth, do laundry, prepare food, or satisfy their thirst. The plumbing of a house determines the availability of flowing water. Plumbing is often not a top concern for homeowners, at least not until a crisis occurs.
Plumbing issues and crises may vary from simple obstacles to highly dangerous circumstances that put you, your family, your pets, and even your house itself at risk. It’s essential to know when to manage an emergency on your own and when to call in a professional team.
What is a Plumbing Emergency?
A plumbing emergency may have serious consequences, but how can you tell whether you’re dealing with a major emergency?
Emergencies vary from small to extreme in severity. Flooding, ruptured pipes, sewage spills, and hazardous gas leaks are instances of plumbing emergencies. Other plumbing issues, such as a shortage of water or non-functioning toilets, justify contacting a local plumber.
Common Plumbing Problems
There are several types of plumbing problems; the following are examples of common ones.
Flooding or severe water damage might be classified as an emergency. The floors in your kitchen and bathroom may be soaked when you get home, or maybe the ceiling in your living room is drooping and leaking, or maybe there are chunks of drywall missing from your wall in the kitchen because they became too soaked. As water damage often worsens if left untreated, and as safety and hygiene may be compromised, fast action is required.
2. Pipe Rupture Hazard
Pipes that freeze during the winter months are a frequent example of this. There is a high likelihood that pipes may break, flooding will occur, and the water supply will be lost if a plumber does not address the issue.
3. Any Sewage Backup Or Leakage
This poses a severe danger to health and must be addressed urgently. It might imply that a pipe is clogged and has to be unclogged, or it could signal that the whole system of pipes needs to be replaced.
4. Gas Leaks
These should be dealt with right away since they pose a significant risk of explosions, fires, and other catastrophes.
5. No Functional Toilets
For any reason, this is a serious hygiene and health concern that must be addressed immediately.
6. No Flowing Water
It is only possible to maintain personal hygiene, sanitation, or survival with water. There are several causes for no water, including ruptured or blocked pipes, and a plumber should be able to identify and repair the issue.
7. Water Heater Malfunction
The water heater may need quick repair from a plumber if it is generating water that is excessively hot or too cold, leaky, or noisy. A water heater that produces water with an unusual color or odor may also need expert assistance, although this problem may sometimes be rectified by cleaning the tank.
Steps to Take in a Plumbing Emergency
When a plumbing emergency arises, it’s natural to freak out, but being patient will help you prevent further damage. The steps below will assist you in handling a plumbing emergency, but you should always contact a plumber for assistance. To ensure the security of your household, it’s best to have access to a plumbing emergency team at all hours of the day and night. Additionally, to make it simple to find when you need it, it is recommended to add your plumber’s phone number to a list of contacts.
If you find yourself in a plumbing emergency, follow these tips.
· Stop The Flow Of Water
In the event of an emergency, immediately shut off the closest water supply. This may be done with toilets by simply turning the valve at the bottom or back of the toilet. For major crises like flooding, you will need to shut off the home’s main valve. The majority of water valves must be turned clockwise to shut off.
· Inspect The Water Heater
To prevent serious malfunction or destruction, turn off your water heater in the event of an emergency. After turning off the main valve, turn off the heater to prevent heat from building up within it, which increases the danger of bursting or overheating. If you have a gas water heater, you should always switch off the gas first.
· Fix Minor Leaks
If you discover a small leak that is simple to detect, you should make every effort to plug it in. Having a plumber’s tape in your toolkit will make this task much simpler. Additionally, you may wrap rags and towels over pipes and place buckets beneath pouring leaks to prevent further damage. Notate these leaks and inform the plumbers as soon as they come; this is an excellent approach to guarantee that your issues are treated in the safest order.
· Open The Drains And Spigots
After turning off the main water supply, there will still be water in the pipes. You may divert this water away from your property and any possible damaged locations by activating any external faucets. Give the garden hose a couple of sprays to check that it is also free of water. If you encounter a slight blockage or backlog during this operation, use gentle measures such as a plunger to clear the drain. When dealing with a plumbing issue, it’s best to wait for the plumber instead of risking further damage by using chemical pipe cleaners.
· Ask And Listen
People frequently neglect to call a plumber during an emergency. You can reduce the harm as much as possible by contacting them immediately. The finest aspect of early contact is that you will receive first assistance with the issue. Experts in plumbing that respond to your call can also advise you whether the issue is serious. If you are told to evacuate your house by a trained expert or a government official during a crisis, it is imperative that you heed their advice. Your life could be saved.
· Work While You Wait
When you get off the phone, it’s time to start doing some preventative maintenance. When it comes to leaking or pooling water, doing something is preferable to doing nothing. If you have an overflow or a major leak, collect some towels and begin mopping up the water. If the problem involves waste water, make sure you’re wearing protective gear like shoes and goggles. Moreover, Move valuables out of the path.
Work as fast and cautiously as you can to reduce the harm that water damage may bring to your house since it doesn’t take much time to cause havoc. Additionally, if the nearby outlet is safe to use, you can hasten the drying process by plugging in a fan or dehumidifier. By forcing air to circulate, a fan will stop the formation of mold.
· Prioritize Safety First
Emergencies in the plumbing system can result in danger and risk. One should prioritize safety above all else and handle any dangers to protect oneself and their dear ones. A plumbing emergency may be accompanied by sewage leaks or infectious substances such as lead, asbestos, etc. Prior to diagnosing a plumbing situation, one should be aware of these dangers.
· Preserve a Plunger
A plunger is primarily responsible for emptying your drain. Low-cost plungers are available at local supermarkets and even online. A plunger can help you clean soft, minor clogs from a drain. The use of a plunger is also not a very challenging task. You must position the plunger over the drain and swiftly push and pull to dislodge the obstruction.
· Prevent Chemicals
It may seem simple to pour chemicals down the drain, but you may not know the cause of the blockage. The use of these chemicals can cause damage to the pipes, which can then lead to further problems with your plumbing system.
· Remain Patient
Every difficulty is solvable. Being patient and calm improves your ability to think and respond in an emergency. In the event of a plumbing emergency, you must remain cool and concentrate on fixing the situation. During an emergency, you should not panic and call a plumber promptly for assistance.
These strategies can help you save your house and prepare you to handle an emergency. Being well-prepared is the key to properly handling any plumbing emergency.
How to Prevent a Plumbing Emergency
It is possible to avoid having to deal with some of the plumbing issues that you hear about or perhaps encounter. Problems may occur suddenly, but they are frequently the consequence of long-term neglect or inappropriate do-it-yourself fixes.
People spend a great deal of time in their bathrooms and kitchens, so poor habits can rapidly accumulate. The following are some suggestions from plumbers for avoiding plumbing emergencies:
· Understand Your System
Whenever there is a fault in your system, you will likely discover it first. Therefore, knowing the area of the main water valve and how to turn it off will help you limit the extent of the damage caused by a leak. The greatest approach to making your house as secure as possible is through knowledge.
· Avoid Fixing Anything If You’re Unsure
If you attempt to remedy complex plumbing issues or leaks of moderate magnitude, the problem will likely worsen. If anything is above your capacity or you are unsure what the problem is, you should call a plumber. They will detect and correct issues far more quickly and typically with significantly less long-term harm.
· Keep In Mind That Drains Are Not Garbage Cans
Toilets and trash disposals are designed to process particular sorts of waste and products but cannot handle much else. Improper use causes a significant portion of plumbing emergencies. When it comes to the toilet, you shouldn’t put in things like scrubbers, make-up removers, or even kitty litter. The garbage disposal cannot process fibrous or sludgy items, so don’t put banana peels or oil down the drain.
· Repair Or Replace Anything That Seems Worn
Water heaters are a leading source of plumbing crises that cause extensive property damage. The average lifespan of a gas water heater is ten years, whereas electric ones can last up to 15 years. The risk of flooding increases if your water heater is older than 12 to 15 years. Keeping track of your equipment’s age may ease a great deal of worry.
· Utilize Safety Systems
When a leak is identified in your plumbing or home appliances, a leak detection and prevention system can sound an alert and turn off the main water supply. A protective system can cost several hundred dollars while rebuilding 100 square feet of drywall can cost up to four hundred dollars. The cost of repairing mold damage quickly escalates.
· Use Chemicals Carefully
Home plumbing chemicals are developed for particular pipe types and may not always be effective. Depending on the type of your blockage, a drain cleaner may not be powerful enough to remove significant build-ups or hardened crust from your pipes. The toilet bowl and tank fresheners contain chemicals that can corrode pipes and create blockages.
There are several things you can take to secure your house, but there is no assurance that you will never have an emergency. When faced with an issue, you cannot handle or an emergency that makes your house hazardous, contact a local expert plumbing firm for assistance and a prompt solution. In the event of a plumbing emergency, plumbers know what to do and can begin repairs promptly.
Plumbing Tools You Must Have In An Emergency.
- Pipe Wrench
- Basin Wrench
- Plumber’s Snake/ Hand Auger
- Adjustable Wrench
- Closet Auger
- Tongue-and-Groove Pliers
- Tubing Cutter
- Propane Torch
The Bottom Line
It is important that one be well-prepared in the event of a plumbing emergency. Keeping these suggestions in mind will make you more prepared to deal with any issues that may crop up. And don’t forget that routine maintenance is your best defense against a plumbing emergency. This requires routinely inspecting your pipes and fittings for leaks and correcting them immediately. By being proactive and doing these measures, you may save yourself a lot of time, money, and worry in the long run.