Most plumbing components will last many years but normal wear and tear takes a toll. Almost every homeowner will eventually experience a plumbing emergency at some point in time. Sometimes homeowners aren’t sure when a plumbing problem is an actual emergency.
If you can identify the problem and stop the flow of unwanted water without shutting down your entire household’s access to water, you can probably wait to have the problem resolved during normal business hours. If you can’t stop the water, smell gas, or have sewage backing up into your home, call for a plumber immediately.
When a Plumber Is Needed Immediately
Every situation is different, but there are general guidelines that separate a routine plumbing problem from a plumbing emergency. Any plumbing problem that results in serious property damage or endangers people should be considered an emergency situation. The following situations require immediate attention:
1. Burst Water Pipe
Cracks in water pipes can happen regardless of whether they’re made of plastic, copper or steel. A broken pipe can release up to 200 gallons of water in a single day causing significant property damage.
As soon as you discover a burst pipe, shut off the main water supply and immediately call for emergency plumbing services. If you can do it safely, turn off the electricity to your home. If the burst pipe fills your basement with deep water, it's important to stay out of the water due to the possibility of electrocution.If only a small amount of water has accumulated, you should still turn off the power while you wait for emergency plumbing services.
2. Leaky Pipe
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, up to 10 percent of American homes are losing 90 gallons of water a day due to leaky pipes. This not only wastes water and runs up water bills, leaky pipes can lead to expensive property damage. Even a small leak can become an emergency if left unrepaired. Whether it’s a small leak or a large one, it’s important to have leaks repaired quickly to minimize damage.
3. Broken Water Main
The water main is the line that links the plumbing system in your home to the public water supply. Homeowners are responsible for any water main repairs from the curb to their property. Broken water mains can cause considerable damage to your home and property if not detected and repaired quickly. Common signs of a broken water line include soggy areas in the yard, unexplained high water bills, poor water quality, and very low water pressure.
As water lines age, they can become vulnerable to the effects of freezing and thawing, ground movement, mineral buildup and tree root invasion. Since water mains are buried underground, detecting a leak can take some time. Professional plumbers have sophisticated tools to be able to detect the source of the leak quickly.
A single sink clog might be something you can clear with a plunger. If you have a clog you can’t clear or clogs in multiple fixtures, there is likely a deeper problem in the drain system. Clogs like this can result in leaky pipes and lead to serious property damage.
Serious clogs often lead to leaks that then cause structural damage or even raw sewage backups. It’s important that clogs are located and cleared quickly. Ignoring recurring clogs can lead to damaged pipes that may have to be completely replaced, resulting in higher expenses.
5. Frozen Water Pipes
Even if you live in an area where freezing temperatures are rare, it’s important to protect your pipes from freezing. When the water in a pipe freezes, the pipe expands. This expansion can cause cracks, which means once the pipe thaws, it becomes a flooding risk.
When you discover a frozen pipe, it's important to start the thawing process as soon as possible and to do it properly. Many times, DIYers attempt to thaw a frozen pipe quickly by applying intense heat which can result in further damage to the pipes.
Frozen pipes need to be thawed slowly and safely. A plumber will know how to do it properly and inspect for damage as the pipe thaws.
6. Gas Leaks
Plumbers frequently work with copper pipes and natural gas furnace connections. If you smell a sulphurous odor in or around your home, evacuate immediately and call an emergency plumber and your gas company. Leaking gas is an emergency situation that only a professional can handle.
Gas leaks can cause massive property damage as well as deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. If you believe you have a gas leak, evacuate people and pets and then call for help immediately.
7. Clogged Sewer Line
A blockage in your main sewer line can have serious consequences that require emergency plumbing services. Multiple drain clogs, water pooling around basement floor drains, and gurgling sounds coming from plumbing fixtures are signs of a sewer system backup.
When a sewer line backs up, sewage sits at its backup point and creates a health hazard. If a clog is serious enough, raw sewage can back up into your home, putting your family at risk. It’s necessary to call a plumber to remedy the problem immediately.
8. Overflowing Toilet
A clogged toilet is a problem but an overflowing toilet is an emergency. The cause of an overflowing toilet could be fairly simple or it could be a sign of a more significant plumbing problem.
While you wait for the plumber to arrive, shut off the water to the toilet and don’t attempt to flush or unclog it on your own.
9. Malfunctioning Hot Water Heater
Most homeowners call for water heater services because their water is either too hot or too cold. There are other water heater problems that require immediate attention.
Strange noises or any noticeable leaks should be dealt with quickly. A leaking water heater may be an easy repair but sometimes leaks are a sign of a bigger problem. Leaks can be caused by corrosion or damaged heating elements and valves. In rare cases, a leaking water heater may be a sign of water pressure building up inside the tank which can lead to an explosion.
10. Sump Pump Failure
Sump pumps prevent flooding and water build-up that can cause severe property damage. A sump pump system directs water from around and beneath your crawl space or basement into a sump pit. If your sump pump isn’t working properly when a rainstorm hits, your home is at risk of serious water damage.
Signs of a failing sump pump include strange noises or vibrations, irregular cycling, and running continuously. When in doubt, call a plumber immediately rather than attempting a DIY fix. The reality is that having a professional repair a problem is much less expensive than having to repair extensive water damage to your property.
Don’t Pay Extra for Plumbing Emergencies
Plumbing problems always seem to happen at night or on the weekends. When you are faced with a plumbing emergency, time is of the essence. Many homeowners delay in calling a plumber for emergency repairs because they worry about added costs.
Simply Green Plumbing, Sewer & Rooter knows that some plumbing situations require emergency attention. That’s why we never charge extra for emergency service calls.
Call us at (408) 716-1686 for all of your plumbing needs.