plumbing-wrenches-on-pipe

What is Your Suspected Plumbing Emergency?

Click one your issue below for information on identifying and dealing with plumbing emergency while you wait for help to arrive.

Common Plumbing Emergencies & What To Do When They Occur

large-plumbing-pipeBurst pipes

A burst pipe will quickly wreak havoc in any room where it occurs. Often, if the water is not stopped in time, a burst pipe can cause damage to every room on the same floor and below it.

What causes pipes to burst?

  • Freezing temperatures (most common)
  • Age/rust/rot
  • Accidental breakage

How to Identify a burst pipe?

  • An exposed pipe leaking or pouring out water from a crack in the pipe or broken joint
  • There will likely be a lot of water coming out of the damaged pipe(s)

What can you do?

  • Immediately find your water main and turn it off (here's how)
  • Call a plumber immediately
  • If water is several inches high and touching your walls DO NOT ENTER IT!
    • The water may be touching electrical components and can electrocute you
    • Turn off all power to your home before entering standing water indoors
  • Open up lowest faucet in your home (often a bathtub or outdoor spigot)
  • Limit water damage by soaking and blocking standing water
    • Use towels, sheets, sandbags, anything you have to prevent damage to your walls

larger-plumbing-pipeBroken Water Lines

When a main water line going to or leading from your home is broken or damaged. Water leaks out and is often unseen for some time (hours or even days). Water seeps up from the leaking pipe to the ground level where a wet patch develops.

What causes broken water lines?

  • Tree roots (most common)
  • Shovels/digging (accidental breakage)
  • Earthquakes
  • Heavy equipment and machinery

How to Identify a broken water line?

  • Wet patches of water that never dry (typically on your lawn)
  • Often located near tree and their expansive roots
  • If inside, the wet spot will refill after drying with a towel within minutes or hours
  • Low water pressure
  • Poor water quality (dirty water)

What can you do?

  • If inside, turn off your water main (if possible) immediately to prevent further water damage
  • Open up lowest faucet in your home (often a bathtub or outdoor spigot)
  • Call a plumber immediately

old-fashioned-toiletsSewer system backup

This occurs when a sewer's fill levels become higher than the drains in your home. This results in the contents of your sewer to reverse direction and "backup" through the drains.

What causes sewers to back up?

  • A clog or other blockage in the sewer pipe
  • Tree roots breaking the sewer pipe and blocking drainage
  • A collapse in the sewer line

How to Identify a backed up sewer?

  • Bad odors coming from drains
  • Gurgling toilets or drains
  • Wastewater pooling in the basement or lowest drain in your home

What can you do?

  • Stop using your plumbing to prevent additional overflowing
  • Do note flush large amounts of toilet paper or other items that may increase clogging
  • Call a plumber immediately

outdoor-water-spigotNo hot water (cold water)

The hot water from all of your faucets does is cold or does not warm up to its usual temperature. Especially in colder weather, hot water is essential and it can be very disruptive if your hot water goes out.

What causes hot water loss?

  • Water heating element malfunction (most common)
  • Power outage

How to Identify a water heater issue?

  • Check that the circuit breaker for the hot water heater is tripped (for electric heaters)
  • Check the pilot light (for gas heaters)
  • Feel the hot water pipe out of your water heater
    • If it is cold, then the water heater might be malfunctioning
  • Check the power/temp dial and make sure it is on

What can you do?

  • As long as the water heater is not leaking there is not much to do
  • Take a towel bath with hot water from the stove
  • Brave a cold shower if you need to bathe
  • Call a plumber or a water heater specialist to check on your unit

close-up-stainless-kitchen-sinkClogged sinks

A sink drains slowly or not at all and gets worse over time and use. Although this is not an emergency, it is a problem that can put a stop to daily activities like brushing teeth, doing dishes, or even washing your hands.

What causes clogged sinks?

  • Excess debris (most common)
  • Sewer backup issue

How to Identify a clog issue?

  • Water does not flow quickly down the drain
  • Water remains stagnant in the sink without draining

What can you do?

  • Drain cleaner
  • Use a sink plunger
  • Attempt to fish the clog out with wire hanger or other device
    • Beware: metal hangers can poke holes in older pipes and make a situation much worse
  • Call a plumber if the clog persists

large-plumbing-pipesClogged toilets

You flush the toilet but the contents will not drain out. Instead, the toilet bowl fills with water to the brim and can overflow unpleasant wastewater onto the floor.

What causes clogged toilets?

  • Excess debris (most common)
  • Sewer backup issue

How to Identify a toilet issue?

  • Water does not flow quickly (or at all) when you flush
  • Water remains stagnant in the toilet bowl without draining or it drains very slowly

What can you do?

  • Turn off the water to the basin so water cannot flow into the bowl and cause it to overflow
  • Try a toilet plunger to force and blockage out of the clog
  • Call a plumber if the clog persists

white-bathtubClogged bathtub and shower drains

Water from a bath or shower no longer drains properly. Sometimes it will not drain at all or it will take several minutes or even hours to drain completely. Although this is not an emergency, it is a problem that can put a stop to bathing for as long as the issue persists.

What causes clogged drains?

  • Excess hair debris (most common)
  • Sewer backup issue

How to Identify a drain issue?

  • Water does not flow quickly down the drain
  • Water remains stagnant in the tub or shower without draining

What can you do?

  • Drain cleaner
  • Try a drain plunger to push the blockage out of the clog
  • Attempt to fish the clog out with wire hanger or other device
    • Beware: metal hangers can poke holes in older pipes and make a situation much worse
  • Call a plumber if the clog persists

stainless-kitchen-sinkLeaky faucets and toilets

Water from a bath or shower no longer drains properly. Sometimes it will not drain at all or it will take several minutes or even hours to drain completely. Although this is not an emergency, it is a problem that can put a stop to bathing for as long as the issue persists.

What causes leaks?

  • Old piping (most common)
  • Rust or calcium buildup
  • Loose fittings or joints

How to Identify a leak?

  • Small pools of water around the base of your faucet or toilet
  • Dampness or pooling under the sink
  • Visible dripping or streams of water coming off of faucet or toilet pipes

What can you do?

  • Turn off the water to the faucet or toilet if you do not need to use them
  • Place a bucket or towel under the leak to collect the water and prevent damage
    • Change out often
  • Check fittings and joints for looseness or damage
    • If a fitting is loose, you can try to tighten it to correct the issue
  • Call a plumber if the leak persists

water-drainLeaking water heater

If your water heater is more than 10 years old, this might be an issue you encounter. Often, leaks in water heaters start slow and can go unnoticed for days or weeks.

What causes leaks in water heaters?

  • Age and decay (most common)
  • Too much pressure inside the tank
  • Loose or broken fittings or joints

How to Identify a water heater issue?

  • Check your overflow valve(s) on the top and bottom of the unit
  • Look at the base of your water heater and shimmy the unit back and forth a little. Water make spit out or you will hear a squishing sound of standing water.
  • The floor around the water heater will be damp or wet
  • Dry the area around your water heater
  • Place towels flat on all previously wet parts of the floor
  • Return in a couple hours and note where water has been soaked by the towels
    • Water will appear to be emanating from the area of the water heater

What can you do?

  • If the leak is not bad, you can continually soak up the excess water while you wait for a plumber
    • You will likely need a replacement water heater
  • If either of the overflow valves are leaking water (especially hot water) your unit might be dangerously over pressured
    • Turn off the water going to your water heater immediately
    • Turn off you water heater
    • Drain the pressure by opening a faucet and running the hot water for several minutes
      • You will likely need a replacement water heater
  • Lay daown towels or buckets to collect water and prevent water damage
  • Call a plumber ASAP to evaluate if you need a new water heater

iron-plumbing-jointsLeaky washing machine hoses

If you notice water in your laundry room and you are confident it is not from your water heater, then your pipes from your washer are likely leaking. Though not a true emergency, not being able to wash your clothes without creating a pool in your laundry room can be frustrating.

What causes washers to leak?

  • Loose fittings (most common)
  • Leaking water tub

How to Identify a washer issue?

  • Place your hands on all pipe, hoses, joints, and fittings that you can reach
    • if any are noticeably wet, you have an issue
  • If nothing from above feels wet do the following
    • If water has pooled around the washer area, soak it up till dry with towels
    • Lay down new towels around the washer
    • Run a small/short cycle through the washer
    • Check your towels for new wet spots to determine if your washer is leaking

What can you do?

  • Attempt to tighten fittings
    • Beware: if you are not familiar with doing this, you might cause more harm than good
  • Turn off water to the washer unit
  • Lay down towels to prevent water damage to your walls
  • Call a plumber or washer specialist to repair the issue

plumbing-wrenches-on-pipe

When in doubt, call a plumber (better safe than soaking wet)

If you are unsure or unconfident, you should call an expert before doing any repairs yourself. So, in the event of a plumbing emergency, follow the steps outlined above and make the call. Rob McDowell in more than just an expert, he is  a certified master plumber with more than 20 years of experience. He can tackle any emergency job quickly and get you and your home back to normal.

Call now to get All Star Plumbing to your home now!