Is there a stench in your house that you can’t seem to get rid of? Are your sink and shower drains not draining as they should? Have you spotted mildew, or worse, mold gathering on your walls? Then you may well have a plumbing issue.
Whether it’s a toilet that won’t flush or leaking pipes, issues with your plumbing can become a health emergency in a hurry. That’s why you have to know what you’re looking for. Here are ten of the most common emergency plumbing issues that you should look out for in your home.
1. Sewage Backup
A sewage backup is one of the worst plumbing issues that can happen in your home. Not only does it stink, but it’s one of the most expensive repairs you’ll have to undertake. Fixing a backed-up sewer system can cost tens of thousands of dollars and take weeks.
That’s weeks of dealing with the scent of raw sewage near your home. That’s not a preferable situation for anyone. Common warning signs of this plumbing issue include gurgling toilets, multiple slow-draining sinks, and a powerful sewage smell through the house.
2. Clogged or Backed Up Toilets
Clogged and backed-up toilets are an extremely common plumbing issue that won’t often have you calling for a plumber at first. However, they can become a major problem if not dealt with as soon as possible. (And, let’s face it, nothing has the potential to ruin your day like an overflowing toilet!)
If you find your toilet clogged, your first course of action should be to grab a plunger to try to remove the clog. If the clog proves too stubborn or too deep to remove, then it might be time to contact a professional.
3. Clogged Shower and Bathtub Drains
Picture this: You’re enjoying your evening shower when you start feeling warm, soapy water lap over the tops of your feet. Then, it reaches your ankles. By the time you’re done showering, the water is near your calves. Clogged shower drains can be a nightmare to deal with, as they can make your bathtub or shower unusable.
The most common reasons behind this plumbing issue are soap scum buildup and a clog made of hair. A drain stopper to prevent hair clogs and regular drain cleanings should help with this.
4. Clogged Kitchen and Bathroom Sinks
When your kitchen or bathroom sinks won’t drain or get clogged up, you can’t wash dishes or brush your teeth. Slow draining sinks can be a pain, but don’t rise to the level of an emergency. However, if the sinks stop draining entirely, they’ll become unusable in a hurry.
5. Ruptured Pipes
If ever there were an issue that required emergency plumbing services, it’s ruptured pipes. Pipes typically burst in the aftermath of a winter storm, as part of the freeze-thaw cycle. This is part of the reason why it’s recommended that you keep your heat running and faucets open to drip during an ice storm.
If your pipes burst, you need to contact a plumber to fix them immediately. Water damage is not something you should play with.
6. Leaking Faucets
Leaking faucets might not be an emergency, per se. But my goodness, are they annoying! The constant drip, drip sound will drive anyone mad. Worse, these small leaks can drive up your water bills and lead to the formation of mold and mildew in your sinks and tubs. They might even lead to rust buildup on your fixtures!
7. Leaking Water Heaters
A leak in your water heater can run up both your heating and water bills in a hurry. Worse, the water leak may end up causing severe property damage. If the issue is the valve, that’s an easy fix for a plumber. However, if the issue is more severe, like a rusted-through water heater wall, you may have to replace the entire unit.
8. Nonexistent Hot Water
While some people expound upon the health benefits of cold showers, most of us do not find the experience enjoyable. While it’s easy to get mad at the people you live with for using up all the hot water, you should take a moment to make sure there’s nothing more severe at play.
The causes of this plumbing issue can range from a leak to an electrical failure. You should also take a moment to contact your utility company if this is an ongoing issue.
9. Broken or Rusted Water Lines
If your water lines get rusted through or broken, you’ll suffer from a severe lack of water pressure, which can make getting a satisfying shower impossible. It may also lead to flooding in your yard and poor water quality. Worse, if the flooding extends past your yard, you may deal with severe water damage in your home.
A broken water line is one of the worst emergency plumbing issues you can deal with, as it’s extremely time- and money-intensive to repair.
10. Toilet Running Nonstop
Does it seem like your toilet won’t stop running? If it sounds like your toilet’s always flushing, you won’t just have to worry about skyrocketing water bills. The toilet may still be usable, but it’s using more water than it should. We promise you, the repair bill will be far less expensive than your water bills will be if you leave this problem unchecked.
Thankfully, there may be a way you can fix this yourself by adjusting the float in your toilet tank.
What to Do If You Have a Plumbing Issue
If you have an emergency plumbing issue, you should first check to see if there’s a way to fix the problem yourself. Many common plumbing issues, like clogged toilets or sinks, might have at-home fixes. However, if these don’t work, or if the problem is more severe, then you may need to call in a professional for help.
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