There are a lot of plumbing issues that are annoying and costly in the long run, but at the same time, they are not so dangerous that you need to get them fixed right away. Plumbing issues like leaky faucets, backed up toilets, or low water pressure are annoying and possibly an indicator of a bigger problem, but they are not going to send you running and screaming to the local plumber. However, there are some times when a plumbing emergency needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
Burst pipes are a major hassle, and if you notice that your pipes have burst, then you need to get a plumber to come in and fix them right away. Why are burst pipes so dangerous? If the pipes are behind a wall, or in some other cramped space, then all that leaking water is going to foster mould growth. It goes without saying that you really do not want a mould problem on your hands. Mould is not even the only health worry when it comes to burst pipes, since burst pipes can also release sewage, which carries its own health hazards. But aside from health risks, there are also financial considerations. Burst pipes may cost a lot to get fixed, but it will cost you even more if you do not get a burst pipe fixed immediately.
What causes burst pipes? Well, one of the bigger causes is corrosion. There is really nothing you as a home owner can do to avoid this, pipes just tend to naturally degrade over time. Home owners need to be vigilant and catch pipes before the corrosion causes the pipes to burst. Another major cause is tree roots; believe it or not, tree roots have an annoying tendency to damage piping (and more annoyingly, even if you get rid of your trees, your neighbour’s tree roots may still damage your pipes).
Under certain circumstances, your home’s sewage line can become backed up, this results in disgusting sewage being pushed back through pipes and into your home. The sewage usually comes through the toilet, but it can come from anywhere that comes from, including taps, drains, and even shower heads. Backed up sewage is not only disgusting, but also a health hazard. So, if you ever have an issue with a backed up sewage line, make sure you call a plumber as soon as possible; if you do not, then you are putting you and your family at risk.
What causes a backed up sewage line? If you are suffering from a backed up sewage line, chances are that one of your pipes is seriously clogged. Now when I say clogged, I do not mean your usual small clog that can be fixed with some drain cleaning solution; the types of clogs that can cause a major sewage backup build up over years and require a plumber to deal with them. It is also possible that something like a tree root has punctured the pipe and is causing the backup.
Water heaters can leak for a number of reasons, if it is simply a case of a screw coming loose, then the fix is relatively easy, you simply have to tighten the screw. However, the heater can also leak if it has become corroded or if the water heater valve has become damaged. If your water heater is corroded or the valve is broken, then you are going to need to get a plumber in to see if the heater can be fixed or if it needs to be completely replaced. Leaking water heaters are no joke, they can cause a lot of property damage; especially if there is not an easy way to quickly drain the water.
This is probably pretty obvious to most people, but it needs to be repeated none the less. If you are experiencing any of the plumbing emergencies described above, or even a plumbing emergency that was not described above, then the first thing you need to do is call your preferred plumber. Do not try and assess the damage or try and fix the problem yourself, you are just wasting time.
After calling the plumber, you should shut off your main water valve, to hopefully prevent more damage from occurring. If you do not how to shut off your house’s water valve, then you should learn how to do so ASAP. If you are ever having a problem with leaky or burst pipes, then knowing how to shut off your water valve can help keep the damage under control. In the same respect, if you are having water heater troubles, then being able to shut off water heater is also something that can be really helpful; so make sure you find out how to shut off your water heater.
If the plumbing emergency involves sewage, or if you suspect that the water may be contaminated, then make sure you wear rubber boots and gloves when going to inspect the area. Sewage can be highly toxic, and you desperately want to avoid it coming into contact with either your skin or clothes. You will also want to avoid breathing in the sewage smell. After the mess has been cleaned up, make sure any area touched by the sewage is thoroughly cleaned with disinfectant.
If the plumbing emergency affects your electrical system, then you are going to want to be extra careful. If you suspect that water has come into contact with an electrical circuit or anything else, just avoid the water. If you can, try and reach your switchboard and turn off the electricity to the part of the house that has been affected by the plumbing emergency. Always exercise extra caution when dealing with water and electricity.