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The Top 9 Common Plumbing Emergencies and What to Do

Plumbing sure has come a long way over the past century. We have gotten used to having hot and cold running water. We have indoor flush toilets. We enjoy being able to wash dishes in the dishwasher. Laundry is a breeze when you simply toss dirty laundry into the washing machine. We can even get ice and cold water out of our refrigerators.

In more recent years, many of these appliances have adopted smart technologies to make them even more convenient. For instance, your washing machine will notify you via text when the wash cycle is done and the clothes are ready to go into the dryer.

Yet, when things go wrong, that is when we remember just how convenient modern plumbing has become. Some of the more common plumbing problems and plumbing emergencies you can encounter include:

#1: Clogged Sinks

The clogged kitchen sink

Clogged sinks can occur for a variety of reasons. Bathroom sinks clog from an excess buildup of soap, shaving gel, hair, toothpaste, and other such things that get rinsed down the drain. Kitchen sinks clog up from grease, food particles, soap, and anything else that gets put down the kitchen sink or garbage disposal.

What to Do to Fix Clogged Sinks

It might seem tempting to use a store-bought drain cleaner and clogged drain remover product. However, we strongly recommend not using these items. They can contain harsh chemicals that are not good for your plumbing or the environment. Not to mention, they are not designed to remove every type of clog.

The best way to fix clogged sinks is with some elbow grease and a good old-fashioned plunger. If plunging does not work, then you are probably due for a more detailed drain cleaning service from your local plumber.

#2: Clogged Toilets

Clogged toilets are another common plumbing problem. Clogs can occur from using too much toilet paper. If you flush items that you are not supposed to like paper towels, feminine hygiene products, disposable diapers, and so on down the toilet, it will eventually clog.

Another common cause for toilet clogs is when toddlers become fascinated with the toilet when potty training. They might decide to flush small toys, tons of toilet paper, and other such things down the toilet, leading to a clog.

What to Do to Fix Clogged Toilets

Just like clogged sinks, the best way to fix clogged toilets is using a plunger. You will be able to tell when the clog starts to work loose, as the water and anything else in the toilet bowl will quickly drain away. If the clog quickly returns or you cannot remove it using a plunger, you will want to call a plumber.

#3: Hot Water Problems

If you wake up to a cold shower, you have a hot water problem. No hot water means something is wrong with the water heater. If it is an occasional problem, as when everyone took a shower that morning, you may need to upgrade to a larger water heater.

What to Do to Fix Hot Water Problems

There are a few things you can do before calling an emergency plumber. Start by checking to see that your water heater is on and the pilot is lit if you have a gas water heater. If the power got switched off or the pilot is not lit, turn it back on and relight the pilot.

Check the breaker switch, too, as this can sometimes need to be reset. If you notice the breaker switch keeps blowing, you will want to call your plumber.

Check the settings on the water heater. If they got turned down, as when you go on vacation and forget to turn the settings back up, you could easily run out of hot water more quickly.

If the power is on and the pilot is lit and the water heater will not run, then this is a problem best left to a professional plumber to fix.

#4: Sewer Backup Problems

If you hear gurgling sounds coming from the drains in your home or notice raw sewage coming up the drains, you have a sewer backup problem. Another common sign of a sewer problem is if there is a section of your yard that is constantly wet.

What to Do to Fix Sewer Backup Problems

Troubleshooting sewer backup problems requires help from your plumber. They can perform a camera inspection to find the source of the problem to determine how to fix it. You could have tree roots that grew into the sewer line and created a clog. There could also be a backflow problem if the backflow preventer failed.

#5: Running Toilet Problems

If you notice your toilet runs occasionally or constantly, this indicates a running toilet problem. The most common cause is when the toilet flapper wears out and is no longer sealing correctly.

What to Do to Fix Running Toilet Problems

You could attempt to replace the flapper yourself if this is the culprit. However, there could be other problems with other seals and rings that connect the water tank to the toilet bowl. To have the problem fixed correctly, call your plumber.

#6: Leaking Toilet Problems

Toilet leaks can occur when the toilet wax ring starts to wear out. You may notice water running out from underneath the toilet. Another toilet leak problem is when water is dripping onto the floor from the water tank.

What to Do to Fix Leaking Toilet Problems

To fix leaking toilets, you need to find the source of the leak. Once you do, you will have to shut off the water to the toilet, drain the water, and take the toilet apart to make repairs. Since this can be a rather complex repair, most people call their plumber for assistance.

#7: Water Pressure Problems

partly clogged shower head in a bathroom

Most modern homes have water pressure regulators installed to help maintain proper water pressure without blowing out pipes, fittings, and other plumbing fixtures. If you notice the water pressure in your home drops, this could be caused by a failed pressure regulator. There could also be a blockage in the water supply line that is restricting water flow.

What to Do to Fix Water Pressure Problems

Fixing water pressure problems is best left to your plumber. Finding the source of the problem can be difficult if you are not familiar with your home’s plumbing system.

#8: Burst Pipes

If the weather gets too cold and the water line and pipes freeze, they can burst. Burst pipes require an emergency plumber to fix.

What to Do if You Have Burst Pipes

The first thing you need to do is shut off the water main to stop water from flowing into the home. You will want to try to clean up as much water as you can to limit water damages. After your plumber fixes the burst pipes, consider having your pipes insulated to prevent this problem in the future.

#9: Water Leaks

Leaking steel pipe under sink with water drops

Water leaks can occur when the pipe fittings start to wear out or come loose. You could also experience a water leak if there is a small crack in the plumbing pipes. Water leaks can be difficult to notice until there is serious water damage to your home.

What to Do if You Have Water Leaks

One telltale sign of water leaks is if you notice your water bill skyrockets even though your normal water usage has not increased. Another sign of water leaks is if you hear dripping water but cannot find the source.

To fix water leaks, you will want to call your plumber. They have special tools they can use to find the source of water leaks, as they are often hidden behind the walls or ceiling in your home.

Other Common Plumbing Problems

Besides these top 10 plumbing problems, there are others you may experience that constitute plumbing emergencies, such as:

  • Your hot water heater is leaking water.
  • A faucet is severely dripping or will not shut off.
  • Your dishwasher is leaking water.
  • Your washing machine is leaking water.
  • Your washing machine hoses are leaking or burst.
  • Your automatic washing litter box is leaking or won’t drain.
  • Water is leaking from behind the refrigerator where the water line c

For these types of plumbing problems, you will want to shut off the water supply to the affected appliance or fixture until your plumber can make the appropriate plumbing repairs.

When you require emergency plumbing in New Braunfels, Temple, San Antonio, or the Austin Metro Area, please feel free to call Christianson Air Conditioning and Plumbing at 512-246-5400 today! Our emergency plumbers are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays.

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