7 Most Common Home Plumbing Emergencies

Plumbing emergencies can range from minor incidents such as a clogged drain or running toilet to more extensive problems like burst pipes and sewage back flowing into the home. No matter the size of the problem, it is crucial for homeowners to recognize and address these emergencies promptly. 

Not only will this help prevent more costly damage down the road, but it also ensures that you don’t put yourself or others at risk for health complications from untreated sewage and flood water. 

While many plumbing problems can be considered an emergency, here are seven of the most common that may require calling a plumber. 

1. Leaky Faucet

A leaking faucet is usually caused by a worn out washer, which can cause water to seep through the faucet and continuously drip. 

A leaky faucet with a slow drip of just one drop per second can be wasteful and result in an annual loss of more than 3,000 gallons of precious water, so it’s essential to have it fixed as soon as possible. Although a minor leak might not necessitate a call to an emergency plumber, you should still call to schedule an appointment to have the drip addressed; otherwise, you can expect to pay more on your monthly water bill. The plumber will need access to the area underneath the sink so they can remedy the problem.

2. Clogged Sinks or Drains

Anything can cause clogged kitchen sink or toilet drains, from too much food being washed down the drain to hair and other debris blocking the pipes. This can cause water to back up in the sink or shower or cause an overflow of water from the tub. 

Symptoms of clogged toilets include slow-draining water, odors coming from the drains, and gurgling toilet noises. To fix this issue, the plumber may need to use a plumbing snake or an auger to break up any clogs in the pipes.

3. Overflowing Toilet

An overflowing toilet can be caused by flushing too much paper down the toilet or leaving objects in the bowl. If neglected, it could lead to additional problems, including weakened floors, cracks in the walls, and wall discoloration from mold growth.

To repair an overflowing toilet, plumbers shut off the water supply to the toilet before inspecting and repairing it. They may need to replace parts to fix clogs or leaks, ensure that all connections are properly sealed, and then use a plunger or snake to clear any clogs.

4. Burst or Broken Pipes

This problem is usually caused by poor pipe installation, shifting soil, or pipes frozen by cold weather, which can cause them to expand and crack. Symptoms of this issue include low water pressure, strange noises from the pipes, and pooling of water around the area. 

To fix broken water lines, the plumber removes the damaged section of the pipe and replaces it with new piping. If the pipes have been shifted due to soil movement, they may need to be re-secured to prevent further damage. 

5. Leaking Washing Machine or Dishwasher

Leaking dishwashers or washing machines can cause significant damage to your home due to the excess water. They can create a mess and a slipping hazard and lead to issues such as warped floors and walls, ruined carpets, and even mold formation. 

This issue is usually caused by a worn out seal or faulty connection, which allows water to seep onto the floor. The plumber replaces worn out seals and checks the hose to prevent water leaks. 

6. Backed-Up Sewer Line

Backed-up sewer lines can be caused by tree roots blocking the pipes to a buildup of debris. A backed-up sewer line must be addressed immediately to prevent potential health risks. Exposure to sewage water can cause Hepatitis A and Giardiasis

Hydro jetting is an effective technique for removing blockages that can lead to backed-up sewer lines. It involves using pressurized blasts of water to break up debris, roots, or other materials blocking the pipes. 

In some cases, they may need to install a backflow valve to prevent further sewage backup. This valve is critical for protecting against contamination and preserving sanitary conditions, as it has a one-way pressure mechanism that allows liquid to flow in only one direction.

7. Broken Sump Pump

A sump pump malfunction typically happens when the pump fails to remove water from the basement or crawl spaces, leading to flooding and water damage. The causes of a sump pump malfunction vary but can include clogs in the lines, inadequate power supply, poor maintenance, or a mechanical failure in the pump.

To fix this problem, a plumber will need to assess the situation and diagnose what is causing the malfunction. They will then replace any parts that have worn out or need repair, unclogging the lines if necessary or providing a more powerful power supply. 

If there is an issue with the sump pump’s mechanical components, such as a worn out motor, they may suggest replacing it.

Know When to Call a Plumber

Most homeowners know how to replace a leaky faucet or plunge a clogged toilet, but many plumbing issues like a sewer backup because of a malfunctioning sump pump should be left to the professionals. 

Consider getting home warranty insurance like American Home Shield or Choice Home Warranty to ensure you aren’t out-of-pocket when a plumbing emergency occurs. These programs give you peace of mind by alleviating the stress that comes with common plumbing emergencies. 

Browse the HomesNGardens blog for more tips on home maintenance and cleaning and organizing your home.

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