Understanding the Most Common Plumbing Emergencies
When things go wrong with something as fundamental to a home as indoor plumbing, it can be both very upsetting and very expensive.
But if you can understand why these things happen, and what causes them, you’re in a better position to help prevent these issues from troubling your home. So here’s what causes the more common plumbing emergencies.
Fixtures That Leak
For homeowners, this is probably the less serious problem, and might not even qualify as an emergency. It’s ironic, however, because while a leaky fixture may not be too serious, it is also hard to see coming ahead of time, though easy to fix once it happens.
The pieces in a fixture that might be responsible for a leak are the O-ring or washer. These parts can eventually wear out or break down over time, and when they do, the normally tight water seal they create is broken, meaning you’ll get a leak. Buy these parts—they’re cheap!—and get a wrench. A few minutes of work to replace these parts and you’re done.
Drains That Are Blocked
The blocked drain, unlike the leaking fixture, is very much an emergency that can easily be prevented with just a little bit of care and an open eye.
You won’t just fill up the sink, pull the plug when you’re done and have the water sit there, not emptying out when it was fine yesterday. Far from it.
You get a blocked drain when you willfully neglect a partial blockage, which is your early warning that a blocked drain is on the way. Blockage occurs when some matter, it could be hair or food, gets caught in the drainage pipe instead of washing down and out. As time passes, it accumulates even more mass. A partial blockage results in “slow drain,” where the water empties out slower than before. A plunger or drain cleaner can take care of this.
Toilets That Overflow
This particular issue will never happen in your home provided you and other members of the household do just one thing; use the toilet only as intended.
If you flush a toilet you just used, and the waste burbles up, over the toilet, and spills onto the floor, someone has broken this rule.
Toilets are supposed only to get rid of human waste, and toilet paper, which is manufactured to start breaking up as soon as it makes contact with water.
Anything else, including cigarettes or paper towels, will not break down and may stick in the pipe, causing a block. Your toilet is not a garbage can, don’t treat it as such.
Pipes That Burst
Bursting pipes can get serious and expensive, but they only occur under extraordinary circumstances. In the case of water pipes, it can happen if winter temperatures get cold enough to freeze water in these pipes.
As the water freezes into ice, it expands, rupturing the pipe and causing leaks when the water finally melts. However, if you can insulate the pipes that are vulnerable to cold, you can ensure this never happens.
Be careful with old pipes as well. If you live in an old, Victorian style home with the original cast iron drainage pipes still at work, these pipes may be close to 100 years old! Have them inspected and replaced to avoid metal fatigue issues.
Green Bay, WI homes are built to last and can provide years of reliable plumbing operation. By following these prevention tips, you can stretch that out to decades.